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Comment Re:This is great (Score 0) 73

And about the possible fire hazard coming from a used Lithium-ion battery which we don't know what is the previous usage profile and number of cycles.
Plus, we don't know how much heat the batteries were subjected to. And, how will you insure against that without paying an hefty premium?

Comment There were plenty women working in computing (Score 1) 696

In the good old days of mainframes, tabulating machines and to a time computers were groups of women doing boring calculations for researchers, there were plenty of women working in computing/mathematics related fields. They were the large majority of people working in the field, and had major contributions to computer science, e.g. Grace Hopper invented the first compiler.

But most women don't like male competition on the job, I don't mean competing, I mean males competing for dominance.
Male competition is partly responsible for long work hours, hostile work environments, socially destructive schedules and family unfriendly policies.
Men compete in ways that cause damage to bystanders, making life for women that want to have a life and a family outside work much more difficult.

Comment Cue to convenient policy to control the masses (Score 1) 312

There are much easier ways to make the welfare system well financed and sustainable than to get a chip into people.
This seems to be a non sequitur argument which is set to frame the political discussion in a way that it becomes a legitimate policy option.

Comment Better not give them any emotion at all (Score 1) 112

Given that human beings are prone to be huge dicks, not that most people are but enough are to make our existence colorful and add some drama.
If a robot is able to understand emotional responses, and in some cases it might be better at inferring them by having better sensors, it can then act accordingly to those human emotions.
Probably a system that acts in a deterministic fashion for 80% to 90% of the cases, and can infer human motivation but with no emotional response associated with it is probably the best course.

Once AI's are able to experience subjective emotions, and being better at inferring human motivations then I think these emotions will eventually force the AI to act.
Emotions are an underlying response feedback mechanisms, they are as much cause and effect. Once an AI being set o emotional feedback loop that increases the need to act out against a preset safety directive (for humans) it either will become schizoid, develop some kind dysfunctional behavior or just flip.

It is a good bet if autonomous robots with capable AI would be considered by humans, at least those who can afford them, as lesser status workers or appliances. Given that humans subject people with less status to all kinds negative treatment, from discrimination, physical harm, derision, etc. Any capable AI would consider Humans as flawed and dangerous as a group.

Comment Facebook Messenger App is an issue (Score 2) 63

I found out recently that it is not possible to log out of Facebook Messenger on a mobile device.
I found this annoying cause anyone that can access a tablet can effectively check one's message and wreak havoc.
If one has a jealous or abusive spouse/partner/girlfriend/boyfriend this is clearly a big no-no, even if your significant other is not 'unstable' even innocent conversations might misconstrued.
Also, if third parties get access to a mobile device and can unlock it, this means that they can check your previous conversations and use them for their own ends.
In fact every other messaging app comes with a sign out feature why doesn't this one?

Comment The problem is SUPPLY CHAIN!!! (Score 5, Interesting) 365

The current state of complexity of our civilization is given by a web of supply chains that make it possible to produce very specialized and sophisticated products.
Liquid fuel production requires more than extracting oil from the ground, you have to distill the fractions, filter unwanted contaminants, crack heavy fractions to produce lighter compounds, and do pyrolysis to get gasoline from what is essentially tar.
This all requires a supply chain of materials to be able to construct the tools and equipments to produce what you'll pump into your car.

Then there are fertilizers, you needs sources of fossilized guano that are located around the world, and others like Ammonia based fertilizers that are mostly produced using fossil fuel sources.
Then you have catalyzer metals for reactors, the list is enormous...
And if you think that since the trade barriers have mostly gone, that has meant that most countries have shed duplicate capacity and have specialized and concentrated on only some parts of the supply chain.
That means if things go downhill you pretty much have no way to get some resources, tool or equipment spares and no knowledge how to remake those.

Comment It is called sexual selection (Score 2) 298

There are two big drivers on the evolution of sexual species, natural selection and female choice.
The two don't always go in the same direction, and in some cases they can point into opposing paths leading the species into a dead end.
For example Elks compete on antler size, and females prefer large males with big antlers, these are good when it comes to ritual fights with competing males but are a big drawback when it comes to denser wood forests. And most of the time are a large dead weight to carry around.
Peacocks also carry around a big tail for basically the same reasons, and both are examples of adverse selection in which an overall negative trait gets perceived as a positive genetic proxy by females.

