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+ - The Magic of Pallets

Submitted by (3830033) writes "Jacob Hodes writes in Cabinet Magazine that there are approximately two billion wooden shipping pallets in the holds of tractor-trailers in the United States transporting Honey Nut Cheerios and oysters and penicillin and just about any other product you can think of. According to Hodes the magic of pallets is the magic of abstraction. "Take any object you like, pile it onto a pallet, and it becomes, simply, a “unit load”—standardized, cubical, and ideally suited to being scooped up by the tines of a forklift. This allows your Cheerios and your oysters to be whisked through the supply chain with great efficiency; the gains are so impressive, in fact, that many experts consider the pallet to be the most important materials-handling innovation of the twentieth century." Although the technology was in place by the mid-1920s, pallets didn’t see widespread adoption until World War II, when the challenge of keeping eight million G.I.s supplied—“the most enormous single task of distribution ever accomplished anywhere,” according to one historian—gave new urgency to the science of materials handling. "The pallet really made it possible for us to fight a war on two fronts the way that we did." It would have been impossible to supply military forces in both the European and Pacific theaters if logistics operations had been limited to manual labor and hand-loading cargo.

To get a sense of the productivity gains that were achieved, consider the time it took to unload a boxcar before the advent of pallets. “According to an article in a 1931 railway trade magazine, three days were required to unload a boxcar containing 13,000 cases of unpalletized canned goods. When the same amount of goods was loaded into the boxcar on pallets or skids, the identical task took only four hours.” Pallets, of course, are merely one cog in the global machine for moving things and while shipping containers have had their due, the humble pallet is arguably "the single most important object in the global economy.""

Comment: Stop Being Pawns and Do Our Bidding! (Score 1) 119

by Bob9113 (#48646781) Attached to: Dish Pulls Fox News, Fox Business Network As Talks Break Down

It is unfortunate that the millions of Fox News viewers on Dish were used as pawns by their provider. Hopefully they will vote with their hard earned money and seek another one of our other valued distributors immediately.

Stop being their pawns, do our bidding! Choke their cannon with your dead! And peel us some grapes!

Comment: Re:What took them so long? (Score 2) 142

by Bob9113 (#48646299) Attached to: Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes 'Massive Damage'

If "production networks" cannot be rendered totally secure, they should not exist. Moreover, if they do exist they should be wholly insulated from the Internet

There's always a connection to the Internet. Sometimes it is sneakernet, sometimes it uses photonic information dellivery to bio-ocular scanning device, which uses cranial data storage and processing, and meatfingers to transmit the data through an array of buttons commonly called a "keyboard"; but there is always a connection. Hacking airgapped networks (which are still networks, just with some strange hops through biochemical computers) is just another stop on the path. If we can trick a computer into accepting a "dangerous" value, we can do the same for humans. If we can train humans to reject those values, we can train computers to do the same.

Humans are just another kind of programmable machine on the network we call Earth, with different kinds of exploitable flaws. Right now we trust the machines more than we should so their security is weaker than the humans in many cases, and so the machines are the targets. But that will change though hard experience.

Not trying to contradict you, just noodling on the nature of being a node on a network.

Comment: Amateurs. We Are Cyborgs. (Score 2) 377

by Bob9113 (#48637607) Attached to: The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

Susan Schneider, a professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut, joins a handful of astronomers, including Seth Shostak, director of NASA's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, NASA Astrobiologist Paul Davies, and Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology Stephen Dick in espousing the view that the dominant intelligence in the cosmos is probably artificial.

You know, my mechanical engineer friend had some really good suggestions about the appendix surgery I was planning to get. Perhaps I should let him make the call instead of the surgeon. Oh, wait, no, that would be stupid.

Notice how there aren't any artificial intelligence researchers on that list? They are no more qualified to discuss artificial intelligence than a mechanical engineer is to discuss surgery. Better than my dog, to be sure, but not good enough to take their word for it.

I am an artficial intelligence researcher. We are cyborgs, ever more tightly coupled to the increasingly intelligent machines -- like our smart phones -- that house ever more of our memory, our social circles, and our emotional artifacts. Whatever it is that makes us who we are, increasingly, is coupled to our machines. And we will continue to be cyborgs, with an increasing share of our consciousness handed off to the machines onto which we smear our selves.

It will not be us versus them. We are them.

+ - Colorado sued by neighboring states over legal pot-> 2

Submitted by SternisheFan
SternisheFan (2529412) writes "The attorneys general of Nebraska and Oklahoma sued Colorado in the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, arguing state-legalized marijuana from Colorado is improperly spilling across state lines.

The suit invokes the federal government's right to regulate both drugs and interstate commerce, and says Colorado's decision to legalize marijuana has been "particularly burdensome" to police agencies on the other side of the state line.

In June, USA TODAY highlighted the flow of marijuana from Colorado into small towns across Nebraska: felony drug arrests in Chappell, Neb., just 7 miles north of the Colorado border have skyrocketed 400% in three years.

"In passing and enforcing Amendment 64, the state of Colorado has created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system enacted by the United States Congress. Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states, undermining plaintiff states' own marijuana bans, draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems," says the lawsuit. "The Constitution and the federal anti-drug laws do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local pro-drug policies and licensed distribution schemes throughout the country which conflict with federal laws.""

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Does the job still get done? (Score 1) 658

by Bob9113 (#48617391) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

If the job still gets done it's a good thing that jobs gets replaced by AI.
The flaw isn't in who does the work, but how the economic system around it is set up.

This is dead on the money. The traditional example is moving shoe manufacturing to China. The model says that if we move shoe manufacturing to lower wage countries, then US GDP will increase. As a result, the average income in the US will increase, even if the shoe makers in the US cannot find new jobs.

