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Comment Re:BSG had it right: Safe Network = No Network (Score 1) 83 83

As long as you are not storing all the security clearance info for the united states in your smart thermostat, I think it will be fine. The chinese will be able to mess with your temperature and turn on and off your lights with impunity. They can probably also try to unlock my doors during the brief periods of time when my wife hasn't already left them unlocked.

I would love to see these devices be better secured, but I think the reason they aren't is *because* of the lack of potential harm that is possible. If people were dying because their routers and thermostats were being hacked, then I'm pretty sure the consumer demand for secure devices would drive manufacturers to producing incredibly secure devices for a price that the market would bear.

Comment An even better law (Score 1) 281 281

The law could require not to hold anything a pre-18 year old says online against them. This includes mocking and laughing at those comments, or thinking someone is stupid, or thinking they are bad person, etc. In essence, if you don't have something nice to think about those comments, then you would be required to not think about them at all and act as if the comments were never made.

This law should also be about as enforceable as the one described in the article.

Comment Re:Right to Privacy in One's Backyard? (Score 1) 1032 1032

I think he was certainly justified to disable the drone in a way that doesn't endanger anyone else. I might be more worried about some lunatic shooting his shotgun at any passing RC aircraft more than the drones themselves.

I think the answer is to fight fire with fire. If drones are cheap and ubiquitous, we need to use that to our advantage and build drones that can take out other drones safely and efficiently. Even if it doesn't work, it sounds pretty fucking fun.

Comment Re:Right to Privacy in One's Backyard? (Score 1) 1032 1032

If you're going to be taking down an aircraft, you want the stopping power that a large caliber canon provides. How heavy was this drone? Somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000 lbs?

The mig-15 and mig-17 had two 23mm cannons and one 37mm cannon. So a 40mm weapon is in the right ballpark to do the job of taking out a B-29 super fortress pretty efficiently.

Comment Re:We're a tech company... (Score 1) 245 245

Well I don't think I want the fast crazy driving of a normal taxi driver anyway. I think I prefer the normal driving of a normal person. And no I don't miss turns because the gps calls out road names and distances to the turns, and they even tell you what lane you need to be in. My wife doesn't even look at the screen, she just listens. Driving by GPS is apparently it's own skill.

And yes, data entry is getting easier and easier. And yes they do mess up sometimes, but it's not like computer experts and mathematicians don't make mistakes.

Comment Re:We're a tech company... (Score 1) 245 245

Well let's put it this way. I travel a lot. I don't know every city I go to. If I rent a car, I just use a GPS and I'm fine. If I request an uber and he is as competent with a GPS as I am, then it is satisfactory for me. I suspect most uber drivers are probably better at both using GPS and more knowledgeable about the city than I am on any given trip.

This is why we trust operating cash registers to high school drop outs. They may not know all the intricacies of arithmetic, but they can be taught how to use a cash register good enough. The whole point of the machine is to allow an mathematically inexperienced person to do it.

You need mathematicians and computer scientists to design the GPS devices and cash registers, but not to use them, and quite honestly their time is far better spent designing things anyway.

And yes if I need something done right with high accuracy I will certainly hire an expert. And that one thing is designing the thing that we will mass produce for all the laymen, saving millions of man hours of time and effort. Now everyone is more of a expert on any city than everyone without a GPS, and now everyone is better at arithmetic than everyone without a calculator. That's a pretty good version of "good enough" in my book.

We don't need people to be good at arithmetic anymore. We don't need people to memorize maps and fastest routes anymore. Just like we don;t need 80% of the population to be farmers anymore. That's progress.

Comment Or... (Score 2) 578 578

He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers — not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime. Right now, he's running away from the consequences of his actions.

Or he could be pardoned...

The "He should face the consequences of his actions" argument can be used for any crime. The request for a pardon is a specific request that someone *not* face the consequences of their actions, or more accurately, that the consequences of their actions be changed to "no longer be punished".

It's like she is not even acknowledging what is being asked for.

It's like If I go to a car dealership and ask them if they sell any other cars besides what can be seen in the showroom, and the dealer then proceeds to list all the cars in the showroom. If he only has what is in the showroom, a better answer is "I only have what is in the showroom"

If the don't intend to pardon Snowden, all they need to do is say "We don't intend to pardon Mr. Snowden". If everyone *always* had to "face the consequences of their actions", then pardons wouldn't even exist.

Comment Re:We're a tech company... (Score 1) 245 245

You are still removing the freedom that someone has of not needing an insurance in their situation. A taxi driver needs insurance because the passenger can't depend on the driver for that, but a regular driver can decide if he thinks he can deal with the risk.

