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Comment: Not how you build a network (Score 1) 126

While this is an interesting variant, it faces the same problem that vehicle-2-vehicle communication based on the DSRC and 802.11p protocols does.

Nobody has ever, as far as I know, built a network technology where you must network with random strangers you encounter out in the physical world. You can't build that because there is no value to the first people to install the tech, no value even to the first million in a country with 250 million cars like the USA. The odds of any 2 given cars being able to talk is one in 62,000 at that point. How can you sell a tech that provides no value to the first millions of customers? Even with the legal mandate they are hoping for, it will take decades before there is wide deployment of the 2013 designed technology that is then very obsolete.

I explained this in more detail in my series on V2V at http://ideas.4brad.com/tags/v2v

Comment: Great News (Score 3, Interesting) 82

by chroma (#42050647) Attached to: Syfy Reality Show Will Feature Giant Boxing Robots

The best thing I've heard about this is that Mark Setrakian is involved. Competitors and real fans of robot fighting know him as one of the great geniuses of the sport.

He won the first Robot Wars with The Master. His later machines, Mechadon and Snake, were far less competitive, but were much more interesting.

Here's a video of Mechadon in action:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=El8ne4zSCY0

Comment: Re:You don't get to design your robot (Score 5, Interesting) 82

by chroma (#42050599) Attached to: Syfy Reality Show Will Feature Giant Boxing Robots

I've been involved with robot fighting for over 15 years.

You're incorrect. Autonomous robots aren't as fun to watch as human controlled ones for at least 2 reasons:

1. The current state of the art just isn't good enough.
2. It's hard to root for a soulless lump of metal, whereas you can vicariously experience the competition through the human competitors.

Also, every robot fighting competition I've ever competed in has allowed autonomous competitors, as long as they have fail-safe remote control. So you're welcome to build your own autonomous fighting robot.

Comment: Inevitable, but more illegal stuff on the way? (Score 2) 343

by chroma (#38807651) Attached to: Pirate Bay To Offer Physical Item Downloads

Copyright and trademark infringement are common and this sort of thing has been a source of controversy for a while now.

But the next big blowup will be over things that are illegal in themselves just by their shape and arrangement of parts. I'm talking about things like weapons, drug paraphernalia, and pathogens. It's likely we'll see a crackdown or at least a panic resulting in calls for licensure of many of the most useful creation tools ever designed.

Take the humble AK-47 rifle, for example. It's designed for ease of manufacture, making it a likely target for replication. This makes enforcing highly restrictive gun laws very difficult in a world full of machines that can build them from simple raw materials.

Comment: I've got one arriving Wednesday (Score 3, Interesting) 199

by chroma (#38649924) Attached to: Google Giving Google TV Another Shot

Over the holidays, I got a chance to give Google TV a serious tryout at my parents' house. They bought the Sony Blu Ray player with Google TV built in.

I liked it so much that I ordered one for my living room. It arrives tomorrow.

The Netflix/Amazon/web integration works very well and there's even an app store. I'm planning to use it for all my TV viewing and getting rid of cable.

Comment: Generating and remembering passwords (Score 5, Interesting) 340

by chroma (#36806126) Attached to: The Science of Password Selection

I've become a recent convert to the idea of using a password card or
password chart to remember my passwords for me. There's not nearly as much to remember, as you use a code to look up the password on a printed card. But if you lose the card, anybody finding it will only see a random sequence of letters and numbers.

Comment: Sony's implementation (Score 1) 535

by chroma (#33894804) Attached to: Huge Shocker — 3D TVs Not Selling

I saw Sony's setup at one of their stores. If you're at all interested, I suggest you go check it out, but please lower your expectations.

The 3D effect is OK and the glasses aren't too awful to deal with, but the image is very flickery, especially if you move your head. It's also not quite as good if you're viewing from an angle; you really need to see it straight on.

Comment: YMMV (Score 1) 561

by btempleton (#33849436) Attached to: Google Secretly Tests Autonomous Cars In Traffic

YMMV indeed. Turns out half of these transit systems you talk about in the USA don't do so well on the passenger miles per gallon. The average is the same as cars (which get 35 pmpg) and not as good as hybrid cars or electric cars.

Outside of a few cities, these systems also take a lot longer to get where you're going, don't go where you're going, and don't run at night or much at mid-day. At rush hour you may not get a seat (they're efficient then, but lose all that with the non rush hour empty vehicles)

Big sedans are not that efficient, but private transportation can be very efficient, much more efficient than typical public transit. It can be lighter per person, it doesn't start and stop all the time, and it only goes directly from A to B, not out to C first to change trains.

Comment: Re:Profoundly? (Score 1) 561

by btempleton (#33849230) Attached to: Google Secretly Tests Autonomous Cars In Traffic

Yes, very profoundly.

Look at the numbers: 1.2 million people killed every year in traffic accidents, many millions more maimed or otherwise injured.

230 billion dollars per year cost of accidents in the USA (NHTSA)

50 billion hours spent driving every year in the USA (3 trillion miles.)

25% of greenhouse gases and many other pollutants emitted by cars. (Why robotic cars would seriously reduce that number is quite involved but it's possibe.)
Making serious dents in these is pretty profound.

Space

Nearby Star Forecast To Skirt Solar System 135

Posted by Soulskill
from the we're-doomed dept.
PipianJ writes "A recent preprint posted on arXiv by Vadim Bobylev presents some startling new numbers about a future close pass of one of our stellar neighbors. Based on studies of the Hipparcos catalog, Bobylev suggests that the nearby orange dwarf Gliese 710 has an 86% chance of skirting the outer bounds of the Solar System and the hypothesized Oort Cloud in the next 1.5 million years. As the Oort Cloud is thought to be the source of many long-period comets, the gravitational effects of Gliese's passing could send a shower of comets into the inner Solar System, threatening Earth. This news about Gliese 710 isn't exactly new, but it's one of the first times the probability of this near-miss has been quantified."

Comment: Do not go out for this show in North America (Score 2, Informative) 87

by btempleton (#30125516) Attached to: Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks Early Tuesday Morning

There's been a lot of press on this shower, and I think it's been very misleading. The predictions say there will be no special show in North America. The special show (only mildly special) will be only visible in Asia, at 21:40 UT and about an hour around that. Only if it is after midnight at 22 UT is it worth looking for this shower. Outside of that, ie. in NA, you will see a quite mild show, the kind you can see every year from several showers including the Perseids which take place on warm August nights.

This one has a new moon, which is indeed what you want for a shower but that is all it has. Expect to see one meteor every few minutes if you are doing well.

Even the Asian shower will be minor compared to the big showers of 98-02. And they were minor compared to the mega-storm of 1966. This will be nothing like that. Meteor showers can be fun, but I fear all the press on this one will disappoint people for being misled.

For large values of one, one equals two, for small values of two.

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