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Comment Not the games company (Score 1) 191 191

Poop, I read the headline and thought it was about Vector Grafix, Ltd., the early 3-D games company (ie. the "3-D wireframe Star Wars" company). I would have definitely loved a retrospective on that, especially how they were able to do 3-D on limited hardware in the 1980s.

Comment Re:I've said it before (Score 1) 391 391

and I'll say it again - technology INCREASES jobs, never decreases it - over the long term.

If robots don't cause total human working hours to decline, then what the fuck good are they?

In this instance it's not about reducing human working hours, it's about increasing productivity. Factories might increase productivity exponentially with robots and yet still require about the same number of staff either working around the edges where robots aren't capable or managing the robots themselves. But the point is that you're producing much more with about the same labour cost.


The Cure Culture: Our Obsession With Cures That Are 'Just Around the Corner' 204 204

citadrianne writes: Cures for major disease always seem just a few short years away. We constantly read about promising new treatments for cancer, diabetes, HIV, ALS, and more. While the prognosis for these diseases has improved over the years — sometimes greatly — we still focus doggedly on the cure. "The idea of a cure is simpler, it's more appealing as a fantasy." This article takes a look at so-called "Cure Culture" — the focus on reaching for a cure when our scientific efforts may be better expended attacking a disease in other ways. It asks, "Why are we telling our children, our friends, and our family members that we are going to cure them? ... What does it mean to be cured of a disease that is encoded within your DNA from the moment you become a zygote until the moment you are dead? ... And why are we eschewing or overlooking treatments—real, honest-to-god treatments—that can let patients lead longer, more normal lives?

Comment Re:"Edge" (Score 1) 140 140

Then that is a fail right there. They wanted to change the name from IE because of its bad reputation but if they still want people to relate back to the icon it's not going to get them very far.

They only want people who are at least slightly tech-savvy to think it's a totally new browser. They want stupid people who don't know anything to think it's the same old browser they're already familiar with. Changing the name while keeping the icon seems like a good way to accomplish these goals.

Comment Re: Not to say it's unnecessary (Score 1) 843 843

I don't have statistics on hand, but since WWII, I am aware of dog fights have played into air battles of the following wars with us pilots involved:

Korean War
Vietnam War (quite famously as we thought the days of day fighting were over.)
Kosivo et al.
First Gulf War.

Guam, Afghanistan, and Gulf War II did not , too my knowledge and I and not sure if there are others I've forgotten.

Comment Re:Price is a second order function (Score 1) 292 292

I think the best solution has been around for a hundred years, albeit in a children's toy, how about we drive around in life sized slot cars? Remove the need for batteries - or at least have a very small one to allow entry into private property etc. It would also allow power to be supplied directly from the grid, and remove the need for toxic batteries. It would probably work considering very few people drive off road, and will autonomous cars would make a lot of sense, would also enable better navigation.

Study Suggests That HUD Tech May Actually Reduce Driving Safety 195 195

Zothecula writes: Having a heads-up display constantly feed you information while cruising down the road may make you feel like a jet pilot ready to avoid any potential danger but recent findings suggest otherwise. Studies done at the University of Toronto show that the HUD multi-tasking method of driving a vehicle is dangerous. "Drivers need to divide their attention to deal with this added visual information," said Department of Psychology professor Ian Spence, who led the research. "Not only will drivers have to concentrate on what’s happening on the road around them as they’ve always done, they’ll also have to attend to whatever warning pops up on the windshield in front of them."

(Your Job) Is a Video Game 36 36

arctother writes: UberDRIVE—Uber's simulation/video game/recruiting tool—is, at best, just a poor copy of a much more interesting video game – driving for Uber. The main innovation of Uber, and other smartphone-enabled "e-hailing" car services, is the insertion of a new interface into the human-to-human, on-the-street interactions between drivers and passengers. Uber attempts to transform the cab-driving and -riding experience through the deployment of an allegorithm: the productive joining of a framing narrative (or "allegory") and software-mediated control (or "algorithm"). Understanding how allegorithms shape experience will become more and more important as they are increasingly deployed with mobile interfaces to reshape and "augment" social interactions. "Ingress," you are already thinking; but you should really think of "Uber."

