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Comment Re:Broadcast TV? (Score 1) 89

Broadcast television is that thing where you get an extremely limited selection, you don't choose when things start, and only have an option to pause or rewind if you insert a DVR into the loop.

Oh, and generally it's around 33% unskippable advertisements.

If you're not offering a massive library of on-demand material (including a lot of new material), there wouldn't seem to be much point for a 'broadcast television' streaming service outside of sports... which this service doesn't include.

Comment Re:Actually (Score 1) 504

Actually, the story was the rail gun's standard payloads were altered from wheat to rock. I can't recall if that was a standard shipping 'container' packed with gravel or a metal band and some rockets strapped to one big rock... either way the payload size would have been limited by the diameter of the driver's magnetic rings and the limit of its ability to provide vertical lift.

Since that system was designed to drop payloads non-destructively into a body of water, there's a certain amount of suspension of disbelief required to see that same system launching much more massive objects at much higher velocities.

Their secondary launcher was built in preparation for war, so that would have had the mass and acceleration requirements accounted for, but I'm pretty sure that in the book the second launcher was just a backup.

So yes, once you're on the Moon, and once you have an appropriate mass driver that can levitate enough mass and accelerate it to a useful velocity, you can take solar-powered shots at Earth until the Earthlings manage to build and launch a rocket to destroy your launcher. (Min several days even if it's sitting on a launch pad waiting to go).

I'm certainly not concerned about a dangerous weapon being built on the Moon in the near term... there's no benefit to balance the cost of doing so. It's a lot more cost effective just to put something (nuclear) in orbit and leave it on standby.

Comment Re:Wrong Definition of Neutrality (Score 1) 307

I'd actually be OK with that - so long as customers don't have to pay.

You could still filter at the customer end (you'd be foolish to trust your ISP anyway), and you'd legislate it so the ISP can't count identifiable spam traffic as part of the customer's network utilization. They'd have to provide extra bandwidth to handle it, and couldn't charge for bit transfer.

I doubt any spammers would pay for that service, because they thrive on parasitic abuse of the network to avoid the already minimal costs for sending digital messages.

Comment Re:Horrible...if true (Score 2) 309

The problem is the minor stuff gets ignored (and honestly, a good deal of it is just innocent human being human stuff which is WHY it gets ignored), and a lot of the genuine complaints are so beyond our experience that when they're brought up they sound just as outrageous as the false ones.

I'm kind of on board with "Don't make a big deal of it in the press until it's gone through the courts". There's no reasonable way to judge what happened based on whether the claims seem credible or not, when reality is so variable in this regard.

Comment Re:Wrong Definition of Neutrality (Score 4, Insightful) 307

I disagree with point 3. There are filtering measures required to combat spam, botnets, DDOS attacks, etc.

You want to move those costs as close to the source as possible to put pressure on them to eliminate the problem. A totally unfiltered Internet just means the consumer pays for a choked pipe they can't actually use.

Comment Re:Priv owner here and I love it! QWERTY input 4li (Score 2) 88

> It's a solid phone that was hampered by rough software at launch which has been fixed.

I have a Classic. Buggy browser, OS patching seems to have stopped, nobody's developing apps anymore (but at least it's Android-based now so you can side load many apps if you want to).

They hamstrung the Blackberry Bridge and then dropped the Playbook platform altogether after swearing up and down they wouldn't.

I like the sandboxed work and personal modes. I like the secure link to a private server (though poorly implemented so features fail if Blackberry has an outage).

Comment Re:Stupid and dangerous (Score 1) 110

I'm going to show my age here... but I haven't been happy since mechanical on/off switches became passé.

I don't want an 'access standby' button, I want an OFF button, damnit.

It is ridiculous that if I want an actual off button I have to either unplug the device (or pull the battery), or have it powered through a power bar that (thankfully) still has a power switch on it that does something.

Comment Re:Lottery? (Score 1) 187

Make the tickets transferrable and include the right to refuse anyone who can't meet the fitness requirements (requirements which a clearly published so people can decide ahead of time)

Have another clause allowing for a pair of alternates to be selected in case of a last-minute issue with insufficient time to vet/train anyone you might sell your tickets to.

