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Comment Re:Good luck with that. (Score 1) 558

Consumers won't like it unless they get theft and fraud protection equivalent to what the credit card companies offer (and are required by law to offer). I use a credit card b/c "who cares if it gets stolen I'm not liable." Whereas if someone steals money from my bank account I'm going to have show the bank was at fault in order to get the funds *restored.* With credit cards I just call the company, dispute the charge and don't pay the bill. If this group of retailers wants to take on that liability, then I don't see a problem. But I suspect they won't take that (very expensive) liability on, and so you're right that consumers won't like it..

Comment Re:I don't get it. (Score 1) 541

There's is a genetic component to intelligence, but it's just a very insignificant one, at least as far as modern science can tell. Read this book to learn more: http://www.amazon.com/Intellig...

The main problem with genetic arguments is that environmental advantages swamp genetic advantages when it comes to human intelligence, however defined. And importantly, how you define intelligence is driven by culture, which unsurprisingly means that the advantaged people in a culture are measured as more intelligent.

I like the way Nisbett goes after this topic b/c he doesn't deny any impact of genetics for intelligence, but he does give strong research evidence that it's not a meaningful measurement, so not really worth worrying about.

Comment Ruby/Sinatra (Score 2) 536

As a greybeard who used to write dynamic gopher sites, I really like to write in Ruby/Sinatra now. It gives me access to lots of nice features (I can install activerecord when I need it) and I can build APIs super quickly and everything in between. And I can get down to the bottom of the network stack pretty easily when I want to. I do miss the Ruby/Rails built-in testing framework, but otherwise haven't looked back since switching from that environment.

Comment Choose what's best for all or what's best for occu (Score 1) 800

I think the really interesting issue here is whether the programming should favor the occupants or the overall situation? And how to balance?

If you have the choice between running down a pedestrian or swerving to hit a concrete barrier at high speed, you might want to choose the pedestrian if your goal is to preserve the lives of the occupants who may die if you choose the retaining wall.

But all low speeds, you want to pick the retaining wall because the occupants wouldn't die - it would just damage the car.

Or in the OP example, picking the smaller car to crash into might increase survivability for the passenges of the autonomous car, but increase deaths for the smaller car being hit. Whereas hitting the larger car (more solidly built, more mass) might injure the occupants of the autonomous car more..

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: What happens when there are no more bitcoins left to be mined? (wikipedia.org) 1

Unequivocal writes: I've been following the bitcoin saga from a distance for some time. I'm technical and I think I understand how it works, but I'm definitely no expert on the subject. I've got a couple of questions for Slashdot. I've noticed that baked into the system is a fundamental limit on the total number of bitcoins. I haven't seen any articles addressing the two main questions that arise for me relating to this fundamental limit on total circulating bitcoins:
  • Question 1: Fiat currency like US dollars don't limit the amount in circulation so as to manage inflation of the currency. Currencies in the past that don't do this are usually subject to runaway inflation or deflation at some point. Why won't bitcoin be subject to this economic condition? I understand that bitcoins are infinitely divisible so perhaps that is the way bitcoin inflation/deflation is handled?
  • Question 2: I believe the bitcoin network processes it's transactions by incentivizing miners with new currency in exchange for processing the transactions (I think that's how it works). What happens when there are no more bitcoins for miners to mine? How will all the transactions be processed? What are the incentives to support the transaction network without new bitcoins as incentives?

I definitely appreciate any insights into the economic mechanics of the network along these lines!

Comment Re:lawsuit (Score 1) 448

Going further OT here.. My understanding is that transactions into and out of some bitcoin exchanges can effectively wash out this "paper" trail? So if the criminal seller and buyer arrange to exchange bitcoins via certain exchanges (designed to wash/hide transaction histories), criminal seller hands over one set of bitcoins and criminal buyer walks way with different bitcoins altogether? Since there's no regulation to my knowledge of money laundering in bitcoin exchanges (yet) this isn't even an illegal business practice?

Comment Re:Sounds familiar (Score 1) 189

A treadmill just lets them manage power cables and what not, plus controlling photography etc. That thing is walking autonomously and unsupported, upright on two legs. And regarding the drunk over broken ground, it's almost exactly what a human would look like if they had a blindfold on doing the same task.

Plus 4 legged running: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chPanW0QWhA -- granted not autonomous yet.

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