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Submission + - Senate Passes Bill Making Internet Tax Ban Permanent (consumerist.com)

kheldan writes: Nearly two decades ago, Congress passed the first Internet Tax Freedom Act, establishing that — with a handful of grandfathered exceptions — local, state, and federal governments couldn’t impose taxes on Internet access. Problem is, that law has had to be renewed over and over, each time with an expiration date. But today, the U.S. Senate finally passed a piece of legislation that would make the tax ban permanent.

Comment Having machines do too many things for you (Score 1) 571

Doubt anyone will see this comment, there being almost 300 comments at this moment, but regardless..

What I see is a trend towards more automation, machines doing more and more for us, allegedly 'liberating' us from 'menial tasks', but in reality people are being challenged less and less with every passing decade to actually learn to do things for themselves, and it's making their brains lazier and lazier, less willing or even able to learn new things. 'Use it or lose it' is a real thing.

Comment Re:Why this matters (Score 1) 438

Never mind all that, when do we get actual hoverboards (not those fire hazards on wheels we keep seeing in the news)? And Kzinti-style gravity polarizers to replace chemical rockets? And Lift Belts so I can just fly to work above the treetops and skip all the traffic? Don't tell me "it's five years away", we all know what THAT means!

Comment Re:Google is on crack (Score 1) 220

Sure. We can let you have some control. All liability falls on you whenever you take control of part of the driving.

Not a problem, just like it hasnt' been a problem for the last 35 years I've been driving, during which by the way there has been exactly ONE accident I was even remotely responsible for, and even then there were mitigating factors involved that influenced the outcome.

I assume it will only work if the driver has 100 percent or the AI has 100 percent. Yes you can have your controls. But its either you or the AI not a mix.

I'm guessing you don't design systems of any kind for a living. Yes, of course, it couldn't work any other way -- with the exception, perhaps, of the 'emergency braking systems' I've been hearing about on some new cars. But that's just braking, not navigating. Otherwise to have two different systems (one silicon, the other carbon-based) fighting for control constantly? Would never work. Has to be 'autopilot ON' or 'autopilot OFF', nothign in between.

Comment Google is on crack (Score 2, Interesting) 220

From TFA:

Google "expresses concern that providing human occupants of the vehicle with mechanisms to control things like steering, acceleration, braking... could be detrimental to safety because the human occupants could attempt to override the (self-driving system's) decisions," the NHTSA letter stated.

Bullshit. Vehicles must have a full set of manual controls available to the human operator at all times, and furhermore they must be fully educated, trained, licensed, and insured, just like always. To do otherwise is what will put people's lives at risk. Google is smoking crack and needs to be put in their place.

Comment Re: Emergency Brake? (Score 1) 564

1. That's positively terrifying. I think I'll stick to small pickups with manual transmission.
2. I know how to use a parking/emergency brake; I've even tested them for that purpose, and so far as I'm concerned it would be the absolute last-ditch final half-assed fail-safe system, right before flinging the drivers side door open and bailing out before hitting the concrete abutment or whatever doom I might be headed for -- and no, I've never had to do either of the above. But I'm just smart enough to at least consider what I might have to do when Everything Else Has Gone Terribly Horribly Wrong. Even in a lightweight vehicle and pulling slowly and progressively on the lever (or pressing down on the pedal), the parking brake does a terribly poor job of slowing a vehicle down, because it's just the drum brakes in the back (haven't owned anything new enough to have disc in the back) and they're terribly weak, especially when mechanically actuated. But if it came to the hydraulics failing I'd damned well try it. At least it would shed some velocity before impact.
3. I don't think I'd ever own a vehicle that didn't have a mechanical linkage between the steering wheel and the rack-and-pinion, and the (normal) brake pedal and the master cylinder. It's supposed to be a real motor vehicle, not an arcade game. :-)

Did you notice? Lots of utter dummies in this comment thread I started, who can't seem to even consider What Might Go Wrong and that that's why some things are designed the way they're designed. It boggles me how some people can get through life in one piece.

Comment Re: Emergency Brake? (Score 1) 564

I see. So if there's some catastrophic failure of the computerized control systems of the vehicle, you can't even yank hard on a lever or push as hard as you can down on a pedal to engage a mechanical emergency brake? Is there even a direct mechanical connection between the regular brake pedal and the brake master cylinder?

Comment Boycot (Score 1) 171

Will the industry relent and allow Government access to data from these devices?

If they or any company does, then they should be boycotted until they go bankrupt. It'll never end. Even if the government got access to every single device immediately, it would never be enough for them. Next they'd be pushing for being above any basic civil or human rights, and be able to use at will any torture techniques they felt like to pry 'secrets' out of peoples' brains, too. Ironically no one would ever be safe ever again, more fearful of the people who were once supposed to protect them than they ever were of so-called 'terrorists'. It has to stop, it has to stop NOW.

Comment Re:This is a bad idea. (Score 3, Interesting) 203

It's not just a bad idea, it's not an enforceable system. What's the difference between trolling and arguing, or trolling and someone whose honest opinion just happens to deviate beyond a certain distance from what's considered the norm? It's like trying to set down rules as to what is and is not 'art'; it can't be done.

Comment Re:Why not just call the entire Internet illegal? (Score 1) 91

There is no 'and'. That's all YOUR opinion of MY opinion, I don't agree with you, you're not changing my mind, that's the end of that -- and if you don't like it, then as per my sigline, that's tough luck for you. It's not like anything anyone says on Slashdot is going to change anything anywhere in the world for anyone anyway, it's all just talk.

Comment Re:like an electric toothbrush? (Score 1) 60

So let me get this straight: We're living in a world that is increasingly demanding more and more power, production isn't meeting the demand, we need to get away from coal-fired plants, everyone is too much of a scared caveman to have nuclear power of any kind anymore (not even LFTR), everything and everyone is constantly under pressure to conserve power, yet we're going to throw away all sorts of power as useless heat (which the world does not need!) just to solve your first-world convenience problems? Really? Seriously?

This is stupid. Plug in your gods-be-damned car to recharge it, it's not that hard!

Comment I don't need Internet-connected everything (Score 1) 95

Washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, thermostat, lightbulbs? Toasters, stove, oven, even? Toilets, for fucks' sake? There isn't a single valid reason so far as it concerns me specifically for them to be connected to the gods-be-damned Internet. It's just more expense, more complexity, more things that can go wrong or break. It's all solutions-in-search-of-a-problem; it's marketing people that overheard someone talking about connecting something novel to the Internet, and like retarded marketing people tend to do, they went nuts with it. Enough, already!

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