In California where I live, you are forced to buy insurance, so maybe I'm just used to that idea. I am in favor of freedom, but I don't think people should have the freedom to risk other people's property and health.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to require people to either have insurance, or if they don;t want to pay for insurance, put down a deposit for the coverage amount that they can retrieve if they stop driving. If you can't put down that deposit, it's means you can't actually pay for damages in the event that you are at fault in an accident.

I have been to places where driving blindly by GPS would lead to accidents or bad neighborhoods. Also, drivers that follow GPS blindly tend to be slower or to drive worse because their eyes are on the map most of the time instead of the road.

People who don't drive with a GPS are more likely to get lost, because they can't memorize an entire city map. City knowledge is great, but I'll take google maps over city knowledge any day.

It's still good to know how calculations work because you might have mistyped that number and a basic knowledge would show that the result doesn't make sense.

Knowledge of arithmetic helps, but if I had to choose between a mathematician doing math by hand, and a highschool dropout with a calculator to add a bunch of large numbers, I'll take the high school dropout. I'll bet the mathematician would too.

My point is not that the "tool" > "tool + knowledge". That's not possible. My point is that "tool" == "(tool + knowledge) * 0.95" (i.e. the tool is doing most of the work). You get the first 95% very cheaply, and that last 5% is very expensive.

So rather than hiring a few mathematicians with a calculators to add a bunch of numbers, it probably makes more sense to hire a ton of high school dropouts with calculators (and maybe one mathematician to supervise) for the same price.

Comment Re:Just obey the law already! (Score 1) 245 245

First, somebody doing something commercially is, on the average, going to do more of it than somebody doing it for personal reasons, so there's increased risk exposure.

While this is true, it seems a better and more direct approach would be for insurance companies to consider time spent driving (and if that's hard to gauge, then mileage would probably be a good substitute). Surely the insurance companies would want to charge someone who is on the road 12 hours a day more than someone who does a couple uber jobs a week.

Second, somebody doing something commercially is more likely to have commitments, and more likely to do that something in more hazardous conditions. I'm a lot less likely to drive somewhere if I'm tired or if the weather is really bad than a commercial driver would be.

I don't think I really buy this claim. I could see it going both ways. If you are employed to drive, you might be more likely to observe legally mandatory breaks and limits on number of consecutive driving hours, etc. If you are just driving for yourself you don't have any of those restrictions. I think it depends on the type of person.

Third, the distinction makes it easier for people in their everyday lives. Lots of people here have complained about how easy it is to get a driver's license in the US, but in reality living in most places in the US without being able to drive is a handicap. This means that non-commercial drivers get a break, while commercial drivers can be expected to put in the extra effort to get their business going (like a special license).

I really don't see the point of making people's lives easier if it means that we will have unsafe drivers on the road. If someone crashes into me because they can't drive, I don't feel any better if it is a person who has worse insurance and is just living an everyday life.

The big insurance problem is when a driver doesn't get commercial insurance (meaning the "commercial" box is unchecked) and does drive commercially. That means the driver is driving in a way specifically not covered by the policy, and that is potentially a very big problem.

I buy hazard insurance for my house. If I falsely report that I have a fire extinguisher to get a lower rate (but actually don't), and my house burns down, is the insurance company still on the hook to cover my loss? I honestly don't know, but I think they still are because I think it is the insurance companies job to verify the information I give them and determine if they want to charge me a higher rate. I suspect that it is this way, because if it weren;t insurance companies would find all sorts of ways to get out of paying out for claims.

Regardless of whether hazard insurance actually works this way in various places, I think this model might work well for auto insurance as well.

The insurance companies that really care if you are specifically driving for commercial purposes can request documentation that shows your job description does not include driving, as well as something showing you are a full time employee, etc. The insurance companies that don;t really care, can just check the odometer on your car and charge you based on how much you drive regardless of what it's for.

I wouldn't have a problem with a law requiring uber (and others) to release license plates of current uber cars to insurance companies.

I don't doubt that it's a problem that some drivers are not covered. But I think the way to fix it is to make better laws, rather than simply punishing uber. We need robust laws that capture the accurately spirit of what we are trying to achieve. That way, they won't need to be rewritten every time someone comes up with a new technology, product or business model.

Comment Re:No kidding. (Score 1) 253 253

The other faction, led by Google, wanted to completely destroy this separation and make web pages into rich web apps that would ensure that you could only view the content in exactly the form that the authors intended. The main goal of this was to make it hard to distinguish content from ads and therefore make it hard to automatically remove ads.

Do you have any sources for this claim? Or is this your opinion? I'm just interested in the subject and would like to learn more.

Some people manage by the book, even though they don't know who wrote the book or even what book.