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Submission + - Burundi robotics team missing after competition in DC

Frosty Piss writes: On the heels of recent news media coverage of the decision to deny entry to the United States of the Afghani Robotics Team — and president Trump’s intervention on their behalf, now comes the news that two teenage members of the Burundi robotics team have gone missing after the competition and have been seen crossing the border into Canada, where political asylum is usually an easier hurtle. Burundi, an East African nation of about 10 million people who speak the local Kirundi language and French, has faced sporadic violence in recent years. Human rights groups accuse Burundi’s security forces of abuses including killings and disappearances after a failed coup attempt in 2015.

Comment Re:They're also doing the opposite (Score 1) 245

Or you can get the parts, but only from an approved dealer at X times the market price otherwise.

If you don't think vehicle manufacturers with increasing reliance on software are salivating at this prospect, you're crazy.

Fortunately, the right-to-repair movement does seem to be gaining some momentum, and may win first.

Comment Re:Stallman was right again (Score 4, Interesting) 245

We did prevent this. We're still quite happily running on Windows 7, even on machines purchased just a few months ago.

Of course, Microsoft has also rigged the system so you can no longer buy a new PC with Windows 7 preinstalled. So now we're not buying any new PCs for a while and will make do with what we've got. We're assuming something has to give before the 2020 cliff, whether it's MS providing a version of Windows 10 without the major downsides for non-enterprise customers, Apple getting their act together again so MacBooks are a viable alternative, or some other platform becoming more attractive to software developers so alternatives to the key programs we depend on are available elsewhere.

Comment Re:Their own worst enemy. (Score 1) 60

Intel is just in the "value" stage of Wall St. domination, it's unclear they could fix themselves even if it was clear someone there acknowledged a problem. It's all about how to sell off bits and pieces of them, or buy things that appear undervalued.

They do however have a lot of money and market share, so they will continue to be a boat-anchor for the foreseeable future.

Comment Fad... (Score 2) 60

...take a step back from the business after its acquisition of the Basis fitness watch didn't pan out as expected...

Many speculators like the VC types thought this was going to be HUGE, but really, it's turned out to be more or less a "fad" and a niche market where there just isn't a market for more than one or two serious players.

Comment Re: Screw it (Score 2) 151

Yeah, and they were trying out never-before used titanium grid fins, too. But that was their highest energy trajectory yet (as noted, they keep pushing the bounds on trying to land more and more difficult trajectories). I imagine they'll cut back on that a lot once the Heavy is in full service and they can just offload heavier payloads to the Heavy.

Comment Re:More difficult with people? (Score 3, Insightful) 151

Beta testing: Musk has openly and often stated that autopilot is "continuously improving" and "evolving" and constant software updates are being made to existing installations.

You mean like almost every piece of software we use today? Do you call whatever programs and operating systems you're now "beta" because there's regular updates for them? Most people consider the ability to patch software a good thing. Traditionally, cars are stuck with whatever they're shipped with, and retain any deficiencies for their entire lifespan.

Shitty : fails to detect enormous object right in front of the car, when one of the stated purposes of the system is to detect objects in front of the car.

Yes, one failure from a guy who was ignoring warnings and watching Harry Potter, in over a billion vehicle miles under autopilot. My god, how unthinkable.

Half-assed : the vendor of the hardware disassociates itself from Tesla stating the tech is not being correctly implemented

Yes, that was their accusation as for why they were cutting off their relationship with Tesla. Contrarily, Tesla's accusation is that the Mobileye cutoff occurred when Mobileye learned that Tesla was doing its own in-house image recognition development, aka was going to be cutting Mobileye out of the loop in the future, and demanded as a condition to continue that Tesla kill its in-house development. Mobileye responded claiming that they knew about the team, but didn't feel threatened by it... yadda yadda yadda. Lovely when contract negotiations play out in public.

Comment Re: Screw it (Score 5, Informative) 151

To elaborate on the above AC's point, here's a list of SpaceX launches (starting with the first oceanic "landing" attempt) and their success/failure rate.

29-sep-2013: Ocean failure
03-dec-2013: No attempt
06-jan-2014: No attempt
18-apr-2014: Ocean success
14-jul-2014: Ocean success
05-aug-2014: No attempt
07-sep-2014: No attempt
21-sep-2014: Ocean success
10-jan-2015: Drone ship failure
11-feb-2015: Ocean success
02-mar-2015: No attempt
14-apr-2015: Drone ship failure
27-apr-2015: No attempt
**********28-jun-2015: In-flight failure
22-dec-2015: Ground pad success
17-jan-2016: Drone ship failure
04-mar-2016: Drone ship failure
08-apr-2016: Drone ship success
06-may-2016: Drone ship success
27-may-2016: Drone ship success
15-jun-2016: Drone ship failure
18-jul-2016: Ground pad success
14-aug-2016: Drone ship success
**********01-sep-2016: Pre-launch testing failure
14-jan-2017: Drone ship success
19-feb-2017: Ground pad success
16-mar-2017: No attempt
30-mar-2017: Drone ship success
01-may-2017: Ground pad success
15-may-2017: No attempt
03-jun-2017: Ground pad success
23-jun-2017: Drone ship success
25-jun-2017: Drone ship success
05-jul-2017: No attempt

