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Comment Re: In other news (Score 1) 111

Have been inside NSA facility, can confirm they are not dumb enough to have webcams, or for that matter non air gapped systems.

How do they share information amongst their computers then? The only thing I can imagine is via sneakernet, but of course malware can and does propagate via USB keys and laptops also, so it seems like even that might not be sufficient.

I suppose printing everything to paper and then typing it all back in on the next computer might be secure (assuming the typist recognizes malware before he types it in ;)), but that doesn't sound very practical.

Comment Re:What does it do most of the time? (Score 4, Insightful) 59

Or am I missing something obvious?

I don't know if it's obvious, but the missing thing is that this won't be the final word in automation of home agriculture.

I remember back when the first PCs came out, and they were rather ridiculous -- the amount of time it required to get them to do anything useful was such that it would almost certainly be easier to accomplish the same task with pen and paper, or with a typewriter.

But a certain type of person was drawn to them anyway, not because they were immediately useful, but because that person wanted explore what was possible and see how much further the ideas could be taken. And now, 40-some years later, we have inexpensive PCs and cell phones that are much more powerful than any other method, to the extent that most people wouldn't even consider handling most problems the "traditional way" as a realistic approach anymore.

Or, as Ben Franklin put it, you might as well ask, "What good is a newborn baby?"

Comment Re:Absurd Pile (Score 1) 1005

*Who's* national security is undermined?

Everyone's. The core principle of NATO is that an attack on any NATO member will be treated as an attack on all NATO members. Thus, traditionally, Russia would be very reluctant to attack any NATO member because it would be guaranteed to bring about a strong counterattack, which at best would be costly to all parties and at worst could escalate into World War 3, which not even Putin wants.

However, if Russia has cause to believe that the USA will not honor its commitments to NATO, that could tempt Russia to try to "take back" one or more of the East European countries it lost after the cold war (similar to the way it "took back" part of the Ukraine in 2014).

By his loose talk, Trump has given Russia (and the world) cause to believe that he might decide not defend all NATO members; that the commitments of the USA might not be honored if Trump is elected.

So let's imagine that Trump is elected, and then Russia bets that Trump won't bother to defend, say, Lithuania, and so Russia sends in their troops to "reclaim" Lithuania.

Now what happens? Either Trump doesn't respond, in which case NATO is exposed a paper tiger, and Russia (and potentially others) now feel free to invade more countries when they want to; or Trump does respond, and now we're involved in a hot war with Russia that could easily turn nuclear.

Either outcome sucks. That's why politics at this level isn't a game, and shouldn't be treated as one. Trump's words have real consequences, even if he thinks he is only joking (or more likely, just isn't thinking at all).

Comment Re:74 at time of crash (Score 2) 603

How would the car have been able to do this?

I'm sure that's the question that Tesla's engineers are asking each other right now. Since I'm not a Tesla engineer, I don't have the answer -- maybe it will require more hardware. I do know that a product that doesn't reliably take the location of its owner's head into account when doing its collision-prediction calculations is a product that is going to have trouble in the marketplace.

Comment Re:74 at time of crash (Score 4, Interesting) 603

So the road under the truck looked clear (sort of)

If only the autopilot system had been calibrated to take into account the exact height of the Tesla's roof. If that had been done, then there would have been no accident in this case (the Tesla would have stopped until the truck was out of the way), but when encountering a somewhat higher truck, the Tesla would pass cleanly underneath it, with the driver probably never even noticing what had happened. And that would have been rather awesome.

Comment Re:Autos cause 1.2 million deaths worldwide each y (Score 5, Insightful) 603

Why does this one death cause everyone to panic?

Who has panicked? Unless by "panic" you meant "engage in intense debate about the potential risks and rewards of a new and relatively unproven technology", but that's not a very common definition of that word.

Comment Re:oh well (Score 1) 694

The real question: are the e-mails real? If so, how they were obtained/released is irrelevant.

I think the fact that Russia is actively trying to meddle in the US election via dirty tricks is pretty fucking relevant, don't you?

Maybe all the emails are real; maybe they are all real except for the few made-up ones that Putin's political people added in to spice things up. Maybe next time instead of hacking into a political organization, they'll hack into some power companies and cause power outages in demographically strategic areas on election day, similar to what they did previously in the Ukraine. Or maybe they'll just plant a few easter eggs in some voting machines. In either case, the fact that a central pillar of our Democracy is now known to be under deliberate attack by a foreign power ought to be of some significance to us, no?

Comment Re:What took them so long? (Score 1) 129

I've been pointing out that a three-dimensional arrangement off components could continue FAR longer than an essentially single-layer arrangements since at least the 1970s.

Sure, but unless you've developed a superconducting substrate, or come up with a reliable, efficient 3D cooling system, or are willing to run the 3D transistors only at very low speed/power, you're going to run into serious heat dissipation problems. Solving those (along with manufacturing a working 3D structure in the first place) is what's taking them so long.

Comment Re:In other words, Moore's law will continue (Score 1) 129

Moore's law has nothing to do with the SIZE of the transitors. It has to do with the number of transistors on the chip and, to a lesser extent, the density of the transistors. Arranging the transistors vertically and horizontally will allow the law to continue.

In the future, the size of each transistor will remain roughly the same, but the size of the chip will double every year, so that by 2030 the average CPU will measure about 50 feet in each dimension. People will use them simultaneously for both computing and as floors, walls, or ceilings for their homes.

Remember, you heard it here first.

Comment Re:What NEEDS to happen... (Score 1) 533

I guar-on-teeee if NOBODY bought these phones and raised a stink with the manufacturer of said phones, you'd get some action..

I agree. Of course, the corollary is that if people keep buying the new phones and don't complain, then the lack of headphone jack is in fact a non-problem. It's entirely possible that headphone backwards-compatibility just isn't something most phone users care about.

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