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Comment: Would incur billions in lawsuits in US (Score 1) 561

by burtosis (#33850052) Attached to: Google Secretly Tests Autonomous Cars In Traffic
Lets say thier algorithms are 1000 times better than a human driver at avoiding accidents, at least statistically. Given that in 2009 over 40,000 auto deaths occured and over 250k childred were injured (http://www.edgarsnyder.com/car-accident/statistics.html) that would translate into hundereds or thousands of multi-million dollar lawsuits against the navigation company per year. Not to mention the countless fender benders that the system would be responsible for. Even dumbasses running into the car at no fault to the navigation company will probably be dragged into court. You think you can code dumbassery avoidance into the car? They will build a better dumbass. You will see this technology in Japan and Germany well before the US simply due to the popular acceptance of these technologies as well as the legal ramifications. State of the art algorithms such as these are not nearly as good as a moderately competent driver under generalized circumstances - as a single example just put a google car on icy snowy roads and see how well its vision algorithm tracks the road or how well it's laser or sonic sensors work when fouled with snow.

Comment: Not suprising (Score 2, Informative) 205

by burtosis (#30448294) Attached to: Aussie Scientists Find Coconut-Carrying Octopus
On a trip to Florida, I found a neat clump of shells in shallow water. I picked it up and put it in a bucket along with some other shells thinking it was interesting. A few moments later I had a pile of shells and an octopus looking up at me angrily. So if it's smart enough to roll itself in shells, using it's suckers to keep them on, it’s not too surprising to me that these ones decided to use coconuts.

Funny thing is that split coconuts probably aren't too common unless people or animals split them.

Science

Aussie Scientists Find Coconut-Carrying Octopus 205

Posted by timothy
from the concealed-carry-in-australian-waters dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from an AP report: "Australian scientists have discovered an octopus in Indonesia that collects coconut shells for shelter — unusually sophisticated behavior that the researchers believe is the first evidence of tool use in an invertebrate animal. The scientists filmed the veined octopus, Amphioctopus marginatus, selecting halved coconut shells from the sea floor, emptying them out, carrying them under their bodies up to 65 feet (20 meters), and assembling two shells together to make a spherical hiding spot. ... 'I was gobsmacked,' said Finn, a research biologist at the museum who specializes in cephalopods. 'I mean, I've seen a lot of octopuses hiding in shells, but I've never seen one that grabs it up and jogs across the sea floor. I was trying hard not to laugh.'"
Space

Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System 88

Posted by kdawson
from the toil-and-trouble dept.
Theosis sends word that an astronomer at the University of Rochester and his colleagues have made the surprise discovery that Alcor, one of the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, is actually two stars; and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the four-star Mizar system, making the whole group a sextuplet. This would make the Mizar-Alcor sextuplet the second-nearest such system known. The discovery is especially surprising because Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. The Mizar-Alcor system has been involved in many "firsts" in the history of astronomy: "Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's protege and collaborator, first observed with a telescope that Mizar was not a single star in 1617, and Galileo observed it a week after hearing about this from Castelli, and noted it in his notebooks... Those two stars, called Mizar A and Mizar B, together with Alcor, in 1857 became the first binary stars ever photographed through a telescope. In 1890, Mizar A was discovered to itself be a binary, being the first binary to be discovered using spectroscopy. In 1908, spectroscopy revealed that Mizar B was also a pair of stars, making the group the first-known quintuple star system."

Comment: WMD not yet, but perhaps someday? (Score 1) 314

by burtosis (#30085902) Attached to: Micro-Black Holes Make Poor Planet Killers
I don't doubt the science behind the LHC or the scenarios presented. But I wonder if it is possible to make a device (probaby insanely expensive and massive like the LHC) whereby the MHB could be accurately force fed like a veal calf untill it hit a critical point (tons - ktons - Mtons) of mass and would be a worthy earth destroyer. Nuclear weapons just destroy a little area and make the world far less habitable. A good size black hole could

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