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Comment The BIGGEST thing they could do... (Score 1) 502

The government could best encourage solar by streamlining regulations,

The biggest thing they could do is change the regulations on their subsidies, tax breaks, and the like to replace the requirement "installed by a licensed contractor" to "installed in conformance with the applicable electrical code, permitted and inspected where applicable". This would allow do-it-yourself installations, where done properly, to receive the same benefits as professional installations.

The price difference between a homeowner-installed and a contractor-installed system is typically larger than the subsidies. So the current programs amount to welfare for the government-approved contractors rather than the homeowners.

Comment Re: 20% slowdown isn't that bad... (Score 0) 121

No, most of vistas problems were due to drm. With the release version of vistas playing a music file would reduce reduce network bandwidth by like 80%. This was fixed in a SP but it was available weeks after 7 launched and there was no reason to run vistas.

Comment Re:Not surprising (Score 1) 283

The problem is not want to buy but can afford to buy. Tesla is at the high end of what I would consider the car pricing range if you leave out the super premium and exotics. As a result, many people who might preferentially buy one simply can't afford one.

Sure, but that's only an issue if the regulations specify Tesla levels of performance and efficiency. I'm suggesting the regs could be written with the most efficient ICE automobiles on the market *today* as the benchmark for what is feasible. These are by not necessarily fantastically expensive, nor are they hair-shirt city cars. The Mazda 3 is a four door sedan that seats five and has an engine that delivers 184 hp at 26 mpg city/35 highway; MSRP is 18.8K$. If you need a people mover you can get a seven passenger Mitsubishi minivan rated 25 city/31 highway for 23.2k$.

It's clear that the current state of the art in ICE makes affordable, practical cars that exceed the current average mileage technologically feasible. They're being sold now. If on the other hand you want high performance, e.g., to go 0-60 mph in under 4 seconds, then you're talking big bucks and exotic technology.

What manufacturers won't be able to do is slap a tarted-up body on a primitive $26,000 truck chassis, call it an SUV, and charge $50,000 for it. I'm talking about the Silverado based Suburban. I think there's a place in the world for such vehicles, but it's insane to charge an additional 24k to slap two rows of seating in place of a pickup bed; there's plenty of headroom to charge a gas guzzler tax on that one.

Comment Re:Not surprising (Score 1) 283

Indeed. But it's also true that change per se puts more stress on less innovative or agile companies, especially companies that have massive investments sunk into older technologies. No matter what rules you set it'll benefit some companies over others; rules that are very favorable to GMC would be unfavorable to Tesla and vice versa. They'll both argue that rules that benefit them the most are best for the country.

I'll say this for Tesla's position, though: the notion that it's physically impossible to build fuel efficient cars that people will want to buy is balderdash.

Comment gpg fingerprint (Score 1) 358

I'm trying to establish a chain-of-trust to the replicant project's files.

You have signed their key fingerprint, so if I can get a reliable .

I have 6781 9B34 3B2A B70D ED93 2087 2C64 64AF 2A8E 4C02 as YOUR (new) key fingerprint.

But MITM attacks could, in principle, have corrupted my downloading of that and/or could corrupt any handshake process I'm familiar with that we could reasonably accomplish over a Q&A over slashdot.

I'm in the silicon valley area. Is there any easy way to get in touch with you to confirm that fingerprint or obtain the correct one? Will you be appearing in person some time in the near future? Has it been painted as graffiti or a sign in a known place (and check periodically to be sure it's not modified)? Is there someone you know who is in the Silicon Valley area who is a public enough person to identify and who has your fingerprint and is willing to confirm it? Etc.

Comment A few bad reactions got some press. (Score 3) 193

You can become violently allergic to practically ANYTHING. (The immune system, in each individual, creates a large number of clones of cells making different antibodies by pseudo-randomly editing the genome making the antibody, kills off the ones that recognize the infant body, and amplifies the clones recognizing new stuff that appeared at the same time the body experiences damage.)

A few bad reactions to a few particular foods got a lot of attention - and overreaction. Which ones got the attention was mostly a matter of chance. So now the clueless bureaucrats are taking extreme measures against the handful of allergens that got the press, and the rest are completely off their radar.

They have zero tolerance for peanuts.
  - Do they have zero tolerance for shellfish? (Restaurants in Silicon Valley were very careful about allergies when I first moved here - because one had been informed that a customer had a shellfish allergy, fed her something containing shrimp, and she died.)
  - Do they have zero tolerance for milk? (Some milk reactions are an enzyme deficiency, but some are an allergy, which can be deadly. Also: a protein in cow's milk increases the risk of Multiple Sclerosis).
  - Do they have zero tolerance for tree nuts?
  - Do they have zero tolerance for wheat?
  - Do they have zero tolerance for honey?
  - Do they have zero tolerance for corn? (It would be convenient for ME if they did - my corn allergy isn't QUITE to full-blown anaphylactic shock level, yet, but it IS to the "projectile vomiting" and "three days of flu-like symptoms" level. But I won't try to stop others from enjoying corn.)
  - Do they have zero tolerance for eggs?
  - Do they have zero tolerance for fish?
And that's just the COMMON food allergies.

If they had zero tolerance for every food allergen that had caused anaphyliaxis, they'd have zero tolerance for FOOD.

Comment How do you stop it? (Score 2) 477

What if you just don't connect it to any network, ever?

