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Submission + - Elon Musk's Hyperloop (

bacon.frankfurter writes: Elon Musk has unveiled an idea to link cities with a new form of transportation. From Bloomberg Businessweek:

Almost a year after Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors (TSLA) and SpaceX, first floated the idea of a superfast mode of transportation, he has finally revealed the details: a solar-powered, city-to-city elevated transit system that could take passengers and cars from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes. In typical Musk fashion, the Hyperloop, as he calls it, immediately poses a challenge to the status quo—in this case, California’s $70 billion high-speed train that has been knocked by Musk and others as too expensive, too slow, and too impractical.

Comment Re:Why I doubt driverless cars will ever happen (Score 1) 604

Meh. Companies already face this. If any one of the thousands of parts in your car fails and causes an accident, the manufacturer can [...] get sued. Ask Toyota or Firestone how that plays out. All we're talking about here is another new part.

Okay, whatever guy.

The parts that fail now, in plain old dumb cars don't derive their autonomy from lidar, RFID, or 4G cellular radio transmissions or (god forbid) Wi-Fi (or the future equivalent).

When a spring or a bolt, or a seatbelt fails, it fails on that individual car. Even modern electronic systems fail in isolation. While many cars may have the same defect, and be prone to malfunctioning in the same manner, when Cruise Control in one car fails, it will never tell another car to travel at the same speed. The Toyota acceleration problem while affecting many cars, happened one car at a time. But guided cars are different. Depending on design and features implemented, one car could, in theory, affect multiple other guidance systems in other cars not even produced by the same maker.

When we engineer autonomous highway systems, with preset mandatory speeds of exactly 100KPH, let's say (in a future where carbon footprints are also standardized and enforcible by law, since an autonomous system is "perfect" and can do this) that cars also have a drafting algorithm to enhance fuel efficiency, and automatically organize into gaggles and formations, and communicate anticipated route information in situ, while updating eachother, so that members can exit and leave the formation, and optimal wind resistance can be controlled to save fuel.

Suddenly, a malfunction in such a system could throw many lives into peril, or maybe severly inconvenience people by travelling far off course unexpectedly, because of a software bug.

No company faces a reality such as this. Autonomy is different.

Comment Locomotives, Trains, Rail Roads (Score 4, Interesting) 604

Why have cars at all if we aren't allowed to drive them? Rip up all the highways, and replace them with a gigantic autonomous rail system.

But no...

That's not what's at stake here. The truth is that if I'm not in control of my whereabouts anymore, then how can I be sure I'm making decisions for myself? Without a car, you might find yourself imprisoned by the distance your two feet can take you. Someone out there will applaud this along the same premise that "those who obey the law, have nothing to hide, and my gosh, if a driverless car prevents a CRIMINAL from driving to a crime, then the system pays for itself!", but that's not the point. It's not about morality, it's about control, and if someone is stopping me from driving my own car, then who's stopping them from driving theirs? When we fork over control of our transportation, then will come the day that we're isolated into districts, where the equivalent of passports will be needed from county to county. If the car won't let me drive it, how can I be sure that the car will obey me at all?

If all the cars in the world are autonomous, and computer controlled, well gee... what's to stop "someone" (anyone) from turning them all into a gigantic autonomous system that (I'm about to Godwin this...) conveys everyone to a huge concentration camp set to autonomous genocide?

It's not morality that the author is arguing in favor of.

It's our own autonomy that he's arguing against.

Someone will have control of these cars. Somewhere there will be levers.

Let's not imagine these automatic apparatuses to be forces of nature beyond an individual human's control. These are contrived, artificial, unatural man-made objects, at their core mechanical.

Comment Re:In other words... (Score 1) 122

Yeah, I thought the same thing when I read that. In the technical field the word "HYPERLINK" has a very specific and limited meaning, one that might be lost on even a New York Times journalist. To skilled, trained technical professionals, the first question that pops into our mind it "hyperlinked to what? a picture of a doggy or a kitty cat? who cares?"

You can sense what the article it alluding to though. Other phone numbers.

The implication then becomes: okay, cops are applying Bayesian probability algorithms to their investigations, in other words they're working with "maybe's", and not "definitely's"...

This is fine when you can identify that so and so received a call from a person using a stolen telephone on January 1st, and spoke for 120 minutes. You go and ask that person: "Who called you?"

But then, the concern grows out of: What if this is a death penalty case, because a murder was involved?

Did the person holding the phone KNOW that it was linked to a murder? Did the phone get stolen or was it dropped, and reported "lost/missing"? What if the person speaking from the stolen phone was at a party, and someone handed them the phone? How do they know who really stole it?

