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Comment Re:Why go without GPS? (Score 1) 23 23

24 additional satellites added to the 5 currently orbiting mars will add a level of complexity to any new probes sent - they have more obstacles to avoid on their approach. The good news is that the gps ones will be broadcasting a gps signal, so it wouldn't be too hard to design a new craft to avoid those 24. 24 new launches to Mars could give the private space launch business a boost. Or would we try to send all 24 in one or two bundles? Can we be sure they won't interfere with the Martian's gps system? We don't want them breaking out their PU-238 Space Modulators....

Comment Re:Trucks will be hybrids, not pure EV (Score 1) 841 841

That's very likely (not sarcastic). The biggest reason diesel engines are used in large trucks is the high torque they need to move those loads, and electric can do torque as well. And there'll be some weight savings from not needing a transmission. Would the weight of the batteries be much more than the diesel fuel they carry now? Each of those tanks holds ~150 gallons. At 7.5 lbs per gallon, that's 1125 lbs per fuel tank when full. For long, steep hills like Tejon and Cajon pass in CA, I'm picturing a solution being overhead wires like what's used in LA's light rail being installed over a truck lane. They can charge them a fee for the boost based on their weight at the last weigh station have have a transponder in the truck like is used in Orange county's toll roads. It'll get them up the hills and even let them recharge the batteries a bit while they do it, so they can go further before needing to charge once they're off the hill.

Comment Re:Right to Privacy in One's Backyard? (Score 1) 1163 1163

The problem with jamming devices is that there is no way of restricting the area affected by them to the limits of your property. That's one of the reasons the FCC regulates stuff like that. You wouldn't be too happy if your neighbors installed cell phone jammers to protect themselves from phones' dangerous EM radiation, would you? In this case, I think a paintball gun or laser pointer would be more appropriate. Shooting off firearms in a residential area when there's otherwise no violent actions going on is a recipe for things escalating to Hatfield/McCoy levels.

Comment Re:Or let us keep our hard-earned money (Score 2) 566 566

As it is, we export much of our pollution production to China, since they provide the labor so much cheaper - because they don't bother much with pollution controls, workplace safety, or fair labor practices. They manufacture the goods and produce so much pollution that large cities have visibility reduced to only a few hundred meters. And we know that pollution on scales like that is not going to stay a local phenomenon, as winds blow, climates change, and wildlife dies.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/...

Comment Re:nothing new under the sun (Score 1) 446 446

Three possibilities I see with the religious point of view:
1) The person wants to make committing acts they find religiously offensive more difficult (yet they don't find theft and extortion morally/religiously offensive?).
2) Since the overwhelming majority of the people using such a site would tend to be the devout, they don't want someone else to hack the site and let that info out - so they claim to hack it and get it shut down so the data aren't available for other hackers to set free.
3) They're just sadistic and want to see everyone in their church squirm.

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 1) 549 549

> we know humans can handle all of those

Perhaps for a good part of the time, but considering that humans that go for 5 years without getting into an accident in familiar conditions and familiar territory are out at the far end of the bell curve, "handle" isn't a ringing endorsement.

While humans have driven on the Moon, we've also put semi-autonomous driving probes on Mars - the communications delay is too great for a human to drive them remotely like the various Moon probes were. While there's (probably) no roads on Mars, there's also (probably) no other drivers or pedestrians.

There's never going to be an end to testing of vehicles regardless of who/what drives them.

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 1) 549 549

The law says you're supposed to allow enough space so that if the car in front of you suddenly stops, you have enough time to come to a safe stop. If a child darted out in front, of course the car in front will smash the brakes - whether it's a person driving or a SDC. If there's a manhole cover that was put back not-quite-over-the-hole, the car's wheel going into the hole will bring the car in front to a fast stop. In both cases getting rear-ended is still a fault on the part of rear-most car for driving closer to the car in front than is safe.

The only exception I'm aware of, and it's not a complete removal of fault from the rear driver by any means, would be if the driver in front decided to "brake check" in an attempt to cause an accident with the car in the rear. And that's because both drivers have a legal obligation to do what they can to avoid an accident - having the right of way and still causing an accident is still breaking the law.

Comment That's all we need (Score 2) 151 151

That's all we need, cars that come with yet another software EULA that says you don't actually own the software or communications systems in the car, and trying to customize it or removed unwanted "features" will violate the warranty and open me up to lawsuit liability. Not that that stopped many people from messing with software and/or communications before, but now it has the added fun of multi-ton machines hurtling down the road mixed in with it.

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

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