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+ - Robot Kills Worker at Volkswagen Factory->

The Real Dr John writes: A robot has killed a contractor at one of Volkswagen’s production plants in Germany, the automaker has said. The man died on Monday at the plant in Baunatal, about 100km (62 miles) north of Frankfurt, VW spokesman Heiko Hillwig said.

The 22-year-old was part of a team that was setting up the stationary robot when it grabbed and crushed him against a metal plate, Hillwig said.

He said initial conclusions indicate that human error was to blame, rather than a problem with the robot, which can be programmed to perform various tasks in the assembly process. He said it normally operates within a confined area at the plant, grabbing auto parts and manipulating them.

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Comment: Re:Ever clearer purpose (Score 1) 813 813

Truly sad that the American public let this happen with a trillion dollars of their hard earned money, and don't complain to their representatives and demand that the money be better spent. People talking about fixing this flying turd need to think a bit more about how few dogfights the US engages in these days. This should never have gotten to this point, but as long as Americans don't complain when their money is squandered like this, then it is just going to keep happening. Too bad our roads, bridges and schools are falling apart because there is no money for infrastructure. A trillion dollars sure would have been a big help toward giving us Medicare for all. But instead we got a flying turd that no one wants or needs.

Comment: Re:Depends (Score 5, Informative) 513 513

I have 5 machines running Windows 7 and this is not a problem, but then again I am not using encryption, just standard antivirus software. The ones with SSD boot drives are faster, but none of them has issues with running slow. In fact, they are quite responsive. The oldest one has had Windows 7 running on it for over 5 years without slowdowns or problems and the control panel says that it has 163 programs installed.

Comment: Re:root problem (Score 4, Interesting) 136 136

From a biological perspective, the major problem is that there is no low hanging fruit in terms of biological energy sources on mars, and not enough water for any type of surface colonization with methane and CO2 generating microbes. So you couldn't harvest the limited sunlight on the surface. You'd need to hope tor subsurface water where you would be limited to slow metabolizing extremophiles that eat rock and produce gas. They would not generate enough atmosphere over any kind of reasonable time frame, and then on top of that thestripping effect from the solar wind and lack of magnetic field would negate most of the outgassing that occurred from the microbes. If it could have been done by living microbes, it probably already would have by Martian microbes. If they couldn't do it, we probably can't either.

Comment: Re:Not fear but precaution (Score 0) 419 419

You got that right. Amazing that engineer's concerns over possible launch failure scenarios are not as important as 7 months of data from the surface of a dirty ice ball in space. It will be nice to get this information, but if we don't get it this time we will get it next time. When they can assemble vehicles in high orbit and launch without risk, then they can pack them with nukes.

Comment: Re:Congress has little or no awareness... (Score 5, Insightful) 106 106

Congress gave up their rights and obligations to corporate lawyers and ALEC a long time ago. Now the defense, surveillance, energy and banking industries pretty much write the laws and run the show. So one more out of control agency among so many seems pretty par for the course in "1984 as an instruction manual" America.

Comment: Re:Laws that need to be made in secret (Score 5, Insightful) 169 169

Secret "trade agreements" written by lawyers for large multinational corporations... what could be wrong with that? I see no problems with other countries suing US regulatory agencies for lost revenue when their deadly products are taken off the market in the US.

Comment: Re:Congress is a bunch of fucking retards (Score 0) 133 133

Granted, but the Democrats are the other corrupt party, with almost as much baggage, who will gladly do whatever corporations or ALEC instruct them to do, or what legislation to pass. So the Democrats have been the lesser of evils for a very long time now. Voting for the other corporate-controlled, militaristic party doesn't seem like a viable plan for getting out of this mess. But I digress, Northrop Grumman is doing what all defense contractors do, screw up and charge the government more, because they can, but at least in this one case they are not making an unneeded weapon system with huge cost overruns.

Comment: Re:Because there's so much more of it (Score 4, Interesting) 320 320

As a publishing scientist, I can completely agree with your assessment. If you have followed anything in science recently, especially the life sciences, then you'll know that we are doing things routinely that were impossible just 10 to 15 years ago, with excellent reliability and reproducibility. Take whole genome sequencing as just one of many examples. There is a lot more science being done around the world now, and a lot more bad science along with it. I don't know of studies that have looked at trends on this, but my guess is that the percentage of bad science probably has not changed too much. But countries like China have entered basic research in a big way, and that means lots more scientists working at more projects. However, the squeeze on scientific funding in places like the US, which has become increasingly difficult to obtain even for very worthwhile projects, has certainly increased pressure on scientists, with negative results in terms of quality and reliability.

Comment: Re:Unfair comparison (Score 1) 447 447

If you doubt the effectiveness of placebos then you have not read anything from the pharmacology literature for the last 50 years. Antidepressants and other mood altering drugs are subject to significant placebo effects, and even surgical placebo effects have been well documented. Yes, it is psychosomatic, but how people feel after a treatment is undeniable. There is probably a large component of reduced stress after going through a treatment the person thinks is going to help. Less cortisol is released, and symptoms subside.

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.