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Comment Re:yup (Score 1) 356

Did you know that SNAP could be funded almost 100% if the federal government got rid of the home mortgage interest deduction? So who's to say that the "chunk" (which is about $20 per month per person) of your paycheck isn't actually going into the pockets of rich schmucks like me who own a nice house? It amounts to the same thing. The funniest part of it is that my in-laws are my lenders, so the interest is just money that I'm going to get back when they kick the bucket. Thank you for supporting this ludicrous deduction! :)

Comment would rather not (Score 1) 52

I prefer not to unlock my phone. I find it frustrating to have to spend so much time to make a phone call, compared to what I used to be able to do on my flip phone without even looking. I don't use it for anything financial, so it's not like somebody can clean out my bank account. I guess having access to my email would have negative ramifications, since that's how most places reset accounts. Since I use it to check my work email, their server told my phone it had to have a lock screen, and it required at least a PIN for unlocking. I found that rather astonishing. I'm also surprised there's no setting on the phone to say "fake out the server and tell it you have a lock screen." I'm sure if I bothered rooting my phone I could do it, but that seems like such a PITA for something that's only going to last a few years.

Comment Re:I'll document it tomorrow (Score 1) 535

The crappier my code, the more I document it. I have been through some of my old code, and right where I was thinking "WTF dude?!" I see a comment along the lines of "you put this in here because there was a bug in somebody else's component, and this was the only work around. Do not try to 'fix' it!" Or my personal favorite: "PFM: Do not touch!"

Comment Full article (Score -1, Troll) 120

Ok, so neither of those links were included in the summary when this was posted, but here is the full article:

Elon Musk Launches Neuralink to Connect Brains With Computers
Startup from CEO of Tesla and SpaceX aims to implant tiny electrodes in human brains
Neuralink is pursuing what Elon Musk calls 'neural lace' technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts.
March 27, 2017 3:24 p.m. ET

Building a mass-market electric vehicle and colonizing Mars aren't ambitious enough for Elon Musk. The billionaire entrepreneur now wants to merge computers with human brains to help people keep up with machines.

The founder and chief executive of Tesla Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has launched another company called Neuralink Corp., according to people familiar with the matter. Neuralink is pursuing what Mr. Musk calls "neural lace" technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts.

Mr. Musk has taken an active role setting up the California-based company and may play a significant leadership role, according to people briefed on Neuralink's plans, a bold step for a father of five who already runs two technologically complex businesses.

Mr. Musk didn't respond to a request for comment. Max Hodak, who said he is a "member of the founding team," confirmed the company's existence and Mr. Musk's involvement. He described the company as "embryonic" and said plans are still in flux but declined to provide additional details. Mr. Hodak previously founded Transcriptic, a startup that provides robotic lab services accessible over the internet.

Mr. Musk, 45 years old, is part businessman, part futurist. He splits his time between Tesla, which is under pressure to deliver its $35,000 sedan on time, and SpaceX, which aims to launch a satellite-internet business and a rocket that can bring humans to Mars. He is also pushing development of a super high-speed train called Hyperloop.

Somewhere in his packed schedule, he has found time to start a neuroscience company that plans to develop cranial computers, most likely to treat intractable brain diseases first, but later to help humanity avoid subjugation at the hands of intelligent machines.

"If you assume any rate of advancement in [artificial intelligence], we will be left behind by a lot," he said at a conference last June.

The solution he proposed was a "direct cortical interface"--essentially a layer of artificial intelligence inside the brain--that could enable humans to reach higher levels of function.

Mr. Musk has teased that he is developing the technology himself. "Making progress [on neural lace]," he tweeted last August, "maybe something to announce in a few months." In January he tweeted that an announcement might be coming shortly.

He hasn't made an official announcement, but Neuralink registered in California as a "medical research" company last July.

Mr. Musk has discussed financing Neuralink primarily himself, including with capital borrowed against equity in his other companies, according to a person briefed on the plans.

Neuralink has also discussed a possible investment from Founders Fund, the venture firm started by Peter Thiel, with whom Mr. Musk co-founded payments company PayPal, according to people familiar with the matter.

In recent weeks, Neuralink hired leading academics in the field, according to another person familiar with the matter. They include Vanessa Tolosa, an engineer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and an expert in flexible electrodes; Philip Sabes, a professor at the University of California in San Francisco, who studies how the brain controls movement; and Timothy Gardner, a professor at Boston University who is known for implanting tiny electrodes in the brains of finches to study how the birds sing.

Reached by phone, Dr. Gardner confirmed he is working for Neuralink, but declined to elaborate on its plans. Dr. Sabes declined to comment. Dr. Tolosa didn't respond to a request for comment.

It is unclear what sorts of products Neuralink might create, but people who have had discussions with the company describe a strategy similar to SpaceX and Tesla, where Mr. Musk developed new rocket and electric-car technologies, proved they work, and is now using them to pursue more ambitious projects.

These people say the first products could be advanced implants to treat intractable brain disorders like epilepsy or major depression, a market worth billions of dollars. Such implants would build on simpler electrodes already used to treat brain disorders like Parkinson's disease.

If Neuralink can prove the safety and efficacy of its technology and receive government approval, perhaps it then could move on to cosmetic brain surgeries to enhance cognitive function, these people say. Mr. Musk alluded to this possibility in his comments last June, describing how humans struggle to process and generate information as quickly as they absorb it.

"Your output level is so low, particularly on a phone, your two thumbs just tapping away," he said. "This is ridiculously slow. Our input is much better because we have a high bandwidth visual interface into the brain. Our eyes take in a lot of data."

Others pursuing the idea include Bryan Johnson, the founder of online payments company Braintree, who plans to pump $100 million into a startup called Kernel, which has 20 people and is pursuing a similar mission.

Mr. Johnson said he has spoken to Mr. Musk and that both companies want to build better neural interfaces, first to attack big diseases, and then to expand human potential.

Facebook Inc. has posted job ads for "brain-computer interface engineers" and other neuroscientists at its new secret projects division. And the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is investing $60 million over four years to develop implantable neural interface technology.

The technology faces several barriers. Scientists must find a safe, minimally invasive way to implant the electrodes, and a way to keep them stable in the brain. It also isn't yet possible to record the activity of millions of the brain's neurons to decode complex decisions, or distinguish when someone wants to eat a bowl of spaghetti or go to the bathroom.

Then there is persuading people to get elective brain surgery.

In comments published by Vanity Fair on Sunday, Mr. Musk said "for a meaningful partial-brain interface, I think we're roughly four or five years away."

If Mr. Musk indeed takes an active leadership role at Neuralink, that would raise more questions about his own personal bandwidth.

Tesla is building the largest battery factory on the planet to supply its forthcoming Model 3 electric vehicle, and it will need to produce hundreds of thousands of cars to meet its goal and justify its lofty market capitalization, which is approaching that of Ford Motor Co.
SpaceX has struggled to launch rockets fast enough to send satellites into orbit for its customers. Ultimately it wants to launch an internet-access business powered by more than 4,000 low-earth orbiting satellites, ferry space tourists to the moon and then bring astronauts to Mars.

Even so, Mr. Musk has proved many naysayers wrong. Traditional auto makers said he could never sell a popular electric car. Military-industrial graybeards scoffed at the idea he could even launch a rocket.

Write to Rolfe Winkler at

Comment Re:Industrial accident (Score 4, Interesting) 407

I think calling it a "war" is disingenuous. Name a single regulation that was not based on a real public need. The only one I can think of was the whole anti-pipeline thing (KXL and Dakota Access), which was just straight-up ignorant. I wouldn't call that a war on businesses, though. In fact, my company made money off of TransCanada due to that debacle.

Compare that to what we have now, though. The president can cause stock prices to drop 5% or more with a single vindictive, vapid tweet. Obama's administration could lay out a damning white paper with detailed explanations of why mining tailings were bad for drinking water supplies, and nobody gave a shit because they knew the Republicans in congress would never actually do anything about it. God forbid we have an EPA or OSHA that actually, you know, defends we the people.

I'm pretty pro-Tenth, but honestly how are you going to handle river pollution at the state level? Is Louisiana really going to tell Texas to keep their cadmium on their half of the Sabine? Air pollution: can Arizona tell California to get its cars off the road when the wind is blowing? What about global warming? Anything requiring an international treaty is by definition a federal issue.

I'm tired of people claiming that all regulations are anti-business, and that all businesses just want to screw people for a buck. There's a real benefit to the American people when a smoothly functioning federal government does it's job. Also, there are real financial incentives when businesses act ethically. Unfortunately we haven't seen either in so long, most people have forgotten what it looks like.

Comment Re: And so it begins... (Score 2) 407

Even with proper verification, you can still get killed. To take the analogy a step further, there have been linemen killed when (after they check with their hotsticks) some idiot customer a mile away kicks on his emergency generator without disconnecting his 52. It doesn't happen a lot, but when it does happen, people die.

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The means-and-ends moralists, or non-doers, always end up on their ends without any means. -- Saul Alinsky