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Comment Re:Awesome (Score 1) 136

Most drivers are pretty aware of their periphery, I've had people try to merge into me before and reacted appropriately. The only reason the car had to react to save him is because he was letting the autopilot drive and wasn't really paying attention. Exactly the thing that got him killed.

This. A lot of the autonomous car proponents (and programmers in general for that matter, a lot of my co-workers are pretty scary drivers) seem to be under the impression that being "in the right" means you're somehow not going to have an accident and/or you'll magically be spared in the event of having one just because you had right of way and the other guy was an idiot. It never seems to occur to them that even accidents that would be 100% the other guys fault can be avoided if *they* actually pay attention not just for themselves, but for the other drivers on the road who may be distracted.

I drive a small car that people often don't see, and as such I'm constantly watching what other drivers are doing and driving as if they're actively trying to kill me. Taking this example, . I remember specifically thinking the green car might try to merge into me and very intentionally made sure I still had an escape to the left as I was making the lane change. Had I not reacted and been hit, it would have 100% been the other guys fault and I'd have had the camera footage to prove it. However, my car would have been devalued (if not totaled), in the shop for weeks, and I could have been injured. I'd rather avoid an accident than get into one, even if it would have been the other guys fault. In my example, I wonder if an autonomous car would have done the same. It would definitely be easier for Tesla to just let it happen so they could point and say "look at all of these terrible drivers hitting our cars" than to troll through years worth of autopilot footage looking for examples of accidents that were prevented due to their cars planning out moves way in advance under the assumption that other drivers are morons.

Comment Re:try it on some odd road intersections to see ho (Score 1) 136

Except with the direction consumer goods have been going lately and the decline of actual ownership (look at cell phones), there's a very clear precedent for this sort of thing happening. Additionally, what happens when tesla pulls a microsoft and refuses updates to your vehicle in order to forcibly make you buy the next model? Your unupdated vehicle would now be a risk to other cars on the road, and your state could then compel you to retire the car via refusing to renew the registration.

Comment Re:Easily destroyed or disabled (Score 1) 263

You're getting way too technical. The easiest way to defeat the cameras is to cover your face up with whatever you have on hand. Or don't even bother covering it up. It's not like they're going to distribute HD pictures door to door asking if anyone's seen the guy who vandalized the parking surveillance robot (and faces aren't fingerprints, I guarantee you that in a big city there are going to be multiple people who look similar, resulting in a tenuous case for the prosecution).

If you want a personal anecdote, my friends expensive dome camera on the front of his house was stolen by a random gangster who noticed it while passing by on a skateboard (too far away to make out more than the colors of his shirt and pants on the initial pass). The guy tied his shirt around his face somewhere off-camera, then came back 2 minutes later and stole the thing. Even with HD video of the guy stealing the $2500 camera, the police dragged their feet at sending a detective over to look at it. And it's not like they could put out an APB for "~180lb Hispanic male approximately 5'10" with brown eyes and dark hair", as that would describe slightly less than half the city.

Comment Re:Easily destroyed or disabled (Score 1) 263

Well ... most criminals intent on stealing or vandalizing a car probably won't be armed. But they might learn to bring along a tarp to throw over the robot to blind it.

Most criminals intent on vandalizing a car will be content with vandalizing an expensive security robot instead. In fact, I'd bet the robot would be even funner to vandalize than a car. It has all the thrill of damaging something expensive, plus the added benefits of reacting to the damage in a potentially funny way, and the ego boost from having messed with the thing that was supposed to stop them. Additionally, the robot is 100% safe. There's always some risk that if you mess with a human enough, they'll eventually snap and do something about it, even if it means getting fired or sued.

Comment Re: Unsurprising (Score 1) 441

A number of years ago I remember reading about combining computer and human control of a/c so pilots could black out fro short periods while the plane takes evasive maneuvers.

This is more along the direction AI in aircraft will go. Similar to the way it's going with cars now, we'll see assistive technologies long before we'll see things go fully autonomous. For aircraft I could imagine it going in two directions: flight systems designed to assist in ways analogous to modern cars, and semi-autonamous drones slaved to a human fighter.

I'd think that the flight systems would be fairly straightforward. Ability to fly evasive patterns on command (basically like the current automatic countermeasure systems taken to the next level), threat prioritization and tracking, maybe even recommending some higher level strategy.

Semi-autonomous drones would get a lot more interesting. I could imagine something made small and cheap enough to be expendable (at least more expendable than the F-35 + pilot). They'd tail a human fighter by default, but then be tasked individually to do things like fire missiles, move away and serve as a second radar emitter for use against stealth targets, or even serve as a kind of ablative armor by decoying incoming missiles.

Comment Re:It's amazing she still has defenders (Score 1) 742

a "protest vote" for Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein or Ralph Nader will ultimately lead to the election of the Republican Party's presumptive nominee, the sociopathic, megalomaniacal demagogue, Donald Trump.

And then the next election, the democratic party will see that they lost 30% of their potential vote to sanders and start running candidates who aren't criminals, psychopaths, or just flat out insane; giving them much better odds of winning subsequent elections.

But don't let me stop you from only thinking as far ahead as the current election cycle. As you can see, it's worked out great for the country so far.

Comment Re:Telemetry (Score 1) 130

My understand of what makes these sorts of landings complex is that because the rocket is so light having expended all of its fuel, the engines can't throttle down low enough to not overcome gravity by a large margin. As such, it's basically falling at terminal velocity until the last few seconds when the engines cut in just long enough to cancel out the downwards velocity. Since the throttles are at minimum, I would suspect there's plenty of thrust available to do it with even just a single engine (assuming it can stabilize on one engine, as you rightly pointed out). It's just comes down to how quickly can it detect that there's less thrust than expected and then compensate for it, since the timing is extremely critical.

Comment Re:It's amazing she still has defenders (Score 1) 742

I'm as much against obamacare as the next guy, but I think you're buying into your own hyperbole. Otherwise explain the fact that our system has been "broken and headed for complete meltdown" since the 1700s, and how we're still around even though every president I can remember has always been the one who was going to destroy the country (according to their opposition).

Comment Re:Is this what they've determined we want? (Score 1) 125

I'm not the guy you were replying to, but I have a 30/month (comes out to 35 after taxes and such) no contract plan with t-mobile. Unlimited data (reduced speed after 5gb) and text, 300 minutes of talk. I bought a Nexus4 to use with the plan a few years ago and it still works great. Definitely came out ahead compared to if I'd gone with the pay monthly to rent a phone scheme that most people do.

Comment Re:It's amazing she still has defenders (Score 1) 742

Let me add to clarify, the third party doesn't threaten the most opposed dissimilar party. The third party divides the power of the most similar party, guaranteeing the most dissimilar party wins.

Everyone knows this, and I believe I addressed it already. Yes you hurt "your" side in the short term, that's the entire point of voting 3rd party. What you're not taking into account is "your" side seeing just how many votes they lost and then changing in response to the votes stolen by the 3rd party, hopefully becoming more in line with your actual views.

Comment Re:It's amazing she still has defenders (Score 1) 742

It's mathmatically poor in the short term, but does that take into account changes that will happen as a result? Election outcomes aren't a binary thing. A 60/40 landslide is going to mean the winner has a lot more political capital than a 50.5/49.5 outcome. If one of the main parties gets 30% with a 3rd party getting 34% and the winner having 36%, that should be a pretty big wakeup call to both main parties that they to get with the times. They're going to either change for the better by next election, or disappear into irrelevancy while the 3rd party takes their place.

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