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Comment Re:Oracle works its miracle (Score 1) 457

IBM is the worlds greatest patent troll . Oracle and the jolly fellas are not even close.

IBM arguably has the world's largest arsenal of dubious patents. However, they don't seem to use them for anything but defense. If they've done any trolling at all, it has been on a small enough scale that few noticed.

Comment Re:What energy prices have risen? (Score 2) 338

Chances are they aren't producing much of their electricity domestically any more and instead are importing.

They didn't shut down their nuclear reactors and a whole bunch of coal plants just sprung up everywhere to take up the slack.

Um. This is Japan, and Island country. I'm pretty sure they are not importing electricity from anywhere, though they do have some submarine cables between the islands. If they did build a cable on the shortest route to South Korea (the only plausible endpoint) it would be on the longest undersea power cables in the world. Maybe if/when the build the tunnel

Comment Re:Err, no, that isn't how it works (Score 1) 280

"The good news is that autonomous cars don't need to park-- they just go give someone else a ride. They could change city life forever."

This will not change with autonomous cars. If people didn't want to own cars, the above situation could exist _now_ -- they are or were called taxis/taxi cabs/cabs/hansom cabs/licensed hackney carriages.

Yes and no. In principle people could do that and certain very high density areas, they already do. However, outside these areas, relying on taxis is too expensive and inconvenient. Further, the cost of car ownership is lower since parking one is neither difficult nor expensive.

Autonomous vehicles will greatly reduce the cost of taxis. The cost reduction means there will be more of them so they will be more convenient too. I expect many more people will choose to go car-less in that environment.

I don't expect all them will give up their cars, though. I'm not even sure that most of them will.

Self-driving cars do actually have to park.

Private self-driving cars will need to go somewhere to wait. It won't need to be all that close but they will need to go there. This may actually increase traffic on freeways and arterials as self driving cars head home after dropping off their owners, only to return again sometime later to pick them up. One round trip turns into two.

Self driving taxi will not be able to stay usefully in service all the time. They will need to park somewhere or circle uselessly, which is arguably worse.

Comment Self driving means cheap taxis (Score 1) 904

Auto ownership has probably hit it's peak, self-driving cars will make the expense of individual ownership less and less appealing in general. And owning an ICE for road trips is ridiculous. Just rent the car.

When did we reach the conclusion that self driving cars is some sort of given fact?

I think it is pretty straight forward that private ownership will decrease though it is not often presented well.

1) Self drive will make taxi's much cheaper by removing the cost of paying the driver.
2) Convenience will increase too, partly through better allocating the available vehicles. This is made easier with self drive since it does not have to link up with an available driver but it is also through better information technology predicting where cars need to be.
3) With cheaper and more convenient taxi's more people will use them. Those that can only marginally justify owning a car will give up their cars. The increased use will also make taxi's more convenient creating a bit of a feedback cycle.

However, I am not convinced that, outside of dense urban areas, the ratio of people who can practically give up their cars even with cheap taxis is high enough to produce the "almost no-one owns a car" utopia. I think most suburban dwellers will still own cars. They just won't drive them. The last driven as much by the cost of insuring a manual drive car as the convenience of autonomous drive.

Comment Re:I wish I could buy GMO seeds (Score 1) 295

Crops already are invasive species. The majority of them were originally native to the Middle East and we have modified them through manual selection to grow in other regions just as successfully. We count on them to outcompete native plants (if corn (which was actually from Central America I believe) can't outproduce native prairie grasses in Iowa and Nebraska then we won't have any corn).

The point at which it could become a bad thing has already past

Crops are not invasive species. They are non-native species but that is not the same thing. An invasive species has a survival advantage over native species. Typically, this is an adaption to a threat not present outside its native environment. Crops are not like that. They are modified to produce more/better food for us. That puts them at a disadvantage against native plants (aka "weeds"). They need help to survive. That is exactly the opposite of invasive.

Direct genetic modification makes it easier to improve all crop characteristics but the basic trade-offs remain. It would certainly be possible to engineer a super tomato or super corn that would out-compete native plants and take over the landscape. It wouldn't be of any use to anyone though since the only one to get there is to make the plant nearly useless for food production.

Comment Hangouts can not be removed (Score 2) 203

It would appear prudent to uninstall Google Hangouts.

Prudent but not always possible. On some versions of Android, Google Hangouts is a system app part of the os image. It can not be uninstalled. Only updates can be uninstalled, which is not helpful in this case.

