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Comment: Re:Not yet statistically significant (Score 1) 408

Well it is interesting in so far as knowing when the companies think they need to have human operators still.

Actually, having a licensed human operator ready to take over is a legal precondition for putting an autonomous car on the road (in all US states where they're legal at all).

Comment: Re:Well done! (Score 1) 540

by cduffy (#49598791) Attached to: George Lucas Building Low-Income Housing Next Door To Millionaires

Prepare for another culture-shock, my dear passport-less American. Tokyo has competing privately-owned subway lines. Japan's wonderful highspeed trains are privately-owned too.

Which shock would this be, exactly? Major American cities used to have competing privately-owned commuter rail lines as well -- mostly torn down in the first half of the 1900s in favor of the highway model. This is by no means a surprise to anyone who knows even local transportation history.

If a government is doing it, it can not be smart...

You lecture me about fallacies, and then pull out that?! I find it hard to believe that you're actually interested in making a good-faith attempt at a meeting of the minds.

Comment: Re:Damn... (Score 1) 494

by cduffy (#49556817) Attached to: Woman Behind Pakistan's First Hackathon, Sabeen Mahmud, Shot Dead

(lest see, how liberals who like to say that "you have rights for your opinion" and then mumble "but only, if we agree" assholes are going to react :)

Since you asked -- having a right to an opinion doesn't mean having a right to be protected from social consequences from your actions taken in airing that opinion.

Which is to say -- you're allowed to be an ass in public. Other people are allowed to be an ass to you in public as well; such is the market of public ideas. Mistaking people who don't want to be friends with you / listen to you / do business with you in response to your positions with people who would censor you (that is, invoke government action in response to your speech or act to make make that speech illegal) is a mistake.

You might ponder what it means that you believe in what you're saying enough to shout it from the world only from a position of anonymity (or, in Cito's case, pseudonymity). If there are people you respect for holding their convictions, did they do likewise?

Comment: Re:Well done! (Score 1) 540

by cduffy (#49525767) Attached to: George Lucas Building Low-Income Housing Next Door To Millionaires

So, in addition to "affordable" housing, in your ideal world, the poor will also be provided (by someone) with "affordable" Priuses?

Perhaps you've heard of this thing called "transit"?

Which, when done right, gets used by everyone, not just the poor. It was not so long ago a culture shock for me, as a Texan, when my (New-York-based) CEO would take the subway; now, as a transplant to Chicago, I'm very much happier not owning a car at all; my work is a 10-minute walk (hooray for urban high-rise living!), Costco a 20-minute bike ride (hooray for cargo bikes!), my more distant friends in town (or the corporate office, if I need to visit it for some reason) a $2.50, 40-minute train ride, during which my time is free to read, make notes, or otherwise do as I please.

Back to point -- no, setting up your urban environment in such a way that the poor need to drive expensive-to-maintain, expensive-to-fuel vehicles a long distance is not a necessity. Transit systems are subsidized at a higher rate than roads, but not by as much as you might think -- use taxes on highways are under 50% of their costs -- and adding capacity to a roadway system in an urban environment is prohibitively expensive -- particularly compared to adding capacity to preexisting urban rail. And if you look at the economic payoff from that subsidy -- by way of increasing folks' access to jobs -- it's an extremely clear win.

Smart urban planning -- to avoid the need for commutes in the first place by making housing as dense, and nearby to shopping and employment, as possible -- is, of course, even better.

(Back on the "expensive" part of long commutes -- you might find The True Cost of Commuting a worthwhile read, in terms of putting some actual numbers into play).

Comment: Re:Animal House (Score 1) 765

What kind of "females" are you hanging out with? Elderly members of the British Royal Family?

No one is approaching a random group of stranger "females" to tell dick jokes. There just happens to exist somewhere, in public, a place with lot of dick jokes. People going in there, men or women, are idiots if they think it's supposed to make them feel uncomfortable. If it does make them feel uncomfortable anyway, well, tough luck! The world is full of things that would make us uncomfortable if we sought them out. Hope you never have to deal with someone from another culture, if you can't even handle some crude humor from your own.

Comment: Re:LARD from Duke Nukem (Score 1) 160

by cduffy (#49263765) Attached to: LAPD Police Claim Helicopters Stop Crimes Before They Happen

New York is another. Ultra-high-density communities may not be common in the US -- but the ones that do are exist are, well, kinda' a big deal.

