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Comment Re:Trading one for the other (Score 1) 141 141

Regardless of whether they are starting with open source software, or closed source software........if I ever paid $4.3 billion for some software, I guarantee I would be getting the source for it. If the government pays that much for a system, one of the requirements should be that it ends up open source.

At least.

Comment TCO (Score 1) 252 252

The problem with calculations like this is Joe Average rarely thinks about Total Cost of Ownership when it comes to his car. Generally, he thinks about gas and parking, and that's it - So they'd cringe at a car sharing mode at 50 cents per minute (for example) because "Gas and Parking costs way less than that."

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 1) 549 549

I then promptly slid for several car lengths before hitting him. (I was smart to just slam the breaks and let the car's anti-lock breaking system figure out what to do. You start second-thinking the ABS and pump the breaks and you end up sliding a lot more.)

For other situations, pumping the brakes likely will not get you to stop quicker, but sometimes the flashing brakelights will wake up the fellow behind you who might not know how serious you are about stopping.

Comment Re:Northeast winters (Score 1) 549 549

I'd be curious to see how it responds to really weird northeast conditions like a snow squall or black-ice. Or my personal favorite, when it's really snowing and you need to make sure you're stopped in a good spot that you can get traction once you can start moving again

If you can characterize the optimal driving strategy, then it probably is not going to be too difficult to get that into the software. Certainly the robot car will be able to asses the true stoppig distances based on actaual road contidions better than a human. Perhaps the sensors won't work well in heavy snow or rain, but then the car would be "smart" enough to not drive in those conditions as compared to the idiots I have encountered doing a gazzillion mph with only 30 feet of visibility.

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 1) 549 549

It is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE to hit the rear of a car that is not moving toward you if. A) you leave the legally required amount of distance behind it, and B) You hit the break when it slows down.

Oh, pish tush. I can think of at least three such scenarios.

(1) Where you stop your car in the middle of your lane, having just gone over the rise of a hill. I can't see you, I can't stop in time.
(2) I rear-ended someone once who was stopped in her lane (evidently talking to someone in the next lane). I have no idea why she thought stopping to chat on a busy insterstate was a good idea, because traffic was moving normally otherwise. This occurred in the middle of a driving rainstorm, and she had no lights on. Couldn't see her, slammed on the brakes, couldn't stop in time.
(3) I rear-ended someone (slightly) at a stop sign. It was crazy snowy out, we were both going slow, and I was keeping a fair distance back. They stopped, I tried to stop, but my wheels locked and I slid into her at probably .5 mph. A cop would have cited me because if you rear-end someone you're automatically at fault, but there was no damage to their car so we just shrugged and went on.

In all three cases, you were travelling too quickly for the conditions. The first case might be an instance of poor road design that should be corrected, but in general, the posted speed limits match the visibility distances taking into account hills and curves. The low speed limits on windy roads are usually to prevent hitting stationary objects around a curve rather than to prevent too-fast vehicles flying off the curves.

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 1) 549 549

The car behind it doesn't even slow down at all and has at least 4 car lengths to do so.

Something was going on with the other driver. They spilled their coffee, were doing their makeup, or most likely- were on their cell phone- perhaps even texting or reading a text for bonus points.

In no way am I suggesting that it was not the fault of the other driver, but let me assure you that the distraction need not be anything so obvious and "trendy" - they could easily have been just thinking about dinner, have glanced at the radio buttons, or have been arguing with someone else in the car.

Try to pay attention to yourself some time when driving (or watch the driver while a passanger) and you will likely find that there are many many times each trip where the driver is not paying 100% attention to the task of driving. The reason there are not more accidents is that most of the time, traffic continues to flow smoothly and objects do not dart out into your lane.

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 3, Insightful) 549 549

4) The road is covered with ice, snow, gravel, oil or other substances that eliminate your tires' ability to engage with the road.

(This is why those of us in the northern part of the country are cheering for driver-less cars, but realistically think they might only be useful six months out of the year.)

You are supposed to drive with consideration of the stopping distance. Shitty road conditions do not mean the accident is faultless.

Comment Re:"Authors and Investors" (Score 1) 178 178

Also, the intention is clearly to to benefit the Authors and Inventors. NOT publishers. NOT performers. NOT record companies. NOT patent trolls. NOT descendants of the original Author/Inventor.

