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Comment Re:Boeing or not going (Score 1) 138

Funny you mention Hong Kong. It's where I live.

I don't see flying cars/buses/whatever here any time soon. The reason: high-rise buildings (most city blocks here are anywhere from 50 to 480 meters tall) and mountains (the tallest being over 900 meters tall). With those high-rises there is almost no place for any aircraft to land safely, it's just too dense. There's a heliport at the harbour and a few super luxury hotels have helipads on the rooftop. That are about your only realistic options.

Add to that the sheer volume of people that want to be moved. Trains are the more efficient way to go for that - the busiest line is operating 12-coach trains, 20 trains an hour, and it's actually not enough to handle rush hour traffic. The train network is being expanded steadily, with more lines being added. Mostly underground, out of the way of everything. Currently the trains handle some 3.5 million passenger trips every day, road public transport (buses, minibuses, taxis) handle at least that number of trips between them.

Other dense population centres will have the same problems. Huge numbers of people that want to move around, basically limiting any air transport to just a fancy premium service. No space to land on the ground as you're always too close to buildings, one of the main issues after noise would be the unpredictable winds tossing your drone around.

Comment Re:Stupid question (Score 2, Interesting) 139

This also puts the age of both the earth and the moon at "when the first rocks formed", not "when the celestial body formed" which imho is when a significant amount of space debris, possibly molten, clumps together to form something resembling a planet. There's probably no way to really figure that one out.

As the moon is supposedly formed from material from the earth, it could be argued to be the same age (it being from the same clump of material, plus some of the asteroid that caused the split - which in turn may have contained material that solidified much earlier, of course).

In that line of thought, how can we be sure that these moon rocks and earth's oldest rocks are really formed on these bodies and are not fragments of much older objects that were caught in the respective gravity fields?

Comment Re:Easy Solution - Hold Manufacturers Responsible (Score 1) 196

Two years? That's far too short. Even for regular PCs it'd be a too short time span - 20, 30 years ago the normal lifespan of a PC was considered to be about three years, now it's more like five. Many LTS releases of Linux get security fixes for at least five years. Debian releases maybe even longer, but that's more to do with the slow release cycle itself.

Anyway, here you're talking about devices that last easily a decade, such as fridges. My own fridge is older than that, should be about 12 years now. Our TV is nearing 3 years now, the one before that we had for 8-9 years at least. Manufacturers will have to provide support for 10, 15 years. At the very least. Otherwise you either have to deal with "planned obsolescence" (something we at /. love to hate), where you have to replace your expensive devices every two years. Expensive, and very bad from an environmental perspective.

Now with these support periods there are all kinds of practical and maybe even technical challenges - such as keeping people employed that actually know how to work with that old technology and companies going out of business.

Comment Re:Attack model (Score 1) 207

This attack model assumes there is an app on the phone able to listen all time for ultrasounds.

TFA suggests that this even is the case for many phones already: they say many advertising APIs (which programmers simply link to in order to get ads in their apps) already include ultrasound listening options. This is supposedly yet another way for the advertisement provider to get more information on individual users, in this case by linking separate devices as belonging to the same user.

Comment Re:Sadly... (Score 1) 22

It's not meant for desktop computers; it's meant for automated vehicles to help them find the way.

And that I also think is the wrong approach. Maps are NEVER correct. There are accidental errors, there are changes to the landscape, temporary obstacles, etc. Normal maps should be good enough for a self-driving vehicle to find its way, just like people find the way: by looking at the actual streets, not by (literally) blindly following a map and hoping that works out fine. So even if maps are detailed enough to follow streets and lanes on streets and so, the cars anyway have to be very aware of the actual place, to the extent that those maps are not needed any more.

Comment Re:This is fucking awesome (Score 4, Interesting) 455

I.e. Volvo patented the safety belt, they implemented it and let all use it royalty free for the betterment of humans, as safety first.

You can not patent "the seat belt". You can, however, patent a certain way of making seat belts, e.g. the locking mechanism that stops the belt when it's pulled quickly. Other manufacturers are free to implement a different version of the seat belt, such as the one used on airplanes for example.

Your example is more to how horrible software patents are, as it seems Apple patented an idea ("stop certain function driving") rather then a technology (which would be more like "a specific method of recognising someone is driving and using that to block certain functions on the phone"). There may be several ways to detect whether someone is driving (GPS speed, shaking of the vehicle, acceleration, a bluetooth link to the car, whatever) so the patent of Apple shouldn't be able to prevent someone to implement a similar feature, they would only be prevented from using a specific, non-obvious way of detecting whether the phone's owner is driving.

Comment Re:Uber driver (Score 1) 219

Nobody is "being sold" for sex these days except in exceptionally rare circumstances. It does not work economically.

That argument doesn't make sense. I'd guess it works great, from an economical point of view. Force the girl to prostitute herself, take most or even all of the pay, great profit potential for those with low morals.

It does seem to happen a lot, all over the world, and not just to children. Europe with its refugee crisis may also see refugees end up in forced prostitution - e.g. to "pay off debts" to people smugglers. Even before the refugee crisis there were ample examples of women ending up in forced prostitution rings. Them being adults just made it not make the news that big. Easiest accomplished in places where brothels are commonplace, as it makes it so much easier to control the victims by keeping them within the building.

Comment Re:Revolutionary! (Score 1) 73

You'll have to read the actual patent application carefully before calling "prior art!". The linked articles don't provide a link to the actual patent application, so it's a bit difficult to know what they actually patented.

I'm not even sure if it's a technological patent or a design patent in this case. It seems to be the first, though can't be sure without a link to the actual patent.

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