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Comment: Fukushima and Chernobyl not worse case failures (Score 2) 84

In Japan, they found at one point that there was a possibility of it *seriously* going to hell in a hand basket.

If the wind had been really wrong, it would have put serious fallout over Tokyo; which would have been really, really, really bad. While few people would have died, the economic disruption would have been (without any hyperbole) unbelievably stupendous.

http://world.time.com/2012/02/...

You can tell me all you want that this kind of accident can never happen, but I just don't believe it. We have no reason to think that Chernobyl or Fukushima were the worse cases, nor that these kinds of failures cannot happen again worse.

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:This is why markets are not a good model for go (Score 5, Informative) 121

by Cyberdyne (#49313937) Attached to: FTC's Internal Memo On Google Teaches Companies a Terrible Lesson

The government should not be constrained by market assumptions, such as that resources are limited because of efficient allocation.

That's not a "market assumption", it's plain old reality: resources are finite, so you need priorities. If a cop pulls someone over for speeding, then sees an armed robbery in progress, or a paramedic is treating someone's sprained ankle then a bystander has a heart attack, do you want them to stick to what they were doing and reject the notion of priorities as being a "market assumption"? I'd rather they focus their efforts on the higher priority, because that gives the best outcomes.

In this case, the FTC had more pressing enforcement jobs, like telemarketing scams, the fight with cellphone companies over ripoff premium services ... they felt putting their resources there made more sense than fighting Google over the order of search results, and I'm not at all sure they were wrong about that.

By coincidence, I was discussing law enforcement priorities at work on Friday (we teach computer forensics for law enforcement, among other things); unlike the world of CSI, real law enforcement doesn't go spending days testing out an obscure theory, or digging into every possible detail of each case: they do enough work on a case to pass it to the next stage, then get on with the next case. No "market" - there just aren't an unlimited number of hours in each forensic caseworker's day.

Comment: Re:Pointing out the stark, bleeding obvious... (Score 1) 247

We already are starting to cut CO2 emissions. The installation of wind power is doubling every 1-3 years. Already it's a few percent of total energy per year, imagine how big it will be in ten years. The emissions didn't grow this year, that's probably mostly wind power, next year, emissions will probably start to come down.

So no, I don't necessarily think it will take international commitments, it will take people not blocking wind power. Wind is about the cheapest source of energy there is, that can be very widely deployed, allowing for the negative effects of fossil fuel emissions on human health, and the actual real-world medical costs of that.

When some people discover the truth, they just can't understand why everybody isn't eager to hear it.

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