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Submission + - Law for Autonomous Vehicles: Supporting an Aftermarket for Driving Computers (perens.com)

Bruce Perens writes: How will we buy self-driving cars, and how will we keep them running as self-driving software and hardware becomes obsolete much more rapidly than the vehicle itself? Boalt Hall legal professor Lothar Determann and Open Source Evangelist Bruce Perens are publishing an article in the prestigious Berkeley Technology Law Journal on how the law and markets might support an aftermarket for self-driving computers, rather than having the manufacturer lock them down or sell driving as a service rather than selling cars. The preprint is available to read now, and discusses how an Open Car, based on Open Standards and an Open Market, but not necessarily Open Source, can drive prices down and quality up over non-competitive manufacturer lock-in.

Comment Re:battery life a braindead argument (Score 1) 266

Only if you never use suspend to RAM. 32GB of DDR4 will use 12W, constantly, for as long as the machine is storing data in memory, including in sleep mode. Currently, the sleep mode uses around 1W, so you're cutting the sleep time to 1/12th before you even start using the machine. In fact, with the current FAA rules on battery size allowed on flights, you'd only get about 8 hours of standby time in the model you're describing - not even enough to leave it overnight without needing to suspend to disk. In idle use (CPU and GPU not doing much, but screen on), you'd double the power consumption. In heavy use, you'd increase it by about a quarter. Unless you're spending basically all of your time with the CPU and GPU saturated and swapping heavily, you'd see far less battery life with 32GB of DDR4 than with 16GB of LPDDR3 (the choices that current Intel chips provide).

Comment Re:a little late, no? (Score 1) 266

The batteries in the MBP are as big as the FAA allows on planes. Even if you're not using it in the cabin, you're not allowed lithium ion batteries in the hold at all, so they'd have created a laptop that no one could take on a flight. That makes it useless for a lot of Apple's current customers and having two lines, one for people who might want to fly and one for people who definitely won't would be a pain.

Comment Re: They said they want us to die... (Score 1) 266

A C++ compiler will happily use 2-300MB of RAM. A MBP has 4 cores plus hyperthreading, so to make sure that you're using the CPU you're doing 8-way parallel builds. That will easily fit in 4GB, until you get to the small handful of template-heavy files that use 1-2GB each, and suddenly you're at 16GB and swapping, which kills performance for the whole build. The linker will take 4GB or so if you're not doing LTO, if you are then it will happily chew through 16GB.

Comment Re:IT is amazing (Score 3, Informative) 86

Most folks drink stale coffee. Try roasting your own (I use Sweet Maria's for supplies) or going somewhere with a roaster on site who is honest enough to tell you the roast date. It should be from 2 to 10 days ago. Flavor development in coffee is a rancidification process. Like cheese, you want to catch it when it is a little, but not too, rancid.

Comment Re:...Or Just Take Aspirin. (Score 2) 86

Let's not forget the effect of helicobacter pylori bacteria on ulcers, they are in general held to be the main cause these days.

I have another theory about the beneficial effect of aspirin, caffine, etc. We evolved with them. Our diet was rich in salycilates and chemicals similar to theobromine or caffine. They came from the plants we ate, some of which were mildly toxic and which we evolved to process to the point that we became dependent on some of their effects. There are a lot of things in the primitive diet that modern people don't eat much at all, like acorns which had to be soaked to remove alkalai and tannin.

If this is the case, taking aspirin and drinking coffee or tea replace substances found in a more primitive diet.

Comment Re: Note that what's large... (Score 4, Informative) 73

Venus has multiple "tropopauses" and "stratospheres", depending on how you define them. The atmosphere is like a layer cake with multiple convection zones (like Earth's troposphere) separated by areas of dynamic stability (like Earth's stratosphere). And again, ~50-70km is an awfullly long way from the surface, and surface winds are weak. But, there's a lot about Venus that we don't understand.

Comment test run (Score 1) 188

Which manufacturing capacity does ISIS have left? Which engineers have not yet run away from the sinking ship?

Someone is using ISIS as a test run for their latest toy, and it's not the Russians (they would test by themselves). Expect the US or some of its allies to use weaponized small drones in the next war against the next terrorists, the result of "years of military research".

Comment Re:Only a fraction of US munitions... (Score 2) 188

"Our Nobel Peace Prize President dropped 26,000 bombs (real bombs, not little hand grenades) last year on various brown people (even though we are not at war)."

Why make it about skin colour? Your president was the same colour but he very clearly didn't bomb himself, so that was obviously not a factor in determining targets so why bring it up?

"BTW, has anyone considered that it might be preferable to address their grievances rather than just bomb them?"

Whilst I'd always agree for rational actors such as the IRA, FARC, and maybe even the Taliban, these actors aren't rational. You could make the same argument for the Nazis in WWII but given that their greivance was that they wanted to extinguish entire groups of humans to the tune of millions then it's not exactly a greivance that any reasonable human being can help address is it?

When the greivance in question is our very existence and way of life, then it's not merely that they're a bit upset about something and we can help make that better, it's that they want to extinguish our very existence, and the only response to that is to extinguish theirs first.

But if you believe otherwise, then do feel free to go and talk to them. I'll keep an eye on YouTube for a video of how you got on.

Comment Re:If irreversible, why not let it continue natura (Score 2) 417

The problem is that the fossil fuel industry is the most heavily subsidised industry going. A nuclear plant for example is always going to be made to be responsible for complete costs of waste disposal, and yet fossil fuel plants, and cars are allowed to just spew their waste into the environment at no cost.

If you were to make the fossil fuel industry pay it's actual costs - i.e. impact on people's health for example, rather than expect people to subsidise them by paying for their own health issues caused by fossil fuel users then the cost of petrol cars, of power via fossil fuels and so forth would be untenable and the market would change overnight but with massive economic and social disruption as people fail to afford to adjust to paying what they actually should, rather than to continue using their fossil fuel based power source or car at the expense of others.

So given the difficulty in trying to just completely alter the entire economic model of most countries overnight by making it illegal for fossil fuel users and power plants to continue to be subsidised by, say, doubling the price of petrol and electricity from non-renewable sources it's easier to just give at least some kind of counter-subsidy to renewables.

The problem is that the "natural" rate of change you're referring to isn't the natural rate of change, it's a rate of change crippled by the fact that fossil fuel power plants and so forth receive massive indirect subsidies through the fact they're not faced to pay for the actual costs they incur on society.

If you want to learn more search for "fossil fuel externalities". You'll find no end of articles and papers trying to estimate the hidden costs of fossil fuels, and whilst estimates vary it's to the degree of hundreds of billions every year in the US alone. The problem is that the system has been manipulated so long by the fossil fuel industries due to the power of big oil et. al. that they're not even close to playing on a level playing field even with renewable subsidies - they're at a massive subsidised advantage over renewables even when renewables have the subsidies they do.

Comment Note that what's large... (Score 3, Informative) 73

.... is the size, not the intensity. The air moves only slightly faster or slower than the surrounding atmosphere as one passes through the wave.

They weren't expected on Venus, though. Venus's surface is dozens of kilometers down, thick and "soupy" there, transitioning to thinner layers above. It was surprising to see that surface features that far away, in a fluid that can compress, would still make clear phenomena like gravity waves in the high atmosphere.

Comment Re: Not really needed for drones (Score 1) 22

Modulation designators that state the payload type don't make much sense with digital data transports. You can do digital TV or anything else with 4 MHz bandwidth. Cellular doesn't make much sense unless they have a really long hover time and drone life, in which case it could be a pop-up base station.

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