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Comment Re:Could work (Score 1) 450

5. Multiple gas cans in a single vehicle are much more likely to reach that ratio, and over a larger area as well.

This is where we disagree. The probability of a gas can's fuel-air ratio being ideal for ignition is exactly the same whether that gas can is next to another one or not. So although the probability of that specific vehicle catching fire is twenty times higher if it has twenty gas cans, the company that owns the vehicle has exactly the same chance of having a vehicle catch fire, because the probability does not decrease by adding more vehicles; it merely gets spread out over a larger number of death traps^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hvehicles.

6. A 10 gallon fuel fire is bad enough, a 200 gallon fuel fire is quite another. Note, I'm not including the vehicle's fuel tank because, on consideration, it's generally pretty well protected.

I was assuming more like a few 5-gallon cans per vehicle—say 25 to 30 gallons in total. Two-hundred gallons would be insane. A typical half-ton pickup can't even carry that much weight; that would exceed its maximum bed weight by about 250 pounds, not counting the gasoline tanks. Besides, tanks over 25 gallons have lots of additional regulations, and most cities' fire codes won't let you store more than 25-30 gasoline cans in a single home or business, so if you go over that limit, you'd never be able to legally park the vehicle overnight....

Comment Re:Simple question (Score 1) 256

That argument could be made for a pretty wide variety of stuff from sugar to alcohol.

Not really. Sugar plays a vital role in sports drinks, and moderate consumption of some alcoholic beverages has been shown to have a number of health benefits, including lower risk of heart disease.

Comment Re:Four excuses against HTTPS (Score 1) 49

You left out one, and it's a pretty big one. By policy, no certificate authority is allowed to issue a TLS certificate for any host in the .local domain, because there's no ownership/legitimate control over those domains, multiple people could legitimately lay claim to the same domains on different networks, and the domain names are chosen by random end users who don't even know what a TLS certificate is, much less how to buy their own domain name. Therefore, any Wi-Fi-connected device that needs to serve content via DNS service discovery must currently use an unencrypted connection.

IMO, that's a rather serious flaw in the notion of requiring HTTPS everywhere. Unlike the issues you listed, which all fall into the category of "because X hasn't upgraded Y yet" or "because X hasn't bothered to support it yet", this one is actually a problem for which there is currently no solution, and any possible solution would require completely changing the way we think about site security, moving us from a strict central trust model to something much more flexible and decentralized.

Basically, until that problem is solved, the IoT is DOA as far as HTTPS is concerned.

Comment Re:And the problem is? (Score 1) 268

In snowy weather, roads can lose a whole lane. Four lane roads become two lane roads become three lane roads. Watching a car subtlety veer as it runs over an ice patch, and knowing how to handle that (avoid the spot, coast over in neutral, whatever) is something that a good driver will do instantly, and a computer can't yet handle- nor does anyone seem to be working on that issue.

How is that anything more complicated than merely providing additional training data? I'm assuming that all self-driving cars will involve machine learning, no?

Comment Re:Could work (Score 3, Insightful) 450

They don't typically whip out a hose and start pouring out pints, though.

Tow trucks do this all the time. In some places, the police do, too. It's hard to come up with a clear reason why one truck carrying twenty properly filled, properly made gas cans is that much less safe than twenty trucks carrying one.

Comment Re:California 'High Speed' Rail may beat it (Score 1) 351

I would think that the existing Coast Starlight line could be upgraded for HSR, so long as you divert inland a bit to bypass downtown SLO and Santa Barbara. It would, however, be at least a 30% longer trip (or even longer if they didn't bypass those downtown areas), and that's not factoring in the extra delay caused by going slowly around that one long, tight curve (maybe where it goes around the women's prison?). The bigger problem is that they'd have to convince Union Pacific to give them priority, which is almost certainly easier said than done. And the route would also be shared with the Coast Starlight, the Pacific Surfliner, Metrolink, and Caltrain....

Comment Re:Classics of SF? I don't think so (Score 1) 180

I think that the entire notion of creating a list using statistics about the number of people who read them, by ranking, etc. is an exercise in pointlessness. In the first case, you're duplicating the Amazon sales rank. In the second case, you're duplicating the Amazon review rank.

