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Comment Re:Smart (Score 1) 272 272

In fact, I would bet that the reduced metal machining from not having a solid-block engine under the hood probably saves overall manufacturing emissions, once you factor it all the way back to the metal foundry, refinery, and strip mine. Only the strip mine would be comparable for rare earths that go into batteries. The refinery is much smaller due to smaller volumes and the foundry isn't really necessary at all.

You seem to have forgotten that an electric car has fairly large (metal) electric motor - which require the selfsame strip mine, foundry, and much of the machining of the 'solid block' (since it really isn't) engine.

Comment Re:Food Allergies (Score 1) 190 190

It can be.

That particular example is from an acquaintance of mine, who always just thought that apples had a strange texture. It wasn't until her teenage years that she happened to notice that her tongue turned bright red and slightly swollen (hence the funny feeling) afterward. A test confirmed the allergy.

By the time I met her in college, she avoided apples, but never worried about accidental exposure.

Comment That word does not mean what you think it does (Score 2) 272 272

Few people need them with Supercharging becoming more ubiquitous by the day.

With just shy of 500 stations across the entire US, and many major cities lacking a Supercharger station entirely or having one at best... the word "ubiquitous" does not mean what you think it does.

McDonald's is ubiquitous - Supercharger stations are rare and unusual.

Comment Re:Food Allergies (Score 2) 190 190

There are two more factors in play here, that cannot be ignored:

3) Better testing, reporting and ultimately awareness of allergies. That funny feeling you get on your tongue from eating an apple isn't normal. It's a very mild allergy. If eating peanuts make you a little nauseous, that's probably also a mild allergy. Of course, knowing that it's an allergy, you truthfully answer "yes" when an airline asks about the allergy, because you'd rather have a different snack, and that leads to...

4) Utter overreaction, because it's "better safe than sorry". Somebody on a plane says they have "a peanut allergy", and rather than put effort into identifying where that passenger is sitting and how severe their allergy is, the entire plane must be treated differently because the allergy might be severe.

Unfortunately, thanks to those two factors, the impact of allergic reactions is greatly increased, as well. There's still only a small handful of kids at a school who are allergic to peanuts, and maybe one is severe enough that he needs to be careful what he touches, but now every parent knows that, thanks to allergies, they have to pack something else as the quick-and-easy lunch. Every informed citizen knows that schools are increasingly restricting lunch options due to allergies, and everybody has a friend or coworker who has some weird allergy. The obvious conclusion is that allergies are becoming more predominant.

After that realization, humans do what humans do best: we rationalize. We may think humans are evolving to be weaker, due to advancing technology reducing the pressure to have a strong immune system. We may blame modern medicine, finding tenuous links between medicines/vaccines and allergies. We may criticize overbearing parents for minimizing their child's exposure, beyond what links have been shown. We may simply gloat over our allergy-free life.

There are several factors and mechanisms at work, but the bottom line is that perceptual changes are outpacing biological ones. That's often a recipe for knee-jerk politics.

Comment Re:Might want to reconsider paying the fine... (Score 1) 495 495

The line is the same as it usually is with other areas of the legal system: mens rea

The first two examples are pretty straightforward. It's very unlikely that Google or Bing directly intend to spy on you. The police might be out for a joy ride, wildly abusing their authority and equipment, but that's very unlikely (outside the mind of anti-government Slashdotters). The 400-foot and 100-foot drone flights lose the expense and oversight a helicopter flight would need, so it's much more likely they would be intending any wrongdoing, but a court would have to be presented evidence and make a judgement call, as is one of the courts' primary functions.

That need for impartial judgement extends down to the window case, as well. The drone may be malfunctioning, and your window is rudely getting in the way of its flight to (NaN, -NaN). No criminal intent there (except for the operation of a drone without proper control, anyway). If we forget the FCC rules against commercial use, perhaps the drone is from the window installer checking the quality of his work. Maybe the drone is police equipment, using the plain view doctrine to look for criminal activity (though that could probably be contested before a judge).

