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Comment Re: "We're" loosing it? (Score 1) 444

That is a cop out. Just accepting what "the intelligence services" conclude without any actual evidence... when actual UN inspectors on tge ground were visiting sites and not finding anything left of the weapons programs... the intelligence analysts conclusions came down to "Well Saddam used chemical weapons before so he must still have some" and that was reported as fact.

Our free press seems only interested in being intellectually honest and critical of the party line when it suites their own political agenda.

Comment Re:In Other Words (Score 1) 418

Yes, there may be some extrapolations of the underlying math that might point in such a direction, but at the moment, it's simply a cool-sounding idea with absolutely no experimental evidence at all.

There is a big difference between a scientific theory with a mathematical model that has been demonstrated to have predictive utility via experimental evidence being used to make predictions of a multiverse via extrapolation and... God.

Granted Newton's Laws were also found to be wrong outside of a limited domain and break when applied to the very very large, small or fast. So it is certainly still possible that the multiverse is an equally wrong extension of a theory outside of the range of our experimental evidence.

I don't rule in or out the existence of God (or The Almighty Programmer) via science, because science is rooted in the natural world. If that natural world we observe isn't natural or the rules can be arbitrarily changed by an outside will or outside force then science is possibly ill suited as a tool of understanding that metaverse or maybe it still is applicable... impossible to say either way if everything we think, say, observe and feel could be the product of a will that is not our own rather than the natural progression of an observable natural world.

Comment Re:Companies doing fine; not comsumers (Score 1) 319

A monopoly (or duopoly, triopoly) ISP should not be able to give preference to any of "their" content. They shouldn't control both the pipes and the content.

And on second thought maybe the FCC shouldn't have been in the business of trying to prevent illegal anticompetitive business practices through technical regulations. If only we had an agency of government that was supposed to work to prevent this sort of collusion in restraint of trade... and false advertising of a service that isn't being provided... Oh wait the FTC.

Or the various municipalities should be ensuring that "franchise" license agreements aren't screwing over their customers. All it would take is some large enough subset of municipalities to include net neutrality clauses to ensure that customers aren't getting defrauded.

Comment Good and evil (Score 1) 125

Like all new technology it will be used for good and evil. "The city will provide the data to entrepreneurs and students to develop applications." Have to have faith in the majority of people to use the technology for good and to punish those that use it for evil. However, if the information is in the hands of just a few then there won't be effective oversight and it will be used for evil. What they need to do is level the playing field and provide the data as close to real time as is technically possible to anyone that wants it. Not selectively, not piecemeal, not months later... real time.

Comment The cult of innovation (Score 3, Interesting) 361

Innovation, invention and discovery are certainly important and can allow us to more easily or efficiently address needs, but when we are talking about "innovation" or innovative people most of the time what we are really talking about is creative problem solving using already existing methods, knowledge and technology.

It is easy to look at IT and see how real innovations have contributed to a transformation of many aspects of society over the last half century and then fall into the cult of innovation as a sort of belief in perpetual innovation as a means for the betterment of society. But both a longer view and more critical view of our day to day society should confirm the importance of understanding that you already have many of the technological tools and methods needed to address today's needs. And a good application of those already known technological tools and methods should be the priority of problem solving rather than innovation merely for the sake of innovation.

Surely there is always a need for innovation, especially in medicine where virus are constantly evolving to maximize their contagion and our existing tools need to be adapted to new challenges. But in other technology areas the problem domain does not change as remarkably over time. And already developed technology is well suited for most day to day challenges.

Sure you can probably cite a thousand different examples where today's technology is inadequate to a problem or need, but I think the point is that it is no less noble or worthy to address the tens of thousands of those other problems and human needs that can be worked on without the need for any fundamental innovation.

Comment Re:Xenophobia (Score 1) 271

Sounds like free market competition to me.

H1Bs are not "free market", since it is difficult (although not impossible) for the visa holder to change employers. There should be several reforms to the H1B program:
1. The workers should be able to change employers at will.
2. Instead of a lottery, there should be an auction. That way the quotas go to the companies that need/value them the most, and it is doubtful they could be used for "cheap labor".

