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Comment: Re:older generation is totally clueless about tech (Score 1) 135

by arth1 (#49758075) Attached to: NSA-Reform Bill Fails In US Senate

The people who designed the SR-71 are at the top end of their generation's technological bell curve. The people who sponsored it are at the bottom end.

So what you're saying is that those who designed the SR-71 were mediocre and those who sponsored it were a mix of geniuses, idiots and anything in-between?

If you're on the top end of a bell curve, your possible deviation is as low as it can be. You are mediocre, belonging to the largest segment of the population.

If you're at the bottom end of a bell curve, your possible deviation is as high as it can be. There's no telling. You may be a genius or you might be an idiot.

Anyhow, what's pretty clear is that most of those who designed and sponsored the SR-71 are dead.


Microsoft Study Finds Technology Hurting Attention Spans 109

Posted by samzenpus
from the it-does-what-now? dept.
jones_supa writes: Conducting both surveys and EEG scans, Microsoft has published a study suggesting that the average attention span has fallen precipitously since the start of the century. While people could focus on a task for 12 seconds back in 2000, that figure dropped to 8 seconds in 2013 (about one second less than a goldfish). Reportedly, a lot of that reduction stems from a combination of smartphones and an avalanche of content. The study found also a sunny side: while presence of technology is hurting attention spans overall, it also appears to improve person's abilities to both multitask and concentrate in short bursts.

Comment: Re:Ruining it for the rest of us (Score 1, Insightful) 95

by arth1 (#49692335) Attached to: Drone Flying Near White House Causes Lockdown

What makes me mad in this case is that the pilot is ruining it for everyone else. Every time an idiot does something like this, it's going to contribute to locking down the ability for everyone else to fly them.

I'm good with that. I don't want have to build an opaque dome over my property to keep privacy. And I don't want to become collateral damage of a drone strike either.

Comment: Re:questions (Score 1) 408

Again, you fail to understand how statistics work, trying to address the single items, instead of the problem, which is that there is any fucking numbers of unforeseen things that can happen.

No matter how unlikely any single instance is to happen, or how easily it can be solved, there as such an enormous number of them, that they cannot be addressed due to the sheer scale.

Even if there's only 0.01% chance for an unexpected event happening any given minute, multiply that with the number of minutes and number of cars, and you'll end up with a huge number.

You can't solve that problem from the bottom up, addressing specifics.

Comment: Re:Well duh (Score 2) 44

by arth1 (#49674613) Attached to: MuckRock FOIA Request Releases Christopher Hitchens' FBI Files

No shit. I'd expect a world class physicist who was involved in the top-secret development of the nuclear bomb would attract a bit more scrutiny than a vocal anti-religious advocate and author. One of these things is not like the other things...

True. A few hundred years down the road, I am sure that Hitchens will be remembered as one of the great pioneers for mankind to throw off its yoke.

Comment: Re:Back seats have windows in the door (Score 1) 435

by arth1 (#49674513) Attached to: Will Robot Cars Need Windows?

Many of us have adjusted our side mirrors correctly, to point far more outwards than what most people do. Or even attach dead angle mirrors.
The rear view mirror is for a rear view - the side mirrors are for watching what's diagonally to the side. If you can see the side of your own car in the side mirrors, you're doing it wrong.

Never depend on being able to watch out the rear side window. That's a bad habit you need to stop. It may be blocked or not even there (pickup trucks). And by turning your head, you lose sight of what's even more dangerous - what's ahead of you.

Comment: Re:Yes. (Score 1) 435

by arth1 (#49674371) Attached to: Will Robot Cars Need Windows?

And in an accident like that where the doors are jammed shut due to damage, how exactly are the passengers supposed to extricate themselves from the wrecked vehicle?

Or how would the ones who witness the accident know whether there are passengers to rescue or not?

Would you break open the boot of a car on the off-chance that there's someone lying in there?

Comment: Re:MIssing Option ? (Score 1) 164

by arth1 (#49674089) Attached to: I spent Mother's Day this year ...

Mother's Day (and Father's Day) would be a meaningful if there was a general acceptance that parents need to accomplish a bit more than merely breed and see that a child survives to adulthood in order to earn special recognition.

It's worse than that. Mother's Day has turned into a day where every adult woman, whether a mother or not, expects to be treated as if it were their birthday.
There's already March 8 for women.

Comment: Re:questions (Score 1) 408

You can anticipate 99.9% of what happens trivially. How often do you get shot at in the car? When people lead with stupidity like that, it's hard to consider their point.

You don't understand statistics. It's not one specific unanticipated event that is the problem, it's that there are millions of them, all the time. You cannot focus one one particular one and scoff at that one, because that does nothing to any of the other millions of unanticipated events that occur. Just on my short drive to work today, I must have encountered at least a dozen unanticipated events.
- Pollen blocked a small part of my backing camera.
- A neighbor had blown a big pile of leaves onto the street. I had to drive around it.
- It started drizzling lightly. Too lightly for my car's auto-rain sensor to kick in.
- A police car without sirens, just blinking lights came in the opposite direction.
- A crow was pecking on roadkill.
- Children were "dancing" around on the sidewalk on their way to school. It's a 50 zone, but prudence told me 20 was plenty when driving past them.
- On an unmarked section of road, another driver didn't know the yield-to-right rule, and almost t-boned a car coming out on the road, swerving into the lane in front of me while (rather incorrectly) tooting his horn.
- Pollen and leaves covered exit lanes, lane markers and double yellow lines. Sometimes severely so. ... and probably lots of other things that I don't remember, because to me, the decisions are ones I just make without remembering them. Focusing on any one of these things is not useful, because there are so many of them. Every day. Every drive.

That any one of them is very low likelihood is irrelevant - it's the sheer number of very low likelihood events that occur that makes it a certainty that unexpected events will happen. And expert systems cannot deal with unexpected events the way humans can. Or, for that matter, even detecting that there is something unusual. Even a small detection failure rate multiplied with the number of possibilities makes for a staggering high number.

Comment: Re:questions (Score 1) 408

That they have thought of them doesn't imply they have any good answers.

The problem is that even if you can anticipate 90% of the things that can happen out there, there will always be a 10% you can't anticipate. You don't anticipate them as a driver either. There's no way for "the incredibly smart people" to make decisions ahead of time for things they cannot think of.

For humans, it takes a couple of decades of learning how to be a human, so you understand that if a policeman with a gun walks up to your car, you do not move, but if a shady looking person does the same, you gun it out of there. Or any other of unanticipated things that drivers encounter. Millions of them every day.

Comment: Re:Question is (Score 1) 408

How safe autonomous vehicles will be when most of the vehicles on the road are autonomous. There will then be wars about which companies system is safest.

I think the war will be how fast and reliable they are. A system that's safer but takes longer to get people from A to B, or gives up and stops for any little thing in order to increase safety won't be too popular.

My life has only so many minutes. I don't want to spend more of them than I have to being slow cargo.

It is not well to be thought of as one who meekly submits to insolence and intimidation.