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Comment: I see one serious problem that can't be solved (Score 1) 477

The police (and other government agencies) WILL want some kind of kill switch or even "drive that criminal into the jail" feature and they WILL force manufacturers to implement it. In most stupid and 'secret' way. Now the trouble is that we see the pattern repeating during last decades: hackers are always ahead of technology and police. So they WILL get access to that 'feature' and then we'll see lots of kidnapping, robberies and other fun stuff. Just stop a victim in dark place and then send him the other way as far as possible. And no, you won't be able to press gas pedal and drive away from that mugger.

A few crimes of this kind on TV and the public will refuse any car with significant amount of intelligence.

Comment: Horrible idea (Score 1) 213

by burbilog (#49317771) Attached to: Finland's Education System Supersedes "Subjects" With "Topics"
How many people will regret their childish decision without any chances to switch career later, because they received "cafeteria only" education? And often parents force kids to take certain "family" career path, but kids can grow up and switch careers... if they have got generic education.

Comment: Re:The real question in my mind... (Score 1) 341

Yes, I agree that will eventually change, but it will likely be very slow. Many, many regulatory decisions have been made not based on the prevailing science of the time, but on what people were willing to accept.

Most probably it's going to be accepted incrementally, one by one, until we wake up with already self-driving car. Nobody (well, almost) complains about ABS now and nobody argues that ABS is much better for 99% of drivers (and remaining 1% is way too overconfident). It's just there.

The same is going to happen with automatic collision avoidance. With sign recognition. With lane following. One change at time.

Comment: Re: HUH (Score 1) 341

Yes, jumping in front of those automated cars, with their cameras, facial recognition, GPS, and 8G connections. I'm sure it will be huge - there's no way those punks would be easily caught!

Unless cameras could see through the fabric of the hood/mask/disguise these punks are going to be safe from poice.

Comment: Re:HUH (Score 1) 341

The code can be 100% reliable, and then a solar flare can be released which causes a surge in electromagnetic interference, leading to a random bit flip in memory, corrupting a portion of code meant to handle just that situation and then what?

And then another subsystem immediately detects memory checksum failure and brakes the car, broadcasting emergency braking signal to all cars around.

Comment: Password manager with plausible deniability (Score 1) 200

by burbilog (#49300301) Attached to: NZ Customs Wants Power To Require Passwords

Alas, there is no good open source password manager with built-in plausible deniability. All variants of keepass reject the idea, shifting it somewhere else and there is no good solution for Android. The best solution would be a database of X password databases (big X, a hundred or more), with only one database being encrypted and other slots filled with junk, and everything must be overwrittend during any save operation. If password manager does that by default (i.e. you don't tick special option to enable) then you might have one password db, two or several. Or 1024. Nobody can tell. And if you gave away password to innocent db with your small subset of passwords there is no way to prove that you ever had some other db inside your storage. That's going to satisfy any customs and any british judge, unless they ban such software completely.

Comment: What about real numbers of losses in power lines? (Score 1) 341

by burbilog (#49162639) Attached to: We Stopped At Two Nuclear Bombs; We Can Stop At Two Degrees.
Big copper cables have electrical resistance which results in line losses.


The line losses would be tremendous...most of the power would be lost to heat and RF emissions.

Can you prove that with math instead of just assuming abstract losses? How much real power line looses per 1000km for example? Soviet Union moved electricity around its vast spaces, using its non-high-tech united electric grid. Without any superconductors.

It is far more efficient to have highly distributed generation AND storage than to have an intercontinental power grid of supersized transmission lines.

Yes, it is. But it's much more expensive than global transmission grid.

Anyway, my point was not that we must concentrate on single solution, but rather that solutions exist in many ways, I just suggestged simpliest one (except that political fantasy part of couse).

Comment: Re:Who did the study? (Score 2) 341

by burbilog (#49153459) Attached to: We Stopped At Two Nuclear Bombs; We Can Stop At Two Degrees.
Those fifty thousand wind turbines and solar everything farms feeding lithium batteries the size of skyscrapers just will not happen. What's plan B?

No need for lithium batteries of that size. Just settle down politics (that's fantasy part of the plan, I know) and build power line across continents, crossing that tiny Bering StraiÐ and connecting all solar plants around the world. Then shuffle electricity around the globe as needed. It's quite doable today, with today tech and moderate expenses.

Comment: Re:This is (sort of) good news for Americans (Score 1) 215

by burbilog (#49135267) Attached to: Russia Seeking To Ban Tor, VPNs and Other Anonymizing Tools
Really putin should just abandon Ukraine altogether, yes it will probably result in ukraine doing some ethnic cleansing and a lot of unpleasantness but he has done worse.

He can't. Revolution in Ukraine happened on anti-corruption ground and put his rule to serious danger. So everything was done to destabilize Ukraine, to show failure of anti-corruption revolution to Russian people. Ukrainian success will destroy current ruling party and opposition will win in Russia. And he can't afford that, that means death or Haague for him and loss of freedom and money for all his high-ranked friends.

