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Comment I coulda used this (Score 1) 86

when I got creamed out on my road bike, assuming it can detect pedestrians. I was carrying the damn thing across a cross walk (with the little green walky man no less) and somebody ran the light. They clipped the wheel of my bike or I wouldn't be here right now. The lady stopped. It as broad daylight but somehow she didn't "see" me. Folks tune out when driving. That light almost never turns red so it didn't occur to her to stop. Put another way they're driving with their lizard brains. I'd rather they do it with an electronic brain instead.

Comment Re:Short-term numbers versus long-term (Score 1) 86

Why would you assume "a bad computer program with a dozen eyes is likely to be better than a bag of meat with only two"?

Because it's deterministic. Because it's mass upgradable. It may not be physically better right this moment, but it is conceptually and philosophically far better than the situation we have now.

Comment Re:Good idea, bad name (Score 1) 86

I have an idea. Why not inform the customers that their view of what an autopilot does is completely wrong. People will liken it to a plane, ask them if they would be happy flying in a plane without a pilot, and then point them at their car.

People are applying unrealistic expectations based on incorrect preconceptions because they don't understand a technology with the same name. Help them understand, don't just change the name.

Comment Re:Been happening for weeks now (Score 1) 159

I have no idea what it is that you are trying to say, but it sounds like a load of bad excuses.

What I'm trying to say is that there is zero legally compliant ways that you have an Android phone with an after market ROM that in any way behaves like other Android phones. Unless you have none of the Google apps including the play store, and as such are also missing core components of the modern OS like the ability to have an up to date version of WebView.

Google doesn't get an open source because of people's inability to actually release an Android phone that acts like every other Android phone without adding loads of binary junk and breaching Google's terms and conditions.

It gets a fail. It has gotten that fail since Jellybean was released and the terms of its release put the entire ROM market in a legal grey zone.

Comment Re: Agrument in favor of modularity (Score 1) 86

Hardly possible. I'd rather buy cheap Chinese aftermarket batteries that are real crap, and switch them every few months

Or buy a Sony phone which will have these hard limits programmed in to extend battery life. But hey if you want to go with multiple Chinese you may as well just use a cigarette lighter. It's cheaper and the fire will be just as big.

Comment Re:What complete nonsense (Score 1) 261

Yes you would, because as soon as the technology exists to exploit asteroidal materials, any rise in market price of your product will cause other asteroids to be mined.

Way to miss the point and be wrong at the same time. Go ask NASA to borrow one of their rockets and see how you go. There's this thing called R&D that goes into developing a new source of materials and a concept known as the first mover advantage which when combined with high R&D costs grants a natural monopoly. My guess is that if we brought down this asteroid BHP Billiton won't have another down within a year. ... or ten.

Comment Re:Alarming vs problematic (Score 1) 188

Or are you alarmed every time something fails

No I'm alarmed when a failure rate is high. Such as when a several several hundred million dollar satellites suffer component failures only a few short years into their mission.

"Alarm" equates to panic.

No. Alarm equates to response. Just like I get an alarm when a sector relocation count on my HDD increases, or the alarm I have set right now to tell me that I need to go check the oven to see if dinner is ready.

It is not a waste of time to attempt to set people straight when they use a term inappropriately.

You're welcome.

Comment Re:Short-term numbers versus long-term (Score 1) 86

To be meaningful, you need at least two numbers: the number of crashes avoided because of software intervention and the number of crashes caused by driver inattention.

I think that two numbers would be deceptive because almost no-one is capable of acknowledging their inattention. If you found at that that 50% of accidents are caused by inattention, but the autopilot is a 20% *worse* driver than someone paying attention, you *know* that everyone would flee from AutoPilot it on the assumption they won't be part of the 50% failing to pay attention.

One of the primary problems is that humans (in general) are incapable of acknowledging the weaknesses that cause accidents, thus making it very hard to take measures that reduce the number of accidents. Splitting the numbers apart would contribute to this problem.

Comment Re:He's missing the point. (Score 4, Insightful) 116

It would be nice if people could learn to think in terms of threats that fell somewhere between "safe to ignore" and "extinction level event". Or could distinguish between "extreme and expensive" responses and "effective" ones.

9/11 could have been prevented by simple, conservative and inexpensive countermeasures. After 9/11 politicians droned on about how "9/11 changed everything," but the cold sober fact was that it in fact changed nothing. It just showed that some of the things sensible people had already been telling us to do (like reinforcing cockpit doors or getting agencies to work together despite institutional rivalries) really did need to be done. Instead "9/11 changed everything" became the rallying cry for every pet scheme that had heretofore been correctly dismissed as too expensive, hare-brained, or just plain dumb.

Which doesn't change the fact that something needed to be done. Here's the lesson I think we should take into this infrastructure debate: we should take sensible and conservative steps to secure infrastructure against terrorism now, before events put foolish ones on the table.

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