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Comment Not fully autonomous and not overlords (Score 1) 397

They'll never (in my lifetime at least) be fully autonomous like I am, because then they would be responsible for accidents and by that time we'd have to have courts and prisons for robots. They'll be autonomous at the "do what my owner says at a supervisory level". I expect what many cars will do when they're fine-detail autonomous is "go out and earn me money". It'll be the next BuyToLet. Wealthy people will buy self-driving cars that less wealthy people will rent. The cars won't need parking space - it'll be cheaper to drive around or 'hide' during quiet times. They'll book their own servicing and valet visits.

The cars won't be our overlords; the wealthy people who own our transport and accommodation will be. 'Carlords' competing with each other for our transport coin can only be a good thing - I can't see how they'll be able to monopolise supply like they have with accommodation.

Comment Re:Search (Score 1) 210

I'm writing a search engine 'just because' and I considered replying to your comment with an URL for it that would return a text/plain result. But what would anybody want in it that would be better than an XML (which I assume - in that annoying, couldn't-be-arsed-to-check-my-facts way - is already available from the search engine giants) result which could be post-processed for plain text?

It's not an idle question - I was just about to start editing code, but then I couldn't see the point. Maybe they couldn't either. It would be child's play to provide text/plain search results, I just can't imagine (in the few minutes I tried) how they would be used.

Comment Re:This isn't a big deal (Score 1) 412

But doesn't this mean that those of us who bought our nVidia video cards more than (video hardware shelf life) years ago are going to have to put up with less-than-stellar video drivers? I use an ATI Mobility (that always reminded me of little electric carts for very old people) X1300 on Ubuntu and it has been a bloodbath. ATI no longer support it in their proprietary driver (which was good when it worked), so for a while the laptop I do all my work on (it never leaves my desk, battery died, lid hinge gone, but hey, Core2Duo, 2 Monitors, input devices on USB, it's good enough) was trailing behind all the other machines here. 3D games are becoming a distant memory now that I don't have the proprietary driver. The ati driver is great for work, but doesn't seem to cut the mustard for play at all.

After the X1300, I tried to make sure than any new PCs that we bought which needed better video adapters came with nVidia equipment. Will the same thing now happen to nVidia users on slightly older kit?

Comment Re:Linux Peace Prize? (Score 1) 541

This is the comment I was looking for. I think it's a great idea. Give Linus the Economics prize, Stallman the Peace prize, the Chemistry prize could go to whoever wrote Cheese... I'm not sure about Physiology. I'm sure I was fitter before I started coding so much. Next year could be the year of Linux on the Nobel Prizes!

Comment Basic physics problem (Score 1) 247

Isn't the real problem with this the fact that it would be capturing solar radiation that would not otherwise intersect with the planet's atmosphere? Given the concerns about warming, isn't adding another input ... insane? Don't get me wrong - I'm all for this, as long as they build the giant solar-powered fan and heat sink in space to go with it.

Comment Re:1984 (Score 1) 515

Isn't the easiest way to deal with the underlying problem (fraudulent asylum applications) just to not offer asylum?

I've often thought asylum is counter-productive for the countries where abuse occurs. How is rebellion against oppression encouraged by the option to run away?

I'm all for immigration. I voted with my genes, as many of my family have, for diversity. I currently live (for the last 4 years, hopefully for only one or two more) in a toilet of a country where everything is owned by the political party in power. They kill people and hold sham trials where nobody important is ever in the dock. The dock (and jail) is full of opposition politicians. My neighbours all ask me to help them get into the UK.

By all means - if someone wants to come and join a society, let them. If they want to run away from one, I think they should be turned back with a citizen activism handbook and best wishes for the future.

Comment Re:How small is it? (Score 1) 426

No la, Malaysia has its own definition - it's broadband if it's > 56kbit/s


My 70RM (USD20) / month 512kbit/s has recently started to frequently exceed the local threshhold for broadband. For the previous 2 years, the line was completely dead for several days per month. This is the kind of 'competition' US ISPs are presumably focussing on.

Comment I have solved the breast problem (Score 1) 397

I read once - or maybe imagined it - that some research showed that the optic nerve was very sensitive to anything in the field of vision that looked like eyes. There was a description of an experiment to do with circles and dots on flashcards and timed responses I think - I've had a quick search, but can find nothing, does anybody recognise that description? I also think I recall the suggestion that this was evolutionarily beneficial, as it gave advance warning when a predator or enemy was watching you.

Human women have two comparatively large (even more noticeable on the Internet), round breasts with dots in the middle. Your eyes point at these things before you even realise that they're there. Why is that? My explanation is that it's an evolutionary adaptation that takes advantage of the eye's 'eye detection' mechanism. Human breasts are large fake eyes that confer additional fitness on the possessor by causing males to look at them before they look at females with less apparent 'eyes'.

Original research. You read it here first.

Comment Re:Not much suspension, but some. (Score 1) 216

After working on a hexapod project some time ago, I thought the way to go would be to start with lying down on the floor. My 15 month old son can run much faster than this - in short bursts. Then he wipes out spectacularly, picks himself up (or waits for me to do it) and does it again.

I think a great part of the reason for these things running the way they do is an effort to avoid them expensively decking out. I'd really like to see some less shiny robots put in a few impressive strides, crash spectacularly and get up again. I think HRP could get up from a lying position, but it wasn't quick, if I remember right.

Comment Re:She seems to grow (Score 1) 599

Imagine if your brain suddenly never changes.

So a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I did a PhD on crystalline computation - something like artificial neural networks, but no plasticity at all. It was very low level, but I always wondered about the plasticity / memory issue. A human brain is a very complex organ. If plasticity was the only medium for memory, it would have to be instantaneous. As I recall, there's no suggestion that very short-term memory involves plasticity. The issue with '5 minutes ago' - is that capacity, or just a good adaptation or behaviour, given the availability of some more reliable medium?

I haven't looked at the topic for a while, so if anybody has some interesting references for plasticity / memory - particularly memory performance in the absence or impairment of plasticity, I'd be grateful at least until the new tab opens!

Comment Re:Physics 102 (Score 1) 512

I imagine (RTFA? GTFO!) the solar collector won't often be casting a shadow on the Earth. That means it's collecting solar energy that the Earth wouldn't. The energy transmitted to Earth will eventually cause something to warm up, won't it? Isn't this a problem for any kind of 'extra terrestrial energy' idea that isn't direct sunlight or its ancient effect?

I think 'significant' might be hard to judge. If space solar makes a significant contribution to Earth's energy, I think it might make a significant contribution to the temperature of something terrestrial. Otherwise, I think it's a great idea. If the heating issue were really a problem, you could always run pipes up the side of the space elevator and dump the heat into the moon.

Comment Re:Yes... (Score 1) 319

Will there be a fork project?

Apparently there's a lot of interest in the forums on a 'lite' version that will only have 2 wheels, can carry the same number of passengers, just as much load, and you can run it off body fat. That project also has its own forks.

I've used that version and it's pretty good. Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty to keep it running at its best, but that's half the joy, isn't it? You know what users are like though - they just want effortless bloat, so I suspect it won't catch on.

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