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Comment How cheap is cheap? What needs to be done? (Score 1) 508

So, how cheap is cheap? $50? $100? $200? Does it need to be a laptop? Portable?

Is the goal to have something that can do e-mail, web browsing, and writing papers?

I noted the suggestion of linux. Are you prepared to teach linux? Android has it's "mostly single tasking" thing going on, and it's cranky memory management, so I'm not so happy with android as a desktop environment.

As has been suggested, the HP Stream 11's are pretty good. They're a very capable laptop. They're available at Walmart and are about $200.

Going much cheaper sends you into some really strange territory. Annoyingly the Pi-Top is $300... Which is a lot less powerful than a Stream11. If android is vaguely OK, there's a ton of android based tablets and laptop-ish things on the market.

Comment Databases, and the associated abuse? (Score 1) 236

This bothers me in a bunch of ways.

First, is implementation.

I can think of two ways of doing this. First is local radio, or light based communications. All automated cars broadcast, and then a reciever determines who's where, so the officer can direct a specific machine to stop. Then that box has to transmit the right code to casue a car to stop. I can not see how that protocol will not be hacked and abused in weeks, if not hours of implementation. That's it's own little version of hades. If "anyone" can stop your car, you won't let ANYONE stop your car.

The second method, is with a database. Each automated car, sends it's location to a central database at all times. When a police officer wants to pull you over, he can scan the database and find your car, and tell it to do something. This method seems like it would be reliable. But then we have the database problem.

That database could be stolen. Now someone can track you, and knowing databases, now knows where your car has been for X number of days, weeks, or months.

Second, the police now know where you are at all times. Well, that's someone, but it's supposed to be someone safe. Third, now there's a database to sell, and a command that can be issued that stops your car. The slope gets VERY steep here... so lets tread carefully.

Lets say you have 50 parking tickets. The private agency in Chicago that covers parking tickets wants to boot your car. They pay the Chicago PD to have access to that database, and issue the signal to boot your car. ... anywhere. Lets say you're in ohio when they do their processing run, well you could be stuck there.

The same goes for registration. Lets say the state sees your registration expire, they'll tell your car that it can't drive legally. So it wont' drive. Sounds fine, until you look at the realities of where you can drive an unregistered car. Or transport it. GPS isn't accurate enough, property lines aren't drwan well enough, and many other factors would lead to disabled cars in legal places.

Finally, what if your car gets registered wrong? Someone else's car is the target of disablement, and instead your car gets disabled.

Sure, all of these things could probally be addressed with lots of time and paperwork, but nobody is going to pay me back or my time spent fixing their errors.

Comment This has been done before. (Score 2) 117

And they operated into the 1970's.

London is going to be a hard nut to crack, ti's already got several levels of tunnels under the city.

There are some real issues with underground tunnels, especially ones to small to be traversed by people. People are "universal power tools" and can get in there and fix unusual problems. If a rail car the size of a trash can gets stuck in a tunnel you can send a man down.. figuruing out how to get it out is going to be a real trial.

Comment Re:Because .. (Score 1) 687

No.. not really... Through cracking we typically get something like 55 gallons of gasoline from a single barrel of oil. yes, we end up with MORE volume than we start with. Gasoline is a lighter fraction, and we can make the heavier molucules fall apart and reform as gasoline.

"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere." -- Dr. Seuss