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Comment Re:Exactly that (Score 1) 339

I didn't mean to make it sound that bleak. The first 8 hours are ok. They're productive. I don't sit here tearing my hair out doing nothing waiting for everyone to leave so I can type. I actually don't mind the open office plan very much. A private office would be *much* better, but this is ok.

But when I do work over for an hour or two I like it a whole lot more. I'm not terribly social (yeah I know, a computer programmer that's not terribly social go figure). I like to code in the dark and with a perfect quiet around me. It's much more pleasant and I seem to get a lot more done. Or maybe not - maybe I just enjoy it so much it feels like I get more done.

Comment Re:Raise your hand if... (Score 1) 364

I would imagine that most places that take cash only advertise it when you walk in. You know going in that you need plastic. If there's no notification, then there's a reason to argue.

Most restaurants, though, are understanding about a temporary inability to pay, and will let you come back later to pay, especially if you can leave some information behind like a driver's license number or some form of collateral. They could also allow you to call someone to bring payment and let you settle things with that person later.

But going into a store, you're generally paying for the merchandise before you leave. No payment, no merchandise. It works that way in the US, Europe, and Australia.

Comment Re:Only viable if all planes land themselves (Score 1) 314

You did it alone, which makes it far more difficult. A real 747 has, depending on the age, one or two other people to help handle all of the operations on landing. The pilot who has the controls is responsible for only the basic controls and monitoring airspeed and sink rate. The other pilot (or the computer) handles everything else.

Still, as a pilot, I'm really not keen on this idea. One of the benefits of the straight runway method is an extremely predictable location of all aircraft. You know where traffic is supposed to be based on factors other than what you hear over the radio or see on the TCAS or radar. The variability that the circular runway introduces is useful in concept, but while GPS also removes the rigidity of defined flight paths, it does so away from the congested airport airspace.

Comment Exactly that (Score 5, Insightful) 339

I'm out of mod points or I'd mod you up.

My two cents - we have an open office plan where I work. So I like to stay after hours and work. Why? Because the lights are off, I don't have to listen to people milling around me all the time having conversations about the weather or last Sunday's game. Just me and the work I have to do. No distractions. It's blissful.

I can get more done in 2 hours like that than the previous 8.

Comment Full article (Score -1, Troll) 116

Ok, so neither of those links were included in the summary when this was posted, but here is the full article:

Elon Musk Launches Neuralink to Connect Brains With Computers
Startup from CEO of Tesla and SpaceX aims to implant tiny electrodes in human brains
Neuralink is pursuing what Elon Musk calls 'neural lace' technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts.
by ROLFE WINKLER
March 27, 2017 3:24 p.m. ET

Building a mass-market electric vehicle and colonizing Mars aren't ambitious enough for Elon Musk. The billionaire entrepreneur now wants to merge computers with human brains to help people keep up with machines.

The founder and chief executive of Tesla Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has launched another company called Neuralink Corp., according to people familiar with the matter. Neuralink is pursuing what Mr. Musk calls "neural lace" technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts.

Mr. Musk has taken an active role setting up the California-based company and may play a significant leadership role, according to people briefed on Neuralink's plans, a bold step for a father of five who already runs two technologically complex businesses.

Mr. Musk didn't respond to a request for comment. Max Hodak, who said he is a "member of the founding team," confirmed the company's existence and Mr. Musk's involvement. He described the company as "embryonic" and said plans are still in flux but declined to provide additional details. Mr. Hodak previously founded Transcriptic, a startup that provides robotic lab services accessible over the internet.

Mr. Musk, 45 years old, is part businessman, part futurist. He splits his time between Tesla, which is under pressure to deliver its $35,000 sedan on time, and SpaceX, which aims to launch a satellite-internet business and a rocket that can bring humans to Mars. He is also pushing development of a super high-speed train called Hyperloop.

Somewhere in his packed schedule, he has found time to start a neuroscience company that plans to develop cranial computers, most likely to treat intractable brain diseases first, but later to help humanity avoid subjugation at the hands of intelligent machines.

"If you assume any rate of advancement in [artificial intelligence], we will be left behind by a lot," he said at a conference last June.

The solution he proposed was a "direct cortical interface"--essentially a layer of artificial intelligence inside the brain--that could enable humans to reach higher levels of function.

Mr. Musk has teased that he is developing the technology himself. "Making progress [on neural lace]," he tweeted last August, "maybe something to announce in a few months." In January he tweeted that an announcement might be coming shortly.

He hasn't made an official announcement, but Neuralink registered in California as a "medical research" company last July.

Mr. Musk has discussed financing Neuralink primarily himself, including with capital borrowed against equity in his other companies, according to a person briefed on the plans.

Neuralink has also discussed a possible investment from Founders Fund, the venture firm started by Peter Thiel, with whom Mr. Musk co-founded payments company PayPal, according to people familiar with the matter.

In recent weeks, Neuralink hired leading academics in the field, according to another person familiar with the matter. They include Vanessa Tolosa, an engineer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and an expert in flexible electrodes; Philip Sabes, a professor at the University of California in San Francisco, who studies how the brain controls movement; and Timothy Gardner, a professor at Boston University who is known for implanting tiny electrodes in the brains of finches to study how the birds sing.

