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Comment Since SpaceX is so in favor of reuse (Score 1) 83

Fans of the book/movie "The Martian" would be happy if SpaceX does select Arcadia Planitia for their first landing site as that was the landing site of the Ares 3.

Since SpaceX is so in favor of reuse, I'm sure they wouldn't mind reusing the sound stage. Unlike those throwaway moon sound stages.

Comment Re:Digital Rights? (Score 1) 187

I can't recall the last time I looked for media that wasn't available in an unencrypted stream within hours of being released in digital format, whatever the DRM.

Well, just checked Amazon now and there's 366 4K BluRays out, as far as I know there's no decrypting those yet. Not that I'm sure how you'd play an UHD HEVC HDR 10 bit Rec. 2020 stream properly anyway. BluRays look pretty good though...

Comment Totally not gloating (Score 4, Informative) 162

Mean: 47 Mbit
Median: 27.7 Mbit
People <4 Mbit: 3.9%
People <1 Mbit: 0.5%
People who can't get fiber: 54%
People who can't get 100/10 Mbit: 22%
People who can't get 4 Mbit on a fixed connection: 5%
People who can't get 10 Mbit LTE outdoor w/antenna: 0.06%

I thought maybe the fiber rollout would slow down, but the last stats indicate a speed up going from 41% to 46% in last year. Next year it seems likely a majority of the population can get fiber.

Comment Re:The mass of batteries never changes (Score 1) 86

The problem with all battery operated vehicles is that as the batteries get depleted, their mass never changes. With Jet fuel, gasoline, etc, as the fuel gets depleted, the mass is reduced, and thus the energy required to move the vehicle is reduced.

True, but it's hardly like a rocket where only a tiny fraction of the launch weight reaches the destination. The specs for the 747-400F (freight version) says 164 ton dry weight, 124 ton capacity, 397 ton takeoff weight. So max'ed it's (164+124)/397 = 73% plane and cargo, 27% fuel. The benefit of reduced weight will be on a weak exponential but if we round up 27%/2 to an average 15% lower fuel consumption compared to a plane that was constantly refilled by a tanker we've probably been generous. So if we could design an electric plane with 85% of the performance of a jet plane and recharge it with cheap, clean power from the grid I think it would be a smashing success. Of course we're nowhere close to that, but it's because the energy density of batteries to jet fuel sucks, not because the jet plane loses weight.

Comment Re:never understood removing features (Score 3, Interesting) 249

Removing features simply because they're not used by everyone every single day never made sense to me. Even if it is something only a very small percentage of users use, so what?

Because a lot of people get confused by too much information and too many options. And contrary to nerds they won't simply dismiss what they don't need they tend to avoid it saying it's too difficult. I'm not surprised if Google has analyzed that they'll lose 0.1% tech savvy users and gain 0.2% computer newbies instead. A case study: My online bank.

They used to have rather information dense pages and complex filters and dialogs with lots of cross links to related functions. I loved it, you had pretty much everything you wanted to see, do or go to at your fingertips. My parents, well they used it because I used it and having free support was more valuable than trying some other bank. They redesigned, far more simple pages. Far more hierarchies and less directly accessible functions. I hated it, at the time I mostly blamed it on designing for cell phones and tablets not big computer monitors.

But then I saw how my parents liked it much, much better than before. They said it was so much simpler and less confusing to use. Even though they never used but the first two options, it was far simpler to choose from three than eight and the rest hidden under "more options". The transcript page used to have lots of filters, now by default it has account and period, with the period being predefined like "last 30 days" or whole months with custom dates hidden another layer down.

And it turns out, that's all they really use. if they ever wonder if they did pay the power bill of $100 in the first two weeks of January they wouldn't filter by recipient and amount and date. They'd just scan the monthly statements manually. I'm thinking this and this applies, sure they could learn how to make the computer do more but is is worth it? Considering how little they seem to remember of the basics, I'm thinking neither the investment nor the upkeep is worth it.

So I can totally understand why, the question is do you have to only cater to my parents. But when push comes to shove, I'll manage to do five clicks instead of two just fine even though I'm slightly annoyed by it. My parents though, for them it makes a real difference. Unless it's really a professional's tool that you work in many hours a day, I'll always survive doing it the slightly harder way like just X'ing out all the tabs or hitting Ctrl-W repeatedly without being a make-or-break deal. It would be nice if we could have a browser by nerds, for nerds though. Maybe it's time for a new Phoenix?

Comment Re:Conversely... (Score 1) 234

No. No, I was right the first time. You can't own something that doesn't exist; and patents do server the purpose of forcing dissemination of information in exchange for temporary protection.

If you had said "creation in exchange for a temporary monopoly" I'd at least be willing to discuss it. But the vast, vast majority of patented creations would be picked apart and reverse engineered in no time flat if patents didn't exist. I dare you to show me one patent made in the 21st century that you think contains a trade secret that would take more than 20 years to figure out given that it was actually used in a product, service or production process.

Comment The proof would disprove itself (Score 2) 392

If we can calculate how reality "should" act, we've per definition calculated how to simulate it. So the only thing we could catch is a bad simulation. But that would assume they don't have error margins, if we start looking at something with an electron microscope then it starts simulating that particular part of reality to that detail. Just like a pair of VR glasses doesn't have to simulate more than I can see.