"But what about those shoe makers?"

"Well," the mathematical model says, "even if we have to provide financial aid to put those former shoe makers into jobs for which they are currently underqualified, the net economic benefit of moving the manufacturing overseas is a win for the US (and for China)."

It's actually all quite true. The mathematical model is as well-tested as gravity. But there's the rub -- right now we're just straight up shifting the cashflow out of labor and into capital gains. From those who work for a living to those who have investment money to put at risk -- without a commensurate job retraining program or economic incentives for employers who migrate those labor resources into the new economy. Done that way, it's absolute shit for the laborers. But what's worse is that leaves them as a wasteful drag on the economy instead of developing them as a productive economic resource. In the long run, it is worse even for the wealthy who are doing a little better in the short run. It is, from a purely objective economic standpoint, fiscally stupid.

And not only are we allowing the shift to happen, we're encouraging it by having a lower capital gains tax rate than the labor tax rate (complicated math, it's higher than the 15% or 20% that the left claims, and lower than the 40% counting corp tax that the right claims, but the real tax incidence of capital gains on the investor is substantially lower than the real tax incidence of income tax on a laborer with the same income).

We are creating the exact sort of economic conditions that have sparked most of the major economic revolutions since the dawn of civilization. And we're seeing the same rise of nationalist rhetoric fueled oligarchy that was at the center of each of those previous examples -- with one major change: This time it's happening in multiple countries at once. Abbot, Harper, and Cameron are as deeply tied to Wall Street and the surveillance industrial complex as Obama and the rest of the party-line Republocrats are.

Comment: Re:So much for his career (Score 2) 161

by Bob9113 (#48590901) Attached to: Former iTunes Engineer Tells Court He Worked To Block Competitors

I hardly doubt that a future employer would hold him accountable for telling the truth under oath.

Was that intentional, Freudian slip, or mistake? I mean, I concur 100% -- there is no doubt in my mind that the most successful US companies strongly favor a willingness to lie under oauth -- but then I've worked on Madison Ave and my brother worked on Wall Street, so I've seen the sausage get made.

Comment: Partway There (Score 2) 134

by Bob9113 (#48580243) Attached to: Facebook Offers Solution To End Drunken Posts

detect how intoxicated you were in the photo and suggest that you not post it. Which in the end, is probably for the best.

Not bad. Now if we can just get them to suggest that you not post things when you don't look intoxicated, they'll have covered all the cases where not posting things to Facebook probably for the best.

Comment: Re:TSA Has Been Useless Since The Beginning (Score 1) 184

by Bob9113 (#48580215) Attached to: Are the TSA's New Electronic Device Screenings Necessary?

how can we quantify the effect of simply having *some form* of security...?

Brief aside; of course we should have some security. I'm only saying that the things TSA has done are generally both unnecessary and ineffective.

quantify the effect of ... security to deter the less-suicidal ones?

The way to measure the deterrent effect of a system is by looking at the risk in cases where that system is not in place. In the case of TSA, we can look at cases where the TSA has no deterrent effect and there isn't an analog agency or system. By looking at the probability of attacks that are not deterred by TSA, and comparing that to the probability of attacks in cases where TSA is in place, we can approximate the risk mitigation.

So, for example, we have little or nothing like TSA to deter toxic gas attacks in crowded public spaces. AFAIK, the recent (and possibly accidental) chlorine gas release at the furry convention is the only case since the creation of TSA.

Consider how much terrorism we experienced in the recent years prior to TSA, the level of terrorism in first world nations that don't have something like TSA, and the number of events in the US in areas that are not protected by TSA or a similar deterrent. Compare that to the three minor terrorist attempts that made it through TSA's watch, and their threat level. Even if you take the most pro-TSA estimates you reasonably could, I think we're talking about a deterrent effect that falls somewhere below the life saving benefit of "Don't Run Near The Pool" signs -- at a much higher cost in both dollars and liberty.

Comment: Probably makes little difference (Score 1) 1

by Aryeh Goretsky (#48578409) Attached to: TSA's new security checks: absolute joke or absolute necessity?


I suspect it will make little difference. A sophisticated terrorist could probably allow for enough room inside a laptop for a Raspberry Pi, Gumstix or similar computer module to display a convincing BIOS/UEFI boot-up message, possibly followed some kind of shut-down error due to low battery or corrupt file system. I would seriously doubt if a TSA agent would know the difference between that and, say, a legitimate boot screen for every Linux distro out there.

Frankly, I'm not sure what the advantage is to this kind of screening. After all, the January 2011 bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo airport demonstrates how effective a suisidce bombing can be inside an airport. I would imagine that a bombing at crowded TSA chokepoints would be the exact kind of target terrorists are looking for.

I would imagine that when a bomb goes off, the entire airport goes into lockdown and all of the incoming planes are redirected to alternate airports. Repeat that bombing once or twice more on the same day and you have likely paralyzed that nation's airspace and related infrastructure for several days while they try to and figure out how to respond.


Aryeh Goretsky

Comment: TSA Has Been Useless Since The Beginning (Score 5, Insightful) 184

by Bob9113 (#48578211) Attached to: Are the TSA's New Electronic Device Screenings Necessary?

is the TSA right to be cautious or have its actions caused unnecessary hassle for passengers?

The TSA has done about ten billion screenings since its inception. They have caught zero terrorists. They have missed three. All three failed, for reasons completely unrelated to TSA. TSA screenings are ineffective and unnecessary. This has been apparent for years, this story is just one more bit of security theater. TSA panders to the terror that is the terrorists' only weapon when we should be fighting it.

You're already carrying the sphere!