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Comment Re:Sputnik days are here again (Score 1) 255

I think if they actually start lobbing effective ICBMs our way the response would be much more immediate than an invasion. The US is not going to sit around and wait to see if they can prep another for launch quickly or deliver it some other way after the first strike, and an invasion takes time.

We can mostly neutralize the threat within minutes, and that is exactly what we will do if they nuke us.

Comment Re:Ideas are a dime a dozen. (Score 1) 345

Which physical limitations are we speaking of?

As far as I know planes fly just fine, and batteries are only lacking in density (there are purely electric planes today, but the range is poor). If anyone can pull the maybe 3x improvement necessary to make this into a reality for short flights he can.

It is certainly not that far out there that I would call it a limitation derived from basic physics.

Comment Re:Nope. Same as cars (Score 1) 345

If it were anyone else, I would be a bit skeptical...

We are talking about the guy who owns the largest electric car company, is about to own the largest battery factory (employing many battery chemists and other specialists), and owns the most successful of the private space launch companies.

I think he is well aware of the tyranny of the rocket equation (as well as how it applies to aircraft as they burn their fuel), the limitations of a battery, and the differences between theoretical maximums and what you get in practice. More importantly he is advised by those who really are experts, and past success suggests that he does listen and understand.

Tripling battery density would make it viable on shorter flights, perhaps even cost effective. If anyone is in a position to make that happen, he is.

Comment Re:Critics should provide their own services (Score 1) 152

What they are offering is not internet access, it is a place in his walled garden (or maybe fenced pasture is better). Wikipedia and such are the sugar that he was hoping would help them swallow the bitter facebook medicine.

There are a lot of secondary effects to allowing something like this, from crushing any local competition with facebook before it begins, to letting them choose and price what it takes to reach the populace. If he is only going for the betterment of everyone involved, he can straight up donate the money to do this, or allow all sites which meet certain bandwidth requirements.

Comment Re:These discussions are getting dumber (Score 1) 235

If it only decimates it I will be sorely disappointed, I expect automated cars to do much better than that.

Incidentally, I have programmed that robot in a cage. Mine stops moving if you trip an optical sensor on the way in (possibly damaging the robot due to the application of too much force in the process).

Comment Re:There will probably be inspections (Score 1) 235

It will not drive off a cliff if it is aware of the cliff under any circumstances, it will instead come to a stop before the road ends.

If stopping in time is impossible as something was basically dropped into its path, it will end up hitting the object at the lowest speed it can achieve. It will never intentionally hit anything for any reason at all, and my expectation is that they will be very good at this. Accidents so far always involve the automated car being struck by rather than striking an object for a reason.

The "drive off of a cliff" vs "run over some kids" scenario is not something a car will be aware of at all, it is something humans with no programming experience relevant to this kind of project suggest in an attempt to make it something they can relate to.

Comment Re:make it user-selectable (Score 1) 235

This response is exactly what will happen.

If there is no way to avoid an accident, the car will attempt to stop in its lane as quickly as possible. There is no other conceivable way this could work due to the extreme liability any other decision would imply.

This will in most cases greatly minimize the forces involved in a collision as well.

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