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Comment I don't think the algorithms work this way (Score 3, Insightful) 364

As far as I can tell, the autonomous algorithms don't work this way and probably never will work this way. That is, they don't calculate potential fatalities for various scenarios and then pick the minimum one. The car's response in any particular situation will be effectively some combination of simpler heuristics -- simpler than trying to project casualty figures, while still being a rather complex set of rules.

Take one of these situations, and let's say the car ended up killing pedestrians and saving the occupants. The after-incident report for an accident like that is not going to read "the algorithm chose to save the occupants instead of the pedestrians". It's not going to read that way simply because that's not how the algorithm makes decisions. Instead the report is going to read something like "the algorithm gives extra weight to keeping the car on the road. In this situation, that resulted in putting the pedestrians in greater danger than the car's occupants. However, we still maintain that, on average, this results in a safer driving algorithm, even if it does not optimize the result of every possible accident."

And regarding the "every possible accident" part of that: it is simply impossible to imagine an algorithm so perfect that, in any situation, it can optimize the result based on some pre-determined moral outcome. So it's not just "well, let's change how the algorithms work, then". Such an algorithm that makes driving decisions in any possible weird decision based on predicting fatalities, rather than relying on heuristics (however complex they are) is simply not realistic.

Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 2) 306

Why is this insightful? Getting rid of small transactions only gets you so far. The hard limit of transactions in somewhere around three per second (or at least that order of magnitude). Getting rid of micro-transactions only buys a small amount of time, until transaction volume grows to where even macro-transactions are occurring at more than 3 per second, or at least trying to occur at more than 3 per second.

Think about it this way. This is a global currency that can't do more than 95 million transactions in a year. The Fed estimates that U.S. non-cash transactions totaled 122 billion in 2012. That's 10,000 as many transactions as the current Bitcoin hard limit, and that's just the U.S. And your argument is to lump everything into bigger transactions. OK... let's see how that might work. Most people lump cash transactions together into larger ATM withdrawals. How many ATM withdrawals were there in the U.S. in 2012? Approximately 6 billion.

Now, exactly how is a currency with a hard limit of 95 million transactions a year supposed to be useful in a global economy in which billions of people participate, executing trillions of transactions per year? There are something like 2.5 billion smartphones in use in the world right now. Pretty much every one of those people (1) has enough money for a smartphone (at least a cheap one on a cheap data plan) so has enough money to participate in at least a small way in the Bitcoin economy and (2) has a device capable of engaging in Bitcoin transactions. Each smartphone owner in the world, therefore, could engage in a Bitcoin transaction once every 25 years without overwhelming the system. That's how the problem would self correct, then. Everyone would get to make a Bitcoin transaction only once in every 25 years.

Yay for self-correction.

Comment Re:Checks take a while to clear too (Score 1) 306

Pedantic comment: Gold Circle was not a predecessor of the Target chain. Target was founded before Gold Circle. The only relationship between the two is that Target took over some locations from Gold Circle when they were liquidated. But that was merely a real estate transaction, where Target bought the leases from the liquidating entity.

Comment Re:Just like Teacher "Grades" (Score 1) 245

"Any teacher who strays from the "prep for the test" subject matter and uses inventive ways of helping their students learn is going to have students who might know more, but who will perform worse on the tests."

Teachers may think this, but is there any reason to believe it's actually true? Near as I can tell from following the coverage, this is mostly a concern that circulates among lower-quality teachers. Really good teachers have never had any issues with their students' test scores.

Comment Re:Right vs wrong (Score 1) 165

In spite of the setbacks felt by the lower economic classes in the U.S., where we are today is the richest country in the world with the highest standard of living, and (aside from our ghastly treatment of drug users/dealers, who are really the lions share of our incarceration problem), a country that places a high premium on freedom. It's not a perfect country. It no longer holds the the moral high ground it once held. But it's still quite a great place. And the way we'll keep it from slipping further is for people to stand up for what's right.

Comment Right vs wrong (Score 4, Interesting) 165

Unfortunately, I often find myself in the minority on points like this. But here's where I typically come out:

Everyone has a responsibility to report wrong-doing, when they see it. Even if this is not a legal responsibility, it is a moral one. Certainly, one can take this too far, and become a nitpicker. It's not one's responsibility to be a nitpicker. But it is one's responsibility to set a reasonable line in the sand, and when one sees that line crossed, then act accordingly.

I get the sense you wouldn't be asking the question if you thought this fell into the category of nitpicking. The fact you feel the need to ask the question in the first place probably provides the answer right there. I believe you have a moral responsibility to not just look the other way. And this might involve risk to you. But where would we be as a society if people were afraid to take such risks in order to fix wrongs?

Comment Re:But, the alternative was.. (Score 4, Informative) 24

Previously, there had been a dearth of evidence of very young (i.e. newborn) Mosasaurs in both open ocean and coastal deposits. That made people think perhaps they used land nests far up rivers, such that newborns would be found in riverbed/riverbank deposits instead of ocean deposits. And that we simply haven't found the right river fossil bed locations for them, yet.

This new study shows that some skeletons that had originally been thought to be birds, were in fact young Mosasaurs. This reverses the whole thought process, as they now have evidence of very young individuals being found out in the open ocean. Young enough individuals, and far enough out in the deep ocean, that the most likely explanation is that they were born there.

Comment Re:Interesting (Score 1) 53

I'm not posting to discredit your opinion, only to voice a contrary one.

This was one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Terrible plot. Terrible dialogue. Terrible fx. Terrible acting. Incomprehensible ending. No one should ever see this movie, as long as there is a blank screen they could be staring at instead.

Comment Re:so, the key to amnesty... (Score 1) 322

In fact, cashing out is never where the money goes. If you own a stock, and you sell it to me for $100, then nothing changes. No value created or destroyed. There's still $100 out there, and there's still the stock out there. Where value is destroyed is when no one is willing to pay $100 for the stock anymore, which can happen for a variety of reasons. But the $10 that gets lost when the $100 stock goes down to $90 doesn't actually go anywhere. It just disappears from the ledger.

Comment At work vs at home (Score 1) 765

Haven't read every comment, so maybe this has been covered. It just seems like few of the comments on here are really differentiating between what kinds of humor are OK in the workplace setting versus what might be OK in a non-workplace setting.

I don't think the existence of this "project" reflects on tech-workers and tech jobs at all, as long as people are only accessing it and laughing about it on their own time. At work, though, there's really no place for this kind of humor, even if the jokes embedded may be pretty funny (although somehow I doubt most are).

Why is this not acceptable at work? Because some people are offended by such jokes, even if others are not. And work isn't someplace one should have to put up with being offended just because one happens to have different sensibilities than their co-workers. It's just a question of respecting that fellow employees may feel differently about something.

But if someone wants to tell dick jokes on their own time... there's no reason anyone else should be taking the position that it reflects on their occupation as whole.

And, furthermore, I even have a hard time connecting this to occupation even if people are accessing the site and talking about it at work. This would hardly be the first occupation where people told off-color jokes at work. I don't condone it. And I would hope/expect that someone at a leadership level puts a stop to it. But the existence of such jokes in the workplace, unfortunately, does not put tech occupations in a different category than most other occupations.

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