Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Comment: Re:It's that time... (Score 1) 269 269

Why? Just make it so that as far as the machines are concerned Gorillas are a subset of humans. And then keep the actual gorillas away from them.

You've got a reasonable point for more advanced machines, but for now I'd just as soon that they also avoid squashing dogs and cats...or, pretty much anything protoplasmic over, say, 5 pounds. Or 4. Slaugher house machines don't need to be intelligent, and shouldn't be. Not until things are FAR more developed.

And, really, wouldn't you just as soon that your car avoided running over that skunk? So if you adopt a variant of the precautionary principle, you can get most of the advantages without waiting for perfection.

Comment: Re:Really ? (Score 1) 235 235

You need to plate it with teflon.

What bothers me is the idea of that being a colony rather than just an outpost. Where to you get metals? Can you split the CO2 into C + O2 and than use the C for bulk fabrication? It seems as if graphene can be either conductive or insulating, and nanotubes are pretty strong, but now we're talking about a rather extensive fabrication facility just in the initial set-up.

I consider asteroids a much more reasonable habitat. (I'm not sure that Mars is a good choice, but it sure sounds better than Venus.)

Comment: Re:Why live there then? (Score 1) 80 80

Depends. How safe a neighborhood do you want? I believe that the normal asking rent for an apartment in Oakland was around $1500/month a few years ago...but I haven't actually been looking in the last 30 years, so I don't know what neighborhood is implied by that price.

12 * 1,500 = 18,000, so it depends on your other expenses...and whether you want to live that cheaply. OTOH, neighborhood is *VERY* important. And I also don't know what size apartment I'm talking about.

My suspicion, however, is that there was no intention of living in a downtown area, and that commute was as important as cost. Of course, for enough money you can find a sufficiently desireable location in a city, so saying money is the basis isn't incorrect.

Comment: Re:Why live there then? (Score 0) 80 80

Units should be of the appropriate size to what you're measuring. Farenheit is more appropriate for judging room temperature and even cooking temperature when you don't need to be precise enough to get down to fractions of a degree.

The metric system has a lot of value, especially when doing precise measurements. When doing rough measurements at human scale it runs into problems. The meter is about the right size, but centimeter, or even decimeter, isn't a good replacement for foot. And for many purposes centimeter is too small to replace an inch. (When you start using fractions of an inch this advantage disappears.)

One can argue whether a Kilogram or a pound is the more useful general weight, it seems pretty much a draw to me. Ditto for Kilometer and mile. And when being precise metric is the clear winner.

OTOH, for outside temperature, a rough measue (Farenheit) is not only better suited in size, but also in accuracy. You don't get an accurate outside temperature, because it varies too much from place to place. So it's best not to pretend that you do. Which means avoid fractional degrees, whether Farenheit or Centigrade (okay, Celsius, but Centigrade is a better name).

Comment: Re:Why not send out best tool which is people? (Score 2) 136 136

It is great to have the rovers on Mars, but a team of say 5 astronauts in 2 weeks could have accomplished at least as much as all the rovers did.

The rovers require large support teams on Earth. Is it really worth keeping personnel on for a decade to do what could be done in a few weeks?

Robots may be the answer, but right now they really suck when they are out of range of immediate control.

Comment: Re:Once Again (Score 2) 136 136

It works just if you removed taxes on work and income and replaced them completely with taxes on property. It is logical that this will cause people to behave in ways that are suboptimal for society as a whole.

Just be aware that income taxes ALSO cause people to behave in ways that are suboptimal for society as a whole. The proper solution is to try to spread the tax load over income/consumption/pollution/property/inheritance/... in such a way that overall harm is minimized. Most governments do so but obviously with very different emphasis on which tax they prefer.

Moderate inflation tends to be correlated with decent economic growth. Printing money is a completely valid way to pay for a part of the government budget. Alas, a fairly small part in normal economic times.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 1) 790 790

Yes, the main problem with the modern attack aircraft is that no one wants to buy a light bomber, even though that is what they need.

The F-35 has lousy payload for a light bomber, especially when stealthy and supercruising (nothing mounted on the external hardpoints). The alternatives are about equally crappy, except for the F-22 which is completely hopeless. At least the F-22 has a role where it is supposedly good, when it isn't busy killing its pilot.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 4, Interesting) 790 790

Drone pilots don't seem to have much of a conscience either. They are far removed from the action, the consequences, less involved.

Drone pilots suffer at least as much from PTSD as regular pilots. However, their work environment is tailored to ensure that their kill performance is excellent. If a pilot who is in a plane does not take a shot, it seems to be considered more of a judgement call based on what they saw, whereas if a drone pilot fails to take a shot, all the video evidence is there to go through in the debriefing. Those who fail to perform or who want to leave the assignment are threatened with dishonourable discharge.

Do not judge them as people without conscience. They are victims too.

Comment: Re:Fucking Lawyers (Score 3, Interesting) 179 179

That would be sufficient to make the APIs stop working. Perhaps you should think again about what information is required and copyrightable.

I think that this decision may mean that Google will need to do something like alphabetize the API. (Customized organization can be copyrighted, but alphabetical order can't.)

Hold on to the root.

Working...