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Comment I have no doubt the Bose are better (Score 1) 230

For 350 clams they better be. Not saying my cheaper gear was better or even as good. Just saying that for one sixth of the price I get a serviceable device which is by far better than the phones issued on the plane. By far. Good enough to really improve my journey. Oh, and they are too cheap to come with their own app. Another plus IMHO.

Comment I always thought those Bose NC cans cost too much (Score 1) 230

As an experiment I bought a pair of Noisehush for fifty bucks on sale. I mainly use them on flights and -- surprise -- they really make a difference. Probably not as effective as the Bose dampers for sure... But they kill the jet noise and cabin chatter and let me get immersed in my content. They are a little cheaply made IMHO and required a minor hack to the keep battery cover in place. They use AAA batteries. I keep spares in the case. They last 120 hours. I don't know.... A quick battery swap vs a recharge? Anyway. Not a problem. Seeing this article I get the warm glow of schadenfreude because I always envied people their pricey Bose jobs. I imagined them in 350 bucks worth of private solitude. Not any more. Not. Any. More. Bose Bitchez.

Comment Whoa! That is an amazing about. (Score 1) 341

Thanks for your informative and interesting reply. What a story! And how does a state manage to make a legal business illegal and get away with it? Corruption pure and simple as you indicated. Seems to me that the left could get some real traction in this area in the future. I wonder what the status of utility and communication cooperatives is nationally. A review would make a good Wired article IMHO. You know. Technology and culture.

Comment Dangerous waste of time indeed. (Score 1) 388

So behavioral psychologists are only interested in behavior. So you create an AI that is responding predictably and consistently after simulation and training -- even to novelty. Is it absolutely necessary to know what is going on in the black box? Especially if the device outperforms a human driver. I agree that it is unsettling not to know. Since we have no good theory of mind it is actually unsurprising that when we create a device that seems to have one we don't know exactly what is going on. I think it is pretty cool, actually.

Currently in Ulaanbaatar, which has some of the most aggressive and undisciplined driving I have ever seen. I would love to see the AI that could field these dudes and dudettes. Combat ready!

You know a robo hybrid is not that far off. Volvo is testing 100 cars in Gothenburg as I write. Their idea is to have the car drive when it is boring and the driver take over when he or she wishes or when high skill is needed. Works for me.

Comment Here is an example of a functioning co-op (Score 3, Informative) 341

In reference to an article yesterday on a similar topic I posted the following link to a functioning co-op. Co-ops take leadership, but they can really serve the public good in ways that a government bureaucracy or a for-profit cannot. Not a panacea, but the Maryland Broadband Cooperative has a pretty good record I think. As states outlaw municipal broadband it seems to me that this kind of institution is one that they can't sensibly outlaw. They could try, of course, an no doubt will. Anyway, MDBC has put a lot of fiber into the countryside.

Comment The same can be said for human learners. (Score 1) 388

It is difficult to predict how a person reacts, also. Because, well, we don't exactly know how we work either. The solution has always been simulation and training. Plenty of instruction for plane pilots, but -- tragically -- hardly any for cars. IMHO even the pseudo AIs we have now will do better in most situations than the majority of poorly-trained, distracted, intoxicated, hung-over people currently at the wheel. Nearly 30K dead every year. I want you all in robo cars now. But I'll keep my Land Cruiser, thank you.

Comment A cooperative corp. seems a natural play IMHO (Score 1) 113

From Wikipedia "A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is an autonomous association of people united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled business."

I wonder if a state could successfully outlaw a cooperative corporation? IANAL but it seems to me that if they tried they would fail if the co-op had enough public support. And what would the courts say? Now, admittedly, my state of Maryland is bluer than a B.B. King discography. It turns out to have what appears to be a vibrant broadband co-op. which is taking broadband to Southern Maryland. S. Maryland was very rural when I was a boy, but it is now an X-Urb. It seems to me that with some leadership a locality that wanted broadband badly enough could form a co-op if the voters were on board. Anybody have any experience with this?

Comment Wait! I just remembered the memory man. (Score 3, Insightful) 190

Years ago I was gifted a book by some very nice people after I gave a talk. The book was How to Develop a Super Power Memory by Harry Lorayne. It was full of practical mnemonics and methods to remember numbers, peoples' names etc. etc. It also delved into the history of the use of memory. The take away? The brain is like a muscle. Use it or lose it. I never became obsessed on the subject, but twenty years later I still use many of the tools outlined in the book to remember things. Mindfullness is a big fad these days. But really it is just watching what you are doing, paying attention, remembering what you need to remember. Like anything else it is a skill that can be sharpened using a set of tried and true tools.

