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Comment: Re:Great one more fail (Score 1) 406

by vux984 (#47904867) Attached to: High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

Note that this new "smart" gun won't save you from doing this.

The point of the penis shooting statistics is to pointedly refute that claim that gun owners are can be relied upon to be responsible.

Arguing that this particular tech doesn't stop guns owners from being irresponsible in one particular way doesn't refute the point.

Thus the point stands. "Gun owners" as a group cannot be assumed to be responsible. Therefore regulations to prevent the drooling mouthbreathers from being unduly dangerous to the public is reasonable.

Does that mean they should take away YOUR guns? Probably not, but if you accidently shot your self in the penis, maybe, just maybe you can't be trusted with a firearm. Maybe, just maybe, as a society we should prevent people like that from having guns. We require some minimal proof of competency before letting you drive in public, perhaps, just perhaps you shouldn't have a gun until you can at least demonstrate that you know to point it away from yourself when, especially when your finger is on the trigger.

Comment: Re:One Sure Way (Score 1) 275

by vux984 (#47904787) Attached to: California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

Did you actually read the article you linked to? Take a look at the photo.. you can see the price tags... $10 to $25 for the rip off chargers, putting them smack in the price range for legitimate chargers. (BestBuy house brands Dynex and Insignia for example are exactly the same price range and has all the UL / CE certifications etc.)

Comment: Re:Not even close (Score 1) 193

by vux984 (#47885923) Attached to: The Documents From Google's First DMV Test In Nevada

Though with a bit of luck, that could actually lead to people not driving in conditions where they would be much better off staying put

And if luck goes against us, the inclement weather lands mid-day, and everyone has to get home from work, or is halfway home from work when the car throws up its hands, pulls over, and gives up.

Me, personally, I can generally avoid driving on snow days, but a lot of people simply don't have that luxury. Walmart and McDonalds and the rest of the service and retail industry don't close at the first sign of snow and they tend to be less than generous when staff claim difficulty getting to work.

Comment: Re:I dont know why this is a bad thing (Score 1) 193

by vux984 (#47885373) Attached to: The Documents From Google's First DMV Test In Nevada

All of these tests and such aren't being done so they can release an autonomous car tomorrow, its an ongoing process and will take time.

That's understood.

IEEE Spectrum contributor Mark Harris obtained a copy of the DMV test Google's autonomous car passed in Nevada in 2012

It "passed"?

Would your or I pass a drivers test if we couldn't handle weather, road construction, roundabouts, "specific turns", and had our mom in the back seat reaching over to take the controls whenever we weren't sure of ourselves? Of course not.

When it passes a drivers test that'll be a big day. But that test in 2012 was not that day. There's much to celebrate, and as you said its an ongoing research project. But it didn't pass a Nevada drivers test. So why say it did?

It did very well, impressively well, for an autonomous vehicle even... but its still well short of being issued a drivers license, which is what an actual pass of an actual test would imply.

its a research project and the media seems to have an agenda to make autonomous cars into the boogeyman

Because the hype machine says it passed a drivers test, leading to the inference that its ready to be let loose on the streets, when CLEARLY they are no where near ready in actuality.

Comment: Re:#1 Thank You, #2 Lego Mindstorm (Score 1) 115

by vux984 (#47884597) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Robotics or Electronic Kits For Wounded Veterans?

ISIS is a splintercell that has been cut off of support from Al Queda. Al Qaeda has publicly stated this. It was born of members that were based out of Syria, Iran and Iraq

All true.

. I believe that if Saddam was still in power, that they would most likely be worse then they are now, because they Saddam regime would have politically aligned themselves with their cause,

Assuming it would have existed as a significant entity in the first place. Which it wouldn't have. It would have just been some minor radical splinter with low membership, and no real influence.

You used the phrase "born" when you described it. And that is an apt metaphor -- WE are one of its parents. We planted the seeds that enabled it to grow.

You cannot tell me that you believe that a random sheep farmer with no internet access has the capability of teaching himself how to build a IED or Suicide Vest.

