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Comment Re:Two Things (Score 1) 516

* Why didn't the car slow down if you have your hands off the wheel for more then 5+ minutes?

Because that would kill more people that what it does now.

Only if the people behind him are not paying attention, and then, isn't it "not paying attention" that kills people? I'm not saying the autopilot should slam on the brakes (though that might wake the driver up), but if it stops accelerating and gently coasts down to a stop while flashing its hazard lights, that seems to be the proper failure mode. Saying "no, the car needs to keep driving at 75 mph forever because it may be being tailgated by someone who's sleeping" seems to remove responsibility from all other drivers.

Comment Re:Simple question (Score 2) 516

If that's a requirement, why didn't the car just pull over and shut off?

Because the car isn't smart enough to do that. It can keep you between the lines on the road; it can't take you out of the lanes and park you up. That's actually a harder thing to do.

Why didn't the car put its hazards on and let go of the accelerator until it slowed to a crawl while staying between the lines on the road? Yes, there's a possibility he could get rear-ended by some yahoo behind him who wasn't paying attention, but that's better than plowing into a truck in front of him.

Basically, the failure mode for autopilot doesn't have to be "pull over and park safely".

Comment Re:Cats stopped being antisocial? (Score 4, Interesting) 172

Anyone that has lived with a cat can tell you that they are very social animals. They're just not DEPENDANT on people like dogs are. Dogs are stuck on the "look at me, pay attention to me" mode. Cats are more like people, they have times they want to be with others, and times they want to be alone. They are very social though.

Or, as an analogy, dogs are like five year olds, constantly wanting and needing attention; cats are like teenagers, mostly independent but occasionally affectionate.

/also explains their sleeping habits

Comment Re:A good example of bad laws. (Score 5, Informative) 253

Realistically, the anti-disparagement law only lasted this long because Obama's administration wanted it to so they could use it against the Redskins.

The anti-disparagement clause is part of 15 USC 1052(a), and was in the first version of the Lanham Act, passed in 1946, and signed by Truman. It has remained the same over the past 71 years, and Congress, not the President, has the power to change it or keep it.
Trying to make this about Obama is just stupid, particularly when the first case about this - Pro-Football, Inc. v. Harjo - was decided in 2005 during Bush Jr.'s presidency. And it's even stupider, because that case stemmed from a petition to cancel the Redskins' trademark in 1992, during Clinton's first term. This has been an active dispute for 25 years.

Comment Re:So the question is this: (Score 1) 465

The real question is how this is even worthy of a patent.

Well, was anyone doing this back in 2012?

1. A system, comprising:
at least one wireless access point configured to provide Internet access to a consumer device within a retail establishment associated with a retailer, and at least one processing component configured to:
identify a first uniform resource locater (URL) requested, via the wireless access point, by a browser application executing on the consumer device;
determine, based upon a comparison of the first URL to stored information associated with one or more competitors of the retailer, that the first URL is associated with a competitor Web site;
identify an offering of an item on the competitor Web site;
identify (i) retailer information associated with an offering of the item by the retailer and (ii) competitor information associated with the offering of the item on the competitor Web site, wherein the retailer information comprises a first price for the offering of the item by the retailer and the competitor information comprises a second price for the offering of the item on the competitor Web site;
determine that a difference between the first price and the second price exceeds a first threshold value or that a consumer value of a consumer associated with the consumer device does not exceed a second threshold value;
determine, responsive to determining that the difference between the first price and the second price exceeds the first threshold value or that the consumer value exceeds the second threshold value, that information associated with an offering of a complementary item that is complementary to the item should be presented to the consumer in lieu of counter-competitive information that competes with the offering of the item on the competitor Web site; and
redirect the browser application to a second URL different from the first URL, wherein the second URL is associated with a Web site that includes the information associated with the offering of the complementary item.

If no one was doing it, then it's novel. And even if people were doing some parts of it, but there's a step that no one was doing, then it's not obvious. So the question is "were all of those steps known in the prior art, as shown by their inclusion in either in a single prior art reference or in a combination of multiple prior art references" and if not, then it's worthy of a patent.

