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Comment: Re:Start with an erroneous *world view* ... (Score 1) 181

by bitingduck (#49457931) Attached to: Autonomous Cars and the Centralization of Driving

Probably not long after you can get the on-road version.

There are very real commercial applications for OR autonomous driving, and keep in mind that this was 10 years ago and those were self-funded (or by whatever sponsors they could round up) university teams doing one-off vehicles. If you look at what they achieved for what they spent, and extrapolate it to mass production it's very reasonable to expect off-road autonomy to be available on the same time scale as on-road.

And as zippthorne notes, you have to put a ton of time in to get any good at driving off road. With the autonomous version you pay some money and get tens of thousands of hours of experience built into the system at delivery.

Comment: Re:13 Telescopes already at the Summit (Score 2) 228

by bitingduck (#49435359) Attached to: Amid Controversy, Construction of Telescope In Hawaii Halted

Only complaint I have, I really wish most of these telescopes were open to the public. I have never had the opportunity to look through anything bigger than a backyard telescope and it would be amazing to be able to see what a thirty meter telescope can do.

You don't really "look through" them so much as reserve time and then sit in a control room in Waimea, or more likely your home institution anywhere in the world, and wait for digital data. Some stuff is done with a realtime observer making decisions (based on the digital data), but a lot of it's automated and planned on schedules that optimize the amount of observing vs. the amount of repointing and other overhead. There's various ways to get access, but mostly they require being part of a research institution and proposing for time. The various institutions involved in building them get observing time in return, and then some amount is probably also available through gov't grants to "buy" time. A nice thing about ground based telescopes over space based is the amount of effective observing time relative to things like calibration and maintenance, so they're effectively accessible to more people. The number of people on the summit is getting to be fairly small and tending toward the people who are doing construction, maintenance, installation, or any kind of hand-on instrument calibration or adjustment, but observing is moving to be more and more remote, which also makes it more accessible to more people.

Comment: Re:The tarnishing of spirits really helps (Score 1) 228

by bitingduck (#49435241) Attached to: Amid Controversy, Construction of Telescope In Hawaii Halted

It's got a good balance of elevation, good seeing, dry atmosphere to look through, accessibility, and political stability. There aren't very many places that have all of those (among other factors) which is why there are so many telescopes there. The Atacama desert in Chile is one of the few realistically competitive areas (and it's better in some of those features), but it's not as accessible and maybe less politically stable.

Comment: Re:Don't we already know? (Score 5, Insightful) 113

by bitingduck (#49391663) Attached to: NASA-ESA Project Will Shoot an Asteroid To See What Happens

A single data point isn't all that useful with respect to understanding the mass and composition of asteroids. There are potentially a variety of asteroids around-- ranging from solid hunks of metal or rock to loose bunches held together by their very weak mutual gravitational attraction. A test would be useful for demonstrating the ability to intercept one, navigate to an appropriate place to push, and then push. Depending on how far out they catch it, a very low thrust, very efficient thruster pushing for a long time might be able to produce a useful amount of deflection.

Comment: Re:The fallacy of labels (Score 2) 320

Math isn't science at all, though it has tremendous value in its application to science. Science is all about falsifiability rather than provability-- science is the process of developing descriptions of the world, testing the validity and limits of those descriptions, and then extending the descriptions and testing further. Without comparisons to reality it's not science (yes, I *am* looking at you string theory).

Math lets you prove assertions based on a logical framework and derive things that are true within that framework, but there's nothing built in that says anything you prove mathematically is going to be realized in the physical world.

Comment: Re: Well, then I guess (Score 1) 284

by bitingduck (#49212817) Attached to: UK Gov't Asks: Is 10 Years In Jail the Answer To Online Pirates?

That would be terrible for small inventors and great for patent trolls with big bank accounts. Small inventors would have to put the current value at something they could afford to pay tax on. Then trolls can just walk through with little or no opposition and sweep up patents with low current value and potentially high future value. Assuming multiple trolls doing the same thing, it would lead to a forced auction market until someone assigned a value just higher than everybody else was willing to pay, so it would stop changing hands, and the actual inventor would be the person least likely to see a gain in the process.

Comment: Re:^THIS (Score 1) 493

Where teachers are not union, or where the unions are weak, teachers tend to get paid less than their union counterparts.

Funding for public schools needs to increase at all levels. Bad teachers need to go, but average teachers need to get paid more than they are.

It's become acceptable to not know math and science and what we pay teachers reflects that.

An acquaintance was working for a program that recruits scientists and engineers to become teachers and sort of gave me the pitch while we were hanging out one day. They'd provide a stipend that only covers living expenses for someone fresh out of school, and that doesn't even cover tuition and minimal living expenses for the duration of the training, then you have to teach in LA schools for some number of years (2 or 3), at teacher salaries. She said they get quite a few mathematicians and engineers, but essentially nobody in chemistry or physics. I laughed - unemployment is pretty low in both of those and you can make a lot more money for a lot less trouble actually working in chemistry and physics, and your education is typically fully paid by someone else. Better salaries so that teachers get as much as they could get in the fields where they'd be if they weren't teaching might make it a much easier sell to become a math or science teacher.

Comment: Re:you keep guessing instead of reading (Score 1) 204

It is not the case that all households have two adults and 2.2 children. I've told you twice already, the average household size is 2.51, meaning 18,801 households.

No, actually you haven't. If you read the post I replied to above you're doing math mixing number of households and residents. 5400 households is about 29% penetration into the market at your numbers.

You said:

There are 47,000 people in the city (who are on the hook for the bill).
Of those 47,000, only 5,400 have chosen to get the service.

which doesn't include your 2.51 people per household.

Next time read the post you're replying to, m'kay

Next time read the post you're writing...

NOWPRINT. NOWPRINT. Clemclone, back to the shadows again. - The Firesign Theater