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Comment Re:I don't think it will mean much (Score 1) 155

This isn't a big problem. You'll have to have your own insurance on the car for the foreseeable future (at least until the liability issues are sorted out), and so you're covered. Volvo's assurance might make your insurance less expensive (and just having a self-driving car might lower the rates also).

Comment Re:Don't contact aliens. Don't. (Score 1) 166

The problem with that logic is that it's human. If we had Star Trek-style ships, we'd go around our area of the galaxy and study everybody. We'd have no need to mine any resources on those planets, and the primitive civilizations would be unable to produce any manufactured product we couldn't get far more cheaply. (I don't think sending any commodities over interstellar distances will ever be economic: we'd be able to produce the same stuff cheaper.)

Of course, if starships were cheap enough, we'd have people like Harvey Fenton Mudd moving in and trying to take over. Were the aliens human, that would be the biggest threat.

Alien thought processes and attitudes would be different, and I can't realistically speculate on them. It's entirely possible that they'll have what they consider an excellent reason to annihilate all life on Earth. It'd be quick, anyway.

Comment Re:Amazing news! (Score 1) 147

Having "the tablet market back before it was popular" is an odd way of putting it. Microsoft produced expensive tablet-style computers running an operating system (XP) that was not well-suited for it. Those things were very niche - a few people found them great, and most weren't interested. The tablet market now is one with tablets less expensive than regular computers, running OSes designed to run on them, with software designed for them. Microsoft was not in that market at all before, IIRC, Windows Phone 7.

Similarly, Apple created the market for the easy-to-use smart phone. Other smart phone companies adapted or suffered badly.

I don't understand how Microsoft was supposed to claim the phone market. They produced what some people think an excellent OS for their phones (I don't like the way it looks, but that's me), but it really has nothing exceptional. Their compatibility layers mean that you can buy a Microsoft phone that will do the same things as an Android phone, basically. They gave up on having Office exclusive to their OS, a sign that they didn't expect much.

Comment Re:Loaded title. (Score 1) 147

Somewhere on his blog, Raymond Chen wrote about getting ready for Windows 95. He drove a truck to a software store and bought one of everything to test on W95. He put in work-arounds for bugs in third-party software that hurt things in 95 but not earlier. He took it as a personal affront if he couldn't get some arbitrary bit of Windows 3.1 software to run on 95.

Got a feeling Microsoft's lost that attitude?

Comment Re:Margin of error is vastly underestimated (Score 1) 200

A difference of 0.22% may well be statistically significant, depending on the size of the study. If, for example, you study a million people, you're talking about a difference between 100 and 2300, with a standard deviation of something like ten. That's not going to be because of chance.

Comment Re:Because economics isn't a science (Score 1) 200

The US has only one of the "western economies", albeit the largest by far, and is not representative of the others in many ways. I believe Cuba has universal health care, for example, and although it almost certainly isn't nearly as good as US health care everybody gets it.

Comment Re:Lies, damned lies, and statistics (Score 1) 200

Every physics book I've read that has mentioned gravitons has noted that they haven't been shown to exist. They're predicted, and some of their properties (should they exist) are known, but that's true of other things too.

What astronomers and physicists have managed to do about "dark matter" is to find where it is and some things it isn't, last I looked. Some physicists thought the WIMP hypothesis likely (weakly interacting massive particle), but AFAIK the preliminary experimental results haven't been promising.

Comment Re:Why would anyone be shocked? (Score 1) 200

Don't microeconomic demand curves measure utility? If I might or might not spend $100 on a widget, the widget has very approximately the same utility to me as $100. They aren't a great measure, since it's hard to figure out what a demand curve is.

We have observed minimum wage changes in the past, and their effects, so there's some guidance. One source thought it likely that a raise in the US to $15/hour would slightly reduce employment, would mean the lowest quintile would get more purchasing power, and the top one would get less purchasing power. (I don't remember where I got that one.) We aren't going to know for sure (and even if we do it, it will be in unique economic circumstances with confounding factors, like every other time, and we won't get a clear and precise result), but we can have an idea.

"Anyone attempting to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin." -- John Von Neumann