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Comment: Re:DARPA SJW (Score 1) 74

by Waffle Iron (#49375177) Attached to: Robots4Us: DARPA's Response To Mounting Robophobia

If it's acceptable for machines to be playground equailizers than all schoolchildren should be issued sidearms and be given training on how to employ deadly force to stop bullying.

Projectiles from your puny weapons will simply bounce off my armored playground robot.

Now, hand over your weapon and your lunch box to the machine.

Comment: Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 764

by hey! (#49374839) Attached to: Apple's Tim Cook Calls Out "Religious Freedom" Laws As Discriminatory

Oh, yeah. The rational actor theory. But by the same postulates that underly that theory there should be no human being who eats unhealthy, boozes or gambles excessively, or picks fights he obviously can't win.

I have an alternative theory which states that going by actual behavior most people discount their future welfare to zero when there's an immediate reward, even a trivial one. It's almost impossible to resist an immediate burst of pleasure a nasty habit's got you hooked, whether it's a relaxing smoke or that glow of self-righteousness you get when you act on your bigotry.

People will literally kill themselves for a little short-term reward. Forgoing a little profit is nothing compared to that. If you look at places where segregation was historically sanctioned, you'll see you're entirely right: it's economically irrational. That didn't stop people from doing it.

Comment: Um, Yeah... (Score 3, Interesting) 258

by Greyfox (#49372755) Attached to: Attempted Breach of NSA HQ Checkpoint; One Shot Dead
Crashing through a gate where there's a guy armed with a machine gun is a really good way to get shot, a lot. It annoys the guy with the machine gun, and he has a tendency to shoot things that annoy him. And he's not using the cheap Wal*Mart bullets, either. The last thing to go through your head, I mean, before bullets, would probably be "Wow, those are really some high quality bullets that guy is shooting me with!" I seem to recall that this sort of thing was fairly common back in the 70's and 80's with the hippies trying to disrupt the SAC air force bases. We seem to be having a spike in the crazy/stupid lately, where people seem to think that if you go crashing through a gate with a guy with a machine gun, they'll be nice to you or something. Nope. Not the case at all.

Comment: Re:Yes. It is called "land subsidence" (Score 2) 382

by hey! (#49366771) Attached to: Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient

Which makes sense. Sea level rise in the last 50 years has amounted to about 4 inches, probably not enough to make drains run backwards.

The way sea level rise will make itself known isn't through changes in day to day phenomena, but in exceptional phenomena like storm surge flooding. This is a place where inches may well matter. People plan around concepts like a "ten year flood" or a "hundred year flood", and this creates a sharp line on the map where there is no sharp line in reality. Depending where on the domain of the bell curve their chosen planning horizon is, a few inches could turn a ten year flood into a five year flood, which has immense practical implications.

When people way that there is nothing intrinsically worse about a globe that's four degrees hotter they're right. But *change* that undermines human plans represents a big challenge. Change also represents a big challenge to species populations that can't relocate on the timescale of change.

Comment: Re:Still photos (Score 1) 431

by Waffle Iron (#49365231) Attached to: Why the Final Moments Inside a Cockpit Are Heard But Not Seen

A compromise could be the use of still photographs..

Why compromise?

All the city bus drivers in my area are on video surveillance. We routinely get to see footage of accidents and altercations with crazed passengers on the local news.

If it's good enough for a bus, it should be good enough for someone responsible for the safety of a 500mph $200M machine.

Comment: Re:as usual faith in humanity is gone... (Score 3, Interesting) 178

by hey! (#49362099) Attached to: Commercial Flamethrower Successfully Crowdfunded

Having fun isn't necessarily stupid. Having fun with flamboyantly dangerous things isn't necessarily stupid. It's endangering unwilling bystanders that's stupid.

Some people like to build and shoot powerful crossbows, or even replicas of medieval siege weapons. These are extremely dangerous and useless things. The dangerous power of a trebuchet to throw an upright piano 150 yards is part of the charm.

But a trebuchet is something that takes certain amount of thought and sacrifice to obtain and use. This flamethrower thing is more like a powerful handgun. There's been a recent fad for ridiculously overpowered handguns, which pack superfluously fatal power into a convenient, affordable form factor. The recent brouhaha over "armor piercing" ammunition was a side effect of a manufacturer selling a cut-down semi-automatic carbine as a "handgun", even though if you look at videos of people using them they're obviously terrible as handguns. This raised the question of whether 5.56 NATO ammunition should be regulated as "handgun ammunition", and in the end I think the decision not to was reasonablee. These aren't cop-killing or military handguns. They're extremely dangerous toys designed to get your rocks off.

There are some who'd say that because these guns are dangerous and impractical they should be banned. But I don't agree. "Impractical" isn't the same as "useless" because getting your rocks off is a legitimate use for a thing. I think people should be able to enjoy their ridiculous firearms as long as they do it at some kind of appropriate range. I also think there's a real danger though from stupid people who will go plinking in the woods with the things like they were BB guns.

That's really the only problem I have with this flamethrower, whether it's gold, chrome, or gunmetal gray. Any idiot can buy one, but it'd take someone reasonably intelligent and determined to find a place where it can be used safely. I'm not against people buying them, but I am for coming down hard on people who use them where they're a danger or public nuisance.

Comment: Re:OMG america is stupid (Score 1, Insightful) 178

by PCM2 (#49361967) Attached to: Commercial Flamethrower Successfully Crowdfunded

If ever there was a weapon that would be classified as only a weapon of terror with no practical application beyond fear.

Well, fear and burning people to death so they're no longer a threat. Not very efficient, but effective.

And I guess the "practical applications" of your guns, if they don't involve fear, involve gunning people down, right? Don't bother with scaring them off, just kill them.

Between you and me, it seems like the practical application of creating fear is working just great on you, quick-draw.

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. -- John Muir

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