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Comment Too Little Too Late (Score 1) 77

I think they are way off the mark as to the nature of the problem they are trying to solve as well as the timing of it. I believe there is a good possibility that we will have not thousands or tens of thousands, but millions of smaller drones in the air by 2020. And, yes, they will be autonomous or semi-autonomous. Putting Google cars on the road is harder than making drones autonomous.

The key to understanding here is that these are just robots. As we move further into the age of personal robotics, there will be many many tasks that a robot that can fly will be better able to do for us than a robot that is limited to walking or rolling around. Many of these devices are also very small. Once they become quieter and smart enough to auto-fly through hallways and crowds, I see no reason why these devices wouldn't go everywhere we go. I foresee them flying through doors into buildings, possibly switching into and out of rolling modes and delivering items right to a person, not just to a building. Or, to get away from the delivery theme, they could be flying around picking up trash, washing windows, getting leaves off of roofs, trimming trees, stringing poles so that nobody has to climb up them, changing lights on towers, flying the rounds of a security guard (even through halls),,, who knows, disposable cameras might even have the ability to sprout a prop, fly off 15 feet, take your picture, come back and land on your hand (there was a bracelet that did something like this on YouTube recently). It's all moving fast enough now that none of this is unrealistic.

So, given that it would take the government 15-20 years to deploy a system, it will be way too late. The need, the explosion of devices, will come from the home-based, personal uses, not commercial businesses, and it will come in the next few years. I've already seen devices that automatically launch, perform a chore, dock, and recharge. It's one of the next big things, and it is way closer than people think. If companies don't do it for us, we're going to do it ourselves.

These systems are going to have to control their traffic the same way people do, with eyes, ears, and some rules of the road. They are going to be interacting and intermingling directly with us, not just each other. Even thinking about centralized control is just a way to subsidize some scientist who would do better economically spending his time designing these devices himself instead of telling others how to control them. We're not waiting for his advice.

Comment Is it mostly a pressure thing? (Score 1) 447

The wedding data is very interesting in that eloping scored really bad, having a wedding with 200+ people really good, how much you spend on wedding bad... but since a 200+ person wedding is going to be expensive, perhaps it's good if the bride's parent's pay as opposed to the couple paying for it themselves? Anyway, these factors and the going to church factor could all be interpreted as peer pressure factors. A big wedding paid for by the parents would provide pressure both from the parents and the 200+ people who attended.

In addition, I know from a few marital situations that I have observed that having a lot of money doesn't just ease life together, it also acts as it's own pressure. At least one and likely both partners will drop in financial status in the event of divorce unless they find other partners prior to the divorce.

The question this brings up for me is whether this says good things or bad things. There is a benefit if pressure keeps a relationship together through a rough time if the relationship becomes better later. But it is a bad thing if pressure keeps a relationship together that is (often mutually) destructive.

What I'd really like to see is a study that takes the word "marriage" out of the equation, looks at romantic partnerships in general, looks at both the length and the healthiness of the relationship, and looks at the factors that got them there. From that, you could perhaps start to discover what conditions best support healthy, stable relationships which I do believe are a benefit to both those involved and society and thus worthy of pursuit.

Comment Whoever injected the senseless fear element... (Score 1, Redundant) 107

into this announcement needs to be drummed out of the industry. Whether it was the researcher or someone along the announcement chain that introduced the mention of transmitting a virus in order to (I have to assume) increase the viewership of the announcement, it is a tactic that does far more harm to science than the reward justifies. Science the world over is being limited far too often by unreasoned fear. Let us at the least not encourage it. But let us also go further than that and make sure that people who try to take advantage of this fear for profit receive no further support from the true science community.

Comment It is time to embrace the extended mind (Score 1) 95

These tests are no longer testing the most valuable skills of our students. Instead of making them take tests with both hands tied behind their backs, tests should be embracing the internet. It isn't cheating as long as you're not simply looking up the answers at a site that has cracked the test in some way. The best scientists, engineers, researchers, developers, etc. recognize what tasks need to be performed largely on their own and then perform them as efficiently and accurately as possible without breaking the law. The ability to ask the right questions of the right sites on the internet and recognize the best answer without being led down to many rabbit trails is critical to many if not most non physical disciplines today. In others, the ability to create scripts or programs to solve minor problems quickly might be critical. The internet and programming are tools for extending our minds that need to be embraced during years when the mind is still very flexible in order for the individual to gain maximum advantage. Eventually, these will be integrated into our mind to the point that turning them off will cause major disorientation at the least.

The ideal tests for students should use all of the tools that they are being prepared to use after school. If they aren't being prepared to use the internet and to extend their problem solving skills with at least simple scripts, then you should find them a new school. The tests of course should be much harder because the tools we have for extending ourselves today are much better. We need to embrace and institutionalize the progress we've made.

Comment Re:A tepid defence (Score 1) 184

Actually, I think we might. The smaller outfits within America can't compete either. And the reasons behind that also explain (IMO) why this regulation won't work. The movie companies do not won't to deal with dozens of media content providers. It takes companies the size of Netflix to make the deals that make the business possible. Without these large companies, the vacuum would not be filled by many small companies. Instead the business simply either would not exist or it would only be direct from the movie companies.

Submission + - Intel builds 'world's smallest' 3G modem (

stephendavion writes: Intel has unveiled a 3G modem not much bigger than a UK penny or US one-cent coin, with the aim of embedding it in connected devices around the home. The company says the XMM 6255, with an area of about 300 sq mm, is the world's smallest modem. The standalone chip could be used in wearable tech, as well as security devices such as "smart" smoke alarms. It is built to protect against overheating, and withstand tough conditions. The modem also features an embedded power supply.

Comment So,Would Tiananmen Square Photos Be Illegal Today? (Score 2) 391

In June of 1989, similarly horrible and grotesque videos and pictures made their way out of the Tiananmen Square massacre, including a graphic shot of the crushed remains of the head of a student run over by a tank. The massacre was unquestionably a terrorist act designed to regain control of the people through their fears by the creation of maximum horror. The government wanted the message to get out. But does anyone really believe it worked for them in the end? Have we sunk so low that we would make the dissemination of such truths illegal today?

ISIL has reached the status of a government. Governments don't have to be recognized to "be". For now, they govern a territory and its people. Like all of the videos of terrorist government atrocities, this video does not generate sympathy for that government. Instead, it builds anger against it.

Furthermore, this man was a journalist. What do you think he would want? Perhaps for the horror of his death to cause change? I'm not a journalist and I know that I'd want the world to see.

Comment What other tech gives a choice? (Score 1) 383

Passwords don't simply show your identity. Making the choice to enter them also shows your permission. Sure they can be snooped, but they can't be easily extracted against your will. All biometric based keys are available with a warrant. The password is the only one that I know of that I have any chance of hiding. By carefully employing different passwords for every site with the aid of KeePass or a similar tool and changing them all periodically (would be nice if KeePass automated this) and guarding KeePass with the strongest encryption, a very strong password, and another key, I've got a better chance of controlling access to my data (which I consider little different from my mind) than with any other approach I've heard of.

Pascal is a language for children wanting to be naughty. -- Dr. Kasi Ananthanarayanan