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Comment I suggested training on sims to Alain a decade ago (Score 1) 46

I worked with Alain Kornhauser about thirty years ago, first taking his robotics course as an undergraduate, later managing his robotics lab as an employee, and then again even later (briefly) as a grad student tangentially as part of a group doing self-driving car research focused mainly on a neural networks approach. I had also been hanging around Red Whittaker's group making the first ALVAN (Autonomous Land Vehicle) around 1986 before going back to Princeton to work as an employee.

While I did not contribute much of significance to that self-driving car group (I had other interests), I had suggested we train cars to just drive one specific route based on videos from driving that route a variety of times. I guessed that most daily commutes are just along the same route and so that could be a big win. But he dismissed that idea for some reason I'm still not sure I understand. Still think it made a lot of sense though for the resources we had at the time.

About ten years ago I suggested he get his PAVE students to write software to drive Gran Turismo as a challenge. Not much response from him on that then though. Glad to see his is finally doing that -- although with much better game/simulation software now.

I also suggested he could make PAVE the free and open source software hub for self-driving vehicle software to address some concerns I outlined back in 2001 in the essay to the Markle Foundation:
http://pdfernhout.net/on-fundi...

From the email I sent Alain in 2007-02-02:

"Glad to read of your group's successes with the Grand Challenge. I've long thought a fun project for your students would be to write software that takes visual input from a a PlayStation 2 driving game like "Gran Turismo"
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G...
      http://www.gran-turismo.com/
(direct via video out to video capture, or even through a camera focused on a TV) and processes that image to drive the simulation via a USB hookup into the PlayStation. Not quite the real thing (and Red Whittaker might rightfully scoff at that approach as ignoring much of the challenge of making real hardware survive in a tough environment :-) , but it is cheap, easy, and safe to do in an undergraduate lab with limited supervision. And the racing game simulators just keep getting more and more realistic. And if that challenge becomes too easy, you can then add noise to the video signal to make it harder... Or introduce lags or noise in the USB steering. And then start working on controlling ATV Off Road Fury or the the Snowmobile racing games, and so on. Or have kids write software to control one game and then give them only one day to make it work for another... Probably lots of good science and engineering and education to do there on a (relatively) small budget."

I mentioned that idea again to him in 2011-06-18 when I was looking for jobs:

"Or maybe you need someone to do more work on cars that drive themselves, which sounds like more fun? :-) Except that PAVE stuff is all student run, and good for that approach, so I can see you probably won't need someone for that. I still feel getting students interested in writing open source software to process images from the latest driving simulator games is a good (safe) project that might advance the state-of-the-art in automotive intelligence in a very positive way. :-) I'm sure it would at lead to lots of funny press though ("Students at Princeton are seriously playing with video games", and so on). Whether that is good or bad depends on your point of view, perhaps."

Anyway, glad to see that idea finally getting some traction. :-)

While he did not take some of my ideas that seriously, I did not take his idea of the self-driving car stuff that seriously myself back then. Not that I objected to it -- I just did not see the urgency for it and was more interested in robot manipulation (being a fan of the "Silent Running" drones).

But Alain saw the value in self-driving cars decades before most other people. He explained how they could save lives by being safer -- as well as reduce expenses and reduce pollution by being more efficient.

Alain is a brilliant guy and a nice person too (they don't always go together) -- wish I had made more of my time working with him. Looking back on it, I think, wow, what if I had just been excited to do a project to make a self-driving golf-card for the Princeton campus for alumni or for the annual P-rade? That would have been a great place to start and I'm sure we could have been successful enough on a limited scale with a limited budget to move onto grander things.

Back in my early 20s I just did not appreciate what a great opportunity working with him was. Working with him as an employee for a year in his robotics lab was where I learned so much about 3D graphics which made it possible to write a garden simulator and also PlantStudio software (for breeding 3D botanical plants). Best job working for someone else I ever had. Thanks Alain!

Comment Follow the funding and experts (Score 1) 26

What is so special about the east and west coast?
Network distance and ping to Asia and the EU? Some collection of international networks in and out of the USA?
A local US finance sector that needs really fast network speed?
Lots of free state and federal funding for a few of the best academic locations in the USA that still grade on merit?
A lot of optical networks thanks to the needs US gov and mil?
The lifestyle and wealth of the local people with cash to invest in the ideas? The parts of the US they want to live in and support ideas in?
The politics, weather and wealth on the US west coast?
Other states just cant in pull decades of mil, gov, telco, state and federal academic funding that people with cash like to build their new ides on?
The location of ex and former NSA, CIA, mil staff and expert legal teams that can work with the US gov and have the contacts and can help with any gov/mil bids?
Other states might have lots of cheap fast optical and low power cost at some new locations but cant bring in legal, funding, gov, ex mil, education, city and state gov support.
Their city or state gov is too poor, too focused on decades of pension issues, has no working budget for tech issues, the city issues with cheap power, lack of real network options, strange local tax rates that might get lowered for some type of investment.

