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Comment Uh.... what? (Score 5, Insightful) 188

...required visa applicants to hand over all phone numbers, email addresses, and social media accounts that they have used in the past


Personally, I know I wouldn't even be able to begin to comply with this kind of demand. I don't remember all of the old phone numbers I've had. All social media accounts? Does that include aliases on bulletin board systems from the 1980's? Again, I couldn't comply because I don't remember them all. I probably have about a half dozen expired email accounts at old internet service providers, some of which don't even exist anymore, where I can maybe remember half of them.


Let There Be Light: Germans Switch on 'Largest Artificial Sun' ( 121

German scientists are switching on "the world's largest artificial sun" in the hope that intense light sources can be used to generate climate-friendly fuel. From a report: The Synlight experiment in Julich, about 19 miles west of Cologne, consists 149 souped-up film projector spotlights and produces light about 10,000 times the intensity of natural sunlight on Earth. When all the lamps are swivelled to concentrate light on a single spot, the instrument can generate temperatures of around 3,500C -- around two to three times the temperature of a blast furnace. "If you went in the room when it was switched on, you'd burn directly," said Prof Bernard Hoffschmidt, a research director at the German Aerospace Center, where the experiment is housed in a protective radiation chamber. The aim of the experiment is to come up with the optimal setup for concentrating natural sunlight to power a reaction to produce hydrogen fuel.

Comment Re:Use A Big Pipe (Score 1) 171

The disadvantage of many small pipes is that if they are too small, they may not be useful for some purposes, and if you make them too large, you could end up with lots of wasted space when some cables don't need that much room, and you will generally run out of available conduits to put new cables into sooner than if all of the cables had just been in a single much larger pipe. If you make them different sizes, then you create the risk running out of a pipe size if one size is used too often.

If the ratio of the cross sectional area of the available room in the common pipe to the cross sectional area of the cable you intend to run through it is high enough, damage to the cabling you want to run through or any adjacent wires is actually very unlikely to be a concern. Companies could easily add a more protective layering on their cables that would add to its size no more than a customized conduit would to further protect them... which is still going to be cheaper than digging a hole just to run some new conduit.

Comment Re:Don't remove, fill out remaining options (Score 1) 258

Actually, some of those could actually be pretty useful. An option to close tabs unvisited in the past x minutes would be particularly nice to have (where x is a user-configured value).

I suspect, however, that this kind of functionality can be added via plugin extensions to the browser, and may not need to be in the browser code.

Comment If the universe is a simulation.... (Score 1) 412

.... then the evidence for it is in the laws of physics themselves, since the simulation would follow a fixed set of rules, what we happen to call the "laws of physics" would just be our perceived way of modelling the behaviour in the universe that we observe. The reason we wouldn't find anomalies in a properly done simulation is because the simulation runs on a set of rules that do not contain any way to perceive such an anomaly, even if it were to happen, and we, as part of that simulation are still constrained to operate within the parameters that are defined by the simulation. Even if what we call free will itself were somehow modelled within that simulation, we could no more "free-will" ourselves to think beyond the simulation that we could "free-will" ourselves to be in an alternative place and time than that which we appear to be living in. the hypothesis that the universe is a simulation is just as unfalsifiable as the notion that there is a god. You can't disprove the existence of something whose scope exceeds the boundaries of what is humanly possible to define. It therefore cannot be studied in any useful scientific way any more than a theistic assertion may be.

Comment Re:I've noticed that, but something else interesti (Score 3, Interesting) 158

My favorite GPS screwup was one where we were driving south on an overpass, and the gps system told us to turn left to get onto the E/W route that the overpass was taking us on top of. Of course, since we were in the middle of a bridge, this was impossible. What we actually had to do was travel to the other side of the overpass, and then navigate back onto east-running lower route. There were no left turns involved. The driver was thoroughly pissed off with the system, ranting almost for the entire rest of the trip at the rest of us about how he was going to file a complaint with the company that supplied him with it, but I just found the whole thing hilarious. In retrospect now, though, I have just considered that the fact that I was laughing about it at the time may have just been making him angrier, which led to the 15 minute or so tirade.

Comment Re:Exactly the same one who is liable.... (Score 1) 179

My point is that pets are property, robots and AI's are property.... their actions are the responsibility of the owners, even if the owner had no actual control over what they did. In the case of robots and AI's that fail to perform as advertised, the owner may in turn have a legitimate claim against the manufacturer (and in some cases, the lawsuit may transfer directly to the manufacturer leaving the owner out of the loop entirely), but if the manufacturer has already disclaimed any such responsibility where they were permitted to do so by law, then the owner is still and should be entirely accountable.

Comment Re:Why I wait before buying.. (Score 1) 112

Nice analogy.... except it doesn't apply here. The amount of time that I go before upgrading my CPU, which in my experience tends to amount to buying virtually an entirely new computer system (CPU, Mobo, memory, and often a video card, and sometimes even a new case and power supply), is about 2 to 3 years. While you might conjecture that I could upgrade slightly less frequently if I were to buy Intel, I doubt somehow doubt I'd be slowing down my upgrading to every 6 to 10 years, which is about how long I'd have to go without upgrading before the cost difference between AMD and Intel would typically pay for itself.

Comment Re:Exactly the same one who is liable.... (Score 2) 179

In the UK, the difference in how they are treated is only in that cats have an implicit "right to roam" unless there are specific extenuating circumstances that will overrule it, while dogs must always be kept confined or on a leash unless there are extenuating circumstances that can overrule that. Cat owners in the UK are still expected to take reasonable steps to prevent their cat causing harm to others or damage to others' property, and they can be held responsible for their pet's actions, even while it was outside of their immediate control and care. So yes, there is a difference in how they are managed: cat owners can generally legally allow their cats to roam anywhere at any time of day or night, and dog owners cannot, but cat owners are not actually any less responsible for their pet's actions than dog owners in the UK. An owner's responsibility with an AI or robot would probably be quite similar to that of a cat.... either way, however, the owner is responsible for the actions of their property.

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