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Comment: Animals? Or vertebrates? (Score 1) 62

by mcmonkey (#47774509) Attached to: Fish Raised On Land Give Clues To How Early Animals Left the Seas

I've heard the same story as most...fish left the seas to spawn amphibians, reptiles, and other land animals.

Such stories never address invertebrates. If, as the headline suggests, all land animals come from fish who left the water, does this mean insects and other land invertebrates evolved from fish?

Comment: "immediate physical control" for current vehicles (Score 1) 506

by mcmonkey (#47759069) Attached to: California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

If they're insistent there's a way for an occupant to take "immediate physical control", why do they allow current cars on the road?

I'm not sure about steering, but certainly for acceleration and braking there's no way for drivers to take physical control of a modern automobile. Anything we do with those pedals on the floor sends a signal to a computer. The computer then decides what actions to take--open the throttle or apply the brakes.

There's a person initiating those functions, but the person does not have physical control.

+ - $75K prosthetic arm is bricked when paired Ipod is stolen.-> 2

Submitted by kdataman
kdataman (1687444) writes "U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ben Eberle, who lost an arm and both legs in Afghanistan, had his Ipod Touch stolen on Friday. This particular Ipod Touch has an app on it that controls his $75,000 prosthetic arm. The robbery bricked his prosthesis:

"That is because Eberle's prosthetic hand is programmed to only work with the stolen iPod, and vice versa. Now that the iPod is gone, he said he has to get a new hand and get it reprogrammed with his prosthesis."

I see three possibilities.
1) The article is wrong, possibly to guilt the thief into returning the Ipod.
2) This is an incredibly bad design by Touch Bionics [http://www.touchbionics.com]. Why would you make a $70,000 piece of equipment permanently dependent on a specific Ipod Touch? Ipods do fail or go missing.
3) This is an intentionally bad design to generate revenue. Maybe GM should do this with car keys? "Oops, lost the keys to the corvette. Better buy a new one.""

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:How much do the backers get? (Score 1) 107

Is it pure risk for the backers? e.g. if they make a product, they get something they bought, but if the product flops, they loose their money.
And now if the product makes a fortune, they only get their product they bought.
In other words, is kickstarter just a pre-order sales website?

It's zero risk for the kickstarter backers. There is zero chance they will lose more than they pledged through kickstarter.

Product? They didn't buy any product. Kickstarter has been quite clear, it is not a pre-order service. Anything offered in return for a kickstarter pledge is essentially a thank-you gift. Like all gifts, you're shouldn't demand one or complain when you don't get one.

If a kickstarter campaign fails (that is, raises the requested funds, but never manages to complete the product), the backers get nothing and have no recourse. I don't see how it would be any different if the campaign succeeds, as it did in this case. (Other than for P.R. reasons)

So back to the question of risk, once the campaign reached its funding goal, that money pledged was gone. Not a risk, but a certainty. It's like asking, what is the risk if I drop $5 into a Salvation Army bucket? No risk--you're just out $5.

There's no such thing as a free lunch. -- Milton Friendman

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