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Comment: Re: Tell me... (Score 4, Insightful) 172 172

The 'purchaser' doesn't pay less, but the writer gets paid less because Amazon just wants to pay them less.

That's it right there. If the reader turns the pages and you end up getting more at the end of the book, then I can work with that. But that's not what's happening. If someone buys your book and doesn't read it, you get squat but Amazon still gets paid.

It's kind of a ripoff for authors.

Comment: Why stop at drones? (Score 1) 98 98

Why not extend remote control to all kinds of racing, including full size cars? Or, better yet, autonomous vehicle racing.

That might be what it takes to get it across how absurd auto racing is in the modern world. It's only a sport because of the spectacle of crashes. If robots are racing, there's no spectacle.

Comment: I've used Ubuntu since it came out (Score 0) 216 216

And I have zero problems with the way they have Ubuntu Software Center set up. There are no issues separating free and non-free, all you have to do is look. Ubuntu is awesome and if they want to sell apps to bring in a little revenue, that's all good in my book. I've done 90% of work on Ubuntu now for years, so they're way in the plus column in my book.

Comment: It just means you'll have to work harder (Score 1) 618 618

I haven't found display ads a particularly effective marketing tool. Ad blockers are not the only reason their effectiveness is diminishing. Ads are so ubiquitous that we don't even see them anymore. We have several billboards within blocks of our house, I drive past them every day and couldn't tell you what's on them. It's just noise and we tune it out after a while.

At least when it comes to books, paid reviews and blogs are more effective than display ads. Even if the reviews aren't positive, they're useful if they can explain why they didn't like your book.It's more work but better results. That's also life without display ads. More work.

Comment: Re:Treaty Violations (Score 2) 103 103

Who gave the US ownership of the universe.....

God did. That's why when a white, humanoid alien from another planet comes to earth it's perfectly natural that they're going to fight for truth, justice and the American way. God likes us best and the rest of you fereners can suck it. Ha-ha!

Comment: Re:Veto it (Score 4, Insightful) 103 103

Hey, I am fine with industry standing on its own and living or dying by the free market, but since when was letting the government own your liabilities part of the free market vision?

They're just asking for the same deal the insurance industry, defense industry, agriculture, pharmaceutical and banking industries already enjoy. Who paid the tab for the last recession? That would be the government, as in we the people. Who paid to rebuild New Orleans after Katrina or Florida after the last set of hurricanes? It was partly the insurance industry, which threatened to claim bankruptcy if the government didn't pick up most of the tab. Who pays for bad weather that wipes out crops? And who pays when someone loses their job and can't make their mortgage payment? Who paid for broadband infrastructure and then gave it away to telecos to sell at a profit which then started to whine like bitches when it came time for upgrades?

I actually agree that the government shouldn't be on the hook for any of that, at least not indefinitely. The government might have to be the buck of last resort for the private space industry until the risks are understood and private insurance has a structure for coverage. But then there's an accident and the insurance companies threaten to file bankruptcy if they have to shoulder the full burden of the claim and most re-insurers are located offshore, so they're not worried about paying up to the limit of coverage and saying, C' ya!

If the government doesn't shoulder the burden of liability then the private space industry never gets off the ground. On the other hand, we the people deserve some payback if we're providing insurance.

Comment: The windows need to stay (Score 1) 435 435

A self-driving car will still need windows in case the human driver ever needs to take over. But the windows could certainly have privacy shades. Other things we'd no longer need for robot cars are street signs, stop lights, and lane markers. You might argue that we'd need to keep those things for the people choosing to drive themselves but my question would be how long should the rest of us finance billions in infrastructure for a diminishing number of holdouts?

That's why I think self-driving cars are going to take over a lot faster than most people imagine. There are significant costs to maintain infrastructure for human drivers. Not to mention the insurance implications when it starts costing significantly more to drive yourself.

Comment: Re:Not yet statistically significant (Score 4, Insightful) 408 408

Yes, the data set is way to small to draw any conclusions,

Not necessarily. Pick a pool of 48 cars at random and compare the accident rates. You also have to compare them by the accident rate per hour behind the wheel.

This gets at the whole idea that self-driving cars have to meet some lofty standard of perfection to become the optimum choice. To replace people behind the wheel self-driving cars only need to be +1 better than human drivers.

Self driving cars can't drive in the rain. Oh, really? Take a drive around Seattle in the rain, you'll discover human drivers suck in the rain, too. And that's in the rain capitol of the world where you'd expect people to be used to driving in the rain and they still suck (I lived there for 10 years so don't bother trying to deny it).

The biggest obstacle to self-driving cars isn't rain or snow, it's something called Illusory Superiority. The vanity of humans who think they're better drivers than they really are.

Comment: Re: Hauling goods is serious business (Score 1) 167 167

Just a reasonable demand for proof of insurance.

Too bad they didn't demand proof of adequate insurance from the chemical company storing mountains of explosive chemicals near residential housing.

Texas advertises itself as a government intrusion free zone, then Texas government intrudes when companies actually take advantage of that environment. Seems kind of hypocritical.

According to the letter, this includes not just professional or even regular haulers, but also people moving a piece of furniture bought at a garage sale for pay;

Let the chemical company store mountains of fertilizer and the oil company pollute Galveston Bay but you better have commercial insurance for moving furniture from a garage sale! Maybe the no government intrusion rule only applies to companies big enough to bribe legislators.

Comment: Re:So when will this actually happen? (Score 4, Interesting) 372 372

>I distinctly recall hearing about how major cities along the U.S. eastern seaboard would be under water "within a decade" back in the mid 1970s. It didn't happen.

That's good to know because, right now, parts of Miami are flooding at high tide and larger areas flood during king tides. There are huge projects going on all along the coastal areas of southern Florida to raise sewer lines and lift stations so toilets will continue flushing. We are spending tens of millions to try and protect the well casings that supply freshwater to Miami.

There are trails in Palm Beach we grew up rollerblading when we were kids that flood twice a day now; the storm drains start flowing backwards. Then there are the underwater boat docks and places where the waves lap over the tide wall.

That doesn't even touch beach erosion. It's funny as hell to watch cities pump sand back up on the beach.

The next big hurricane that comes in from the wrong direction and you're going to see boats washed up on I-95. Miami's going to be dead long before the waters claim it for the last time but the water is coming and there's nothing we can do to stop it.

Comment: Gadget security will fail (Score 1) 164 164

The problem with gadget security is it will always let you down and is why mass surveillance is counter productive. The larger the dataset, the harder it is to extract any useful information. When you're trying to process billions and billions of records, gadget security is your only option. It's a huge waste of effort and, as the Boston Marathon Bombers and those dead idiots in Texas proved, it's still relatively easy to slip through.

Terrorists are smart enough not to speak in plain language, so I don't get the NSA's addiction to mass surveillance. The tactics that work aren't sexy or easy.

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