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Comment: Re:*sips pabst* (Score 1) 337

by vux984 (#48667535) Attached to: Ars: Final Hobbit Movie Is 'Soulless End' To 'Flawed' Trilogy

Aragorn gives them the swords at Bree, probably prepared for the fact that hobbits probably wouldn't have swords.

I remember that scene as well; but given the previous posters seemingly total non-awareness of it I have to ask:

Was that in the theatrical release or the extended cut? I haven't watched the theatrical release in so long I can't recall exactly what all got added.

However, that really makes no sense, as Eowyn was able to kill him with plain old iron (and a little bit of destiny), no special Numenorean magic required.

One line of argument is that Merry's stab breaks the enchantment making the Witchking vulnerable to Eowyn's attack.

Whether Eowyn+Merry actually killed it outright is a separate question; I expect it was probably just banished again, and it would have reformed. The destruction of the one ring, would have been their final demise, its destruction caused the other rings power to fail as well. The wraiths, of course, were sustained by their rings of power; the 9 rings that went to men.

Comment: Re:Old news. (Score 1) 281

by vux984 (#48660805) Attached to: Study: Red Light Cameras Don't Improve Safety

The point is that you don't need to get rid of the system because it can work properly. The cameras dont necessarily need to make on drive poorly -- a poorly configured system might incent that behaviour, but you can configure the system better, you don't HAVE to get rid of it entirely to fix the problem.

Comment: Re:not original (Score 1) 183

by vux984 (#48660793) Attached to: Uber Pushing For Patent On Surge Pricing

I'd be interested to hear of a method for measuring supply (number of drivers) and demand (number of potential customers) that wouldn't be considered obvious. It is after all one of the most basic areas of economics.

And wiping windows is one the most basic areas of home maintenance, but if you come up with a wiper design that gets a cleaner window with less streaking its still patentable. Even if "using a better wiper to wipe the window" is obvious.

Setting prices will be an algorithm and they aren't eligible for patenting in a lot of countries and difficult to protect in others.

True, and I closed my post mentioning that I didn't agree with business method patents; so we're in agreement here.

Comment: Re:not original (Score 1) 183

by vux984 (#48657667) Attached to: Uber Pushing For Patent On Surge Pricing

I would have thought falls under the obvious category.

You don't seem to realize what the "obvious" category is. It's not for the idea, its for the implementation.

It is simply pricing for supply and demand. higher prices bring in more suppliers and reduce the buyers.

Yes, but how to you measure supply and demand? How do you set prices? Those are the details that define the patent.

Otherwise I could patent a cure for cancer. Its pretty obvious really and I'm not sure why it hasn't been done already. It simply prevents the cancer cells from replicating. Patent please!

Oh wit... .now you want to know exactly HOW I'm stopping the cells from replicating? Well I haven't worked out the details yet, but still ... the idea was obvious.

This is why we patent inventions, not ideas. Ideas are a dime a dozen, making them work is the patentable part.

most businesses don't do it because it is difficult to manage and can cause a lot of customer aggro

So its difficult and causes problems?

What if they had an invention which presented a working solution to these problems... why wouldn't that qualify for a patent exactly? :)

That said, I do disagree with busines method patents. And software patents too.

Comment: Re:Old news. (Score 1) 281

by vux984 (#48654311) Attached to: Study: Red Light Cameras Don't Improve Safety

If the light turns red and you go through the intersection 0.1 seconds later, you're not going to cause an accident


If you go through at the halfway point of the red cycle, you've got an excellent chance of causing an accident

Also agreed.

I'd think that, if the cameras were a little forgiving, people wouldn't slam on their brakes at the last minute.

No. I think there needs to be an easy line in the sand. If you enter the intersection on red you should get a fine.

If you are going to allow a half second or one second leeway on entering the red -- then it makes more sense to me to leave the hard line on the red, and just make the yellow 0.5 or 1 second longer.

I've given it a fair bit of thought actually, and I think the following is the best way to run the system:

100% of the revenue generated from any criminal penalty or fine should also be redistributed back to the residents in the form of a direct payment.

This ensures the city doesn't view the cameras (and any other crime) as revenue; and no part of the government becomes dependent on that revenue.

Then the city will make rational (and correct) decisions where and how to install and configure cameras, and when to decommission or rotate them elsewhere, based purely on safety objectives.

It does mean taxes have to go up a bit to cover the overall revenue loss; since enforcement is purely a cost centre now. But it balance out with the rebate. And having it go through the rebate and tax cycle means the costs/benefit of running the program is exposed directly to voters; and the city has no incentive or benefit from running a program unless it's actually working to improve safety, etc.

Comment: Re: Why wouldn't it be? (Score 1) 204

by vux984 (#48650535) Attached to: Judge: It's OK For Cops To Create Fake Instagram Accounts

They can probably get around the criminal part by just creating a fictional person. It's only criminal if they steal a real persons identity. I doubt the cops care anything about civil law.

Maybe. But the computer misuse laws are so broadly written right now, that violating the "terms of service" is tantamount to "unauthorized use of a computer"...

For example...

