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Comment Remember the IRS "non-scandal"? (Score 1, Insightful) 255 255

Anyone who pooh poohed the notion that the IRS has been turned into a political weapon, you only have to look here to see the process in action. Those in power will use every available lever to get at their enemies. The only thing that will curb this kind of abuse is not just to fire them, but prosecute and imprison them.

Comment Re:I take issue with the cloud software (Score 1) 82 82

Software should not be dictated from the "cloud". It needs to be users that are in control. Specifically I don't see a reason why we can't have the software and install it on our own servers if we wish to. So long as we have the option of our own servers I can then concede to using non personal cloud servers for processing speed.

Seems to me that's the the dev kit will get you. People will develop their own versions of the app to use a local or their own cloud database and let the user be dependent on the vendor.

Comment Thinking out a little further (Score 1) 82 82

Maybe bars could license this technology and build in overhead sensors that continually scan patron's drinks for date-rape drugs. And maybe the cops could put them at strategic locations to look for drug or gunpowder or explosive residue on passers-by, who they could then stop because they'll have probable cause.

Comment Exchanging insurance information (Score 1) 549 549

They have somebody hit them every 135k miles. I wonder how that compares to the world at large? And I wonder what's going to be the protocol when it happens with nobody in the car or the passenger doesn't own it? A car lacking a driver can't exactly exchange insurance info or do the normal things one does when involved in a collision.

Comment Re:Waiting for that first "Nanny state" comment... (Score 1, Insightful) 363 363

... because, of course, a city writing a letter asking a company to do something is exactly the same as requiring it - at least in the eyes of certain slashdot political pundits. I expect this comment will be moderated down "troll" or "flamebait" by the same members of slashdot's conservative majority that will be up-moderating "insightful" the first nanny state comment.

So you're getting outraged by as-yet-unexpressed but anticipated outrage? How proleptic of you.

Comment Re:Oh, another stupid trekkie delusion (Score 1) 503 503

I'm picturing a universe where machines are as capable or even more capable than humans at all those things, creativity included. There are no effective limits other than the scarcity of materials, and given potentially infinite labor and energy, even that won't be much of a limit. Assuming the machines don't do away with us as useless vestiges, humans can have all the material wealth they wish to amass. Or maybe by that time we'll be able to jack ourselves into a totally immersive virtual reality and live like gods of our own universes.

Comment Fixed location implies constant surveillance (Score 1) 122 122

As far as I've heard, in the US Stingrays are used selectively in a given area from mobile platforms for brief periods. From the details in this story, it sounds like they're at fixed locations, which says to me that they're intended as a tool of constant and permanent surveillance. Since the legit tower IDs for an area are known, it should be a straightforward matter to build hardware (or maybe just run an app in a phone) that detects when a Stingray -- which will present an anomalous ID -- is operating and see exactly how much they're turned on. I'm guessing that something like this is how The Independent tracked down so many in such a short time. It also makes me wonder if a phone app could force the phone to use only a known-legit tower instead of allowing itself to be subverted by a Stingray.

Comment Not recruitment, retention (Score 3, Insightful) 260 260

If you've made your own language, you're more likely to keep your experienced employees because there are fewer places for them to go to if they jump ship. Sure, there will be companies that use the language because they have to develop software for Google or Apple, but the employees are going to be a lot more locked-in than if they were experienced in something more widely used such as C or Python.

Comment Cops (Score 5, Interesting) 132 132

Something I've lately been wondering: has anyone yet figured out how to get a robot vehicle to recognize when a cop is behind them with flashing lights and to pull over? Or, if an emergency vehicle is approaching with siren blaring, do likewise? Seems like that would be a good way to hijack the load of a robot truck.

Comment Apply this to voting? (Score 1) 681 681

Since Nye is in effect saying we're mostly a bunch of barely-literate, benighted voodoo practitioners in terms of science, I wonder where he'd come down on having a poll test for scientific literacy? Or maybe just eliminate voting altogether and adopt rule by technocracy.

Often statistics are used as a drunken man uses lampposts -- for support rather than illumination.