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Comment This is a stupid argument (Score 1) 435

First, the cases where the driver needs to be sacrificed involve either fantastically contrived edge cases or cases where the other party is a moron and has gotten themselves into a moron position where Darwin needs to take them out.

Nearly every case I can see where the options are something like, avoid the pedestrian by driving into the metal spear tree artwork. First the car should see the pedestrian long before and come to a gentle stop. If the pedestrian jumps out from concealment, then they deserve to die. If it is a small child that pops out from concealment, then I (the driver/occupant) don't deserve to die because some brat has crappy parents. If a parachutist lands in the middle of the road, then they have some bad news coming their way.

This whole argument has been badly contrived to give regulators something to do and for the anti self driving morons something to earn their consulting fees.

Either self driving cars will be significantly safer, or they won't. In those few strange cases that are sure to pop up, the news will have a field day, the engineers might be able to prevent repeats, but all I care about are the few initial gaps where the engineers missed something like the sensors seeing sleet as a solid wall and steering me into the ditch to avoid it. They will fix these few initial missed cases, but after that the deaths will be very very unlucky or the dead will be deserving recipients of the Darwin award.

After that I will be to my personal amusement to read about the 8 teenagers who were trying to surf on the roofs of their cars when all 8 cars swerved when the front most idiot fell off resulting in the remaining 7 being tossed from their cars and getting run over by the car behind. If my car happens to be the 9th in the line I don't want it swerving me into a wall to avoid that 8th teenager.

Comment Candy Crush? XBox? (Score 1) 117

Microsoft is doing this because they want more visibility for their crapware. I have to occasionally use MS Windows at work. My fresh from MS install has all kinds of very non office crap. Candy crush, groove, xbox, etc. Then they do a relentless push for things like edge. I opened edge and typed chrome, what comes up, not a download for chrome but some crap about edge.

Over the years I have worked with fairly cutting edge companies. It boils down to a simple fact: if the company is using windows, they aren't cutting edge and they tend to shuffle along until someone eats their lunch. If they are cutting edge about the only people using windows are the accountants.

Comment The ultimate in privacy invasion (Score 3, Insightful) 51

Facial recognition is quite simply put the worst privacy invasion in the entire set of privacy invasion tools. Tools like google glass, driverless car cameras, uploaded photos, or any one of dozens of video data sources that directly feed into one of the large companies' data stores pose a huge problem for everyone's privacy. It doesn't need to be big brother with cameras everywhere to put a very good picture of everyones' lives. If you only pass a few of these cameras a week it can still put together a very solid picture of your life, where you go to school, where you work, who you hang out with, etc.

For instance today I was sitting in a park with my wife when a Chinese dragon dance occurred, the dragons came right up to where I was sitting with dozens of people snapping away. Needless to say some of those pictures went up to one of the facebooks, googles, etc. We were carrying brand name bags from some shopping. Thus a great image recognition program could put my wife and I together, at the market, in our city, and what shopping we did today.

These companies won't be content with just this, they will want more and more data, thus will probably partner with speed camera companies, security companies, stores, etc. But the icing on the cake will be driverless car cameras and delivery drone cameras; those data feeds will put us on camera multiple times per day.

With this sort of data, there is no organizing anonymous political dissent, there is no undercover journalism, there is no privacy.

I want laws to swing hard against this. Quite simply, I want it to be illegal to gather data on people without there consent. Full stop. By gather, I don't mean to store, but to have any ability to aggrigate a picture larger than the individual pieces. Also I want a law that says data gathered for an obvious purpose cannot be used for any other purpose. Thus my phone company can have my mailing address, but there is no sharing that with "trusted third parties". My driver's licence can't be accessed by any government employee beyond the proof that I can drive. If I deal with one company they can't even share my data with sibling companies.

In Europe, they have the right to be forgotten, I want the right to not even be known. Thus if any company or organization has my information without a warrant from a judge, and I didn't give it to them, I want people going to jail along with ruinous fines. So if I terminate my phone, the company has to erase every trace that I existed. If I cross a bridge and have a pass card, they can deduct my account, but not record the time or place of my crossing. If I make a phone call on an unlimited plan then there is no need to record my minutes or who I called. I want any data that can't be wildly justified to be erased.

Now some companies will argue that in the event of a billing dispute that these records are nessary. Thus one caveat could be added. They can keep the records until I phone them and say, "I am in agreement with your up to date billing. Delete all my records." In the case of a phone company this would pretty much clear out any record I had with them short of the minimum details required to keep my service active. This would include how long I had been a customer.

Quite simply using technologies such as Machine Learning these companies are abusing us more and more. We need to turn this 180 degrees and make it wildly illegal for them to mine any data we did not consent to.

And just to cover a loophole. Make it illegal for anyone to be able to offer an inducement to gather your data. So the phone company can't say our phone plan is $200 per month with a $160 discount if you give up your privacy.

Comment Wrong, this is not how senior researchers want. (Score 1) 189

People who have spent their entire lives working the politics of the academic financing system will not stand for this. They are not only in control of who gets money but for what.

There is a very simple rule: "Science proceeds one funeral at a time."

