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Comment: Re:What with all the other debris? (Score 1) 200

by Zenin (#47391839) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

Extremely unlikely bordering on impossible.

Nearly every possible failure condition would result in the quad-copter falling more or less straight down and into the water.

These things do not glide. Even a partial motor failure would send it tumbling end over end...more or less straight down. When they fail they fall out of the sky like a rock.

Comment: Re:Not surprised, mixed feelings (Score 1) 268

by Zenin (#47380443) Attached to: That Toy Is Now a Drone

We may need to see something similar.


The current issue is that the FAA has decided to "interpret" that section by more or less pretending it does not exist or apply to them:

The FAA isn't interested in the law. They consider themselves to be a country unto themselves, consisting of all a space greater then 12" above the land.

Comment: Re:detroit vs SV? (Score 2) 236

by Zenin (#47351571) Attached to: Google, Detroit Split On Autonomous Cars

There are plenty of cars now with thermostats. And they suck big, fat donkey balls.

Give me old fashioned fan speed and air temp knobs any day.

The issue is that the environment instead a car just isn't stable enough for a simple thermostat to be effective. The small size and large number of strong temperature influencing features (windows, hot seats, your body, external air every time a door or window opens) mean that maintaining a single temperature throughout is incredibly impractical. To do so would require a massive amount of over-engineering (far more insulation than a car typically receives and a massively larger heating/cooling system to counter the still large external temperature influences).

And then why is 76 degrees or whatever "comfortable"? If I'm getting into a car after being under a bright sun and 100 degree heat, nothing short of 50 degree air blowing powerfully on me is going to be comfortable. Yet, that won't be the case three minutes later where I'll want it to ease up. That is...unless I'm doing a bunch of errands and so I'm frequently going back out into that 100 degree heat.

Car environment systems have completely different problems to deal with and needs to satisfy than building environment systems.

Comment: Re:Figures... (Score 2) 108

by Zenin (#47140139) Attached to: LAPD Gets Some Hand-Me-Down Drones From Seattle, Promises Discretion

Yes, and precisely because it's so large.

The larger the organization the more and larger nooks and crannies to hide in and the greater the resources to "defend" (cover up) incidents. Far more ability/resources to do harm, far more opportunities to do harm, far more reward from doing harm, far more ability to get lost in the woodwork and get away with it. The PD isn't unique; the rest of Los Angeles's governmental departments are much the same. From the school district, to the building codes, to street maintenance, to parks and rec.

The economics of scale are never more apparent than when it comes to corruption.

Comment: Re:Wow! (Score 2) 111

by Zenin (#47029969) Attached to: The Big Biz of Spying On Little Kids

Thank you for bringing up issues like healthcare: Today's "socialist" ObamaCare plan was yesterday's fringe extremist right-wing health plan when it was proposed as an alternative to (center-left) HillaryCare. It's a fantastic example of just how far the "center line" of politics in the US has been pushed far, FAR to the right.

On the whole your essay either oversimplifies the (lack of) distinctions to the point of being invalid, or just gets the points wrong on all counts.

With a few notable social issue exceptions (that honestly don't really matter, but have been great for riling up "the base" on both sides), the debate has marched fast and steadily to the right for decades. Largely not by arguing for right-wing ideas and winning, but rather by cunningly moving the center line allowing them to argue what had been solidly "center" for the better part of a century was now "left wing extremism". The reframe was clever, undeniable, and incredibly effective. It's even snowed you.

Comment: Re:Wow! (Score 1) 111

by Zenin (#47029913) Attached to: The Big Biz of Spying On Little Kids

It's...not easy to follow.

"Liberal" is a pejorative in the US, typically thrown at folks who are anywhere slightly left of the far right-wing that drives much of US politics. In reality what is "left" or "liberal" in the US would be center-right or even hard-right anywhere else on the globe. In the US the "center line" between left and right isn't anywhere near where you'd expect it to logically be.

That said... "Libertarian" in the US is the polar opposite of "Liberal" and generally means the far right fringe of the batshit crazy extremist right wing. All the policies of pure anarchy, yet refuse to accept the title.

ALL debate in the US spans a range that the rest of the world would consider center-right (Democrats) through far right (Republicans) and extremist right-wing separatists (Tea Party, Libertarians). There are left-wing groups in the US (the Green Party, Socialists, etc), but they get absolutely zero air time and are effectively a non-entity in our politics (although they get a nod in San Francisco every once in a while).

Comment: Re:Wow! (Score 2) 111

by Zenin (#47028063) Attached to: The Big Biz of Spying On Little Kids

Ya know, it's kinda funny.

When you ask the American people, "Do you want more government or less", they answer less on the whole.

When you ask them about specifics however, ask them about actual issues. On healthcare, safety standards, environmental protection, education, labor rights, military, taxes, etc, etc, etc, etc... They come out overwhelmingly progressive.

The right can't win on the issues, and they know it. Their playbook has remained unchanged for decades if not centuries: Obscure, reframe, redirect, deceive. They rarely if ever speak out their motives or ideology in plain language, because when they do they get absolutely flayed by the regular public and abandoned by their cohorts.

Comment: Re:Wow! (Score 1) 111

by Zenin (#47027967) Attached to: The Big Biz of Spying On Little Kids

The Tea Party started a bunch of regular people who just wanted change.

You've been had. That was a great marketing back story, but it was always a work of pure fiction.

The Tea Party was created from whole cloth by the Citizens for a Sound Economy, itself a creation from whole cloth (and cash) by the Koch Brothers. It has never been "regular people", other than the regular people TTP has been able to con into declaring allegiance.

