iRobot CEO: Humanoid Robots Too Expensive To Be the Norm
As a businessman I think he is right, the human body is extremely complex because it tries to be a one size fits all solution to everything. Robots can be modular so instead of using a complex human hand to hold a hammer use a set of simple, cost-efficient special purpose robot tools. And you really don't need the human legs that can go on a mountain hike to navigate my living room floor. Basically solve one thing and solve it well and you can have a salable product rather than trying to solve everything, spend a bazillion in R&D and in the end maybe end up with something so complex and expensive that the market doesn't want it. I think he's advocating the Swiss army knife kind of robots, multitools but not trying to cover the entire human scope.That trying to "replicate" humans is more like basic research for robotics than the R&D to make products.
20 Freescale Semiconductor Employees On Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight
On domestic flights here in Norway they don't check IDs anymore, they used to but basically nobody really looked twice at it and you could go anywhere by car or train or bus or whatever anyway. The security control is supposed to pick up on anything dangerous you bring along. That you can travel on a stolen passport is more a customs and immigration problem, if it turns out these people were able to bring explosives or something to bring the plane down that's the problem whether they were travelling under their real name or not.
20 Freescale Semiconductor Employees On Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight
I haven't heard of a single company that doesn't have limits on how many employees can travel with the same aircraft/bus/hovercraft/whatever. It's simple, quite cheap risk management.
A previous company I worked with put 180 of the 250 employees on the same flight to a company gathering - the other 70 came by another plane. Even at say a max limit of 40 you'd need seven planes instead of two and when each route has one plane/day either you need to fly them in stages or fly to other nearby cities and have them shuttled in, it would be a huge logistics nightmare. And I don't know any company I've worked for that wouldn't load up a rented bus full of employees. I think the alternative would be to never, ever go offsite with your employees for any meeting, never arrange any social gathering with organized transport and I think such a company would quickly die because people don't want to work there. YMMV.
Ars Technica Reviews Leaked Windows 8.1 Update
I have a friend with an Asus Transformer hybrid and he likes Windows 8, but it's also exactly the kind of device it's designed for. The hate comes from trying to force everyone down that road, I mean if you big non-touch monitors then you don't want the tablet interface. I don't want to use it at work. I don't want to use it on my gaming/workstation rig. I might want to use it on an alternative to having an iPad or Android tablet. Sadly Microsoft knows they can totally ignore that market and it's not going anywhere. No, really it's not. Most of the "heavy" users are so stuck with Windows-only thick clients it'll take ages to migrate to something else. See Vista, it sucked donkey balls. Did users leave the Windows platform? Largely no. I left Windows in favor of Linux for 3.5 years and came back to Windows 7.
I hate to say it to geeks but if you look at Microsoft's stock performance they're still making money hand over fist despite what geeks think about Win8. They're not hurting. They're not failing. We hate them but Apple has largely abandoned the professional market (one trashcan design swallow does not a summer make) and Linux well I probably don't need to tell you about the current holy wars between Unity and Gnome 3.0 and KDE and whatnot chasing the tablet, nobody is taking charge to kill Microsoft on the desktop. I don't understand why everybody is leaping after the next big thing, it also means the competition will be intense. Why not try to outflank your competition or hit them in the rear in the markets they mostly ignore? When giants clash it's best not to be an ant with delusions of grandeur, you're likely to get stomped.
Mass. Legislature Strikes Back: Upskirt Photos Now Officially a Misdemeanor
Racists is only part of it, what with for example a misogynist who think that the drunk woman in a short skirt was "asking for" getting raped, of course he won't say it outright but that's why he won't convict. Particularly in cases with real victims I don't think it's fair to let one man rewrite the law, it makes it arbitrary and unfair for everyone. Why have a democracy and Congress and courts if any yokel on the jury can say "Meh, I don't like it" and acquit? That's not the rule of law anymore, it's some of the law some of the time if they like you or just hate the other guy. I know juries aren't a perfectly consistent tool as they evaluate evidence and witnesses differently but shouldn't that be a goal? Whether you go to jail or guilty men walk free shouldn't be just a dice toss of who sits on the jury.
Facebook To Pay City $200K-a-Year For a Neighborhood Cop
My neighborhood in Dallas pays $70K/year for what the DPD calls "ENP" (Enhanced Neighborhood Patrol).