At the very least "Guest worker" programs should pay people 10% or 20% more than prevailing wages, let people change jobs "by right" without any additional paperwork and be capped well below demand and auctioned off according to the highest salary.

But much better to let people that actually want to come here and be Americans stay here as either green card holders and put them on a path to citizenship. There are already far too many people living here that are living in a society apart from the rest of us. Immigration has been the life blood of this country... not non-immigrant guest worker programs.

Students who come here for 4, 5 and 6 years for education should be a priority as they are usually already well socialized in American Society.

Comment Re:The end is near? (Score 1) 481

We can build the necessary nuclear plants, except the very same people saying "we're all gonna die unless we do something!!" are also out in force to protest against nuclear being one of the answers....

Nuclear could be THE answer to preventing future climate change. We could quadruple the capacity of our existing nuclear electricity plants with new reactors, especially the sites located miles away from large population centers and pretty much solve the problem of climate change.

We have dumped more money into wasteful or futile government programs than it would cost to simply write a check and solve the problem of climate change in the next ten or fifteen years. No mass sacrifice of our productive capacity, no huge hit to the world economy, no shifting of pollution to other countries like China to pretend that we have solved the problem, just solve the energy problem (for hundreds or maybe thousands of years) and allow us to put our intellectual and engineering resources to work on solving all the other problems that face us.

Comment Re:It makes sense in NYC (Score 1) 124

Any additional sharing of rides will result in less vehicles on the road. But also no more driving around looking for a parking space so there is a double benefit. If we could get rid of half of the parking lots on the cities and do something more productive with them, we would live in a much different world. I've heard that 65% of the surface area of Los Angeles is dedicated to cars.

Autonomous cars will still need to park somewhere relatively close by to be useful. But parking/car storage can be further away than walking distance, so a 5 to 10 minute drive away instead of 5 minute walk. And if there can be fewer cars then that really does free up space for new development in desirable areas. Where car storage can go into vacant lots and industrial areas further away.

But I think planners need to be more careful than they have been in the past in permitting greater and greater density in order to avoid over saturating the road network again. So it would be good to see some of that parking used for pocket parks and amenities rather than all for new residential/commercial development. Make the cities more livable and enjoyable for people and not just pack in more people.

Comment Re:Say goodbye to a lot of tax revenue (Score 1) 124

Giving up $500M in city revenue is not worth some vaguely stated increase in prosperity.

It's great to be on the cutting edge of technology. But for that kind of revenue, why doesn't the city improve the current taxi system rather than let Uber in? Better systems and apps for drivers seems like a small price to pay in order to hang onto a rather significant revenue source.

City is going to get revenue one way or another. Autonomous vehicles wouldn't be tax free.

I wouldn't assume we are talking about Uber.

Comment Re:It makes sense in NYC (Score 1) 124

Ride shares and self driving cars will NOT solve the transportation gridlock problem. Cars simply do not have the capacity of real public transit:

MIT just showed that there is real potential for self driving cars to help the gridlock problem by reducing the number of cars on the road while still meeting the demand for point to point non-mass transit transportation.

In the sense that new technology can effectively increase capacity of the existing road network it is likely that new growth will simply take up the slack and result in more gridlock. Which is good in the sense that it enables economic growth up to the new capacity, but it would be better if there could be some limits put on that growth below the transportation system's saturation point.

People will always need lower capacity transportation options for last mile, low frequency routes and off peak transportation so mass transit is no panacea either and suffers from the same type of gridlock problems with over saturation of the network at peak times due to poor planning.

Comment Re:Say goodbye to a lot of tax revenue (Score 0) 124

Medallions cost around $1 million each. Do you really think a ten billion dollar asset is just going to roll over and play dead?

Whichever cities try to block autonomous taxis will be left behind economically. Even New York would eventually have to come around or else see their prosperity diminished.

When a technology comes around that can both improve quality of life and increase prosperity through economic efficiency blocking it is not a viable option.

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The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. -- Niels Bohr