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Comment: Re:UK article, US units (Score 1) 164

by mjwx (#48217239) Attached to: U.K. Supermarkets Beta Test Full-Body 3D Scanners For Selfie Figurines

Well, given that fuel is dispensed in litres, but distances are measured in miles, wine is measured in ml and beer in pints, the systems we tend to use are somewhat fluid.

Pint isn't an official measurement (officially its 568ml) but it's popular in colloquial usage, you buy a pint of beer, but not a pint of milk or motor oil. Ordering a pint is just something that's ingrained in UK culture (and most commonwealth countries) and not going to change any time soon.

Height is a good example, when talking about height we use feet and inches but on any official document it's measured in centimetres.

Australia fully converted to metric before I was born, but old imperial measurements are still popular in conversation.

Comment: Re:For those of us keeping score... (Score 1) 165

by mjwx (#48217205) Attached to: Austin Airport Tracks Cell Phones To Measure Security Line Wait

To get to that point, one has to:

1.) buy airplane tickets, most likely by credit card


People are being paranoid about collecting a MAC address which even if it's unique is not directly tied to your name and address. However using their credit card in the airport coffee shop does not faze them at all. If you're worried about being tracked, a credit or debit card is the single most easily tracked, identifiable device you own and people dont think twice about using them everywhere. Hell, most cards these days come with NFC, that gives out your name (as well as the CC number and expiry date... all the details you need buy shit online with) to anyone who asks for it.

At an airport, I've already purchased a ticket with all the details pertained within. I've checked in so they've already seen my boarding pass and passport. Further more, I'm going through security so inevitably, someone is going to ask to see them again... So having my phone tracked isn't that big of a deal. Not like they're going to get any personal info out of a MAC address.

Comment: Re:Singapore Airport (Score 1) 165

by mjwx (#48217181) Attached to: Austin Airport Tracks Cell Phones To Measure Security Line Wait

A few years ago I was transiting at Singapore's Changi Airport. They had free WiFi, but subject to me giving them the MAC address of all my devices, the flight I had arrived on and they wanted to record my Passport number as well. The girl behind the counter said, with a big smile and fluttering eyes, everyone gives us those details and the WiFi is really good.

This is bullshit.

I regularly transit through Singapore (I live in Perth) and there are two ways to get onto the WiFi. You put in your mobile number and receive an SMS code or you go to an information desk and get a passcode on a piece of paper. They have never asked for my passport or boarding pass in the dozens of times I've been there (last was 6 weeks ago).

You've never actually been to Changi.

Comment: Re:How hard is it to recognize a stoplight? (Score 2) 286

by mjwx (#48209285) Attached to: Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

If I was walking across an intersection, I would trust a Google SDC far more than someone late for an appointment, driving a Chevy Tahoe with a cellphone in one hand, a Starbucks latte in the other, and two screaming kids in the back seat.

The problem you have is, someone like that wont let the car drive itself because a self driving car will stick to speed limits and slow down at pedestrian crossings because it will be programmed to anticipate stopping at a pedestrian crossing (like a defensive driver is trained to do). Nope, someone that self adsorbed and with such poor time management skills will be taking manual control with the pedal pressed to the floor whilst screaming into their phone. You simply cant overcome selfishness with a new technology.

But actual autonomous cars are years away from practical use. Decades away from the way you're thinking. The first autonomous cars will be normal cars with an autonomous mode that only works on specially upgraded roads which you can guarantee will be limited access roads (freeways and motorways) with no traffic lights.

Comment: Re:Pre-mapped environments are a dead end (Score 3, Interesting) 286

by mjwx (#48209267) Attached to: Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

Someone(s) at Google didn't think this one through.

I think quite a few people at Google have thought about that, came to the same conclusion as you and started working on the problem.

The thing that people dont get is that it will take years, if not decades to get fully autonomous cars onto the road. They aren't due out in 2018 and yes we know what models are coming in 2018, an updated 370z, a new NSX and a few others no-one has any interest in.

The first autonomous cars wont be by Google, in fact I doubt there will be a Google car, the first autonomous cars will be Merc's or Toyotas built using Googles technologies and the autonomous part will only work on specially outfitted roads (and they will be controlled, limited access roads at first) so you'll still be required to drive a car. In fact you probably wont see a car without a steering wheel or other controls in your lifetime.

You're quite right that roads will need to be upgraded to provide telemetry to autonomous cars, and this will happen gradually over many, many decades.

Comment: Re:what? (Score 1) 91

by mjwx (#48208753) Attached to: Judge Says EA Battlefield 4 Execs Engaged In "Puffery," Not Fraud

Even if they weren't intentionally lying, telling investors information that is effectively false is at best being self delusional, which is professionally irresponsible.

To be fair, EA and the Battlefield series has been going downhill for a long time. The BF3 was complete shite and I fell off the bandwagon after that. Given all the other bungled EA product launches (the Sims, Sim City) its hardly surprising.

I kind of have a hard time feeling sorry for people who bought BF4, the pattern was there clear as day. Caveat Emptor as they say.

Comment: Re:good (Score 1) 329

by mjwx (#48200751) Attached to: 3D-Printed Gun Earns Man Two Years In Japanese Prison

I think he was merely stating the obvious idea that with the weapons used by current day military, the whole defence-against-government argument for gun ownership is no longer valid. Whatever car roof-mounted machinegun you might have is laughably underpowered for the task of overpowering government.

That's funny, that's what they said in Viet Nam.

