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Comment Re:Crowd source the egress (Score 1) 143

This probably varies by country or state, but I think in many places in the US, residential houses' addresses are determined by which road the driveway enters from. I lived in a house like that

I think you are creating generalities from your specific situation. There are many places where the "driveway" enters from an alleyway in the back.

Um, the default? Almost everything is WGS-84 AFAIK.

AFAYK. But it's not that way in real life. There is no "default". You have to know. For example, I'm looking at the USGS topo map for a nearby area and it is NAD27. The map lists an almost 100m difference between it and NAD83 for east/west measurements.

According to the Wikipedia article for WGS-84, it is the datum used by the GPS system itself,

That's funny, because I can get my location in any number of datums using GPS. Wikipedia isn't always right.

Comment Re:Crowd source the egress (Score 1) 143

I've seen this system mentioned before. It is yet another example of "we'll teach everyone in the world a new system so that we can make programming AVs easier." A side-effect is that you make use of a computer mandatory to encode and decode locations into something usable, like lat/lon.

Your computer doesn't tell you the right answer, but this will solve the location identification issue for everyone else?

Your "location services" almost certainly works in lat/lon from GPS (when it actually works), or some other standard GIS coordinate system, so you still have the issue of different datums leading to different three word phrases.

Comment Re:Crowd source the egress (Score 1) 143

Ahh, this same stupid, arrogant, insulting response when problems are mentioned.

So, pray tell, what exactly is the solution to the problem of someone giving a Google AV a coordinate in NAD27 when Google expects WGS-84? How does Google differentiate? Do these over-smart all-knowing Google engineers think they'll teach everyone about datums and to always always use WGS-84?

Comment Re:The anti-science sure is odd. (Score 1) 591

Oh it's much, much worse than that. If you assume arguendo that any of the catastrophic AGW and more than half of the non-catastrophic AGW models are even remotely correct then it's far too late for any of the carbon controls to do jack fucking shit. Which means 4 options are on the table.
1. Kill off 80%+ of the human race if you want to keep the current 1st world standard of living.
2. Kill off 50%+ of the human race and reduce 95% of the remainder to subsistence living.
3. Large scale chemical atmospheric engineering.
4. Invent massive scale carbon sequestration machines to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.
The hilarious part is that until recently, number 4 never even passed the lips of the vast majority of AGW believers.

Comment Re:Crowd source the egress (Score 1) 143

If the address of your door is a "wildly different address", then why isn't that just your actual address?

Wildly different than what?

I live on a corner. My "address" is on one street, but if I walk out the side door I'm on the wrong street from what my address says. And I've seen buildings that are ells, having faces on two streets with addresses that wouldn't logically be contiguous.

How do you fix that? Isn't this a situation where "address" is NOT the same as "location", and AV need to know "location" instead of "address"? Coordinates, right?

How do you fix the "coordinate" problem of having ten different coordinate systems in use just in one place? I'm looking at a GPS app on my phone (where I might get coordinates to tell someone where I am) and I see half a dozen applicable datums. Which one does my phone use when I call 911? I think WGS-84 but don't know for sure. Will people know which one they should use? Were you aware that there is a separate datum for Cape Canaveral?

I know about this problem because I deal with search and rescue, and I've seen the result of telling someone a coordinate for something and they wind up in the wrong place. I've had people tell me that there is a "target" at certain coordinates and there isn't anything there -- but there is when I change the datum on my GPS to what they are using.

It's easy to say "just fix it", but actually fixing it isn't that simple, and it may break other things. (Here's one I really love. I order something online and the vendor tells me that my address doesn't exist. I've lived here for 20 years, I get mail and packages here all the time. Unfortunately, the shipping program he's using has "fixed" my address and it doesn't appear in his database, so my address doesn't exist.)

Comment Re:I always use my home as an example (Score 1) 143

Often the way that humans do things is completely arbitrary and prone to errors. That doesn't translate well to a machine.

Yep. I understand that.

The more logical choice is in fact to reduce errors and make the things we do less arbitrary.

Nope. The logical choice is to remember that humans do things the human way and will continue to do so even after a perfect engineering-based solution is created. Building a system that depends on humans doing things the machine way is building a system designed to fail.

Let's face it, a major reason why people want autonomous cars is because the way that humans do things doesn't always work that well.

There are two major reasons. The biggest, as far as I can determine, is that "I hate to drive". Period. The other one is an unfounded and as-yet unsupported belief that autonomous vehicles will eliminate traffic deaths and accidents. Lots of unicorns and pixie dust from AV proponents, but not much factual proof. "Under well-controlled circumstances ... for a limited amount of time ... with human engineers supervising" isn't proof. Changing the way the world works based on pie in the sky pipe dreams is silly.

It would be kind of pointless to try to program the machines to act just like us.

I didn't say we should do that. I said they need to understand how humans do things. In the context of addresses, for example, they need to understand that "123 Main Street" won't always be right across the street from "124 Main Street", nor will "125 Main Street" always be the building right next to "123" -- but "129" might be.

It's not nonsense to change the way that we do things in order to make it easier for the machines, and us, to perform better.

