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Comment Re:Paved with good intentions... (Score 1) 166

...or, you could just read those communications with Al'qaeda that you say are still on that computer. In fact, you most likely had, or you wouldn't be doing a home invasion on the American dream. And let's face it, if the bomb isn't in the place it was constructed, then it's 99% likely it's already been exploded at it's target location because real life isn't written by script writers trying to pad out a 42 minute long TV episode.

You're assuming that the actual communications were on the computer, rather than merely evidence that communication occurred (e.g. URLs of a known Al Qaeda chat room in the web browser's history). I was assuming the opposite. :-)

And yes, it's a big stretch—the sort of thing that makes for good TV, but that isn't very likely to happen IRL.

Comment Re:Paved with good intentions... (Score 1) 166

A computer system detects the delivery of large quantities of bomb-making materials to an address in the suburbs. You arrest the parents, and they seem completely baffled. You get a warrant and search their computers, only to find that their 13-year-old son has been in communication with Al Qaeda. You know that somewhere in the city, there is probably a bomb, and the only lead is a kid. The kid is uncooperative, and you realize that if you do not get the kid to spill his guts, thousands of people will die.

Comment Re:If that's how Pokemon Int'l treats its fans... (Score 1) 187

Hate to be a dick, but you DID charge admission using another company's IP.

But did he charge admission for the right to experience another company's IP? People didn't pay $2 apiece to see the posters. They paid $2 apiece to go to the party. So he didn't charge money for their IP in any meaningful sense. There's very little difference between this and suing some kid for printing out a picture of their IP and hanging it on his/her bedroom door.... It is, pedantically, a copyright violation, but it isn't the sort of way legitimate businesses behave. It's the way you'd expect a company trying to milk every last buck out of a dying franchise would behave.

Comment I don't want to hold your beer (Score 1) 166

Googlers generally apply those words to how we serve our users.

Really? Like charging them for a service that you won't fix the bugs in? (base)
Really? Like forcing everyone to remove their copyright info from images so you can use those images to benefit competitors who pay you more (base, again)
Really? Like never adding the most basic, 1990s-old commonly used features to GMail?
Really? Like classing websites according to your anti-sex moralistic bullshit and then locking those people out of earning a living?

It appears to me that not only do you (Google, Google employees) not apply "those words", you have no bloody idea what they mean.

You can go back to making your money-driven search results now. Cuz, hey, THAT is "serving your users" (up on a platter, that is.)

Comment Re:Millennials and "codes of conduct". (Score 4, Insightful) 166

To many Millennials, a "code of conduct" isn't something to help keep social interaction civil. It's actually a weapon that they use against those whom they dislike.

Power corrupts. It's always been true, and it's still true. That's why a focus on personal and consensual choice, "your right to swing stops at my face", and liberty in general is needed to keep the error rate down to a dull roar -- just about every committee or action of a legislature is an act of exerting power. Far too often, that power is inappropriately construed, far too often that power is inappropriately applied. Classing is another wielding of power that consistently proves to be used as a means of harm and revenge. I can think of numerous examples in the technical realm, from ridiculous and irrelevant "certifications" to college degree requirements regardless of your knowledge and experience, to portions of the GPL.

As for millennials, this didn't start with them, not even close. As a 60-year old fellow, I could go on for pages with accurate stories about social codes of conduct that were (and in many cases still are) used as attempts to bludgeon people into compliance with everything from superstition (by which I primarily mean various aspects of religion), to the red scare, to the 'Murica mindset, to the ridiculously exaggerated "sex trafficking" nonsense, to drug use and the drug war, slut shaming, gangsterism, terrorism, and so on. Seems to me that you're probably just finding the millennials more annoying because for whatever reason, their behavior has clashed with your outlook -- which is not to say anyone is right or wrong, just that there's an up-front conflict.

Comment Re:The article has it backwards (Score 1) 131

It would be quite interesting to know whether the decision not to install SCR was taken before the optimizations were done. Because that actually would be a plausible theory of why this happened that would jive with my experience of the automotive industry.