Of course not. If we hadn't been there he'd still be farming sheep. And his sons would be learning to farm sheep instead of joining groups like ISIS.

The majority of civilian casualties happened outside of the primary conflict,

And they wouldn't have happened if we hadn't gone there. You can bleat they were not our "fault" all you like, and I agree we generally didn't go around killing civilians on purpose or anything like that. But the reality remains that our presence there provoked that response.

The infrastructure we destroyed meant they couldn't get their kids to the hospital when they were sick, or led to the water being undrinkable or the food spoiling leading to the spread of disease which culled the older and weaker. And the survivors? What do they do? The economy is screwed, they've lost loved ones... the government is a shambles, the police collapsed, local power groups are de facto in charge, they are angry and they need to blame someone. They are ripe for recruitment and radicalization. To strike back at another religious faction and America and anyone else that is proximate that isn't "them".

Often times our actions aren't to just protect the interests and Freedoms of just ourselves, but to help liberate the innocent from a tyrant as well

It doesn't matter how good our intentions wee, we manufacture groups like ISIS, and Al Qaeda with our so-called 'world police' activity.

Comment: Not even close (Score 0) 193

by vux984 (#47884201) Attached to: The Documents From Google's First DMV Test In Nevada

âoeWe canâ(TM)t fail an applicant for not being able to navigate a traffic circle if they say that there [sic] vehicle canâ(TM)t yet do it.â

They had no trouble failing me for not being able to navigate certain traffic situations correctly on my first drivers test. Had I said, well "I can't do that yet" that would not have resulted in a pass.

So the car failed. Let it fail. Its no big deal that it failed. Constructing an illegitmate pass for headlines just stirs pointless controversy.

This test shows that there's lots of good progress, but that's it.

As for driverless cars actually being ready ? No where near close.

Requiring the driver to be ready to jump in while in action is absurd to the point of not even considering it.

Stopping the car, and handing the controls over is still going to lead to tons of problems. Cars stopping at railway crossings and round abouts and then just sitting there jamming traffic... because the driver fell asleep 30 minutes ago. (And why SHOULDN'T the driver fall asleep -- he's tired, bored, and not doing anything... what do you expect will happen)

Until self driving cars reach the long term goal of being responsible for driving in basically anything a human is currently expected to cope with they can't rise to being more than a novelty, or some limited highway auto-pilot cruise control system.

Because even if it CAN usually handle the daily commute, if it can't handle it ALL THE TIME its a bad idea.

Today when there's snow in a city that doesn't get snow that often its a mess. And that's with mostly drivers who drive every day, know the route they are going like the back of their hand, know where the tricky / problematic spots are etc, and know know how their cars handle at least in normal conditions. And its a mess.

Now, lets substitute that with a city full of drivers who only drive 3 - 4 times a year, are completely out of practice, have no real experience with their car, and only have a general imprecise sense of the route they need to take -- and lets do that on a day the self driving cars collectively decided they can't handle the conditions.

That would be like me driving my grandmother around every day everywhere she needs to go, and then when the weather is at its worst... "Hey grams, yeah, I know you've only driven this car a handful of times yourself in the last 5 years, but your license is still valid, so how about you take the wheel today?". And doing that accross an entire city.

Yes, that will work out well.

Comment: Re:Fair Use (Score 2) 100

by vux984 (#47882785) Attached to: Top EU Court: Libraries Can Digitize Books Without Publishers' Permission

As long as its "within a library" it sounds like fair use. Its a public good for libraries to be full of books, digital or otherwise. The more availability the better.

If someone wants to go to a library to read books there instead of buying or borrowing copies, I'm fine with that.

The publishers and authors may object to the small loss of revenue it entails, but its a good trade off for society as a whole.

Comment: Re:Caution is warranted (Score 1) 495

by vux984 (#47882635) Attached to: Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

It is best to be cautious of who we let into the door for federal service.

Yes, god forbid the federal service be representative of the people. It should only have a certain brand of dyed in the wool pro-government fanatics working for it.