What would be far more interesting, IMO, would be to use machine learning to actually analyze the text of books within a genre, and then recommend other books based on which books a given individual likes and dislikes. And by feeding it a bunch of commonly read classics (Asimov, Clarke, Huxley, Wells, Bradbury, Orwell, Longyear, etc.), you could also establish a regular list of new books that ought to become classics (and, by extension, which new books ought to go in the trash bin).

Comment Re:They have multiple street names wrong.. (Score 5, Informative) 262

Actually, it probably did get fixed, and then got broken again when they pulled data from upstream. Companies like Google and Apple get their mapping data from a number of providers, then merge that data together. If those providers give them bad info, if they just fix it in their local database, it will get stomped on by the next data pull. To fix it correctly, it has to get pushed up to the providers. If multiple providers give them incorrect data, it has to be fixed upstream by multiple upstream providers. Worse, those providers, in turn, get their info from multiple providers. This continues until you reach some government contractor.

If you're really unlucky, the city planning office tells that contractor not to fix the data, because Google Maps says that it is correct. And then Google fixes it on their side, and then the city sends the wrong data to TIGER, who sends it to somebody else, who sends it to somebody else, who sends it to Google or Apple, reverting the fix all the way down the line.

Submit a second report about the problem. Then at the same time, submit a report to your city planning office. Odds are at least even that they're the problem.

Comment Re:Public Service Announcement (Score 5, Interesting) 223

The government can just wait for your prints to regrow (while you are held in custody)

That approach won't work. The device won't take fingerprints after 48 hours. In fact, if the person simply refuses to submit to use of their fingers to unlock the device, they might get held in contempt, but after 48 hours, they can submit to the use of their fingers, and they're no longer in contempt, but it won't be of any value to the government.

Comment Re: Duress print (Score 1) 223

That won't help you. Unless the "wipe" included fake usage and history, that's tampering with evidence and a crime all its own. And if your fake data doesn't match call record metadata, that will still be easy to prove as tampering.

This is a great example of why all phones should allow multiple user accounts. If you configure different accounts with different fingerprints, your private stuff could be in your left-handed account, and you could have a generic account with some minimal history and no access to much of anything in your right-handed acount (or vice versa).

This is also why all phones should allow user-configurable multiple access levels. Keep certain apps that contain private data locked behind an additional passcode, while allowing the fingerprint to unlock the phone far enough to make phone calls, watch Netflix, and play games.

Comment Re:Thousands? (Score 1) 113

Ironically, the possession laws are the sole reason why it isn't millions or billions. IMO, if you really want to get tough on harm to children, it has to be legal for people to A. submit photos that they think might be child porn, so that authorities can investigate them, and B. submit photos and metadata to a server to determine whether it is known child porn, with a guarantee that nobody will try to track you down and send you to jail or confiscate your equipment merely for checking a photo that you have questions about (or even a million photos that you have questions about).

But to make that possible, short of hiding it in some sort of onion routing nightmare, the existing possession law likely would have to be either drastically scaled back or eliminated. Why? Suppose somebody posts child porn on an Internet forum that I own/maintain. There are basically three likely outcomes:

  • A user flags it for review. A moderator looks at it and decides to delete it. Odds are, nothing bad happens.
  • A user flags it for review. A moderator contacts law enforcement for advice. The server is now part of an active investigation, and gets taken offline for forensics. In the best-case scenario, I get my hardware back in a couple of months. In the worst-case scenario, I lose the hardware, my backups, and the domain name through civil forfeiture.
  • I add software to scan the file and ask some server whether it is child porn. That request is logged. Law enforcement now knows that this image is on the server, and begins digging through other parts of the server. They find some image that wasn't in the database yet when it was originally submitted, but that is, in fact, child porn. Again, I lose the site for at least a couple of months, and maybe forever, thanks to civil forfeiture laws.

Each of those scenarios other than the first one is basically a death sentence for a website. So right now, with the law as written, the safest thing a site owner can do is to avoid looking for child porn, and if they discover child porn inadvertently, destroy all evidence that it was ever there. This is the polar opposite of the behavior that the law should be encouraging, and the sole reason for that is that possession laws invariably cause more harm than good, no matter how heinous the thing you're trying to ban.

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