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Comment Leave your doors unlocked at night... (Score 2) 340

Making Americans more vulnerable to foreign and domestic hackers does not make us safer.

Just because the FBI could also potentially use those same hacking tools against criminals and terrorists doesn't make it a good idea to make the rest of us vulnerable.

Like ordering people to leave their doors open at night in case the FBI needs to check on something.

Comment Re:The utterly evil PayPal, (Score 1) 59

teaming up with with the company that drove a spike through the heart of their own "Don't be evil" motto. How appropriate...

If you had to take out the evil measuring stick I still think Google is less evil and more honest about when they are evil than other big companies. The ethos of the company is still driven by innovation and use of cutting edge technology to make people's lives easier.

Yes, they are still making boatloads of money on tracking people and targeting them with ads, but other companies are also tracking people and selling information about people and they aren't even telling you what they are collecting and how they are doing it.

Comment UNITED STATES v. CAUSBY (Score 1) 634

"We have said that the airspace is a public highway. Yet it is obvious that if the landowner is to have full enjoyment of the land, he must have exclusive control of the immediate reaches of the enveloping atmosphere. Otherwise buildings could not be erected, trees could not be planted, and even fences could not be run. The principle is recognized when the law gives a remedy in case overhanging structures are erected on adjoining land. 9 The landowner owns at least as much of the space above the ground as they can occupy or use in connection with the land."


Comment Re:Next Phase (Score 1) 634

Who is 83? The woman in TFA is 65. The only place I saw "83"mentioned was the distance....

I believe the 83 was just the reference to the Supreme Court case (UNITED STATES v. CAUSBY http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-...) that recognized property rights could extend at least 83 feet into the air. Because a landowner near a new airport successfully sued the government to claim that the flight path over their home constituted a "taking" that required compensation.

So the use of airspace over someone's home up to 83 feet could certainly be considered a trespass under state law at least up to 83 feet under Supreme Court precedent.

Comment Re:THATS IT! (Score 1) 161

Voting is no longer safe, we are obviously going to have to suspend elections until we are 100% sure the computers are trustworthy!

Really though, people should suspend the secret ballot if there are legitimate widespread issues with vote tampering. The secret ballot is less important than the ability to maintain the integrity of the election itself. Sure that opens some people up to voter intimidation, but you have to trust that enough people are going to vote in their best interests to overwhelm any voter intimidation.

If you are trying to boot strap a civil society using democratically elected institutions then you have a chicken and egg problem of having a representative trustworthy government to manage a free and fair election in an ethical way in the first place. The answer is to ditch the secret ballot.

Comment Re:Washington State uses this fancy new method (Score 1) 161

Paper based forms with optical scanners seems to work out best these days. Then you can get quick results on election night from the optical scanner results and you just need to have real people manually count the ballots later in order to confirm the automated results.

Easier said than done, but it is very important that elections have verifiable results based on the physical ballots and not just a computer spitting out some result.

Comment Re:Man up, NASA. (Score 2) 107

To be fair the article summary above makes it sound like a computer glitch, so if you just went with the slashdot summary and quote I can understand the confusion. From the article it indicated that there was a sensor malfunction (not necessarily a computer malfunction) which means it couldn't autonomously point itself at the sun anymore. Leading to the solar panels not getting enough direct sunlight and thus draining the battery. The computer startup just means it will then consume power more quickly than the solar panels can produce it at the wrong angle to the sun and the battery will drain in a couple minutes again and the computer will automatically shutdown.

Really all we are talking about is whether the computer can boot up quickly enough and whether they can send something like:

1010 Fire thruster X for 23 milliseconds
1020 wait 500 milliseconds
1030 Fire thruster y for 22 milliseconds

(My BASIC is a little rusty though ;)

Assuming they know a precise orientation of the craft when they send the commands they should be able to at least point the craft more towards the sun. Maybe not 100% optimally, but enough to get net power to the computer and maybe begin to charge up the battery. Of course without more information from the computer they probably don't know much about the state of the systems. It could just not work if there are more malfunctions, so there is substantial unknown risk mitigated by the fact that they have already lost the use of the probe so they have everything to gain from the success of a best attempt.

This is all about observation, timing, communication, making some educated guesses, keeping the execution simple to keep it within the estimated window of opportunity and a lot of triple checked math to come up with the correct numbers to send based on all the available information.

Comment Re:Man up, NASA. (Score 4, Informative) 107

NASA lost contact with their STEREO-B satellite nearly twenty-two months ago when performing a routine test. NASA scientists are afraid to turn on the computer at this point because it may cause them to lose contact again.

What's the point of being able to talk to it if they can't turn it on and actually do stuff with it?
If they thought they lost it 22 months ago, they have nothing further to lose if it goes away again now.

Reading the article helps determine what the point is...

Seems the point is that they want to try to see if there is something they can do to point the satellite at the Sun in the 1 to 2 minutes they think they might have before the startup of the computer drains the battery and they have to wait another 6 months until the battery randomly charges up as it gets sunlight on its solar panels at the wrong angles. The sensor that keeps the satellite pointed at the sun failed, but maybe they can keep it pointed at the sun by sending commands from Earth and then they can better assess the health of the systems with more time.

Based on the article its seems they might have just enough time to give it some commands to point toward the sun and then hopefully the battery starts charging up again so they have more time to work with before it powers down.

Comment Re:Taxis are a municipal transportation service (Score 1) 445

No, they will still drive for Uber. People are desperate, obviously. The point is that no one is going to find a $12K vehicle that lasts 130,000 miles so no one is making that $13/hr. Uber is just a bottom feeder that is taking advantage of people who have no other way of making an income. The government is trying to make sure companies treat their workers fairly but apparently Uber has worked around that.

By your numbers 100,000 miles would be about how long a car would have to last to be around the highest state minimum wage. That puts many small cars in the $12k range new, and even more if you considered used cars. Seems there is plenty of room to make what the government currently considers acceptable compensation.

I am all for a higher minimum wage of $15 or even $17 per hour, but to claim the government is trying to protect workers when so many people are wage slaves with brutal and inflexible hours below what the rate Uber is paying is absurd.

It is fairly simple to figure out what the equivalent wage is for Uber drivers. Apply the standard mileage cost estimate for the distance of the requested ride and deduct it from the compensation for Uber drivers would be making. The Uber app should be doing this before the ride using the distance estimate and the minimum wage data for the state to ensure that the price is at or above the minimum wage threshold.

Comment Re:Taxis are a municipal transportation service (Score 1) 445

People keep saying that, yet obviously there cannot be too many cars on the road. Also, you want the drivers to actually have some profit potential. This is something that is not currently happening with Uber. There was recently an independent analysis and an Uber driver will make $13 an hour *IF* they only pay $12,000 for their vehicle and it lasts 130,000 miles. That's pretty difficult circumstances to operate in.

If people can't make enough money for it to be worthwhile then they won't drive for Uber and any oversupply will go out of the market. Artificially constraining supply of individual transportation choices could put more cars on the road if the best option then becomes a car rental or owning your own car versus the periodic Uber ride.

Your $13 per hour estimate is at least 30% higher than the highest minimum wage in all 50 states.

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