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Comment: TFA sounds like lane following? (Score 1) 53

by Namarrgon (#49427181) Attached to: Back To the Future: Autonomous Driving In 1995

From the description in the article, they built a fairly basic (by today's standards) camera-driven lane following system. It's an impressive achievement, given the highly limited hardware and early state of the research, but it sounds like a far cry from what we would call autonomous driving today,

Comment: Only $10B? (Score 4, Interesting) 370

by Namarrgon (#49420983) Attached to: How the Pentagon Wasted $10 Billion On Military Projects

Colour me entirely unsurprised. This investigative article has details of many more billions of the Pentagon's wasted taxpayer money - and the real number could be dramatically higher. We'll never know, because the Pentagon has failed to perform the required audits of its accounting ever, despite tens of billions still being sunk into modernising its infosystems.

A few random details of what we do know:
- $5.8B of inventory "lost" between 2003-2011.
- $9B of ledger adjustments simply made up to get the books to balance in 2012, up from $7.4B the previous year.
- "Probably half" of its $7B general inventory is in excess of needs, but they're still spending $700+M buying more of the same.
- Hundreds of thousands of contracts that have not been audited for completion. Solution: raise the threshold to contracts worth $250+M.

There's much worse, but you wouldn't believe it coming from a random Slashdot post. Read the article.

Comment: Re: "Drama of mental illness" (Score 2) 353

I went to a library the other day, and all the kids stared at their books the entire time, never looking at or talking to anyone around them.

At least the kids on phones were constantly chatting with friends elsewhere via texts & IM. Sounds much healthier than hiding from the world with your nose in a book..

Or maybe I should just learn to stop judging them by my own preconceived notions.

Comment: Re: Ha (Score 1) 45

by Namarrgon (#49142025) Attached to: The Believers: Behind the Rise of Neural Nets

it's just a semantic matching algorithm with a really big computer to power it

And it achieved a milestone of human-scale lookup and response that we'd never seen before. It's still an impressive feat, even as a powered-up refinement of existing techniques and just another step on the road.

As for the brain, while the complexity gets huger the deeper we look, there's an excellent chance we simply don't need to build that level of detail ourselves to get useful results. We already have useful AI with much less, and it's getting more impressive every day.

I'm guessing we'll have non-sentient AI that can do human-level tasks and interaction long before we emulate the whole brain completely, just like we have useful and cheap flight without needing to build a whole bird.

Comment: Re:Thimerosal != toxic mercury (Score 1) 580

by Namarrgon (#49070285) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities

The paper mentions studies done with metallic mercury vapour, radioactive mercuric oxide, mercury selenide, and (more relevantly) demethylated methylmercury. I imagine you should see the studies themselves for more detail.

And sure, I'm no medical professional, and Slashdot is hardly the place for sound medical advice. Any links provided are for information only. As always, see your local qualified professional before trusting anything you read on the internet, including my posts.

Comment: Re:Thimerosal != toxic mercury (Score 1) 580

by Namarrgon (#49063313) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities

You're right, of course; safer would have been a better word. Inorganic mercury can certainly still be neurotoxic in sufficient concentrations, but is less bioavailable than organic mercury compounds - and it does get excreted over time. The biological half-time of inorganic mercury compounds has been measured at between 19 and 64 days.

Comment: Thimerosal != toxic mercury (Score 4, Informative) 580

by Namarrgon (#49043171) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities

Thimerosal (thiomersal) is metabolised into ethylmercury, which is far less toxic than the methylmercury commonly found in e.g. tuna, and breaks down into safe inorganic mercury a lot quicker. This has been a source of confusion to laymen (and the Italian court), who have incorrectly compared the levels of ethylmercury from a vaccine dose against WHO health guidelines on methylmercury.

Many studies have been done on the actual toxicity of thimerosal, and the results still come up as "safe for use" at the doses involved. No link with autism has been found, despite many years of looking.

Comment: Or not - the data is not up-to-date (Score 5, Informative) 580

by Namarrgon (#49042941) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities

From the Wired article:

But Google has a simple explanation—a representative chalked it up to old data. “In 2013-2014, these two childcare facilities had immunization rates of 98 percent and 81 percent,” says a Google spokesperson, emphasizing that immunization is important to the company. “The reported numbers for the current year are lower simply because many parents have not yet provided updated immunization records. We’ve asked them all to do this, so we can update the figures.”

So it looks low right now only because the parents who have not yet updated their records are being counted as "unvaccinated".

Comment: Re: jessh (Score 1) 397

by Namarrgon (#48918615) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

- There is a snowstorm and the officials shut the city down. Everyone complains that shutting the city down was unnecessary, I mean sure we got a few feet of snow & all, but it wasn't like it was an emergency or anything, nobody even got killed or stranded..

As any sysadmin will tell you, when your job involves preventing disasters, do it too well and people will wonder why they needed you at all.

As far as we know, our computer has never had an undetected error. -- Weisert