This is not the case of my old phone. It runs Gingerbread and Hangouts did not exist when Gingerbread came out. It also not true of my new phone. I'm running a third party "debloated" version of Lollipop that omits Hangouts and other not-necessarily desired apps from the image.

Comment Re:Rolling (Score 1) 319

I run a nightly ROM on my phone, but that's only because there's no stable release of it anymore (it's officially "unmaintained" but the nightlies work well).

My laptop runs debian testing, which I update daily. I follow "testing" not "stretch" - so when stretch is released (in 25 years or so), it'll automatically "upgrade" to the next testing.

My desktop runs arch. They use a rolling release, so I update that pretty often as well.

So I guess the whole "how often do you update" thing doesn't apply to rolling OSs.

Sure it does. Just because a release is offered doesn't mean you have to install it. I run gentoo which also does rolling releases. There are pros and cons to keeping up or rather *not* keeping up. The pro is that you don't have to deal with the breakages. The con is that eventually you will need to come up to current and that can be a holy terror. Not only do you have a large number of manual fixes for things that don't settle out on their own but sometimes you can't easily get from the version you have to the version that is current without going through an intermediate version that is not easily determined and may not even be in Portage anymore.

I kind of wish there was an option to update only those packages that have not changed for a week or two. That way, if packages fixes are needed, someone else finds them and the packages is fixed before I have to deal with it.

I'm in the middle of updating an eepc 900 to useably current ubuntu. While not strictly a rolling release, the machine is nearly six years behind so I have to install LTS updates sequentially. No obvious breakages so far but it does take a very long time.

Comment Re:Other opponents (Score 4, Insightful) 446

The GMO label means nothing, but those pushing it will use it to imply GMO=unsafe. It then becomes a weapon they can use to advance their agenda to have all GMO removed from the food chain. For no good reason.

Some people falsely believe gluten is bad. Do you support banning labels that tell people that a food contains wheat?

Non-sequitur. Celiac is quite real even if most of the people avoiding gluten don't have it. There is no such thing as "GMO sensitivity". Indeed, there can't be because "GMO" is not a substance.

Comment Re:Other opponents (Score 5, Insightful) 446

other opponents of labeling genetically modified foods

Now who the hell considers themselves an opponent of labeling GMO foods unless they have a financial stake in it? Is there anyone walking down the street who has nothing to do with the food industry and considers themselves an opponent of labeling GMO foods?

I have no financial stake it in an I oppose labeling of GMO foods.

This... legislation will ensure that Americans have accurate, consistent information about their food

So a law that requires that GMO foods are labeled as GMO foods would be a barrier to accurate, consistent information?

Yes. Because "GMO" doesn't tell you anything all. It makes people *think* they are making an informed choice about their health when actually they are choosing randomly and because people have limited time and attention span, adding the label means other, actually important factors, get less attention.

Comment Re:WHAT radioactive materials? (Score 2) 242

Elemental tritium would certainly not be spread over any crash site, not unless it was carefully packaged. Otherwise it would head directly for space.

Half right. Tritium is chemically hydrogen. As a gas, it would not spread over the crash site except for a small bit that might bond to solid materials if there is a fire. Most would go into the atmosphere where it would eventually bond with oxygen forming radioactive water. Fun.

Secondary radiation, however, is a different matter. And someone said that the fusion was only a source of neutorns to enhance fission. (That seems like a pretty wierd idea, since we don't currently have fusion working.)

Secondary radiation from the tritium is a non-issue. It is a beta emitter (free electrons) so it can't cause other materials to become radioactive. The neutrons from fusion and the induced fission, on the other hand are quite up to task.

Using fusion as a source of neutrons for fission isn't all that weird. We *do* have fusion working. What we don't have is fusion that produces more energy than it consumes. That is not a problem for a neutron source. It has the advantage over direct fission that bomb making material is never available. If you have a strong enough neutron source, you can fission Uranium 238 directly. No need to breed plutonium, like you would in a breeder reactor.

Comment Re:Illogical (Score 4, Informative) 207

"We aren't scientists. We haven't done many experiments to prove how much damage the radiation from Wi-Fi can cause."

If you haven't done any experiments to prove how much damage WiFi can cause, then how do you know that your APs are safe?

More precisely: even if you accept that WiFi damages unborn children, how can you be sure that "pregnant women mode" reduces the danger in any meaningful way if you have not done any experiments?

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!