Although it's true The Tea Party and the Republican Party "joined forces", a product of common goals (takith from the poor and givith to the rich), and common tactics (lie and deceive "regular people" into rising up against their own self-interests), and frankly gullible constitutes (ignorant enough, unintelligent enough, or crazy enough to swallow the bullshit the Parties spoon out to them). The Republicans are political pragmatists however, and know not to feed their sheep too much bullshit at once else they risk it upchucking back in their faces (as it has in recent years). The Koch Brothers aren't so pragmatic however, which is why the two are now at odds: TTP overplayed and overextended the con.

The truth is "The Tea Party" has always existed. It's always been that extreme fringe element of the right that proper society never took seriously. What made TTP finally take root in the national conversation was a combination of great marketing powered by massive funding by the likes of the Koch Brothers. And that's it. This "grassroots" back story is no less bullshit than the rest of TTP propaganda.

Comment: Re:Wow! (Score 4, Insightful) 111

by Zenin (#47025953) Attached to: The Big Biz of Spying On Little Kids

That's interesting. Especially given that the right have been driving the entire political landscape in the US for the last 30+ years. We're at the point now where we have three parties, "Batshit crazy extremist right-wing nuts" (The Tea Party), far right extremists (Republicans) and right-wing (Democrats).

The reality is that Obama is solidly to the right of Reagan on nearly everything. Reagan, if he were alive to run today, would be denounced as a RINO and destroyed in the primaries. Hell, even if he converted to a Democrat he'd get denounced as being too liberal for the mainstream.

America doesn't know what left or progressive is, given they've rarely ever seen a progressive candidate in much of the last century.

Comment: Re:Who'll spit on my burger?! (Score 1) 870

by Zenin (#46581879) Attached to: Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate

I guess it depends.

Fresh & Easy stores are entirely self checkout, with fantastic success across the board.

The key difference seems to be that the machines that F&E use don't suck ass. Get a bar code anywhere vaguely near them and poof, *beep* you've got it. It doesn't take some special practiced skill like the old, crappy bar code readers that many stores still employ. Anyone can wave items past the table and checkout at far faster speeds then traditional checkout personal ever could. And it shows: Despite a steady clip of customers, there's practically never any checkout line whatsoever.

It's in sharp contrast to the self-checkout scanners at Home Depot. You spend ages with each and every item, waving it over and over, spinning it round and around, nothing works. Not even the trained helper who comes over can make it work and eventually just types the code in manually.

Investing in quality equipment makes a huge difference. Most of the places that tried and failed with self-checkout tried to do it on the cheap.

Comment: Re:tl;dr (Score 1) 712

by Zenin (#46302841) Attached to: Are Bankers Paid Too Much? Are Technology CEOs?

And I'm sure you could find countless folks willing to do the dirty work for such "unsexy" companies for just 1% of what modern (US) CEOs are taking home. And chances are they'd be far more qualified and effective to boot.

The fact is the rest of the planet doesn't have this issue. The rest of the planet doesn't find it necessary to throw ungodly amounts of cash at folks to get them to take a CEO job. Only in the US does this happen, and their performance, globally speaking, is pathetic in comparison. So we're paying far more and getting far less.

Your entire theory is bunk.

Comment: Re:Why have a tree hierarchy? Why not a graph? (Score 1) 312

by Zenin (#46243761) Attached to: Good Engineering Managers Just "Don't Exist"

I don't seems to work pretty well for Valve who's scaled it up to about 300 last I looked.

Granted, not everyone is fit for such a culture, and there are plenty of "It ain't all chocolate and roses at Valve!" stories to attest to that. But lets face it, most humans really are happiest following, what's left is happiest leading. The percentage of humans who can be happy in a peer culture, especially when those peers are all high achievers, is honestly so small it's not much more than statistical noise.

So to that sense you're right: Few companies are able to scale with a flat model simply because the available pool of suitable talent for such an organization is so incredibly small. Couple that intrinsic soft cap on scale with the fact that "bad seeds" can do a very disproportionate amount of harm to such organization structures...and the larger your organization, the higher the likelihood that a bad seed will slip in. So that creates another soft-cap: As the organization scales, so must the strictness of the screening process for new highers. Eventually it'll just choke itself off, unable to grow.

That choke point however, I'd argue is dramatically higher than you've suggested.

Comment: Re:It's personality (Score 2) 312

by Zenin (#46243731) Attached to: Good Engineering Managers Just "Don't Exist"

From my own purely anecdotal experience, being a high school drop out who has become a highly qualified senior level software engineer who easily commands compensation to match, I'd say that's pretty much correct.

To pour more salt in the wound, in my 20ish years of software development experience I've found that those with actual Computer Science degrees rarely are any good at actually developing software, no matter how much experience they have. The best engineers have all come from some other discipline; sociology, biology, music or such. The only binding factor I've found is that nearly every good engineer plays (or did play extensively in the past) a musical instrument. Only maybe 1 in 10 didn't get deeply into music at some point and about half still actively play.

Those that are strong mathematicians also tend to be horrid software developers (despite, on average, being much smarter than most good software developers). I chock that up to strong math correlating with weak personal skills as well as a tendency to prefer code look like a formula and not a document (variable names like "a" and "b", instead of employees and groups for example). And also the reality that 99% of software that needs writing isn't about slick algorithms, rather it's about modeling arbitrary business rules as a flow chart of if/then/else gates.

If this is timesharing, give me my share right now.