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Comment Re:Charge? (Score 1) 382

That was my first thought, but I don't think it is an issue in urban areas. I looked up a local bus route: it is about seven miles long and is timetabled to take 40 minutes (including turn-around times at both ends). Over a 12-hour day that's about 130 miles. Proterra quote a 360 mile range on their top-of-the-range. Basically buses are slow, so they don't go very far even in the course of a whole day.

Comment Re:Sounds fine to me... (Score 1) 101

the government shouldn't be allowed to gather information on people of "no security interest", but they can't know who that is without gathering information.

People can become a security interest in other ways than simply grepping bulk data. It may be justified to track convicted criminals, suspected criminals, those with links to criminals or suspects because the likelihood of them being involved is higher than a random member of the public. Likewise if in the course of an investigation you confirm that someone you have collected data on really isn't linked, then you can delete the data.

Of course you are correct to note that if you know everything about everyone you can just (in theory at least) filter out anyone and everyone who has done anything wrong and prosecute them.

The flip side is that such a data set can be misused, either if it is leaked, or by corrupt elements within the state itself.

Thus we have a trade-off - as you collect more data you create opportunities for prosecuting more crime but also for abuse. What most people seem to accept is that surveillance be used when either the confidence of the suspicion is high, or the severity is high - i.e. for active investigation of known crimes, for investigation of suspects where there is some known reason for suspicion, and (potentially) for trying to detect and pre-empt terrorism and similar.

The world is full of cost/benefit trade offs and arguments about them which assume either the cost or the benefit is infinite - people struggle to actually balance them because they are difficult to quantify.

Comment Re:Yet another good reason to never visit England (Score 3, Informative) 100

There is a difference between the law and practice here http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one indicates that you only need a licence to receive TV, not install one. Given the presence of internet-connected computers in my house (which could receive live TV) and the lack of a TV licence I have a little evidence that practice prevails.

With regards the timing, the Act includes the clause "or virtually the same time" which would cover transmission delay.

Comment Re:Why not charge ? (Score 1) 100

I quite like this because it has the possibility to raising extra revenue for the BBC.

I suspect there are two objections, firstly it has the tendency to turn the BBC into a commercial operator - it has an incentive to make programs which are popular for the non-UK audience. Secondly, the TV licence is actually for a property (strictly "dwelling" iirc) rather than a user, whereas a login to iPlayer could be used anywhere. If you are being pedantic the login provides more flexibility.

Comment Re:25 mph? (Score 4, Funny) 582

A 25 mph speed limit is unrealistic on any public road I've ever seen, with the exception of roads made of cobblestone. It's difficult to drive a modern vehicle that slowly--it takes concentration on your speed that frankly makes you have much less attention to pay to obstacles and hazards... like children.

Odd. My car drives at about that speed idling in third gear. It takes no effort at all. If I want a slower speed I pick a lower gear. It is a high volume production car with no mods.

Comment The R-Pi has lots of competitors (Score 1) 99

There are lots of other computers in the world, small and large. Plenty are faster or cheaper or bluer than the Raspberry-Pi, but almost all miss the point: R-Pi is not about the hardware. It's about the ecosystem - the images you can install, kits you can buy, the tutorials in magazines and on YouTube, the jams, the general buzz around it that makes people (and their focus is kids in particular) interested in playing with it.

Comment Re:Make it three (Score 2) 172

a business has its account locked and can't pay wages, or someone moving house can't pay for their new home and the sale falls through.

It is unlikely that the business/mover will be able to keep enough money in both accounts to pay in the scenarios that you envision. Having two bank accounts gives you guaranteed access to at most half your money: it will normally work for getting some ready cash, and will often suffice for paying monthly bills, but not the really big items.

The other hazard is the other things that your bank keeps for you: all the payment details, amounts, dates that are used. The redundant bank (i.e. the one not normally making payments) is unlikely to have the facilities for storing this information for use in a failure - and you'll have to make sure it is all kept up to date. In the UK the direct debit scheme doesn't have a failover mechanism, so that won't work yet.

All of these issues are soluble, but just highlight that digital banking is built more on 19th century principles than 21st.

Comment Re:Guaranteed to put stress on any car? As if. (Score 1) 130

People on the autobahn are generally courteous, signal when changing lanes and so on. I guess you'd have to be at such speeds, but it's also part of the German national character. Furthermore, it's a highway so everyone is driving fast and the velocity differences, which cause most of the danger, are actually rather low most of the time. I think the highway may possibly be the safest and easiest environment for automated driving.

I agree that the Autobahn is a well-ordered place to drive but, where there is no speed limit, there are some large velocity differentials: the car in the outside lane may be doing 210kmh or more, but the lorry in the inside is probably doing about half that. That's a little alarming when someone pulls out to overtake the lorry on a two lane carriageway.

Comment Wow - who likes it that hot? (Score 1) 388

If 24C is a suitable medium and the men would prefer 21C, doesn't that imply that the women would prefer 27C - that's sounds pretty hot. Also I'm not sure that raising office temperatures from 21C to 24C will save energy the way the article suggests. It will in some places - indeed probably quite a lot of places in the summer, but overall I guess more places require heating. It is probably also more expensive to heat than to cool, since heating is at least sometimes based on direct heat generation whereas cooling is always based on a heat pump.

Comment Re:Stop interconnecting systems (Score 1) 165

Because convenience features require these things to be connected together.

Plenty of cars have radios which adjust their volume according to the speed of the vehicle - information which probably comes from the chassis (braking) system. Any car which has a graphical display probably uses it to warn you that the oil needs changing (from the engine management system) as well as to show you what MP3 you're currently playing. There is also a trend to reduce costs by consolidating systems together (maybe you would argue that this is an acceptable cost to improve security).

As cars become more automated then the examples are just going to multiply - how, for example, is the steering system going to know which way to turn except by getting information from the navigation system. How will the car warn you that it needs you to drive soon except by interrupting the music you are listening to - or maybe your WiFi connection or something else. It's a big challenge for the industry - where previously some firewalling was possible (though not always air-gap), the integration level is going up which means that the amount of systems which need to be secure (and safe) are increasing rapidly.

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Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than death. -- James F. Byrnes