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Comment: Re:Soda can... (Score 1) 115

by tlambert (#47587109) Attached to: Fooling a Mercedes Into Autonomous Driving With a Soda Can

The primary reason for traffic slowdowns on these highways was rear-end collisions blocking traffic.

You've apparently never driven on U.S. 101 in the SF Bay Area; the primary reasons for traffic slowdowns are:

(1) Auuuuuuuugh! There's a huge ball of light up in the sky! We fears it, my precious!

(2) Look! An accident! Is there blood? Hey, Bill, can you see any blood?!?!

(3) I must get in the fast lane because it is the "fast" lane, even though I'm coming up on my exit!

(4) I must get from the fast lane all the way over to the exit lane, but it's OK if this takes forever, I was in the fast lane for 50 feet, dammit!

(5) Yes, I know it's after 3 PM and before 7PM! What do you mean, the lane to the left of mine is "The Car Pool Lane"? I'm driving slow in the middle lane; if you want to pass, you should get into the car pool lane and pass, then get back into this lane; you probably won't get a ticket anyway...

(6) Let me race up in this lane that I need to be out of before too long, rather than getting over now, even though I see barricades ahead, because I know some dumbass will let me in, right? Right? Hey, dumbass, I'm talking to you!

(7) I want to get on one of the bridges, but I don't want to wait behind all the people who also want to get on one of these bridges, so I'm going to block the next lane over until someone lets me in just to punish everyone else... if I have to wait, then everybody else damn well has to wait, too.

That probably should have been a countdown; fast lane discipline while car pool hours are in effect is probably the number one cause of traffic slowdowns, followed by "I'm too stupid to get over ahead of time", with "Auuuugh! Ball of fire!" in third place...

Comment: Re:Multiplayer (Score 1) 185

by tepples (#47586967) Attached to: Nintendo Posts Yet Another Loss, Despite Mario Kart 8

And there's console sized PCs which could be used for the purpose.

I agree with you that this would be ideal. Toward this, what make and model would you recommend to people looking to buy a console-sized gaming PC instead of a Wii U or a PS4? Not everyone is knowledgeable enough about PCs to build his own from parts.

Comment: Re:Why do we do these things? (Score 1) 78

by KeensMustard (#47586315) Attached to: NASA Announces Mars 2020 Rover Payload
You've engaged in a good quantity of confirmation bias there, by selecting tentative technologies that led to transformation and then assuming that every endeavour, no matter how foolish it sounds, will lead inevitably to societal transformation. What nonsense - in amongst our successes, there are numerous boondoggles, and for every successful new technology there are technologies that are made redundant. Human space travel is the latter, an outmoded technology which, like steam trains, we may look back on with fondness but which has no place in our future technology plans. We know that, we've known that since the 60's. It was outmoded even during the space program - kennedy chose the moon mission over a deep space probe not for it's scientific value, but because it conformed to the myth of the american pioneer, and thus brought comfort to the american public in a time of deep anxiety.

Now is the time to shed our anxieties and abandon the comfort pillow of manned space flight. Now is the time to embrace the fact that, like manufacturing, information processing, transport, medicine , the future for space travel lies not in the hands of astronauts/taikonauts/cosmonauts but in the grip of machines. We know it does, we've known that for a long time. Right now, this obsession is holding us back (albeit a friustrated few of us struggle against it's bonds). Advocates of manned spaceflight are like coal miners who insist that only picks can be used to mine coal, while the longwalling machines and draglines sit idle. The image of the astronaut is romantic, no doubt, and full of bravado, like the hard working reaper, chimney sweep, or seamstress. But now, we need to move on. Move on.

Comment: Re:Why do we do these things? (Score 1) 78

by KeensMustard (#47585439) Attached to: NASA Announces Mars 2020 Rover Payload

Enriched Infant formula and other foods - which has probably done more for the collective intelligence of mankind than almost any other single effort in the history of humanity.

Infant formula was invented in the 29th century. It is inferior to breast milk, and the marketing of formula in less developed countries has led to many babies dying (due to the fact that mothers, by necessity, must prepare it in unsanitary conditions, and because it is nutritionally inferior to breast milk), Overall it's invention has been detrimental to our species - and babies fed on breast milk, owing to it's superiority (nutrition wise) consistently score higher in cognitive function. Suggesting that baby formula has probably done more for the collective intelligence of mankind than almost any other single effort in the history of humanity. is a grotesque misunderstanding.

Water purification advances

The russians invented a system to extract water from urine. General water purification is of course not needed because cosmonauts and astronauts aren't drinking out of streams or rivers. When I say invented it, they of course miniaturised a system that already existed prior to space travel. Water purification systems are important, but none of the technology invented for Mir (and later used in the ISS) is relevant to usage on earth.

Solar power

Previous technology that was improved by the space initiative to power satellites. No advancement in solar power is linked to human space travel.

But more important than any one single benefit, eventually we will run out of room. This is not some abstract theory. Sure, we can populate the desert and the ocean, sure we can die from disease and war, but eventually, Earth will not be enough. Betting on exploration is betting on humanity, in the long, long haul.

Your sums are wrong. There are (around) 200 000 more births a day then deaths (Source). Supposing there were a magical place to send these people, the requisite lift capacity would exhaust our supply of fuel within a day or so, and our atmosphere would be irreparably damaged.

And to be clear, no such magical place exists. Mars, for example, would not sustain a days worth of the Earths population increase. It is too cold, too small, too far away from the sun.

Our ancestors built dugout canoes 40,000 years ago. If dugouts had been a waste of a good axe-stone, when there were rival tribes to murder, Columbus would have never found the new world.

Columbus didn't find a new world. He inadvertently stumbled upon a continent that was already populated.

I am betting that humans are a viable species. I am betting that mankind has nowhere to go but up. Look to the future, embrace exploration, it is the only way that mankind can last another 40,000 years.

You're wrong. You've constructed a strawman argument to link the survival of humanity with physically lobbing meat bags into space. No such link exists.

What this country needs is a good five cent microcomputer.