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Comment Fuel economy (Score 1) 325

* If a driving algorithm is a little more accident-prone than the average human driver at a given speed, that deficiency could be rectified by forcing it to observe lower speed limits.
* On the other hand a driving algorithm that proves to be two orders of magnitude less accident-prone than the average human driver at a given speed, should be granted higher speed limits. (Not so much higher as to erase all or most of its safety advantage. But higher.)

Why would you assume faster is better? If the car drives itself, it has no need for a driver. Thus, it could be completely unattended, and take advantage of the fact that optimal fuel economy tends to occur at about 35-55 MPH, where wind resistance is too low to be problematic.

Thanks to exponential nature of inertia, doubling speed generally causes four times the wind resistance. It doesn't take long for that ratio to get stupid, and that's why we don't have planes that fly 5,000 MPH.

In general aviation, it's commonly understood that a more powerful engine will help you climb faster, but typically doesn't speed the plane up much except at the extreme lower end of the power/weight curve - that's mostly a function of wind resistance.

Comment Re:Ridonculous (Score 1) 303

Throw another $50 / $130 on top of Netflix's monthly fee, and it doesn't turn out to be a very good deal at all...

Are you kidding? I was paying that much per month for Cable...

Besides, I already have my Linux box connected to my TV, handling all my TV/DVR, DVD/BluRay, Hulu, gaming, and other functions. Telling me I have to have a separate box just for Netflix just tells me I shouldn't get Netflix.

I'm hard pressed to find a device *other than* your Linux box that doesn't do Netflix! In my large-family household, we have: My phone, Wife's phone, Son's phone, 3 Daughters' phones, my still-working, wifi-only old phone, my 7" tablet, Son's Xbox, PS3, Wif'e's iPad, and several laptops and desktops up to 3 or 4 generations old.

I love Linux. I use it for work, at which it does fantastic. Reliable, cheap, powerful; it's a programmer's paradise! But when I play, I use toys like Windows to watch videos and play GTA.

Comment Re:no shit (Score 2) 304

I use TPB only rarely, I used to use it much more. It's been said before that Hulu/Netflix are highly effective at combating piracy, and for me at least, it's very true!

I'm a cord cutter; haven't had cable service in years, even though a few years ago we had the Dish DVR with all the fixin's for $125/month or so. When we moved, I didn't buy cable right away but I did buy Internet right away, and by the time (a few months later) things were settled enough that we could talk about Cable, we'd already latched onto Hulu/Netflix and we've never looked back.

I have other places I could use $1500/year, such as the $96 I give to Netflix, or the $20/year I give to MagicJack for home phone service.

I'd happily pay $8/month to not have to futz with finding torrent files with decent seeds and weed through all the terrible ads and porn spam. Managing torrents is just a hassle.

With Netflix, I pick the show I want, and watch it RIGHT NOW on whatever device I want. (phone / tablet / computer / tv / xbox / PS3 / whatever) I don't mind $2/week at all.

Comment Re:good news for NSA (Score 1) 157

We have no reason to believe that, despite the resources of the NSA, that they are significantly ahead of the public face of encryption technologies. In fact, it has been noted numerous times that cryptographers working for the NSA aren't paid nearly as well as the private sector positions;

It's reasonable, then, to assume, that the NSA doesn't have any magic secrets other than gag orders alleged by affected parties.

Comment Re:Competition, not regulation (Score 4, Insightful) 637

The USA health care system has some of the worst possible perverse economic disincentives. At literally no point is there a clear economic incentive for you to be healthy and taken care of.

1) Consumers have no interest in keeping costs down. They pay the same deductible no matter what happens. Unfortunately, this is only up to a point (see #4 below) but that's not going to enter casual consideration.

2) Hospitals have no interest in keeping costs down. They blatantly inflate their costs knowing that the insurance companies will only pay a fraction anyway. They also have no incentive to keep supplies costs down since they are paid "cost +" by insurance companies. They'll tend to buy whatever sponge or soap dispenser is in "the catalog".

3) Providers of supplies to hospitals have no interest in keeping their costs down. Hospitals get paid on a "cost +" basis by the insurance companies so charging $35 for that "medical grade" sponge that cost them $0.35 wholesale has 99% profit margins as its incentive.

