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Comment Will increase risks of theft and cargo hold fire (Score 5, Insightful) 249

And as TFA says, the UK tried a similar ban in 2006, and the result was that theft of electronic devices skyrocketed. The risk of in-flight fire also increases, as it is easier to detect a battery fire in the passenger compartment while the fire is restricted to the device and easy to contain , than in the cargo hold. If anything, this ban will make flying less safe.

Comment Premature given their disengagement rates (Score 2) 202

It seems premature. According to Google's last disengagement report, humans had to take control of the wheel at a rate of 0.2 per 1,000 miles, or 1 per 5,000 miles. While this is significant improvement from their previous report, which showed human intervention once every 1,000 miles, it would not give me confidence that the cars are ready to be in public streets without a driver present. They should be aiming for a rate of human intervention of no more than once per the lifetime of the vehicle (1 per 200,000 miles) before allowing the cars without a human driver.

Comment Re:propaganda headline (Score 1) 243

The linked report provides their criteria for classifying bridges as structurally deficient, based on FHWA guidelines:

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), a bridge is classified as structurally deficient if the condition rating for the deck, superstructure, substructure or culvert and retaining walls is rated 4 or below or if the bridge receives an appraisal rating of 2 or less for structural condition or waterway adequacy.

They're rating the bridge based on whether one or more of the bridge key structural elements are in poor condition or not. The need to widen the bridge is secondary to their assessment.

Comment Re:The question is this (Score 1) 637

I have a few issues with this argument:

- The current states with their boundaries are artificial man-made creations. California could've entered the union as 2 states or the Dakotas as one. Given the political compromises made for many states to enter the union, I'd say allocating votes by state is allocating votes according to 19th century political compromises made with slave states.

- While the electoral college is said to give smaller states a voice, presidential candidates completely ignored smaller states. Wyoming may have the biggest electoral college weight, but it received zero ad spending from either candidate. Even a battleground state like NH was mostly ignored after the primaries. Attention is solely focused on the large battleground states.

- Even if votes are allocated by state according to the electoral college formula, there is no need to have the electoral college as an intermediary. Even today, the presidential election results are not final, and it is possible, even if unlikely, that electors could change their vote. In the 2000 election, it would have taken only 2 electors to change the results. That this is both legal and possible should worry voters.

Comment Re:Computer scientists don't understand sociology (Score 4, Insightful) 1321

While true that the differences may be demographic in nature, these claims point to a bigger problem with e-voting machines: there is no paper trail to allow the results to be audited and scrutinized. The integrity of the results cannot be verified. With a paper ballot, a careful manual recount would've been possible, with multiple observers to confirm the count. This is simply not possible with electronic ballots

Having a cloud of suspicion over the results benefits no one, most of all Trump himself. Any election system that does not have an auditable paper trail will become a breeding ground for conspiracy theories and a focus for electoral challenges. This is bad not just for the losing candidate, but for democracy in general, as it risks deligitimizing the results.

Comment Re:Total Trip Time (Score 1) 202

For an airliner, what matters is the flight time+aircraft turnaround time. Currently a trip from New York to London takes 6h30, and London to New York averages around 8hrs, due to prevailing winds. When aircraft turnaround time is included, usually around 1hr in average, this means an aircraft can be used to fly one round-trip fly a day.

With a flight time of 3-4hrs, this new supersonic aircraft will be able to fly 2 round trip flights a day, and possibly 3 if turnaround is quick. For an airliner, this means they need half the number of aircraft to maintain the same flight frequency, which reduces costs. This is where airliners can see substantial savings.

Comment Running on autopilot (Score 1) 168

When people use the expression "he's on autopilot" they tend to mean someone who's just going through the motions without being mentally engaged. In a popular sense, autopilot is used for any task that is running without active engagement. E.g. a business running on autopilot, to mean a business functioning without active engagement. What matters is how the term is popularly used, not how it is used in a particular technical context.

I suspect the real reason Tesla wants to hang on to "Autopilot" term, is that it allows them to subtly market this function as a self-driving vehicle without explicitly saying so by playing on the misunderstanding of the term by laypeople. This allows them to have it regulated as a cruise control device, instead of the more stringent safety and reliability standards that a self-driving car would have to meet.

Comment Re:removing dupes is easy... (Score 1) 488

That she's being held to a different standard is established. Anyone else applying for a high-level, sensitive job in the government with her track record would never, ever be hired (presuming they were out of jail and able to apply in the first place).

