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Comment: Re:The death of leniency (Score 1) 377

by ScentCone (#47769343) Attached to: U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

If cops couldn't let thousands of people off per day on minor things, those minor things would cease to be illegal and our legal code would finally have some semblance of sanity.

You're right. If a cop sees you step outside the crosswalk at an intersection, he should have NO choice but to cite you for jaywalking, and generate all of the paperwork and costs involved, whether or not the reason you stepped out of the cross walk was to avoid walking through a big puddle of hydraulic fluid that was just spilled by a trash truck. It's situations like that where a cop's body cam might very well record such an infraction, and in the name of ridding society of any potentially abused judgement calls, we should use that technology to make sure that everyone involved toes the line, literally and figuratively. We can't have judgement calls! Your judgement call that we shouldn't is good enough for me.

Comment: Re:The death of leniency (Score 1) 377

by ScentCone (#47769291) Attached to: U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

It seems to indicate that the poor, defenseless disenfranchised police officers are the victims in all of this

No, the victims are the residents and business owners in a trashed place like Ferguson where a bunch of idiots decided that wrecking the place is the right reaction to events like that lovable big lug, Mike Brown, being shot for no reason whatsoever. We know it was for no reason because thoroughly reliable witnesses (like, the guy who was within him when Lovable Big Mike, the 6'-4" 300-pound Gentle Giant was intimidating a retail clerk) said so, and the witness who said he was "shot in the back, execution style" said so. Except both witnesses are full of crap, and they know it. The cop who got his face mashed by this giant guy would indeed have had an easier time of it if Lovable Giant Mike's altercation with the cop inside the cruiser had been recorded. But more importantly, there's a chance that a lot of people's businesses wouldn't have been wrecked by people who came in from out of town specifically to trash the place and steal stuff with the tacit blessings of guys like Al Sharpton.

Comment: Re:The death of leniency (Score 3, Insightful) 377

by Theaetetus (#47767467) Attached to: U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

The problem with this is that if all cops feel like they're being audited all of the time, they're less likely to let you off the hook for a minor violation. Then since they have to charge you with something, and there's supporting evidence, you're not going to get a plea or reduction from a mandatory sentence in court.

I know that doesn't sound like a big deal but cops let thousands of people off per day on minor things where people just need a warning.

Frankly, I'm a little less concerned with the "problem" of cops letting off people who do commit minor infractions, than the problem of cops falsifying evidence or destroying exculpatory evidence, beating or torturing suspects, and lying on police reports in order to arrest people who haven't committed any crime. You getting out of a speeding ticket for going 60 in a 55 is less important than Joe Innocent getting arrested for walking in the wrong part of town while black, having a gun with defaced serial numbers planted on him, and suddenly facing 10 year felony charge with an "option" to plead guilty and only get a year (and a felony record).

Comment: Re:Moons? (Score 3, Informative) 74

Indeed it does. I haven't published yet, but I detected one a few days ago (I work out of a valley in Iceland). I observed the brown dwarf in question (right ascension 08h 55m 10.83s, declination -07 14 42.5") and detected a large, earth-sized body occluding the star during my brief observations.

Comment: Re:Short term (Score 1) 467

by Firethorn (#47762081) Attached to: California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

You think with the popularity of programs like Top Gear that there won't be millions around who still prefer to drive their own cars?

I think that sooner or later they'd be restricted to the track for their self-driving desires(and I don't think motorsports will go away that soon) due to insurance costs.

If self driving cars are shown to reduce accidents by 90%, that's roughly a 90% reduction in insurance expenses, which can amount to a couple thousand a year pretty quick. In short, even if a self driving car is $10k more expensive, if it saves you $1500 or more a year in insurance costs, discounting any savings from improved fuel economy or time recovered, it's worth it.

Now consider who has the highest insurance costs - people with DUIs - I can see drunk drivers being forced into self-driving vehicles very quickly, without manual overrides. People with bad driving records. Young/New Drivers.