Basically this translates to a near complete banning of any research that could out do or overturn any established theories that were fleshed out by an active member of the senior academic community. They will have written many well cited papers, potentially many textbooks, be mentioned in many other textbooks, and have given countless talks on their fantastic discoveries or developments. So if a few twerps manage to get some funding that they don't control this could make them look foolish before they have had a chance to die.

A brilliant example of this would be the theory of how people moved into the Americas. There were facts, and there were career destroying morons who tried to contest those facts. Then as the various top researchers in the field who had done so much to not only establish these proceeding facts, but had made sure to keep them established began to retire and die, a whole new set of facts came out. People have been in the Americas long before the well established date that the earlier generation had so solidly established. But the new dates washed over the entire field as most younger researchers had pretty much known that the older guys were dead wrong, but it was career suicide to say so before those ancients were actually dead.

So if less established researchers suddenly have access to research money that doesn't only go to people who will reaffirm the brilliance of the older generation; science might accidentally start proceeding much faster.

Comment Massive congestion? With no accidents? (Score 1) 655

I have driven in some of the largest cities in the world. Generally it is not the volume of traffic that is the problem, but the screwups. If two people have a fenderbender on a major bridge, the entire system pretty much collapses while the two nitwits block everything.

Then the people who can go by safely will crawl by instead of whizzing by.

Next it is the nitwits who created many of our crap intersections, traffic patterns, lighting timings, etc, who have clogged our streets with 100 stuck east bound cars while 3 northbound cars get a 2 hour green.

Plus once it is 100% driverless then the cars can maintain very narrow lanes in a bumper to bumper formation. Thus I say the exact opposite. Driverless will zip around at speeds using the roads as efficiently as is possible. Thus one of the driverless changes will be a massive reduction in the amount of road infrastructure required.

Comment First, ignore patent counts (Score 1) 177

Seeing that I could probably patent wiping my ass and successfully defend it in a East Texas court, we can now ignore patent counts as even the vaguest measure of innovation. All they now measure is the number of strip mall lawyers who want to extort from anyone who even vaguely approaches innovation.

I would measure innovation as something where a previous generation of maintenance people would not understand the new technology. A car mechanic from 1950 would have little problem working on a modern day gasoline car. He would quickly appreciate the elimination of the distributor cap, and love the power windows, but swapping out parts using tools like a socket set would not confound him for long.

The same with any airplane mechanic from 1965 on. There is little difference between a DC-10 and a 787. Again the computers would be a little confusing, but the basic principles would largely be the same. Even the modern tools such as xrays, and other tools for examining deep hard to reach areas would make sense to him and solve problems he was having.

But a microchip would blow the mind of an electrical engineer from 1950. Things like an iPhone would require that they pretty much redo the last two years of EE school to catch up.

Obviously relativity would blow the mind of a physist of 1950.

But even a doctor of 1950 would have little trouble catching up with modern techniques. I saw a wonderful bit in a program where a historian laid out some old Roman surgical tools and matched them up with their modern equivalents. They were little changed over the millennia. So while a Roman doctor might not be ready for a modern hospital, the 1950's one would probably require very little time and training to catch up. An MRI or CAT scan would simply be something better than an XRay.

So by the standard of a past mechanic not being able to understand a subsequent innovation. I would say that between the US civil war and the end of the Korean War would be the period where the most innovation took place. This would be a time where new things came into existence that had little or no precedent. Plastics, much of modern chemistry, quantum physics, relativity, electricity in the home and all the devices that spawned from that, aviation, the beginnings of the computer age, transistors, the beginnings of the space age, nuclear age, TV, Radar, jets, antibiotics, wireless communications, the car. Then there are subtle innovations such as the industrialization of warfare.

I don't think there is a century in human history with more innovation. Revolutionary and Napoleonic France was certainly a burst. The development of steam in England was a burst. But the above century was simply an orgy of innovation. Whole new technologies came out of pretty much nothing.

Of course some innovations are more game changing than others, the printing press, the plough, agriculture, domestication of animals. As singular innovations they are world changing.

But I would say the age of innovation ended with the Korean War. Someone transported in time from then until now would very rarely be baffled. If anything it would be cultural things that would amaze them. Computers in our pockets would probably be the most technologically amazing. But I don't think it would take too much training to show an 1955 accountant how to use Excel and email. They would probably nail Excel before mastering not hitting on the women in the office.

One thing that isn't an innovation is Facebook.

Comment When I release software it scares me silly (Score 1) 381

When I release some new software or even a new version, it is usually with a literally shaking hand that I push the final button that will push the software into the scary world. My software is far from mission critical, and the few bugs over the years have generally been inconsequential and involved people with strange devices and odd configurations. I can't imagine the trepidation for a company and especially its lawyers when they push out the first truly self driving car.

Even with a "competent" driver behind the wheel most self driving engineers fully acknowledge that self driving cars are pretty much instantly trusted and that most drivers won't be mentally paying any attention and won't be able to take over before it is too late.

Some brave company is going to go ahead and I suspect that unless they completely blow it, that the floodgates will be opened and the market will be saturated for choice.

