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Comment: 10 megabytes? (Score 2) 88

by dutchwhizzman (#46830297) Attached to: The Hackers Who Recovered NASA's Lost Lunar Photos
I wouldn't want to be the one to give an estimate on how much bytes are required to adequately store the analogue data on the tapes. It could very well be ten times as much or even more. Depending on the quality of the recording, it could very well be that you'd need 32 bits per pixel and the sample rate you could achieve might mean there could be billions of pixels per image in useful data in the recordings. All of a sudden you could be dealing with multiple gigabytes per image in raw data. Derivatives with processed image data might raise that number substantially again.

Comment: Re:Something wrong at the foundation - (Score 1) 460

by dutchwhizzman (#46812491) Attached to: Oklahoma Moves To Discourage Solar and Wind Power
In the Netherlands we have a division of power. One company that provides the basic utilities to get the power connection to your home going and a choice of dozens that are allowed to deliver that power to you. The first one is regulated strictly, the second one is regulated only in such a way that there is free market and healthy competition going on.

Comment: Not rusting out (Score 1) 158

90% Ethanol fuel will eat just as much at your fuel system as 10% Ethanol will. The big problem is that older cars (we're talking over 10 years old at least) may have materials in their fuel system that aren't able to deal with ethanol. Old rubber hoses will perish, fuel pumps with rubber seals will go the same way. 90% Ethanol would be hard to start in cold winter region, which is why E85 is usually the highest concentration used in vehicles

Comment: Not mundane (Score 1, Insightful) 184

by dutchwhizzman (#46738217) Attached to: The Case For a Safer Smartphone

Driving is not a mundane task. As long as people treat it like that, they will be donating organs and keeping the car body repair industry blooming. Even if we're not using a phone, having a conversation is so distracting that the intense task of keeping a lump of metal hurling along at speeds our brain never was meant to comprehend is severely compromised and chances of an error potentially resulting in a crash are increased close to the same amount as when we're on the phone. Holding the device isn't going to matter much, we're just as screwed if we're concentrating on a passenger or trying to comprehend the squeaking of a hands free kit.

Perceived danger is key here. We tend to think there is no danger in doing this, because none of our senses alert us of anything (possibly) going wrong. Make the seat belts pop loose, let a spike appear from the steering wheel and make the car rumble if drivers appear distracted. That will make them aware they are crossing a line that quickly leads to a situation they can in no way react to in time, if they notice it at all before they have an accident. Their sense of danger will be triggered and they will avoid getting to that point in the future, or or ignore it and become another statistic.

Comment: Now replace "deaf culture" in your text (Score 3, Insightful) 510

by dutchwhizzman (#46711833) Attached to: How Cochlear Implants Are Being Blamed For Killing Deaf Culture

Put any sectarian culture in place of "deaf culture" and it would apply just as much. The anger isn't aimed at deaf people (a common misconception amongst deaf people) but against the separatist deaf culture that this group tends to practice against the rest of the population. Being part of society is a verb, it's called "participating" and it requires you to actively engage with others. If deaf people want to be accepted, they have to participate and not choose their own culture at the expense of being isolated. Any time this sort of choice is made, it is a clear sign of dangerous sectarian behavior and it is almost always damaging to those inside the culture.

I understand that there is certain humor that will get lost in translation and the way deaf people use other senses to compensate for their lack of hearing and it would be nice of those could be preserved. If the price for that preservation would be to withhold a minor from medical care that could enable them to be part of a hearing society, I think the parents should lose custody and the child should get proper medical care. "Special" does not always mean better, you wouldn't operate on a hearing child to make it deaf, just so it would better be able to communicate with it's deaf parents, would you? The decision to operate or not should never be about the parents culture, but about giving your child the best chances it will have in a world were the vast majority of people is able to hear one way or the other.

Comment: not anymore (Score 2) 71

by dutchwhizzman (#46711777) Attached to: The Amoeba That Eats Human Intestines, Cell By Cell
Malaria and dengue are on the rise again. Humans have created so many opportunities in their own landfills and housing (a single old car tire is enough) that these mosquitoes dont go away if you drain a swamp. We are also rather good at helping these animals spread, since every continent not Antarctica now has both species carrying the disease roaming in the wild because we let them ride along with our goods. As far as killing them goes, they have proven to be able to mutate such that common `environmentally friendly pesticides no longer work and we have to resort to really nasty stuff to sufficiently kill an outbreak. So, statistically, you dont treat malaria or dengue but you try to avoid it, contain the spread and fight the symptoms if you happen to get ill from it.

