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Comment Re:A few more mergers (Score 1) 72

Depends on what you consider a monopoly, and where you live. I know in some regions I have lived previously, my low-latency internet options, as allowed by city ordinance, were ADSL (128kbit) from a single company allowed to operate phone lines in the area, or cable service from a single company allowed to operate in the area. My high bandwidth options were satellite (download bandwidth only, as upload would have been via a phone-line modem of some sort through the above-mentioned single phone company allowed to service the region) or cable. If I wanted both low latency and high bandwidth (or high upload bandwidth), there was only a single cable company allowed to offer that service. That sounds suspiciously close to a government granted monopoly (or duopoly, if you prefer).

Comment Re:Not apples to apples (Score 1) 1023

I agree with your vision of the future, but not your posited cause (or the CEO's). There's no unintended consequences here. This was coming with or without either the ACA or the minimum wage increases. There are very few jobs that can't be automated over at this point, and the costs of such automation are coming down rapidly.

That is -- even with the minimum wage staying where it is and no ACA, they're already priced out of the job market. How long until that arm goes from $35k to $20k (or quality goes up enough that it lasts longer and becomes a better investment)? Ok, now $7.25/hr isn't worth paying (especially including hiring, training, and turnover costs). The higher minimum wage moves the automation up by 2 or 3 years at most. They were already preparing for this, they already have test stores with it in place, they're already working out the issues it presents. At this point, the company PR team is just happy they have a scape goat to blame it on so the reaction isn't as bad for them.

Suppressing wages out of fear of losing these jobs isn't worthwhile when the jobs will be lost anyway, and now those people also not getting paid well in your next job as other markets push down to minimum wage.

Comment Re:EVs will drive cost / mile to new lows (Score 1) 655

I'm not sure I'd say all cars from that era lasted a long time for a vehicle of equivalent cost (they were still closer to a luxury rather than consumer item at the time). People will romanticize the good vehicles, but there were also some lower-end vehicles no one really things about when they talk about cars of that era (because they didn't survive until now in any serious numbers to be seen and remembered, or they just weren't very good). That said, there's also a decent chance that if they did seem to last longer, it was because basic maintenance was more distributed (i.e. nearly everyone knew how to get around the simpler engines of that time frame), so problems were addressed with minor tune-ups before they became bad enough to require serious repairs.

Agree about Tesla making major in-roads on the competition, but I'm not sure it's about management so much as it is about picking a very focused niche without any baggage of existing technology or expertise restraining their vision.

Also, minor point: I believe the phrase you probably want is "beau-coup bucks", rather than "bucko bucks".

Comment Re:Rabble rabble rabble (Score 1) 655

Internal Combustion Engines are really, really inefficient. Even using an industrial-level (utility level? Major power plant version of a...) gasoline generator for your electricity and accounting for line transmission and battery storage losses, EVs are stillmore efficient. They also spread the possible supply types -- there's lots of different sources for electricity, and electricity distribution seems to be simpler (in a general sense) or at least less fraught with hazards than combustibles. As more electric generation switches over to Solar, for example, you're reducing the amount of carbon-based fuels being burned to move that EV around without changing anything about the EV itself.

Comment Re:Nah (Score 1) 655

What situation could possibly lead to a 100 car pile-up if all (or even the majority) of the vehicles are automated (especially if they have inter-vehicle signals)?

Car 1 has an unavoidable incident of some sort (e.g. human controlled vehicle purposely smashed into it). Before it is even hit, it sends a signal back along the line, along with sending it to the cars to the side: "Impact imminent. I am swerving left to avoid and braking at X rate."

Car 2 gets the signal. It sends a signal back to the next car, and to the cars to the side. "Impact imminent in car ahead. I am swerving right to avoid and braking at Y rate." ...

Car N gets the signal. It sends a signal back to Car N+1. "Impact N+1 cars ahead. I will need to change lanes and brake minimally to avoid. Recommend seeking alternate routes."

Car 1 gets hit. Every other car avoids impact as they "unzip" to the sides and brake, and the cars to their sides also immediately shunt to the side to avoid them (think of it looking like a school of fish, or a flock of birds being disturbed by a predator). Automated cars will always maintain safe following distance, where safe means "any possible incident short of stopping absolutely dead without braking somehow (e.g. meteor impact instantly stopping a car in place) can be avoided" -- that distance just happens to be much closer than it is for humans. At most, 2 or 3 cars get damaged.

