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Comment Re:Guaranteed to put stress on any car? As if. (Score 1) 111

No, it's perfectly legal to use the left lane, as long as you occasionally pass people on the middle lane.

Now, as for people doing 280+, I have yet to see one.

You're looking at one. Not very often, but an M3 will get you to 290. There's the occasional supercar as well that I've seen pass me when I was doing 220 or 240.

It's not very often that you have to make way when you're doing over 200, but it happens.

In reality, on sections restricted to 120, you'll have trucks going 90 on the right lane, most people averaging 120-130 on the middle lane, and some doing 150 on the left lane.

True, it's not quite as simple as I made it, but in general, people drive speed limit +10.

Comment Re:Just wait (Score 1) 111

Firstly, in Germany the driver will not pull a gun on you anyway, because we're not maniacs armed to the teeth, we have strict gun laws, and very few shooting sprees.

Secondly, what makes you think the truck won't call the cops (or at least a control center) when you smash the cab window and hit some kind of emergency stop? Or when the freight doors are opened at an unauthorized location?
What makes you think there won't be a camera or three, streaming pictures of your face to the control center?

Your scenario is not very specific to automated trucks. It's a standard robbery with some details adapted. I don't see this as a major point. Especially not in Germany which is a very safe and very densely populated country. These trucks are not likely to be on many completely empty roads.

Comment Re:Are and storms that fierce on Mars? (Score 1) 105

sh1t, did some serious math, then accidentally closed the tab.
First, 1KW light output is if you want Earth's equatorial sunlight, which is far more than plants need - they saturate their input at far less than that. I arrived at 500W (input) of LEDs to produce the needed output for 1m^2, and about 2.5m^2 of solar panels to power them up.

Still, obtaining the needed lamps - yep, 1m^2 per spotlight, 12 per rover (per movie), 10 from other sources, Hab lighting for another 4 or so meters... weaker sources focused on individual plants not to waste energy on lighting up empty soil... that still runs awfully short of the goal, something like 1/3 of what he planned. Not nearly as bad as you predicted, but not nearly as good as Weir thought.

I wonder how much could be saved by adapting growth density. Say, he could light up all the saplings with 2-3 lights, but as plants grow, they need more space. So instead of one massive harvest, to make it so that the grown plants take half the available light, grown in 3/4 half of the remainder, half-grown half of the remainder of that, and so on.

Alternatively, how lethal would space radiation be to potatoes? An extra "tunnel" from transparent plastic, where mature plants would use direct sunlight.

Comment Re:Fun Movie, Not Future Reality (Score 1) 105

oh, wait. One more thing. As ludicrous you might think the "iron man"...

The only thing really impossible about the whole mission plan is the budget.

A mission like Ares 3 could have been launched today, if NASA budget had never been cut after the Apollo program.

Now, if one of the astronauts was left behind, stranded, getting him back to Earth would be far trickier and quite likely impossible. But the Ares 3 mission plan was sound and doable. It's the events triggered by completely impossible storm that were a serious stretch.

Comment depends (Score 1) 107

Which country has the best on-line personal privacy laws that would made it patently illegal for any actor, state, or otherwise, to access my information?

Depends which country you want to protect yourself from.

If you are mostly afraid of US companies and the US government, put your server into Russia. They laugh in the face of US companies that make any demands.

For strong privacy laws, many european countries have laws in place much stronger than the US, but beware that they usually have a "if you agree to it, anything goes" clause (which is why these small "I agree to ..." checkboxes are so important there.

Comment Re:Guaranteed to put stress on any car? As if. (Score 1) 111

Yes, it's pretty much a national custom. Also, Germany has extensive driving school with compulsory minimum hours, and driving instructors teach you strongly to signal. You can actually fail the driving test if you don't signal.

However, I disagree on the velocity differences. That depends very much on where you are driving. Some parts of the Autobahn have a 120 km/h speed limit and there you basically have two speeds: 80 km/h for the right lane, mostly filled with trucks, and 120 km/h on the 2nd and 3rd lanes.
On other parts, however, you have no speed limit. Which means you are driving 180 on the middle lane, passing a truck doing 80 on the right lane, and someone going 280 passes you on the left lane. That's two 100 km/h speed differences right there.

Comment clueless author (Score 3, Informative) 111

one environment guaranteed to put stress on any car: the German Autobahn

Uh, no?

Have you ever actually driven on the German Autobahn? It is probably the most simple environment for an autonomous car, because absolutely everything is very clearly defined and built to standards. You have very reliable road quality, width, signaling. No traffic lights, roundabouts or intersections. Very few traffic rules (basically speed limit and whether or not trucks are allowed to overtake on this stretch). Construction sites are about the only tricky spots you will ever encounter. Even incoming and exiting traffic is very simple to handle, because there is one and only one way in which it will ever happen.

If I were to write autonomous driving software, I would start with the Autobahn, and then go to more complicated road systems later.

For trucks, even speed is trivial. The general high speed of trucks is 80 km/h, so if you are a truck you stay on the right lane and stick to that speed and that's it.

Left-lane driving on the Autobahn is more interesting, especially for foreigners (you think you're going crazy fast in your rental car at 190 km/h (about 120 mph), and there's this BMW behind you signaling to get your slow ass out of the way). But we're talking about trucks here.

Comment I refuse on grounds of self-incrimination. (Score 1) 214

On my encrypted volume I posess atricles of software and media, which I obtained legally, but I don't possess proofs of the purchase. Some of the original media, receipts and other such were destroyed in an accident. By providing access to contents of my hard drive I would expose myself to copyright lawsuit which would require me to produce these proofs. Therefore, I plead the fifth amendment.

Comment Re:No, drinking soda != smoking (Score 1) 559

Nope, I didn't.

There are many toxic gasses we can't smell, or only in very high concentrations, and many pungent smells that are not harmfull by themselves (but point to harmful sources, e.g. the smell of something rotting is just a pointer you might stay away and definitely not eat it).

But for a lot of substances, smell actually is a good indicator of whether or not you should take a deep breath.

Comment Re:Are and storms that fierce on Mars? (Score 1) 105

Give the habitat spotlights from Rover 1, spotlights from MDV, spotlights from Hab's outside lighting and all the spare bulbs for everything.

The solar panels are hindered by fixed angle and distance from the Sun, but boosted by equatorial latitude and thin atmosphere not dissipating nearly as much light as Earth. Although yeah, 11% is lousy. Let's assume space technology of 2035, and give them a healthy 65%, blaming the 11% on Mark being a botanist.

Remember, individual care of individual plants, optimal temperature and humidity, exploiting the soil to the max, battery power for extended "daylight".

How would the figures look like then?

The program isn't debugged until the last user is dead.