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Comment: Re:THIS will drive the adoption of the auto-driver (Score 1) 182

by DerekLyons (#49629619) Attached to: Self-Driving Big Rigs Become a Reality

*Certainly* the autodriver will not be able to "handle" a rig in the context of a terminal; there are just too bloody many variables to see that happening soon. But for the bulk of long-haul miles? I can certainly see a sort of 'local pilotage' system developing where trucks are driven by a human to a terminal on the outskirts of a metro area. From that point the human gets out and the autodriver takes it to a similar terminal at the destination city, where a local 'pilot' gets in and handles the truck from there.

In other words - reinventing a less efficient version of the railroad.

Comment: Re:Last time one was used? (Score 1) 52

by DerekLyons (#49627235) Attached to: SpaceX Testing Passenger Escape System Tomorrow

I suppose its not a bad thing to have just in case but I don't see the reasoning behind the fixation on it as a design requirement and their ranting about its "importance" in press releases. In almost 300 manned space launches a Launch Escape system has only been of verifiable use in a single incident(Soyuz T-10-1).

My wife and I have owned vehicles with airbags for nearly twenty years. By your logic, we could have gotten rid of them since we never needed them.

Until a week ago.

Comment: Re:Last time one was used? (Score 1) 52

by DerekLyons (#49627215) Attached to: SpaceX Testing Passenger Escape System Tomorrow

Also, SpaceX has done something rather clever. The abort propellent and engines will eventually be used for propulsive landings instead of coming down under canopy. So their abort system isn't a total waste.

Clever in some respects - but not without risks and drawbacks. (As compared to the toss-it-unused style generally in use otherwise.) Since the spacecraft is (intended to be) re-useable up to ten time "without significant refurbishment", all limited life components (notably the seals) have to last that long. Since it's carried the whole flight, the system has to survive all flight phases. And most notably, it increases the orbited, suspended, and landed weights.

Another consideration is that "traditional" (solid fueled tractor escape motors) were passively stable, while Super Draco very likely is not. "Traditional" systems could also be easily designed to passively steer the vehicle clear of the boosters trajectory, while Super Draco will require active throttling.

I'm not saying anything against the system, only that the cleverness comes with costs that aren't going to be obvious to the untrained eye.

Comment: Re:Is this Google's fault? (Score 4, Insightful) 352

by amicusNYCL (#49625053) Attached to: Google Can't Ignore the Android Update Problem Any Longer

Seriously. This is the only sentence in TFS that matters:

The author also says OEMs and carriers can no longer be trusted to handle operating system updates, because they've proven themselves quite incapable of doing so in a reasonable manner.

This has nothing to do with Google. Maybe Google is at fault for not making updates mandatory, but that would have been a completely different set of issues.

Comment: Re:so if they had been aboveboard about ownership. (Score 1) 67

The fact that they seeded the files did raise questions about distribution and permission (on comment sites like this one, anyway), but that issue was never adjudicated. The lawyer attacking Prenda (Morgan Pietz) showed evidence that the seeder's IP address was linked to the offices of Prenda Law (the law firm nominally representing the holding company), which raised questions as to why the attorneys representing the plaintiff were distributing the plaintiff's material (they were in fact the same people, if different legal entities - although, again, never conclusively proven). The various Prenda and holding company stakeholders eventually invoked their fifth amendment rights to not incriminate themselves, which raised further eyebrows since to that point it was not a criminal proceeding against them. There were several hearings where they were all ordered to appear, but they were never all in the same place and seemed to blame whoever wasn't there, while never actually admitting that any wrongdoing had taken place.

I'm not positive on your other question, I believe that an attorney is not ethically allowed to represent himself if he is also the beneficiary of the settlement, so they would have needed to hire a different attorney to represent them. Being attorneys themselves, they figured they would skip that step and just conceal their relationship to the court (note: courts do not appreciate this). That's what I think, anyway, it seems like if they were just able to say that they own the copyrights and be done with it then they would have done that, so I think the reason they didn't is to avoid paying fees to another attorney when they thought they could do the job themselves.

Comment: Re:Still not understanding... (Score 4, Insightful) 67

but how exactly is this different than extorting payments for those?

From what I remember about what happened 2 years ago, their scheme went something like this:

1. Buy copyrights to porn movies using a company controlled by them (the attorneys) but nominally owned by a handyman/friend of one the attorneys, whose signature was forged on the company documents.
2. Release those movies on torrent sites.
3. Track who (which IP addresses) were downloading them.
4. Sue people on behalf of the holding company from step 1.
5. Gather spurious evidence but secure settlement payment on threat of taking the people to court and making a public assertion that they downloaded the porn movies.

One major problem with this scheme is that the lawyers doing the suing are also the people who stand to make monetary gain on the settlements, but this relationship was never disclosed or even really proven, despite a lot of circumstantial evidence. The lawyers took great pains to conceal the fact that they would personally receive the settlement money, that it was ultimately being paid to them and not some random holding company. The court wasn't able to prove that they were behind the holding company, and when pressed the lawyers could not adequately explain the relationships between the various lawyers, Prenda Law, the holding companies, the guy who owns the holding company on paper, etc. Put simply, it was a giant fraud scheme to release their own copyrighted movies on torrent sites and then sue people allegedly downloading them, while concealing the fact that the lawyers were being directly enriched by the settlement payments.

Comment: Re: The question is (Score 1) 395

by amicusNYCL (#49622227) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

This discussion is about the merits of the experiments done on the existing EM drive. Maybe we can wait for the conclusion of those experiments, and an explanation about how it works, before breaking out infinite hypotheticals about what may or may not happen after that. It reminds me of all of the "mock NFL draft" predictions that people spend so much time writing about. Instead of trying to guess what may or may not happen, and then talking about what those things may or may not mean, why not just wait and see what actually happens, and THEN talk about what the actual results actually mean?

Parts that positively cannot be assembled in improper order will be.