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Comment Re:This guy should be a lawyer (Score 1) 174

I think he refers to an old philosophical question.
The classic example is 'you're conducting a train. You come around a bend, and there's a track split. One track A is, say, a person. On track B is, say, two people. You don't have time to brake. All you can do is pick which track you take. Which one do you take?

What if Track B has five people? One child? A world-class doctor who saves lives? A scumbag criminal? Your wife?

So, say you're in a self-driving car. The car wants to make a left turn across traffic at a four-way intersection. So it advances into the intersection, stops to wait for a break in oncoming traffic, and waits.

Sensors notice a semi coming up behind you, and not stopping. In front of you is an old person crossing the road. To your right is a kid on a bicycle. To your left is a stead stream of through traffic. Where do you go?

Comment Re:No real place for it (Score 1) 309

I'm always on the hunt for ideal archival formats for digital media.

The ideal archival format has a few properties, ranging from most theoretical to most practical:

- a completely unencumbered specification and a completely unencumbered implementation
- a highly portable, f/oss reference implementation
- excellent quality vs. usability (e.g. lossless quality, but small to store and fast to decode)
- support in popular general purpose computing environments
- supported in popular dedicated hardware devices

FLAC gets the first few of those, but not the last one -- plenty of dedicated hardware audio players don't deal with FLAC.

Because of this, I use MP3 for audio - which theoretically gives up the first few points, but as a practical matter, those points are irrelevant, and MP3 completely dominates the industry on the last few points.

If Vorbis or FLAC or any of the things that get the first few points correct had ubiqoutous device support, I might be willing to re-rip everything into those formats for a great blend of long-term archival and easy-to-consume on any device convenience. But nothing is like that for audio.

Similarly, if I thought there was going to be a fantastic lossless image format that did everything well and was going to be massively supported and was completely unencumbered, i'd want to move everything over to it. I'd want my future digital cameras to start shooting it. I'd want my whole tool stream and whole life to just be about that format.

Comment Re:Sandy Hook (Score 1) 1162

I can only imagine someone saying this after 9/11. "Once America decided that allowing terrorists to kill people was bearable, it was over."

Except that America decided it wasn't acceptable and ended up going to war because of it.

Meanwhile, 10 people die in a school shooting and within a month it'll have been forgotten because the next shooting has come along ... and nothing has changed.

Comment Re:What about the rights of those injured by firea (Score 0) 1162

If a wizard suddenly made it impossible for guns to exist in America; they could not pass across any border, the ones inside the country simply turned into nothingness, do you think the rates of assault and murder would instantly go down? Or do you think they'd stay the same, just with different methods?

Say, for example, that ten people are killed per year; five by gun, two by knife, two by baseball bat, and one by strangulation. On Dec 31st, the wizard casts his spell.

What do you think the stats will be one year later? Two by knife, two by baseball bat, and one by strangulation? I don't. I think they'd turn to four by knife, four by baseball bat, and two by strangulation.

Guns are a symptom, not a cause. Unless the root causes in American society are addressed, people will continue to die. The manner of their murder shouldn't even be a point of discussion.

Comment This is true. (Score 1) 142

Think about the technology a scientist from a bare fifty years ago, or even thirty, would need to invent, just to be able to BEGIN to work on a sample of wifi communications, or a Blu-ray.

They have to invent the equipment to listen to it, decrypt it, figure out the file formats, and so on. And these technologies are all designed specifically to prevent that.

Comment Re: Or they could (Score 1) 143

You assume that a) you'll always be in a situation where you can download things instantly and on demand, and b) that you can decide ahead of time, with perfect accuracy, what you'll need and when.

For example: I bought, and use, the TomTom app for my iPhone, rather than the built-in maps app. One big reason? It's all there, predownloaded. Sure, I'll probably never need, say, the California map. on the other hand, I am safe and secure in the knowledge that, anywhere in North America, I have a reasonably up-to-date and accurate map available to me. I never have to worry about being in the middle of nowhere with crap cellular data, and being unable to load a map.

Comment Optional (Score 5, Interesting) 229

As long as the developer of Crystal puts a tickbox in the preferences to allow you to block "acceptable advertising" then I don't see the issue. I understand that Crystal doesn't have a preferences screen right now, but it shouldn't be that hard to add one.

People who are happy to see adverts as long as they meet some sort of "acceptable" criteria can have it turned off - and people who just never want to see an advert again can turn it on.

Please don't let it be a repeat of Adblock Plus where all the nerdrage drowned out the few voices of reason that merely pointed out that all the anger could be resolved with the unchecking of a single tickbox in the preferences.

To downgrade the human mind is bad theology. - C. K. Chesterton