Comment One piece of the puzzle. (Score 1) 381

Gut flora are turning out to be huge in this respect. But here are my simple counters to the above. If you put a bowl of candy(and keep it topped off) on everyone's desks at work, will they gain weight? If people walked to work (or at least a few miles of their journey) every day, would they lose weight?

I think that these "set points" are set by the body optimizing itself to a high caloric availability, and a low amount of work.

In the 1800s I don't think you found a whole lot of fat lumberjacks. HR people on the otherhand have a propensity to being blimps.

Comment Tracking, they will sell your foolishnes (Score 4, Insightful) 206

They will sell the fact that you are a paying subscriber to all the other publications that are in their family. You will be traded around like a two dollar whore. By paying for one publication they will try to squeeze every damn cent out of you.

The few times that I have subscribed to a magazine, I can't even begin to count how much crap they sent me to upgrade, give their publication as a gift, to buy addons, to buy similar magazines, and then as my subscriptions ran out, the near non-stop torrent to hold onto me as a customer were making up a sizeable chunk of my weekly paper mail.

Even consumer reports which is supposed to be above the commercial fray was only a hair from sending missionaries to my door to convert me back to their flock of subscribers. One science publication kept sending me letters of ever growing desperation saying that these letters were killing them and that it would be better if I renewed my subscription earlier than cost them so much sending these out.

For you tracking will be so last year, it will be stalking, hunting, and all around sharks who smell blood behaviour.

Comment Frequencies, brands, telcos (Score 2) 234

While I don't think that cellphones cause cancer, one of the problems with such a large study is that over the years different brands, different frequencies, different telephone companies, and even different protocols would potentially have effectively kept changing the study. For instance the difference between frequency hopping spread spectrum is wildly different than an older analog phone, or even one of the early digital phones. Typically the older ones were just pounding out the power, and holding it steady on a given frequency. But different telcos have different parts of the spectrum. So Telco A might have far fewer customers than Telco B which had the cancer causing frequency. Then Telco B might have quickly jumped to a better technology to compete.

Then you get all kinds of trends. For instance heavy users of cellphones often switched to earpieces of one sort or another, then there are cultural trends such as holding the phone like a blowing on a bowl of soup.

The only way I would begin to accept such a study would be if they kept exposing animals to various types of cellphone transmissions with all the usual control groups and whatnot.

All this study tells me is that the vast majority of cellphone technologies over the years probably don't cause much cancer.

Comment Niche for now, but its time may come (Score 1) 286

I suspect there are all kinds of niche reasons for an electric plane. Farmers monitoring fields, scouting for poachers, or other situations where carrying huge fuel sources for small planes is not good. Even hopping from place to place in the Australian bush might justify a solar plane.

But it all boils down to energy density and economics. Batteries are getting better and better which will drive battery planes into more niches. Then the day may very well come when the economics for boring commercial flight might be a reality. It won't be that simple as turnaround time on a plane is very important, also the amount of energy required to charge a large number of commercial flights at the same time could be staggering.

So I would put away the popular mechanics ideals of us all taking an electric commercial flight in a few years, but I am willing to bet that we will see more and more small electric craft popping up, and they will slowly grow in number and size. At that point you could probably point to when on an extrapolated graph they will move into commercial passengers.

Remember, respected publications around 1910 thought that commercial passenger flights were never ever going to happen, they had a laundry list of insurmountable obstacles that had to be first overcome.

Comment Never go full retard (Score 1) 19

I was having an argument with a guy last night. I was saying that apple has no credible products in the pipeline. He was arguing that they have the electric car coming. I had a few counter arguments and we agreed to disagree. Then he sent me a link to this story today and fully agrees, apple is screwed.

What it boils down to is that Microsoft tried harder and harder over the years to cram me into their ecosystem. Sharepoint would be the day that I vowed to never go back to Microsoft. Sharepoint, was and always will be a giant steaming turd. It is an excellent IQ test for any organization. If they have a sharepoint monster at the heart of their communications then that organization is the equivalent of a drooling moron.

SAP would be another one of those litmus tests. More of a living proof that a sucker is born every minute. If Tim Cook gets into bed with these predators all they will do is try to screw anything they can out of corporate users of MS, sorry, Apple products and then proceed to have necrotic sex with the damp cold corpse that apple will become.

What Tim Cook also doesn't realize is that SAP is the embodiment of the MBA. This magical thinking that enough massaging of a spreadsheet is the equivalent of actual work. That reports about nothing are somehow more important than actual productivity. But one skill that MBAs hone is the ability to alter reality to their desires. They change the rules around them thinking that altered reality is reality. This is the sort of thing where they will slide into the company, fiddle with the board of directors, and push Mr Cook out a window. There will be an announcement that he is looking forward to spending more time with his family.

I will sum this up with a prediction. Within 5 years there will be an SAP favourable person running Apple.

Comment Might not the stinkray be a crappy tower? (Score 1) 194

I would assume that if the stinkray is processing my calls or barfing its bit on the network, that the network would not function as well. I can't see some crappy box in the back of a police van doing a very good job. So, ignoring all the privacy issues, would this device not be degrading the entire network for everyone else?

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