Comment Re:What the heck does this mean? (Score 1) 109

Your local 7-zip copies should probably be updated, but they're not a serious risk. The major thing is to look for an update for your Anti-Virus (assuming you use one). Most AVs use 7z under the hood to scan archives. The vulnerability here would be if someone accidentally grabs a virus-laden archive that was crafted for this express purpose (or one is sent to your e-mail and auto-scanned on receipt before you even get a chance to delete it), the act of the AV scanning it would activate the flaw at the AV's level of access, allowing it to potentially do bad things to your system.

Comment Re:Half arsed (Score 1) 921

Cost of automation is also dropping rapidly. This was going to happen (and they already were trying it in some test markets well before the minimum wage pressure got serious). A decade ago they had some similar systems, but people didn't like it then -- they preferred to wait for a human to take the order. People today that grew up with technology prefer the touch screens. They will wait in line for the next kiosk to be open rather than go to the open and waiting person behind the counter. The fact that they can roll these machines out easily before higher minimum wages hits most of the country indicates exactly how far along in the development process they already were. The minimum wage hike might push them out a little early, but only a little.

Think about Moore's Law a little, and the prices on smart phones, and then tell me how much longer it'd take for this same tech to drop to about half its current price. My estimate says the increased wages pushed this out only a year earlier at most -- and possibly they're just using it as an excuse to blame when they were pushing it out anyway.

Comment Re: Simple question (Score 1) 150

Yeah, it'd depend on what one counted as "nutrition". Pure sugar or various other organic compounds? Probably higher concentrations (by a small amount, since there has to be more of something to have less of something else, percentage-wise). That's what the carbon dioxide would go into. However, it's uncertain whether those would be human-edible/digestible as opposed to primarily being just more cellulose structure or other similar roughage that would pass through.

Inorganic bits various animals need to survive (e.g. iron, calcium, zinc)? Probably going to be in lower concentrations -- roots will extend further, presumably, and pick up some extra, but the growth will be primarily made up from additional organic compounds.

As for Dinosaurs? Some probably would have been able to digest plants differently, like how cows can digest grasses, but humans can't. If we're only counting things as "nutrition" if humans can digest it, it's easily possible to have less nutrition without being impossible for dinosaurs and the like to survive on it.

Comment Re:Streamlined Sales Tax (Score 2) 347

Just saying "1000 different districts" doesn't even explain how bad this actually can get. I looked into some of this at one point when working QA on a web store back-end where they were possibly going to be required to collect taxes in some places, and it can get to be an absolutely insane nightmare to try and handle every possible case. IIRC, our worst edge-case scenario they liked to test against had a single block of a street where the houses had 5 different tax rates. Opposite sides of the street had different rates, different ends of the block had different rates, and one building in the middle had its own special rates (it was on a larger parcel of land that put it into a different district).

That case was only uncommon in that they were all in the same state, county, township, and zipcode. That sort of thing happened all the time where borders switched over, but at least then there's usually an obvious indication for it the system can latch onto.

Reciprocating state agreements for a relatively flat and simple sales tax collection seems like a reasonable course for making this work out -- until one state decides to be the Delaware of internet business and not join the system.

Comment Re:"Marxism is Great for a Designer" (Score 1) 586

You're right in that it doesn't have anything to do with the methodology of developing games. However, neither does the Marxism statement. This talk isn't about the methodology of developing games. It's about the design of the game, of game mechanics and systems. "Game Designer" and "Game Developer" are not synonymous.

Comment Re:Not AI (Score 1) 149

In this case, the computer is still using the MonteCarlo approach to finding a move.....which is roughly "choose a bunch of moves at random and choose the best one." It's one way to prune the tree, and it is surprisingly effective in the case of Go. But it's not how humans think.

We don't know that. It certainly isn't how players usually characterize what they consciously do. However, it is certainly possible dozens or even hundreds of possible arbitrary moves are tested and discarded unconsciously, and a few "good" moves, selected by various heuristics such as studied joseki, are bubbled up for conscious consideration. We only ever hear about the conscious portion, and even then it's jumbled. It's hard to know what's getting them to that point, and once past it even good players can't always describe what makes a move good or problematic. They don't even know what they're doing, necessarily. We only know the outcome of that process.

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