If it was basically one asshat manager saying that 'yeah, we're going to do this IN SOFTWARE without using SCR! And save MONEY!", then I can see exactly what happens next. Engineers go "good grief, what an ass, this is going to suck in most cases". Then they get to figure out basically any and every situation you can reduce effect and write logic to accomplish it until they reach required targets. And it just so happens that the idiots designing the benchmarks have produced benchmarks that look nothing like reality so of course they'll get completely different results than what happens when you're not driving the car under specific ideal conditions.

Of course, if that's actually it, then it's not even intentional fraud. And actually using those optimizations would be a good thing as they obviously do reduce emissions in certain conditions where power might not be needed, it's just that they should be using SCR as well. And the benchmarks should be updated to reflect real life situations.

Comment alternative hypothesis (Score 1) 131

Despite my claim that it may have been an accident of optimization I do have an alternative theory. I imagine that the VW designers got up against a deadline. Perhaps the above referenced possibility of an optimization error had actually led them down the wrong track to a point were it was too late, things were tooled, people trained etc... Have to forge ahead. So plan B becomes, well let's fake it to buy some time to build the right engine. they already know how to fake it since they had managed to fool themsleves. So they go big, boast of clean deisel and then try to make the engine achieves that. When they find they can't they have a problem. If they put in the new engine it would be clearly worse than the old engine and that would bring scrutiny. And for some reason they figure, well no one noticed to maybe we can just keep pushing this out longer till the next round of emission laws gives us cover for a change of engine.

Comment The mantra of optimization (Score 1) 131

The mantra of optimization is you get what you optimize for. It's amazing how that seemingly innocuous phrase is something every person doing optimization has at some point been bitten in the ass by at least twice. Once when you do something stupid as you are learning and once later when the optimization produces some completely perplexing result leaving you in awe of the power of that mantra.

There was likely no conspiracy precisely because of the difficulty of maintaining the conspiracy at this scale. A much simpler explanation is that they had the system train itself. There's no reason to leave out certain features in the input vector so all the sensors go in. The car learns that when there's no frequent steering input and the cost function is dominated by emissions then you minimize the emissions. And later on the test track, where there is no emissions term in the cost function, the car learns to anticipate accelerations when there is steering input, so the cost function optimizes for performance and fuel economy not emissions. and so on.

One can see how this could happen so easily. And even if one group thought about it they didn't control the whole cost function and were exploring one part of it. Component manufacturers might notice this too but assume it's fixed in the full system. indeed one report said that there was some internal review of some odd issues.

But if you aren't expecting this and you are relying on the model training to integrate many different team testing one can see how this could accumulate.

It's also easy to see how this could even be seen and not noticed. For example, shutting down emission controls and air conditioning and other things is completely the norm in perfromance tuning. When you stomp on your accelerator the clutch in your Air conditioner disengages to give more power. THe exhaust gas recrculator shuts off. You want those things to happen, just as you want the turbo to kick in before you need it and to kick out when it won't be needed. Thus cars that anticipate these changes rather than wait for then feel much more responsive yet can get much better emissions and fuel milage.

But one can see that these traits could accidentally "cheat" when ever two different optimization features come into conflict.

Comment I dunno (Score 1) 163

It's like the premium charged for snotty foods at upscale supermarkets. People will lay it.

Well.... cucumbers and corn on the cob, perhaps, but good luck getting someone to lay a pineapple or a live lobster. This is by no means a universal solution for snotty food purchases.

Comment Re:Population/Area has to be a factor (Score 1) 277

The SF Bay Area ends where the Silicon Valley begins.

Huh? The entire South Bay is considered to be the Silicon Valley, and most of those cities (Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Milpitas, San Jose) are physically touching the SF Bay. Pretty much the entire Bay Area is one continuous valley, with mountains down both sides.

Comment Re: I wonder how those dangerous streets are desig (Score 1) 277

I was actually looking at a plot of accidents when I gave that list, and the hot spots were clustered around those streets. Apparently some of the problems have shifted since the map I looked at. Either way, Market still looks like the biggest, most consistent problem zone to me.

The Wright Bothers weren't the first to fly. They were just the first not to crash.