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Comment: no training?? (Score 3, Informative) 319

You're talking about a profession that in many cases has either no training or dubious training.

This is a field that requires a masters degree and certification.

You're probably thinking of faith-based social organizations that attempt to provide counseling services. Those agencies do not provide effective treatment for the ailments you mentioned. At best they might be able to provide some marriage counseling assistance.

Comment: Re:Five stars for.. (Score 1) 242

by SethJohnson (#49787939) Attached to: In a 5-star rating scheme, the new Mad Max film ...
I agree with all your examples. However, I recoiled during a couple of moments where the story was being read out loud, perhaps at the demand of a producer, as if the audience needed the plot points fully highlighted and underlined.

Obviously the beginning carries a lot of narration that heavy-handedly prepares the setting for the story. Entirely unlike the first 20 minutes of "There Will Be Blood"-- masterful storytelling by Paul Thomas Anderson.

The big shocker to me was near the end where Max fully explains the strategy of attempting to retake the Citadel while the boss is away, then THE BOSS EXPLAINS THE STRATEGY again. This is in stark contrast to the switcheroo ending of Road Warrior where the audience learns of the clever ruse at the absolute very end of the film. Why couldn't George Miller have Furiosa spontaneously turn around with everyone confused about the agenda? Because the strategy is totally explained to the audience, the last 15 minutes of the film is kind of a foregone conclusion.

Comment: Re:Not convinced (Score 1) 408

A good point, but there have been studies in the past that show it takes a long time for a pilot who is out of the loop to turn off the automation and hand fly the aircraft. It's probably pretty safe to assume that professional pilots are very attentive during those parts of the flight where it's likely that they may have to take over control of the aircraft from the automation. I'm not sure I trust the average "driver" to do the same. I think that as soon as people start driving in autonomous vehicles they'll be even more guilty than they are today of being distracted by performing other tasks instead of monitoring the vehicle and it's surroundings.

If we allow autonomous vehicles on the road assuming that humans can be trusted to monitor the situation and take over at a moments notice, I believe we're setting ourselves up for lots of accidents. The fact that we can assign blame to the human for not monitoring the autonomous vehicle ignores the fact that they probably would have been paying more attention to the environment if they had been driving by themselves. I think it's reasonable that we require autonomous vehicles to be able to be at least as good as an attentive driver for avoiding accident situations such as a child running out into the street or an unexpected road hazard, before we let them on the road in large numbers.

I'm sure most of you have seen this Google https://www.youtube.com/watch?... video. It seems like they've given a lot of thought to how to detect other vehicles that need special attention such as bikes and trucks. I'd be curious to hear something authoritative about what they still can't detect autonomously...

Comment: Re:false positives aren't what you think (Score 1) 164

by SethJohnson (#49626173) Attached to: How the NSA Converts Spoken Words Into Searchable Text
Maybe I wasn't clear about how these tools help ferret out networks of freedom-haters. This line could have been more prominently stated--

...to see who else might be a solid villain candidate. Even just monitoring internet traffic to known jihadist websites can likely get the filters applied to a person's communications to see if they might be a person-of-interest.

That type of work is more than forensics. It's proactively chasing up the networks to make their leadership accountable. Those are vague terms for drone strike.

I'm not cheerleading the NSA here, either. Just commenting on the data science.

Comment: false positives aren't what you think (Score 4, Insightful) 164

by SethJohnson (#49621639) Attached to: How the NSA Converts Spoken Words Into Searchable Text
In all likelihood, the false positives suggested by the OP and others in this discussion are unlikely to trigger any such NSA attention.

Coming from a data science background, I suspect they are transcribing and indexing all conversations as best as is possible with their elite voice recognition technology. Once it's in ASCII stored in a database, they can datamine the conversations of known radicals and jihadists. The algorithms that are generated don't so much emphasize specific keywords, but they generate a scoring system across a bunch of conversations by known haters-of-American-Freedom.

With filters in hand, they can look at who talked to the known villains and score them and run down the trails of phone calls, emails, text messages, and internet chats to see who else might be a solid villain candidate. Even just monitoring internet traffic to known jihadist websites can likely get the filters applied to a person's communications to see if they might be a person-of-interest.

Keywords will come into play AFTER an attack like the Garland Draw Mohammed contest. The NSA is right now filtering recent past conversations among suspected jihadists looking for relevant keywords such as 'Garland', 'American Freedom Defense Institute', 'Pamela Geller', and 'Elton Simpson'. Any conversation leading up to the attack including those keywords would absolutely put someone on a watchlist. And everyone who that person is talking to would be suspect as well.

Bottom line is, these tools are being used retroactively to bolster detective work. Talking about bombs and the President's name doesn't do anything because there are a thousand-million conversations using those words everyday.

