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Comment: Not detecting potholes? (Score 2) 208

by Animats (#47792119) Attached to: Hidden Obstacles For Google's Self-Driving Cars

Google isn't detecting potholes? Back in 1985, we had that on our DARPA Grand Challenge vehicle. The LIDAR on top of the vehicle was generating a ground profile. This was for off-road driving, where that's essential. I'd assumed Google was doing that; they have a Velodyne laser scanner that provides enough information.

In traffic, sometimes you can't see a pothole because it's obscured by a vehicle ahead, but if the vehicle ahead doesn't change speed, direction, or attitude, it's probably safe to proceed over the ground it just covered. On high speed roads, you can't see distant potholes clearly because the angle is unfavorable, but if the road ahead looks like the near road, and the near road profiles OK with the LIDAR, the far road is probably good. That's what the Stanford team used to out-drive their LIDAR range. (We didn't do that and were limited to 17MPH).

Fixed road components should be handleable. People, bicycles, and animals are tough.

Comment: Talking to "different" people is bad for you (Score 3, Informative) 71

by Animats (#47787707) Attached to: Study: Social Networks Have Negative Effect On Individual Welfare

This is fascinating. It's not the classic "people don't have social lives in the real world because they are on line too much" argument. The authors argue that following people who are "different" from you is bad for you. They write:

"Compared to face-to-face interactions, online networks allow users to silently observe the opinions and behaviors of an immensely wider share of their fellow citizens. The psychological literature has shown that most people tend to overestimate the extent to which their beliefs or opinions are typical of those of others. There is a tendency for people to assume that their own opinions, beliefs, preferences, values, and habits are âoenormalâ and that others also think the same way that they do. This cognitive bias leads to the perception of a consensus that does not exist, or a 'false consensus' (Gamba, 2013)."

"The more people used Facebook at one time point, the worse they felt afterwards; the more they used Facebook over two weeks, the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time. The effects found by the authors were not moderated by the size of people's Facebook networks, their perceived supportiveness, motivation for using Facebook, gender, loneliness, self-esteem, or depression, thus suggesting the existence of a direct link between SNSs' use and subjective well-being."

This is a new result, and needs confirmation. Are homogeneous societies happier ones? Should that be replicated on line? Should efforts be made in Facebook to keep people from having "different" friends?

Comment: No, it's not anonymous. It's full tracking. (Score 4, Informative) 256

by Animats (#47769815) Attached to: DoT Proposes Mandating Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communications

Here's a more technical discussion from NHTSA. At page 74-75, the data elements of the Basic Safety Message I and II are listed. The BSM Part I message doesn't contain the vehicle ID, but it does contain latitude and longitude. The BSM Part II message has the vehicle's VIN. So this is explicitly not anonymous.

Back in the 1980s, when Caltrans was working on something similar, they used a random ID which was generated each time the ignition was switched on. That's all that's needed for safety purposes. This system has a totally unnecessary tracking feature.

Most of this stuff only works if all vehicles are equipped. It also relies heavily on very accurate GPS positions. However, there's no new sensing - no vehicle radar or LIDAR. The head of Google's autonomous car program is on record as being against V2V systems, because they don't provide reliable data for automatic driving and have the wrong sensors.

If something is going to be required, it should be "smart cruise" anti-collision radar. That's already on many high-end cars and has a good track record. It's really good at eliminating rear-end collisions, and starts braking earlier in other situations such as a car coming out of a cross street. Mercedes did a study once that showed that about half of all collisions are eliminated if braking starts 500ms earlier.

V2V communications should be an extension of vehicle radar. It's possible to send data from one radar to another. Identify-Friend-Foe systems do that, as does TCAS for aircraft. The useful data would be something like "Vehicle N to vehicle M. I see you at range 120m, closing rate 5m/sec, bearing 110 relative. No collision predicted". A reply would be "Vehicle M to vehicle N. I see you at range 120m, closing rate 5m/sec, bearing 205 relative. No collision predicted". That sort of info doesn't involve tracking; it's just what's needed to know what the other cars are doing. It's also independent of GPS. Useful additional info would be "This vehicle is a bus/delivery truck, is stopped, and will probably be moving in 5 seconds.", telling you that the big vehicle ahead is about to move and you don't need to change lanes to go around it.

+ - GOG Making Inroads to DRM-Free Movie Distribution

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "Good Old Games is prepping to bring another medium into its trademark DRM-free digital distribution platform: movies! To get things rolling, the shop is already serving a couple of dozen indie films as we speak. Currently the bigger studios are waiting for someone else gnaw on the rock and prove that selling DRM-free movies works. "Their reaction was kind of funny because ... they know that DRM doesn't work because every single movie is on torrent sites or illegal places at launch or even before," Marcin Iwinski, CD Projekt RED and GOG joint-CEO reminds us. GOG plans to bring more movie titles on a weekly basis."

