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Comment Re:I call bullshit. (Score 1) 368

Pulling the door opener lever on the door of a car overrides the locking mechanisms. This is a fire-safety requirement. The guy was probably just still asleep when the cops found the car.

Sure, that's the stated requirement, but do you really know for sure that there is no backdoor override method that can be engaged at the company's discretion?

As everything goes all electronic, it'll all depend on what's in the code. And that could be changed at a moment's notice.

Comment Re:Maybe I'm more anal-retentive than most (Score 1) 168

But I have a hard time understanding how anybody could forget their laptop at a TSA checkpoint.

On the other hand, I can think of one coworker who, if she announced this had happened to her, no one would be surprised in the least. But we're all routinely baffled by what passes for thought process in her head anyway.

It's easy to remember your laptop when you only have to worry about yourself, your shoes, your laptop and your bag at security.

Try traveling on little sleep with a few of your own children (who are scared of the security process), an elderly parent, and pushy TSA agents. Then see if your perspective changes.

Comment Not with new charging models! (Score 1) 468

I disagree. Companies will do what they need to do to profit.

For example, software companies have moved to monthly fee models where you rent their software instead of buying it. The AI software of the future will likely move in this direction. I expect that the hardware will also evolve in the same way. For example, companies will either be allowed to rent the automation hardware or will be forced to buy "maintenance contracts" that generate the necessary level of income to support the companies that design and sell the hardware. As the software and the hardware will be quite complex, it will keep jobs active for lots of hardware and software engineers.

Automation is supposed to take away the boring and repetitive jobs. This is the goal. We don't have people digging holes with shovels at construction sites anymore... they are using excavators. The problem is that a lot of the replaced workers are not continuing their education to the point that they can get the design jobs. This needs to happen.

I know that in many cases this is a socioeconomic issue, but for others it is simply a personal choice. The US political parties need to stop lying to people and telling them that it is possible to bring these jobs back to the US. The only way this will be possible is if they tax the hell out of imports and no politician will be able to stomach that decision. In reality, the only solutions are to retrain the workers to do more complex tasks, to give them welfare forever, or to ship them off to China/India/Vietnam.


Buying Stuff On Your Phone Still Sucks ( 102

Despite all the advancements smartphone companies have made on the phone, desktop platforms continue to be their preferred way to buy stuff online. CNET spoke with a number of people who not only confirmed that they bought things using a laptop or a desktop computer, but also listed the reasons why they don't use their smartphones to do big transactions. From the report: For now, though, buying stuff on a phone is often terrible, so at least for this Cyber Monday you're likely still buying stuff on a laptop, with its big screen and full physical keyboard. While people are buying on mobile websites and apps a lot more -- up 65 percent from last year -- consumers are three times more likely to complete a purchase on a PC than a phone, according to an Adobe mobile retail report released last month. That's resulted in PCs bringing in 75 percent of retailers' online sales this year, versus just 16 percent from phones, the report said. To consumers, phone screens are too small, pinch-to-zoom features aren't available in mobile apps, it's hard to find things easily, and checkout using that tiny touchscreen keyboard is a pain. When people do buy on mobile, they make smaller purchases than on desktops, Adobe found. Retailers stand to lose billions of dollars in sales if they don't get their act together, Adobe said. And consumers will continue to be frustrated when trying to buy.

Comment How can this ship survive combat? (Score 1) 143

It is incredibly disturbing to me that a deployed destroyer's propulsion system can't even survive "minor contact" with the lock walls. It's particularly worrisome that the failure mode was for the propulsion drives to completely lock up, rendering the ship immobile.

I can see losing one drive shaft due to a collision, but both?!

How is the ship going to continue to function after getting hit by an enemy missile?

How is this possibly a robust and combat ready design when one of the two critical functions (propulsion system and the combat system) can't even take a minor hit?

Comment Re:No, it just needs the Boomers to die off (Score 1) 260

I work with quite a few people who "need" to print things every day.

