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Comment Re:Huge amount of wasted time (Score 1) 348

This is spot on. I did a PhD and Post-doc, then took a commercial research job because I didn't think I could stand the endless proposals and churning out incremental publications. After about 10 years away I wondered if I might go back to academia. When I was a student there were many professors who had been out "to industry" and come back. But I was told that these days you have zero chance of an academic position without a continuous publication record... unless you have won a Nobel Prize. So it is a case of "give up once and you are out for ever".

Comment Re:lower insurance? (Score 1) 449

That is certainly possible. There is also a flip-side. When there is a mixture of computer-driven and human-driven cars on the road there will be accidents. Most of those will probably be caused by the human drivers. Importantly this will be provable because the computer-driven cars will have telemetry to prove it.

So I think the question is will there be enough wins for computer-driven cars before a major systems failure tips people against them?

Comment Re: Wrong objective. (Score 5, Interesting) 115

Yes, totally agree. As someone who has tried to reproduce other people's results (in the field of image processing) with mixed success. It can be incredibly time consuming trying to compare techniques which appear to be described accurately in journals, but omit "minor" details of implementation which actually turn out to be critical. I have also had results of my own which seemed odd and were ultimately due to coding errors which inadvertently improved the result. Given the opportunity, I would have published all my academic code.

Comment Re:We will again set an example for the world (Score 4, Interesting) 327

I agree. An example is the UK in the late 1980's. At the European Parliamentary elections 15% of the electorate voted Green. They didn't win a single seat, because of the system, but the "main" parties were so shocked at the swing that they immediately set about trying to "green" themselves.

Comment Re:Wishful thinking does not change the law (Score 1) 320

"There are effective ways to change the law, but ignoring the law isn't one of them." Maybe, maybe not. For example, in the UK, ripping CDs to MP3 is still technically illegal. People have been openly ignoring the law for years. Eventually the law may be updated to reflect the reality, but that is almost irrelevant.

Comment Re:Kudos to Google for their geeky naivete (Score 1) 159

Maybe you only have experience of bad teachers. At my son's school the teachers are very knowledgeable on technology; and I am often surprised at the detail they go into at even young ages. I'm sure they would love to get their hands on some more equipment and RPis seem like a brilliant tool for learning.

Comment Re:Only part of Luke's home (Score 1) 90

I visited this site in the late 70's as part of a camel ride into the desert. I was only a child, but don't remember seeing the dome part at all. The below ground part was recognisable from the movie - and I remember the guide explaining that the white paint was not a traditional feature - it was added for the movie but the people living there liked it and left it like that afterwards.

Comment Re:The UK already has this, and worse (Score 1) 260

When the European Court of Human Rights ruled that this was illegal in 2008 the UK government promised to delete the profiles of innocent people. But they backtracked in 2011 and decided to keep the profiles in "anonymised" form: where "anonymised" means a form that doesn't directly retain the person's name, but does retain the case barcode, so can be linked back to them with some effort.

Comment Re:Shoddy journalism and misleading statistics. (Score 2) 184

Yes, we got our 11 year old a mobile when he started at secondary school. But there is a difference between "has a mobile" and "uses a mobile". His phone stays in his bag, turned off, mostly. In fact, he didn't really want a phone, since he sees his friends all the time anyway. So really it is only there for his parents' peace of mind "in case of emergency".

Comment Re:Why libraries are dying too (Score 1) 443

Doesn't your library have an inter-library loan system? I started using my local library in the UK a lot a couple of years ago when a friend pointed out that they have a large collection of graphic novels that my kids were just getting into. Those "books" cost about 20 quid each to buy but they are only 50p if you have to order them from another library (and free obviously if the local library has them). OK, you might have to wait a week or so for the book. Since then I've been getting most of my books (of all types) from the library.

Comment Re:Not US-specific (Score 1) 487

Also, academic research is so focussed on getting out publications that there is no time to actually "make it work properly". Did anyone ever get a publication out of fixing bugs in a previous project's code? I'm a fan of leaving academics to get on with fundamental research and leaving the private sector to solve the final practical problems. It used to be called "technology transfer" but it often fails to work, for various reasons :(

Comment Re:Missing the point (Score 1) 487

Exactly. It is all about learning how to organise your own work in a novel subject area. Perhaps more so in the UK where a PhD is not "taught" as such: there are no classes, you just have to get on with it yourself with guidance from a supervisor. A PhD is also a good way to experience what an academic life might be like, with a reasonably prestigious qualification to take away to industry if you decide it is not for you.

All great ideas are controversial, or have been at one time.

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