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Comment: Re:Simulations are limited by imagination (Score 4, Interesting) 130

by swillden (#47734021) Attached to: Google Wants To Test Driverless Cars In a Simulation

The problem with simulator testing is that you can't test scenarios that you didn't think of. This is particularly important to find problems arising from multiple simultaneous situations. For example, you might test the scenarios "front camera obscured by rain", "car ahead of you performs emergency stop", and "dog runs into street", but that doesn't necessarily tell you how the car will respond to a combination of the three.

Real life is far more creative than any scenario designer.

Which is why you should do both. A simulation can test millions of permutations -- including arbitrary combinations of events, and in far more variety than could be tested in a reasonable amount of time on real roads -- and can verify that software changes don't introduce regressions. Real-world testing introduces an element of randomness which provides additional insights for the simulation test cases.

Ultimately, governments should probably develop their own simulators which run the autonomous car through a large battery of scenarios, including scenarios which include disabling some of the car's sensors. Then autonomous vehicles from different manufacturers could be validated on a standard test suite before being allowed on the roads, and when real-world incidents occur in which an automated car makes a bad decision, those incidents can and should be replicated in the simulator and all certified vehicles tested. They should also do real-world testing, but I suspect that in the long run simulations will provide much greater confidence.

Comment: Not putting up with jerks (Score 3, Interesting) 212

by Animats (#47732661) Attached to: When Customer Dissatisfaction Is a Tech Business Model

You don't have to put up with jerks.

  • Internet provider - DSL. No packet filtering, good support, no nonsense.
  • Phone - Caterpillar B15 ruggeized Android phone.. Bought from Caterpillar dealer, not carrier. Declined Google account at first power up. Google services disabled. No updates from Google.
  • Cellular carrier - T-Mobile. Has no control over phone. No carrier apps.
  • Email - IMAP server. SpamAssassin spam blocking.
  • Main desktop machine - Ubuntu 12.4 LTS.
  • No Google account. No Twitter account. No pay TV. Ad blocking on all browsers.
  • Main news source - Reuters. (More news about Ukraine and ISIS, less about Bieber and Apple.)
  • Main food store - Trader Joe's. No "club card" required. Good prices.

For almost every crap business, there's a competitor that isn't crap. Find them.

Comment: Where? (Score 2) 212

by LWATCDR (#47732187) Attached to: When Customer Dissatisfaction Is a Tech Business Model

Cable companies are granted "franchises" in most cities. If you want fast internet net you have no choice.
Add to the fact that we have been in a race to the bottom for customer service for a long time. You average slashdot reader calls anything that is available cheaper from china on Ebay over priced.
The constantly want free as in beer software.
And yet complain over bad customer support.
Back in the long dark history of computers I worked in a computer store. We had a large margin on the computers so we took the time help people learn how to use them. Today their is probably $10 margin on your typical PC and yet you wonder why companies farm out support.

Comment: Re:Nature of tort reform (Score 2) 396

by TWX (#47732175) Attached to: 33 Months In Prison For Recording a Movie In a Theater
And if people drink too much then others can get hurt, and if people smoke too much then people can get hurt, and if people go down to the track and go auto racing then people can get hurt, and if people go skiing then people can get hurt, etc, etc, etc.

Legalizing drugs comes with its own pitfalls, but the militarization of police means that law enforcement and the subsequent criminal justice system is becoming increasingly draconian toward people that aren't causing intentional harm to others. When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

Comment: Re:Huge bird and fish kills (Score 1) 507

by LWATCDR (#47731789) Attached to: Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire As They Fly Overhead

I am afraid you did not read it.
It was comparing nuclears costs with Natural gas which produces a lot more carbon than nuclear or solar or wind. It is also using the costs of fracked gas. It said that renewables "wind" was becoming competitive with nuclear....
Wind is becoming but isn't yet.
The costs are also based on our aging reactors and does not look at the cost reductions available from mass production of a standardized design. Also does not touch on LFTRs which offer a much lower cost of construction since they do not require a full containment dome.
You are not even reading what you post.
Yes if want co2 and fracking you can not beat natural gas. Natural gas is much cheaper than even coal today much less solar, wind, and nuclear.
So if you are pro climate change dismissing nuclear makes all the sense in the world. Thing is that even fracked gas is not a long term solution.

Comment: Re:Huge bird and fish kills (Score 1) 507

by LWATCDR (#47730603) Attached to: Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire As They Fly Overhead

Cost of solar at peak production? Sure it is cheap. Cost of solar at 6pm in December?
And your sites could not be biased at all since on is called and the other
Puff propaganda pieces but the one from Austin supports my suggestion of solar as an opportunistic source not as a baseload.
As I said that you have so self identified with solar you have gone beyond reason.

Comment: Nature of tort reform (Score 5, Interesting) 396

by TWX (#47729697) Attached to: 33 Months In Prison For Recording a Movie In a Theater
Yes, this happened in the UK, not the US, but I don't think that the point I'm about to make is invalid...

Crimes and punishments need to be re-evaluated. No truly-victimless crime (personally using drugs without any intent to distribute, for example), when being the only crime, should never receive stronger sentences than crimes that don't affect persons directly and only lightly, at best, affect corporations (like this theatre-cam incident), and those types of crimes should never receive stronger sentences than for those where a person is individually victimized or significant chattel property is stolen (mugging, home burglary, car theft, etc), then would come violent personal crimes (any crime involving brandishing of a weapon, battery, threats of a greater harm like using the claim of a planted bomb, etc) and crimes where a person's life-savings were taken putting them into severe hardship, etc.

The scale should be steep; it should take numerous, numerous counts of the small crimes to even approach the sentences of the next crime up the scale, and the nature of what becomes a count should accurately reflect what's going on. In the case of providing copyrighted material, the law needs to bear in mind that much of the time the material would not have been purchased by the consumer had it not been available for free anyway, so the actual damage to the content creator is lower than usually represented.

One picture is worth 128K words.