There should be a different standard. In most european countries, elected officials are given broad immunity from crimes commited while in office. This avoids politically based prosecutions, while still leaving the option of the ballot box to remove politicans accused of serious mismanagement. While broad parliamentary immunity can allow some corrupt elected officials to go unpunished, most europeans recognize the benefits to democracy of avoiding political show trials far outweigh any risk of a few bad apples going unpunished.

Clinton isn't just anyone else applying for a goverment job. She is the front running candidate for the top political office in the country. Having even an administrative sanction against her would be a damaging and corrosive interference in the political process. She can and will still be judged by a jury of her peers - the american electorate.

Comment Re:Sorry - whose car is this? (Score 1) 305

If it's good enough to drive at all, it's good enough to be put to use for the purpose I bought it.

The problem is there's likely regulatory issues involved. In states where legislation to regulate self-driving cars has been introduced, they've largely been treated as experimental vehicles where their usage is restricted. Using it for commercial purposes would likely violate the limited scope under which these vehicles have been allowed in the road.


Interviews: Ask Martin Shkreli a Question 410

Martin Shkreli has agreed to answer your questions. Shkreli is the co-founder of the hedge fund MSMB Capital Management, the co-founder and former chief executive officer (CEO) of the biotechnology firm Retrophin, and the founder and former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. Shkreli has been active on Twitter about a wide range of topics, including the 2016 presidential election. Most recently, he expressed interest in buying 4chan.

Ask him your questions here, and we'll post the full interview with Shkreli's answers in the near future.

Comment Re:It's not rocket science.. (Score 4, Informative) 314

Oh for God's sake. You're citing Philippe Rushton, a textbook definition of a racist, past president of the Pioneer Fund and frequent contributor to American Renaissance, both organizations classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups, and you want us to give equal weight to his arguments that blacks have smaller brains and unrestrained libido? He's been thoroughly debunked by many, but Joseph Grave's debunking of Rushton is one of the most thorough.

It's a sad day for slashdot when works by a noted racist thinker gets modded +5 and conspiracy theories on a presidential candidate's health make the front page.

Comment Re:Enforce current regulations (Score 1) 239

There is no ambiguity in law. Air rights are well established enough by law that the airspace above a property can be sold for millions of dollars in dense urban areas like New York, and the FAA is required to provide compensation for property owners near airports to provide navigation easement for low flying aircraft. While the exact height limit may vary depending on the jurisdiction, the notion that one owns the air above your property is very clear in law.

Comment Enforce current regulations (Score 5, Interesting) 239

There are already existing regulations covering drones, and I see no need to add additional rules:
  • If you're flying above 500ft, you're flying in FAA regulated airspace, and air traffic control becomes an issue. Heavy regulation is a necessity.
  • If you're flying below 500ft and over private land without permission, you're potentially trespassing, and should be pursued as such. Landowners own air rights over their land up to the FAA-regulated height (500ft but as low as 83ft near airports).
  • If you're below 500ft, over public land or over private land with permission, there is no real issue in my opinion, and no need for additional regulations.

Really, the existing regulations work fine if they were enforced properly.

Comment Re:Insufficiently Realistic (Score 1) 323

If you can't actually fill them with a truly realistic substitute for unwanted infant fluids, they're worthless.

They're worse than worthless, they're giving a false idea that having a baby is easier than it seems.

By not fully simulating all the aspects of having a baby - from cleaning dirty diapers, to the financial aspects of dealing with the baby, to the changes in your social life - they're giving a false impression of what having a baby is really like. Instead, they made it seem like a game that only required them to press a button every few hours when the "baby" wails. They made having a baby similar to performing a series of in-game quests for the Pokemon generation, so it's no surprise those with the baby dolls had a much higher rate of pregnancy.

Submission + - Uber Loses at Least $1.2 Billion in First Half of 2016 (

An anonymous reader writes: The ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc. is not a public company, but every three months, dozens of shareholders get on a conference call to hear the latest details on its business performance from its head of finance, Gautam Gupta.

On Friday, Gupta told investors that Uber's losses mounted in the second quarter. Even in the U.S., where Uber had turned a profit during its first quarter, the company was once again losing money.

"It's hardly rare for companies to lose large sums of money as they try to build significant markets and battle for market share," said Joe Grundfest, professor of law and business at Stanford. "The interesting challenge is for them to turn the corner to become profitable, cash-flow-positive entities."

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