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Comment Re:When in doubt, add more struts (Score 0) 220 220

They should have added a lot more of them, clearly. It's not like struts have any mass.

At least keep adding them until the high part count causes the avionics software frame rate to drop...

Wait... maybe that's what happened. The lag that caused them to crash on the barge last time was caused by too many struts, but now they've removed too many.

Comment Re:Something wrong there (Score 2) 549 549

It's possible that the Google car is not giving out "body language" that telegraphs behavior before it happens. If you are about to slow down, you might move your head to check your mirrors, let off the gas a little bit, possibly maneuver in the lane, little things that humans could detect subconsciously. If the Google car just enters a slowing-down event, it might be undetectable.

I know as a motorcycle rider, I've suspected someone was about to do something stupid just before they did and it's saved me a few times.

That's actually a really good point. After 20 years of driving, it seems like I have about 90+% accuracy in predicting what people will do over the next 5 seconds or so. I'm guessing that's not atypical for anyone that actually pays attention while they're driving. A robot isn't going to give up a lot of those clues.

On the other hand, though, the robot *should* be fairly deterministic, so it might be possible to predict it based on what's going on around it (or actually force it to react how you want it to! For example, it would be easy to cheat traffic by cutting off robotic cars, because you know you'll win the game of chicken.).

Comment Re:Crash Mitigation (Score 1) 549 549

If Google's self-driving car was able to track the car that rear-ended it, I wonder if there are ways to mitigate this kind of "predictable" crash. Maybe letting off the brakes a tad to lessen the impact, or (out of left field idea) deploy air bags on the bumpers?

Seems like if the real issue is "everyone else" in driving you would think Google could come up with ways to reduce the impact level of inevitable crashes.

Letting off the brakes would make things better for the people in the car hitting you, but *worse* for you, as well as increasing the chances of continuing a chain reaction.

Sitting stopped at a light/stop sign (usually boxed in) is pretty much the only time when the rear-endee has absolutely no control of the situation. If you're moving, a good driver will try to keep some space available to bail out into, as well as enough space in front of them so that they don't have to slam on their brakes and fall victim to a tailgater.

Comment Re:Casper is Concerned (Score 4, Informative) 352 352

So, do really pale "white" people get mis-labeled as ghosts? Inquiring minds are somewhat concerned because they are rather pale....

One of the articles I saw about this mentioned that in the past, light-skinned people had been identified as dogs and seals. Strangely, there was no outrage about that.

Comment Re:Stop interconnecting systems (Score 2) 165 165

There's no reason why the infotainment system can't have read-only access to the engine control module (with write access physically prevented by the hardware). You won't be able to modify the engine management without physical access to the car, but that's the way it should be anyway.

The problem with this logic is that "read-only" access still implies that the unprivileged system can poke the privileged one and cause it to do something. It will probably also have to pass some kind of data to the privileged system as well. Read-only or not, that opens the door to several kinds of exploits (buffer overflow, etc.).

Comment Re:Effect of nukes on NEOs (Score 1) 272 272

Yeah, the idea is idiotic. You blow up the NEO. Wonderful. The million pieces still have the same mass, velocity and therefore kinetic energy heading towards the planet.

You don't blow up threatening space objects. Space is really big. All you do is give the object a little nudge while it's still far enough away. The little nudge is all it takes to miss the planet by a very large margin.

OK, I'm going to stand 50 meters away from you and shoot you with a shotgun. I'll give you a choice: would you prefer me to use a slug, or an equivalent mass of birdshot?

Also, blow it up far enough away, and the center of mass of the object could pass right through Earth without any of the bits actually hitting us.

Comment Re:One industry loses, another industry gains (Score 1) 389 389

In this case, the legal industry will welcome the plethora of deep-pocketed targets available to be sued when an accident occurs with a self-driving vehicle.

haha... you think you'll be allowed to buy one without signing a EULA transferring all liability from the manufacturer to you?

Comment FDA Certification Part of the Problem (Score 4, Informative) 42 42

The reason a lot of these devices use outdated OSes is that it has to be FDA approved. I used to work on some hospital networks, and not only were some of these systems running out-dated operating systems, they couldn't have any security updates applied without losing their FDA approval. We kept these systems locked in solitary confinement behind firewalls (with no Internet access), but you still have to be able to get to them over the network to actually use them (and worse, occasionally by remote radiologists coming in over a VPN from who knows where).

Comment Re:Could you tell a difference at distance? (Score 4, Insightful) 535 535

So, if you DON'T report it you can be fined and prosecuted at least for a misdemeanor according to the last paragraph. So the principal is screwed both ways and cannot use common sense like the rest of us would...

No he's not... There's a world of difference between:
Operator: 911, do you have an emergency?
Overreacting principal: OMG! There's a guy with a gun on campus!!!1!one! Help! I have the school on lockdown!

and

Operator: 911, do you have an emergency?
Reasonable principal: There's some guy wearing a Star Wars costume here. He has what's probably a prop/toy gun, but I'm required by law to report firearms on campus. Can you send an officer to make contact and make sure it's just a toy?

Comment Re:One small problem (Score 1) 509 509

Don't forget that after the camera is off and nobody is watching you will resist arrest, get physically assaulted and tazed because you know you resisted. In the end resisting arrest will stick and see it was all justified.

Cops need body camera's and a hard and fast law that anything not captured on body camera the cop can not testify to. Were past the time where we need to or should trust the cops word as to visible facts, technology is capable of giving an impartial viewpoint.

What we need are cheap and ubiquitous "cop panic button" recorders.
They would work like this:
- Simple hardware - microphone, flash storage, battery, USB port, button, sealed case.
- Upon pressing the button, it starts recording. It CAN NOT be shut off until it's destroyed or the battery dies.
- USB port allows read-only access to anyone, but requires a key file (not just a password) to modify/delete

This presents cops with a tough situation. They can't order you to do something physically impossible (turn it off). If they take it with them, it records everything they're doing (radio conversations, talk to other officers, etc.), potentially for the rest of their shift. If they destroy it, they're destroying evidence. About the only thing they could do is "lose" it and claim it never existed.

Comment Re:Looks like the prophet's gunmen (Score 1) 1097 1097

"Texas". That's really the only part of that sentence you need. I would be surprised if the people attending and local homes weren't about as well armed as the police in the article.

Unfortunately, the Curtis Culwell Center where the event took place is owned by the Garland ISD. I don't think it's a school, but as a TX CHL holder myself, I'd be very leery about carrying there without some serious research (it's either owned by the city, in which case it's illegal for them to prohibit licensed concealed carry, or it's a school, in which case it's illegal to CC regardless of whether it's posted - being a test case would be an expensive proposition).

Gotta love those "(legally carried) gun-free" zones...

But otherwise, yeah... in TX, in any gathering of 100 or more people in a place where it's legal to CC, there are going to be at least one or two armed, statistically speaking...

Comment Re:Looks like the prophet's gunmen (Score 3, Informative) 1097 1097

Given the uses for a gun exactly what use would you have for one that would merit bringing it to work with you?

If you are so afraid that you need to carry a gun to work with you, then you may want to consider moving to a safer area.

Life long gun owner here, but I see no reason to bring one to work with me.

As a TX CHL holder, the main reason I'd have a pistol at work is that I'd like to have it with me before and after work. Those two times are when most of the running around/errands get done, and if I can't have it at work, it would mean driving home, getting it, and going back out again. I don't particularly like leaving it in the car (secured or not), because it's just too easy to break into, and too difficult to get an IWB holster on and off unseen while sitting in a car.

There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman? -- Woody Allen

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