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Comment Re:I hope Reddit is happy. That dude is probably d (Score 1) 137

Actually, it is more likely a combination of both, but not in the way you think. I can think of a number of effects at play

I think there is a key distinction between moral blame and possible choices.

The moral blame is 100% on the leadership. Yes, the oppressed could do something about it. They could muster exceptional courage in the face of tremendous psychological pressure. But that possibility, regardless of its probability of success, doesn't at all detract from the total blame that must be laid at the feet of the oppressors.

Yes, the battered wife could have done something, but she has none of the blame.

Comment Re:I hope Reddit is happy. That dude is probably d (Score 1) 137

I dare say that the blame for North Korea's situation also lies with its people. I know that the people are brainwashed, poor, coerced. The Western media likes to characterize the DPRK as a tyrannical government enslaving its hapless citizens, because doing so conveniently focuses the blame on the regime. But that same regime does not operate in a vacuum, as isolated as it is from the rest of the world.

Yes, the North Korean people are to at least partially to blame, just like battered wives bear some blame for their situation. That the West characterizes the North Korea government in an almost cartoonish light is due entirely to the unbelievable disconnect of its leadership from any norms of social interaction.

You are wrong, and the blame lies entirely with the leadership.

Comment Re:It was likely on the table. (Score 1) 618

You can trust HCL (which is actually located in Sunnyvale, not India) with that, because they have deep pockets to sue, if they ever screw up. You can't really trust students to the same degree.

Isn't it the exact opposite? The outsourcing company sells its services entirely on low cost and not on quality or trustworthiness, so a hit on reputation is insignificant. In contrast, the student is working for a degree, so the university has extreme leverage in being able to add negative annotations to the student's transcript or even expel the student. Also, the outsourcing company has multiple contracts, so it probably factors a nonzero probability of a soured contract into its cost of operations, while for the student, the impact of a single incident with the university is huge.

Comment Re:Still waiting (Score 1) 88

This isn't an Apple problem, though - it's because the underlying technology is just not there yet.

It's ironic that the company that is touted for its patience in waiting for technology to catch up to compelling use cases for the iPhone is not willing to give the Apple Watch the same consideration. Is this a sign of desperation to find the next big thing by leveraging marketing prowess and brand appeal even in the face of lackluster use cases.

Comment Re:Wealth correlation (Score 1) 100

Another likely explanation is the parents' income level.

Gee, why didn't the researchers think of that? Oh wait, they did:

...

Turning to household-level characteristics, students from wealthier households were found to
score lower in math, reading, and science, controlling for other factors.

But that's only one way to analyze the wealth factor. For example, simply discounting the poor students skews the aggregate statistics of the total vs. minus-poor populations. What would be much more interesting would be to directly compare the performance among poor, middle-class, and wealthy populations. If this study were done in the US, the poor students would be playing games at the libraries and might not be counted, for example. Not including that population skews the results.

If there were a positive correlation between playing games and performance for poor students, that would be shocking.

Comment Re:How is this measured? (Score 1) 108

They say this is "broadband" speeds, but broadband was redefined last year to require 25Mbps downloads.

So, someone could be sneaky and say 'oh, those 10 Mbps connections aren't broadband anymore', and you just drop out the lowest numbers, and miraculously the average goes up.

Schools were using this trick by keeping the poorly performing students from taking standardized testing to raise their test averages.

Actually, the Speedtest report directly says this is exactly what they are doing. The reported numbers only consider the top 10% of speeds for a given ISP for a given location. So, the number is definitely not an average, even given that the samples are not random, e.g., people with better connections might be more likely to try the Speedtest test.

So, the absolute speed number is not directly useful as a representation of the average or distribution of connection speeds. It may yield some insight after munging it a lot. And the relative different compared to past history may be useful, but that assumes that the same population is being sampled, which is not obvious.

Comment Re:I don't see how this saves money (Score 4, Insightful) 176

There is a lot to criticize in this project, but the pace in which China can take crazy ideas, add manufacturing innovation, and put them into the real world is pretty spectacular.

It's definitely a crazy idea, but not necessarily more crazy than the hyperloop. China is to be applauded for trying a crazy new idea, which hopefully will allow them to observe and improve any significant deficiencies.

Comment Re:Meanwhile..... (Score 2, Insightful) 177

And when Tesla announces a model at a price people do want, they do 325,000 pre-orders in a week.

Yes, sort of. Tesla announces a free car because there is absolutely zero commitment to buy the car. That free price is pivotable. Who know how many people would have put down a non-refundable $1000 deposit. The number of pre-orders would have been lower, and probably much lower.

Comment Re:Netflix v. Cable? How about Netflix v. HBO (Score 1) 174

Seems like a false comparison. Netflix lacks news, sports and the vast amount of programming that is available on Cable ... it better be cheaper! A much more interesting comparison would be Netflix and HBO.

The fact that it lacks news or sports is not something I would mind.

The original comment about a false comparison is exactly spot on. If you care about live news and sports, Netflix is a non-starter. If you care about movies and TV shows, then Netflix is cheaper. If you care about both, then Netflix by itself is still inadequate.

