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Autonomous Car Ethics: If a Crash Is Unavoidable, What Does It Hit?

IWannaBeAnAC Re:Sue, sue, sue (800 comments)

So the solution that ends up getting implemented is that the autonomous car will take whatever course of action that will minimize costs, which will typically be crash into whichever car contains the occupants with the least total wealth.

about 5 months ago
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Security Industry Incapable of Finding Firmware Attackers

IWannaBeAnAC They're not. (94 comments)

They're never going to fix this. It isn't just a matter of publishing source code, it affects the hardware too. It needs hardware protection on the flash, for example, so that you can control, at a hardware level (eg by a button on the device) whether the flash is writable.

But by now, all of the manufacturers are so infiltrated by other agencies, the NSA, foreign governments, and business interests (having the user in control of their own security directly contradicts the aims of DRM, not to mention marketing companies); this all conspires against ever having any security over your own firmware.

Build it yourself is probably the best bet. And the nice thing is that this is becoming more practical. The biggest problem is that there is no way to verify the hardware at the chip level, but with careful design it is possible to get reasonably good security without 100% trust in all of the individual components.

But for the overwhelming majority of people, who are not motivated or able to build their own, their tech is doomed to be compromised. I don't think there is anything that can be done about that. It is a political issue, rather than technical. And in all "democracies" that I can think of, the political will is against it.

about 7 months ago
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Google To Replace GTK+ With Its Own Aura In Chrome

IWannaBeAnAC Re:Just for a browser? (240 comments)

The reason why Gtk was written is because at the time that GIMP was starting out, there wasn't a good alternative. Nowdays there are.

about 7 months ago
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Academics Should Not Remain Silent On Government Hacking

IWannaBeAnAC Re:Possible reason (135 comments)

DoD, DHS, CIA, NSA, etc will all require that you keep your research secret. They do fund cryptographers, but they are all in-house and not part of the academic community.

about 10 months ago
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Upper Limit On Emissions Likely To Be Exceeded Within Decades

IWannaBeAnAC Re:Um what TF? (324 comments)

There is no doubt that *eventually* natural carbon sequestration will remove the excess carbon we are pumping into the atmosphere. The problem though is that the natural rate of fossil fuel formation is roughly 10 barrel of oil per day. The amount of oil we are burning is about 10 million barrels of oil per day. So yes, in a few million years it will all change back into oil, and the amount of CO2 will be back to where it is today. I'm glad that is a comfort to you, I'm sure your children will take comfort in it too.

And yes, the ocean pH has decreased by about 0.1 since pre-industrial times. That is becoming *more acidic*.

1 year,24 days
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Upper Limit On Emissions Likely To Be Exceeded Within Decades

IWannaBeAnAC Re:High Certainty. (324 comments)

That's a load of nonsense - the problem is that 10-15 years is too short a time-scale to make a reliable judgment. Since 1975, global average surface air temperature has increased at a rate of 0.17 deg.C/decade. But it isn't a steady increase. If you look at the 15-year period up to 2006, the warming trend was almost twice as high as normal (namely 0.3 C per decade) but nobody cared much (except climate scientists and environmentalists). The 15-year period from 1998 to now has been slower than the trend, and that's got hugely more attention. The reason is that interest groups strongly push the latter, and want to ignore anything that doesn't fit their agenda. See here for details

1 year,24 days
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Upper Limit On Emissions Likely To Be Exceeded Within Decades

IWannaBeAnAC Re:Um what TF? (324 comments)

No, the rate at which it's removed doesn't increase with increasing CO2, at least not enough to make a difference. Some additional carbon is stored in the oceans, possibly some increased biomass (but probably outweighed by deforestation?), but its pretty small in comparison to the amount of carbon stored in fossil fuels. And the amount is limited - the oceans are already turning slightly acidic.

1 year,24 days
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Patching Software on Another Planet

IWannaBeAnAC Re:Priority inversion (96 comments)

The OS included priority inheritance mutexes, but IIRC the developers decided not to use them for reasons of 'efficiency'. Presumably it takes an extra cycle or two to lock a priority-inheriting mutex...

about a year ago
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97% of Climate Science Papers Agree Global Warming Is Man-made

IWannaBeAnAC Re:Meanless (1105 comments)

All of those were proved wrong by evidence, and once the evidence was there and presented to people, people believed it. That isn't the case with global warming. There is plenty of evidence, and it all points in one direction. There isn't any "smoking gun" that can be used to disprove global warming, and there almost certainly never will be.

Also, it isn't true that "99% of scientist used to say that "the Earth was flat"". Even the ancient Greeks knew that the earth was round.

The comparison to the geocentric / heliocentric models of the solar system isn't fair either. Science as a discipline really only developed in the 17th and 18th centuries, so at the time that the Church taught everyone that the Earth was the center of the universe there wasn't really such a thing as a "scientist". No one had any real reason to disbelieve the geocentric model because there wasn't any convincing evidence to refute it. Not until Galileo observed the moons of Jupiter, and Kepler's equations for orbits, and later Netwon derived Kepler's equations from the inverse-square law of gravitation, that finally the heliocentric model was on a firm footing. it Indeed, the events that led to the heliocentric model in many ways represents the birth of what we regard nowdays as "science". There is nothing "scientific" about climate change denial, it is pure politics and greed.

about a year and a half ago
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97% of Climate Science Papers Agree Global Warming Is Man-made

IWannaBeAnAC Re:In 1490's (1105 comments)

The ancient greeks knew that the earth was round. They even had a pretty good estimate of its radius, and the distance to the sun.

about a year and a half ago
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97% of Climate Science Papers Agree Global Warming Is Man-made

IWannaBeAnAC Re:Yeah... (1105 comments)

That isn't very accurate. At some point 97% of geologists had never heard of plate techtonics. Once the theory was proposed there was, of course, some opposition because it was so different to what was previously believed. But once geologists properly evaluated the evidence, almost every geologist took it on board.

Similarly, once the idea that birds evolved from dinosaurs became widely known, it didn't take all that long for scientists to take a good objective look at the evidence and rewrite the textbooks.

There is no comparison to climate change because the "for" and "against" theories have been known for 30+ years by now. So far no one has managed to find any convincing evidence against global warming, and at this point the basic theory is so well established it is inconceivable that anyone ever will. You might argue about the magnitude of the problem, and whether some other effect might mask the warming (which is true anyway, eg I don't think anyone really knows why the deep ocean has been warming faster than expected, and somewhat masking surface warming). But there isn't going to be a "smoking gun" that disproves the basic notions, not any more than there will ever be a "smoking gun" that disproves Newton's theory of gravity. That doesn't mean that the theories won't get refined (eg, general relativity can be seen as a refinement of Newtonian gravity).

about a year and a half ago
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In Canada, a Government-Backed Electronic Currency

IWannaBeAnAC Re:Do Canadian credit cards for sub $10? (248 comments)

Merchants can charge additional for using a CC in Australia, since a few years ago. I think it cannot be more than the fees associated with the CC purchase. Its quite common now to pay a "credit card fee" with purchases, both online and in stores.

about a year and a half ago
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A Moon Base Made From Lunar Dust

IWannaBeAnAC Re:Cart Before The Horse (115 comments)

I don't think so - even after an extinction-level event on the Earth, it would still be an easier place for a habitation than the Moon. For a start, the Earth would still have an atmosphere, and even if it was toxic or otherwise not breathable it still makes the task of maintaining a habitat much easer (ie only need to seal it, rather than build a pressure container). Similar story for water (maybe need to go to great lengths to decontaminate water from a post-apocolyptic Earth, but that is still fairly simple compared with extracting water from the Moon), soil, plant life etc.

about a year and a half ago
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Next-Gen Intel Chip Brings Big Gains For Floating-Point Apps

IWannaBeAnAC Re:Hope it's going in the new Mac Pro (176 comments)

>virtually all laptops are macs though, which is curious.

Not really. The laptops really are great hardware regardless of which OS you run on it. Unless of course you are one of those people with an irrational hatred of all things Apple.

I was referring to the dichotomy of using windows on the desktop but a mac laptop.

about a year and a half ago
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Next-Gen Intel Chip Brings Big Gains For Floating-Point Apps

IWannaBeAnAC Re:Hope it's going in the new Mac Pro (176 comments)

Most of the people in the physics department here use windows desktops, but pretty much all of the numerics people use linux desktops. Naturally, all of the computing clusters are linux. It seems that virtually all laptops are macs though, which is curious. Possibly people would like to use macs on the desktop but there is some barrier (eg, purchasing or IT administration policies) ? I'll have to find out!

about a year and a half ago
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NASA IG Paints Bleak Picture For Agency Projects

IWannaBeAnAC Re:Total bullshit assumption (73 comments)

Contracts, basically. You've probably never had a job before, but when/if you do, you'll find out that people always have some kind of contract. Once you have a permanent position or a fixed term position, the employer can't simply say "you don't have a job anymore, I'm not paying you past Monday". Any termination clause in the contract is going to specify some period of salary that still needs to be paid. For programs that are currently part-way though, even shutting them down requires money. Eg, putting equipment into storage or transfering it elsewhere, paying off orders that have already been put in. So sure yes there are always ways to cut money, but a very large fraction of costs simply cannot be cut, at least not overnight. NASA has had a tight budget for many years now - they do an awful lot with it, but they've been stretching it very thin and wide for a long time.

about a year and a half ago
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GNU Hurd To Develop SATA, USB, Audio Support

IWannaBeAnAC What? (274 comments)

Is this a joke? I had to look at the date again, I thought it was 2003 again for a bit.

about a year and a half ago
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Australian Government Censors Draft Snooping Laws

IWannaBeAnAC Re:Aussies, now you know why... (150 comments)

The USA in 1776 wasn't a democracy, it was a colony of England. (England may have been a proto-democracy, but the colonies certainly were not.) Nazi Germany wasn't a democracy. Adolf Hitler never won a popular election. He wasn't elected as chancelor, but appointed by Hindenberg in a constitutional crisis.

about 2 years ago
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Australian Government Censors Draft Snooping Laws

IWannaBeAnAC Re:Aussies, now you know why... (150 comments)

Ok, but none of these are western democracies. We're still a tremendously long way away from seeing why guns would help Australians in their particular situation.

about 2 years ago

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