Height in humans has a big weight when it comes to female selection, it is considered by large as a positive trait. And we usually tend to defer to taller people, even if that behavior isn't justified on any other social attributes.
The problem with height is that it requires extra consumption of calories and protein to enable growth, besides extra changes in the population hormonal profile to enable accelerated growth. This is all fine on our present food production output, if that changes taller people are at a disadvantage.

Comment Re:That's unchecked capitalism for you (Score 1) 516

Not only that, investing in the electrical grid it is always expensive in any western country. Zoning, environmental, licensing, technical regulations, and the nimby effect, all will add up to the cost. Even if it is just upgrading existing infrastructure it is not easy peasy, and building new grid infrastructure can be hampered by local sensibilities.

From the technical standpoint adding new grid capacity adds also more nonlinearities in the grid system that need to be managed. And, high power electrical systems are difficult beasts to control, it is not like in star trek that one can freely route power through any circuit without regard for transitory effects that can shutdown parts or all of the grid.

From the business standpoint, I think it depends on the business culture. In Europe, non-english speaking countries will invest on its grid infrastructure more regularly ,France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, etc... invested recently or are investing in their grid systems. In the UK and Ireland, it is mostly anecdotal evidence, but it seems they are quite happy to not invest in infrastructure as long it still works.

And, another thing, competition doesn't work on grid systems cause they are a natural monopoly. You cannot have two different grid providers, duplicating that type of infrastructure it is very expensive and difficult to justify. Plus, technically having to manage two grids into a local grid, and have power plants outputting for separate power circuits seems a recipe for more problems.

Comment Re:Bell Labs (Score 2) 150

There is probably something of a myth of people being paid to have great ideas, most research started as a means to sort out a particular problem that branched into a new field by chance. People didn't intended to have great ideas they ended up stumbling on them, either by doing their work, luck or by having a particular keen interest and curiosity.
On the side of the status quo, researchers are only valuable if they are coming up with work that can have some usefulness.
This might be a statement of status of having a bunch of researchers as pets, to sort out a nagging problem like getting a reliable star chart for navigation, or that there is a conflict and every edge one can get is essential.
For example, the people that came up with C and Unix didn't told management what they were up to initially.

Comment Re:Maybe I imagined it... (Score 1) 387

That Linus is not infallible, even if he has a lot of merit and has on the overall done a good job.

I am arguing for experimentation, and that ideas need to be tested and that there is a need for safe environments to do so.
Cause otherwise systems get stale, and eventually cease to evolve.

I understand a manager has to be pragmatic within the context of the project, and Linus is a pragmatist.
The thing is, nobody has a magical crystal ball to predict what set of changes has more chance of having a bigger impact.
Also, organizational, social, cultural and political factors can have a perverse effect on the kind contributions outsiders can do.

I think, that people usually try to contribute within the institutions/organizations that they feel identified with.
So, they will try to be accepted and validated through the official channels, until they get tired.

Comment Re:Maybe I imagined it... (Score 1) 387

Does every refusal makes sense in hindsight?

Or all refused Ideas would result in failure?

History is full of good ideas being refused, why would Linus be right all the time or anyone else for that matter?

Cause any of the contributors that got rejected haven't made a successful competing project, so that makes Linus right only because there is no proof of him being wrong?

If a previously untested Idea doesn't get adopted, implemented and widely used there is no way to question the objective validity of a particular decision or judgement. After it comes into the mainstream or fails to yield results it is easy to do so.
I find that most people are very closed minded, and usually stick with what they know. And, having university degree doesn't help, cause curiosity doesn't come as a course subject and can't be taught, in some cases it makes things worse.
Also, social and group elements enter in the mix, making it very difficult for outsiders to be taken seriously.

Some examples:
- Ross Perot left IBM to start EDI, so that he could implement a business model he wasn't allowed to do in IBM.
- Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis on hand washing and newborn death, facing the medical establishment at the time.
- Douglas Engelbart pionering a lot of the items and concepts we now take for granted, that were mostly ignored by the industry until others picked up at a later stage.
... and so many others....

Comment Re:hm... (Score 0) 143

Let's see how much buoyancy does the balloon needs to support an electrical generator, plus support the weight of the cables which have to conduct electricity and support mechanical loads. These cables need to be insulated and the insulation must also support part of the mechanical forces involved without breaking down. Most power cables are under static load, and have regular supports. The cable needs to be stronger than the usual power cables , lighter or otherwise the balloon will have issues staying at the optimal height.

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.