These don't even tell the whole story because not only has their success rate gone way up, but they've also been attempting to land from increasingly difficult flight envelopes that previously they wouldn't have even attempted from (and simply flown legless / finless rockets)

The issue with testing rocket landing is, you can't just do it in some research lab; you can only do it by actually landing rockets, and changing whatever doesn't work. That's the only way you can learn of your failure modes. Sure, you can use scaled-down testbeds, and SpaceX did that with the Grasshopper series - but there's the difference between a testbed and something that actually goes to orbit. There's a reason that SpaceX used to call them "experimental landings". I don't think they use that term any more; nowadays a landing failure would be seen as a pretty significant setback.

Comment Re:I'm shocked! (Score 5, Insightful) 151

So.... he didn't read the requirements before he started

Right, so you apparently think there was just some printed list sitting around of what NASA will and won't accept when you want to do something that's not been done before (propulsive crew landing)? As was made abundantly clear, what NASA will and won't accept came out of discussions with NASA. It became increasingly clear over time that they weren't going to allow it, so they cut it. I'm sure that you and your army of space psychics could have handled it better.

didn't look at previous NASA designs used successfully,

Yeah, let's just go back to Redstones. Because that will surely lead us to the future that SpaceX is working to achieve! The whole point is to innovate in ways that can make access to space cheaper and more routine, not to keep repeating what we know doesn't allow for cheap, routine access to space.

Even his cars are low-sales,

I love this double talk that you get from Slashdotters. On one hand, bringing a brand new mode of transportation from almost nothing to huge demand, to the degree that each new model is produced is in volumes an order of magnitude than the previous and yet accumulates even greater waiting lists, isn't happening nearly fast enough, that Tesla is "low sales" (actually, no, they're not, not when you take into account market segment). On the other hand, we're also always flooded with posts about how Tesla isn't paying dividends and keeps having to take capital rounds. So let me get this straight, Slashdot. Tesla is supposed to have, in a decade, gone from "design concept for an electric car" to "selling more cars than the major automakers", of an entirely different type of vehicle, while paying dividends and not raising capital. Am I understanding this correctly?

Tesla's rate of growth has been phenomenal. The fact that you find an automaker going from almost nothing to opening up factory lines to produce hundreds of thousands of $35k+ vehicles per year in under a decade to be way to slow, boggles the mind.

Sure, it's nice that he's throwing his money away so others don't have to, but as yet he hasn't really achieved much that couldn't have been done better, faster and more usefully than just giving that same money to NASA

For decades, US launch costs had stagnated. In the matter of a few years, SpaceX cut them to a small fraction of their former value - and they've only barely just started reuse. Again, the fact that you find this to be "not really achieving much" and that you think NASA would have done better (despite decades of distinctly not doing better) likewise boggles the mind.

Comment Re:More difficult with people? (Score 3, Insightful) 151

beta testing his shitty half-assed autopilot junk on the buying public

Questions Answer: Yes
(1) Have you ever used Autopilot before? 99 %
(2) Are you familiar with the car warnings that Tesla provides about how Autopilot is to be properly used? 98 %
(3) Are you aware that when you first enable the Autopilot, you have to do so through the Drivers Assistance section of Settings on
the center screen? 93 %
(4) Are you aware / Do you know that after enabling Autopilot, you had to agree to an acknowledgment box which stated that
Autopilot “is an assist feature that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times” and that “similar to the
autopilot function in airplanes, you need to maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle” while using Autopilot? 99 %
(5) Do you know that each time you activate Autopilot, a message appeares on the screen behind the steering wheel stating:
“Please Keep Your Hands On The Wheel; Be Prepared To Take Over At Any Time“? 96 %
(6) Based on these communications, have you understood that when using Autopilot, the driver is expected to maintain control of the
vehicle at all times? 98 %
(7) Has the name “Autopilot” caused you to believe that the car is fully autonomous, meaning that it does not require the driver to be
supervising the car? 7 % (No : 93 %)

There was an interesting study done (unrelated to the German owners survey above) which showed that the minor autopilot failures (occasional lane drift, unexpected speed changes) are ironically improving consumer safety. Users were well aware of its ability to make mistakes specifically because they're common enough, and this keeps the vast majority of users from treating the vehicle like a tool you don't have to pay attention to it; instead they tend to treat it more like cruise control. As automation improves, the danger may counterintuitively increase as users get used to never having to do anything when the vehicle is driving and thus stop paying attention.

At the same time, despite the frequency of errors, the overwhelming majority of users felt that its failures presented either no risk, or little risk, as they tend to be things that any reasonable driver could react to (in the same way that we don't fear cruise control because if it's looking like it's going to drive us into the rear of the car ahead of us, we slow down). E.g. autopilot never just suddenly jerks the wheel to hard right in the middle of a road or whatnot. They also get quite used to what situations you use it in and what you don't use it in (just like people do with cruise control); the fact that the system won't let you use it when it perceives its ability to follow the road to be too poor doesn't even need to factor into the equation.

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