No... the opposite is true. "Snowden" would never have happened if there had been more people like him in government. If more people were willing to question government, and step up when they saw something wrong, then the oversight committees, and internal audit processes would have actually been working properly. There would have been people he could have reported the issues to, and genuine internal investigation and audits would have happened with genuine results.

If it had been working properly Snowden's revelations wouldn't have happened because the level of abuse going on wouldn't have risen to that level in the first place.

Its important to keep actual spies out of sensitive government jobs. Its important to keep people with easily leveraged liabilities -- gambling problems, debt problems, etc out of sensitive government jobs. But a healthy distrust of government is just that HEALTHY.

One of the reasons government doesn't function well, is that it self selects people who are convinced it does. You can't fix what is broken if you only hire people are convinced nothing is wrong.

We desperately need to staff the government with people who have a healthy distrust of the very programs they run, who GENUINELY recognize the potential for abuse, and who are genuinely receptive to reports of abuse.

But those people are systematically turned away.

Comment: Re:One Sure Way (Score 1) 275

by vux984 (#47881787) Attached to: California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

Maybe you should try hitting an Apple store instead of wherever you're shopping now, because even the *iPad* charger is only $19.00 when you buy it there. [1] (Of course, Apple's chargers will also output more 'juice' safely than most of the $2 chargers.

And the cable is sold separately for another $20. Plus taxes.

Comment: Re:One Sure Way (Score 5, Insightful) 275

by vux984 (#47876381) Attached to: California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

because for example a good pair of shoes will last much longer than a bad pair that you'll have to replace much sooner.

Thing is there is no correlation between quality and cost.

I've had $100 runners fall apart within months. I've had $2 runners bought at the chinese night market last 4 years. (I had a belt bought the same night for under a buck fall apart the first time I tried using it. But I have inexpensive belts from inexpensive stores that have been with me since high school and are still just fine.

Like you I'm willing to pay more for better. But as often as not I'm paying more for same.

I can buy a car charger online for $2. I can buy another charger online for $10 and its just as good as the OEM one. I can walk into a local cellular store and buy their 'store brand' charger for $35 and find out its the SAME charger as the $2 one. Or I can pay $50 and get an OEM charger from Samsung or Apple etc and its just as good as the $10 generic online one but with a brand name logo and smarter packaging.

So I have to pay 25 times as much to reliably get a few nickels worth of resisters and slightly higher grade plastic? Because anything less, and I'm risking counterfiet goods or horrifically inferior product... but the difference between quality and junk is less than a $1 worth of actual parts/cost.

Comment: Re:There are no new legal issues (Score 1) 206

by vux984 (#47875721) Attached to: Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

OK, perhaps not a "warrant" but surely the US has some sort of "production order" where the court says "give us the records you have" http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/c... ? Perhaps they don't, or maybe that is only in civil cases during discovery.

As it stands, to my knowledge, one only has to turn over any physical records / devices.

However, if those records are encrypted, and the password committed to memory, the witness can invoke the 5th amendment, and exercise their right to remain silent, and refuse to disclose the password. Of course, its not settled, and orders to decrypt data have been issued by the courts and are being appealed... for example.

http://www.cnet.com/news/doj-w...

As for Canada - a production order is typically issued to a 3rd party custodian of documents -- e.g. bank records, phone records, etc. And if they are encrypted the 3rd party is required to decrypt them as part of producing them. But the 3rd party isn't the subject of the invetigation, production orders aren't aren't issued against the defendant directly, that I can tell.

That is, the police cannot hand ME an order demanding that I actively produce my own phone records for them. Nor do i think a production order would compel me to disclose the password to my own phone or laptop.

Logging capabilities may be ubiquitous, but logs that would be useful in a criminal case, much less so.

There is another article on slashdot today about compelling parolees to wear bracelets that can determine if they fired a gun by using accelerometers and analyzing that information.

I can imagine all manner of prosthesis that might contain accelerometers where analyzing the diagnostic logs could be used to as evidence that you were moving or at rest, what sort of activity you were engaged in (walking, running, shooting, climbing, jumping, whether you got into a fight, or fell into a pool, got knocked down, picked up something heavy, swung it, or threw it...)