But -- oh, yeah! -- we were talking about city planning as relates to lower-income folks. And the thing is, even though you and I might consider it impossible to get to work, buy groceries, &c. in much of the country without a car, there are still people doing that by necessity. My brother-in-law used to take his bicycle on the bus and sleep on a bench until his shift started, because the bus routes he needed shut down long before his shift started. When city planning is done in a way that assumes everyone is going to have a car, what you get is people left behind by the system. If you're lucky, they can manage to hold down jobs anyhow -- if you aren't, you have more folks who need safety-net features much more expensive than public transportation.

Comment: Re:LARD from Duke Nukem (Score 1) 160

by cduffy (#49261125) Attached to: LAPD Police Claim Helicopters Stop Crimes Before They Happen

Don't know why I want to feed the troll -- and explicitly not accepting the assertions I don't challenge here, but...

You talk about "traffic flow" -- but think about this for a minute. You're proposing to take a very high-population, dense chunk of city -- plugged into the rest of that city's transportation network -- and move it out into the middle of nowhere.

Have you looked at the level of car ownership in high-density areas recently -- particularly in lower-income high-density areas? How exactly do you expect folks to get to work or school when they're suddenly no longer in an area with transit access? (And without that, how do you expect folks to work, or go to school to improve their circumstances? Would you rather be buying the same number of heads worth of homeless shelter, and getting no tax base at all)?

Hell. I'm in the rich part (financial district) of downtown Chicago, and less than half my neighbors if that own cars if that; being in walking distance from work (and directly next to a stop for every single L line) is why people pay to live in the Loop. Owning a vehicle is expensive in a city -- heck, parking wherever you're going to is expensive in and of itself, as is having a place to park that vehicle at home (in my building, a parking spot costs about $30k to buy, or rents for upward of $200/mo). You can't take folks who can't afford decent housing unassisted, move them away from their jobs, and expect them all to be able to buy, maintain and fuel vehicles -- and park those vehicles near their jobs in the city -- when they were only barely making ends meet beforehand. It's insane.

Comment: Re:Quality vs Quantity (Score 2) 192

by Vintermann (#49234969) Attached to: Steam On Linux Now Has Over a Thousand Games Available

Sadly, 985 of them suck ass, which makes this a meaningless statistic.

No, the statistics are still valuable, unless you make an argument that Windows has a higher percentage of shitty games. Absent any other information, it's reasonable to assume the percentage of awful games are similar on all platforms.

(But in fact, I think that the existence of more shovelware-friendly middleware on Windows means Windows has a higher percentage of bad games).


El Nino Has Finally Arrived, Far Weaker Than Predicted 235

Posted by timothy
from the weather-is-hard dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The periodic warm weather pattern called El Niño has finally arrived in the mid-equatorial Pacific Ocean, more than a year late and far weaker than predicted by scientists. "The announcement comes a year after forecasters first predicted that a major El Niño could be in the works. At the time, NOAA predicted a 50% chance that an El Niño could develop in the latter half of 2014. The agency also said the wind patterns that were driving water east across the Pacific were similar to those that occurred in the months leading up to the epic El Niño of 1997, which caught scientists by surprise and contributed to flooding, droughts and fires across multiple continents.

In the end, last year's forecasts came up short, in part because the winds that were driving the system petered out. Researchers, who have been working to improve their forecasting models since 1997, are trying to figure out precisely what happened last year and why their models failed to capture it."

Comment: Re:YES (Score 1) 375

by Vintermann (#49167585) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

Well, Google's fact engine has a long way to go. If they start downranking thing that aren't "facts", Wikipedia just got a lot more power... I wanted to find out how high Denmark's highest hill is, and Google gave me a number, but it also said it was a giant flaming mountain of doom. They had that from the wikipedia page, of course, but they still presented it in their factbox.

So I expect Google will start downranking flaming mountain of doom-denialists.

Comment: Re:Did he read it? (Score 2) 249

by Vintermann (#49072057) Attached to: Game Theory Calls Cooperation Into Question

It does not claim (as I understand it) to represent every scenario, merely a special case of a specific scenario.

Freeman Dyson wouldn't be bombastic and exaggerate, would he? "Prisoner's dilemma has been solved!"

For actually intelligent strategies (and the point of strategies is that they should be intelligent), the folk theorem is the relevant solution, not this. For that matter, this seems like a weak, specific case of the folk theorem.

Comment: Re:Not quite comparable (Score 1) 215

by cduffy (#49061025) Attached to: Japan Now Has More Car Charging Points Than Gas Stations

Pardon? States other than NJ or OR still require there to be a person on site who can hit the kill switch for the pumps. (I don't know if helping folks with disabilities pump their gas is legally mandatory, and if in so in which states, but this is likewise common even in "self-serve" stations).

"Attendant" is not synonymous with "full-service".

Mr. Cole's Axiom: The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant; the population is growing.