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Comment Re:Wait What? (Score 1) 160

We would have been sittin' pretty with broadband wiring back when there was a government-regulated Telco, the old AT&T, had they gone ahead with the PicturePhone in the 1960s. But these days, there's no main telco, they're all private companies with only the minimal of must-wire controls. And they wouldn't necessarily solve the last mile problem in a way acceptable to any other wired carrier.

Wireless is a better possibility, but the big wireless companies, the ones with the existing infrastructure here, are used to absolutely raping their customers over data use. They apparently make far too much money there to consider at proper home broadband open a worthy goal. For one, they'd have to offer you 10-50x the monthly data cap at higher speeds for less money, or they'd be clobbered anytime a wired carrier entered the area. Concentrating on the advantage of mobile on less consumptive devices, they're maintaining those 40-50% profit margins.

Comment Re:Wait What? (Score 1) 160

Many/most of us would probably be willing to pay for the last mile infrastructure, we just do not want AT&T/Google/Comcrap/TWC/Charter to own it. The natural monopoly is primarily because of a bad funding model. These guys will all race to your house if they can be sure of perpetual domination, but are slow if there's competition.

Not so much. They'll race to your crowded neighborhood if they can have the monopoly. Maybe. Verizon froze their FiOS build-out years ago, and may be thawing that a little today, but they didn't want your business much if you weren't already covered. And if you're rural, just fuggedaboudit... they'll leave you to the savagery of the satellite carriers.

Comment Re:The last mile... (Score 1) 160

Some of it's just company policy... at my old place, I was across the street from a DSL-compatible local node... I could see it from my driveway. But while Verizon had a pretty big DSL customer base in the area (South Jersey), they were no longer supporting new customers. So I had 16 years of satellite Internet as a result. Just one more reason for leaving Jersey, I guess.

Cable was also in the vicinity, but not close enough. They offered to wire me up for about $60,000...

Comment Re:Driving yes, but charging? (Score 1) 990

But it is a practical problem for may people right now. My sister drove her shiny new Leaf to my house last year to show it off... unfortunately, that was about 85 miles. No problem, she says, we'll plug it in. I asked her if she had the 240V cable... apparently, that's a $500-something option. So into the 120VAC it went. Hours later, she had to be getting home, and nowhere near enough juice to get home. But she could make it to Cherry Hill, where there was a Nissan dealer that at least had a Level 2 charger... so that was only an extra hour on an hour and 20 minute drive. Far as I know, they stopped including support for the CHAdeMO high voltage DC charging interface on the Leaf, at least on the East Coast. Not sure you'd find a charging station anyway, but that 480V@100A or so is where you just start to get the ability to charge on the road in a practical way.

Comment Two Big Problems (Score 1) 990

First of all, if you're counting on charging at home, lots of people don't have garage access for overnight charging. This might be mitigated by charging at work, but that's all of a sudden going to challenge the available power distribution for those areas. And that's adding to the peak power problem. And the average parking garage doesn't have 250-500kW service. Might work well in places like Phoenix AZ, where a shaded parking spot could become a shaded solar parking spot.

The next problem is overall power. If we did replace every ICE car with a BEV, we'd just about double the electrical demand of the USA. Just for cars, not even factoring in trucks, planes, and trains. Where is all that grid power coming from? And we'll need grid upgrades to deliver it.

And then there's production. Tesla is hoping to be able to supply batteries about 1.5 million BEVs per year from their Gigafactory... it's going to take quite awhile to replace all 250+ million passenger cars. And of course, ability is one thing, desire another. It's not even a stretch to imagine a large population in the US switching from paranoia about the Government coming to take their guns to one about the Government coming to take their cars and trucks.

This succeeds much better going slowly. That also delivers better costs on batteries and the chance of better technologies along the way.

Submission + - Teen Finds Undiscovered Mayan City From His Bedroom (

Fortunato_NC writes: In 2012, the Internet was full of rumors about Mayan calendars predicting the imminent end of the world. While the end times failed to materialize, the flurry of publicity sparked William Gadoury's interest in the Mayan culture. At the age of 15, he developed a theory that Mayan cities were aligned to constellations in the night sky, and he used his theory to discover the remains of a lost Mayan city using Google Maps.

Comment Re:They ARE a utility. (Score 1) 706

Regulation can lead to higher prices. But that's generally only when that regulation is restricting competition in some way. Like the airlines, or the telco industry back in the days of AT&T as The Official Regulated Phone Company Monopoly.