I wonder if the neighborhoods who can't afford it feel the same way, usually there's plenty crime in poor areas and if there's even less cops to go around I bet they feel it's more like substandard and normal neighborhood patrol. All are equal before the law but first you must be caught by the law, live in a poor neighborhood and you get less protection from the law. Isn't that the de facto result? What's in it for the police to raise their general level of presence, taking away the incentive to buy ENP? Not to mention you might have greater loyalty to the residents who pay your bills than visitors, travelers and others passing by or in areas where they must simply take what they can get. Here's a quote from Jules Dupuit about price discrimination in train tickets:
It is not because of the few thousand francs which would have to be spent to put a roof over the third-class carriages or to upholster the third-class seats that some company or the other has open carriages with wooden benches. What the company is trying to do is to prevent the passengers who can pay the second-class fare from travelling third-class; it hits the poor, not because it want to hurt them, but to frighten the rich. And it is again for the same reason that the companies, having proved almost cruel to the third-class passengers and mean to the second-class ones, become lavish in dealing with first-class passengers. Having refused the poor what is necessary, they give the rich what is superfluous.
Now think about what that really means when it comes to price discrimination of police services. That they can hire private security is in many ways bad enough, but public rent-a-cop activity just takes it to another level. My guess is that if you're paid for by earmarked Facebook funds the threshold for investigating and arresting Facebook employees for any petty crimes becomes higher than the general population. Even dogs don't tend to bite the hand that feeds them. If you want better police coverage, vote in the politicians who'll raise taxes and increase public police funding. Having private sponsors sounds like a very bad idea to me.
Why Robots Will Not Be Smarter Than Humans By 2029
If you want to narrow down intelligence to only truly novel ideas and not incremental improvements on existing techniques nor applying knowledge others have found out for you, then you're backing yourself so far into a corner I'd say most people don't need to show any intelligence to survive. Whether it's your dad teaching you fishing or the school teaching you algebra or yourself reading a textbook on it, what most people mean by learning is absorbing skills others already have. It's maybe easier to see if you go back to before there was a general education, if you were the smith's son you'd be a smith. He'd teach you all he knew about it and that's the prime skill you'd swap for food and drink and shelter. If you could refine that skill, even better but grand creativity isn't really required to make a living. Of course you might argue that we've built skill into machines since the spinning jennys of the 18th century, but there's degrees.
I don't care if the solver is "dumb", if I ask an AI to nail up some boards I don't care if it needs to go through every tool in the toolbox before it decides that yes, a hammer is the best tool the same way a chess engine goes through every combination. Doesn't really matter as long as it gets the job done. Particularly not if it could break down a multi-step job like building a fence to digging holes for poles with a shovel, using a sledgehammer to drive them down, a saw to cut boards, a hammer to nail them up and a brush to paint them, kind of like a chess engine using many different pieces to force a mate. We're just not good enough at describing the board, the pieces, the moves or the goal just yet. Maybe it's not strong intelligence, but we humans often do stupid and sub-optimal choices simply because we have a limited span of time, skill, reaction, memory, meticulousness and so on. Saying it's beating us, but not on intelligence sounds a bit like sour grapes.
P.S. No, unrestricted chess engines don't lose to grandmasters anymore and haven't done so since the 1990s.
Why Robots Will Not Be Smarter Than Humans By 2029
The internet holds more knowledge than a single human ever could, but machines cannot do anything without direct, explicit directions - told to it by a human. That's the definition of stupid to me: unable to do a thing without having to all spelled out to you.
Once. And then it can be rather damn good at it, like how chess computers beat their programmers. I also think you're underestimating how generic algorithms can be, even if you ask Watson a question it's never heard before it probably will find the answer anyway. As for military use, the biggest problem is that humans don't have identification, friend-or-foe systems. If you told a bunch of armed drones to kill any human heat signature in an area I imagine they could be very efficient. Just look at some of the fully automated defense systems like CIWS or C-RAM, no doubt robots know how to fight. True it doesn't have any will of its own, but they can operate quite independently if we let them. And I think we will, to counteract jamming they need to function on their own even if contact with the mothership is lost. Including firing by themselves, eventually.
Can Science Ever Be "Settled?"