Have secondary prizes of sending a quarter kilo of inert material for the trip, or a place at the launch pad.

A lottery system might actually work really well. Mainly the 'transferrable' part, because that means if you can't go or chicken out, you can make metric buttloads of cash selling your winning ticket.

Submission + - Boston Dynamics' Reveals Handle, An Amazing New Jumping and Rolling Robot (popularmechanics.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Back at the beginning of February, a leaked video showed the newest creation from Boston Dynamics — a wheeled humanoid robot called "Handle." Now the secretive maker of amazing robots has released the full introduction video, revealing some of Handle's brand new tricks. The wheeled bot can travel up to 9 mph, and as you can see in the video, it has no trouble rolling over some light off-road terrain such as patches of grass and flights of stairs. The bot stands 6.5 feet tall when fully extended, though it often crouches to turn or balance. Batteries power the robot's electric and hydraulic actuators, allowing it to crouch down, make sharp turns, and lift objects that weigh at least 100 pounds. Handle has enough battery juice to travel about 15 miles on one charge. Oh and one more thing, this rolling bot can leap four feet into the air.

Submission + - SPAM: Seizures and searches INSIDE the White House

shanen writes: What would do if your boss suddenly told you to give him ALL of your phones. Your boss wants to check if you have done anything suspicious by studying EVERYONE you've spoken to. Lawyers in attendance, and obvious that refusal = instant termination of your employment.

Technology minus privacy = ?

Now imagine you're working in the White House. It's already reality.

The report in the video claims that Sean Spicer brought all of the flunkies in the press section into a room and ordered them to dump all their phones on the table for immediate examination. The report also says the supposedly nonexistent "anonymous sources" do exist and are much higher (and everywhere)...

However, I think the video mostly shows how bad the mass media is, if you regard Morning Joe as some kind of journalist. Obviously the point of the story is that the person who is MOST afraid for his job right now is Sean Spicer and he is trying to convince Herr #PresidentTweety not to fire him. In a sane scenario, he would understand that this kind of craziness guarantees his termination. Even allowing for the crazy environment, I think Spicer might be sane and has realized he's already tired of the job and WANTS to be fired.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Lessons from Canada's scientific resistance (thebulletin.org)

Lasrick writes: Andrew Nikiforuk, a contributing editor of The Tyee and author of Slick Water, has a smart piece outlining what the United States science community can do to combat expected attacks from the Trump administration on federal funding for research projects that examine the environmental impacts of industries such as mining and oil drilling. Nikiforuk seeks lessons from the years when the Canadian government, led by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper, systematically reduced the capacity of publicly funded federal science to monitor the impacts of air, water, and carbon pollution from the country’s aggressive resource industries—by cutting budgets and firing staff. Great read.

Submission + - SpaceX plans manned moon fly-around in 2018 (orlandosentinel.com)

b0bby writes: SpaceX is planning to fly two private citizens on a trip around the moon late 2018. “They have already paid a significant deposit to do a moon mission,” SpaceX said in a news release Monday. “Once operational Crew Dragon missions are underway for NASA, SpaceX will launch the private mission on a journey to circumnavigate the moon and return to Earth.”

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 226

To be a little clearer - we have an evolution-provided brain model to copy, we did not have an evolution-provided rocket model to copy.

I can copy Kanji without understanding the meaning of what I'm copying... or even the basic rules of grammar. However, I'm not going to be able to write a new novel in Japanese.

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 226

Scientists have already built an hippocampal prosthesis. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocampal_prosthesis

You might also look into memristors, which show some promise as artificial neurons far more effective than simulating them with transistors.

Neurology is also starting to crawl out of the dark ages, and a renaissance there will immediately spill over to AI research.

It may turn out that we don't have to figure out how it works if we can 'simply' build a replica of a biological model in silicon... though I'd suggest that might be less than ideal as we'd probably want to understand how to program a mind before creating one that would be damn near functionally immortal and could operate faster even if not smarter than ours.

My point is that an AI breakthrough is somewhere between a decade from now and 'forever', but I wouldn't set any particular minimum with a high level of confidence.

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