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Comment: Re:Bottom line... (Score 1) 136

On balance, that is a GOOD THING. Exactly 100 years ago, the German Army was marching through Belgium, the Russians were preparing to invade East Prussia, and millions of men were being mobilized all over Europe. World War One was a result of a series of diplomatic blunders, secret treaties, and severe misjudgements by many leaders of the intentions of both enemies and allies. It is quite likely that it could have been avoided if better intelligence had been available. Voluntary mutual transparency would be best, but spying is still better than secrecy.

No it's not a good thing. You're making an elementary mistake of confusing the means to an end with the end itself. While it's on balance a good thing to know more about what is going on in the world rather than less (that's the end), the means to achieve this (secretly spying) is not a good thing.

Because spying is a secret way of obtaining information, the use of that information by decision makers is necessarily also secret (otherwise the secrecy would be broken and the spying activity would be undermined). But decision makers making decisions using secret information means that their decisions cannot be audited, and cannot be directly argued against in the open, by anyone who isn't privy to the secret information, eg the public. Therefore, such decision makers are all powerful, and unaccountable, ie undemocratic.

So if you think spying is a good thing, then you implicitly believe that unaccountable government is a good thing. In truth, voluntary mutual transparency would be best, but spying is equivalent to secrecy.

Comment: moving vs. stationary (Score 1) 112

by Tom (#47710335) Attached to: Ballmer Leaves Microsoft Board

"the mobile-first, cloud-first world."

This sums up the core MS issue better than anything else I've ever read. MS has never been innovative, but worse: It has never been a company that likes change. Their world-view is static and stationary. While they acknowledge the world is changing (reality can be quite persuasive), they don't see movement, they see a succession of stationary status quos.

They will now throw everything at becoming the perfect company for the picture of the world they have. And in five years look out the window and see that the world has changed - again.

It's also the reason we all hate MS - due to their still existing stranglehold on computing, they keep much of the rest of the world static with them. The damage done by preventing innovation and progress is easily ten times MS net worth.

All because some people don't understand that life is dynamic.

Comment: Re:Is this at least user-selectable? (Score 1) 397

by mark-t (#47709771) Attached to: Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit
Driving faster means that you are making your own vehicle capable of doing greater damage to anything that it hits, and producing greater injury to its occupants. I can't control how fast other people drive, but I can control how fast I drive. I do not drive slower than the speed limit unless road conditions actually warrant it, but I also don't deliberately speed just because everyone else is. If were to ever get hit in the rear by another car while travelng the speed limit, it's because they were tailing my vehicle too closely for the speed that *THEY* were traveling at, and that is *their* responsibility, not mine.

Comment: Re:Is this at least user-selectable? (Score 1) 397

by mark-t (#47709729) Attached to: Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

Actually yes... you really can get a ticket for driving too slowly. There's a sign that's not dissimilar to the one in the above picture that's not that far from where I live.

The upper speed limit for a road, however, is *NEVER* considered too slowly... even if everyone else is speeding.

Comment: Re:Safety vs Law (Score 1) 397

by mark-t (#47709713) Attached to: Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit
You could try leaving a little earlier so that you don't have to race to where you are going.... if you can't budget your own time well enough to do so, that's hardly a reason to make your vehicle less safe in the process (you might very well handle your vehicle safely, but as momentum equals mass times speed, and most cars are pretty heavy, the faster your vehicle is moving, the more dangerous it is to others, regardless of how well you can drive. Because shit happens, and the faster you are moving, the less time you will have to react to it before you've hit it).

Comment: Re:Is this at least user-selectable? (Score 1) 397

by mark-t (#47709523) Attached to: Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

More speed equals a car that is more dangerous to things that it hits. A slower speed car may present more danger to faster moving things that may hit it, but I'm not responsible for how fast other people drive, I'm responsible for how fast I drive, and the faster that *I* drive, the greater the danger that my car will pose to anything that my car might hit with the momentum that I impart upon it by choosing its speed. If someone hits my car in the rear, then they clearly were tailing too close for the speed they were traveling in the first place, and that is entirely on them... not me. You want to pass me? Feel free... Heck, if you adequately signal your intention, I'll generally even slow down a bit after you've signalled to let you back in front of me if that's the lane you want to be in.

I won't usually be in the left lane on a highway, since highway exit ramps are usually off towards the right, and I generally make an effort to get in the lane I need to be in as soon as it is safe for me to do so, and stay there until I turn off of the road.

I don't drive below the limit either, however.... at least to the same level of accuracy that the speedometer conveys my actual vehicle speed.

Comment: My assessment (Score 2) 72

by mark-t (#47709429) Attached to: Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released
3e turned the game into something resembling a video game, being quite rules heavy, lots of bean counting that gets pretty tedious to track after a while, and the dungeonmaster is relegated a role that could almost be replaced by an automaton. I never cared for the way 2e handled specialization wizards, because most of them felt way too similar to eachother to be distinctive. The problem was even worse for clerics. In part this is because they didn't really try to consider that spells in different spheres or when cast by different specialists, should actually be set at a different level, and it's possible with some rather large changes to the class system and spell lists available to the appropriate classes, a good system could be created, but I never had the energy to devote to trying to do that. The psionics system in 2e was so overpowered as to be absurd, and the psionics system in 3e and beyond just feels like another magic spell list instead of anything particularly special.

The best edition of D&D was the first edition of AD&D, and I'm sticking to it.

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