First of all, the vast majority of things they print don't require printing in the first place. As an almost stereotypical example, we have one lady who:

I think it helps to be cognizant of the fact that many of the older folks have more experience than you do, and that those experiences are probably more diverse.

Maybe you are too young to be aware of this or maybe your work doesn't involve it, but in the 80's and 90's, many businesses required their workers to save all paper invoices going back 10 years for audit, in chronological order. Electronic records were not acceptable because of formatting and technology changes over time (no PDF) and because often information was communicated via fax or physical mail, and it was easier to print than to digitize/OCR. Where I work, we only fully got rid of the fax machine this year, but it can still cause a problem when interfacing with less e-friendly companies, like smaller machine shops.

Regarding trusting computers, it is also much easier for a careless worker to catastrophically delete ALL electronic invoices with a single keystroke (what backups? I needed a spare hard drives for something else!) than to accidentally burn 4 filing cabinets worth of paper.

So make fun of the baby boomers if you like for being more hesitant to shift to contemporary practices, but remember that they probably make fun of millennials for only being able to focus on tasks for 5 minutes at a time, not being able to spell without a spellcheck, having poor reading comprehension, and not being able to work more than 40 hours a week without massive complaints! (Yes, these are all the complaints that I hear.)

Comment Re:Cost of loss? (Score 1) 106

How much did all of this mission cost? Does anyone realize how much food that money could have provided to those in need ON THIS PLANET?! We have no business looking off-planet until we learn to live in harmony with THIS planet.. and with each other.

Why are you posting on the internet when you could be using your resources to help those in need on this planet.

Wait, i just realized that you never said what planet you were posting from? Are you on Mars?!?!

Comment Re:Im not trying to be that guy.. (Score 2) 112

The lander used hydrazine as its fuel.

Hydrazine is a monopropellant, so it will react on its own. No oxidizer needed.

Ideally, it will react in a controlled fashion using a catalyst.

But since it is a monopropellant, it's a molecule that is only in a semi-stable state. So if enough energy is put into it (though say a high impact crash), it will burn or detonate by itself.

Comment Re:Car with funny looking thing on top goes wrong (Score 1) 254

From a distance he couldn't tell whether the car was driving itself, or its human operator had made a mistake. Stachelek took out his phone in time to shoot a brief video of Uber's vehicle backing up and driving away, then uploaded it to Facebook. "Driverless car went down a one way the wrong way," he wrote. "Driver had to turn car around."

Well, was it driverless or did it have a driver? If it had a driver, was the driver in control? Which would make it just a funny looking car and a confused human operator?

Verdict: meh.

We don't know at this point, but it is important not to let facts get in the way of clicks or being the first to report the story!

Comment Re:Misguided (Score 1) 387

The fact that he makes a case for a pardon shows that he still believes in government. Isn't that contrary to everything he's tried to teach us so far?

Or maybe it just shows that he wants to live in the US instead of Russia, despite all of his concerns about the NSA's domestic spying program!

The grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence!

Comment Re:The Utah? (Score 1) 88

Sort of like how people say "The Ukraine" ;)

I love how thin and fragile looking those layers are, you rarely see such delicate shapes on Earth. Mars has the advantages of low gravity and winds that exert only tiny forces. No rain, snow or floods either. There's stronger thermal cycling, but that's apparently not a problem for them.

Thermal cycling isn't a problem without the frost associated with the presence of migrating water:

Also, CO2 cannot be present in a liquid state on Mars due to the low atmospheric pressure, so there can be no frost weathering associated with that material either.

Comment Re:Frist to come must shut power down (Score 1) 243

I understand the rush to be a first poster rather than actually reading the article.

I don't!

It exemplifies everything depressing about the internet! It was (1) WRONG, (2) snarky, and (3) got modded up as insightful by others who also didn't read the article! The only thing missing is the fact that the poster wasn't anonymous.

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If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have given up being a rock 'n' roll star. -- G. Hirst