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Comment I've watched a lot of nuke films... (Score 1) 62

... but a lot of these seem different. I can't help but think that they were held back because of how terrifying the imagery is. Some in particular (https://goo.gl/PviFuq , https://goo.gl/cl1QlR) look like the bomb is creating a sun on Earth which then begins to destroy the Earth. If these videos were available in the 70's, 80's, or 90s, I think nuclear disarmament would have been a much more attainable goal because the severity of the risk would have been even more understood.

Comment No Reason to Trust the Programming (Score 1) 202

I don't trust autonomous vehicles because I don't have any reason to. I don't trust Google's or Apple's or Tesla's autonomous vehicles because we in the public (even us nerds) haven't seen enough data to trust them. While someone cited a stat earlier in the conversation like "a human has had to take control once in 5,000 miles", that's not enough. Where were those 5,000 miles? At what speed? What was the other traffic like? Were these 5,000 miles of continually changing conditions or 5,000 of crawling rush hour traffic in San Francisco over a year of testing?

We have learned over the years that when someone proposes a major risk-based endeavor, there always needs some sort of third-party verifier of relative safety. (The CPSC, NTSB, NITSA, PCI, etc.) And those who complain about "hindering innovation" put their own profitability ahead of the safety of their customers. Do we have ANY third-party organization like this yet to test the safety/reaction capability of autonomous vehicles in a controlled environment? Do they have a standardized testing facility?

I don't think we do.

I think everyone who has been working on this tech have selected/developed their own facilities, tests, and standards. And to a certain extent, that's to be expected. But look at all the RECENT times when tech innovation has out-paced regulation: Uber ("disruptive", but massive amounts of illegal practices), Dot Com Boom (pump and dump!), IoT (zombie refrigerators!), Always-On Entertainment Tech (CIA...).

There is no need to rush autonomous vehicles except to build venture capital (investment gambling) and bring in profit. Some people say it's directly related to sustainability, but we can't even settle on a single EV plug standard or EVSE payment system (because the same people say these vehicle will be pure-electric).

And I say this as someone who actually works in sustainability and transportation!

Comment Re:Science discourages reproducing (Score 1) 331

> Honestly, I think grad student projects should be almost entirely reproducing other results.

I'd say half their time. In fact, their first half. If you want to be allowed 4 years to work on your own creation, you need to do 4 years of replicability studies and publish the findings. As academia adapts to more stringent standards of replicability, the 50% concept can be reduced, but this needs to be a multi-generational thing.

Comment Re:Bubble (Score 1) 491

So very much this. I was talking with an MBA friend of mine who can't wait to get his 6-digits so he can wholly invest in property because "Every house appreciates in value!" I asked him, "Why does a house that degrades over time go up in value?"

He was stumped, but then came to terms with the response, "Well, people need homes. People build homes where people want to live (near large employment areas, beaches, etc.) and people want to buy there. Supply & demand drives up prices for the limited number of homes."

I respond, "So it's not that the actual value of the house or land goes up, it's that more people in the market need homes near where they work. Your goal is to buy those homes and make them pay more money than the value of the home so you can get money while not actually providing a product or improving on an existing product. Is that right?"

"Jeez, man. You make me sound like a real dick when you put it that way..."

And then we got back to work.

Comment Harsh Rental Practices (Score 5, Informative) 491

My wife and I make over $100k together and we can't yet afford a 2b/2ba condo in Orange County, CA within a 30 minute commute to work. That kind of place with a garage goes for ~$500k. Thus, if you don't want PMI, you need to have $100k in cash on hand PLUS financial buffer and moving costs. So we rent. We pay ~$1,845/mo for our 1b/1ba. And there's a catch-- lease renewal increases are around $50, but the increase is lower than the ~$90/mo annual market rental increase over the last few years. So, if you want to move, you're almost guaranteed to be moving into a more expensive apartment.

And there still isn't any inventory to buy. There are too many people buying to turn around and immediately rent out those places.

So, despite out income and despite our savings, we're staying put.

Comment 10 Years -- Because I'm Planning for It (Score 1) 369

I think my job will be doable by software within 10 years because, well, that's the way I'm trying to make it work.

My work is 40% statistical analysis, 25% interpersonal relations, 35% using creativity to make our product better. Analysis can be automated and I'm trying to make it so. The interpersonal relations almost always boils down to analysis, instruction, and maybe some testimonial. So, that's (again) automated math, referring to existing guides, and likely some interface to connect happy customers with people who are just interested. The creative improvement part is less about inventing genuinely new things and more about using known working solutions instead of attempting to create our own.