However, its the telcos themselves today, in an environment of unprecedented freedom compared to telcos throughout most of the rest of the world, who are keeping the prices high, and that largely by limiting competition on their own. Everyone's basically trying to be Apple -- particularly in wired telecom, they're optimizing for maximum profit per customer, not trying to net the most customers. Verizon's not laying miles of new fiber anymore, trying to reach everyone. And most of these guys are making 40-50% profit margins. Meanwhile, US internet service is #10 in the world... didn't we frickin' invent the Internet?

Regulating certain aspects of the Internet can definitely improve it for every user and most connected companies. There's no need to make things better for Verizon or Comcast... they're doing just dandy. And realistically, an Internet connection is a utility -- this is obvious to everyone. If it weren't for all the money being spent to buy Congresscritters on behalf of the telcom industry, this wouldn't even be a newsworthy thing. Of course it's an utility. Maybe leaving off the Title 2 classification was a useful thing in the early days to make life easier on the ISPs. But twenty years ago, my ISP was a 5 person company run by an old buddy of mine. Now you're probably getting your service from one of the largest communications companies in the country, if not the world. Comcast owns Universal and NBC for f's sake. Verizon made over $30 billion last year.

Comment Re:As one-way as X10 (Score 1) 176

The Cree 40W equivalent bulbs are $5. Cree has a special deal with Home Depot. They're great LED bubs, too. Cree is actually the semiconductor company, an early leader in GaN transistors and the related high power white LEDs. They barely get warm, a big improvement over earlier LED bulbs. Most of my fairly lar G e house is LED lit now. In the past four years, I've had one bulb die, an infant mortality.

And now they want me to replace these with wifi or zigbee bulbs? Maybe in ten years, once they work out some real standards. Ok, more like 20 years...

Comment Re:April Fools stories are gay (Score 1) 1482

Just curious, since you seem to be authoritative on the subject: just where in the Bible does Jesus speak out against homosexuality? I'm not asking about the whole Bible, after all, the teachings of Jesus went against many of the other things from the old testament. Just where Jesus makes this judgment upon as much as 10% of humanity.

Comment Re:Seems reasonable (Score 1) 294

Letsee here. The Kurzweil model is suggesting that we can get to smart machines by way of brute force. Not necessarily the only way, but one that's hard to argue against as it's just extending today's neural net simulators to faster hardware. Using the open source NEST model, a supercomputer in Japan, the K computer, simulated a second's worth of "brain" activity in 40 minutes. That was a network 1% the size of human brain. So you'd need at least 240,000 times the CPU power to do this at 100% in realtime. Except maybe a few more zeros, since growing a neural network isn't linear, even if you're able to split off subsection for different work, as the brain seems to do. Sometimes.

So 2029 is 15 years away. If we take the erroneous but popular idea that Moore's Law is both a real law and directly about CPU performance (neither of which is true), that's a doubling of performance every 18 months. So by 2029, we only have computers 1024x faster than today's. But by 2045, computers will be a million times faster, at least based on these bad assumptions. So maybe we have a supercomputer than can run a human brain sized neural net in realtime. That get us Skynet by brute force, but not Commander Data. That's another 20 years off.

Of course, I started low... anyone ran run NEST. But it's by far not the most aggressive model. IBM built a more efficient model, modeling a whole artificial brain the complexity of the human brain on a Blue Gene/Sequoia Q supercomputer. It ran 1053x slower than realtime.... which suggests a realtime version might be possible around 2029. IBM actually say it might be as early as 2023, as they're building chips that implement their "neurosynaptic cores" in hardware. The model has over 2 billion neurosynaptic cores, and it's very intentionally designed to be a brain, though not a strict emulation of a human brain. There are dozens of projects around the world doing similar things. One team in Europe has a realtime honeybee scale brain running, and hopes to have a rat scale brain done this year. Another team has a non-realtime model similar to a cat's brain... can hatz cheezeburger?

So it sure looks possible to have Skynet by 2029. Self-contained thinking mobile machines, probably not for a decade or two beyond. And that's assuming no technological roadblocks in scaling our hardware. But also no huge leap away from the brute force approach. And no hardware design help from IBM's realtime brain of 2023. But of course, it won't even graduate college before 2030, assuming a few upgrades along the way. And a few years after that, we may not even understand the improved brain it's getting us to build for it...

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