Comment Involuntary commitment? (Score 4, Insightful) 161

So, once the computer diagnoses someone as highly likely to kill themselves in the next week, then does it (or the user) call the men in white coats to give the subject the coat with the funny sleeves? Therapists frequently have a statutory or license requirement to report potential suicides.
We don't know what the rate of false positives are, but with our current state of health insurance, getting locked up for a week and then getting a $50k bill would probably drive most people to suicide.

Comment Re:I don't care WHY he did it (Score 1) 227

Murder is murder, I'm really a lot less interested in why than what he did. The concept of "hate crimes" is a completely broken one, but at least the guy is getting prosecuted. Hope there is a fair trial and justice is served.

It's called a "hate crime" because he's white. Otherwise, it would be "domestic terrorism".

Joking aside, it is terrorism. The intent is to scare others in the targeted group - unlike "I hate you, so I'll kill you," it's "I hate [group], so I'll kill [members of this group]," to cause fear in that group (and, according to this shooter's express wishes, to get them to flee the country). If we're not going to tolerate foreign terrorism, we also shouldn't tolerate domestic terrorism.

Comment Re:Corn (Score 1) 186

It's worse than that. I feel like a fucking bumper sticker because I say this here so often, but the corn used for making fuel is virtually all grown continuously, without crop rotation. This depletes the soil of everything. In cases where they burn the stubble they are at least putting the carbon back into the soil (corn is a heavy soil carbon user) but they are also emitting a bunch of soot.

Yep. Harvest everything in the fall, leave it bare over the winter so that the storms can blow away another inch of top soil, then replant in the spring. Even just filling it in with clover for a season would be better, both for preventing erosion and for replacing nitrogen.

Comment Re:Corn (Score 1) 186

Farming got more profitable when the government fully embraced ethanol. Farmers plowed under land to grow more corn to supply the government-funded ethanol plants that needed to go into gasoline by government mandate. Now the government is blaming farmers for farming and wanting to change the rules.

Rather, they're blaming farmers for being short-sighted and engaging in farming practices that will be profitable for a decade, and then lose so much topsoil that the land is barren for a hundred years, but hey, "fark you, I got mine," right?

Comment Re:No. Er.. no... (Score 1) 390

Actually you missed on this one. Mr. Trump has decided to use Twitter as a way to be in communication in his capacity as President of the United States. In addition, he has used his own Twitter ID instead of the POTUS one that was established for these communications. As such, this becomes a channel to reach a government official and selective blocking of that channel becomes a Constitutional issue. The White House Press Secretary has confirmed that official pronouncements come from the RealDonaldTrump account, so he is now SOL with regards to trying to say it is private/personal.

By this logic, since the phone in the Oval Office is an "official" one for the President of the United States to use for communication, it's therefore a channel to reach a government official and the government can't block people from calling it.
But I'm pretty sure they do, and I'm pretty sure that no judge would agree that it's an unconstitutional infringement on your right to petition the government. There are many other means to do so, and this is a reasonable time, place, or manner restriction that is narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling government interest - preventing harassment of the President.

Look, I don't like the Cheeto any more than you do, but let's not go off the deep end and insist that it's unconstitutional if we don't have unlimited access to the President.

Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 198

There is a legitimate need for a solution that is like: the "smart speaker" talks over wifi to your desktop, which acts as a server and processes the voice, then searches the locally built index of your locally built library. I suspect this would be a possible thing to build, but much harder for a company to sell it to you like that.

They have such things - or at least, dictation software that processes locally and doesn't use a cloud-based server for its library. They suck.
I mean, really, have you notice how good dictation has gotten in just the past couple years? That's a result of Google and others using machine learning on the inputs from millions of users. Even just 5 years ago, people were still using Dragon Dictation and the like and having to spend hours reading sample paragraphs and training the thing, just to have it say "Eat up, Martha.".
You could probably do a similar locally-processed home automation system, but it would take hours of training and still suck.

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