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Comment Re:How much will it cost. (Score 1) 396

How long must either car wait before embarking on a trip? Say, because there is an emergency situation?

If it's an emergency use an Uber. Emergency means you spend money on a cab/airplane ticket/911 Ambulence.

How long must either car wait before embarking on a trip?

If you have a garage you don't have to factor stopping for gas on the way out of town. I often have to stop and refuel before leaving on a road trip. With an electric car I could just plugin the night before and be ready to leave without a detour.

That "convenience factor" of hydrocarbon fuels is a real thing, and it's a real value.

There is nothing more convenient than fueling up in your own home inside of a garage out of the wind and rain.

Comment Re:I've always said (Score 2) 241

Well arguably a very short while later their precarious victory devolved back into a civil war to finish resolving the debate that remained from their victory.

So what did we "win"? By winning the war of independence? Self determination? K... what does that mean? I wouldn't say the US is particularly better governed than say the UK. The UK ended slavery before we did. The UK has universal healthcare. The pound is still worth more. If it wasn't for WW2 and having a neighbor pummeling their industrial base not to mention their smaller population I'm not seeing a lot that we do better than we would have under British governance.

Comment Re:Yes, we should give up because it is hard.. (Score 1) 683

So why bother going to Mars after developing that technology? It's not like we'll develop it on the way there. And no the propulsion systems won't be of any use on earth.

That's the whole problem with "Going to Mars" for practical reasons. Anything and everything that involves going to Mars could be done more efficiently and cheaper than actually going to mars. Anti-Comet habitat to protect humanity: cheaper to do underwater, better to do underwater with more redundancy and easier return once the comet firestorm subsides. Anti-viral outbreak: again see underwater habitat. We can bunker for way less than the billions it would cost to send people to Mars. If you want to develop life support systems... do another BioDome for a fraction of building a biodome on Mars. Space Propulsion systems... eh, not that useful to humanity. Improved solar panels: just spend the money on the R&D but not the actually manufacturing. Also "better" isn't the problem, it's cheaper. Building super fancy, un-mass-produce-able solar panels isn't what we need, what we need is cheap printable solar panels that might weigh a ton and be terrible for Mars.

The only really persuasive argument for going to Mars is: it will inspire a generation of engineers instead of stock brokers. And *that* is worth launching a platinum plated crew capsule into space for. I know people who were english majors going back to school to hopefully work at SpaceX. Most people inspired will end up making solar panels or better keyboards or improved step ladders but you need that inspirational element.

Comment Re:And.. (Score 1) 449

Schools should *definitely* teach 3D Engine programming. I did "poorly" in math in school. And by "poorly" obviously I mean by Slashdot standards (B-'s). But in College I got my first A+ in calculus because it was both interesting an relevant. The great thing though about teaching through 3D Engines is that you get instant feedback. If your equation is off the world looks wrong. Pop the normal and suddenly your world snaps into photo realism. You can also experiment. Tweak the falloff and watch as the image changes dynamically. It's not like programming where you usually make a tweak and then compile and then wait and it's not like a math test where you solve the equation (you think) and then a week later find out if you were right, it's instant feedback with practical results.

What still to this day really pisses me off though about highschool math was that my Math teacher my senior year picked me as one of two students to represent the school in a math competition even though I had had him for 3 years in highschool as my math teacher and I never got an A. So he knew all along that I was one of his best students and that I was teetering just above a C but wasn't willing to find a way better engage me. Then again it doesn't surprise me, he would dock 10% from your homework if you put your name on the wrong side of the paper and another 15% if you didn't staple your paper. So in his world you should end up with a 75% on a perfect paper if you didn't follow his anal retentive bullshitery. If he was my kid's teacher and my kid "hated math" I would definitely try to find another way to engage them.

Comment Re:Hang 'em high... (Score 1) 471


If you advertise the emissions of your vehicle "Clean diesel! Help the environment!" and it doesn't perform as advertised then it's false advertising.

If you "fix" the chip and performance drops then the cost/benefit/environment impact matrix that you used to pick a vehicle has changed. Imagine if you bought a car with 180 advertised horsepower but it comes off the lot with only 150.

Comment Re:Still need a base URL "player" (Score 1) 138

Simply linking to data though is not copyright infringement. So if the public rightfully believes that simply sharing a link is legal they may not spend the necessary time nor have the technical knowledge to discern the difference from copying a URL and sharing it and copying actual copyrighted works and sharing them.

URLs are already a loop hole in copyright law in many countries. This would widen that hole since the entire copyrighted work could even theoretically be contained within a very long URL. Although a very long URL would obviously be far more noticeable.

