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Comment Re:Say this aloud: "It's so massive..." (Score 1) 204

I'm reaching way back into my long term memory, but IIRC, the existence of Pluto was predicted from disturbances in the orbits of Neptune and Uranus. However it was not where astronomers were looking for it, but further from the ecliptic than anyone expected. I believe it was first seen by a comet hunter. So that was a happy accident.

I was taught back in the day that Neptune's existence was first postulated from disturbances in Uranus' orbit, and Pluto was first inferred because Neptune did not account for all of Uranus' deviation from the expected path. I was taught this some 3 or 4 decades before we even knew about Charon. It sounds like we now know that Pluto is not massive enough to account for deviations. So I guess Pluto's discovery was one of those occasions when you look for something, but by accident find something else that at first looks like what you looking for. So that kind of accident.

Comment Re:Say this aloud: "It's so massive..." (Score 4, Interesting) 204

A more careful reading of the article reveals that what is being tilted is the plane of the ecliptic. From a geocentric point of view, that appears to be a tilt of the Sun's axis, but to an observer outside the solar system, it is the plane of the orbits of all the known "non-dwarf" planets that is tilted. (IIRC, Pluto's orbit is outside the plane of the ecliptic-- which is part of the reason it took so long to find it after the maths showed it must exist.)

Do we have enough data to estimate the orbital period of Planet IX? If so, it may be possible to correlate its changing angle to the plane of the ecliptic with long term changes in Earth climates. It would seem that during the thousands of years when Planet IX is near the plane of the ecliptic, the Earth's orbit would become more oval. Currently Earth is closest to the Sun (and moving faster in its orbit) around January 3, give or take a day; and most distant around July 3 (moving most slowly in its orbit). This causes Summer in the northern hemisphere to be around 4 days longer than Summer in the southern hemisphere. If Planet IX can cause a tilt of the planetary orbits at this time, then when it is in line with the plane of the ecliptic the Earth should see northern Summers significantly longer than southern Summers (and southern Winters longer than northern Winters).

Comment Re:It's cool. It's also going to be a while. (Score 1) 88

Flatland is a lot more dangerous than 3D space. So many factors to consider--- is that ball that just bounced across the road ahead being followed by a kid or a dog? Is there an icy patch on that shady curve up ahead? In the air, potential hazards can be spotted long before they become threats and there are a lot more options for avoiding them.

The way to reduce traffic fatalities is to put everyone in the air, but make it so that they have to leave the driving to the AI. The operator's input should be no more than what we tell our Garmen, Tom-Tom, or other GPS to do now: this is where I want to go, show me the alternate routes and I'll pick the one I want.

Comment Re:It's cool. It's also going to be a while. (Score 1) 88

Aside from take-offs and landings, the problems the AI of a flying machine will face are a lot more simple than those an AI of a car must face. Drones show that many flying AI issues are already adequately solved. Issues concerning toddlers chasing after bouncing balls or ice on the shady curve just simply don't exist at flight levels above 10 feet. And take-offs and landings are probably not going to be much of an issue, what with sonar or laser assisted optical rangefinders managing the last little bit.

I look forward to the day when I can call up my personal drone on my smart phone, have it meet me on the rooftop, climb inside and tell it to take me the beach--- by the scenic route. It will join the airborne swarm and the distributed group AI will maintain safe distances between all the personal drones, cargo drones, airliners, and incoming meteors.

I don't think the future is like a flying car. I think the future is like a quadcopter on steroids, with wings for long distance aerodynamic flight.

Comment Re:Who should we blame? (Score 1) 183

"it's time for consumers to acknowledge they have a role in the attack too."

I call "Bullshit!" The devices have no access for non corporate interests to investigate. "It's a closed system," "it's a corporate secret." and all the other excuses that led to Fridays event. Volkswagon, not IoT devices; it's time to recognize their falsehoods.

Comment Re: Great! (Score 1) 264

"Because the little baby tyrants" *snip*

Brave words in defense of a social media platform that sees fit to disappear ideas and expression that it arbitrarily doesn't like.

You might give a little thought to the way Valley media platforms now shape public discourse along narrow lines and for what reasons; that is, if the Kool Aid is not too strong in you, young Jedi.

Comment Take me to your lederhosen (Score 1) 210

Only known moral uses of advanced AI (aka the GeorgeCarlin9000):

--deactivating the evil cyborgs on the "Presidential Debate Commission"
--time-traveling to 1972 to make the paddles shorter on Pong (Butterfly Effect: population-wide striving uptick!)
--reverse-engineering the Kardashian derriere for mass roll out

Otherwise, beware!

Comment Re:Well, there goes the 4th Amendment again... (Score 1) 204

Go read that opinion again. (It's another Scalia one.)

In that case, the officer was (a) in a home and (b) did not have the homeowner's permission to take hold of anything. The home is what ramped the protections up to the max; the fact the homeowner did not consent to anything kept those protections in force.

It's much different from the driver of a car giving evidence directly to a cop. The protections were lesser, and the driver waived them.

Comment Re:Well, there goes the 4th Amendment again... (Score 1) 204

Please, go read the opinion again. Particularly read Scalia's opinion, where he lays out the reasons why an infrared camera is an illegal search of a home. It has to do with the fact the home is the bastion of the Fourth Amendment. There is literally nowhere that receives more Fourth Amendment protections than the home.

A set of blank cards, which someone voluntarily gives to the police, receives far less protection. If a cop asks me for a birthday card I'm holding, and I voluntarily hand it over, and the cop opens it up and finds I've tucked a baggie containing bump of cocaine inside, has the cop committed an illegal search? Under your logic, yes, since the bump wasn't in plain sight.

But the plain sight exception does not apply when the police have lawful possession of the evidence!

Good grief, man. This is high-school civics class stuff.

But seriously, read Scalia's opinion.

Comment Put it in perspective. (Score 2) 204

Alice and Bob are driving down the road when they're pulled over by cops. Alice is driving. Bob gets arrested on an outstanding warrant. As Bob's getting out of the car, the cops see a black plastic bag underneath Bob's seat. They ask Alice about the bag. She says, "This? Oh, it's just oregano, officers. A lot of oregano. No, we don't have receipts for it, and, uh, we bought it at ... err, from some guy. But it's just oregano. See?", and gives it to the cop. The cop, upon opening the baggie, sees what looks like oregano. But the volume of the oregano is much more than you'd need for a pizza, so the cop figures it might be marijuana and decides to run a field test on it. Ultimately this field test is turned over to the State Police, which are able to conclusively say it's marijuana. Bob is now facing marijuana possession charges and complains his Fourth Amendment rights were violated.

That's exactly what happened here. The defendant was arrested on an outstanding warrant, the arresting officer asked what was in the bag, the driver gave the bag over and said he and the defendant bought 143 gift cards from "someone", but couldn't identify whom, nor provide any receipts, and their business plan was to "resell" these cards for a profit. Put all that together and it's on the same level as telling the cop your weed is oregano -- it's a lie that's completely transparent.

Since the cops were given the evidence, they did not seize it illegally. Since the cops had an incriminating statement from one of the participants, they had probable cause to check for illegality. Legal seizure plus probable cause equals go directly to jail, do not collect a $200 gift card.

This Slashdot headline is misleading to the point of being journalistic malpractice.

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