Comment: Re:Old news. (Score 1) 281

by vux984 (#48644037) Attached to: Study: Red Light Cameras Don't Improve Safety

All you've done is argue that its not the presence of red light cameras causing accidents; its the screwing around with the yellow timing that is.

Screwing around with the yellow durations -- that leads to an unsafe intersection.

Nobody has to drive poorly if red light cameras are installed and the intersection is setup properly.

Comment: Re:Old news. (Score 3, Insightful) 281

by vux984 (#48644003) Attached to: Study: Red Light Cameras Don't Improve Safety

They could just get tickets I guess.

While I don't care for the cameras I do live in a city with red light cameras. I've NEVER had any difficulty stopping safely; and I've never gotten a red light ticket.

As long as the city isn't screwing with the yellow light duration, if you were driving safely then red light cameras really don't affect you.

just to drive the way they were driving before that was safer.

Running red lights is not safe.

What the cameras force are sudden stops and accelerations. You can't avoid it.

Again, around here, that's just not the case. When the light turns yellow, people prepare to stop for the red. Unless they are moving at sufficient speed to enter the intersection while its still yellow. Its basic driving 101.

If red light cameras make you are slam on the brakes then you are driving poorly.

Comment: Re:Old news. (Score 3, Insightful) 281

by vux984 (#48643955) Attached to: Study: Red Light Cameras Don't Improve Safety

due to the extra threat of photos people are more likely to slam on the brakes at the last second when it would be safer to continue through the intersection.

If you are choosing between "slamming your brakes at the last second" or "running a red light" then you were driving unsafely.***

Further if you are "slamming your brakes at the last second" to avoid a ticket, AND you get rear ended as a result -- what was the guy behind you thinking? Sounds like he was driving even poorer than you were... because if you couldn't get through the intersection legally; then he certainly couldn't either, so he should have been slowing down to stop even if you hadn't fucked up and waited to the last second to slam on your brakes.

I'm not disputing that the rear-end accident rate went up. But only because the red light camera exacerbated already shitty driving habits. Nobody was driving safely and now HAD to drive unsafely. They were driving unsafely all along.

Further T-bone accidents were reduced. The severity of T-bone accidents tends to be a lot higher than rear-ends. Especially as the "slammed on the brakes at the last second scenarios" typically involve pretty small differences in relative vehicle speeds... e.g you slowing from 35mph to 20mhp and get rear ended by a vehicle that also slammed on its brakes from 35mph and hits you still moving 30mph... a difference of only 10mph.

T-bones tend to involve vehicles both hitting eachother at 30mph at orthoganal angles which is both a larger impact and harder for the vehicles accident systems to absorb.

(***Yes, we can argue that IF the yellow light timers were adjusted downward below what they should be for the speed limit to further increase revenues then yes. But that is a completely separate issue from merely installing properly configured red light cameras.)

Comment: Re:Life form? (Score 1) 388

by vux984 (#48638801) Attached to: The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

Rocks are expected (from operation of simple physics laws), so are not life-y self-causal by particular information.

And what happens when we discover a means to create what we would categorize as life from non-life by way of the operation of simple physics laws?

I mean, we do largely assert that this is what happened. And although we don't know how to "make" it happen today, it may be that its not altogether that exotic.

If something was inevitably going to happen anyway to some matter and energy, due to its statistical distribution and the surrounding thermodynamic regime and fundamental forces, do we say that that future state (or equivalence class of states) required a particular cause (beyond the operation of the simple physical laws on the situation?) No.

That's the rub. Are the sub-cellular molecular interactions of my body not individually quite predictable by the simple physical laws on the situation. Protein folding might be quite complicated, but its guided by simple rules.

Are you categorizing life then as nothing more than emergent deviations from expected outcomes due to the cumultative effects of complex interactions that don't lend themselves well to simpler modelling?

Is then a galaxy alive, if it does something we don't "expect" simply as the cumulative addition of all the sub-processes that we didn't individually model?

Or conversely, if we successfully modeled a life form such that we could predict from simple laws of physics the sorts of things that it will do does that strip from it the label of "life"?

Because that definition of life sounds much like the definition of magic. The more we understand physics the the less will qualify. First we'll reduce simple organisms to predictable machines, then ever more increasingly complicated ones will fall until the robots we build and count as non-life and the insects and bacteria we count as alive intersect...

Comment: Re:Life form? (Score 1) 388

by vux984 (#48637917) Attached to: The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

Rabbits have internal information which under the right conditions can be used to form a new rabbit.

Male rabbits can't form a new rabbit without female rabbits. Does a male rabbit still count as having all the "information" necessary to form a new rabbit if it can't do it itself? It also lacks key physiology required to transform the information into a new rabbit.

Rabbits have internal information which under the right conditions can be used to form a new rabbit.

What are the right conditions for a population of male rabbits to form a new rabbit?

The rock is just as self-describing; scan the rock see what its made of and that is the information required by a suitable 3rd party contraption to create a new rock.

What makes some sort of scanner + nano-assembler + raw materials capable of reproducing rocks different from a female rabbit and some food capable of processing the informational element handed to it by a male rabbit?

You know you've been spending too much time on the computer when your friend misdates a check, and you suggest adding a "++" to fix it.