Then you get the exact same thing as you did with automatic transmissions. Once you start putting those that would be driving in automated cars rather than making them actually do the driving, they'll tend to stick with self driving cars. Then it'll expand to the point that finding a vehicle with manual controls is about as easy as finding a vehicle in the USA with a manual transmission.

Comment: Drones, not driverless cars (Score 1) 467

by Firethorn (#47762015) Attached to: California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

You're thinking about flying drones, not driverless cars. Depending on the drone it pretty much varies between the remote operator actually flying it all the way down to simply programming a flight path that the drone then uses to take off, fly, and land without further intervention. Most military drones do have plenty of intervention, but again, that can range from taking over and 'flying' to simply adjusting waypoints.

Comment: Re:Not surprising (Score 1) 467

by Firethorn (#47762007) Attached to: California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

California is playing it safe. It will take a while for us to trust the software enough to remove the steering wheel.

Perhaps sad, but my first thought was 'What about all the DUI revenue?' If you remove the steering wheel and associated equipment and simply put a big emergency stop button around where the hazard switch is now, you can get into expensive court battles about 'actual control' and all that. Going by various court cases, people have gotten out of DUIs when they proved they were sleeping in or around a vehicle that was, in fact, disabled and unable to move without repair.

I'll note that the case I remember there was no proof that the guy drove. He drove to the convenience store, bought his alcohol, then was unable to get the vehicle restarted(reason unstated in the article). He then pretty much said 'screw it' and started drinking. Offers responded and they were also unable to start the vehicle, but charged him with dui anyways. He won.

+ - That fresh lunar regolith smell

Submitted by Esther Schindler
Esther Schindler (16185) writes "The moon has a distinctive smell. Ask any Apollo moonwalker about the odiferous nature of the lunar dirt and you'll get the same answer: the moon smells like gunpowder.

Or something like that:

"When the entire subject of the dust smell came up several years ago, I put forth that what the astronauts were smelling, that is, what their mucus membrane sensed, was highly activated dust particles with 'dangling bonds,'" [Larry Taylor, director of the Planetary Geosciences Institute at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville,] said.


+ - Some raindrops exceed their terminal velocity->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "New research reveals that some raindrops are “super-terminal” (they travel more than 30% faster than their terminal velocity, at which air resistance prevents further acceleration due to gravity). The drops are the result of natural processes—and they make up a substantial fraction of rainfall. Whereas all drops the team studied that were 0.8 millimeters and larger fell at expected speeds, between 30% and 60% of those measuring 0.3 mm dropped at super-terminal speeds. It’s not yet clear why these drops are falling faster than expected, the researchers say. But according to one notion, the speedy drops are fragments of larger drops that have broken apart in midair but have yet to slow down. If that is indeed the case, the researchers note, then raindrop disintegration happens normally in the atmosphere and more often than previously presumed—possibly when drops collide midair or become unstable as they fall through the atmosphere. Further study could improve estimates of the total amount of rainfall a storm will produce or the amount of erosion that it can generate."
Link to Original Source

The Grumpy Programmer has Advice for Young Computer Workers (Video) 113

Posted by Roblimo
from the hey-kids-get-off-my-code dept.
Bob Pendleton calls his blog "The Grumpy Programmer" because he's both grumpy and a programmer. He's also over 60 years old and has been programming since he was in his teens. This pair of videos is a break from our recent spate of conference panels and corporate people. It's an old programmer sharing his career experiences with younger programmers so they (you?) can avoid making his mistakes and possibly avoid becoming as grumpy as he is -- which is kind of a joke, since Bob is not nearly as grumpy as he is light-hearted. (Transcript covers both videos. Alternate Video Link One; Alternate Video Link Two)

He: Let's end it all, bequeathin' our brains to science. She: What?!? Science got enough trouble with their OWN brains. -- Walt Kelly