Comment: Re:I've seen the future 25 years ago (Score 1) 266

by burbilog (#49125563) Attached to: The Robots That Will Put Coders Out of Work
Back in my FoxPro days I cranked out smallish biz apps like lightning with 1/4 the code I use now. The multi-layered client-server and then the HTML/CSS/JS/foo++/SQL stack gummed up that and turned CRUD into a mini bureaucracy.

Oracle APEX allows me to do that right now. It's very useful to churn out small and urgent biz apps quick and deploy them immediately without installing anything on client's computers. Very easy to use, very fast to deploy.

Unfortunately, there is no opensource project like APEX :(

Comment: Re:Norway (Score 1) 215

by burbilog (#49079183) Attached to: Japan Now Has More Car Charging Points Than Gas Stations
First off, hybrids are NOT EVs. They do not deserve a subsidy since they are going to cost America more money in our electricity.

Electricity is 4-5 times cheaper than gasoline. That's not a problem. The problem with pure EVs is range anxiety and nothing is going to change for a long time (unless somebody invents insanely better batteries).

But there is no need for such batteries -- you can use today PHEV (*PLUG-IN* hybrid) to charge at night and commute on battery, launching gasoline engine only if you need more range than usual (most people need that a few times per year). It looks like manufacturers will figure it out soon and offer PHEVs with cheap and small "range extender" gasoline engines, good only for 30k miles or so. And due to cheap "extender" engine they'll finally match the price of regular cars...

Comment: Prisoner's dilemma is way too primitive (Score 1) 249

by burbilog (#49072453) Attached to: Game Theory Calls Cooperation Into Question
It's wrong to consider prisoner's success alone. If we have two pairs of prisoners and in first pair prisoners did not cooperate and in second pair they did then the second pair of prisoners gets huge advantage: later they can overpower single prisoner from first pair. Thus prisoner PAIRS are going to compete, if we test enough prisoners. After many iterations only cooperative prisoners are going to remain...

Actually we see this in the history: non-cooperative societies, built on violence and slavery gave way to much better societies, despite single people stil being egoistic.

Comment: Re:Expensive (Score 1) 183

by burbilog (#49046487) Attached to: Telomere-Lengthening Procedure Turns Clock Back Years In Human Cells
Consequently, a rational person would choose the longest mortgage period possible because they could artificially create ANY shorter mortgage period option through prepayments.

Not always. You have to consider not only monthly payment alone, but interest rate, property price and length of mortgage as well. Extending mortgage length beyond certain limit makes no sense, because it won't reduce monthly payment any more. In previous messages I gave you an example where extra 30 years brought only 1/4 reduction of monthly payment. Worse, total money paid are almost doubled because of extra interest EVEN if you spend that 1/4 reduction to pay off early. Just take any decent mortgage calculator or do some math in spreadsheet and you'll see, monthly payment vs mortgage length is not linear!

It happens because longer monthly payment is going to contain more interest during early years (look at annuity formula). Mortgage is useful within certain limits only, too short and too long make no sense at all.

Comment: Re:Expensive (Score 1) 183

by burbilog (#49038493) Attached to: Telomere-Lengthening Procedure Turns Clock Back Years In Human Cells
Assuming income is the same in both situations, if I am not earning higher than 3% on my investments, then why am I not paying off my mortgage with my surplus monthly net cashflow (which is higher in the second scenario)?

Ok, let's do the math again: $500k house, 3%, 60 years, $1.5k monthly payment. Thus I have suprlus $500 per month to pay off the debt. Well, now I have to pay $390k of interest during 52 years. STILL much worse than paying $260 of interest during 30 years, while paying the SAME $2k per months.

See? It makes little sense to extend mortgage more than 30 years in general. Of couse, it depends on %%: with 0.5% interest it makes more sense to take 60 years mortgage: $800 monthly payment (60 years) vs $1500 monthly payment (30 years), that's much better. Now if you pay off $700 every month, your mortgage will end after 38 years and you will pay $44k of interest (compared with $38k of 30 years mortgage), but this difference is negligible.

On other hand... who's going to hand out mortgage at 0.5% for 60 years? Much below inflation?

Comment: Re:Expensive (Score 1) 183

by burbilog (#49037711) Attached to: Telomere-Lengthening Procedure Turns Clock Back Years In Human Cells
Most mortgages are ~30years. If you double the time period people can work without having to worry about a mortgage, you definitely have improved their financial situation (assuming some level of rational financial decisions).

Longer mortgage is not going to change the situation, at least not much. Let's say I can pay $2k/month, then I can take 30 years mortgage with 3% interest rate to buy $500k house. Then I'll have to pay $260k of interest to the bank during these 30 years.

Now suddenly I can live much longer -- I can take 60 years mortgage! Wow! Let's recalculate... the same house, 60 years, 3%... Huh? Monthly payment is now $1.5k, that's only 1/4 less than 30yrs mortgage, but now I have to pay $600k of interest for the same $500k house during these 60 years!

Testing can show the presense of bugs, but not their absence. -- Dijkstra