Comment Re:Stealth Layoff (Score 1) 294

I didn't know "bad faith" was something you could sue for damages over. You sound as if a company ever makes a business decision you don't like, they may very well be in legal jeopardy.

I can't speak for US law, but at least here in Norway if the work content or location fundamentally changes it will be seen by the law as a termination and that you're being offered a new position, even if the title and salary is the same. Otherwise it would be too easy to force people to resign by bouncing them around the country like the ball in a pin ball machine and reassigning them to scrub the toilets.

So if you refuse the offer it wouldn't be you quitting, you would be laid off with all the rights that gives you like if you have the right to severance pay. I got a similar offer when we were bought out by another company, the employment contract changed sufficiently that I could refuse to go and then they'd have to lay me off by the terms of the old contract instead. It only applies to major changes though, not minor changes in work or relocating to a new office in the same city.

Comment Re:Almost meaningless (Score 1) 291

That's NASA's biggest problem these last few decades - no way to stick to anything beyond the term(s) of the current President, so nothing can really be done that takes longer than about five years.... Which is another way of saying "nothing can really be done."

Five years? They should just switch to Agile, then they'd have something that's Done every two weeks. I know an "expert", I'd be happy to forward contact details to any NASA headhunters. Or the ones with poison blow darts, either way works for me.

Comment Re:Easy, the programmer of course. (Score 0) 177

Because most AI and some robots rely on techniques that create emergent behaviour (i.e. not directly programmed therefore unverifiable) such as neural nets and swarm theory.

So? I don't think any code I've created has been formally proven to be correct and even if it were the customer would probably find that the problem formulation was wrong in the first place. We use a ton of high level languages, code-generating tools and whatnot, almost nobody writes assembler directly today. Everything else has a level of indirection. In this context AI is just an advanced code generator that ended up creating something buggy. No magic there.

Comment Re:Alternative competitiveness (Score 3, Funny) 73

And while you're at it, can anyone build a CRM that doesn't require signing off souls to all three Hells to make it work? I've only got one and Satan, Cthulhu and Kali all require exclusive rights to it.

Don't worry, my CRM only requires you sign over your soul once*.

* May contain an irrevokable clause to sublicense your soul.

Comment Probably a good investment (Score 3, Informative) 138

Because of all the fjords any land road needs lots of tunnels, bridges and taking long detours inland, so travel by sea makes a lot of sense. Stad has been a major chokepoint because it's very exposed and has an underwater topology that creates huge waves, blocking all north-south traffic in bad weather. The value of reliability is hard to properly get into an economic model, but you probably wouldn't use a way to get to work that only got you there 95% of the time. This would allow you to rely on sea traffic being far more punctual than before all year long.

Comment Re:Rubber-hose cryptanalysis (Score 1) 512

How do you implement the timeout assuming the attacker will have possession of the device in question? Apple has been dealing with something similar with their 10 try then wipe password limitation they keep figuring out new ways to bypass it.

Same principle as the attempt counter, except it's not a fixed counter but a running clock. Wrist watches run for years on about a microwatt, a cell phone battery would last forever if you keep some in reserve and never drain it completely. Cut the power = wipe encryption key. Timer reaches zero = wipe encryption key. You could probably do enough on-chip capacitators to allow for battery swaps without a wipe so it wouldn't be that user unfriendly. Since they can't clone it they'd need a hack ready, they can't store it for months waiting for one to show up. And if it expires there's no coming back so they got no legitimate reason to keep you in jail. And if you know you're passing through a danger zone you can set a very tight margin so that if you're caught they probably won't get it to a computer expert in time. It's not perfect, but it would certainly make it more difficult for the attacker.

Comment Re:TLDR: UN says more whites = happiness? (Score 4, Informative) 379

Or, maybe they just found a nice balance between capitalism and socialism, unlike the rest of the world.

For very socialist values of balance, at least here in Norway. According to the world bank we have third lowest Gini coefficient in the world, meaning our income is extremely evenly distributed by international standards. There is not a lot of really poor nor very wealthy people, with notable exceptions of course but looking at income stats if you divide into 10% slices the 80-90% slice make just under twice as much as the 10-20%. The best paid executives in Statoil, our huge mostly state owned company the CEO makes about $1.7 million a year. If you go to a similar foreign oil giant like say Schlumberger the CEO makes $18.6 million a year. Working at McD you earn ~$15/hour the first four months if you're 18-20, after that or from day one if you're older ~$18.50/hour. And you don't need health insurance or a 401(k) on top of that, the public healthcare system and public pensions are entirely adequate. Granted you can't directly compare prices, but you live okay on one "minimum wage" job. So at McD you make $35k/year and your average doctor makes $95k/year, the tax system makes the difference even less in practice. But we want it. And a very high percent of the population works, that helps. It's still an odd country.

Comment Last century called (Score 1) 319

...and wants their fixed 2D projections back. Except for third world countries, what teacher doesn't have a PC and a projector to show Google Earth? Oh wait, Boston... You don't have to do it every time, just do it once and show that the closer you get the more the paper map looks like the 3D map. For extra fun, hollow out an orange and show the absurdity of trying to make a sphere into a square. Then leave the world map - the old and the new - to collect dust until the power's out - like a third world country, but I repeat myself.

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