It's me and a 3 person team doing this work. Hopefully, in 10 years, the whole team's work will be done by one person making less money than me. (I work for a public institution, so I'm all about minimizing cost.) The only problem is finding the time to do the work to automate the job. That's the problem with understaffing-- you save money in the short-term at the cost of saving WAY more money in the long-term.

Comment Re:Thank you, Pres. Trump, for putting America fir (Score 4, Insightful) 221

Patriotism has never been a dirty word. Misuse of the words "patriot" and "patriotism", though, has stained the words to the point where they're immediately associated with something being covered up (see: USA PATRIOT Act).

Nationalism, though, has been a dirty word since the '40s when nationalism's big brother "Fascism" became a bit of an issue for people living in the countries immediately adjacent.

And the world's not insane. It's just that people disagree. It has always been that way and it will always be that way. If you want it to feel less "insane" spend some time understanding why people make the decisions they do. Once you understand, they're not so much "crazy" as they are in different circumstances.

Comment "Investors" Had No Clue What Is Possible TODAY (Score 1) 88

It kills me. There are so many vaporware projects out there that banked entirely on peoples' lack of understanding of where tech has advanced and where they hope it will be tomorrow.

When I saw the advertisement for this drone, my immediate thought was, "No. They don't have something that can do that. And they won't deliver something that can do that in a year." I'm not a pessimist. I just understand, like most Slashadotters, what is possible today vs. what is possible with Google's money vs. what is possible with a few guys' passion. There was no reason to believe that this project could be completed. Vaporware.

Same goes for Solar Roadways (http://www.solarroadways.com/). People LOVE the idea of our massive road and highway system generating massive amounts of energy from the sun. These people say they know how to make it happen and that they're starting to get funding and permission to test it. But, again, almost everyone on Slashdot can attest to the currently insurmountable issues of durability, transparency, friction, wiring, cost, etc. Vaporware.

Let's look at Google's recently cancelled "solar-powered, autonomous gliders beaming internet to the masses" idea. Who here thought that was going to come to fruition? Anyone? I sure hope not. Vaporware.

What annoys me most is that in-between vaporware and delivery. Where there's so much hype, rational demand, and funding but the obstacles are so huge, that we know the promises can't ever be met within the time-frame promised, but oooooh, we want to believe! I'm talking about genuine autonomous vehicles. The tech isn't here yet. We all see the potential. We know the tech will be here, but it's *not* here. Still the hype says, "The future is now! We're just working out some kinks and, oh, you know these silly lawmakers and safety experts!" People talk about autonomous vehicles flooding the American roads in the next couple years. And, really, it's just to get more investment capital. Within the next couple years, I know we'll see much more automated driver assist in vehicles (auto-braking, proximity alerts, etc.), but I have absolutely zero expectation of being able to, within the next couple years, hail a car, have it show up at my home, take me to an address I specify, and do so safely, affordably, without a driver, and without massive liability on me.

Comment Re:Browsers are fine (Score 1) 766

It's wrong in the same way that running your car's engine to the redline before every shift and then complaining that your car overheats is wrong. There is a correct and incorrect way to run any machine to get the intended results for the intended lifespan of the machine.

Comment Sorry, Tech is not Magic (Score 1) 766

Look, a browser has to do a lot. A WHOLE LOT.

1. Load page layouts, scripts, graphics, videos, & sound so that when you intentionally trigger something, your requested action happens *mostly* quick.
2. Sites want to earn money. That means that non-mission-related stuff (advertising) must get loaded as well. This is often worse than the simple text that most of us are actually seeking out.
3. Weed out malicious crap. Given the sheer amount of malicious crap out there, we're asking out browsers to do 99% of our due diligence for us. That means checking every little thing against massive blacklists and whitelists so that someone in Nigeria doesn't get the ability to turn on your webcam while you're getting intimate with the misses and extort you for money.
4. To allow us to do a billion different transactions through the same window. Bank transactions. Credit transactions. Messaging. And on and on...
5. Sometimes it goes to space and back... and then through a hundred other computers.

Comment And those who used his services? (Score 4, Interesting) 91

I haven't read this article yet, but I plan to and then dig some more. As someone working in sustainability (waste, water, GHG emissions, etc.) for a very, very large organization, I can't help but wonder if the orgs that were customers of Brundage will have any certifications they gained by using his recycling business revoked and if they will be fined for not meeting attainment goals retroactively.

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