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Comment Re:Kind of a warning sign actually (Score 2) 362

why? a few decades ago banks would ask you for character references when you applied for a loan. cheap computing tech gave rise to credit scores

Because personal references were a terrible way to judge credit worthiness. Credit scores based on your actual credit history are far more reliable.

Comment Re:Dubious Credit Criteria (Score 1) 362

Dubious credit criteria and validation got us into a huge subprime mortgage mess

1. This is not "dubious". It is based on plenty of solid evidence.
2. The subprime mess was caused (in part) by government pressure to ignore proven credit criteria, along with incentives for banks to not care about the default rate because the risk was borne by quasi-governmental institutions like Fannie Mae, that had an implicit guarantee of a taxpayer bailout.

Comment Re:Kind of a warning sign actually (Score 5, Informative) 362

There was a much better article about this in the Economist a few months back. The banks don't ask you for a list of your Facebook friends. It doesn't work like that. They get the information as part of your score from credit agencies. You will never even know it is happening. But I don't see why this is worse than other things they consider, like your zipcode or marital status. You are judged by the company you keep. Deal with it.

Comment Re:Don't wanna be first... (Score 1) 282

Most often, children aren't hit directly from behind but glance off the rear fender and fall beneath the wheel. It is hard to see how a google car will prevent that.

Maybe they use a camera with a wide angle, or multiple cameras/radars, or some other obvious solution to an obvious problem.

Comment Re:Don't wanna be first... (Score 1) 282

Agreed, 300,000 miles without an accident isn't that awesome.

Yes it is! Many of those miles are not cruising the freeway, but on a test track under conditions that were designed to cause an accident. Test dummies have been used to simulate pedestrians stepping into traffic. Other cars pull in front, or cut off the Google car, or drop objects onto the road. The self driving cars have been able to avoid thousands of accidents where a human would likely not have been able to react in time.

Comment Re:Don't wanna be first... (Score 4, Interesting) 282

Not that this will stop anyone the first time the car backs over a kid, despite their excellent safety record.

The Google cars have backup cameras, radar, and bump sensors. They have been specifically designed and tested to not run over kids/pets while backing, under many different light and weather conditions. So your scenario is very unlikely to happen.

A much more likely scenario: After self driving cars are common, some human driver backs over a kid, and people ask why we should continue to allow humans to drive.

Comment Re:Female programmers (Score 3, Informative) 608

That's selection bias at work. It's extremely hard for a woman to land a job in this field

I completely disagree. I have worked at many tech companies over a thirty year career, and my experience has been the exact opposite. Many companies bend over backwards to hire more women programmers and engineers. I have heard many male engineers say that they would prefer a more gender balanced workplace, and have never heard any say they wouldn't like that. When I have hired women, the male engineers have always treated them with decency and professional respect.

On the other hand, I have never had any problem hiring saleswomen, or even female forklift drivers. The shipping crew at my last employer was 60% female, despite the crude sexism of their male coworkers that complained about too many "bitches" in the warehouse.

I think the dearth of female programmers is simply that women are not attracted to a career that involves sitting in a cubicle interacting with a computer. Women have broken into many male dominated professions. A majority of new lawyers are women. Nearly half of medical students are women. Unlike programming, those careers are perceived to have a lot of human interaction.

Comment Re:My god, what has science wrought??? (Score 2) 245

Yeah we could have 50 of theses for the price of the iraq war.

It is a logical fallacy to attempt to justify an expenditure by pointing to something else even stupider. This project should be funded if, and only if, it is a good idea, not because it is merely less stupid than something else.

Comment Re:IP Rights (Score 1) 119

One of the risks of working on DoD projects is they have a nice little loophole in patent law that allows them to take IP from one company and give it to another

Yet a Google search brings up nothing. Do you have a citation?

There have been quite a few documented cases over the years ...

Pet peeve: People that claim there are "quite a few" documents, but fail link to even one.

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