So if you posted a URL that contained a torrent tracker to your Facebook your friends could continue to share that "Post" (w/ embedded and even concealed URL) without realizing that they are even committing copyright infringement by directly sharing the tracker not simply a link to the tracker.

Comment Re:Still need a base URL "player" (Score 5, Informative) 138

Yes and no. You could fit a bittorrent tracker into it. Then you're hosting your bit torrent tracker files into a short URL.

It doesn't break the internet but it does dramatically shift the question of who is "Hosting" content and who is "just sharing a link". There is a lot of legal uncertainty about what constitutes for instance copyright infringement. If you post a link to a tweet with a serial number are you committing piracy? If the website has a widget which then embeds the tweet are you worse or better off? If you post a URL which has the serial number in the URL... are you then just sharing a link or are you sharing the content? Does Google's URL shortener bare any legal responsibility under safe harbor for taking down URLs that contain copyrighted material?

Comment Re:When you didn't ask to install it. (Score 1) 165

You just revealed the best feature of the definition not a flaw. Because:
1. Google Docs records every keystroke to the cloud. That's in the user's best interest to have live collaborative editing. So is that a keylogger? Yep. Is it a keylogger that has the user's interest at heart? Yes.

2. This would work better if in fact there was a 'stated intent' of an application. What is an application's stated intent? Notepad is for writing code. Or a novel. Or ASCII art. And that's just notepad!

Selling information to advertisers is something many applications do and as long as it's transparent so that you can know if you ask then it's up to you to decide whether it is in fact in the best interest of yourself. You're really ultimately advocating for transparency. That doesn't change whether something is malware or not.

Comment Re:When you didn't ask to install it. (Score 2) 165

That doesn't work either. Because 'by design' Windows prefetch uses system resources to allocate memory so that something the user will arguably like (have applications load faster). Users are so ignorant of the workings of their computers we couldn't have computers only do "What the user intended" to happen.

My proposed definition would be:
"By design works against the user's best interests."

For instance in Windows 10 users intend for their touch keyboard to work well. In order for a touch keyboard to work well it really needs to learn your typing patterns and correct for them. That means you have to share that data. So is collecting anonymous typing pattern data to improve the accuracy of your keyboard something the user intended? I would argue no.

Similarly if you use SafeScreen on windows it'll upload a hash of the download to Microsoft to see if it's a known virus or a known safe file. Does the user intend to install viruses? No. Does the user know to ask for a service which performs a hash check on all of their downloads? Probably not.

So while the user might intend to use SafeScreen or Prefetch or even the notorious 'keylogger' in Windows 10 I would argue that they aren't caught up by false positives in the definition:
"By design works against the user's best interests."

They arguably are working for the user's best interests not a third party's. Even telemetry data then gets into a debatable position where we can have an honest conversation. "Is anonymous telemetry which improves stability at the cost of some marginal privacy in the user's best interest?" Some can argue yes some can argue no but it's clear that we at least acknowledge and agree on the same definition.

It also works in relationship to Windows 10 pre-downloading installation files without an opt-in. Whose interest is upgrading to Windows 10 serving? If it's exclusively Microsoft's then it's malware. If it's legitimately helping the user by moving them off of an unsupported OS into one which is perhaps more secure then it's maybe an overzealous protection but not malware. If however though it consumes $40 worth of bandwidth on a LTE connection because the user didn't have it set to a metered connection then it's malware since it's not working in the user's best interest. Again it gets into that lovely gray zone of what's an accident, what's a bug, what's by design and what's in the user's best interest. By debating the specifics we can have an empirical and yet robust debate on whether it meets the criteria.

Comment Re: Procrastinators dream (Score 1) 283

This was my thought exactly. It's like a headline reading:

Study finds that computers do not assist students reshoe their horses any faster!

You're testing for the wrong shit. If your test is "In what year did Columbus land in America?" And then you take away the computer the student won't do any better. Sure Asian students are fantastic little encyclopedias of useless shit but that is useful in one place: school; more specifically: during a test in school.

Now let's take computers out of the class room and have a test which asks fourth graders "What month did Napoleon III start the Franco Prussian war?" They are going to do far more poorly than when they had computers at their desks during the test and could use them for their intended purpose. It would be like complaining that calculators don't improve scholastic performance in reading or that they don't improve math scores on tests in which they can't be used. If you give students a tool and then test them arbitrarily without the tool they will underperform those who never had the tool at all.

I can guarantee that I would excel at standardized tests with the use of a computer and kick the ass of someone without a computer. But you can't blame the computer for me realizing that what you're teaching me is useless since I can retrieve that data nearly instantaneously.

"Confound these ancestors.... They've stolen our best ideas!" - Ben Jonson