The Russians and Chinese sent them high tech weaponry to fight with. Even ISIS has little trouble getting the latest RPG and high tech missile launcher the Ukrainian "separatists" got a hold of to shoot down MH17 with.

A better example of how effective armed citizens are against the government would be Waco, but that doesn't support your point. The only reason that Waco lasted so long was because government rules prevented them from using overwhelming force. Or Chechnya, the Russian Govt. doesn't pull their punches... but Chechnya doesn't support your assertion either.

Comment: Re:Why a government site? (Score 1) 120

by mjwx (#48200689) Attached to: Overwhelmed By Recall For Deadly Airbags

My thoughts: If I'm buying a used car, presumably I know who manufactured the car because the car will be littered in badges proudly proclaiming who, exactly, built and may have subsequently recalled some part of the car. Whether a Kia or a BMW or a Lincoln, I should be able to go to,, or whatever, and find the recall information.

You cant trust a manufacturer to be truthful. I mean look at the recent GM ignition recalls. They waited until it killed serveral people before they did anything. In Australia faulty VAG transmissions have killed people yet VAG have done nothing.

A single source of information where you can look up individual models and see what ones have had recalls is absolutely necessary. The reason the government has to do it is because the private industry has
1) no incentive to do it.
2) no means to ensure that they do it accurately (BWM could pay them to keep their recalls on a separate page in the sub basement in a locked filing cabinet located in a disused lavatory with the sign "beware of the leopard" on the door).

Erm... sorry if this makes too much sense.

I don't need my government to save me the gross and unjust burden of typing "2010 toyota recalls" into Google

It'll bring up plenty of news articles, but not a lot of facts.

If I want to find an actual recall notice, I can go to and look by manufacturer. Yep, an Australian government run website (that works, oddly enough).

Comment: Re:Goal Should Be Zero Revenue (Score 1) 397

by mjwx (#48200641) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

It shouldn't be zero revenue because there would be no 'deterrance' which is their stated goal.

However, the revenue should go into a different pot, like an annual donation to local charities that are not otherwise funded by the city.

Welcome to Western Australia (WA), Australia.

All revenue from speed and red light cameras go into the Road Trauma Trust Fund. This means it completely bypasses the states coffers. Millions sit in this fund because they cant actually do anything with it (every time they try, the media creates a giant circus over it, they even tried giving out free driving lessons to learners once before the Murdoch press got wind of it and shut it down).

The problem is fines alone dont change behaviour as the people who get fines just slap each other on the back and circle jerk over the Revenue Raising conspiracy theory. I'd love to see the end of the revenue raising conspiracy (I know conspiracy theories are hard to kill though). Basically if you want to see a change in driver behaviour you need to make punishments punitive. This means taking more and more drastic measures for repeat offenders. In my state if you go over 45 KPH your license is taken off you for 3 months (6 months for the second time, 12 for the third) and if you're caught driving without a license you can be sent to jail. As long as the only punishment is monetary, people will continue to pay and wont change behaviour.

Comment: Re:Easy to solve - calibrate them to overestimate (Score 1) 397

by mjwx (#48200565) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

By doing what I suggested I do, I actually AM driving with the general road conditions in this area...if you stop at a light that turns yellow, you will be rear ended by at least 2 cars.

After a few accidents, people will start to get the message. If this is the only way people in your area will learn then it's the way people in your area will have to learn. Basically you're being part of the problem... and promoting that others do the same, you do need your license taken off you.

Now running a red light means that they have to build a timer into the red on both sides to prevent right angle crashes which are significantly more deadly and disruptive than rear end crashes (which rarely results in a fatality). The extended light timing will cause more disruption to traffic making your overall route slower. In effect, you're punishing everyone for your impatience.

In Australia we prefer using red light cameras as it doesn't punish everyone, only the people who run red lights. People who repeatedly run red lights end up having their licenses revoked.

Finally, I'm a defensive driver. If you're approaching a green light, you should be preparing to stop. This means you pay attention to the light and travel at a steady speed, I move my right foot over the brake (I drive a manual, not that anyone should left foot brake). If the light turns yellow you should already be aware of if you have sufficient time to stop safely (because you're paying attention) so no indecision here. You're pretty much the opposite of a defensive driver, we call your kind "organ donors".

Comment: Re:Easy to solve - calibrate them to overestimate (Score 2) 397

by mjwx (#48200527) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

You also have people from out of town that have learned their own light timing system and have an expectation when they visit you.

Basically, what you need is a national code for the programming of lights.

We have it in Australia, yellow light timing is the same nationally and you can report shortened yellow lights to the local council or state roads department. The biggest problem is with old lights using a mechanical system for timing (yes they still exist, its expensive to replace every traffic light in the country when new tech comes out) as these systems malfunction.

Comment: Re:G'day mate!!!!!!!!! (Score 3, Insightful) 70

by mjwx (#48193301) Attached to: Australian Physicists Build Reversible Tractor Beam

All the better to keep the ugly sheelas away with eh? Chuck another shrimp on the barbee skip!!!

Bugger me, another flaming mongrel is trying to speak 'strayan but using shrimp instead of prawn...

Get the tractor beam warmed up Bazza. I'll move the Camira so we can get to the Torana so we can get the Commo out of the shed. I'm pissed as buggery now.

Receiving a million dollars tax free will make you feel better than being flat broke and having a stomach ache. -- Dolph Sharp, "I'm O.K., You're Not So Hot"