Comment: Even better, tax it (Score 1) 342

by dutchwhizzman (#46685437) Attached to: Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

Put a tax on fast trading, but don't outlaw it. If you want to trade within a second, you pay a 50% profit tax. Trade within a day, 40%, trade within a week, 30%. If you lose at all, not matter how long you're holding on to stock, you don't get to subtract that from your profits. If something happens, you're free to trade, but you have to pay taxes regardless if you make a profit on the deal. If you want to cut your losses, you're tax free since you're losing on the deal. See it as a gambling tax, since either you have insider knowledge, you are manipulating the market, or you were gambling if you can consistently make money on HFT. Because providing legally accepted proof of any of these is hard, just tax it as gambling. Any proof that it's not gambling will automatically be proof of one of the others, which are illegal.

People say this won't work unless it's introduced globally, but I think that's not going to be the case. Sure, HF traders will hate it, but the companies that are actually putting up their shares will be happy to oblige and still register their stock at exchanges that will have this sort of taxes implemented. People that are actually interested in investing in a company will not mind either, since they have faith in the company and won't have to deal with market whims and price manipulations as much. Finally, the really good traders will find a way to still make money out of this, but they will have to actually look at the economy and what companies are doing, instead of whatever else they are doing now.

Comment: Fukushima is an example of human failure (Score 2) 152


As we know now, even without the tsunami Fukushima would be a large nuclear disaster, since at least one reactor is cracked and leaking contaminated radioactive water into the ground water table. Also, that "freak tsunami" actually is statistically happening every thousand years or so, so the chance that it would happen in the life time of a facility, say 50 years, is about 5% or to put that in perspective: "so likely that you'd have to be an idiot not to design for it". So much for a perfect design, but that's not what I wanted to comment about.

Fukushima is an example of how big humans tend to mess up "perfect" designs, plans and safety regulations. The amount of failures, attempts at cover ups, corruption and other human behaviour that has lead to the giant mess Fukushima is currently is evidence that humans are incapable of safely operating even the most safe design of nuclear reactor. Almost all nuclear accidents we've had in the past 100 years were caused by human action, not by design flaws. Until we've designed a better human that doesn't have these flaws, we will have risks operating nuclear facilities.
Whether that is a reason not to go nuclear is a matter of debate, but don't assume that designing safer facilities will help a lot in preventing accidents from happening. Sooner or later some idiot will do something stupid, most likely a group of idiots will do multiple stupid things and we'll have another incident to deal with. Right now we have a fire in a storage facility that couldn't have happened if multiple safety regulations weren't violated, but it happened anyway. The more safe you build something, the more careless people are going to be. Who would have thought that they would simply shut off fire alarms and automatic extinguishing equipment? Who would have thought they would run old unmaintained trucks that could spontaneously burst into flames inside a confined space like a salt mine filled with highly dangerous plutonium? People do that sort of incredibly stupid things because they are humans. Even fully automating the place isn't going to work, since the automated stuff still needs maintenance and sooner or later, humans will be involved and mess it up.

Comment: Won't work with false ownership claims (Score 1) 306

As asked correctly by the parent poster, how would that work in false ownership claims? I'd say they'd have to pay for the production of said item to the party that they wronged by their claim, since putting the production in public domain would only hurt the actual owner. Make false claims hurt so much that people will think twice before submitting one.

Comment: focus time, night vision and depth vision (Score 1) 496

by dutchwhizzman (#46646601) Attached to: Will Cameras Replace Sideview Mirrors On Cars In 2018?

Using a screen less than 3 feet away from your eyes to "glance" on will make your eyes change focus to "close range". Especially people over 35 will need significant time to readjust their focus on that screen and then back on the road in front of them. Traditional mirrors let you focus on more or less the same distance behind you as they are focused in front of you. This will in practice cost you about half a second of time more to look at the screen compared to a mirror, older people even more. Time you could spend hitting the brakes because something in front of you happened while you were looking at the rear view mirror. This is one of the reasons why looking at your phone while driving is much more dangerous than looking at something outside the car. Yes, manufacturers could put a lens in front of the screen so your eyes wouldn't have to adjust focus, but unfortunately that won't work since the distance to the object is also determined by the amount you have to cross your eyes to get a single image, so it will take more time to watch the screen still and you will get tired because of the unnatural combination of eye cross and distance.