The second concern is: If I received a call from an unscrupulous pizza delivery boy, who used a stolen cell phone to tell me he's waiting downstairs with my pizza, does that mean MY number's now in the database, and do I now have a percentile ranking for criminal tendencies, since I have a penchant for pizza? Am I going to be put in a facial recognition database, and flagged for more frequent traffic stops, whenever my E-Z pass is detected at a toll plaza?

Is the system smart enough to ignore the receiver of the call, and prune those numbers from the database, anfter a case is closed, or gone cold? Can we trust them when they say "OF COURSE!!!"

Comment Re:Which is the only logical stance (Score 1) 420

SOPA means: "Law enforcement polices the internet for content. Laws are enforced ruthlessly for infringement of Copyright Law and other Proprietary Intellectual Property concerns like Software Patents, and cases are prosecuted as criminal violations."

Net Neutrality means: "ISPs do not police network traffic under any circumstances. No deep packet inspection, to determine what kind of traffic traverses a wired connection, or wireless transmission. All ones and zeros treated indiscriminately. For example, no throttling movies and torrents as different transfer rates, when compared to VOIP data. ISPs are agnostic to what you do with the connection you pay for."

Did I miss something here?

Tell me, SuperKendall, who are you REALLY?

Comment What an Awful Company Name (Score 1) 443


I mean really. It makes my mind wretch. It's like some kind of INGSOC Newspeak name, for a happy happy joy joy Enterprise Computing corporation. Very "Doublethink". You know, like "Minipax", " Miniplenty", "Minitrue", "Miniluv"... Looks like Joyent's private Thinkpol threw your Time Live contract down a Memory Hole.

Comment Re:study shows 99% people believe the word "scienc (Score 1) 84

I'm not arguing in favor of equivocating Religion and Science. But there's an interesting side-effect that retractions and fraud, like this, can have. It's not so much that "Science" is ruined by these incidents, but really it sabotages the innate credibility of Scientists, and in the minds of some, it might reduce them to the same level as holy men, by introducing that seed of doubt. When Scientists play the "let's not and say we did game" when it comes to experimentation, and get caught, the tangible evidence and the facts (The Science) remains the same as the universe ever has, but in the here and now, among living human beings, the lines separating those who support Science vs. Religion, and how much, might be re-drawn slightly.

Comment Re:study shows 99% people believe the word "scienc (Score 1) 84

Right... right... but what about when Scientists indeed CLAIM to have performed and experiment, even though they never did? So instead of demanding belief in fiction, with no supporting evidence, we have people demanding acknowledgement of fabricated evidence, in support of "a more reasonable" fiction.

This article points out how a lack of integrity within the scientific community threatens to sabotage the very trust that the public and the 24 hour news cycle would like to imbue upon Science. (even though Science essentially depends on skepticism...)

I'm not saying Science is as imaginary as mythology, but what I am saying is that much of the ordinary world out there will predicate upon Science with the same amount of implicit trust that they might place in Religion. Just as with plagiarism, falsified experiments damage that certain sort of trust everyday people bestow upon Science.

Comment Re:study shows 99% people believe the word "scienc (Score 2, Insightful) 84

Technically atheism is a "belief", since the absence of certain supernatural forces, and parallel universes purported to be accessible upon death isn't completely proven.

When people are prevented from attempting to carry out (nuclear tests are banned by international treaty), cannot (because they lack the means or large equipment like the LHC) or simply do not carry out experiments themselves (out of sheer laziness, or dropping out of school), then they must take the ones who actusally DO carry out scientific experiments at their word.

Scientists, then, take on the role of holy men, do they not? Isn't this where the fundamental conflict between science and religion emerges? Who are our social leaders, our bastions of sage advice? As a social problem, it's essentially the same conflict as with capitalism vs. communism. Who get to be "The Leaders"? The Government and/or Monarchs, or wealthy Corporate Executives who are "free"? With science vs. religion, it instead becomes a choice between The Scientists or The Elder Shamans.

Comment Re:Impossible? (Score 1) 99

Wouldn't uhhhmmm... merely admiting to your own friendship and affinity for WikiLeaks technically compromise the network? I mean, wasn't the whole anonimity/security part of the act of leaking actually part and parcel TO the whole idea? Like, "leaking" is not "whistle blowing". The whole point is protecting the identity of the source. So... if there's suddenly a "social network" of WikiLeaks supports, and they promote their own visibility, doesn't that uh... uh... uh... make them targets?

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