What hasn't happened with drones is the exhaustive case history clarifying what each jurisdiction holds as the standard of proof. Util that history is established by more cases like this, the line will always be in question.

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 Re:And yet, Google does censor (Score 1) 329 329

Google already censors the web according to US laws and preferences. They're constantly taking down links to child pornography. They take down links to copyrighted content. They're even taking down links to revenge porn now.

While I agree with you in general that Google is... somewhat inconsistent in where it chooses to take it's stands, your first two examples are hardly limited to the US. Pretty much everywhere we'd regard as civilized has laws against child pornography and regarding copyrighted material.

Comment Re:Many gas stations to close? (Score 1) 879 879

According to the article, many gas stations will close once 10% of cars are electric, to the point of inconvenience.

Bullshit. I drove a vehicle with one of the most damn inconvenient fuels out there: Propane. In my province, 0.2% of vehicles run on Propane. In my city are alone (population: ~500,000), there's still 4 fueling stations and I'm never more than 15 km away from one.

Apples and oranges - you have [propane] fueling stations because they piggyback on the infrastructure that distributes propane for other uses. Gasoline infrastructure is unique to gasoline powered cars - and when the demand on that infrastructure drops, eventually even still active stations will find it hard to obtain stocks as the infrastructure starts to shut down.

Comment You have no idea what you're talking about. (Score 1) 66 66

No, you won't find this on a small cruiser - but you also don't find the poor little cruiser out in the middle of the ocean by itself.

Actually, yes, you do. The Navy does a lot more than just sail around in full carrier centric battle groups.

I imagine newer boats have full on CNC machines.

They don't.

Comment Re:This just in (Score 2) 66 66

US Navy ships have machine shops on-board, because they often need to fabricate objects while at sea.

Other than carriers and large support vessels however, the machine shops are generally pretty basic and operated by relatively unskilled/inexperienced people. (They're trained in the operation of the tools, but it's not their full time job.)

3D printing is a game changer even for the Navy in that it requires essentially no skill or significant training.

Comment Have We Lost the War to Quid Pro Quo Complacency? (Score 3) 358 358

Time and time again I see news articles that seem to herald the idea that users are willing to sacrifice something like privacy for the use of software. Take Facebook for an example. You get a robust and snappy storage and website for communication at the cost of control over your life and privacy. And as I try to explain to people the tradeoffs most of them seem to be complacent. Even I myself use GMail, there's just no better mail service. Even if there were, I'd have to run the server from my home to be sure that I'm in control in it and it's truly free (by your definition). So given that much of the populace isn't even prepared technologically to harness truly free software, don't you think they have slowly accepted the trade offs and that the pros of your arguments -- though sound -- are only possibly realized by those skilled enough to edit source code or host their own mail server from their home?

Comment Companies Selling Actually Free Software? (Score 5, Interesting) 358 358

I found your piece on selling free software to be pretty logical on paper. However, has it ever worked in the wild? Can you name companies or revenues that currently operate on this idea (and I'm not talking about services or support of the software)? I simply can't come up with a widely used monetized piece of software licensed under the GNU GPL whereby the original software was sold at a single price and shipped with the source code -- free for the original purchaser to distribute by the license's clauses. Can you list any revenue generation from that? I must admit I'm not exactly enamored with paying for free software (as in your definition of free) before it's written yet I cannot think of any other way this would fairly compensate the developer.

Comment Re:If there was a criteria for safe unlocking (Score 1) 83 83

this sandwich very likely isn't as expensive as you think

Only because, like most armchair engineers, you've breezily handwaved away issues you have quite cleary no clue about.

Yet, for being the least reliable, it's a method that works very well - presuming the operator is properly trained.

No it doesn't. Not even in the slightest.

Millions (billions?) of man hours of operation of aircraft, spacecraft, submarines, etc... etc.. says just the opposite. Again, you have no fucking clue what you're talking about.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)