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Comment a first step ... (Score 1) 42

I recall learning, oh, something like 30 years ago, that the Space Shuttle had multiple computers, running at least two different operating systems, managing all vital systems on a space shuttle.

With all the concern about self-driving cars being cracked, or otherwise running into problems, why is no one demanding something similar? The computers themselves are pretty cheap these days - and will be cheaper by the time we start putting this in every car. Just have a minimum of three computers running a minimum of three different operating systems, determining what the car does. One of those computers can have priority for decisions about where to drive and such (with a human override, which could be as simple as changing which computer got priority for these decisions), but the other two computers would monitor every move for safety. If a single computer returned results outside of safety parameters, the car would shut down until the problem could be resolved - and control of safely slowing down and stopping would be according to the majority of the computers.

Cracking the automobile's control system would still be possible, but it would require that at least two different kinds of systems be cracked, almost simultaneously.

Comment Re:Ignorance of the law is no excuse (Score 1) 209

Seeing as it is a fundamental principle of law that the law must be public and knowable, I would say that you have no obligation to obey Georgia's laws, nor any laws that are so unclear that no one can be confident in what they say.

Unfortunately, I am not the one enforcing the laws - so I would advise you not to take the above advice. Just remember that everything makes more sense when you think of the government as organized crime.

Comment Re:That's not good law (Score 1) 522

Is that the same district in Pennsylvania where public school employees were using the cameras on school-supplied and required laptops to spy on children in their own bedrooms, and the courts found that no crime had been committed?

I agree, I wouldn't put much faith in Pennsylvania's legal system.

Comment Not buying it (Score 4, Interesting) 57

Having spent several months on the polar plateau, I say it's humbug. There's not enough room in the nose to warm up air appreciably, and the extra surface area exposed to cold air is more likely to expose it to frostbite (and chunks falling off) than do anything useful. What good will that air-warmer do once it has fallen off?

Also, how could any study of the suitability of nose type to climate fail to include at least one polar people, such as the Inuit, Sami, or Chukchi?

Comment Re:reactions were mixed (Score 1) 153

Well said. Overtime should be exactly that - overtime. Something extra when extra effort is needed for short term goals. If you are pushing overtime all the time, then your crew will always be at the edge, and when you really need them for those emergency situations they will burn out and need to be replaced. The company would do better just to hire more people.

As we move forward into an age of automation, number of working hours will need to decrease, in part to ensure that there is enough of a market for what we produce. We are already seeing more of an emphasis on consuming experiences rather than goods. This is a good thing in lots of ways.

So I would be less aggressive than you in increasing wages, but I would start earlier: say, time and a half after 30 hours, double at 40 hours, triple at 50 hours, quadruple at 60 hours. Or perhaps time and a quarter at 30 hours, time and a half at 40, double at 50, double and a half at 60, and anything over 65 at triple wages.

Comment Re:reactions were mixed (Score 1) 153

Absolutely. The British did efficiency studies during the First World War and found that not only efficiency but total production declined after 55 hours per week.

Which is to say, employees who work more than 55 hours per week are actually hurting the company.

Now, I am sure there are exceptions - rare individuals who really love what they do and can work 100 hours per week at peak efficiency because their job is their passion. But you shouldn't build company policy on those rare individuals - you should just provide ways for them to get around the rules without destroying the productivity of the normal workers.

Comment Re:Only? (Score 1) 153

The studies done by the British during the First World War found that approximately 55 hours per week provided peak production, though presumably peak efficiency was at some lower number of hours.

But the British were looking at peak total production for their work effort, and they found that 6 day weeks were more productive than 7 day weeks, and that total production peaked at about 55 hours. When workers worked more than 55 hours, their total production was actually less than if they worked only 55 hours.

So it looks like this Japanese company got it right. With very rare exceptions, they should limit work hours at 55 hours per week if they want to maximize production. If they want to maximize productivity, which is slightly different, they may want to restrict work hours even further.

Now, are there rare individuals who can work longer hours and even enjoy working longer hours? Of course. There are exceptions to every rule. But most workers need to rest occasionally.

Submission + - Open Well-Tempered Clavier: a Kickstarter campaign for open source Bach (kickstarter.com) 1

rDouglass writes: The Open Goldberg Variations team has launched a new project to make an open source, public domain version of J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. The work is significant because of it's enormous influence on musicians and composers throughout history. A new studio recording, a new digital MuseScore score (with support for MusicXML and MIDI), as well as all source materials (multitrack WAV, lossless FLAC) will be provided as libre and gratis downloads. New to the project are publisher GRIN Verlag, as well as record label PARMA Recordings. GRIN and PARMA will produce and distribute the physical score and double CD, even though the digital versions are to be widely available and in the public domain. Their enthusiasm for the project runs counter to the general publishing and music industry's fear of digital file sharing, and shows growing momentum for finding new models to make free music commercially sustainable.

Comment Re:Make it easier (Score 2) 562

From what I've heard the Chinese have been using Roman letters to help their students learn their own language for years now, and especially use roman letters to make it easier to enter Chinese text into a computer.

But there are still good reasons to use their traditional characters - including the fact that although China has many spoken languages, the use of characters allows most of them to share a single written form.

Comment What other factors ... (Score 1) 212

Curious but not entirely unexpected. We are only beginning to understand the microbiome, but clearly it is important.

I wonder if cold weather might affect our gut bacteria too. I have unintentionally lost a good deal of weight in a short time in a cold, dry environment (at least 30 pounds in three months), but regained it when returning to a hot, humid climate. Of course, the cold weather also burned more calories - but I also ate a good deal more than usual. More notably, I note that people living in hot, humid environments often tend to put on weight more than those in colder climates - but there are likely many other factors.

Submission + - Over 90 Pianists Collaborate to Record and Release 100% of Chopin's Music (kickstarter.com)

aarondunn writes: Musopen, which previously raised $70,000 to hire an orchestra and release public domain music recordings, has started a Kickstarter to hire a group of notable pianists to record and release the life's work of Frederic Chopin.

His music will be made available via an API powered by Musopen so anyone can come up with ways to explore and present Chopin's life.

Comment Re:But that's not the real problem. (Score 1) 1651

"I cruise upright at ~12mi(~20km) per hour instead of ~18(30) in an aerodynamic hunch-over"

Nothing against mountain bikes, but a recumbent can be an excellent choice too, especially if you don't have many hills. (It would be great in Denver, which is surprisingly flat, and not so good in Seattle, which is surprisingly hilly.)

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