Near Misses Lead To More Consumer Drone Legislation 164 164

stowie writes: Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has introduced the Consumer Drone Safety Act that looks to shore up safety features on consumer drones and the federal laws that govern them. This bill has nothing to do with the FAA's proposed rules on small commercial drones, this is all about hobbyist drones. It's looking to regulate the maximum height for flight, the weather and time-of-day conditions for flight, and any areas where flights may be prohibited. If passed, the act would require manufacturers to update existing consumer drones to meet these requirements, potentially through an automatic software update. The bill would require safety features for new consumer drones such as Geo-fencing to govern the altitude and location of flights, collision-avoidance software, and more.

Uber Drivers Are Employees, Not Contractors, Says California Labor Commission 346 346

siddesu writes: The California Labor Commission has ruled Uber drivers are employees and not independent contractors. The ruling has serious implications for Uber's business model, since it will now be required to offer its drivers benefits that meet the requirements of the Californian labor laws. "Uber had argued that its drivers are independent contractors, not employees, and that it is "nothing more than a neutral technology platform." But the commission said Uber controls the tools driver use, monitors their approval ratings and terminates their access to the system if their ratings fall below 4.6 stars." Uber has previously suspended drivers for registering their cars as commercial vehicles.

Comment Re:Reasons why I don't like Musk's hyper loop (Score 1) 124 124

1. All the diagrams give the impression that it will be like people flying through tubes as in Futurama. Instead you will be sealed inside a metallic "bullet", that runs in a metallic tube - no windows for you (sort of like James Bond in The Living Daylights). It's a pity if you have any sort of claustrophobia.

So you'd need some kind of fancy window like display that could update with local scenery or anything else.

2. While the device doesn't run in a complete vacuum, it runs in an atmosphere that is low to the point of being unbreathable. But the device doesn't contain any onboard air supply - instead it relies on the driving compressor/fan assembly to compress the air to a human sustainable amount. So if the device loses power for any reason (electrical, mechanical, computational) then you better be able to hold your breath for a long long time.

So it operates just like a modern airliner

3. There was no indication that the loop itself was anything more than a single tube. Thus there is no capability to bypass any section. So if a device fails, all devices that are already in transit and behind it are screwed (see 2 above).

It's a test environment. These things can be developed.


Soft Robot Tentacle Can Lasso an Ant Without Harming It 49 49

jan_jes writes: A soft robot tentacle, developed by a team from Iowa State University, can curl itself into a circle with a radius of just 200 micrometers. It was capable of capturing an ant without harming it, and the tentacle was also able to grasp the egg of a fish. Such miniature soft robots could be useful for microsurgery. The lassoing motion and low force exerted by the tentacle could be an advantage in endovascular operations, for example, where the target for surgery is reached through blood vessels. They describe their findings in Scientific Reports.

Comment Re:Licensing should be mandatory (Score 1) 35 35

I can see it now, licensing test:

1.) Hack the computer containing this test to give yourself a passing score.

If you can do this, you are qualified to find security bugs in computer systems. If you cannot, you are not qualified.

But seriously, what is it that you would be testing for exactly? Proficiency? Morals (people can lie, you know)? Responsibility (ditto)?


Microsoft Will Help Iowa Caucuses Go High-Tech 71 71

jfruh writes: Poltical party caucuses are one of the quirkier aspects of American political life: local party members gather in small rooms across the state, discuss their preferences, and send a report of how many delegates for each candidate will attend later county and statewide caucuses to ultimately choose delegates to the national convention. It's also a system with a lot of room for error in reporting, as local precinct leaders have traditionally sent in reports of votes via telephone touch-tone menus and paper mail. In 2016, Microsoft will help both Democrats and Republicans streamline the process in a fashion that will hopefully avoid the embarrassing result from 2012, when Mitt Romney was declared the winner on caucus night only for Rick Santorum to emerge as the true victor when all votes were counted weeks later.

The steady state of disks is full. -- Ken Thompson