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Submission + - Why Self-Driving Cars Must Be Programmed to Kill (

Strudelkugel writes: When it comes to automotive technology, self-driving cars are all the rage. Standard features on many ordinary cars include intelligent cruise control, parallel parking programs, and even automatic overtaking—features that allow you to sit back, albeit a little uneasily, and let a computer do the driving.

So it’ll come as no surprise that many car manufacturers are beginning to think about cars that take the driving out of your hands altogether (see “Drivers Push Tesla’s Autopilot Beyond Its Abilities”). These cars will be safer, cleaner, and more fuel-efficient than their manual counterparts. And yet they can never be perfectly safe.

Comment Re:Smaller than Planck (Score 1) 134

Without doing the actual math myself, I think I can present an example.

Imagine you have a ship going at a certain relativistic speeds. The observers inside the ship could observe themselves arriving at a destination in x Planck units of time (where x is an integer), but depending on the exact speed of the ship, a stationary observer would likely observe them arriving at the destination in y Planck units of time (where y is a real number that is not also an integer).

Let me know if you want me to take this beyond a mere thought experiment and come up with an actual velocity for the ship.

Comment Re:Safety (Score 1) 452

One example hardly proves anything, as you are well aware.

Now, if you were to find a case study of a similar country to the States that has guns allowed and knives banned and also has a much lower incidence of mass murder, I'd be on your side with banning knives. But at this point there's no evidence suggesting that knives are typically an effective tool for mass killings.

There IS, however, evidence showing that guns are an effective tool and there are examples of other countries with similar cultures who limit their accessibility that have many fewer mass killings.

Comment Re:Safety (Score 1) 452

It is blatantly, obviously clear to any truly thinking person that the problem is the choice, not the tool.

Though I agree that you are technically correct, I don't think that addressing the actual cause of the problem is realistic.

Take the following analogy:
You could say that bike thefts are a direct result of the choice of the thief not because some bikes are poorly locked or aren't locked at all, and you would be absolutely correct. But this does not imply that we should ignore the very real solution of making it harder for a bike thief to steal a bike by using a good bike lock.

Similarly, there is a very real solution of locking down the most convenient mass murder tool to make it much harder for the murderer to commit their crime. Does this solve the root cause? No. Is it effective? Well, look at the track record of any other country with a similar culture but restricted access to guns. (Canada, for example is inundated by American television so our cultures are about as different as the differences found between two states).

Sure the root cause would still exist. But when a person attempts a mass murder with a knife because that's all they can get their hands on, the death toll will be much lower, if any at all. If a person attempts a mass murder with a home made bomb, they might just blow themselves up trying to make the thing before getting a chance to use it on anyone. And let's be honest, there's a certain level of knowledge that a person would need to get even that far. Basically, there is no tool that is as good for the job as a gun is for murdering.

And you know what really sucks? Because there is such an intense and myopic misfocus on the choice of tools being used by many, nothing substantial is being done about the real problem, interpersonal, personal/group, group/personal and group/group abuse.

And you know what really sucks? Because there is such an intense and myopic misfocus on the real problem, interpersonal, personal/group, group/personal and group/group abuse, nothing substantial is being done about the choice of tools being used by many.

There FTFY

Comment After reading TFA, what I don't get is... (Score 1) 172

Why is it that the article can state things like "the known laws of physics break down" inside a black hole, yet insist that this particular law of physics, the conservation of information, shouldn't also break down and therefore results in a paradox.

Who gets to decide which laws break down and which ones don't?

Why isn't it all or nothing?

Comment Re: Mission accomplished (Score 1) 399

Now the feed in is around 50c I think meaning my panels pay about 60% more than if you were to do it after buying a house that doesn't have them already installed.

Actually, having just looked into this myself, I can tell you that the rate as of January 1st, 2015 is 38.4 c/kWh (source).

You're getting an amazing deal compared to current prices, but you also would have had to pay a lot more for your install costs, I imagine. So, it all balances out, I'm guessing.

Comment Re:Metabolic rate doesn't vary that much (Score 1) 381

So clearly there is more involved than thermodynamics.

Not true. But I see where your confusion lies...

It's still energy in vs energy out. What you are assuming is that the "energy in" portion of the equation is a simple matter of just adding up what you eat. And that the "energy out" portion is a simple matter of taking your BMR and adding in how many calories a machine says you burned in whatever exercise you did.

Really what each side of the equation is this:
energy in = [what you eat] - [what your body doesn't actually absorb (which is variable)]
energy out = [BMR (which is also variable)] + [calories burned in exercise (which is again also variable)]

So, for you with your lack of sleep, your body's metabolism dropped and therefore the BMR portion of the equation dropped too leaving you with a surplus of energy in vs your energy out.

I'm sure there were also a ton of other factors in there that moved around the various components of the equation too. But it's still energy in vs energy out.

Comment Re:Government Intrusion (Score 1) 837

They don't need to know exactly where you've driven, just whether or not you've left the state.

In Ontario, Canada, there's a toll highway, the 407, that works by having cameras at every entrance/exit to the highway. Using these, they log where you enter and exit the highway and send you a bill in the mail based on how far you went on the highway.

So, they could put something on every road that leads in and out of the state that could simply communicate with a device in the car that adds up only the miles that were driven in-state. It would stop counting the miles once you drive through an exit, then start again once you drive back into Oregon.

Then they wouldn't need GPS to track each person's actual whereabouts. And the people who love to circumvent the law would have a device to hack.

Comment Re:Better definition of planet (Score 1) 196

My personal definition is similar to yours, but with a a couple of additions:

1) Gravitation strong enough to pull it into a nearly round shape, but not strong enough to start fusion
2) Does not orbit another planet

This would include Pluto, Ceres, Haumea, Makemake. But it would also include Rouge Panets, which aren't planets according to the official planet definition.

Comment Let's take this further (Score 1) 98

So Bell essentially offers two different services (internet, media streaming service) at a discount and is told to stop because it's not fair (full agreement here).

But how is this any less fair than Rogers (and I'm sure Bell) who is currently offering discounts for customers who sign-up for multiple services including internet, home phone, and cable?

Comment Re:Sensationalism at its worst (Score 1) 201

Fact 2: The NASA team experienced a similar thrust

[citation needed]

From the NASA article:

Thrust was observed on both test articles, even though one of the test articles was designed with the expectation that it would not produce thrust.


Test results indicate that the RF resonant cavity thruster design, which is unique as an electric propulsion device, is producing a force that is not attributable to any classical electromagnetic phenomenon and therefore is potentially demonstrating an interaction with the quantum vacuum virtual plasma.

I don't read this as a "similar thrust" but rather as a non-zero but different thrust. So, yes, there's an error in the experiment causing the non-zero thrust, but there was still enough of a difference between the two experiments to lead them to the conclusion that something is going on.

Comment Re:wat (Score 1) 227

So, if a bunch of "goop" is effectively gathering around a black hole, wouldn't the gravitational pull of all of that matter eventually add up to increase the gravitational field of the black hole, thereby extending the radius of the event horizon? And wouldn't this then effectively make the goop itself enter the event horizon?

Honestly, if someone could explain this one, I'm really interested to know. Even if it's some logical fallacy of mine :)

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982