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Comment Re:Probably Trump (Score 1) 180

Let's assume that these people do get the people they want in office by fraud. Do they expect this to continue indefinitely? In a less connected world it may have been possible to win with fraud by small margins and get away with it. Now we have polling with considerable accuracy. People can communicate with an ease and speed that has been unheard of before.

For such fraud to go unnoticed it must be at such a small margin that it can be explained away by a margin of error. If that margin is that small then would not the energy expended on fraud be better spent on making their case to the people? Or, compromising on small matters that people vote on so that larger matters can go their way?

Even though we've made great strides in providing information and means of communication, people themselves haven't changed. They still have their in-groups with similar opinions to their own. They still have their favorite news sources with particular slants that they may never notice. Many still have an inherent trust in the system so they will ignore occasional anomalies of vote fraud as just distractions and not real problems.

And then there's times where the evidence simply gets buried by other news stories or is only covered by fringe, pseudo news organizations that most people will ignore because it's coming from an unfamiliar source.

So yes, theoretically, the increase of information we've during the Information Age should give us perfect elections. The reality is that we'll never have them thanks to human psychology. Let's still try to have legitimate elections though and remain vigilant of fraud wherever it may occur.


US Efforts To Regulate Encryption Have Been Flawed, Government Report Finds (theguardian.com) 110

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Guardian: U.S. Republican congressional staff said in a report released Wednesday that previous efforts to regulate privacy technology were flawed and that lawmakers need to learn more about technology before trying to regulate it. The 25-page white paper is entitled Going Dark, Going Forward: A Primer on the Encryption Debate and it does not provide any solution to the encryption fight. However, it is notable for its criticism of other lawmakers who have tried to legislate their way out of the encryption debate. It also sets a new starting point for Congress as it mulls whether to legislate on encryption during the Clinton or Trump administration. "Lawmakers need to develop a far deeper understanding of this complex issue before they attempt a legislative fix," the committee staff wrote in their report. The committee calls for more dialogue on the topic and for more interviews with experts, even though they claim to have already held more than 100 such briefings, some of which are classified. The report says in the first line that public interest in encryption has surged once it was revealed that terrorists behind the Paris and San Bernardino attacks "used encrypted communications to evade detection." Congressman Ted Lieu is pushing the federal government to treat ransomware attacks on medical facilities as data breaches and require notifications of patients.

Comment Re:the article is bullshit and FUD (Score 1) 404

No, actually, that's not part of "our much-vaunted freedom". To the contrary, trying to use legislatures to prevent other people from spending their money as they see fit is the antithesis of freedom.

Pure freedom for one person often leads to less freedom for another. At your own admission people are harmed by the pollution and free to strike a balance between their freedom to breathe clean air and the tourist's freedom to explore their cities using an air polluting mode of transportation:

And you are free to exclude these cruise ships entirely from your harbor if you don't like the air pollution

Comment Re:the article is bullshit and FUD (Score 2) 404

That's bullshit. This ship burns up to 1377 gallons for a top speed of 26 mph; that's about the same as 1500 regular passenger cars.

Shortly after this statement you admit that the fuel is not equivalent to gasoline due to scale of pollutants it produces. I think it's fair to say your own calculation is bunk by your own words.

The engine no doubt emits lots of particulates, NOx, and sulfur. But that isn't a problem on the open sea. Those emissions are not particularly harmful per se, they only happen to be tightly regulated for cars because they cause problems in cities.

What's you're reasoning for it not mattering on the open sea? Ocean acidification is an extremely pressing issue causing devastation to corral and countless other sea habitats, sulfur and carbon being two of the biggest contributors to it.

Comment Re: I hate bad journalism like this... (Score 2) 404

from the article: "Daniel Rieger, a transport officer at German environment group Nabu, said: âoeCruise companies create a picture of being a bright, clean and environmentally friendly tourism sector. But the opposite is true. One cruise ship emits as many air pollutants as five million cars going the same distance because these ships use heavy fuel that on land would have to be disposed of as hazardous waste.â

Comment Re:Three times the efficiency?? Not likely (Score 1) 169

What voltage is your Tesla receiving power at? If there's a 1V drop at 120V that's not too bad but if it's at 12V that's nearly 10% of the power output by your charger which has it's own inefficiencies. I suspect Tesla is particularly smart with their charging system so it likely surpasses most other charging system's in efficiency but the fact remains that there's power loss in the cabling that may not be exhibited by a wireless charger that's much closer to the batteries in the car.

