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Comment: Not detecting potholes? (Score 2) 216

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: Re:Cut the Russians Off (Score 2) 810

by IamTheRealMike (#47777231) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

That's a rather one-sided view of what happened. Yes, the Soviet Union did invade Afghanistan as part of pushing its global ideology, much like the USA invaded Vietnam. But the stone age state of Afghanistan at the time of the US invasion in 2001 was a direct result of America supporting religious fanatics in a proxy war, the mujahideen, who after the war ended and the Soviet's were defeated went on to become the Taliban. That's why bin Laden is so famously a former ally of the US.

The USA is not only building an empire but doing so in plain sight of everyone. To quote Putin directly:

Our partners, especially in the United Sates, always clearly formulate their own geopolitical and state interests and follow them with persistence. Then, using the principle “You’re either with us or against us” they draw the whole world in. And those who do not join in get ‘beaten’ until they do.

This principle is most clearly visible in two acts. One is that the sanctions on Iran are built as a "you're with us or against us" model. Any country that is seen by America to be "undermining" the sanctions i.e. not joining in is itself sanctioned. And the second act is again sanctions based: every financial institution in the world is being taken over by Washington via a system of recursive ("viral" if you like) sanctions that require banks to obey the USA even if that would contradict local laws. The goal is to collect tax from American's abroad. It's called FATCA and it's resulted in many, many nations having to repeal their own privacy laws, in order to allow banks to become agents of the US Government. They were given no choice in the matter.

So the USA has found ways of forcing people in countries all over the world to: (a) engage in economic warfare against America's enemies and (b) pay taxes directly to America, all regardless of what the local government wants or how the local people vote.

Being able to conscript people to their fights and force payment of taxes is the very foundation of empire itself.

Comment: Re:Alternate views (Score 1) 810

by IamTheRealMike (#47777045) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Check back in 6 months, compare what they reported on this conflict to what really happened. Because they were reporting the Ukrainian protests as being a bunch of Fascists who, if they had their way, would be building concentration camps for Russian speakers. Of course, the protesters won, got new elections, and turned out to be what they appeared to be; moderate youths who want increased relations with the EU.

Let's set aside the idea that RT is somehow horrendously biased and we can learn what really happened by, er, reading our totally neutral and trustworthy western newspapers.

Let's instead focus on an indisputable fact. This wonderful new parliament put in place by moderate youths who wanted only increased EU relations, on the very next day after the ex-President fled (the one who did actually win an election), voted overwhelmingly to repeal a law that made Russian an official language. Their first act wasn't to improve relations with the EU, or heal the giant rift between east and west Ukraine, their first order of business was to drive an even bigger wedge right between their own citizens.

Is it any wonder that this glorious democratic government our leaders love so much reacted to an independence movement in their country with massive military force, and has been shelling their own citizens ever since?

By the way, here's how RT reported it at the time. Seems pretty accurate to me.

Comment: Re:Cut the Russians Off (Score 1) 810

by IamTheRealMike (#47776375) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

That's sort of like saying the Soviet's didn't invade anywhere during the cold war. They just supported puppet governments and militias in their place, as did America (hence Osama bin Laden being a former employee of the CIA).

They all still have both political sovereignty, and also control of their legal borders.

You can't claim that America deciding unilaterally to engage in "regime change" to use the delightful term is respecting political sovereignty. What happens is the USA evaluates a government and if it's not one they like, sometimes they remove it by force and replace it with a new one they like better. Said country has "control of their borders" only if you ignore that the US military operates within those borders at will.

Comment: Re:Inevitable (Score 1) 810

by IamTheRealMike (#47776281) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

While people may have been all pissy about Bush, unilateral wars, and Team America World Police, the fact of the matter is that it was better than the alternative.

What alternative is that, exactly? That Iraq invades America? That the Afghans conquer Europe?

I'm trying to figure out how the world would look if Team America had not said "Fuck Yeah" so many times in the past decades. I think it'd probably look much the same as it does now, except quite possibly ISIS would not exist.

Comment: Re:Alternate views (Score 1) 810

by IamTheRealMike (#47776247) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Your comment will be down-voted into oblivion after a few hours.

Try 20 minutes. It went up to +5 Interesting almost immediately. Now it's at zero. What's hilarious is the stream of comments on these stories claiming that Russia is manipulating online forums. All I see is that right now anyone questioning the western party line is immediately zerod out so nobody sees it. I don't think that's because of cunning governmental manipulation though. I think people are just desperate for the old days when they could feel like they were the good guys in a fight of "good vs evil". Whacking Muslims in the desert just doesn't feel as awesome as a good old fashioned America vs Russia showdown.

Comment: Re:Alternate views (Score 1) 810

by IamTheRealMike (#47776059) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

It seems all governments do that at the moment. The USA even does so publicly.

Regardless, if you believe anyone who merely questions the obvious propaganda being bandied about by both sides is a paid employee of The Other Side then you're delusional. I'm hardly anonymous on this forum and my account dates back I'd guess about 13-14 years. The Guardian comment made claims that made me curious and is, at minimum, merely repeating claims made in other news outlets, which is worthy of exploration by itself.

Comment: Re:Alternate views (Score 1) 810

by IamTheRealMike (#47776011) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Not sure why you think it's the "other side of the story”. It has nothing to do with the story. Some elements of the Ukraine military may be defecting AND Russia may be invading. These are not mutually exclusive claims.

That's absolutely correct, but if it's true that the Ukrainian army is so shaky then Poroshenko has every incentive to claim that his country is being invaded because he would desperately want western intervention to tip the balance.

Comment: Re:Mod parent down for lying (Score 3, Insightful) 810

by IamTheRealMike (#47775985) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

The BBC and many other outlets have published NATO confirmations

And NATO is a guaranteed source of truth, because? Western militaries never ever have faulty intelligence? This is a military organisation that has always been in opposition to Russia. I'm not sure that's a "confirmation" any more than something announced by the separatists is. I don't trust either of them and neither should you. Perhaps Russia is invading. If it's a real invasion then we'll see soon enough.

Anyway, my "ludicrous claim" is simply what western media are reporting, including the BBC. Here's their story. It leads with "Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has accused Russia of deploying its troops in the east of his country" ... which is exactly what I said the Slashdot story wasn't claiming but should.

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