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Comment: Re:Government control of our lives... (Score 1) 153

by RobinH (#47432823) Attached to: Amazon Seeks US Exemption To Test Delivery Drones

That, right there, is the key to our disagreement. You want everybody, who wish to fly a drone, to prove, they've "taken precautions".

I don't think this is as black and white as you seem to indicate. Nobody's stopping me from building a drone in my garage and even flying it out in a field, as long as I follow some reasonable restrictions that were setup based on experience with model airplanes. The restrictions are on commercial use, and the FAA is basically saying: these things are dangerous when you fly them over a population, and we need rules in place with proper safety procedures before it's allowed. That seems pretty reasonable to me. Yes, I wish they would hurry up. However, what are the chances that these drones are designed such that in the event of a failure, the likelihood of hurting someone on the ground is mitigated? Does every system have 1 or 2 backup systems? Doubtful. Has anyone done an analysis of how dangerous the impact will be? What's the likelihood of surviving a direct hit? What's the likelihood of it happening? Is there a safe reference design? Are there regulated auditors who can certify these designs against a published specification to certify them for flying over a population? Certainly when I build an industrial machine there are published standards regarding machine safety that I have to adhere to, and I must have the design stamped by a P.Eng. before the machine can be used in a production environment.

I'm all for this technology, but I know human nature when it comes to people willing to put other people in harm's way to make money. The FAA is right to ban these, for the moment. Amazon should be working with the FAA and other stakeholders to draft a proper set of rules to allow flying these things over a residential neighborhood. This is hardly unreasonable. The "anything goes" mentality is just BS.

Comment: Re:Government control of our lives... (Score 5, Insightful) 153

by RobinH (#47431845) Attached to: Amazon Seeks US Exemption To Test Delivery Drones
I thought the idea was that you had that right, but only up to the point where it infringes on someone else's right to the same. So, for instance, you being an idiot and driving your car over a pedestrian infringes on their right to the pursuit of happiness. You see, when it comes to behaviors that put others at significant risk, why only punish the ones who were unlucky enough to have the negative outcome actually happen, when the act of performing the risky behavior was what you had control over, and what you should be prevented from doing in the first place? Similarly, Amazon flying drones over residential neighborhoods sounds pretty risky to me, even though I do appreciate the coolness of being able to have something delivered in 30 minutes. Therefore I'm not sure this ban is such a bad thing until we can prove suitable precautions are being taken.

Comment: Re:How fitting (Score 1) 333

I'm not really sure about that. It could be that men and women felt a different amount of dislike for the shock. It was my understanding that men and women have different pain thresholds (men's is higher, even though women like to use the whole childbirth thing against us, which... is fine by me).

Comment: Re:Sad, sad times... (Score 1) 333

I think it would be interesting to see what % of people actually didn't mind it at all, and did it correlate with any other personality traits or, um, professions...

I also don't think it would bother me at all, but I know it would really bother my wife. I know she can't be "alone with her thoughts" or they quickly turn negative. I've never really understood that. I'm constantly wanting to turn off the radio if we're in the car together so I can think, and she insists that we keep it on. The thing is, she's not depressed or anything. It's some kind of normal response that I completely don't understand.

The other thing that comes to mind is that in prison the really bad punishment is solitary confinement. It always seemed to me that if I had to go to prison and be stuck in a building with hundreds of possibly violent convicts, then please sign me up for solitary! I think they do have writing instruments and books, etc. too. Weird.

Comment: Re:Detroit calls Google arrogant? (Score 1) 236

by RobinH (#47351141) Attached to: Google, Detroit Split On Autonomous Cars

For that matter, although we've talked about it enough for the last two or three years to make it seem less insane, there's a good argument that even attempting to solve a problem as hard as a fully automated car requires tremendous arrogance. Except that they actually seem to be succeeding, which I guess changes it from arrogance to confidence.

I don't think there's any evidence that Google has actually "succeeded" in coming up with a car that's marketable to the general population. It's easy to say you're succeeding when you've solved 90% of the problems, but if the 10% remaining include nearly insurmountable obstacles without some more technological breakthroughs, then I don't think we can call it success. It won't be success until regular people are "driving" them.

Comment: Re:What logic! (Score 2) 139

by RobinH (#47335803) Attached to: Norway Scraps Online Voting
Electronic voting (i.e. voting machines) has its own set of serious issues, but this is about Online voting (i.e. from a home/office computer) which adds way more problems than just electronic voting, not the least of which is vote-selling. How might an employer treat two employees differently if one of them could prove that he/she voted the way the boss liked? What about a spouse? Why not just sell it to the highest bidder?

Comment: Re:Concerns about online voting (Score 2) 139

by RobinH (#47335721) Attached to: Norway Scraps Online Voting
Just to be clear (even though you may be trolling), we're talking about online voting here, not electronic voting. I do believe that electronic voting (i.e. with voting machines in a private booth) might be able to work, but it still has to generate a paper ballot which you then insert into a cardboard box on the way out. The only difference to a paper and pencil ballot is that it should provide a way of tabulating them really fast, but there still has to be a way to do a manual recount (and there should be manual recounts at a random sampling of polling stations every time).

Comment: Concerns about online voting (Score 5, Insightful) 139

by RobinH (#47335255) Attached to: Norway Scraps Online Voting

I'm surprised there isn't more concern about the serious and fundamental problems with online voting.

That blog post makes two points, one about vote selling and one about security. I don't see how any online voting system could ever stop you from being able to sell your vote, and that was one of the major reasons for a secret ballot. That pretty much makes online-voting a non-starter right there.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 2) 139

by RobinH (#47186527) Attached to: Parents Mobilize Against States' Student Data Mining
The idea of having an "open" society is that you know what I'm doing, I know what you're doing, and I know what the president or prime minister is doing and what Mark Zuckerberg is doing, etc. The way things are going is *not* towards this kind of open society. Just because Facebook knows a ton of stuff and sells it to the government doesn't mean we have an open society. Secret surveillance is not open.

Comment: Re:So that you don't have to RTFA (Score 1) 286

by RobinH (#47165111) Attached to: How Open Government Data Saved New Yorkers Thousands On Parking Tickets
I don't know about in the UK, but over here in North America, whenever you encounter bad design, the knee-jerk reaction isn't to fix the design, it's to put the onus on *everybody* to change their behavior to adapt to it. This is reinforced by a general public that loves to point out when other people do things wrong because it makes everyone else feel good about themselves. "Of course you got a ticket! What kind of idiot parks in front of a fire hydrant?" Seriously, a guy cut the end of his thumb off here at work, and rather than looking into the root cause to see if we could reduce the risk of it happening again, everyone literally made fun of him to his face for being stupid. So it's a cultural thing.

Comment: Re:rediculous parents to blame (Score 1) 1198

by RobinH (#47111671) Attached to: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds
It's hard to believe that some parenting activity like never letting your child experience a negative emotion is actually causing a increase in violent crime, especially since, from everything I've heard, overall violent crime is down significantly. Also, if there are lots and lots of kids getting this type of parenting, we certainly aren't seeing a cause-effect relationship here, because otherwise there would be millions of murderous little bastards running around, and we just don't see that. Seems much more likely that there are (and have always been) some people with mental illnesses, and some of them are liable to do nasty things that most of us would never do. Your argument is nothing more than the get-off-my-lawn variety (and I'm an old guy who likes to push my kids to experience failure once in a while).

Of course you can't flap your arms and fly to the moon. After a while you'd run out of air to push against.