Reached by phone, Dr. Gardner confirmed he is working for Neuralink, but declined to elaborate on its plans. Dr. Sabes declined to comment. Dr. Tolosa didn't respond to a request for comment.

It is unclear what sorts of products Neuralink might create, but people who have had discussions with the company describe a strategy similar to SpaceX and Tesla, where Mr. Musk developed new rocket and electric-car technologies, proved they work, and is now using them to pursue more ambitious projects.

These people say the first products could be advanced implants to treat intractable brain disorders like epilepsy or major depression, a market worth billions of dollars. Such implants would build on simpler electrodes already used to treat brain disorders like Parkinson's disease.

If Neuralink can prove the safety and efficacy of its technology and receive government approval, perhaps it then could move on to cosmetic brain surgeries to enhance cognitive function, these people say. Mr. Musk alluded to this possibility in his comments last June, describing how humans struggle to process and generate information as quickly as they absorb it.

"Your output level is so low, particularly on a phone, your two thumbs just tapping away," he said. "This is ridiculously slow. Our input is much better because we have a high bandwidth visual interface into the brain. Our eyes take in a lot of data."

Others pursuing the idea include Bryan Johnson, the founder of online payments company Braintree, who plans to pump $100 million into a startup called Kernel, which has 20 people and is pursuing a similar mission.

Mr. Johnson said he has spoken to Mr. Musk and that both companies want to build better neural interfaces, first to attack big diseases, and then to expand human potential.

Facebook Inc. has posted job ads for "brain-computer interface engineers" and other neuroscientists at its new secret projects division. And the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is investing $60 million over four years to develop implantable neural interface technology.

The technology faces several barriers. Scientists must find a safe, minimally invasive way to implant the electrodes, and a way to keep them stable in the brain. It also isn't yet possible to record the activity of millions of the brain's neurons to decode complex decisions, or distinguish when someone wants to eat a bowl of spaghetti or go to the bathroom.

Then there is persuading people to get elective brain surgery.

In comments published by Vanity Fair on Sunday, Mr. Musk said "for a meaningful partial-brain interface, I think we're roughly four or five years away."

If Mr. Musk indeed takes an active leadership role at Neuralink, that would raise more questions about his own personal bandwidth.

Tesla is building the largest battery factory on the planet to supply its forthcoming Model 3 electric vehicle, and it will need to produce hundreds of thousands of cars to meet its goal and justify its lofty market capitalization, which is approaching that of Ford Motor Co.
SpaceX has struggled to launch rockets fast enough to send satellites into orbit for its customers. Ultimately it wants to launch an internet-access business powered by more than 4,000 low-earth orbiting satellites, ferry space tourists to the moon and then bring astronauts to Mars.

Even so, Mr. Musk has proved many naysayers wrong. Traditional auto makers said he could never sell a popular electric car. Military-industrial graybeards scoffed at the idea he could even launch a rocket.

Write to Rolfe Winkler at rolfe.winkler@wsj.com

Comment Re:Raise your hand if... (Score 1) 364

No one is obligated to accept cash. Most apartments refuse cash payments because they don't want to deal with having thousands of dollars in cash on-hand at predictable times. Major airlines don't accept cash for purchases during flights. Several restaurants in New York are cashless, and the trend has been expanding slowly to other locations. Some stay cashless, some allow cash later.

A place not accepting cash doesn't mean that you can just walk out with the merchandise, though. Your perception that you've created a debt by attempting to purchase something is off. There's no debt because the transaction hasn't been completed, and there's no contract, verbal or written, setting up payment at a later time. What you're talking about is theft, and the police can arrest you for that. The judge will find you guilty of theft. The only thing you can do is leave your coffee behind and walk out to find a place that does accept cash.

Comment Re:A point here? (Score 1) 364

Cash does not have an inherent value. If it did, money markets wouldn't exist because all cash would have an inherent value, and that would not change. Even gold and silver don't have an inherent value. If I'm starving and I have something to trade for food and you're the only person around, I'm not going to trade for your silver or gold if I need food. At that time, food has a value to me, while precious metals do not.

Valuing something in a given currency a learned skill. When aboriginal tribes were forcibly assimilated into Australian society, one of the most difficult things for many of them to learn was how money worked. I read a while back about one person who walked into a grocery store soon after being brought into the city, picked up a couple of things from a shelf, and walked out, not understanding why people were shouting at and chasing him.

Similarly, what if I plopped down a coin made of palladium. Could you spot its inherent value if the language on the coin wasn't familiar to you? Would you place its value higher or lower than silver if you didn't know it was made of palladium?

Your coworkers were probably just amazed to see some silver coins only because they're not used to seeing them. If you took them into most stores, you wouldn't be able to spend them, even if they were US silver coins because people wouldn't be familiar with them. Hopefully, they wouldn't call the cops on you like some do for $2 bills, but they might refuse the transaction to avoid the risk of falling for a scam.

Comment Re: Exchange in precious metals (Score 1) 364

All it took was one signature on an old-fashioned piece of paper and private possession of gold currency became illegal, too. Sure, you could probably deal in shavings carefully measured on a scale, but that takes a much longer time to do, is subject to manipulation, and raises the risks of collecting the metals such that most places wouldn't do it.

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