Comment: Re:Subs as aircraft carriers (Score 1) 75

Cruise missiles work great for blowing stuff up, but there are a great many operations that call for extraction of soldiers or intelligence. Submarine-based aircraft could do this very well.

Some security strategists have proposed the florida-man-piloted-gyrocopter was allowed to land safely on the capitol lawn in order to give the North Koreans a false sense of confidence in their secret submarine-based gyrocopter assault project currently under development near PoonYang.

Comment: Re:Shocked he survived (Score 1) 327

by BostonPilot (#49489007) Attached to: Gyro-Copter Lands On West Lawn of US Capitol, Pilot Arrested

Actually gyrocopter rotors and helicopter rotors use exactly the same types of airfoils. The only difference is that a helicopter can use an engine to turn the rotor, while the gyrocopter uses the airflow through the rotor to turn it. Helicopters do exactly the same thing when we glide with the engine shut down/disconnected. There are many different designs, but generally speaking gyrocopter and helicopter rotors are identical except that helicopters may use an engine to power the rotor.

If you want to check out a couple links on my helicopter website that discuss this:


Comment: Re:Shocked he survived (Score 1) 327

by BostonPilot (#49488893) Attached to: Gyro-Copter Lands On West Lawn of US Capitol, Pilot Arrested

Your blowing it out of proportion. The guy didn't endanger anyone.

So if that gyrocopter developed trouble on his approach, and veered 20 degrees to the left on its way down, which would have put him into a crowd of kids and tourists, no big deal?

Granted, only a few hundred people have died in gyro accidents since they became popular.

Actually I think you're the one blowing it out of proportion. The no fly zone isn't there to protect the kids and tourists, otherwise there would be no fly zones over every major city and populated area. It's there to prevent terrorist attacks which this guy took some reasonable (but not foolproof) steps to make sure nobody thought was what was going on. Yes, if he had aircraft problems he could have endangered people, but that's the case with every airliner flying into every major city. As a helicopter pilot with a couple hours in gyrocopters, I think it's pretty safe to say that he posed a very small and manageable risk to kids and tourists on his approach path.

My only problem with the stunt (I think it was pretty funny/cool mostly) is that the government will no doubt feel they need to further tighten security around D.C. in order to prevent future embarrassment. Luckily I'm in Boston with few requirements to ever fly in that airspace - in general I would avoid it like the plague but this will probably make it even worse.

Comment: Re:This is fucking stupid. (Score 2) 279

Of course, I haven't read the article, but I think the summary has applied the word "troll" in a different way than this. I think the researchers are seeking to reduce the racist, homophobic, etc. trash comments frequently posted to YouTube video comments.

As you note here, a sophisticated troll is not easily detectable via AI.

Comment: Re:Reasons? (Score 1) 460

by BostonPilot (#49428203) Attached to: Planes Without Pilots

As a pilot, I would never fly an aircraft which has a remote capability to take control away from me.

Fair enough, why? What specific objective reason(s) causes you to oppose the idea completely? I'm not for or against the idea but I'd like to hear why it is a good or bad idea. I understand the issue of situational awareness by the remote operator could be an issue. What else?

Because when I'm the Pilot In Command it means exactly that: I'm in command, and I'll pay with my life for the mistakes I make. That won't be true of people on the ground. If you don't want me in command, don't put me in command in the first place. I again refer to United Airlines 232. Why did that crew save 2/3 of the passengers when subsequent attempts in the simulator by other crews failed 100% of the time? One reason was probably motivation. Their lives were on the line. As a passenger I much more likely to trust the crew who's lives on are the line, than some guy on the ground trying to second guess them.

Also, I very much doubt you can construct a safe system which allows you to take control away from the crew. How do you implement that in a way which can't take control erroneously, yet can't be disabled by a suicidal crew? I very much doubt it can be done.

To suddenly decide that we can't trust the crew despite the fantastic safety record aviation has is just ludicrous.

Agreed though that also doesn't mean we shouldn't analyze the situation thoroughly to see if anything can practically be done. I generally share your sentiment that the safety record of aviation is great but it got that way by carefully examining disasters to see if any improvements could be made. Maybe there is an opportunity of some sort here to introduce improvements.

I said that in the original posting - more screening and evaluation of crew is probably needed. And the USA rule of "never one person alone in the cockpit" should be adopted world wide. But trying to take command away from the crew while in flight will cause many more problems then it would ever solve.