Comment: Re:There are no new legal issues (Score 1) 206

by vux984 (#47875279) Attached to: Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

once they get a warrant for the password,

One cannot 'get a warrant for the password', at least in civilized countries :)

If the logs are so vital to the operation of the device

They would be like the logs on your car. They are not vital to the operation. But they do make troubleshooting a lot easier.

there are going to be ways of getting at them that do not depend on a security system that the user can forget or misplace

If the user forgets or misplaces it, it can be reset, but the encrypted history would be lost.

and if they are not vital to the operation, then the security minded will remove or turn off that feature

The security-minded will not necessarily have that option. Can you turn off the ODBII logging on your car? Not easily. Its not a simple end-user operated switch you can flick. The average person is completely unable to. Sure its possible and people repogramming and modifying cars for racing etc can probably do it.

But that doesn't mean the average person can do it, just because they want to. And what if your car isn't something modders are in... or lets set aside cars, and recall that we're talking medical implants ... flashing custom firmware onto your prosthetics ... that's going to be WAY outside the average persons ability or comfort zone.

or the maker would not put it in in the first place.

If the patient reports a problem, diagnostic logs will be absolutely invaluable information. Its doubtful any one making sophisticated electronic/computerized prognostics isn't going to have logging capabilities.

Comment: Re:That was the start (Score 1) 264

by vux984 (#47875053) Attached to: John Romero On Reinventing the Shooter

You could definitely walk seamlessly, using the keyboard, in Ultima Underworld,

Wow, you are right. I only played it years ago, and didn't get that far. I remember using really clumsy mouse controls. Apparently UW uses szxc isntead of wasd, with w as run, and a/d as turn.

You could also run and swim,

Swimming wasn't really that interesting though, it was surface only. Making it little more than viewport elevation change, with a sound effect.

It had inclines and leaning walls, also something Doom lacked.

True.

Ultima Underworld was not a 2D maze. Look at the first screenshot in the wikipedia article for instance.

That screenshot looks no better than Doom's '2.5D', but I agree UW was actually doing more sophisticated rendering, since you could look up and down, and had angles etc.

But despite being technically more true 3D than Doom, the effect was less impressive, overall.

Doom, by restricting the view angle, was able skip or precalculate a ton of stuff, enabling it to deliver full screen action with a decent framerate. UW was confined to like 1/4 of the screen. Add to that the tricks Doom pulled with lighting and skyboxes and it was just a lot more impressive.

Perhaps a bigger element of it being a 'revolution' was that Doom ep1 was shareware, so everyone had it. And it was multiplayer. So it was installed in high school computer labs, and in offices etc.

Comment: Re:Unusual in a huge system ... (Score 1) 210

by vux984 (#47874735) Attached to: Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

We used to think there would be a small amount with planets and that we were really unique. Now, not so much.

I'm not sure we ever really believed that. Now we just have proof.

I think a lot of us expected extra solar planets to be common, and that even extra-terrestrial life will prove to be fairly common. But for me, at least, the open questions are how common higher life forms are, and whether 'sentience' is a common evolutionary solution... or relatively rare / unique...

Comment: Re:There are no new legal issues (Score 1) 206

by vux984 (#47874501) Attached to: Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

Ok, lets take a slightly different approach.

Would you submit to the government mandating that you wear a camera and other monitoring equipment or have it implanted, provided that they need a warrant to read its contents?

Can you think of ANY negative implications of that? What are they? (Assume for the sake of the argument that the implantation process itself is simple, painless, and complication free.)

What's the difference between that and a disabled person requiring a prosthetic to be made whole?

The solution, by the way, is simple enough. Mandate that the prosthetics encrypt the monitoring data, and require a password from the owner to decrypt. That effectively shields the cyborg.

The problem is the consumer isn't in a position to demand this feature. And the vendor is unlikely to feel competitive pressures to provide it. So it won't come about unless we mandate it.

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