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Comment Re:Bad Joke (Score 1) 48

I hope this kid recovers and gives the operation two thumbs up!

Well looking at the video... I doubt he can despite it being a "success". He seems to have a slight squeeze/release control which is of course infinitely more useful to grab things than a stub, but he doesn't seem to have any motor control over individual fingers and certainly couldn't do a shirt button or tie a shoe lace. I've seen people with a simple claw prosthetic do more, of course the upside is that these hands look human but as long as he can't hold them naturally it's only half way there in that department too. Of course don't let perfect be the enemy of good but it's very far from true replacement hands.

Comment Re:Don't shoot until you see the whites of their e (Score 1) 353

In many countries, soliders are cheaper than the weapons and systems on the trucks... And pretty much all wars are wars of resources - who has the deeper resource pool to draw from (unless it's a war run as a political battle, much like Vietnam). Kill a truck driver, they get another one - 1 for 1. Destroy a missile, waste a lot more money and occupy another 100+ people to build the missile replacement.

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:Does Raise a Question... (Score 1) 173

Who is responsible for injuries when the fault is clearly with the self driving car?

Why would self driving cars be any different than ordinary cars, surely design flaws and manufacturing defects have caused accidents in the past. I don't see the need to invent any new process or any new law for that, if you want to blame the car for the accident you do it like today. I'm sure a lawyer could fill you in on how it's done today.

Comment Re: Screw it (Score 2) 151

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.

IIRC the last three-engine landing burn used up pretty much the entire crush core. As in, it almost failed. They still seem pretty willing to push it straight to the limit rather than the conservative approach of trying it little by little. And as long as the expectations are set right to the engineers that you can push the limits and fail and to the public that we're pushing the limits and might fail, it works quite well for everyone. As long as it's cargo and dry-runs anyway, I'm sure NASA has made it very clear that you don't try any new funny business on manned flights.

Comment Re:I'm shocked! (Score 4, Insightful) 151

Meh, for every person who achieves something there's ten people who want to slap them down and find their faults and their weaknesses and belittle whatever they do. Everything from jocks bullying nerds to the people who have to hate on Jobs, Ballmer, Ellison, Zuckerberg, Jimbo Wales, Musk etc. almost out of principle. That just have to find that Jobs was an asshole and a terrible family man, so the universe is back in balance. Doesn't matter if you're fucking Gandhi somebody's going to get so pissed at you they'll want to shoot you dead. Maybe he's read a bit too many sci-fi novels. Still better to be a dreamer than a bitter, miserable old coot. Because that's mostly what your post comes across like.

Comment Re:Meanwhile... (Score 1) 267

Or is the difference that a streaming viewer isn't sending pieces to other viewers and you believe that watching it illegally is less criminal than watching it and distributing it?

From what I've understood of US law, yes. The exclusive rights of a copyright holder include reproduction (that is, storage to a medium) and distribution (sending it to someone else), but streaming doesn't use any of those rights. Copies that are purely transitory like buffers and caches do not count as storage. Note that it's more about the nature of the use than the actual technology, if you start a hundred copies of a piece of software from one shared network drive they may consider that as a hundred fixed copies even though they're only stored to RAM, that is still a gray area. But unless they've made any additions to the law recently I haven't caught, watching streamed content is legal at least with respect to copyright law. This logic would not apply to anything that violates any other laws though.

I know they here in Norway have created some kind of quasi-law to make watching streamed pirate copies illegal but I think it's mostly symbolic because the requirements is basically that you know it's a pirate copy and you're doing it intentionally. How is anyone to know what sites have licensed and what artists may or may not have made their stuff available for public distribution through any medium? And you're under no obligation to investigate. Basically it's a feelgood law that says anything on YouTube is okay, if you visit a pirate site you might be doing something wrong. I really doubt they'll manage to prove a single case ever though, particularly since they also have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt who was streaming first, then what that streaming person thought. But hey, it's officially illegal here.

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.

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

That's the thing I don't get. SpaceX is saving the US government huge amounts of money. Yet so many Slashdotters have this weird conception that they're a giant leach sucking government budgets dry. Their conception is precisely the opposite of reality. ULA has been getting an unbelievable sweetheart deal for government launches, getting paid even when they don't launch anything, and charging massive fees when they do, while also getting government subsidy to develop new craft. SpaceX paid back its COTS funding in spades versus what was being doled out to ULA.

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

It's like you didn't even read the article or pay attention to what he said. So I guess someone has to repeat it for you.

NASA's regulations for propulsive landing of a Dragon 2 capsule are too difficult to reasonably meet. So they're dropping propulsive landing from Dragon 2. Meaning it can't land on Mars either. At the same time, they've decided that there's a better approach to landing on Mars than Dragon 2's approach of a bottom-mounted heat shield and side-mounted thrusters.

And for the record, that better approach is what they're looking at with ITS - a side lifting body heat shield with base thrusters for landing. The latter spreads the heat out over a much larger area (Dragon 2 had no option for that because it had no giant, partially empty propellant tanks attached) and increases the length of time over which the heating occurs, slowing the rate.

It'll be interesting to see their changes to ITS. I'm glad to see that "smaller" is among them - I like ambition, but ITS was a step too far, IMHO.

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