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Comment Re: Winter? (Score 1) 210 210

Do a search for google car can't drive in rain and you will see that they haven't even been tested in heavy rain because of safety concerns.

That just means they haven't gotten to that yet, not that they expect it to be very hard.

If it wasn't an issue they would already be doing it. Of course it is nowhere near the first of the issues autonomous cars have, they are quite far from what people imagine.

The guys I know working on the Google cars disagree. Oh, they have plenty to do, but it's mostly because they've set an extraordinarily high bar for themselves.

Comment Re:"We have a profound opportunity to distort." (Score 1) 61 61

It will also vary depending on the performance of the vehicles immediately ahead of, oncoming-and-passing, or crossing ahead of the street view vehicle. Especially the first: The sensor will be running in the exhaust plumes of the vehicles ahead of the street view car, so the map will be a very non-random sampling.

On the other hand, the partculate and "volatile organic compounds" sensors will produce some very interesting data. The latter is what the federal standards call "unburned hydrocarbons" when emitted from an engine, and the output of modern engines is vanishingly small. But many species of evergreen trees emit them in enormous quantity, as part of their ongoing chemical warfare against insects that eat trees. That's what the blue haze around pine-forested mountains (such as "the Smoky Mountains") is about. You can literally destroy (by extreme and long-term contamination) an automotive conformance test cell (the room where they test the car's emissions), requiring it to be torn out and rebuilt, by placing a Christmas tree in it overnight.

I expect some towns in remote, forested, mountain areas, where people move "for their health" and "for the clean, fresh, air", to get a rude awakening. B-)

But I doubt it will affect the extremely tight standards for automobile engines - except maybe to cause a flap that tightens them further. These days many engines are so clean that running then can IMPROVE the air quality in some places (such as portions of Los Angeles, with topography that created such a thermal inversion that a single settler's campfire could leave the whole valley filled with smoke for a day or more) by inhaling and burning far more hydrocarbon and particulate pollutants than they create.

Comment Re:Silicon or.... (Score 1) 166 166

Is this memory based on silicon, or something else, like GaAs or Germanium or Graphene or something else?

Given that they've released close to zero technical details on how it works, but stated that it's nonvolatile, has 1000x the endurance of NAND flash while being 1000x faster, is cheaper than DRAM, and will be available in 128GBit capacities any minute now, my guess is that it's based on magic.

Of course it's cheaper than DRAM; DRAM is expensive. TFA says it will be more expensive than NAND and cheaper than DRAM. So, it just adds another point on the continuum... the more speed and write cycles you need, the more it costs. Seems reasonable. And TFA says nothing about availability; not sure where you got that from.

There's no reason to conclude it's magic. There's also no reason to start designing new architectures around it until we see it in the real world.

Comment Re:Moor? (Score 2) 166 166

It's going to cost more than NAND flash.

But it would make a GREAT cache for spinning rust. None of the longevity problems of NAND, 1,000 times faster. Ka-chow.

For that matter, it would be a pretty good cache for NAND SSDs. I could do with most of my writes being 1000X faster.

Comment Lots of room for methodology issues. (Score 2) 293 293

The lack of accidents and crime are more likely related to a general trend in crime going down from before they started turning off the lights. ... Give me at least one full year worth of data so I can compare it to the prior year, and have half of the country keep their lights on so It can be compared to the same time frame as well.

Hear, hear!

There's lots of room for methodology errors. Here's another:

Comparing murder rates between Great Britain and the US is complicated by differences in reporting. The US bumps the murder stat when there is a body and evidence of foul play. G.B. bumps it when they have a conviction.

Do they do that with other crime? If so, stable stats in the absence of street lighting might mean that any rise in crime is compensated for by a fall in identifying, apprehending, and convicting the criminals responsible. (Indeed, turning off the lights might easily result in LOWERED crime statistics at the same time it was causing a drastic increase in actual crime.)

Comment Re:And the NSA? (Score 1) 218 218

Actually, they probably included a few big wrenches to assemble some of the rack systems, so they probably have the tools to break even 1024 bit encryption.

When you say "1024-bit encryption" you're talking about RSA, which is a completely different problem. 1024-bit RSA are too small to be used today and should be replaced.

2048-bit RSA keys, however, are roughly equivalent in security against brute force to a 112-bit symmetric key, and will be secure against anyone for quite some time. 3072-bit RSA keys are equivalent to a 128-bit symmetric key. Excascale, even yottascale, computers won't touch them.

But everyone really should be moving away from RSA anyway. ECC is better in virtually every respect. To get 128-bit security (meaning equivalency to 128-bit symmetric key), you only need a 256-bit EC key.

Comment Re:How do they fare in colder climates? (Score 1) 868 868

Range suffers a bit, not so much because the batteries are affected by cold, but because you use some juice to heat the cabin. As far as performance on snow, they're great. Their center of gravity is low, front wheel drive and the power applied to the wheels is finely controllable.

I drive my Nissan LEAF to the ski resort almost every morning during the winter.

Comment Re:Doubtful (Score 1) 868 868

What complicates this is that whether or not an electric car is cheaper depends heavily on your driving -- and whether or not an electric car is feasible depends on your driving. TOC also depends on the cost of fuel and electricity. When I ran the numbers for myself a few years ago my break-even for a Nissan LEAF was three years, with the federal and state tax credits, or eight years without. That was without taking into consideration the difference in maintenance costs since I didn't know how to estimate them. I did not, however, predict the drop in gas prices. I haven't re-run the numbers, but I expect the lower price of gasoline would push those break-even points out 2-3 years.

Comment What hospital is that? (Score 1) 54 54

I'm an anesthesiologist. I put people to sleep for cardiac surgery. My hospital does around 400-500 hearts a year... and we don't kill any dogs.

What hospital is that? I'll want to avoid it if I ever need heart surgery.

Seriously: How does your cardiac unit's mortality and morbidity rate stack up against those of hospitals where practice surgery on live animal, models, at least where the surgeon is new to the procedure, is more common?

Comment Re:And the NSA? (Score 1) 218 218

Probably none at all. If you want to break today's encryption/hashing algorithms you would probably be using ASICs if not those then FPGAs with GPU compute being your last choice.

ASICs, FPGAs and GPUs are all utterly, utterly inadequate to attack today's encryption and hashing algorithms. Unless you have not only tens of billions of dollars but also don't mind waiting millions of years.

Comment Re:And the NSA? (Score 1) 218 218

For that, you would be using custom ASIC hardware, and lots of it.

No, for that you just laugh at the guy asking you to do it, and look for ways to steal the key, rather than brute forcing it. Even if an ASIC solution gets to way beyond exascale, say to yottascale (10^6 times faster than exascale), you're still looking at on the order of a million years to recover a single 128-bit AES key, on average.

Brute force is not how you attack modern cryptosystems. More detail:

Economists state their GNP growth projections to the nearest tenth of a percentage point to prove they have a sense of humor. -- Edgar R. Fiedler