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Comment Re:FAA doing it right (Score 1) 57

Your argument is that we should wait for a tragedy to make rules to prevent a tragedy.

No, my argument is that telling a 13 year old girl that she has to have her name in a public-facing federal database in order to fly a 9-ounce pink plastic RC copter from a mall kiosk, or face a $20,000 fine will do exactly NOTHING to prevent a bad guy from doing all of the horrible murderous things that we're seeing done with RC toys. Oh, right - there are literally millions of them in the hands of people, with untold millions of flight hours on them, and we're not actually seeing any of that. But you're pretty sure that someone looking to do harm will step up and register their name with the feds, and then write their identifying information on the RC airplane they're going to use to deliberately hurt people? Are you really thinking this through?

Comment Re:Michelson-Morley were wrong. Ether exists (Score 2) 330

There's no difference between "change in speed of light", "change in distance", and "change in travel time for light". They're all the same thing. Don't both instruments detect very small changes in round-trip travel time for light, comparing one direction to the other?

Sure then 1880s apparatus wasn't going to detect gravity waves, but that's just a matter of sensitivity of the instrument. We still call an electron microscope a microscope.

Comment Re:Cool! (Score 1) 330

Oh stop this nonsense. Causality being broken with FTL speeds is one of the most annoying and most wrong thing ever when it comes to FTL.

Causality breaking is subtle. For a simple one-way trip, in your reference frame, nothing will seem wrong, but from another reference frame you may appear to go back in time. If you have two pairs of ansibles (FTL telephones), each pair moving relative to the other, it's possible to send a message round trip (FTL to your connection, normal space to another endpoint, FTL to its connection, back to you) in such a way that you receive it before you send it.

The circumstances needed to break causality are somewhat contrived, but it's possible.

This is also why silly things like long-distance sensors in sci-fi wouldn't work either because light is still based on photons.

So a warp drive moving a whole ship FTL is somehow more believable than some sort of wave or particle that travels FTL and can be bounced off things in front of you? I find tachyons easier to believe than warp drives, myself (much as I hated particle-of-the-week Trek episodes)

Comment Re:Uh... let me think about it (Score 5, Interesting) 380

TFS said

Could society's embrace of GPS be eroding our cognitive maps?

I delivered pizza for a few years, before GPS, and a few hours of taking orders will disabuse you of this naive notion that most people have "cognitive maps". Most people do not know where they live! They can't tell you the nearest major intersection. What they know is a sequence of steps to follow to get to their house.

"Turn left at the big tree. Turn right where the church was before it burned down. Turn left where Johnny was hit by that drunk drive last year. Look for the red house."

I'm only slightly exaggerating. I really do encourage everyone to use maps, to learn to change your "pathing" dynamically when conditions change, to know where you are not just the steps you took to get there. To quote the REM song: "Stand in the place where you work. Now face north. Think about direction; wonder why you haven't before ". Can you do it without looking anything up?

Comment Re:Cool! (Score 1) 330

I think you meant to say "Inconceivable? You keep using that word, but I don't think it means what you think it means".

Many fictional things are "conceivable", but in terms of real science, no one is going to take a casual "general relativity is totally broken" proposal seriously. General relativity has made more and better predictions (and more unexpected predictions) than just about anything. You can doubt any theory, but the more one has proven itself, the higher the bar to claim "but maybe it's totally wrong".

Every theory "might be wrong", but that's not a useful observation - it helps no one to point that out, much like complaining about the weather. "This might be true instead" is useful, but you have to explain everything the current theory is correct about too.

Comment User interface flaw (Score 4, Insightful) 380

Some of the GPS units I've used just start giving you street directions right away after you enter a destination. The better ones I've used (including Google Maps) start with an overhead view of your entire route, then zoom in to the street-by-street view. That makes it rather simple to spot silly errors like driving from San Francisco to Springfield, Missouri, instead of Springfield, California.

Comment Re:Still only applies to EU citizens? (Score 1) 84

If you truly believe that, then that right there is admission that this law is wrong. If you truly believe people have a fundamental right to be forgotten, then that should apply to all people, not just your citizens. Same reason it's not ok to rob or kill foreign tourists, or why U.S. Constitutional protections apply even to illegal immigrants. People are deemed to have these rights simply by being people. Human rights are not granted by the goodwill of some bureaucrat in a government office only to those he deems worthy.

Comment Re:No global deletion (Score 1) 84

1. There is no requirement for the material to be removed from the source web site.

Which is precisely the problem with these right to be forgotten laws. They're shooting the messenger, not the originator of the message. If it's really so damn important that this information be removed from the web, then they should be going after the sites which still host the "wrong" or "outdated" information.

The only reason Google (and other search engines) are targets of these laws is because it's easier to go after a few search engines than to track down every single web site. As I've said since this whole thing began, the people supporting the right to be forgotten should be overjoyed that Google indexes and gives them the search results. It quickly and easily tells them exactly which sites they need to track down to get that information expunged.

2. Google still index and list that site for other search terms.

Which is another reason why these laws are dumb. It's ok to display pumpkins in a north-facing window, but not a west-facing window?

3. Why does Google have free speech rights that normal companies don't, e.g. credit references can't report things that happened long ago by law, and can't claim free speech allows them to.

Google search results are basically displaying zeitgeist - a snapshot of the sign of the times. By manipulating and altering search results with laws, you are causing this snapshot to differ from what's actually out there. Ask yourself: why does free speech exist? Because this sort of manipulation has always been used in the past to hide things that the public should know about. Mandating such manipulation as law is the first step down a really slippery slope.

I understand the desire for a right to be forgotten law. The flip side of free speech is gossip - stuff that isn't or may not be true, but gets spread around anyway. Yeah a lot of times I'd like to stop gossip, but never at the expense of giving up free speech rights. If you want to stop gossip, refer back to point (1) - go after the people spreading the gossip, not the people telling you who is spreading the gossip (search engines).

Comment Re:Why not overseas .... (Score 1) 142

We could also have import tariffs and whatnot to offset the reduced cost of not caring about employee safety. But we're all about "free trade" nowadays, where companies are free to roam the globe looking for the cheapest, most desperate labor with the lowest cost of living. If laws can drive industry away, they can keep it around too.

Companies roaming the globe looking for the cheapest labor is exactly how the economy in those places improve so they are no longer cheapest (which is why China is starting to lose labor contracts to Vietnam and Thailand). The market sees a disparity in wages as an inefficiency, and seeks to remedy it by shifting work from the high wage region to the low wage region (up until low wages + transport cost = high wages). The end result being wage equality throughout the world (well, to the point where local regulations cause wage inequalities which can't be corrected by the market).

The folks who express a desire to protect jobs here are the same ones who proclaim the wealthy should "pay their fair share". Well, understand that the U.S. is one of the wealthiest nations on the planet. Part of "paying our fair share" is hiring workers in developing countries to help spread the wealth around, help their economies develop. Erecting trade barriers to keep our wealth within our borders is exactly the opposite of paying our fair share. It's telling the workers in developing countries to go eat cake.

Or is this one of those situations where you think the wealthy should pay their fair share when they're someone else. But if you are one of them you think the whole idea is baloney? A real philosophical stance remains consistent whether you're on the receiving or the losing end. If you flip-flop the moment the stance becomes inconvenient to you personally, it was never a philosophical stance; it was pure selfishness.

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