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Comment Jaime Escalante is another good one (Score 1) 85

Jaime Escalante would have been a good poll choice as well considering Slashdot's tagline is News For Nerds. He taught Calculus to minority students in Los Angeles in a school system that chose to babysit rather than educate minority student who it deemed as unlikely to succeed in upper education. He ultimately set records in students taking, passing, and excelling in the AP Calculus Exam. My second option was the Repeal of the Stamp Act because of the irony - purchasing a stamp for one country to celebrate the repeal of a stamp act from another country. :-p

Comment Target already does this. (Score 1) 184

They collect data from multiple sources and they can be more accurate at telling you if a family member is pregnant than a pregnancy exam. They actually have alogrithms that capture shopping habits and based an a seemingly random grouping of purchases they can determine if someone in the family is pregnant. Once they determine this, they send an email or mailer with a discount for pregnancy related products like diapers and baby food. I have heard of a couple of people now who have discovered this the hard way.

Comment Automation does not automatically = Unemployment (Score 1) 602

There is a lot of rhetoric on this thread about the impending doom of humanity as everything becomes automated. I think generally anytime you have a paradigm or technology shift people speak about the end of the earth or that we will all be replaced by robots. I don't think that automation of society is a bad idea. I do not believe that switching to manufacturing by robots will necessarily equal long term problems for humanity. I think the net effect is that people will move to fields that can not be automated or if the are automated they will come at great expense of time, resources, or other forms of effort.

For example, psychological counseling is traditionally done person to person. I don't know that someone who is struggling with an issue will choose to talk to an inanimate object over a live human being that can express empathy or even share in the life experience a patient is struggling with. I don't know many children that will want to stop playing with other human beings because a robot will be more entertaining. I think the jobs will shift to new fields such as Entertainment and the Arts, Athletics, Social Applications, Creative Pursuits - to be honest I think work will end up feeling a lot less like work.

I think as more of the mundane jobs are pushed off onto robots people and the money that they are involved with will shift to other sections of our economy. If an owner automates all production and no longer employs human beings - he too loses. Henry Ford new this principle all too well and chose to lower the costs of his cars through economies of scale so that he could increase his customer base. I think with Apple, eventually, Cook et al will fully understand this and reembrace humans in other portions of their business.

Comment Spot the Perp Contest! (Score 1) 1127

I think Dark Tangent should sponsor a "Spot the Perp Contest!" Just like Spot the Fed but allow the community to self-police and weed out the perps. Give the winner a free t-shirt, shame the perp on the wall of shame, toss their ass and make it clear that one douchebag doesn't speak for the whole community. Our community should be equal opportunity in its treatment of others just as we are willing to accept ideas from anyone. Women shouldn't avoid conferences because their rights of personal and emotional security will be violated. Everyone should stand up for this. We don't leave a hacker out in the cold because of their ethnicity (Russian hacker Dmitry Skylarov), past indiscretions (Kevin Mitnick), academic status (Christopher Soghoian) so why should gender be any different?!?!

Submission + - China Erects 30 Story Building in 2 Weeks (latimes.com)

jishak writes: FTA: In early December, Liu Zhangning was tending her cabbage patch when she saw a tall yellow construction crane in the distance. At night, the work lights made it seem like day.

Fifteen days later, a 30-story hotel towered over her village on the outskirts of the city like a glass and steel obelisk.

"I couldn't really believe it," Liu said. "They built that thing in under a month."

Comment Glad B&N is fighting this! (Score 2) 332

I am fed up with hearing how companies extort each other using NDA's and then litigate them into annihilation. I am glad Barnes & Noble is fighting this. I wish more companies would fight this type of patent and copyright abuse. I think a law should be passed to require companies to publicly identify which patents are infringing by a technology rather than fearmongering. Put up or shut up.

Comment Fell off a truck (Score 1) 295

...In particular, the AFL-CIO's Paul Almeida advocated for the internet blacklist, saying 'the First Amendment does not protect stealing goods off trucks'" Isn't this guy just incriminating himself of a crime? Isn't that how the Syndicates operate? "Oh, it just fell off a truck". I remember when I lived in a free country where rights and liberties were protected. It is a sad shame our society is heading in such a wrong direction.

Comment About time (Score 2) 112

I wish Karma would come back and wipe out all the trolls! I will settle for it one at a time. Perhaps the MAFIAA's will be next. I made it a point never to buy anything with RDRAM in it after those lawsuits RAMBUS filed. Maybe if we are lucky they will go RAMBUST.