4) Insurance companies have some incentive to keep costs down, which they generally do by axing their most expensive customers with any of the myriad of technicalities written into their eye-gouging 10 page contracts full of inverted double negatives and exceptions. A good example is somebody with a job who gets cancer. Sure, he/she may have excellent health insurance, but what about when he/she loses his/her job because they didn't show for four months while undergoing chemo therapy? Even so, the myriad of regulations in place (and a legal department that ensures that one plan can't be compared to another) provides an opaque enough service offering that customers are unable to distinguish which plan is actually "cheaper".

5) Doctors had to just about kill their mother to get through medical school, and are saddled with enough debt to make anybody contract stress-related symptoms. Since they get paid for the work they actually perform, they have every incentive to declare a medical emergency and take you under the knife, regardless of whether or not it's necessary or even beneficial. I'm not saying every doctor will give you heart surgery when you come in with a rash, but I'm not alleging something that doesn't happen. Citation 2.

The majority of bankruptcies in the United States are for medical reasons, and the majority of *those* are by people who had health insurance at the time they got sick. Anybody who says this ridiculous would-be-laughable-if-it-wasn't-true system is lying or misinformed.

Comment Re:How can an OS have such a fundamental problem? (Score 1) 137

I'd think that an Android device has a number of excellent sources of randomness: Wifi signal, cell signal, accellerometer inputs, and light sensor light levels in conjunction with the usual *nix generators based on system load variables (memory/cpu/io) should mean that mobile devices should have *excellent* randomness.

Comment Re:Removing bins will not fix underlying problem (Score 2) 179

Wow. Talk about ignorance aloud. And on Slashdot!

The "issue" to be addressed is the need for a way to uniquely identify a device as distinct from other devices. This is accomplished by the use of a number called a MAC address. Because it uniquely identifies a device, it can be used to (gasp!) uniquely identify a device.

That's what Renew (the company in question with the "smart bins") was doing... logging MAC addresses announced by wifi cards as they try to moderate a wifi connection.

Comment Classic disruptive technology (Score 4, Interesting) 174

Microsoft has a long standing, dominant set of softwares (Windows/Office) that has been its cash cow for longer than many of us have been old enough to vote. It's the classic case for disruptive technologies:

1) The old, highly profitable incumbent using old technology and charging pretty pennies for it.

2) The new upstart technology, able to do similar stuff in a new context and dramatically cheaper.

3) Incumbent tries to mash its old technology into the new context to preserve its margins.

4) Incumbent dies a death of a thousand paper cuts as the new context, typically more nimble and with an entirely new, cheaper cost structure, slowly peck at the old incumbent until it's irrelevant.

Many of us old-timers remember when IBM ruled the roost for the PC. Some of us remember when DEC was the dominant force for mini computers. A few of us remember when IBM ruled the roost for computing mainframes, before the mini computer took sway.

We should give Microsoft lots of credit. Microsoft had a *long* time at the helm. It was able to cash in on the entire PC revolution, and even much of the Internet revolution, until the Mobile revolution, which it foresaw a decade or more in advance and tried hard (but hardly) to embrace.

For me, going from Windows Phone 6.1 to Android 2.2 on a Motorola Droid 2 was like going from a rusty riding lawn mower to an LXi Convertible. It's sad, really. Microsoft had its part in the mobile game for several hardware generations, and they were beaten so mightily that they are now basically the upstarts trying to be a halfway, third place contender.

Admire what they've done, but this mobile situation is just sad given how hard they tried.

Comment Re:NO (Score 0) 248

The fact that an airport as busy as SFO doesn't have VASI/PAPI lights strikes me as fundamentally stupid. This is one of the busiest airports in the world. Yes, pilots should be able to land the sucker without lights, but SFO airspace is very busy and very dense. It's silly to think that not providing something as basic as approach lights will have no effect.

A quick google for reveals a cost that might be $50,000 which, for something as busy as SFO, probably compares to the toilet paper budget, or the cost of waxing the floors every week. I've flown (small plane pilot!) in the SFO airspace and ANYTHING you can do to reduce pilot work load is a good thing. Certainly, the cost of fixing the !@#$% lights pales compared to the cost of an emergency response.

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