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Comment: Re:Urban legend? (Score 1) 247

by TWX (#48909559) Attached to: Plan C: The Cold War Plan Which Would Have Brought the US Under Martial Law
I don't know, both the French and the Germans attempted to conquer a frozen Russia/Soviet Union and ultimately failed. the Soviet Union attempted to conquer an even more frozen Finland and failed. From the climate perspective it wouldn't be terribly easy to invade and conquer as a lot of armchair chickenhawks like to think.

And even if Canada were successfully invaded and occupied, and if somehow the British Crown didn't object and rally all of the other Commonwealth Realms to make war, there's the issue of the shared language and similar cultures making it extremely easy for Canadians to blend-in to commit acts of insurgency inside of the United States. Think of the issues that the UK had with Irish insurgency during The Troubles, where appearances were similar even though accents were vastly different, and now dampen down how much difference can be quickly profiled through speech, and one would have a really big problem.

Don't get me wrong, the United States could probably still do it, but it wouldn't be a simple walk in the park either.

Comment: Re:Bott's dots (Score 1) 78

by TWX (#48909497) Attached to: Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars

That way, a vehicle telling cars to "slam brakes, veer hard left" while everything else around is giving an "all clear" can be ignored or weighted negatively (thank SpamAssassin), with other vehicles passing the "dude, this car over here is on crack; ignore it" messages to others around.

That may not work out well; if a car has declared an emergency then it's more likely to be an actual emergency than it is erroneous crap, and that may be the first or only car to discover that it's an emergency. You can't discard its input solely based on its singularity. It's not like e-mail where you have time to sift, or where your e-mail server may be processing mail for thousands of accounts and the pattern-matching between received messages for multiple accounts at the same time will allow one to find things. You have to react to the first declaration of emergency or else you yourself may be involved in that emergency.

Comment: Re:Terrible names (Score 1) 335

by TWX (#48909475) Attached to: Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops
"Start" is at least short. On my Linux box at work, I renamed the XFCE "Applications Menu" to "Xfce" so that it wouldn't take up unnecessary space on the panel.

I wish they would have named it something like "Fn Menu" for Function Menu- when I did phone support it would have been fun telling users to go to the effin' menu on the bottom left corner of the screen...

Comment: Predatory policing (Score 3, Interesting) 291

by TWX (#48909445) Attached to: Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App
When I was in my late teens I moved out of my parents' house and lived in a city whose police felt predatory, somewhat during the day, but especially after dark. Simple traffic stops would result in at least two units showing up half the time, and at night they were constantly racing around on the main streets, but never could be found in the actual neighborhoods. I've never been into drugs, never driven drunk, and at the time my vehicle was only six years old and in fairly good repair, but it felt like the police were actively looking for an excuse to pull me over. Literally within five miles were three other cities, and I never felt anywhere near as uncomfortable in those cities than I did in the one I lived in at the time.

I now live one city over, and there's a major state university here, but even with all of the youth hijinks and the college dropout slums a few miles from the school it still doesn't feel as predatory. Only time I was pulled over in this city I deserved it, and the officer was professional and civil even if he was firm in issuing me a citation. When pulled over in the previous city it always felt like the officers were just looking for excuses to get tough.

Comment: Re:Terrible names (Score 2) 335

by TWX (#48907257) Attached to: Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops
The choice of name of the Start button was poor, but the idea that a single button on one corner of the screen would give the user access to nearly every kind of function on the computer was not a bad one. Apple did it with the Apple menu. When the Start Menu was created, Microsoft's Windows Logo was not obviously a window, it was so stylized, so simply putting the icon by itself on the button wouldn't have helped those doing tech support explain to users how to get to that menu.

Comment: Re:Wow .... (Score 1) 148

by TWX (#48907157) Attached to: Scientists Determine New Way To Untangle Proteins By Unboiling an Egg
Heh. It's actually fairly common to cook something one way until it's mostly done, then finish it another way so that it takes on the character of that second way of cooking. It can be a bit difficult to cook fowl on a grille without drying it out, so it's often baked and then finished in the grille to change the characteristics of the skin and to put the marks on.

Sounds like the grille at the KFC wasn't hot, so all you got was the carbon-buildup rubbed on to the outside of the already-cooked meat.

Comment: Re:Bott's dots (Score 1) 78

by TWX (#48907109) Attached to: Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars
Yeah, the reflective raised markers are an evolution of the Botts design if I remember correctly. The actual round dots are pretty much obsolete now.

I'm actually not so worried about terrorism as I am people attempting to give themselves priority. In some cities there are already problems with non-emergency vehicles activating the sensors that change the traffic lights so that emergency vehicles get the right-of-way, I don't want people tricking self-driving cars into merging right or waiting. That's a matter of hacking your own car, not even theirs. I'm also worried about such means being used as vectors for car theft- root a car in-motion that you later want to steal, then find it after the driver has parked it and make it self-drive away to a collection point. Get a whole bunch of cars to meet there, load them on a trailer, then disable them so they don't report position and drive them away.

Comment: Re:Bott's dots (Score 1) 78

by TWX (#48907073) Attached to: Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars
Yeah, they don't use the above-pavement versions in the northeast and other cold places, but a similar system could be packaged multiple different ways, including plow-friendly ones. It'd be harder to replace them or rearrange them, but since they have to cut grooves into the asphalt for the embedded ones anyway then it still wouldn't be harder to install them than the status-quo anyway.

I've been thinking about this for a long time. Early on I thought about embedding a cable in the road in the center of the lane for the cars to follow or in-between lanes, but those aren't easy to modify. using the lane markers themselves as ways to transmit information seems a lot more practical. One could even build similar RFID tech into portable construction barriers, with codes to override what's picked up from the normal lane markers when the area is rearranged for road construction. Could also create codes for emergency responders for traffic cones kept in police cars and fire trucks, so that they can route traffic around with an even higher priority than the construction ones.

Comment: Re:Terrible names (Score 1) 335

by TWX (#48906609) Attached to: Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops
I blame the newest distributions and projects. Older project, when the UNIX mentality was still in force, seemed to be named, to an extent, based on what the thing did. Early Linux distributions modeled themselves on commercial UNIX and followed suit for a long time. Also for a long time, code-names for distributions (like Lenny, Squeeze, Sid, etc) were short and simple, and not really necessary to know when there were other terms (unstable, testing, stable) to be used too.

Somehow the use of the code-name as something much more important has happened though, and I'm not entirely sure why. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense and just confuses the point. To an extent I blame Ubuntu, they seem to be pretty bad with it, but a lot of other projects and distros are suffering the same thing.

Comment: Re:Still sounds like early flight... (Score 3, Interesting) 78

by TWX (#48906461) Attached to: Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars
Inevitably someone will invent new Bott's dots that install like the old ones that can be sighted by the lane tracking system, and contain directional flow, speed, lane number, and other information that can be passively interrogated by RFID, and when they need to be changed, they can be scraped up like existing ones are. Might not be good for urban city streets, but should be good for highways and freeways, and combined with object detection and tracking and a computer's ability to predict speed and direction changes of other cars and of objects, there shouldn't be much of a need for more than that.

I think it's a mistake for cars to communicate with each other. I don't trust programmers to write bug-free and exploit-free software to run on those cars, and I don't want someone's car lying about its speed or other characteristics such that it may cause me to crash.

Fundamentally, there may be no basis for anything.