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Comment Re:More important... (Score 1) 203

I was about to say the same thing. This would be freaking *huge* if it could do that.

For a long time, what I've really wanted is for municipalities to place "yellow light" posts. Take the length of a yellow light, multiply it by the speed limit, and put up a post that distance before the far side of an intersection. That way, assuming you're going the speed limit, if the light turns yellow after you've passed the post, you know that you can maintain speed and clear the intersection before the light changes. But it might not work well, it'd be a change, and it'd cut down on the red-light-ticket revenue of the municipalities that would need to fund it, so it wouldn't ever happen.

But this could be *so much better!* Your car knows the speed you're driving at, your gps knows your approximate location (and in my experience, it's pretty accurate, though maybe not accurate enough for this application), and if this sort of feed could tell you about an upcoming yellow light change, that has *got* to be useful.

Of course, I know self-driving cars can see light changes, but I'm not sure how much of the self-driving hardware/software would be needed to implement this one feature. But I've got to think that it would be a general win for both safety *and* ticket-avoidance.

Comment Be nice to expand this (Score 2) 109

What I'd like to see is something that can share my exact location with non-emergency services in non-emergency situations. Like when my wife asks "where are you?" or I ask my kids the same, it'd be nice to have a button to push that says "I'm right here" with coordinates and maybe even map-based street addresses (and if you want to get *really* fancy, would also send my current destination and ETA if navigation was active)

It's entirely possible this already exists and I just haven't found it yet.

Comment One of the benefits of reading (Score 2) 296

I've always felt like one of the big advantages reading has over other sorts of media is that it's intrinsically rate-limited. The problem with this technology (and it's a problem that might be overcome at some point) is that it's not dynamic. There are some times, in some shows, where I *do* want to speed it up without losing information, while there are other times when I need to pause and say "WTF just happened, and how does it relate to everything else int the show, or the universe, or my life, or what have you?"

To me, this seems like it might be an evolution of fast-forward. Traditional fast-forward cut out sound, so if you were information-input-starved, that was actually a worse option. I've tried video time-compression, and it didn't work well for me, but I think that's more likely because it was all-or-nothing and was still at a fixed rate that might not be exactly right. Maybe what's needed is a button that says "for the next N seconds (maybe 15?), accelerate slowly, then decelerate back to normal speed", and you can hit that button at a rate that lets you process what you're seeing at a comfortable rate. Of course, the problem with a button like that is that it would completely tear marriages asunder and generally make watching video with company torture for most of the people watching. You'd have to adopt a paradigm like hiking, where the leader should be the slowest person, so as to make sure no one is left behind. And I can think of few party games less fun than "give the remote to the slowest thinker".

Comment Visio (Score 2) 889

Just about everything else I've found good alternatives for, and maybe there are some good alternatives for Visio and I just haven't found them, but the real deal certainly does seem nice. There have been times when I've needed to use it fairly often, these days it's pretty rare actually, maybe once a year or so...

And while there's lots that's nice about it, I'm not even sure it's the application that's really the killer for me, but the large available base of existing stencils, and I think that's causing a feedback loop: no one makes stencils in any other format because there isn't a widely accepted alternative format, and no apps can get a foothold because of the lack of stencils. So it's really the format wars all over again, but in a smaller niche.

Comment Something to be cautious about (Score 1) 55

While I like the idea of thinking about UI improvements, and I certainly don't mind having new ideas in the realm, the thing that you most need to consider when bringing UI ideas from the game world is that gaming is designed to be challenging, while the purpose of a good functional UI is to remove challenges. Bringing UI ideas in from hollywood is slightly easier, because their intent is to be visually interesting, which is a bonus for a functional UI if, and only if, you can make it visually interesting without compromising functionality (or preferably in a way that enhances functionality)

Comment I love the name... (Score 1) 114

You say that group is troublingly named. I say it's the best name ever. If the acronym ICGAG (pronounced "Icy Gag") isn't the most perfectly apropos thing ever I don't know what is. I mean, it combines the "gag" that best describes censorship with the modifier "icy" to remind us of the chilling effects that go along with such censorship.

Comment I've come up with something similar... (Score 1) 150

I also have developed a type of invisibility glasses, though they're slightly different in terms of technology and function. Instead of making me "invisible" to certain types of camera, it makes all of *you* invisible to *me* when I'm wearing them. Also everything around you. And also it's really a blindfold. But hey, I like it...