Local education is passing failed students with no skills.
City and state governments then demand all the "passed" failed students get high tech jobs as part of tax cuts and other support to attract new jobs.
A company then has to look after failed students and support them into the role of below average staff and keep hiring.
Other city and states are not worth the local staffing risk even with new fast networks, cheaper power and less tax.
A small tax cut does not cover the huge costs of having to hire lots of new local staff with no skills.

Comment Re:Finally (Score 1) 163

There's a reason why systemd is being widely adopted by core projects, and it hasn't got shit to do with Redhat or Poettering

You failed to tell us that reason.
IMHO it's fine for desktops where fuckups only result in one person being unable to work but it's still very problematic for servers. I've still go a pile of stuff on CentOS6 because some commercial software vendors haven't figured out how to get their stuff to work reliably with Poettering's stuff.

Comment Re:Systemd! (Score 1) 163

Spot on. All that's needed to confirm it is to look at Lennert's blog where he states most of the things above as his goals. He is not shy in saying that he wants to recreate linux HIS way and the rest can just go jump. If he listened to others and was a bit more patient in testing before getting things out the door that may not even be a bad thing, and it's probably fine for desktops. It kind of sucks for servers though when software depends on things working in the same sort of way they did a couple of years ago and where getting hung up on boot is a hassle for a lot of people instead of a single desktop user.

Comment Re:Many examples, if you remember history (Score 1) 184

I think there is some truth to both of those versions of events

No, the simple answer was the reason and not some weird illuminati conspiracy theory about environmentalists with vast amounts of political power controlling everything from the shadows.

The problems of plastic bags not decomposing wasn't yet a known issue

It was known, (especially in areas where they relied on tourists visiting beaches) but ignored for financial reasons. It's not "history" to me.

Comment Re:Not so much fantasy since 2010 (Score 1) 155

You walked into it by pointing out your ignorance

So utterly unrelated stock answer number four now instead of number sixteen or whatever?
How about acting like a human being instead of a bot. Human nature has nothing at all to do with the other posts and my posts were far too short for ignorance to show up whether it exists or not.

As for "shields", since three feet thick lead isn't going to cut it are you delving into fantasy again from Star Trek or whatever while telling people that solar sails similar to those that have already been made are fantasy?

Comment Re:More "trust me" science (Score 1) 139

The problem is all the models have predicted more warming than has happened. The basic problem is that there's no evidence that the Earth being warmer by a few degrees (has been much warmer than that many times before) will be catastrophic.

That's largely because there are cooling factors such as sulfate aerosols that are still very difficult to model.
But we know, and are reminded with every large volcanic eruption just how strong - but temporary - that effect can be.
The problem is that our heavy of usage of coal in plants mostly without scrubbers & filters likely kept the warming from increasing as much as it could have.
But then the West started cleaning up or shutting down those plants. And perhaps only coincidentally, global warming started to accelerate.

But then China really picked up the slack, burning more & more coal each year beginning around 1980 and really picking up the pace around 2000.
https://gailtheactuary.files.w...

But now China appears to have seen the light - to some degree. Not only is their coal consumption dropping, for the 3rd straight year but during that time they've also been cleaning up their coal plants and it seems that no plants will be grandfathered.
If it can't be cleaned up, it will be shut down. We'll see how this plays out.

But what does this mean for global warming? My guess is that as coal becomes less used but CO2 keeps rising, global warming will start speeding up again.
There's still a lot of uncertainty as to what & where will get hotter but overall, the total heat in the system, especially the oceans will ratchet up unabated

Comment Re:More "trust me" science (Score 0) 139

I will eat a leather shoe if you can convince me that climate models have even half the predictive power necessary to justify blowing several hundred billion dollars on this nonsense.

And cause you to have both indigestion & less money to spend on bombing 3rd world nations to make both America & Europe LESS safe?
Perish the thought

Comment Re:Bullshit, Todd. (Score 1) 182

It's an even bigger cluster-fuck than that. What about the Indian man's parental access rights? The child is his. I don't know the legal situation in Singapore, but when stuff like this has happened in the UK there had to be an adoption by the husband of the mother, and a legal request to change the father's name on the birth certificate.

Also, the Indian man's wife/girlfriend has been made a cuckquean. Seems like they would have some standing to sue too.

30% doesn't seem like enough, really. Say they decide to try again, their costs have now nearly doubled, not to mention the physical strain of another pregnancy. When the child grows up it might have a claim too. It will all require on-going legal fees too...

I hope that the court requires the clinic to put some system in place to ensure continued payments, even if it goes out of business.

Comment Re: Lots of children have the wrong DNA. (Score 1) 182

On the assumption that you're American, you're wrong
http://www.child-support-laws-...

"This financial dependency theme recurred almost in every children support case decided by the courts of America during the nineteenth century, primarily because newly divorced American mothers in nineteenth-century were almost always forced to live in poverty.

Even families that were well off financially before the divorce found that after the divorce, the father almost always profited and the mother almost always became impoverished. This occurred because the men were suddenly free from the expenses of the family, whereas the women were forced to take on the financial burden of raising the children.

In addition, if the mother did attempt to find a job for herself, she generally earned less than what a man would make in the same field. "

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