Comment: Re:Technology can indeed fail (Score 4, Insightful) 460

by BostonPilot (#49421529) Attached to: Planes Without Pilots

As a pilot, I would never fly an aircraft which has a remote capability to take control away from me. As a passenger, I would never fly in an aircraft in which remote control could be taken away from the crew. I don't even think the "remote copilot" is a good idea. There are a lot of good reasons to fly with a crew of 2... it's not just workload and risk of incapacitation. When things get weird, it's good to have another person to bounce ideas off of. United Airlines Flight 232 is a great example of that, and there are plenty more.

This isn't the first time we've seen suicide by the crew, but it's extremely rare (I can think of maybe 5-6 in 40 years). It sucks to be the people in the back when that happens, but it also sucks when an airplane drops on your house and kills you and your family. I'm as worried about one than the other which is: not very. We can improve the situation some: better screening of crew, USA style "always two people in the cockpit" rules... To suddenly decide that we can't trust the crew despite the fantastic safety record aviation has is just ludicrous.


Comment: Re:Cut the vitriol, talk science (Score 1) 330

by BostonPilot (#49412319) Attached to: Inexpensive Electric Cars May Arrive Sooner Than You Think

Interesting calculations. I'm going to suggest that they may be weighted worst case for the EV though. I think it's very unlikely that you're going to see 100% of the fleet need battery replacement at 100,000 miles. What nobody knows for sure is what that number will actually be, but my gut tells me it'll probably be somewhere between 150,000 to 300,000 miles typically. But let's ignore that for a minute. The other assumption you used was 20K for the 85 kWh battery pack in the Tesla. But the Tesla is the luxury car of the EVs. I'd like to offer some other numbers (For my Honda Fit EV). Now, my car is a lease only, but I think the Leaf owners can comment that I think the Leaf will be pretty close. The Honda Fit EV has a 19 kWh battery. Let's assume for argument's sake that we prorate the cost of replacement based on the capacity, so $4470 @ 100,000 miles instead of $20,000. I'll still use the 100,000 mile figure even though I think it's way too conservative. I'm also going to work the calculations assuming $0.12/kWh which is what I pay. I've been seeing 100 miles in the summer and 50 miles in the winter, so I'll assume 75 miles from the 19 kWh battery, even though it's probably better than that (winter isn't 6 months, but we'll assume it is).

100,000 miles: electricity==$3040, battery replacement==$4470, total==$7510/100000 or $0.08/mile
150,000 miles: electricity==$4560, battery replacement==$4470, total==$9030/150000 or $0.06/mile

an ICE car assuming 30 mpg @ $3.00/gallon here in the US right now:
100,000 miles: gas==$10,000, oil changes==$1,000 regular 30/60/90 inspections==$1,000 total==$12000 or $0.12/mile

So, assuming the battery pack cost is proportional, a small EV like the Leaf or the Fit EV is cheaper to operate than the ICE car even assuming 100,000 mile battery pack replacement. But it's probably not even that bad, because as someone else pointed out, once EVs are popular there will almost certainly be shops that will replace bad cells in your pack for a nominal fee. If we assume that for half the cost of the battery pack we can get the car to make it to 250,000 miles (which I think it will probably make without pack servicing) then we see numbers more like:

250,000 miles: electricity==$7600, battery servicing==$2235, total==$9835/250000 or $0.04/mile.

I don't think that's overly optimistic, but it's certainly not pessimistic. I think the ICE numbers are overly optimistic - I don't think many ICE cars make 100,000 miles with only $2,000 of scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, but even if we go with those numbers, a smaller EV is substantially cheaper to operate than a comparable ICE car. I also think that if you rework your numbers to compare the realistic cost of operating a BMW M5 versus the Tesla, it will be a lot closer than your numbers initially indicate. I'd actually expect the Tesla to be moderately cheaper than the BMW when you figure in all the maintenance costs on the M5...

The thing that still makes EV expensive is the initial cost. Right now the small EVs are probably carrying $10,000 to $15,000 extra cost over the ICE version of the car, so if you add that into the equation for the Fit EV it brings the price up to around $0.18/mile which IS more expensive than the ICE car. If we can see manufacturers get the initial price down to be more in line with the ICE cars, then I think the EV can easily be price competitive.

In closing, I'm glad you worked out some hard numbers instead of the regular hand waving that's so typical on Slashdot, but I hope you'll consider that your equations might have been a bit skewed and that the reality is that even with EVs being brand new on the road, the operating costs are more than competitive with ICE, and hopefully we'll see initial prices drop to make them overall competitive with ICE cars.

BTW, the Honda Fit EV is a great car and I'm sorry that Honda doesn't seem to want to compete in the EV market (hydrogen is dumb, I think). I'm anxiously waiting to see what the Tesla Model 3 ends up looking like: if it's competitive with the BMW 3 series for $45K or so, I'm planning on buying one.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming