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Comment Re:The problem (Score 1) 110

OP didn't quite phrase it right. Broken cars slow down to a stop. Broken aircraft speed up until they hit the ground.

Falls start to become fatal from about 50 feet, and are nearly always fatal from above 100 feet. So for flying cars to be reasonably safe, you'd have to limit them to about 50 ft altitude. Factor in uneven terrain, and that altitude ceiling means there's very little advantage to flying cars vs ground-based cars.

It's also worth pointing out that Musk's Boring idea is the same thing as flying cars, except the cars are below the ground instead of above the ground. Both increase the number of cars which can pass any 2-dimensional point by changing the altitude - up for flying cars, down for Boring. With Boring having the notable advantage of car occupants not dropping to their deaths if their engine conks out.

Comment Yeah, you do... but no, we don't. (Score 1) 229

I drive on highways with 55-65 MPH speed limits, just like everyone for the last 50 years, with cars built for those speeds.

From time to time, I drive a 2016 corvette on Montana highways with 80 mph speed limits. It is fair to say that the car loafs along. It was absolutely built for these speeds, and speeds considerably higher. I often reach those higher speeds. [Um. Allegedly. Cough.] Many other models are built with similar capabilities. The highways here are well designed for those speeds. Even many of the secondary roads here are pretty good for them, though not as good.

Methinks you are thinking well inside your own box. Poorly. Which makes me raise my eyebrows at your assertion that you are a physicist. That may be unfair; many people are notably vertical in their strengths. But still, my eyebrows are raised. :)

We can also (if we are honest) observe that progress, and the potential it unleashes in many cases, is not all that closely linked with what's commercially available or common around the time of the fundamental invention. In the first decade after lasers were invented, for instance, there was no significant commercial application. When the integrated circuit was invented, it wasn't much to look at and functionally speaking, for decades, it was outright pitiful compared to ICs today. We're still dealing with developing a full understanding of how neurons do what they do. In laser parlance, in 2017 we are yet pre-laser, and anyone who tries to tell us that lasers can't do X at this point should be considered, at most, a hand-waver in the grips of a fit of profound hubris.

WRT the subject at hand - intelligence and consciousness resulting from information processing - nature has, fortunately enough, provided numerous models at various levels. So we know it can be done at least one way - neural-like systems. Sure, it's obviously not easy. Brains use very small, very complicated, and very difficult to understand computing elements.

But achieving a manufactured intelligence is also obviously highly interesting and to many, highly desirable. Assuming only that our technological progress doesn't actually halt due to some unrelated factor (war, asteroid, runaway climate, alien invasion, etc.), there are many reasons, all supporting one another very, very well, to assume that we will "get there from here." Not the least of which is there are many (sub-)reasons to presume that will be a great deal of economic leverage in such technology.

And, perhaps most relevant to you, there are no known physics related reasons to presume that we won't get there eventually. As you should know very well. If one is (or multiple are) discovered - for instance, should it be determined at some point in the future that brains use some heretofore unknown physics mechanism(s) to do what they do - then we may quite suddenly be on different grounds in terms of ultimate practicality. But there isn't even a hint of this as yet. It definitely appears to be chemistry, electricity, and topology all the way down as far as brains go. That stuff, we can do. Larger and clumsier and perhaps even slower... perhaps even only as emulation... yet we can do it. We just don't know exactly what to do. Yet.

Comment In transport vs on the computer!? (Score 1) 33

Some ISPs already provide anti-viruses to the customer for an extra fee, like mine does. The only catch it is only windows compatible. I got the feature removed since they were charging me for something I couldn't use.

As for detecting viruses in an encrypted transport layer, at the ISP, then good luck with that.

Comment Competition with old/used Surfaces (Score 1) 129

The used Surface market is pretty strong. Compulsive upgraders sell off their old models at a low price, which gives more cost-conscious consumers a choice between a new, expensive one, or a used cheap one. But Microsoft only makes money off the new sales, not the secondhand market. The net effect is that Surface revenue is depressed. The same happens with any new product line - you get a sales spike at launch, when the current model is the only game in town, and then it falls to sustainable levels as new models have to compete with the old one on the used market.

As for myself, I'm quite happy with my secondhand Surface Pro 2. Cost me about a third of what a new Surface Pro 4 would, and it does everything I've tried to use it for.

Comment Re:Lasers.. (Score 1) 125

I agree. Human society is inherently violent, as we are descendants of apes.

No, we are descendants of a creature that apes are also descended from.

Yes, we are inherently violent, and enjoy killing things.

I forget what that show was some years back that had robots fight and kill each other. Those were good times.

Comment Re:Jeezuz... (Score 1) 125

And third, who thinks it's a good idea to vandalize something that has cameras, honestly!

The supply of utterly clueless morons that do not even understand the most basic things in the human race is endless. This is not the only indicator.

There have been a rash of these morons who have falsely accused taxi drivers of sexual assault, when the Driver uses a dashcam or audio recorder to record everything that happens in their vehicle.

Comment Re:Ineffective and wrong. (Score 1) 103

I think it's just another political stunt to try and manipulate social media into stifling free speech. I'm not saying I agree with the "hate" videos in question, but if you want to have free speech, then you've got to have free speech. sheesh.

The problem of course, is that what is offensive has already creeped into areas that are not particularly offensive, unless people consider everything that does not agree with them as offensive.

Another issue is that people tend to frame their arguments as a liberal versus conservative based thing. Both the far left and far right are guilty.

And now it has extended into areas which are merely political in nature, not remotely violent, say like "The Young Turks", or "An Ear for Men". areas where the loudest and most easily offended agents of outrage will show up. Its "Ermaherd! Ir'm Errfernderd!

And possibly self defeating. There is a reason why Bill Maher is doing very well on HBO. Their funding model is direct, and he can bring his humor/political commentary out to mentally mature audiences who don't need self validation. He's an equal opportunity pisser-offer who makes you think. And it seems that HBO knows how many people are watching.

Self defeating indeed. So where will advertisers peddle their shit when everyone has gone to direct support models? Because no matter what is being presented, it's gonna piss someone off. Personally, I'm kind of offended by laxative commercials on cooking shows. When we all know that's why God created Taco Bell.

Comment Re:Good since he supports systemd... (Score 1, Insightful) 88

Wow such lack of love for humanity. Here we have a guy imprisdoned for trying to make the world better and speaking out on what he thought was an injustice. Who probably very scared and currently powerless.
As you from your comfortable location applauding this because he happened to make a technical decision to use a different software set with different features tradeoffs which you have the option to not use at all or just spend a little time to learn better and perhaps change the default configuration.
What's next? Hanging the engineers who decided to take the headphone jack from the iPhone. Or the person who made the final decision to make their distribution start Linux in xwindows by default?
 

Comment Re:Children and bathwaters (Score 2) 103

I think the issue isn't that when people see the add for Pepsi next to a violent extremist video people will relate that Pepsi is endorsing the video. But the act of continued advertising next to the video is endorsing it. What a lot of companies are slowly realizing is that what they spend money on can often have further reaching consequences. Do you want the PR after the next mass shooting that the kids weapons were funded from your company due too add revenue on his hateful YouTube blog?
Or even with the recent Fox News with Bill O'riely, he didn't get fired for what he did but got fired because major companies were pulling out. He get fired, the company that pulled out looks good because it appears they have a conscience the get press for that and it is free advertising.

Comment Your work mighy have trashed it, but .... (Score 1) 129

Where I work, it turns out the Surface Pro 4 got chosen as the de-facto standard issue PC for all new hires, moving forward, unless they request a Mac instead. (We're a shop with about a 50/50 Mac and Windows PC mix. Lots of creative types work for us and often feel more comfortable or confident working on a Mac, so we give them that option. Other groups like Finance require Windows for the accounting software we run.)

Our whole I.T. group was issued Surface Pro 4 setups to use first, so we could get a real, hands-on evaluation of them for a while before recommending them to anyone else in the company. My experience is, as long as you don't totally cheap out and buy the lowest-end configurations -- you completely forget you're not on a modern, mid-range performance desktop PC when it's docked with a standard monitor, keyboard and mouse.