Now permit me to digress onto a related topic. A lot of sturm und drang these days about the dangers of AI. I for one am not too panicked by the prospect of Skynet and its ilk. But to my mind one of the very real downsides of AI is the offloading of memory tasks and degradation of important human abilities. The brain is energy efficient (read: lazy ass) if it knows something is recorded elsewhere or readily available elsewhere it will be more likely to forget it. Look at how our geographic sense deteriorates with GPS.

These days I make an effort not to always Google something the moment I can't summon it into memory. I will give it time and the name of the actress or politician or writer will often percolate up. And if I am returning to a place for a second time I try to visualize my route beforehand and leave my navigation system out of it. Sure. If I am tormented endlessly, or in a heated conversation, or lost, or pressed for time, it makes sense to resort to the computational oxygen around me. But I try to avoid over dependency on it all.

Comment Distractions I have seen with car in motion (Score 1) 102

Eating -- I mean with a plate and fork -- Make-up application -- Hair Styling -- Turning Around Completely to talk -- Sex -- Urination (I think) -- Photography (Camera and Phone) I know I have seen other stuff. Feel free to add to the list.

You know, I have recently become more aware of how distracting getting audio is these days. In days gone by the car only had a radio with punch buttons for favorites (Provided one set them). Or later slotting in an 8 Track, a cassette, or CD was not too crazy (not always that safe admittedly) But even tuning the radio dial could be done with eyes on the road. One tuned in by ear, of course.

But now? In my new car with the 9 inch touch screen. Bluetooth, Spotify, Sirius XM and all manner of stuff on the console (Not to mention Sat Nav). It's cool, but to be safe it should at least be teed up while stationary. Touch screen to drill down through menus in traffic? Tempting but relatively distracting. (I confess to succumbing to the temptation on occasion.) If content is from my Android phone I can use voice control, which I like. And hands freeis okay. But truth be told even yakking takes some processing power of the driving task.

I would like to have self drive for the boring bits. Volvo is close to launching a workable solution. Testing a hundred SD cars in real world in Sweden right now. Full manual for when I am in control. Driver Assist nanny randomly kicking in while I am in control would make me unhappy. I drive as mindfully as I can. No daydreaming to the extent possible. Eyes on the road reading down lane. Fully present behind the wheel with active situational awareness using mirrors.. My motivation? Calculating the amount of kinetic energy I have accumulated straddling a controlled gasoline bomb in a steel and plastic egg.

Comment I could not agree more. (Score 1) 159

I really learned something from your comment. It really put some meat on the bone, Yes, for the reasons you so clearly stated, whatever the Chinese do with gene tech will not be pretty or even handed. One would hope that we can move forward with more decency and with a higher ethical standard... But move forward we must. And quickly.

Comment Let's go for it. (Score 5, Interesting) 159

Once upon a time dissecting people was thought unholy, but renaissance physicians like Vessalius did it anyway, risking anything from excommunication to death. Medical progress has always been hampered from time to time by unfounded pseudoreligeous fears.

CRISPR is awesome progress. Germline enhancement is clearly the next step. Certainly a generation of smarter stronger humans can do better with things than we have. China will have no compunctions going towards enhancement. We should not allow squeamishness to prevent us from literally making better people. It won't be hard. The bar is not very high.

Comment IMHO.The nervous system likes a bit of noise (Score 1) 564

I was pleased to read that some of the tape enthusiasts saw the lack of fidelity as a feature not a bug. Music can be enjoyed in very low fi. Over an AM radio for example. And Old 78s of Opera and Jazz are prized. I think the appeal of vinyl is in the warmth that comes with just a taste noise. Not noisy noise, just a little. Like Vaseline on a lens. Or an old faded print. Tube amplifiers produce warm sound with power to boot. We like white noise: ocean sounds; an air conditioner humming away on a hot night. The thrum of a diesel as one shoos through the night dozing in one's first class coupe.

You know this made me glad I kept those old cassettes and the 80s vintage stereo to play them on. Think I'll spin up some Blondie.... maybe Prince.

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