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Comment Re:Any insight into language design choices? (Score 1) 338

- Why does Swift have both a "var" keyword and a "let" keyword? One should be sufficient with the other being a default behavior. If a symbol is not declared "var" then just assume it is constant or visa versa. Furthermore, it may not be necessary to have either of the key words because (I think) in every case, the need for variability and mutation should be determinable by the compiler. Type is already being inferred by the compiler, and mutability could reasonably be considered an aspect of type.

Well, for one reason, so that you'll catch typeos in variable names at compile time. You have to explicitly declare the symbols you're going to use.

Comment Not that hard in principle to fix this (Score 1) 74

Most IoT devices don't need to talk to the entire Internet. At most, they need to phone home to a few servers made by the device manufacturer. So build a protocol in which devices identify themselves, and after authorization the home router then downloads a signed ruleset. If the device is later compromised, the DDoS traffic is blocked and reported somewhere.

Yes, there are quite a few details to work through to reduce the risk of this being spoofed, and dealing with legacy devices, but in principle this could work and wouldn't be too difficult for manufacturers to implement.

Comment Re:Not surprising (Score 1) 255

How much of all this is just misanthropy.

Plenty of CEOs drinking and operating companies; plenty of sociopaths, too. Such are planning to replace tens of millions of people and crash a good chunk of the planet into depression. I'll be impressed when the CEOs get replaced by AI.

Circuits are by definition the opposite of real world. The Pittsburg taxis have drivers. The Ohio trucks have drivers. And they are crashing plenty; they just are not telling us about it.

Comment Re:Yes they did (Score 1) 47

Image a game you watch being played by the computer instead of you. The joystick moves, apeing the computer's decisions. You can override if the character does something idiotic. Now, how long til your brain shuts off, and you react too late when the character runs into a sword.

Now: imagine it's a car. You are in it. Your hand hovers over the wheel, trying every second to outguess the computer. You have a quarter second to react. You fail. You die.

Comment Re:Trouble down the road (Score 1) 255

Indded. We'd be committing everyone - poor, old, rich, young - to constantly rebuy cars on a schedule that automakers decide. They could obsolete cars at will. Or set up subsciption services - brake control, GPS maps, charge us for our own surveillance.

What is unbelievable is they think that cars are retired every five years or so, so obsolence won't be a problem. They know perfectly well that people keep cars for ten - fifteen years because, well, they're bloody expensive. They want that option gone. We'll be on an upgrade cycle like PCs, and enormously profitable one.

Cars, esp. electric cars, can easily last twenty years. Change the batteries, the motor bearings, seals, and it can keep going. That is a huge problem for car manufacturers. Computer controlled everything fixes all that for them.

Comment Re:Not surprising (Score 2) 255

Those things on the road are not self-driving cars. They are apps that can, with human oversight, kinda imitate a human driver in careully orchestrated conditions. But there are *no* self-driving cars out there. And Google just gave up.

The real goal is self-driving trucks and taxis. They want to fire all the drivers and keep all the money, so there is a lot of *want* on the part of capital. But we haven't built an AI that can match a trained human. If we have such, they'd have shown the robots proudly whipping around the streets, unpiloted. There aren't. Maybe someday we can do it, but right now we're being bamboozed by billionaires who are bamboozling themselves.

Missouri rule: Show me.

Too many things a toaster can't do. The most important: actual human thought.

Comment Who Will Protect the Internet Archive Itself? (Score 5, Interesting) 590

If you have a domain name under which you have a lot of content -- an example is -- and, after a decade or so you find yourself impoverished and stressed to the point that you can't renew the domain registration (as did Rusty Foster), a domain squatter jumps on it and holds it hostage for thousands of dollars. When that happens, frequently even "The Wayback Machine" is told to deep-six the archived content by the simple expedient of placing a robots.txt file in the home directory of the hijacked domain. "The Wayback Machine" then dutifully removes public access to the content. OH but the fun doesn't stop there! So now let's say you fork over the ransom money to the domain squatter, get the domain name back and remove the robots.txt. Of course "The Wayback Machine" then restores public access to all those articles... right?

WRONG! does keep it stored and it is accessible to those with insider status, but no more public access EVER.

There really is value in hoarding history and if you can get away with it by doing it "on accident" all the better!

Submission + - SciAm Brains Fall Out Of "Open Mind" Toward Cold Fusion?

Baldrson writes: Close on the heels of Chemical and Engineering News' article "Cold fusion died 25 years ago, but the research lives on", Scientific American has published an article titled "Cold Fusion Lives: Experiments Create Energy When None Should Exist". Both of these articles prominently feature Brilliant Light Power's recent claims of reproducible, sustained, high-density power with 100x Coeffienct of Performance (COP). As Carl Sagan famously quoted James Oberg, "Keeping an open mind is a virtue but not so open that your brains fall out.." A quarter century ago the American Physical Society concluded, to a round of applause and laughter, that "cold fusion" was "incompetence and delusion". A year ago Idea Futures judged Cold Fusion false. Has Scientific American's brains fallen out of their "open mind"?

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