+ - Researchers Say Virtual Reality Time Travel Is Possible

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Much has been said about virtual reality taking viewers to different places, but a recent study takes on another dimension: time. Researchers from the University of Barcelonaput together a virtual reality experience that lets volunteers experience time travel.
According to a paper published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, it worked. Participants felt as if they had travelled back in time and—here's the kicker—that they could change the past."

+ - Climate damage 'Irreversible' according leaked climate report 1

Submitted by SomeoneFromBelgium
SomeoneFromBelgium (3420851) writes "According to Bloomberg a leaked climate report of the IPPC speaks of 'Irreversible Damage'.
The warnings in the report are, as such, not new but the tone of voice is more urgent and more direct than ever.

It states among other things that global warming already is affecting “all continents and across the oceans,” and that “Risks from mitigation can be substantial, but they do not involve the same possibility of severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts as risks from climate change, increasing the benefits from near-term mitigation action,”"

+ - Human altruism has early roots->

Submitted by i kan reed
i kan reed (749298) writes "According to Hillary Clinton, "it takes a village to raise a child".
And new research suggests that it's exactly this attitude that created an evolutionary push towards higher cooperative functions within our species, such as language and altruism. One of the earliest evolutionary distinctions between the apes that became humans and our nearest relatives, chimpanzees, is the apparent evolution of cooperative breeding. The term cooperative breeding is defined as

the caring for infants not just by the mother, but also by other members of the family and sometimes even unrelated adults

The team's research found

a close linear correlation between the degree to which a species engages in cooperative breeding and the likelihood that members of the group would help fellow animals get the food treat.

"

Link to Original Source

Comment: NOT Netgear or HP (Score 1) 247

by Martin Spamer (#47763993) Attached to: TechCentral Scams Call Center Scammers

It is very doubtful these were Netgear or HP, the scammar lie when they call and claim to be from all sorts of Companies, I've had them claim to be Microsoft, BT and Google.

If you type practically any brand name plus the word support or help into search engines you get the adverts for these scammers at the top of the results.

Try it, it works for "HP Printer Support" and "Netgear Router Support" in Google. Moving the adverts from the right to the top of the organic search result list has just played into these scammers hands.

Comment: Address space randomization does not help. (Score 5, Interesting) 98

by Animats (#47763103) Attached to: Project Zero Exploits 'Unexploitable' Glibc Bug

64-bit systems should remain safe if they are using address space randomization.

Nah. It just takes more crashes before the exploit achieves penetration.

(Address space randomization is a terrible idea. It's a desperation measure and an excuse for not fixing problems. In exchange for making penetration slightly harder, you give up repeatable crash bug behavior.)

Comment: What's MediaGoblin? Do we care? (Score 4, Informative) 69

by Animats (#47760275) Attached to: MediaGoblin 0.7.0 "Time Traveler's Delight" Released

The Slashdot article doesn't tell me what MediaGoblin does, or what it's for. Nether does the MediaGoblin site. The documentation, in typical Gnu syle, starts out with "how to participate" and continues with installation instructions.

It's sort of like Wordpress, but with different features and support for streaming media. There's a list of sites that use it. Of the public sites listed, all but one are demos of MediaGoblin. The first site on the list that isn't a a demo and works is this set of baby pictures. There's one site that lets you upload stuff. It's a collection of uploaded pictures with no organization.

This seems to be a publishing system for people with nothing to say.

Comment: Microsoft did something like this once before (Score 4, Interesting) 119

by Animats (#47754445) Attached to: Predictive Modeling To Increase Responsivity of Streamed Games

Back in the 1990s, Microsoft developed something similar. Their idea was to render frames in layers, with the more distant or less active layers rendered less often. if the viewpoint changed, the background layers were scrolled, rotated, or transformed to match, rather than being re-rendered immediately. It never caught on, because graphics hardware became fast enough to re-render everything on for each frame.

This new thing is similar. Mispredicted frames are viewpoint-warped as a temporary measure so the user sees something. The image is wrong, but close enough to look OK until a new rendered frame is sent. It looks OK for Doom, on which it was tested, because Doom is mostly about the shooter and the opponents moving; there's not much general activity in the background. GTA IV/V would probably look much worse than normal.

The whole concept represents a desperate attempt to make something "cloud-based" that shouldn't be.

Comment: "Computing's Narrow Focus"? (Score 2) 329

by Animats (#47743141) Attached to: ACM Blames the PC For Driving Women Away From Computer Science

"Computing's Narrow Focus"? Get a degree in petroleum geology or structural engineering if you want a narrow focus. Or pick the wrong field in biology. I know a woman who got a PhD in an area of microbiology that turned out to be a dead end. She ended up managing a coffee shop.

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