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Comment: Re:Are you sure? (Score 1) 341

Fast means different things to different people though... I'm all for fast self driving cars that get me to remote places while I nap... but white-nuckle driving fast is only enjoyable to the person who's hands are on the wheel. When that goes away, many enthusiasts will go away also. A 100hp car is as fast as a 1000hp car when you're talking about getting between cities in the western US. The 0-60 numbers are part of why I love Tesla (I'll never afford one BTW). But without that... I'm way more likely to buy a self-driving leaf than a self-driving tesla. Once love of form and function is gone, it becomes utility, and once we're talking utility... I'll buy cheap. As for good looking... I'll restate: if nobody is looking, nobody will pay a premium to look good. If I'm sitting in a self-driving car going cross town or cross country, I'll likely be looking at my laptop or phone, not out the window. I won't even notice other drivers. Self Driving cars, they'll look nice, but not sexy. Form will give way to function, and you'll see a resurgence of Ford Taurus (tapered on both ends like a turd) designs that won't really inspire love.

Comment: Are you sure? (Score 2) 341

That's dangerous talk from someone who has built his car business on a reputation for performance and quality... when cars drive themselves, they won't need to be fast, or good looking, because nobody will be looking. They could look like the Oscar Meyer Wiener Mobile and nobody would notice.

Oh well. Fun is always short lived.

Comment: Re:No more OJ car chases (Score 1) 274

by Lab Rat Jason (#49200075) Attached to: Laser Takes Out Truck Engine From a Mile Away

Tanks don't need 2 inch accuracy over multiple seconds.

Do understand that the reason a tank is less accurate while under motion, it isn't because the computer can't keep up? It takes time between when the computer commands a fire, and the projectile exiting the barrel, and during that time, external conditions or the attitude of the vehicle might change, and nothing can be done to compensate since the projectile is in motion. Tanks also deal with wind, air density, and other factors that are difficult to measure accurately on the move. All non-issues to a laser system. You can poll the target sensors thousands of times a second and change and update your firing solution WHILE STILL FIRING. This all happens orders of magnitude faster than the time it takes a bullet to leave the barrel.

It reminds me of an argument I had with my brother about electric cars and traction control. The ability to change the torque of an electric motor is near-instantaneous compared to the throttle-body actuated traction control of the 90's and 00's. Comparing the two isn't even a fair fight. No gas powered car will ever have a traction control superior to a well designed electric car simply because of the physics behind it. Same with a laser weapons system. It will always be no contest.

Of course. Just like the Joint Strike Fighter.

You think the technology of the JSF is the reason it costs so much? The reason it costs 10 times what it should is because each service in the armed forces wanted something different and nobody wanted to tell them no... so instead we got "the Homer" aircraft with a bubble in the back to keep the kids in. That's a straw man argument. If they ever add missiles and torpedoes to this laser weapons system, then you can compare it to the JSF.

Comment: Re:No more OJ car chases (Score 1) 274

by Lab Rat Jason (#49199549) Attached to: Laser Takes Out Truck Engine From a Mile Away

The concerns you are citing are equally vexing to traditional ordinance, so not much of a change here.

Point #2 is a trivial concern, considering the fact that current targeting systems can solve parabolic firing solutions thousands of times a second and update the firing solution based on the pitching of a ship. Modern tanks can fire while on the move and their firing solutions have little difficulty tracking that motion too. So how much easier will it be to calculate linear firing solutions? Multi-target tracking also makes point 1 moot, and it could be argued that there is way more collateral damage from traditional methods of disabling a vehicle. This method allows you to capture and interrogate the driver of said vehicle rather than turning him into fertilizer.

For those who are arguing the cost of conventional weapons systems vs the cost of this system, don't forget that this is a prototype! Deployed version will of course be cheaper.

Comment: Re:Is that really a lot? (Score 2) 280

by Lab Rat Jason (#49137323) Attached to: Drones Cost $28,000 Per Arrest, On Average

Yeah, hiring troves of border protection agents is hard when Americans don't want to do that job for the rate I'm willing to pay, but that gives me an idea... does anybody know where I can find people who are willing to work for low pay, in horrible conditions, and if I don't like how hard they work, I can just send them back to their own country? Anyone? Anyone?

Comment: Re:Flash was cool in the begining (Score 1) 188

by Lab Rat Jason (#49130859) Attached to: Google Now Automatically Converts Flash Ads To HTML5

I love this rant, because it's so true, but it immediately struck me: Why is it that the same company that makes the darlings-of-the-industry Photoshop and Illustrator also makes the pariah-of-the-industry Flash? I vaguely remember that Adobe bought flash from Macromedia, but still, they reached a point where they said "Push forward on the stick and let's auger this baby in..."

I love a good train wreck.

Comment: It takes a college degree... (Score 3, Insightful) 248

by Lab Rat Jason (#49050793) Attached to: Smart Homes Often Dumb, Never Simple

I'm still waiting for a simple way to control my TV, and DVD player. Universal remote is a double negative (or a double positive resulting in a negative?) While it's possible to unify a TV, a receiver, an xbox, and a cable box; it is far from simple. If you need a CS degree to get your IOT house in order, I really don't see it being mainstream. So yeah, in short, the OP nailed it... never simple.

Comment: Re:A better solution... (Score 1) 190

by Lab Rat Jason (#49041563) Attached to: Smartphone Theft Drops After Spread of Kill Switches

Well, both sides of the debate love pithy sayings, and it's never cool to be a moderate anything... we must be extreme, lest we lose any ground, and therefore lose the fight. As for me, I'm pro-gun, but I'm way to moderate to align myself with the NRA or any other officially pro-gun group. Those guys scare me more than the gun-control groups!

The providence of a pithy saying is hardly relevant to the debate though... do you reject out of hand the saying "thou shalt not kill" just because you disagree with something else in the bible? In the end, truth is truth, regardless of what other truths or lies surround it. To recognize truth, one must test it independently. I'm not in a position to spend my workday researching this, so I won't assert that it's true, but I do like the saying for what it tells you about the person who uses it... I think it says that person WANTS a society that can be both polite and armed. There are many towns in the west where this is exactly the case, and that's what people latch on to when they use sayings like that. The counter argument is that there are lots of quiet beach towns that while largely unarmed, still enjoy an equal measure of brotherly love and politeness. Either way, I'm good with a polite society. The one thing we should not have in our society is the in-your-face-about-my-guns-because-that's-how-i-defend-myself attitude. In my opinion it's just warmongering and serves to undermine a rational debate about gun safety.

A brief note on science-fiction authors though: their job is to makes stories about dystopia and make you think... so controversy is right up their alley. I wouldn't judge any society or societal goal by statements made by science fiction authors.

Whew man are we off topic or what? Back to cell phone theft!

Comment: Re:A better solution... (Score 1) 190

by Lab Rat Jason (#49040113) Attached to: Smartphone Theft Drops After Spread of Kill Switches

Wow you're a killjoy.

I'll cite my personal experience in the first case... and I won't bother providing a citation for the second case, because I never claimed it to be true. I've known several people who started carrying sometime after I knew them. They each got more polite. That's my experience. Sorry it's not the cold hard facts you are accustomed to getting on slashdot.

I was simply pointing out the GP's erroneous assumption about *who* gets more polite in an armed society. I was just trying to bring a little levity to the conversation. To me it looks like you are just trying to pick a fight.

The perversity of nature is nowhere better demonstrated by the fact that, when exposed to the same atmosphere, bread becomes hard while crackers become soft.