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Comment: Re:Teach vs Learn (Score 2) 220 220

Good point. I was planning on making the opposite one, but you're absolutely right about what real AI is versus what apparent AI is.

I think both sides have valid points, and which is correct depends on the basic question of what we want from AI. If we want to interact with a system that understands us and does what we want, then just reacting the way a person would, regardless of the reasons for how it does it, is sufficient. However, if we want to have a system that does something which humans are capable of and computers currently aren't, then it isn't sufficient until a computer can do things that aren't predictable simply by understanding the programming.

Comment: Re:Better get those lobbyists ready, Comcast (Score 1) 98 98

When Comcast is looking as a wonderful alternative to me right now compared to the absolutely miserable experience I have with Century Link, I can see at least for my community that this will indeed be some realistic competition for terrestrial ISPs. All they have to beat is $100 per month for more than 800 kilobits/s of service to be economically viable for my family.

Yes, where I live internet service is that crappy. The data gets through, but it is insanely slow and often is far less than 800 kilobits in terms of typical bandwidth... so much so that even dial-up modems seem to have more throughput. I don't exactly live in a major metro area, but it is still a minor city with a population of about 200k people that has fiber optic links into the area that can sustain much higher bandwidth to ordinary households than currently is the case.

I am pretty certain that these terrestrial carriers will be finally upgrading their equipment and be competitive once these alternative networks start to become common place as well.

Comment: Re:Fuck the FCC (Score 1) 98 98

And it is through the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) that most countries coordinate the usage of global spectrum usage. This includes the USA, particularly with regards to almost anything having to do with spaceflight where you have spectrum usage that crosses international boundaries... like will most definitely happen in the case of this satellite constellation.

In the USA, you work through the FCC to make those ITU filings though.

Comment: Re:4000 (Score 3, Interesting) 98 98

I'd wager that financial market trading traffic alone could pay for a significant portion of this bill at super premium rates, especially overseas traders. Not to mention traffic from ships, planes, rural 1st world locations all paying a premium. They can implement zone pricing pretty easily because they will always be able to able to triangulate a transmission down to the inch. With a network that dense it would greatly surpass the accuracy of the existing GPS constellation.

I had not thought of that idea before in terms of a potential customer for this set-up. That is an excellent point. Iridium could have been used for something like this (which also has a digital data component), but given the technology capabilities available at the time Iridium was being built, they could only get about 4800 baud for individual customers... something that makes the bandwidth latency sort of irrelevant. High bandwidth and low latency combined with global coverage would indeed be a good customer.

The major competitor to this concept in that regard is an even older technology though, mainly the 19th Century concept (updated to using 21st Century materials) of the cable laying ship. An awful lot of fiber cable has been laid down across all of the oceans of the world between major cities. It is only when you can't access that fixed terrestrial network that something of this nature really becomes useful (as you've mentioned).

As a means to deliver that last mile architecture, it really opens up possibilities.

Comment: Re:To all you Obama supporters (Score 2) 165 165

The net result of appealing to the FISA Court in this situation more or less means that the issue will be forced into the U.S. Supreme Court. That is one place where even the FISA Court must follow precedent, or else be taken for what it has become as an extra branch of the government answerable to nobody.

To me, that even risks the potential of having the FISA Court itself ruled unconstitutional and a whole can of worms that the Obama administration really doesn't want opened. While I think it is unlikely that SCOTUS will go that far (no matter how I would love to see that happen) it could very well be that some strong oversight by SCOTUS might happen, which has the ability to run the judiciary.

It also opens civil litigation opportunities if somebody wants to be a real jerk about this, again depending on whatever the nine justices want to see done. While perhaps the weakest of the three branches of government, they do have some bite and can demonstrate to Obama and in particular set a precedent for future presidents that he shouldn't dismiss judicial actions so casually.

Comment: Re:Obsessed with keeping government out of busines (Score 1) 289 289

It's different because you can be called to court and/or have your property confiscated if you don't pay for municipal broadband and not even Comcast can do that.

I'm in favor of municipal broadband, and in one of the places where the state decided not to allow it, so I have strong feelings about the stupidity and blatant disregard for the good of the public that has been evidenced by my so called representatives.

Despite my preferences and irritation the difference between government and private enterprise is blindingly obvious.

  • Can Comcast representatives arrest you?
  • Can Verizon seize your property if you don't want to pay for their service?

The idea that

the government entity receives no unfair treatment and has to play by the same rules as every other company

has no basis in reality. Government has rights to force you to do things and private enterprise doesn't. That's what government is.

Comment: Re:New Mexico already has a newspaceport (Score 2) 57 57

Because SpaceX is using the New Mexico spaceport.... too!