Comment Re:Darwin was right. (Score 1) 330

From a CNN report:

A Tesla spokesperson released a moment by moment description of what happened in the 40 seconds before the crash.

After 15 seconds of what was described by Tesla as "visual warnings and audible tones," the autopilot began to disengage because the driver's hands were still not on the wheel.

About 25 seconds before the crash, "Autosteer began a graceful abort procedure in which the music is muted, the vehicle begins to slow and the driver is instructed both visually and audibly to place their hands on the wheel," according to the company.

Tesla said the driver responded 11 seconds before the crash by retaking the wheel, turning it toward the left and pressing on the accelerator.

"Over 10 seconds and approximately 300m later and while under manual steering control, the driver drifted out of the lane, collided with a barrier, overcorrected, crossed both lanes of the highway, struck a median barrier, and rolled the vehicle," according to Tesla's account.

So, the man never made the decision to disable autopilot. Instead, the car turned off the autopilot on its own. So, Musk could say with a straight face that autopilot was off. But how can a safety mechanism be allowed to turn itself off under any circumstances? Talk about the exact opposite of fail-safe.

Comment Re:Bot manufacturer's press release here: (Score 1) 255

So, when the robot detected a moving child, why TF didn't it just stop? Kids that age move unpredictably when faced with the unexpected. I always stop in circumstances like that. A toddler can dodge a stationary obstacle better than I can dodge a dodging toddler..

The indications from the robot company are that the robot records indicate that it did stop. The child's parent said that the robot ran over the boy but haven't actually claimed to have seen the incident. The robot is designed to move at 1 mph, so it is not designed to dodge anything but rather to stop, which is apparently did. An adult can be expected to dodge a 300-lb robots. A 16-month old toddler can be expected to do unexpected and irrational things, like running backwards into a large robot.

I already figured that the robot didn't sense that it was traveling over the kid's foot, or it would have stopped, so a record of the robot's sense impressions is not all that useful. The injuries to the child are a better guide to what actually happened, since it appears there's confusion there.

The indications are the robot stopped. The injuries to the child are not necessarily indicative of an out-of-control robot. Any parent of a small child can realize how common it is for a small child to acquire injuries and bruises when playing with stationary objects.

Comment Re:Bot manufacturer's press release here: (Score 4, Interesting) 255

The mom said, "The robot hit my son's head and he fell down - facing down - on the floor, and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward." This is in direct contrast to what the robot company said, so one of the accounts is not accurate.

The robot company also said, "The machine veered to the left to avoid the child, but the child ran backwards directly into the front quarter of the machine, at which point the machine stopped and the child fell on the ground." To make a statement about the orientation of the boy requires video (or at least some other electronic detection). Furthermore, the company said, "The machine’s sensors registered no vibration alert and the machine motors did not fault as they would when encountering an obstacle." So, there is some form of an electronic record of what the robot sensed.

Did the parents or any other human claim to have seen the moment of impact? I don't read any direct claim of an eyewitness account.

Comment Re:Slippery slope? (Score 1) 297

I do drive a Tesla Model S (S90D) with autopilot - EVERY time you engage it, it displays a warning on the dash display to keep your hands on the wheel, plus if there is ever an issue/ambiguity (it works by actually seeing the lines on both sides of the car....so if one of those lines is faded or missing, the car with either get confused/drift or completely disengage autopilot with an audible warning) ANOTHER display will pop up telling you to keep your hands on the wheel.

It's entirely possible that the average Tesla driver pays greater attention to warnings compared to the general population. However, from looking my own personal experience as well as those people that I have driven with, start-up warnings are basically useless and exist mainly to attempt to protect manufacturers from lawsuits. Real-time pop-up warnings are probably more effective but must be very conservative to avoid false positives. This looks like the case with these Tesla accidents. Was there a pop-up warning for the Harry Potter guy?

If safe autopilot operation really requires keeping one's hands on the steering wheel, there there should be an active system to enforce that requirement.

Comment Re:Slippery slope? (Score 2) 297

Funny thing, Autopilot is what this is.

You may have the idea that "Autopilot" means the plane flies itself. Nope. Typically autopilot on the plane means it will fly straight and level until ordered otherwise. The autopilot on a plane absolutely will fly straight into another plane even, the human pilot is expected to take care of that sort of thing.

Technically autopilot implementations on airplanes do exactly what you said and require a measure of continued vigilance on the part of the pilots. However, that is not what the term means in common language. The English idiom of putting something on autopilot means that something will work without any continued vigilance. In a way, this is a brilliant marketing strategy. The term connotes self-driving while denoting strictly not self-driving. A perfect marketing term.

Comment Re:Slippery slope? (Score 1) 297

I don't drive a Tesla either.

According to this review, they are far better than the competition.

As far as I understand, you cannot miss the warning. It's not like an EULA with walls and walls of text.

I imagine it's like the warning on all dedicated GPS systems. At the start, you have to hit a button and maybe also wait a few seconds to ostensibly read the text. I ignore it every time and occasionally violate the warning by hitting a button while driving. My guess is that the Tesla warning has the same efficacy.

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