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Comment: Re:Invisible Hand of the Market (Score 2) 78

by Kjella (#47587273) Attached to: Elon Musk Promises 100,000 Electric Cars Per Year

That depends on what you mean by a "free" market, which is even more complicated than the "free as in speech or free as in beer" of software. One meaning is as the opposite to a controlled market - one where participants and/or prices are regulated and you don't have a natural supply and demand. Obviously the car industry doesn't have that (but it did in the past, like the development of the Volkswagen in Germany), so in that sense it's free.

A second idea of a free market is a functional, competitive market where there are realistic choices and practically possibilities for new entrants to enter the market. The first definition doesn't exclude monopolies, oligarchies, collusion and cartels, dumping, price discrimination, exclusivity deals, IPR (imaginary property rights) lockout or any other number of anti-competitive behaviors.

A third idea of a free market is being as close as possible to perfect competition, a mostly unreachable ideal where you have cutthroat competition that'll constantly underbid each other until they sell at marginal cost and no profit is made. Lowering barriers to entry might be one way of trying to "lube" the market into functioning smoother, or you could for example require stores to show prices per kilo/liter to improve price transparency.

Comment: Re:Fully-autonomous or bust, because (Score 1) 120

by Kjella (#47586023) Attached to: Fooling a Mercedes Into Autonomous Driving With a Soda Can

A "pseudo-autonomous" car will probably never fail the basic operations on a road with regular markings and road signs, do everything by the book and pay full attention all around it all the time and it'll never panic, fumble or road rage. I think it will very quickly lull you into a false security where you're wondering why exactly you're babysitting this car because it's driving far more consistent and correct than you would.

The problem is when something unexpected happens and the car fails to recognize it or do something reasonable - that's a very fuzzy definition but everybody who's programmed computer software knows what I mean, no matter how many sanity checks and errors and exceptions you catch something unexpected happens and the software tends to fail spectacularly. I expect that at this point the "driver" will be totally blindsided and useless.

Comment: Re:Fast RAM required (Score 1) 103

by Kjella (#47582991) Attached to: AMD Launches New Higher-End Kaveri APUs A10-7800 and A6-7400K

Fast RAM is mainly important for graphics. AMD has a more powerful IGP, the Intel equivalent performs worse and so requires less. That is why Intel went with embedded DRAM on their best IGPs (brand name "Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200"), though none of these are retail chips but only for laptops and AIOs. Personally I'm of the opinion that either you don't care about the GPU at all and it doesn't matter, or you should care enough to get a decent graphics card. Putting a CPU+GPU on a 65W power budget won't ever be great unless you want to play Dota 2.

Comment: Re:Angry Proliferation Game (Score 1) 192

by Kjella (#47582689) Attached to: China Confirms New Generation of ICBM

And yet in nearly 7 decades of MAD, no one has ever done so.

The Romans managed 206 years in their "pax romana", it's not exactly proof MAD is working or everlasting. What we do know is that there's an awfully big boom when it doesn't work.

What's the alternative, trust that others will actually do what they say and remove all nuclear capability? Every country would see that as a golden opportunity to keep some hidden by hook, nook, or crook, so that then they're the only ones in the world with nukes.. win!

Enough to win if everyone else sees it as a madman's weapon that should be neutralized before they go all Hitler on us? Because when you pop outside that little bubble called global thermonuclear war everyone else who talked about killing hundreds of millions of civilians would be considered a genocidal lunatic. Could a rouge nuclear nation be stopped conventionally? How quickly could a global alliance against you gain nukes again? Will nukes get through rocket shields? How sure are they nobody else also kept some?

Don't forget that the "nuclear club" has a pretty solid double standard where they perfectly legitimize having their own nukes and last I checked the official NATO and Russian policy is that they can respond to any attack, conventional or nuclear with nuclear force while they strongly work for non-proliferation to prevent others from having the same weapons at their disposal. They trust it so much they very strongly don't want anyone else to join the "MAD club", why do you think that is? Because they know the whole thing is fickle as hell and someone might end up pushing the button.

Comment: Re: Completely infeasible (Score 1) 274

by Kjella (#47576955) Attached to: UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity

Not unfeasible at all, unless they need actual identites. For example here in Norway all phone numbers must have an owner identified with our version of an SSN, even unlisted and prepaid numbers. So an easy way to have an "id" is to send a one time code to the cell during registration. That account is now linked to my phone number which links to my id. If they're hacked, all they have is phone numbers. Many discussion boards already do that to reduce spam and make bans more effective

Comment: Re:Update cycles (Score 1) 259

by Kjella (#47572613) Attached to: How long ago did you last assemble a computer?

