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Comment: Re:Time to stock up on shotgun shells (Score 1) 71

by Pharmboy (#49361329) Attached to: How long until our skies are filled with drones?

That is silly. A falling bullet has a much lower speed than one that was just shot. I've been hit by shotgun pellets at the end of their range, it was like having gravel slung at you.

A returning bullet CAN hit someone, and possibly injure them if everything is lined up right, or there is a very low angle of fire, but they have a small fraction of the energy they had in the first km after being fired.

Comment: Re:Isn't Government wonderful? (Score 1) 138

It may be a private company, large portions of UK (and US I believe) functions are performed by private contractors and have been since the 1980s.

That said, even if it isn't, this experience is something most of us have suffered over the last 15 years from public and private entities. Most have ended up capitulating under pressure to knock it off with the "IE6 only" BS, in part because Microsoft (yes, Microsoft!) forced the issue with IE7 and its follow-ons, itself in part because too many people liked Firefox for Microsoft's comfort.

It shouldn't surprise anyone there's still "IE only" crap out there. Especially amongst organizations that are (1) large, and (2) constantly cutting their budgets and having to apply "defered maintenance" to everything they do to stop going under.

And those budget cuts are, for the most part, the fault of the same people who insist governments are always incompetent.

Comment: Re:Not concerned (Score 2) 176

by gmhowell (#49353367) Attached to: German Auto Firms Face Roadblock In Testing Driverless Car Software

I should actually correct myself slightly: Wal-Mart (and others) have some in house drivers and some outsourced.

BTW, in discussions of the transport industry, don't get distracted/lied to by the companies. Some drivers think they are owner operators, when in practice, they aren't. They will lease/buy a truck from (as an example, all of the bigs do this) Schneider. As part of the lease terms, they can only accept loads from Schneider. It should be obvious that the 'owner' is an employee who has assumed much of the risk that the company would usually take on.

ShanghaiBill has a decent reply, but he misses a point: if the automated truck is cheaper, the big companies will drive that change in a heartbeat. The trick is that someone has to be convinced that they will be cheaper. They are unlikely to automatically accept that an automated truck is safer, faster, etc. One area where they are likely to be impressed is the possibility of 24 hour operations, rather than the 10 hour per day (rough) limits of human operated trucks. In addition to (possibly) being cheaper, this will allow faster shipments for more mundane goods (there are already plenty of ways to have fast shipping, but it is cost prohibitive to do for everything) which would offer them a competitive advantage. I suspect this last point will be the thin edge of the wedge.

Comment: Re:Heisenberg compensator ... (Score 1) 83

I think of all the times anyone has tried to explain it to me, this is the one that clicked. If I'm understanding correctly, they're (electrons, photons, et al) not really either a "particle", as I think of it (like you say, teeny tiny baseballs with well defined boundaries and positions), or a "wave", but entirely different animals that happen to have some, not even all, of the features of both.

Thanks (assuming I didn't misunderstand!)

Comment: Sloppy's One Rule of Robotics (Score 1) 129

by Sloppy (#49338263) Attached to: Do Robots Need Behavioral 'Laws' For Interacting With Other Robots?

My one rule of robotics (and pointed sticks, cars, crackpipes and umbrellas) is this: my stuff ought to perform in accordance with my wishes.

There might be additional laws ("weld here and here, but nowhere else," or "use the rules in /etc/iptables/rules.v4" or "don't shoot at anyone whose IFF transponder returns the correct response") which vary by whatever the specific application is, but these rules aren't as important as The One above.

There are various corollaries that you can infer from the main law, but since they can be derived, they don't need to be laws themselves. (e.g. if my interests conflict with someone else's, then my robot and my umbrella ought to serve my interests at the expense of the other person's interests.)

With regard to harming other robots, that also can be derived. If I desire to kill a knight on a robot horse, then my robot ought to turn them into a pile of bloody gore and shredded circuitboards immediately. OTOH, if I don't desire to kill a robot, then my robot should not do things that incur unnecessary liabilities.

Comment: Re:Check their work or check the summary? (Score 1) 481

by squiggleslash (#49336325) Attached to: No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory

No, it's completely understandable and shouldn't even be thought of as strange to seasoned programmers.

The critical issue is there's a difference between calling an I/O function like write, and actually manipulating the IDE control lines on a hard disk. Typically for the former, the operating system is sitting there buffering things up in a relatively simple, uncomplex, way - ie it has some memory allocated, a pointer, and when you call the function all it does is copy the bytes to the memory and increment the pointer as needed. Once either enough time has passed, a critical function has been called, or enough data has been written, the OS then starts manipulating the IDE control lines to write the data.

Now, the comparison becomes "the OS's buffer handling" vs "Your language of choice's string handling and garbage collection algorithms." For C, chances are you're as good as the OS as C's string handling is extremely uncomplicated and bare metal. For almost anything else - such as Python and Java, both tested in this scenario - you're likely to end up with the OS handling some situations more quickly than your language would.

Does it make sense now? It should. There are very few programmers this should surprise. Unfortunately, I know quote a few that will be...

Comment: Re:Heisenberg compensator ... (Score 4, Interesting) 83

You think you have problems? I'm still trying to get my head around "It's both a particle... AND a wave!". How the f--- does that work? It doesn't even make any sense! It's insane! Wave things are not particles, and particle things are not waves!

(Note: yes, I know, it's true, I've seen the double slit experiment et al, I'm not doubting the science, I'm just saying my brain is too small to understand it. So put me in a position where I have to understand that something is in every state possible until observed, and... well, the worst part is I can visualize it, but only in a way I know deep down is wrong...)

Comment: Re:Cyber "Attacks" (Score 1) 49

by JWSmythe (#49325845) Attached to: Nobody Is Sure What Should Count As a Cyber Incident

According to the article, they define incident as..

failure in electronic communications leads to a loss confidentiality, integrity, or availability.

So a operator or programmer error making privileged information available is an incident.

Someone trying to brute force their way into a FTP server and reaching the connection limit, is a denial of service, and therefor also an "incident".

I've used it both ways, depending on the context. I break it down to "tries" and "got in".

"Tries" justifies the budget for IT security. "There were 100 billion attempts to break into the network".

"Got in" is what they should mean. That should be zero. The zero number unfortunately means that the budget can be reduced, because no one can break in.

I generally ignore it when people talk about the attempts. Hell, any of us can fire up nmap, and make a whole bunch of attempts with virtually no effort. If you have public servers and they don't have at least some sort of attempt, you forgot to plug in the network cable. :)

Comment: Re:Then and Now (Score 2) 56

by JWSmythe (#49324169) Attached to: NASA's Abandoned Launch Facilities

That's not surprising. They want something guaranteed to be good. It's unrealistic for them to be able to know if every form of ID from any country in the world is legitimate. I'm sure they do at least a cursory check before allowing anyone in.

In theory, your passport is good. It should have been checked when you entered the US.

If you are a foreign national in the US, you're suppose to keep your passport with you at all times. Some states require anyone 18 and over to carry at least a state issued ID with them at all times. I carry 3 state/federal photo IDs, because they all serve a different purpose.

This is the ID requirement from their site.

ID Requirements
Please arrive at the designated boarding area at least 15 minutes before departure time. A U.S. government-issued Driver's License or U.S. State ID card is required for guests age 18 and over. International adult and child guests must present a valid passport to participate.

https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/tours/ksc-up-close-then-and-now-tour.aspx

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