How do you stop it from connecting? These days most laptops, at least, have WiFi, Bluetooth, BLE (really distinct from classic buetooth), and maybe other radio-networking capabilities (GSM, LTE, ZigBee, 6LoWPAN, 6LoWPAN-over-Bluettoth-4.2) built-in. Also infrared and ultrasonic-capable audio interfaces with microphones and speakers. Even with the ones that DO have a switch to turn the radios off the switch normally just tells the software not to talk on the radio - which the software is free to ignore.

(Not to mention that the remote-administration hardware/firmware built into the chips by the major manufacturers can, and does, listen on the radios these days for remote-administration commands, comes in UNDER the OS, and can't be disabled.)

Then there's the question of what good the computer is to you if it's NOT connected to a network?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Yesterday's Tomorrow is now available!

It turned into a beautiful thing. It's full of illustrations, plus photos of the authors and covers of the magazines the stories were printed in. It has the first use of the word "astronaut", the cover story of the issue of Astounding that is said to have ushered in the "golden age of science fiction, A.E. van Vogt's first published science fiction, a few other firsts, and five stories that are printed from cleaned up scans of the magazines. There are biographies of all the writers in the boo

Comment We have no idea what "superintelligent" means. (Score 4, Insightful) 240

When faced with a tricky question, one think you have to ask yourself is 'Does this question actually make any sense?' For example you could ask "Can anything get colder than absolute zero?" and the simplistic answer is "no"; but it might be better to say the question itself makes no sense, like asking "What is north of the North Pole"?

I think when we're talking about "superintelligence" it's a linguistic construct that sounds to us like it makes sense, but I don't think we have any precise idea of what we're talking about. What *exactly* do we mean when we say "superintelligent computer" -- if computers today are not already there? After all, they already work on bigger problems than we can. But as Geist notes there are diminishing returns on many problems which are inherently intractable; so there is no physical possibility of "God-like intelligence" as a result of simply making computers merely bigger and faster. In any case it's hard to conjure an existential threat out of computers that can, say, determine that two very large regular expressions match exactly the same input.

Someone who has an IQ of 150 is not 1.5x times as smart as an average person with an IQ of 100. General intelligence doesn't work that way. In fact I think IQ is a pretty unreliable way to rank people by "smartness" when you're well away from the mean -- say over 160 (i.e. four standard deviations) or so. Yes you can rank people in that range by *score*, but that ranking is meaningless. And without a meaningful way to rank two set members by some property, it makes no sense to talk about "increasing" that property.

We can imagine building an AI which is intelligent in the same way people are. Let's say it has an IQ of 100. We fiddle with it and the IQ goes up to 160. That's a clear success, so we fiddle with it some more and the IQ score goes up to 200. That's a more dubious result. Beyond that we make changes, but since we're talking about a machine built to handle questions that are beyond our grasp, we don't know whether we're making actually the machine smarter or just messing it up. This is still true if we leave the changes up to the computer itself.

So the whole issue is just "begging the question"; it's badly framed because we don't know what "God-like" or "super-" intelligence *is*. Here's I think a better framing: will we become dependent upon systems whose complexity has grown to the point where we can neither understand nor control them in any meaningful way? I think this describes the concerns about "superintelligent" computers without recourse to words we don't know the meaning of. And I think it's a real concern. In a sense we've been here before as a species. Empires need information processing to function, so before computers humanity developed bureaucracies, which are a kind of human operated information processing machine. And eventually the administration of a large empire have always lost coherence, leading to the empire falling apart. The only difference is that a complex AI system could continue to run well after human society collapsed.

Comment Re:It's coming. Watch for it.. (Score 1) 162

The overriding principle in any encounter between vehicles should be safety; after that efficiency. A cyclist should make way for a motorist to pass , but *only when doing so poses no hazard*. The biggest hazard presented by operation of any kind of vehicle is unpredictability. For a bike this is swerving in and out of a lane a car presents the greatest danger to himself and others on the road.

The correct, safe, and courteous thing to do is look for the earliest opportunity where it is safe to make enough room for the car to pass, move to the side, then signal the driver it is OK to pass. Note this doesn't mean *instantaneously* moving to the side, which might lead to an equally precipitous move *back* into the lane.

Bikes are just one of the many things you need to deal with in the city, and if the ten or fifteen seconds you're waiting to put the accelerator down is making you late for where you're going then you probably should leave a few minutes earlier, because in city driving if it's not one thing it'll be another. In any case if you look at the video the driver was not being significantly delayed by the cyclist, and even if that is so that is no excuse for driving in an unsafe manner, although in his defense he probably doesn't know how to handle the encounter with the cyclist correctly.

The cyclist of course ought to know how to handle an encounter with a car though, and for that reason it's up to the cyclist to manage an encounter with a car to the greatest degree possible. He should have more experience and a lot more situational awareness. I this case the cyclist's mistake was that he was sorta-kinda to one side in the lane, leaving enough room so the driver thought he was supposed to squeeze past him. The cyclist ought to have clearly claimed the entire lane, acknowledging the presence of the car; that way when he moves to the side it's a clear to the driver it's time to pass.

Comment Re:It's coming. Watch for it.. (Score 2) 162

The motorist in the video committed a crime -- several actually. But the cyclist committed an indiscretion by chasing down the motorist to give him a piece of his mind. That's not illegal, it's just a very bad idea.

Many years ago I heard an interviewer ask the great race driver Jackie Stewart what it takes to be a great driver. He said that a driver ought to be emotionless. I think this is very true for any kind of driving -- or cycling. Never prolong your reaction to anything that anyone does on the road beyond the split second it takes to deal with it. Let your attention move on to the next thing. Never direct it to a driver because of something he *did*. Keep focused on what's happening now.

"Once they go up, who cares where they come down? That's not my department." -- Werner von Braun