When I have to use mine on the go? I dislike the compromises it makes. The pencil stylus works pretty well but it's not that useful for most of what I do. For I.T., I need to remote into serves and make changes or update inventory spreadsheets or respond to emails and help tickets in the web-based system. None of that is made any better with the pencil. So that means using the keyboard cover with it, and that thing stinks. Even if it had better keys and feel, it's also just not pleasant how you have to flip back the plastic kickstand and use the flimsy cover on a flat surface to emulate a traditional hinged notebook. Doesn't work well if you're really trying to use it in your laptop instead of on a table. And the whole unit, with its plastic casing, just feels junky compared to the aluminum used with something like Apple's iPad. Not enough USB ports on a Surface Pro 4 either.

But the thing is? A lot of our employees WILL find the pencil really useful. They use Adobe apps and other drawing packages regularly. And others are more concerned about carrying around the thinnest, lightest-weight machine possible, so they like it too. Even the SP4's power adapter is really small and light compared to the bricks they want you to carry with you with many other machines.

And lastly? Just because MS makes it, they can do the type of integration that has always given Apple the edge over everyone else until now. They can push out firmware updates or driver updates as part of the normal Windows Update process, ensuring it stays current without users having to seek the updates out on a support web page or use clunky 3rd. party updater utilities that are known to screw up.

Comment Re:Not a struggle (Score 1) 79

This. I mean, you should be able to invest that in the stock market and average at least $8 million per year, permanently, allowing enough extra money to compensate for inflation. That's enough for a team of at least 20 engineers plus renting space for them to work, equipment costs, health insurance, etc. So barring the website being insanely complex, you should literally be able to run it on that without even touching the principal, even without bringing in a penny of revenue. What the heck are these people doing with all that money?

Comment Re:US Capital Reinvestment Problem (Score 1) 79

True, though there are thresholds below which expansion makes no sense. Say I have a bookstore. I have ten employees and overlap them to keep the store open during reasonable business hours.

  • Adding five more employees is unlikely to provide any additional ROI unless I can claim to be the only 24-hour bookstore in the region, and only then if there's actually a group of people who wake up at three in the morning, think to themselves, "I need to read something to help me get to sleep", then put on their clothes, drive to a bookstore, buy a book, drive home, take off their clothes, curl up, and read the book.
  • Adding ten more employees would be enough to open up a second bookstore in a nearby town. Assuming there are enough customers to keep both businesses alive, then yes, given available capital, there's more work to be done.

In big businesses, the interesting thresholds tend to be even bigger and more dependent on things other than available capital. You have a lot of opportunities for bringing in a new person in various parts of the company as workload increases over time, of course, but the really interesting, rapid growth happens when the company decides that they want to go after a new market segment, which means they have to ramp up their staff fairly dramatically. That requires more than just capital; it requires big ideas and a reasonable probability of making enough money to make it worth the effort.

That's why even though Apple's U.S. profits alone could cover the cost of hiring on the order of 700,000 full-time software engineers, they have on the order of one percent of that number. So probably only about one or two percent of their revenue goes into staffing (ignoring C*O and VP bonuses). Even if you double or triple that number to cover the cost of renting or building office spaces, assuming you ignore the occasional massively over-budget project like the spaceship, total employee costs still probably fall down in the single-digit range percentage-wise. In other words, if they needed more people, they would easily be able to afford many more people, so bringing more money into the U.S. won't change their hiring at all. This tends to be true for all sufficiently large businesses. In other words, there's a threshold of capitalization beyond which adding more money won't result in more jobs.

The bottom line is that if you want to increase the number of available jobs, the best way is to raise taxes on big businesses and use that to offset a reduction in taxes on smaller businesses. Those smaller businesses still have room to grow, and every dollar that they pay in taxes is a dollar that they can't pay their employees; for bigger businesses, every dollar they pay in taxes is just a dollar that they can't pay their shareholders, which although certainly beneficial, does not create jobs.

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