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Comment Korolev was purged (Score 2) 78

He had been denounced by his colleagues who wanted his job, nearly died in the Gulags, then released under Khrushchev.

He was completely unknown during the space race. His identity hidden.

He was resurrected during Glasnost, and only recently became a public hero. I spoke to a Russian back packer recently who was very proud of Korolev but completely unaware of the purging.

Ultimately this cost them the race to the moon. Korolev's mistreatment in the Gulags lead to his early death, after which their space program collapsed. A very Soviet story.

Personally, I always wondered why the Soviets did not just send a cosmonaut to moon one way. Much, much easier than the return. And they had already successfully landed a probe on the moon, just put a body inside and repeat. Cosmonauts are cheap.

Comment This is THE big change (Score 5, Insightful) 56

Robots that can see. And respond in sensible ways.

"Bin Picking" requires recognizing which objects are which, and what their orientation ("pose") is. Then plan a way to move to collect them.

That is an order of magnitude more sophisticate than simply moving in rigid, predefined ways to work on things that have been precisely positioned in advanced.

It opens up whole new fields of automation.

And it is not that new, bin picking robots have been around for a while. They are getting better. This is only a story because Amazon is doing it now.

Comment NZ Musket Wars, 1830s, not Ancient (Score 1) 96

You attack your enemy, and if successful take their land. So what do you do with the people? Either make them slaves or eat them. Simple.

This is exactly what had happened in New Zealand for centuries. But then the great chief Honga Hika realized the potential of muskets. He managed to go all the way to England, proportadly to help missionaries with a Mauri dictionary, but actually to get his hands on the "thousand thousand" muskets he heard were stored in a place called the tower of London. In that he failed, but he did manage to bring back sufficient muskets to eat many of his countrymen.

When the British came some years later they had two problems. Firstly, the Mauri were very used to fighting with Muskets and used them well. The second was that the "traditional" owner on a piece of land may only have owned it for a decade or so, having eaten the previous owner.

Tribal life was tough. If you lose a battle, you lose your land, and then you starve.

Submission + - SPAM: Bricklaying robots have arived

aberglas writes: Not quite as fast as a human, yet, and probably still more expensive. But they build real walls, up to spec. Only simple walls for now. But this is the beginning of much more automation on building sites, particularly for new constructions. And they do not have to work unsupervised to be useful.
Link to Original Source

Comment Not done yet, so never will do it (Score 2) 161

More importantly, the idea that things will not be done in the future because we do not know how to do them today flies in the face of history.

To misquote Bill Gates "We tend to overestimate what can be done in a decade, but underestimate what can be done in a century".

As to merging with machines, I think it will happen. In the same way that meat merges with a mincing machine.

http://www.computersthink.com/

Comment What about FAIR USE (Wikipedia) (Score 1) 30

The safe harbor is not a bad thing, even if it is just what the money wants.

But there are other issues in Copyright. Like importing the USA Fair Use provisions that Wikipedia Oz is discussing campaigning for. Or the micky mouse 70 year rule. Or, more importantly, the ridiculous copyright protections to works that are unpublished or not available here in a reasonable time.

Not a peep. Didn't think so.

Comment Re:*AA impeachment of PM starts in 3, 2, 1... (Score 1) 30

But you forget. The original FTTP was bugeted to cost $42billion, while the new, slower version will cost more. So we pay more for less. Makes sense if you think about it the wrong way. (The $42 billion was a pipe dream, but often quoted by the "fraudband" lobby.)

On 25 megabits you can only run 25 Netflix TVs at once. Hopeless.

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