I've assumed that the 90% efficiency quoted in the article includes voltage, AC to DC conversion; and current regulation; it's not solely in the cable. Plus, 2kw is a pretty typical output for a space heater so I wouldn't be at all surprised if that much heat is put out during charging of an electric vehicle.

Comment Re:Three times the efficiency?? Not likely (Score 1) 169

Did you do the calculations to figure this out?

Both wired voltage converters and wireless charging systems use magnetic coupling, the only difference is that the wireless system increased the gap between the two coils and hopefully eliminated several feet of unnecessary and inefficient DC cabling. The wireless charging efficiency drops dramatically over increased distances between the two coils so they probably got them as close together as possible which could be as little as 5.7" for the Toyota Prius, undoubtedly one of their test cars. They could be even closer if they're expecting the car to drive over a mound on the floor containing the charging coils.

Comment Re:Three times the efficiency?? Not likely (Score 1) 169

The article claims the wireless charging system is more efficient than plug-in systems, and since the other comparison was most definitely about home chargers then presumably they're saying that the home chargers are less than 90% efficient at transferring power grid energy to the car battery. They could simply be using more expensive components to achieve the superior efficiency but it could also be inherent in the design since the voltage conversion from wall voltage to car power system voltage is handled in the wireless charging connection itself, rather than by a power converter connected directly to the wall.

Comment sloppy summary (Score 2) 169

The wireless charging system is not faster than all plug-in chargers, just the ones commonly used at home. The charge stations available commercially are faster and the article mentions this. It is also not three times more efficient, it's 3x faster than the home charging systems. It's 90% percent efficient, which is impressive but I seriously doubt any charging system is only 30% efficient.

Comment Re: Thrill (Score 1) 400

I use a backpack for gym clothes and telecommute gear. Baby support gear for a day should also be easy to squeeze into that backpack but i see people carrying little purse like apparel for their baby stuff. Obviously we have to put more forethought into taking the bus than driving but is that bad? I can think of dozens of car trips that were wasteful because I didn't think ahead about what I needed our thought something was in my trunk but wasn't.

While I agree that cars are convenient they are also inconvenient in several respects. For instance I often write software or read while riding the bus, which are difficult to do while driving. I've also discovered just how stressful driving is after having given it up for a while.

Comment Re:That's how we teach every subject! (Score 1) 158

...The problem is that the people promoting it don't understand this and don't treat it like it is.

What people exactly? Are these people involved in planning the curriculum? Most likely, the only people that are confused and actually matter for achieving the long term objective, are the parents. Hopefully teachers will engage with parents to set them straight before the parents try to stop the CS curriculum because "it doesn't matter".

I'll bet people had the exact same reaction to the space race. For instance, someone might have said "Oh come on, my son can't fly to the moon by learning algebra! He needs a practical skill, like coal mining."

Comment That's how we teach every subject! (Score 1) 158

For most education topics, we're taught in layers, starting with the simplest and usually most abstract and slowly work inward. We all choose where we want to stop learning the subject once we get to HS/College. The most apparent places where this occurs is in Math and Physics for me. In physics, I first learned gravity pulled things down. Then I learned it generally pulled all things down at equal speeds. Then I learned it was a universal law of attraction between objects. Then I learned there's an equation to compute the speed at which gravity accelerates objects towards the ground. Then I learned there's an equation to calculate the force of gravity between any two objects.

The same is true for CS but many of us started at what I'd say is too technical of a step and this was probably a result of the state of CS at the time I started learning it. CS education should begin with logic and rote instructions, and these things can be taught with a graphical language just fine. Even computations can be taught in this way and indeed that's how we start in math; ie. One apple and two bannanas adds up to how many fruit?

Comment Re:A better use of educational dollars (Score 1) 158

I agree with you that we need to do a better job allocating resources to classrooms but I think that's a different problem. At my own highschool, they poured money into remodeling our school while leaving us with woefully outdated health textbooks that were 30 years old.

However, I think you're not seeing the big picture. IT is taking over the American economy and possibly the world economy. I'm meeting many people who have gotten wise to this and are learning basic coding skills to graduate from a minimum wage service job to web development. It would be transformational if everyone had enough understanding of CS to know how to automate processes, maybe not by themselves, but generally enough that they could petition their manager to hire a firm to do it. Just imagine an America where all the repetitive tasks were automated and that automation was exported to the rest of the world. This is what Obama is working towards with the focus on IT.

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It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead