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What Will It Take To Make Automated Vehicles Legal In the US?

Hrrrg A working automated vehicle (320 comments)

Call me when they can make an automated car that car drive in snowy conditions when no lane landmarks are visible. Or one that can turn into a lane of busy traffic that currently requires you to make eye contact with another driver to get them to slow down and let you in. Then we can worry about legalizing it. Legalization is trivial compared to the technical challenges. Personally, I suspect that there won't be a truly automated cars in my lifetime.

about 3 months ago

Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

Hrrrg Re:Robots? (421 comments)

There is virtually nothing (not even Ebola) that can get through basic procedures, even with humans treating them. Even without full isolation, just making sure that direct bodily contact does not occur is enough to stop basically anything - hence why doctors wear rubber gloves even if they digging into your internals with blood everywhere.

Such a thing would be so unbelievably infectious that we'd all have it - planet-wide - within a couple of days. It's just not in the nature of such things to be that infectious. Ebola is actually no worse than AIDS, from what I can tell from a quick search.

There are so many things wrong with this, it is hard to know where to start...

Many diseases are much more infectious than ebola. I recall from medical school that you can catch chicken pox (if you haven't had it or been vaccinated) from the air two hours after a patient has left the room. Influenza is also much more infectious than ebola, which is why is spreads around the world in weeks/months every year.

Fortunately ebola is not nearly so infectious. But if someone is having continuous watery diarrhea and bleeding everywhere (e.g. Ebola) and your job is to roll them over every hour, while they are thrashing around, to clean up their bloody virus-laden excrement, and your only protection is mask/gloves/gown - well, good luck.

HIV requires that you get infected bodily fluid (usually blood) into your own bloodstream, which is much hard than catching Ebola.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Where's the Most Unusual Place You've Written a Program From?

Hrrrg Preposition (310 comments)

"Ask Slashdot: Where's the Most Unusual Place You've Written a Program From?"

A preposition is a terrible thing to end a sentence with!

about 8 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Software Can You Not Live Without?

Hrrrg My List (531 comments)

Adobe Lightroom - does 95% of what I would do with photoshop, works on raw images and simplifies my workflow tremendously. I almost never use photoshop anymore.

Ubuntu, Windows 8.1, Libreoffice, Adobe Reader, - self explanatory.

Firefox with Adblock plus and Better Privacy and HTPS Everywhere installed.

KeepassX - Password manager. Multiplatform, much less buggy than Keepass2 (note to develepers: please take it out of alpha status!)

F.Lux - warms up the color of your monitor in the evenings so that it doesn't interfere with your circadian rhythm, hopefully improves sleep. (hey - it's free!)

Videolan (VLC) - excellent video player (despite the crappy name)

Sandboxie (paid $$) - Sandbox your browser and various other programs

FastOne Image Viewer - excellent, free sildeshow software

Secunia PSI - makes sure your programs are kept up-to-date

about a year ago

Doctors Say New Pain Pill Is "Genuinely Frightening"

Hrrrg Higher potency? (294 comments)

As a physician, I am not sure I understand the concern after reading the article. After all, if a drug is higher potency, you just prescribe less of it. Higher potency does not equal higher efficacy (efficacy if the maximum effect that a drug can produce, potency refers to how much of the drug it takes to get that effect). We already have a ton of highly addictive opioids on the market, and hydrocodone is hardly one of the most effective narcotics. If the main ingredient is hydrocodone, how can it be more potent than other hydrocodone containing drugs? Maybe the concern is that it will be easier to get than other narcotics, but hydrocodone is being switched to the more-restrictive Schedule II drug class like oxycodone. Maybe this pill provides a higher dose of hydrocodone than existing medications? The article doesn't say. No doubt people will abuse this new pill, but it is not clear to me why it is thought that this will cause more addiction than already exists...

about a year ago

Leaked Manual Reveals Details On Google's Nexus 5

Hrrrg Verizon? (177 comments)

The killer feature for me would be that it was available on Verizon. Can anyone tell from this documentation?

about a year ago

Samsung Launches 3200x1800 Pixel ATIV Book 9 Plus Laptop

Hrrrg Wow, may make me want to upgrade (397 comments)

I bought a Sony Vaio Z about 3 years ago and, since the line has been discontinued, I have felt there really wasn't an equivalent laptop on the market. Before I would be tempted by this new laptop, it would have to best the specs of my 3 year old laptop:

1920x1080 IPS screen
excellent backlit keyboard
excellent trackpad
exchangeable battery
2.53 GHz Core I5 processor (boost 3.06 GHz)
3.07 lbs or less (the mentioned laptop appears to be exactly this weight)

My current laptop also has a DVD drive, which pretty much makes it irreplaceable (and at the time, it could have been purchased with a blu-ray burner for $500 more without really impacting the weight. Core i7 versions were also available).

My laptop also has discreet graphics and 4 SSDs set up in Raid 0. However, I suspect that integrated graphics and more modern SSD's may mean that the performance on this new laptop from Samsung may equal or exceed that of my current laptop.

It's a pity that Sony discontinued the Vaio Z line of laptops, as, even 3 years later, they appear to have no peer.

Disclaimer: this laptop cost $2400 in 2010 and, fully loaded, the cost could have gone over $4000.
Disclaimer 2: Yes, I can live without a DVD drive, but, all things being equal, I prefer to have one built-in.

about a year and a half ago

India's ICBM Will Carry Multiple Nuclear Warheads

Hrrrg MIRVs? (351 comments)

> MIRVed missiles destabilized the Cold War nuclear balance

Really? I thought it was the movie Star Wars the scared the Soviet Union into surrendering.

about a year and a half ago

Eric Schmidt: Teens' Mistakes Will Never Go Away

Hrrrg Common names have an advantage (335 comments)

As a parent, this has been my concern for some time. My wife and I have decided never to refer to our daughter by her real name online. We never post photos of her anywhere. As she grows older, we are going to teach her to minimize her online presence and warn her that future employers or colleges may request her passwords to various social media sites to learn more about her. However, you cannot completely control what other people post about you. In fact, if you post nothing about yourself online, then what other people post may have a disproportionate impact. However, it seems to me that people who have a common name (ie John Smith) will have an advantage over other people. This leads me to believe that, in the future, a lot of people will be changing their names to something more common to restore some of their privacy.

about a year ago

$200 Intel Android Laptops Are Coming

Hrrrg Can Android be improved? (319 comments)

Perhaps someone here can tell me. Everyone complains that Android is not a complete OS. However, it is based on Linux. How hard would it be for Google to use code from Linux to gradually expand the features/capabilities of Android until it approached full functionality? [With the underlying idea being to bring it along slowly so that the userbase could learn to use it gradually rather than be exposed to the complexity of full Linux all at once]

about a year and a half ago

Should California Have Banned Checking Smartphone Maps While Driving?

Hrrrg Re:Probably spot on ruling (433 comments)

Distracted drivers - you've seen them. Possibly you've been hit by them. They look away from the road, even for a couple seconds and BAM!

Perhaps. However, I suspect more crashes are caused by bored drivers who are not paying attention to what they are doing. That is probably why the number of car accidents has gone down even while cell phone ownership has gone from 0% of the population to 91%. I think it also explains why studies of cellphone use while driving predict dire consequences, and those consequences fail to materialize in the real world. You have to pay attention if you're trying to use a cellphone at the same time you are driving.

about 2 years ago

Google Declares War On the Password

Hrrrg Yubikey (480 comments)

I bought a yubikey. It's a great concept. The problem is, almost no one really uses it. I bought it to use on gmail - well, guess what? Gmail didn't officially support it - you had to install a software hack to get it to work. I can get this software to work on windows, but not on Ubuntu (I probably could if I hadn't given up after an hour). Yubikey has a special key that supports lastpass and paypal. So then I bought that one, but haven't had time to try it out. I did all of this several months ago, so my info may be outdated...

about 2 years ago

Hacktivism: Civil Disobedience Or Cyber Crime?

Hrrrg It depends... (243 comments)

Civil disobedience is about making a statement that a law is unjust. Therefore, it has to be done in the open, and you have to take responsibility for your actions. If you are hiding what you are doing, then you're just breaking the law.

about 2 years ago

New 25-GPU Monster Devours Strong Passwords In Minutes

Hrrrg trucrypt (330 comments)

I have an old trucrypt container that I forgot the password to. Does this mean I can now recover it? (it was fairly short, perhaps 8 characters)

more than 2 years ago

New Credit Card Includes Display and Keypad

Hrrrg Re:Not replacing chip and pin (118 comments)

This is slightly offtopic, but I want to promote the use of two-factor authentication. I just ordered a Yubikey for $25. It reportedly is supported by gmail, fastmail, lastpass among others: http://www.yubico.com/

more than 2 years ago

How Chemistry Stymies Attempts To Regulate Synthetic Drugs

Hrrrg Re:Innovation (364 comments)

Why not ban all mind-altering substances except for a whitelist? Say alcohol, caffeine, nicotene are legal. Everthing else illegal. IANAL but that would seem to solve the legal problem.

more than 2 years ago

Oracle and Mozilla Foundation Work Quietly Together

Hrrrg Only 3 people (167 comments)

Amazing that the addition of only three full-time employees is expected to create a product that might challenge the largest company on the planet.

more than 9 years ago


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