Comment Ad-hoc+TOR+1 working link to the Internet (Score 1) 255

I suspect that this is a form of censorship like what we saw in the arab spring. The internet is self-sustaining at this point. There is much angry sentiment against these kinds of laws and much support among technical crowds. While a few greedy and dishonest legislatures may be able to pass laws that attempt to control this behavior (filesharing), there are many more people who have the know-how to bypass it. Perhaps it is time that people who are disconnected start connecting ad-hoc networks to bypass the ISP points of failure. If this can be done to topple dictatorial regimes in the 3rd world, why can't it be done in dictatorial regimes in the 1st world?

Comment This is a technical problem not a social one. (Score 1) 483

Many people have written that this is a social problem not a technical one. Here's why they are wrong.

I have been to Egypt on many trips and have seen firsthand the problems described above. In egypt, there is rampant corruption in the government. That trickles down to all agencies. The people who pay taxes do not get anything in return. Nobody obeys traffic laws there. People frequently cram 6 cars into the equivalent of 3 lanes of traffic. People believe the lines are for decoration. In the areas where there are traffic lights, nobody obeys them. The only person people obey is soldier with the machine gun directing traffic. They are groomed with the understanding that as long as they don't piss him off they get away with everything else.

What people are asking him is to essentially revolutionize the government and make it work. The people only understand money. If you have money, you get what you want. If you don't, you end up with the above situation.

As an example, a number of years ago I witness a car accident on a busy street which backed up traffic for miles. It was between a guy on a motorcycle and a guy in a car. The two drivers started fighting in the middle of the street and a crowd of people developed. The soldier didn't care about the people involved or the damage to the vehicles. He pointed his gun at the crowd and told them to move the cars or else. The crowd moved the vehicles on the sidewalk and they to got on the sidewalk. The fight continued but traffic started moving again.

For your technical solution, there are going to be lots of caveats. In Egypt, for example people will steal just about anything. I have seen people steal electricity, phone lines, natural gas, side-view mirrors on cars just about anything. If you create this system, theft will be a big issue. If you can guarantee that know one will steal your system that is your first hurdle. Soldiers in egypt are paid so little that they may not care for your system - especially if the guy who broke the law will pay them a bribe directly on the spot versus paying a fine to a higher up agency where he will never see his cut.

If you can start with the block that you live on and mount webcams (*note -- In egypt, this will run you afoul of the government and the soldiers regardless of your intent!) on your building to prevent theft then you can log all the cars coming and going. This would make it easier to identify who the parties in the accidents are in case someone flees.

Speedingwise, I have seen stories of how people take apart optical mice and use them as sensors. There is probably a cheap way to rig this to give you timings of start/stop points. You could then time how long it takes a vehicle to cross two of these sensors to determine rate of travel. If you take snapshots of the clock time at both locations, you could do a look up against the snapshots from your webcam. Or you could use this to determine when to take snapshots on the webcam.

This is basically how the toll road cameras work here in the states. Even if the driver gets away, you can at least identify the driver in the future.

Comment Flawed Comparisons (Score 1) 762

I just had a look at their study and found several flaws. I own two priuses by the way a 2002 and a 2010.

First of all, they are comparing a toyota matrix with a toyota prius. These two vehicles are not remotely equivalent. The only thing they have in common is the fact that they are both built on the same platform. This same platform also encludes the echo and the corolla. The prius also has a lot more combinations of features and models. They didn't identify whether it was a Prius 1 package 1 or a Prius 5 package 4. They arbitrarily look one at $27K and compared it to a $21K matrix. They should have taken a Prius 1 Model 1 ($21,000) and compared that to a Matrix or specified the features so that a direct comparison could be made.

Second, they assumed 20,000 KM which is roughly 12,400 miles a year in driving. Maybe in Canada they can get away with driving that many miles but in California, I drive at least 15,000 miles a year. I see at least a 20 mpg discrepance between the two cars. 3000 miles / 20 mpg X $4.68 per gallon ($1.17 per litre assumption in study) = $702.00 a year savings in fuel. I have had my prius for 8 years and 120,000 miles on my 2002 which translates to at least $5600 saved in fuel over the matrix.

Third, they haven't taken maintenace into account. Hybrids suffer a lot less wear and tear on the engine than normal vehicles. Services that you get at 30,000 miles transmission filter, brake fluid flush, throttle and fuel injection flush, etc don't need to be done until 90,000 miles on a prius. That was my experience and I took the car to the dealer for everything.

I know they included 5 year estimates, but even if you looked at 5 year estimate using an apples to apples comparison here in the United States you would see they hybrid is much more cost effective. The devil is in the details.

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