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Comment Technology Disruptive like Wars/Catastrophes (Score 2) 261

Yes, technology levels the playing field.

That is because, like major wars and catastrophes, it can devalue established wealth and power and empowers others to succeed based on their ability. The great thing about technology though is that it usually does this with far fewer people dying and it does not require wars to spur it on even though they often do.

Comment Re:Ways around this (Score 1) 508

American border patrol was just given authority to conduct is security theatre in Canadian airports too

There is one subtle difference doing it in Canada though and that is while Canadian law requires you to tell the truth you have the option to withdraw from the process at any time and not enter the US. Hence if you are asked for your phone you can choose to decline but then you will not be allowed to travel to the US. This is actually quite a sensible arrangement: countries should be free to set their entrance requirements and foreign travelers should be free to decline to travel there if they do not like them. The problem is that if you come from Europe you are already in the US and declining leads to arrest and detention not just denied entry and a return flight home.

Comment Re:The published article (Score 1) 217

It seems that they're claiming energy densities of ~20Wh/L

Compare that to petrol which has an energy density of 46.4MJ/kg which is 12.9kWh per "equivalent litre" (1l water has a mass of ~1kg but petrol itself is less dense than water). Now you gain something back because an internal combustion engine is far less efficient than an electric motor but even if you assume it is ten times less efficient (which is not the case) you would need a fuel tank ~64 times larger to have the same range as an internal combustion engine.

Even for a laptop you would need a 4 litre tank to replace the existing Li-ion which is typically ~80Whr. Before this technology becomes useful they need to gain at least an order of magnitude in energy density. That's when it will become interesting.

Comment Re:And the freezing temperature is...? (Score 1) 217

Actually you would probably want it to work down to -50C since -30C is not the extreme low just the typical low for a week or two most winters. Going below -40C is not uncommon for a day or two every few years so -50C should be relatively safe unless you live up in the territories.

Comment Re:Not Ready for Prime Time (Score 1) 123

They can build something that can fly itself and take you from point A to point B.

Yes they can but can they do this at a cost which most people can afford and with a vehicle that is small enough that it does not take up much more space than a car and can take off and land vertically while not making more noise than a car? It also needs to be capable of travelling a few hundred kilometres too.

By the time you add all those caveats it becomes a lot harder to build such a device. This is what is preventing the era of flying cars, not the lack of infrastructure. That will come once a practical flying car is available which I doubt will be in three years.

Comment Pragmatism (Score 1) 328

What's their angle - drive wages down?

I expect that their angle is pragmatism. Given the way things seem to be going in the US foreigners are increasingly unlikely to travel there so you won't encounter people speaking foreign languages and the same restrictions will mean there will be a huge shortage of IT skills such as programming.

Comment Re:This is a *domestic* fraud probe. (Score 1) 91

That appears to mean that the person who used gmail lives in the US, and Google just randomly decided to store part of it in Ireland.

Then the US needs to have laws which do not allow companies to do this because once the data has left the US and entered the EU it is subject to EU law. You would not want data in the US related to chinese citizens to be subject to the chinese government accessing it would you? The same principle applies here.

Comment Limits (Score 1) 114

if I buy a part off a guy who makes them in his tool shed and hey tells me "hey, I'm not sure that this thing won't explode when apply the brake," then I am pretty sure I have no recourse whatsoever.

There are limits to this: if the seller in question made the brake pads out of plastic explosive I'm pretty sure the police will soon be knocking on his door. Putting a disclaimer on things does not magically allow you to get away with anything and some countries like the EU have mandatory minimum guarantees.

However in this case the software is not sold but given away so there is no sale which probably keeps the author protected unless they put something deliberately bad in the code.

Comment Re:Subsidize via Taxes (Score 1) 537

But we're not talking about taxes here, we're talking about tuition. Your argument may make somewhat more sense at a public school, but doesn't really work when looking at private schools.

Who cares about private universities? They either adapt to a low tuition environment by accepting state funding to provided subsidized positions or they somehow persuade people to pay ten times the tuition cost. At least in the UK there only is one private university I'm aware of and it doesn't exactly have a brilliant reputation and I believe the same is true in Canada. Private universities usually do not get good students because they can only take students from the subset of the population rich enough to afford the tuition rather than take the smartest students out there regardless of background.

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