A screen plus camera with "retina" resolution and enough contrast and brightness to not blind you at night and still give you enough brightness on a sunny summer day will cost thousands of dollars now in OEM contracts of millions of units at best. The best military airplane stuff you can buy right now in camera equipment might be good enough (they are classified, so it's hard to make a guess). The best available Professional HD TV cameras just don't have the night vision and require neutral density filters to dim them, so at least commercially, the technology just isn't available for purchase yet. Chances that cameras get the dynamic range and at a price where it's useful to replace a mirror on a car in 4 years are extremely small. Screens are better in that regard, with OLED technology we get the resolution and won't blind ourselves at night, but sunny day brightness is still way behind.

Humans have 3D vision and even use that in looking in their side mirrors in their cars. With current 3D technology in screens, we can't really do that without wearing special glasses and even then, it's only working if we don't move our head or eyes. The nature of driving a car is that you move your head and eyes a lot, so unless they come up with a new technology, it won't be a proper replacement for our current biological 3D capabilities.

Comment: It's not just about the latest technology (Score 1) 160

by dutchwhizzman (#46631803) Attached to: Apple Patent Could Herald Interchangeable iPhone Camera Lenses

It is true that sensors in top of the line phones get the latest technology. However, they also get low budget versions of that technology and they *are* tiny compared to full frame and medium format cameras.

One of the reasons people still use those bigger sensors is that the quality of the lens system used is less critical to prevent distortion if your sensor is bigger. If you use a 4*3 meter sensor (your wall) you can get amazing pictures with just a tiny hole in the curtains, you can do away with a lens completely. This scales up and down, so the more area, the better the image quality given the same quality of lens.
Also you can get a much better control over depth of field with larger sensors. If you have a larger aperture you get a more shallow depth of field, giving you the option to blur the back and foreground. Aperture sizes larger than your sensor aren't effective any more, so tiny sensors can only go so far when it comes to shallow DOF.
Lastly the "compression" of your subject (how big their nose is if you get closer to their face to fill the frame) gives more natural looks if you use bigger sensors. The same sort of physics apply here. Bigger sensors equal bigger focal lengths of the lenses to get the entire sensor exposed properly with the same composition. That means that you get less of a fish eye effect and people in general look more pleasing when photographed with a bigger sensor style camera.

Apart from all these reasons, I despise smart phone cameras because they aren't instant ready and I haven't found one phone+app that will let me control things like focus points, ISO sensitivity, white balance and such. Maybe they are out there, but they must be in telephones that cost way more than a much better dedicated camera so I have never looked at them. Horrible ergonomics make even the best sensor and lens totally useless for anything but casual snap shots. Given the same price, I'd rather have a decent camera with an older generation sensor and lens than the latest smart phone with a horrible user interface and the typical 300+ ms lag between grabbing the device and being able to take a picture.

Comment: Maximal advantage 13 - 15 in practice much lower (Score 1) 518

by dutchwhizzman (#46629401) Attached to: Department of Transportation Makes Rear View Cameras Mandatory

Given the enormous amount of people dying from car related accidents, 13 - 15 is a statistically insignificant number of deaths and injuries prevented already. The actual number that it will achieve is probably lower, since people already have plenty of options to check what and who is behind their vehicle before backing up. Having a rear view camera and a screen isn't going to help a lot here, since people will mostly ignore that just as much as their rear view mirrors and their surroundings as they are approaching the car before getting in.

Yearly health and driving capability tests will each give a much better result than mandating a rear view camera. Trying to get that sort of regulation passed in Washington however is not going to happen, since it will interfere with the "freedom" of people and it might get half of the senate's licenses revoked.

Comment: Small market, won't matter (Score 2, Insightful) 518

by dutchwhizzman (#46629349) Attached to: Department of Transportation Makes Rear View Cameras Mandatory
Given the amount of options we have already of not having to drive ourselves to get anywhere, people will not be using the self driving feature for most of the time. That gives the self driving feature on cars a very small market since the price of a vehicle with self driving capability will be much higher than the equivalent vehicle that doesn't have the option. The safety advance we will see in practice from self driving cars will be rather insignificant the first few years the technology is available at least and unless mandated to be switched on permanently, it will take many years before a significant number of drivers will have it on their cars and using it.

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun

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