I'd call a motherboard replacement for all essential purposes a new build. You need to fasten it to the case and all those annoying little case cables (power/reset/LEDs etc.), add CPU, RAM, power cables, all extension cards, hard drives cables and so on again so you're pretty much doing all the work just in the same case with the same parts. The rest I'd call upgrades.

Comment: Re:Have they solved liability? (Score 1) 190

by Kjella (#47570085) Attached to: UK To Allow Driverless Cars By January

Once we're stepping out of the realm of advanced cruise control and into active driving, it will clash even if they don't want to take responsibility. "I didn't expect my car to make the turn and fail to yield, you can't expect me to undo every mistake" "I saw it coming and could brake down, but my car didn't realize and speeded up and caused the accident" "I tried to hit the ditch and avoid those school kids but my car refused to go off the road, running them over."

And once you've seen the computer do a maneuver 99 times you'll assume it will the 100th too, even if it's got some kind of sensor glitch meaning that no it won't. It's one thing to see a situation in front of you and slam the brakes in a duel with the computer, but then you'd have to co-drive all the time. It's another thing entirely to see a situation in front of you, wait a few moments, realize oh shit the computer isn't going to do anything then hit the brakes.

And one thing that's important to remember is that accidents are generally not legally punishable, the driving must be negligent or reckless for that and being surprised and acting panicked is legal for a human driver. If the car is going the posted limit, obeying traffic regulations and hits the brakes it may meet the legal minimum even if there will be an accident and the result might be sub-optimal, unless we hold autonomous cars to a higher standard.

As the backup driver I'm certainly only human, my reaction could certainly be surprised and panicked. To roll that liability past the car and onto me there must have been some rather damn obvious reason why I had to intervene. It would have to be reckless or negligent of me to think the car can handle it better than me. If it ever got to court I'd argue that's just not true, in perfect hindsight maybe it was a poor split-second judgement but that's not a crime.

Or the TL;DR version: I doubt you'll ever be held legally liable for not taking over control, that you might or possibly should have yes but not that it was reckless or negligent not to. So in practice I think distracted driving will be legal, if not in theory.

Comment: Re:$7142.85 (Score 1) 417

by Yaztromo (#47568255) Attached to: A 24-Year-Old Scammed Apple 42 Times In 16 Different States

But.. but...but didn't mac's come with some magic magnetic connectors to safeguard them against cable strain ??

No. The MagSafe connector was never designed to eliminate cable strain. It was designed to break away from the laptop should you trip over the cable, preventing the laptop from being damaged.

Cable strain can come from many sources. The cable can simply be bent in a funny angle repeatedly over a long period of time. A MagSafe style connector isn't going to protect against that. Yanking out the cable by gripping the cable and pulling (as opposed to holding the connector directly) also causes cable strain, and again -- MagSafe won't help you here (other than by ensuring you can't also accidentally yank the laptop with the cable).

Even the very ad you linked emphasizes this -- the whole point is that the "PC" is damaged -- not the PC's power cord. Apple has never claimed you can't damage the cable by straining it inappropriately, and MagSafe was never designed nor marketed to prevent such damage.

Yaz

Comment: Re:Wow ... (Score 1) 417

by Yaztromo (#47568071) Attached to: A 24-Year-Old Scammed Apple 42 Times In 16 Different States

When you pay for gas with a credit card and the pump asks you to punch in your zip code, it's not collecting marketing information. It's using the zip code as a (rather flimsy) security measure to protect against someone buying gas with a lost/stolen credit card.

I had never seen this done prior to a trip through the US earlier this year. Of course, it wouldn't accept my Canadian postal code (which is a six character mix of alternating letters and numbers). I had to cancel the transaction and go in and have the cashier run everything manually, and then go in after filling up to complete the transaction.

Not the end of the world, I suppose. I suspect we don't bother with doing that here in Canada due to a) stronger privacy laws and b) near global use of chip-and-pin for credit cards. At the time, my natural first thoughts were "why on EARTH would you need to even ask me that???". Now I know why, and will know better the next time I'm down that way.

Yaz

Comment: Re:Such a Waste (Score 5, Informative) 156

by Kjella (#47563761) Attached to: The Hobbit: the Battle of Five Armies Trailer Released

Gandalf knows that Sauron is back. This directly contradicts LotR. In fact, there's no reason Gandalf would let Bilbo keep the ring once he knew Sauron existed.

Actually this is exactly like in the books.

The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond", p. 261

'Some here will remember that many years ago I myself dared to pass the doors of the Necromancer in Dol Guldur, and secretly explored his ways, and found thus that our fears were true: he was none other than Sauron, our Enemy of old, at length taking shape and power again. Some, too, will remember also that Saruman dissuaded us from open deeds against him, and for long we watched him only. Yet at last, as his shadow grew, Saruman yielded, and the Council put forth its strength and drove the evil out of Mirkwood and that was in the very year of the finding of this Ring: a strange chance, if chance it was.

