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Comment Re:It's coming. Watch for it.. (Score 2) 122 122

The motorist in the video committed a crime -- several actually. But the cyclist committed an indiscretion by chasing down the motorist to give him a piece of his mind. That's not illegal, it's just a very bad idea.

Many years ago I heard an interviewer ask the great race driver Jackie Stewart what it takes to be a great driver. He said that a driver ought to be emotionless. I think this is very true for any kind of driving -- or cycling. Never prolong your reaction to anything that anyone does on the road beyond the split second it takes to deal with it. Let your attention move on to the next thing. Never direct it to a driver because of something he *did*. Keep focused on what's happening now.

Comment Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense. (Score 0) 168 168

If I see a coin come up heads nine out of ten times, I'm expecting it to come up heads on the eleventh toss.

You exactly demonstrated the problem with common sense reasoning. People assume that because they have what feels like to them (and may actually be) extensive experience with something they automatically understand it. But most people who haven't been trained in mathematics have plenty of misconceptions about what mathematicians call the "Bernoulli Process" (coin flipping).

Comment Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense. (Score 2) 168 168

Not really. The judge simply ruled she was bound by precedent that her court did not have sufficient authority to overturn. That's actually a good call, but it has nothing to do with the issue or arguments.

In any case appeals to "common sense" aren't worth squat when that common sense is based on ignorance or inexperience. It's common sense to talk about "the dark side of the Moon" or to think that the next flip of a coin is affected by prior flips.

For 80% of the existence of our species we coexisted with at least one other species that would pass any reasonable philosophical criteria for "person": the Neanderthals. If we were able to use biotechnology to recreate Neanderthals, Jurassic park style, there's no question that if successful the experiment would create people. But would they be legal persons?

It's an important philosophical question because it potentially colors a lot of mundane ethical questions. Do we recognize the rights of others as a kind of tribal convention? Or are we compelled to do so because of something in human nature? If the latter presumably non-human entities would have an equal ethical claim to personhood.

Comment Re:Editors : WTF (Score 0) 292 292

Technically it's giving smaller amounts of something, not taking anything away. Nonetheless marginally it makes perfect sense to talk about "doling out cuts". It means starting with a total net cut and dividing the marginal impact among several parties.

Yes, it will raise a few eyebrows among editorial prigs, but it's perfectly clear what "doling out cuts" means.

Comment Re:Batteries in Cold Weather? (Score 1) 865 865

If you add up all the auxiliary stuff you need to power with electricity and round up generously, it's maybe 2000 watts load. The very best commercially available technology of today can run that load for 45 hours. So the impact of the auxiliary system load is marginal. That means it's only a concern if you're contemplating using close to the maximum range of your car. If you're traveling 15 miles each way in an 84 mile range Leaf, or 80 miles each way in a 250 mile range Tesla S, you don't really need to worry about running the heater and lights, even counting diminished battery capacity.

The average American spends 25 minutes each way commuting; even in NYC the average figure is 34.6. Even double or tripling that commute time due to bad weather and halfing the range due to cold, that's still easy for the Tesla. It's a bit of challenge for the Leaf with its 24 kwh battery and 84 mile range.

If the typical electric cars of ten years from now perform close to the high end of today, then the vast majority of people won't have to worry about cold weather's effect on range. But a sizable minority of Americans are what the US Census characterizes as "extreme commuters": people whose commute takes more than 90 minutes or fifty miles each way. Even at the low end of that spectrum cold weather range won't be an issue, but if you commute from Fargo to Bismarck ND every day it's safe to say you aren't going to be going electric any time soon.

Comment Re:Sounds like he was arrested for shooting. (Score 1) 1167 1167

In general anything that creates a hazard for bystanders would be a bad idea. So even if there isn't a specific ordinance against shooting bows-and-arrows in the city limits, I'm sure the authorities would take a dim view of your clout shooting into your neighbors' yards.

What there should be is a legally mandated remote radio kill switch anyone can trigger that will cause the drone to land, or in the case of the more sophisticated models to return to base. If the switch worked within say a 50' radius it'd pretty much only work on drones buzzing your residence.

Comment Re:I have no fear of AI, but fear AI weapons (Score 1) 296 296

Well, robbery would be a bit tougher than general mayhem. In the foreseeable future you'd probably need a human in the loop, for example to confirm that the victim actually complied with the order to "put ALL the money in the bag." Still that would remove the perpetrator from the scene of the crime. If there were an open or hackable wi-fi access point nearby it'd be tricky to hunt him down.

This kind of remote controlled drone mediated crime is very feasible now. It wouldn't take much technical savvy to figure out how to mount a shotgun shell on a quadcopter and fly it to a particular victim (if you have one). That's a lot less sophisticated than stuff terrorists do already; anyone with moderate technical aptitude could do it with off-the-shelf components. I'm sure we'll see our first non-state-actor controlled drone assassination in the next couple of years. Or maybe a hacktivist will detonate a party popper on the President or something like that.

Within our lifetime it'll surely be feasible for ordinary hackers to build autonomous systems that could fly into a general area and hunt down a particular victim using facial recognition. People have experimented with facial recognition with SBCs like the Raspberry Pi already.

You can forbid states from doing this all you want, but as technology advances the technology to do this won't be exotic. It'll be commonplace stuff used for work and even recreation.

Comment Re:Same likely holds true... (Score 1) 257 257

The same thing could likely be said of all obtrusive advertising: it is a nuisance not a benefit.

They aren't exactly the same, because interstitial ads aren't just obtrustive, they're interfering. You can't simply mentally resolve to ignore them; if you want to continue you've got to either follow the ad or find a way to dismiss it. This presents the user with a Hobson's Choice: physically respond to the ad, or go back.

A lot depends on how motivated you are to get at the content. If it's something you've clicked out of idle curiosity, you'll back away. If it's something you really want to see you'll fight your way through. Since so much traffic on the Internet is driven by idle curiosity, the 69% figure doesn't surprise me at all. What would be interesting is to disaggregate that figure by types of target content.

Comment I've had issues with the Win10 NVIDIA drivers... (Score 3, Insightful) 316 316

Usually the problem is something like, "it isn't giving me the newest driver" or simply the poor quality of the drivers in the first place. (For awhile there, if I clicked on the start button, it would cause my screen to reset!) And a lot of "your driver stopped responding so we turned it off, then back on again."

In some ways, I like that the drivers are being pushed to me automatically, but at the same time, if I'm doing multiple reinstalls in a single day, I've already downloaded the drivers... I don't need them to be downloaded YET AGAIN, every install...

Comment Depends who you ask... (Score 4, Interesting) 217 217

At Facebook, it's memcached, with an HDD backup, eventually put onto tape...

At Google, it's a ramdisk, backed up to SSD/HDD, eventually put onto tape...

For anyone who can't afford half a petabyte of RAM with the commensurate number of computers? I have no good ideas... except maybe RAM cache of SSD, cache of HDD, backed up on tape...

Using something like HDFS to store your data in a Hadoop cluster of file requests, is likely the best F/OSS solution you're going to get for that...

Comment Re:There's Very Few Things (Score 3, Insightful) 80 80

You are conflating a world that is becoming warmer with a world that just *is* warmer. It may be true (I take no position) that a world that is 4-5 C warmer is better for certain classes of poor people (e.g., subsistence farmers). But a world that is changing rapidly is a calimity to poor people tied to the land, especially in a modern world with national boundaries and private property where you just can't pick up and move like our paleolithic ancestors would have.

Parkinson's Law: Work expands to fill the time alloted it.

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