It is not nonsense to want to do that, but it is nonsense to expect that it will actually happen. Remember, these changes aren't like learning how to use a smart phone in the way the smart phone designers want you to because it was easier to program them that way -- that's a voluntary activity. To change the entire world to work the way AVs need them to work to make that system safe and functional requires a huge number of involuntary participants changing how they do things.

Let's face it. Many, if not most, of those involuntary participants will see no benefit to changing. For example, I see no benefit to using my ZIP+4 when telling people my address. You see, I understand that the mail I get is delivered to the local post office based on the five digit ZIP, and then is sorted by a human who looks at the street address. Those extra four digits? Useless. Nice idea but not worth the effort because it wasn't implemented fully. The "last mile" doesn't make use of those digits, and the "last mile" is what they represent.

You can't just change the way people who "drive" an AV do things, you need to change how everyone else does things, too. That's what makes changing the world to make AV easier to program a nonsensical thing.

Comment Re:Crowd source the egress (Score 1) 143

Its not that hard to give out your coordinates if needed.

NAD27, NAD83, WGS-84, NAVD88, UTM, or state plane? Or any of a thousand other datums in use all over the world?

That's a small issue for self driving cars, they have much harder challenges.

It is a small part of the very large problem of knowing where it needs to be and where it cannot go.

Comment Re:I always use my home as an example (Score 1) 143

I've come across a "road" shown as a back route up to the top of a local mountain. The main road was closed one time so I tried it. It took me through many one lane roads and ended at a locked gate onto forest company land.

At the top level, most people have good addresses. The problem is that people confuse "address" with "location". And changing how we do things to make life easier for Uber is just nonsense. Also for autonomous vehicles in general. These uber-smart cars need to understand how humans do things, not force all of humanity to change to make programming them simpler. The latter is an epic fail mode.

Comment Re:It was user error, not a spreadsheet problem .. (Score 1) 337

Usually we butt heads on this forum, but here I basically agree. It's a corollary to "you can't make things foolproof because fools are too ingenious".

"If you make a tool foolproof then fools will use it." And the remainder of that sentence could be "and then complain when they get the wrong answer."

Comment Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 337

The problem is that spreadsheets and databases solve different problems, yet they are related enough that folks confuse the two.

That's today. The cause of today's problem is "creeping featuritis". Spreadsheets used to be spreadsheets. Now they plot data, do complicated calculations, and searches, because someone said "hey, we've got this spreadsheet, wouldn't it be great if we made it act like a database, too?"

Aside from programmers, who has time to construct a full data modeling environment using the right tools?

People who care if their data gets mangled because it looks like a number when it is really text, or looks like a date, or any of the other heuristic operations that Excel does to keep people from having to understand what they are doing.

Because applications like Excel provide more complete functionality ( or try to at any rate ), that's naturally what anyone who needs to model data wants to use.

The reason is much simpler: it's the tool that is already installed because it came as part of MS Office and it looks simple enough that it fools people into thinking they are experts when they aren't. The creeping featuritis issue has made the tool look like the right one when it truly isn't, but the basic problem is that "it's here, it's free, we might as well use it".

One of my earliest experiences with this kind of problem is when the sales department where I worked insisted on using a word processor to maintain customer records instead of a real database. Real database was too hard. Free format text in a document was much easier.

Comment Re:Public Relations (Score 1) 301

Yes but this happened a year ago, and was covered in the news and on Slashdot then. Who brought it back up now and why?

Well, it certainly wasn't for the reason bug1 claimed -- to get people to stop looking at Wikileaks. Anyone who reads /. for any length of time knows what the Streisand Effect is. Since the Streisand Effect would only hurt Clinton by drawing even more eyes to a site that is leaking bad things about her, it wouldn't be the Clinton people who did it. Unless the "Clinton People" are working against that result.

Comment Re:Think it through. (Score 1) 301

You idiot, they didn't "release information about a gay Saudi", they published more than half a million Saudi diplomatic cables which contained, among many many other things, the fact that this one guy had been arrested for homosexuality.

The only polite interpretation of this statement is that English is not your native language. Otherwise you would know that "publishing" some private information that was previously not publicly published is called "releasing" it. It was controlled, until Wikileaks released it to the public.

(Now would be a good time to pause for a moment and make sure that your drool is not getting on your keyboard while you read this. Consider a bib.)

Yes, the phrase "fucking moron" was quite correct when I used it before.

I might further make a distinction between private information, personal records, and secrets,

That would be another tactic to try to whitewash Wikileaks and Assange in this situation, but you'd be ignoring the fact that while the terms are not synonyms (look it up if you don't know what that means), the term "secret" applies to "private" information and "personal" records. Lots of things can be "secrets"; two categories of such are "private" and "personal" information. If you argue that having secrets is not good, then you by definition argue against the right of people to have private and personal information, and against the basic concept of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution.

Comment Re:Public Relations (Score 2) 301

Certainly looks like its Clinton backers behind it.

Yes, it is certainly clear that Clinton backers published the secret information about rape victims and medical records and stuff. Oh, that's not what you meant?

They are trying to highlight the "bad" information on wikileaks, they want people to stop looking at wikileaks,

It's called the Streisand Effect, and no, it doesn't stop people from looking, it only encourages them to see what kind of other juicy private information they might be able to find if they look.

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