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Comment: Re:The problem is not that it's a one-way mission (Score 2) 169 169

I'm sorry, but going to Mars is NOTHING like going to California. You can be pretty well assured that wherever you go on Earth, you won't die of suffocation (except maybe from exposure to fumes from an active volcano). And food grows or is found almost everywhere on the planet (excluding Antarctica -- even most deserts have food available in them).

The only way Mars would work is if machinery can be sent that digs a deep enough pit, so it can have a usable air pressure. From there it can be terraformed.

Comment: Re:Yes. What do you lose? But talk to lawyer first (Score 4, Informative) 734 734

They may not owe US taxes, but they will probably have to file paperwork every year declaring such. Failure to file the paperwork can result in large fines, which are a problem if they ever decide to travel to the US.

Comment: Re:Free? (Score 5, Insightful) 703 703

:: Why would you pick classes that wouldn't transfer?

Simple -- you have basically 3 degree options in Community college -- Associates in Arts, Science, and Applied Science. The applied degree consists of classes that generally don't transfer. However, that degree does prepare you for the work place after 2 years (assuming you can find a job that doesn't think of an Associates degree as a failed Bachelors). Whereas the non applied degrees won't give you any job skills, but only prep you for a 4-year college. In any case, it is recommended that a student work with the target 4 year institution, to determine which courses to take at the local community college, and not do it blindly.

However, this is actually a bigger issue. A lot of the high school classes are dumbed down enough that they really don't prepare students for college level courses. So often times students have to take 1 - 2 semesters of additional prep work classes before they can jump into the real college classes. This can even be true if one took "college prep" classes in high school (depending on how crappy the local school district is).

Comment: Re:No (Score 1) 545 545

It actually depends. Back a while ago, a large consulting / outsourcing firm had faced a lawsuit, that a bunch of their IT employees were mis-classified. The outcome of that suit is that they were all reclassified as hourly, eligible for overtime -- but their pay got slashed by about 30%.

For myself, I like not having to punch a clock or fill in a time sheet. And if I have to run out an hour early, I like that my pay won't be docked by that amount. (Note, that employers can deduct hours from your vacation pool for less than either 8 hours a day worked, or 40 hours a week, can't remember which, but they can't dock your pay if you are exempt).

Comment: Re:nope (Score 1) 73 73

The way the updates work: When the device check Google for an update, for the first few days it gets a random chance of 1 in 100 of being selected. That chance is then reset after a few days, so when it checks again it gets another chance, maybe 5 in 100. Note, that once the dice is rolled, no matter how often it checks for updates, it will always get the same decision until a certain time has elapsed. This chance increases as time goes on, allowing more devices to get the updates. If there are a significant number of issues reported during the first few days, this gives Google a chance to address the issues with additional patches, or to pull the update completely if required.

Comment: Re:Robot factories (Score 0) 331 331

Let's say you pay the burger flippers more. That means the price of the burger goes up (the money has to come from somewhere). Now, the person working at the bread factory is going to want more pay to afford the higher cost of the burger. And so is the plumber. And the construction worker building a house. All of these companies now have to raise the price of their products to accommodate the higher payroll. Looks like raising the pay of the burger flipper really didn't accomplish much, as bread and housing is now more expensive. Congratulations.

Comment: Re:"Finds Fault" is faulty reporting (Score 2) 269 269

That 25 seconds of fuel was landing fuel. If they ran out before landing, they would have pushed the abort button and shot back into orbit with the takeoff fuel allocation. Now I don't know if this was automatic, or if the launch fuel physically separated (to absolutely prevent using it for landing), so that could have been a factor also.

AI

The Challenges and Threats of Automated Lip Reading 120 120

An anonymous reader writes: Speech recognition has gotten pretty good over the past several years. it's reliable enough to be ubiquitous in our mobile devices. But now we have an interesting, related dilemma: should we develop algorithms that can lip read? It's a more challenging problem, to be sure. Sounds can be translated directly into words, but deriving meaning out of the movement of a person's face is much more complex. "During speech, the mouth forms between 10 and 14 different shapes, known as visemes. By contrast, speech contains around 50 individual sounds known as phonemes. So a single viseme can represent several different phonemes. And therein lies the problem. A sequence of visemes cannot usually be associated with a unique word or sequence of words. Instead, a sequence of visemes can have several different solutions." Beyond the computational aspect, we also need to decide, as a society, if this is a technology that should exist. The privacy implications extend beyond that of simple voice recognition.

When someone says "I want a programming language in which I need only say what I wish done," give him a lollipop.

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