As for the ring, Gandalf did not know it was the One Ring.

Then for the last time the Council met; for now we learned that he was seeking ever more eagerly for the One. We feared then that he had some news of it that we knew nothing of. But Saruman said nay, and repeated what he had said to us before: that the One would never again be found in Middle-earth. (...) [Gandalf] sighed. `There I was at fault,' he said. `I was lulled by the words of Saruman the Wise; but I should have sought for the truth sooner, and our peril would now be less.'

He finally found an ancient scroll to test if it is the One Ring, because on the surface it looks like any other minor magical ring.

And then in my despair I thought again of a test that might make the finding of Gollum unneeded. The ring itself might tell if it were the One. The memory of words at the Council came back to me: words of Saruman, half-heeded at the time. I heard them now clearly in my heart.
` "The Nine, the Seven, and the Three," he said, "had each their proper gem. Not so the One. It was round and unadorned, as it were one of the lesser rings; but its maker set marks upon it that the skilled, maybe, could still see and read."

This is where it all starts in Fellowship of the Ring.

Comment: Re: Neither (Score 1) 404

by ShieldW0lf (#47563591) Attached to: Which Is Better, Adblock Or Adblock Plus?

Now, that's not true. They call them squeegee kids back home, they stand in intersections washing windows and guilt tripping people into payment... they make a hundred dollars an hour, easy.

You don't have to be a productive member of society if you're manipulative. Well, unless everyone else is the same as you...

Comment: Re:It's only gone 25 miles? (Score 3, Interesting) 46

by Kjella (#47563569) Attached to: Opportunity Rover Sets Off-World Driving Record

They had their own goals and all that, but my first goal, if I was sending something millions of miles away (I don't know how far it traveled when it went to Mars, but the closest approach between earth and mars has been 34.8 million miles), I'd certainly want the ability to move it more than XXX feet per day.

And a free pony, but the problem is the power budget. Going faster -> more power required -> bigger solar panels -> more weight -> going slower. If you got a solution for that, I'm sure NASA would like to have a talk with you. Also consider that it might be very hard to travel a significant distance, it's easier to drop two rovers on opposite sides of the planet than design a rover that can drive 5000+ km.

Mars has areas with really sharp rocks and Curiosity has already taken more wheel damage than expected. Soft soil is almost just as bad, potentially trapping the rover as it happened with Opportunity. And there's no tow truck coming, so if you screw it up the mission is over. Personally I imagine it's the scientific equipment that mostly limits the rover, if we haven't got the tools or sensors getting there faster won't do us any good.

Comment: Re:Such a Waste (Score 1) 156

by Kjella (#47563397) Attached to: The Hobbit: the Battle of Five Armies Trailer Released

While far from perfect, I felt that Peter Jackson at least made an attempt to stay true to the original story in Lord of the Rings. For the Hobbit he didn't hold anything back as sold out to the suits at Warner Brothers. Both he and the Tolkien family should be ashamed they agreed to this abortion screenplay.

LotR is a story worth telling, it's a grand epic. The Hobbit is... well, a children's tale about a dragon's treasure. In LotR it's obvious why Frodo must be the reluctant ringbearer, while in the Hobbit you have Bilbo making this insane leap to join a crazy bunch of dwarfs and a wizard to go steal treasure from a dragon. Totally credible. And being caught by big dumb trolls who want to eat them is totally cliche. All the characters are either good guys or bad guys, there's no conflicted characters like Gollum. There's no sacrifice like Boromir. And not a single female character to bring up the wife acceptance factor, it's all about the bling. Trying to use the Hobbit as follow-up to LotR is total folly, I know because I read them in that order and it's weaker in every respect for everyone above the age of ten.

Yes, they're totally molesting the story of the Hobbit but mainly by ret-conning in as many things related to LotR as possible to cover over its own pathetic plot. Like the whole story with Dol Guldur, in the book Gandalf is simply away but in other bits and pieces Tolkien does describe that and as a LotR prequel it's just as important as the main story line. I mean Bilbo already has the ring, at the end of the story he has the ring - the rest of the tale doesn't really affect the LotR story line in any significant way. The book had to stand on its own legs. The end of the Hobbit will just be a waypoint to the first LotR movie. I mean this book ends with a hobbit returning home to the Shire with two small chests of gold, a mithril chain mail and a ring, it's not exactly a grand finish like destroying the One Ring and it never will be.

Work expands to fill the time available. -- Cyril Northcote Parkinson, "The Economist", 1955

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