Actually the intent is not to "benefit the Authors and Inventors" but to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts".

Comment Re:Corporations are not People (Score 1) 178 178

yearly renewal with exponential growth for as long as it is worth it to renew. If a company finds a single song worth billions in tax payment then it's a win for both the company as they've found some great way to profit off it and society as they git a huge drop in the tax bucket.

This type of thing is what I have always supported. Make the first N years free and automatic, and allow people to pay multiple years at a time to keep the book-keeping easier, if the first paid year was $1 and it doubled for each subsequent year, after 20 years the bill is a bit over a million while the first 10 years were only about a thousand bucks. If the "free" period was 7 or 10 years, people would have time enough to decide if it was valuable enough to protect for longer, and the vast majority of stuff would quickly fall into the public domain without hurting people who actually have produced something of extended monetary value. Mickey Mouse type products would generate considerable tax revenue, and a whole lot of stuff would quickly fall into the public domain.

Comment Re:Only IRAN is celebrating (Score 2, Insightful) 459 459

Iran: Never invaded anyone

Because the only place they might consider invading would nuke them into slag.

never used weapons of mass destruction... ...never posed a serious threat to anyone

Because we've prevented them from getting WMDs or anything else that would allow them to pose a serious threat.

Comment Re:Our crime is irrelevant (Score 1) 337 337

Seriously, most Australians and Brits probably have no idea how pointless it is to bring up stuff like this:

The U.S. has some problems that Australia doesn't have. It's got a lot more racial crimes, it's got a lot more gun-related crimes, but I don't think that is going to drive a whole bunch of ultra-rich Americans out of their country,

What most foreigners consistently get wrong when looking at our crime stats is failing to note that the overwhelming majority of our gun deaths either have a criminal or a suicidal person on the receiving end of the bullet. Since it's illegal in all 50 states and DC to shoot someone over a non-violent offense or even a violent misdemeanor, that almost invariably means that when a criminal is shot it's either by someone who by definition doesn't respect the law (fellow criminal) or someone about to be on the receiving end of a violent felony.

I can't blame them for this misunderstanding. Our gun control lobby is notorious for manipulating stats by doing stuff like putting gangbangers near the age of majority, who are both eligible to be prosecuted as adults and involved in serious crime when killed, as "children" under the death stats. That's about as bad as most countries refusing to count the death of premature babies on their mortality rates and mocking us for our higher mortality rate because we record those as infant deaths.

Your example of being "notorious for manipulating stats" by clasifying people "near" the age of majority as children seems pretty disingenuous. Are these people younger than the age of majority or older? If they are in fact younger than that age and only "eligible to be prosecuted as adults", why would it be "manipulating stats" to clasify them as children? If they are older than the age of majority, and thus presumably not even eligible to be prosucuted as children, why wouldn't you state that?

It is interesting that statistics can be difficult to compare when dealing with things like crime or death stats. It is also interesting how easy it is to dismiss uncomfortable conclusions. I wouldn't say we are being "mocked" by other countries and I doubt very much that anyone is "refusing" to count things - they just do their statistics different (despite our feelings of importance, most countries are too busy worrying about their own troubles to spend much energy over ours). In any case, any careful look at the state of afairs does reveal that we certainly have room for improvement. Our full term mortality rate is higher than it should be.


"...the U.S. infant mortality rate for babies born at 37 weeks or later (considered "full term") was actually the highest among the 12 countries, and about twice the rates in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland."

I suspect that you probably misunderstand the feelings of foreigners when thinking about the USA. While you might not care that "the overwhelming majority of our gun deaths either have a criminal or a suicidal person on the receiving end of the bullet", it is at least possible that those foreigners are appalled that we seem to think that it is acceptable that criminals and suicidal people are being killed. It can be seen to speak to the value that our society places on human lives. The USA is exeptional in many ways. Unfortunately not all of those ways are things we shold be proud of.

Comment Re:Well dohhhhh (Score 1) 337 337

Because the US is the only country in the world that taxes it's citizens regardless of where they reside

Not completely correct. There is also Eritrea, in the Horn of Africa if you couldn't recall where it was.


Any policy that is only also shared by a single other country has got to be a well thought out one, no?

All syllogisms have three parts, therefore this is not a syllogism.