Comment Re:Drive me around = I can get drunk (Score 1) 307

For one, I'm not even sure I could get a cab to come out to any bar near me, or to my house. I probably could, but I feel certain that it would be extremely expensive to do so. If you're not quite so rural as me, but not so urban as to have a mature metro system, then it's my understanding that it is a fairly constant problem for some people that there are areas of town that cabs refuse to pick up from and/or drop off at.

Then there's the logistical problems. If you are going out with friends, you may not know beforehand that you will be drinking. That means you may well drive your car (while perfectly sober) to a restaurant/bar or similar place. When you get out, and realize that you're impaired, the first problem is that if you call a cab, that means you're leaving your car overnight. Some places, that means it may be towed (because they don't permit overnight parking), other places it might have a higher chance of being burgled.

Then there's the additional problem that if you leave your car, then you're going to have to come back and get it, which means another cab trip the next day, and some extra time from the next day. That basically means that you can't choose to drink at all on a day that's before a day you have to be somewhere in the morning (like work, or taking kids to school, or what-have-you.)

None of these are insurmountable obstacles, but they are obstacles, and they are annoying, and if you have a self-driving car, they all pretty much go away (so long as the law allows you to ride in a self-driving car while drunk)

Comment Re:Drive me around = I can get drunk (Score 2) 307

This is one of the ways in which I think the advent of self-driving cars will be really fascinating. It will drive a wedge into various anti-drunk-driving groups, separating them into those who actually are concerned about the dangers posed by drunk drivers (who will be ecstatic that people who are drunk can now be driven by their own cars) and those who see anti-drunk-driving measures as just another way to fight against drinking in general (and those will fight against self-driving cars, because that will take away another avenue that they would use to fight drinking)

There will be a similar split among people opposed to texting and/or talking on cellphones while driving, between those concerned primarily with safety and those who seem to have a deep seated hatred for cellphones and the people who use them.

Comment Three options that are *almost* right (Score 1) 349

"Should be locked in regular hospitals"

s/locked/treated/;s/$/ if symptomatic/

"Should be asked nicely to stay home for a bit"

s/Should/Could/;s/$/ by people willing to donate to them and or their employer to offset the loss of time/

"Should go about their lives, if asymptomatic"

This one seems closest to right, I'm just not sure why someone asymptomatic would be suspected of being a carrier. *I* would suspect someone of being a carrier if they had come into contact with the bodily fluids of a symptomatic patient under less-than-ideal conditions for preventing transmission (lack of protective clothing, poor sterilization of equipment, that sort of thing), in which case I'd think it would be nice to offer them any medical assistance they might want, and maybe check up on them to make sure they're OK now and then. However, I know that there exist people who would suspect someone of being a carrier if they have visited a continent with above average infection rates or come within the same area code of an actual symptomatic patient. That sort of "suspected carrier" should go about their lives. Maybe get a flu shot, because flu shots are awesome.

Comment Agree with the sentiment, disagree with details (Score 4, Interesting) 549

On the one hand, I think his number is off, or at least lacking detail. There's significant evidence that around 100k years ago humanity went through a population bottleneck of around 10k humans, so that seems like compelling evidence that a 10k population at least can contain sufficient genetic diversity to allow a species similar to humanity to survive. If you need a million hands to do work, then you could have those 10k people generate offspring, or you could augment their productivity by a factor of 100, or a combination of both, but as for moving people (or genes) from Earth to Mars, you should be able to get away with only moving 10k and still have at least a reasonable chance of being a back-up to our one planet egg basket.

Then there's the idea of needing to send 100k ships to Mars. Unless you're just swimming in delta V, then you should probably launch ships at or near the transfer windows that happen every 26 months. If you're sending a ship every window, then those 100k ships will take over 200 thousand years. A lot can happen in 200,000 years. Like really, a whole lot. If you're sending 1000 ships every launch window, economies of scale work really well for orbital transfers, and you'd be really a lot better off sending a ship 1000 times bigger. It'd still take 200 years, which is still a long time, but not nearly as long as 200,000. And if you only need 10k people, you could send 1000 at a time for the next 20 years, which while still seeming extremely optimistic, at least sounds within some bounds of rationality.

But maybe it's harder to get people interested in reasonable and achievable, but difficult goals than it is to get them excited about the unrealistic monumental ones. Sitting on the couch watching National Geographic, it's a lot more fun to say "I could totally go and climb Mt. Everest myself, I should do that!" than it is to get off the couch and go jogging for 15 minutes.

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