That facility is mainly going to be used for R&D testing of their recoverable rocket systems, such as what they've been doing at their Waco facility with the Grasshopper series of flights. At the moment, they are hoping to use one of the rocket cores built for a regular flight and doing the reuse testing in New Mexico... with the much higher altitude flight clearance they can get in New Mexico which simply isn't permitted in central Texas.

Besides, the spaceport in New Mexico is mainly built for sub-orbital flights and doing stuff like launching the Virgin Galactic space planes. Who said it isn't in use?

Comment: Re:Compare an expected cost, to an actual cost? (Score 3, Insightful) 57 57

left the US with no manned launch capability and no heavy lift rockets Let's hope history will not repeat itself.

What is to compare here? This is a private launch facility that will likely never see any crews launch from this location, as it will be mainly commercial communications satellites and a few other commercial payloads that will be flying from Texas. It is also being built with mostly (but certainly not exclusively) private funds with the idea that the company building this facility will use it to earn a healthy profit from its activities.

There is no history to actually repeat in this situation, other than following the history of other commercial launch endeavors that simply went bankrupt. SpaceX, on the other hand, seems to be profitable and doesn't show signs at the moment of even struggling to make payroll. Far from struggling to make ends meet, they are doing some serious capital expenditures to expand their existing business. This launch facility in Texas is proof that SpaceX plans on increasing their launch rate considerably over the next decade or more.

+ - The Killing Of Osama Bin Laden - journalist Seymor Hersh tells a different story

zedaroca writes: Pulitzer-winning journalist Seymour M. Hersh wrote on London Review of Books a 10.000 words piece on the killing of Osama Bin Laden, quoting American and Pakistani officials. According to his piece, the US had intelligence and operational help from Pakistan (by getting out of the way).

It began with a walk-in. In August 2010 a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer approached Jonathan Bank, then the CIA’s station chief at the US embassy in Islamabad.


Kayani eventually tells us yes, but he says you can’t have a big strike force. You have to come in lean and mean. And you have to kill him, or there is no deal,’ the retired official said. The agreement was struck by the end of January 2011, and Joint Special Operations Command prepared a list of questions to be answered by the Pakistanis: ‘How can we be assured of no outside intervention? (...)

So far, at least NBC has backed up part of Hersh's report.

+ - Rand Paul Will Filibuster PATRIOT ACT Reauthorization-> 1 1

SonicSpike writes: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said this week that he intends to mount a fight against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, the post-Sept. 11 law that gives the National Security Agency much of its authority to conduct surveillance programs.

"I'm going to lead the charge in the next couple of weeks as the Patriot Act comes forward. We will be filibustering. We will be trying to stop it. We are not going to let them run over us," Paul told the New Hampshire Union Leader on Monday.

The Patriot Act expires June 1, but Congress must effectively renew the law by May 22nd because of a scheduled weeklong break. Paul, a civil libertarian who hopes to capture the 2016 Republican nomination for president, has consistently spoken against reauthorizing the law, going so far as to oppose a 2014 bill that would have ended controversial NSA phone record collection because it left the government's broad authority to conduct surveillance intact.

Link to Original Source

+ - World's Most Dangerous Driving Simulator->

agent elevator writes: Lawrence Ulrich at IEEE Spectrum has an interview with the maker of a simulator for professional racers, the $54,000 Motion Pro II from CXC Simulations. It conveys amazingly fine sensations including: the feel of the car's tires wearing out or the car lightening as its fuel dwindles. It also has the kick to make you really feel a crash: “If you hit the wall in an Indy Car and don’t take your hands off the wheel, you’ll break your wrists... Our wheel is a one-to-one replication of that, but we don’t turn it up that high. It’s the first time we’ve been able to replicate racing forces so high that it introduces liability questions.”
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 302 302

Many times I've given a ride to someone I didn't know. Sometimes, it has been somewhere I wasn't planning to go. I've been the kind of person who doesn't ask for anything in return, but I don't think it would have been immoral (or against the law.) If I had, should I have been legally obligated to get the same insurance as a taxi company?

I suspect the reasonable difference between doing something for someone as a favor to be repaid, and doing something as a job, would be "obligation."

If I agreed to do transport because it was my job is obviously a taxi service. Compare that to agreeing to take someone somewhere with reasonable payment. There is a difference between being acting as a taxi service and being a reasonable guy. The question I have is: Does an Uber driver have an obligation or are they agreeing without obligation to do something?

In practice, failures in system development, like unemployment in Russia, happens a lot despite official propaganda to the contrary. -- Paul Licker