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Comment Re:A damn good reason to learn security best pract (Score 4, Interesting) 374

I do embedded C programming. With this said, I don't think that improvements to the tools are impossible - sure, I have to prevent buffer overflows myself at the present time - but it doesn't have to be this way. The key thing about embedded programming is that hardware designers are lazy. They want to do the least amount of work possible. So instead of making their hardware easy to program, they like to make it in a way that is easiest to them. So every data sheet contains all kinds of special exceptions to the rules that you the programmer have to take into account. And instead of supporting some fancy, easy to program in language, they do the minimum amount of work to make a C compiler work. (it's really minimal - you only need to map a few base instructions to opcodes on the hardware and you can bootstrap the C compiler).

One major issue is while every microcontroller or DSP generally has roughly the same stuff - various ports that do the same thing, the MAC instruction, usually a von Neuman architecture, usually interrupts and DMA - you basically have to scrape the datasheet for weeks to do something you've done before on a different microcontroller.

Comment Can anyone explain how this could even work? (Score 1) 401

As I understand it, the problem is that X joules of energy enter the earth from sunlight. Y amount of energy leaves. Energy balance is X-Y. Thanks to greenhouse gasses, Y is now smaller. So net energy is being gained by the earth and it is warming up. This is why the ice is melting.

If the wind powered pumps don't affect Y, I don't see how this does anything.

Comment Re:Might be easier to fix bees (Score 1) 130

This is a case of the free market working correctly, though. Beekeepers who do as you say eventually go out of business because their hives die. There are enough beekeepers and they are all independent from each other that so long as some beekeepers do it correctly, they'll still be in business in 5 years. Those beekeepers would expand, since their competition would be out of business, and eventually we live in a world where the only beekeepers in business for long do it right. Business Darwinism in action.

This doesn't always work - monopolies, "too big to fail", and other effects prevent the system from working in many cases. I'm not a libertarian, but this is an example where the invisible hand works correctly.

Comment Re:Might be easier to fix bees (Score 3, Interesting) 130

If we can even figure out what they are, and if there are replacements, and if chemicals still in the environment don't keep killing bees or assholes breaking the laws don't keep using the chemicals after they are banned. Or if the government just refuses to ban the chemicals because the regulators are bribed by big business. Genetic engineering might just be easier.

Comment Might be easier to fix bees (Score 4, Interesting) 130

Sure would take a lot of drones. It might be easier to genetically engineer the bees to have genes to resist whatever is killing them - insecticide or parasites - by splicing in genes from bee species that are resistant but suboptimal for pollination. Bees are basically self replicating drones that can refuel and rebuild themselves from products supplied by the very flowers they are pollinating.

But worst case scenario - if the bees all become extinct - we could use drones instead.

Comment Re:Radiation wrecks robots? (Score 1) 307

Huh. Never thought of it that way (regarding renewables). Basically, if you can pay for a solar farm and the cost of the energy generated is enough to pay for the monthly payments on the bond to build it, there's minimal risk. The panels and inverters are warrantied by the manufacturer. As long as licensed electricians put together the wiring, an electrical fire is unlikely and even if it happens, the metal boxes and metal conduit sheaths will contain it. Maybe some years you'll get a little less solar than you expected and some years a little more, but it'll average out. A sure thing.

Comment Re:real information, burried in audio (Score 2) 113

You can get another order of magnitude by moving those algorithms to ASICs and FPGAs. 300 watts is within reasonable bounds for a vehicle electrical bus. I would be willing to bet that the prototype algorithms are running on less power efficient but more programmer friendly GPUs and CPUs mainly.

The 100k figure is mostly driven by the LIDAR. There are cheap LIDARS for this.

A $10k price tag plus a $1k a year license fee is achievable, and this would make self driving taxis readily feasible. Most people probably won't own the first self driving cars in widespread use.

Comment Re:"jaw dropping" downplaying - more fuked news (Score 1) 307

Well, look at it another way. Every human action carries risk. Standing up from your chair after reading this, and you might get a brain aneurism and die right there. No countermeasure against a risk is perfect. So to be fair, with nuclear it's not about trying to make the risks zero, but to make the risks (translated to dollars) significantly less than the value of the energy created. Now, a 100 billion clean kind of ruins the value proposition for nuclear. In fact this one accident might push the net balance of value (compared to alternatives) for nuclear in Japan all the way into the negative. Or not.

As for "slimy PR stunt", I guess. I'm not going to dispute that the nuclear industry in japan has the same problem that the oil industry in the USA has. The wealthy companies have too much power compared to the regulators who are supposed to oversee them.

Remember, nobody has been killed directly from Fukushima, and probably only a handful of people who were wading in that dirty water in the basement picked up enough of a dose that they have a noticeably higher chance of eventual cancer. Oil industry gets people killed all the time. And the net effect of decades of the oil industry operating is devaluing real estate all over the planet. Fukushima only really contaminated the nearby town and some of the water right off the coast.

All I'm saying is, it doesn't mean nuclear was a bad decision. Remember, just now, 40 years later, are solar panels starting to not suck.

Comment Re:"jaw dropping" downplaying - more fuked news (Score 2) 307

This isn't a surprise to anyone. What do you think is contaminating all that water they pump out of the basement? Why do you think you can measure a dose outside near the plant? The evidence overwhelmingly showed it was a meltdown and the fuel escaped the reactor and some has even escaped containment. The latter is the real problem - a better containment design, and they wouldn't have all this contaminated water because it wouldn't leak like it does. Nor would it have contaminated the surrounding town.

Comment Re:Money to be made... (Score 3, Interesting) 307

Agree. You could have individual air lines or hydraulic lines to each wheel actuator. Send the fluid one way for that wheel to spin forward, the other way for reverse. Then a minimum robot is just 2 drive cogs, then a fiber optic line for vision and a second fiber optic line for light. No reason it couldn't sit directly next to the molten fuel and work indefinitely. Have an internal chamber and a scintillator tube with a fiber optic line that can relay an image back. From the light intensity - how often the tube is getting stimulated - you'd be able to measure the radiation level. Probably have to use special tubes made just for this.

Comment Re:If that were so, you could never install a beta (Score 1) 236

We're talking about default behavior here. Obviously if the user wants to override that and install any (signed) driver they want, they can do it. If they want install an unsigned driver, these days they are forced to reboot into safe mode, which I don't disagree with, since drivers have the privileges to do almost anything and the user has no way to know what a driver will do from the binary.

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Systems programmers are the high priests of a low cult. -- R.S. Barton