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Comment: Re:Perfectly fair (Score 1) 23

by Enigma2175 (#47568265) Attached to: University of Michigan Solar Car Wins Fifth Straight National Title

'Major sponsors include Ford, General Motors, IMRA, Michigan Engineering, NYK, Qatar Airways and Siemens PLM Software.'

Why is that unfair? Other teams are permitted to get sponsors. It's their problem if they can't recruit good sponsors. Plus most of those companies hire Michigan engineering graduates so why wouldn't they sponsor the students they are likely to hire?

Sure, I think they should be able to get as much money as they want from sponsors. However, the article made it sound like they were getting engineering help from their sponsors. This is supposed to be a student competition, not a professional contest. In this case, the team that won didn't even build their car, they just drove a car built by previous students and sponsors. I guess they drove it competently, but in an engineering competition I would like to see more engineering on the part of the participants.

Comment: Re:Figures it would not be the US (Score 2) 102

by Enigma2175 (#47567879) Attached to: UK To Allow Driverless Cars By January

Except for the fact that it was the vehicle trials which occurred in the US (california, nevada), trials that demonstrated the safety of these vehicles and which have caused the UK to fully allow them on the roads in Jan 2014, rather than their initial plans for trials to occur by the end of 2013. While the article does not explicitly state this to be the reason for the change, I believe it to be a fair presumption that the 300,000 miles google's cars have driven in Califonia were taken into consideration.

Trials are different than allowing manufacturers to sell driverless cars or allowing the general public to drive them. Even the Nevada law just instructs the DOT to set safety standards for driverless cars, which they have not yet completed. That also doesn't address insurance, which all cars in the US are required to have to drive on public roads. If the insurance companies won't insure the cars because of the litigation-happy Americans, the only way to drive such a car would be to underwrite the insurance yourself (which generally involves posting a large bond).

Comment: Figures it would not be the US (Score 1, Interesting) 102

by Enigma2175 (#47567363) Attached to: UK To Allow Driverless Cars By January

Obviously the US will not have this for some time ("Oh my god, somebody might sue!"), it's nice to see at least some countries see the advantage of cars that can drive themselves better than humans can drive them, even if the self-driving cars are not perfect. I would expect initially they would require a licensed driver behind the wheel, at least until the technology has proven itself.

Comment: It's a Trap! (Score 2) 172

by rossz (#47560097) Attached to: Senate Bill Would Ban Most Bulk Surveillance

Given that the executive branch, that being the POTUS, has never seen a surveillance law it didn't like, I seriously doubt this law would actually impede the government's lust for any and all information on the People.

Besides, the actual implmentation of any law is always the exact opposite of the bill name. My guess, "The USA Freedom Act" means "freedom for the government to do whatever the fuck they want."

Comment: Don't get too happy (Score 1) 77

by cpt kangarooski (#47537873) Attached to: Compromise Struck On Cellphone Unlocking Bill

This bill actually does very little. The DMCA is written very broadly, and has been commonly interpreted as to prohibit cell phone unlocking. Because Congress, in the 90s, when they enacted the stupid thing, was aware that the DMCA could go too far, but didn't want to be cautious or have to keep reexamining the law itself, they gave authority to the Library of Congress to add exceptions to it in specific cases. The process for these exceptions is that every three years, anyone who wants an exception has to plead their case. If found worthy, they get an exception. But the exception only lasts until the next rule making session, three years hence. Then it has to be reargued from scratch or lost.

Two rule making sessions ago, the Library of Congress found that cellphone unlocking was worthy of an exception. But in the most recent rule making session, they did not find it worthy, and the exception was lost; it went back to its default state of being illegal.

This law could have amended the DMCA to permanently allow cellphone unlocking. Or it could've directed the Library of Congress to always find that cellphone unlocking is allowed. But it does neither of these.

Instead it only reinstates the rule from two sessions ago for the remainder of the current session. Next year it will have to be argued again, from scratch, to the Library of Congress, or lost, again. And even if argued, it can be rejected, again.

This is less than useless. It's only a temporary patch, it doesn't even have an iota of long term effect (the rules don't take precedent into account, and this doesn't change it), and we've wasted all this effort getting it instead of something worthwhile.

Comment: Re:SLS and comparing to spacex (Score 2) 132

by Guspaz (#47534581) Attached to: SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short

He did state publicly that he promised NASA that he could build a rocket comparable to the SLS on a fixed-price $2 billion contract (meaning NASA would not pay a dime for budget overruns), although that price didn't include any second-stage upgrades NASA might require to meet its needs.

SpaceX is actually going ahead with their SLS-like competitor (Codenamed "BFR", I think you can guess what that stands for), and they're supposed to start testing on the methane-powered engines (Raptor) soon, which are supposed to be both more powerful and more efficient than the F-1 engines used in the Saturn V. However, without any customers paying for the R&D, BFR will take a lot longer to build than it would have if NASA contracted SpaceX to do it.

So, yeah. SpaceX offered NASA a contract to build an entire replacement for the SLS for less than a year of SLS funding.

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