Not in the traditional sense where you gather everyone involved, hear them out, make a decision and then the matter is settled. In science things are settled when nobody sees a reason to argue anymore, the prevailing theory adequately explains everything in its scope. After all it's mostly mathematical formulas which happen to match the real world, if my contact lenses curve light the way optics say they should what's there to argue? In that sense, I find the resistance to evolution incredible because all it really says is that there'll be more of those who reproduce more and less of those who reproduce less. Sounds to me like a "well, duh" statement, particularly when you look at what we have done with domestication. If you shape the environment, you shape the animals and nature's been doing it much longer than us.
Interview: Ask Theo de Raadt What You Will
I don't even think they're even playing the same game, most assholes are just playing power games gathering sycophants, bullying those they can bully and sucking up to their superiors. Actual skill is mostly irrelevant and in fact superior skills and abilities might be threatening to them. The "good" assholes are usually trying to train their minions, like you can't cuddle a dog that just has chewed up your shoes unless you like having your shoes chewed up. You have to convey that it has been a bad dog and that you're angry with it. And the anger is more proportional to the level of expectations you have.
The good kind of assholes often chew out rather senior people - not to be confused with yelling at everybody - when they're doing things you know they can do better. They know what a release window is, they know how an RC patch should look like, they know not to break the user ABI, they know what kind of QA they should do themselves before sending review or pull requests. Good assholes often chew out people not because they're ignorant or incompetent but because they're being lazy, reckless or sneaky. It's not "it could have been done better" it's "you could have done better and you know it" but you tried pulling a fast one.
A little bluntness brings out a lot of the counterproductive characters, like the drama queens who don't take critisicm, those that will go in the trenches and you can change their design over their cold, dead hands, the dodgers who'll try to shift any blame away from themselves, who'll start throw ad hominems and so on. What goes around comes around though, if someone calls you out on your own turds you'd better be ready to handle it gracefully. That's something the bad kind of assholes never do, it's one set of rules for them and one for everyone else.
Game Tech: How BioShock Infinite's Lighting Works
No, it's an excellent technical write up for those in the know about 3D lighting but I'm still at a loss for anything to actually discuss about it. I think even the old guard are 99.9% out of their depth trying to discuss whether any of the techniques used were appropriate or optimal. It's not even remotely trying to make it accessible to the general nerd as it's throwing references, acronyms and low level implementation details at you at a blazing pace with little to no explanation. The only summary I got away with was "smart man, if I ever need anyone to do something like that you're the kind of guy I'd hire" which I suppose might be the point, but it's not my little phd-class niche of expertize so I'm not going to argue with him. So what exactly would you like to discuss?
The Rise and Fall of Supersymmetry
Just because it's ridiculously hard to prove doesn't mean that it's false. For example, most physists believe gravity needs a force carrier which they've called a "graviton", the same way light (electromagnetic radiation) consists of photons. That theory is 80 years old and still totally unproven but as long as nobody has a good competing theory we still kind of assume that's how it works. Not that we're not trying to look for gravitational waves and other clues, but most of it is so far off the scale of what we can experimentally detect that it'll probably still be unproven in a thousand years.
RadioShack To Close 1,100 Stores
Actually the cost of the inventory itself is not the biggest issue, unless it's likely to expire without being sold. In prime locations - and any place you'd want to have a retail store of tiny little parts is a prime location - space is at a huge premium, easily >$1000/m^2 per month. You could of course try for a big warehouse outside downtown, but people don't drive all the way out there to find on the third isle in the fourth shelf down the $2 transistor they were looking for. Or at least you're not making any money that way.
If it's not circulating, get it off the shelves which is why book stores carry the top sellers, video stores the blockbusters and so on. Bargain bins, fire sales or just taking it off the shelves because you need to make room for new sellers drags down the average profit a lot. If you're Amazon and it's stowed away deep in some warehouse you're not in that much of a hurry. Also you didn't have to stock up your stores so there'd be wares on the shelf to buy either. But in a retail store it's sell, restock, sell some more. If it's not circulating and circulating fast, you're going to lose money.
Child Porn Arrest For Cameron Aide Who Helped Plan UK Net Filters
Nobody argues that 9/11 was a victimless crime, but I don't feel that I'm in any way contributing to that crime by watching the footage. I don't think even the jihadists who were celebrating it were doing anything illegal, even though I'm sure the victims and their families strongly disapproved of people cheering for the death of their beloved ones. And the idea that there is a demand for this kind of terror and destruction in the first place. Watching it was victimless. Killing 3000 people obviously wasn't. It only happened once though, no matter how many times they show it in replay. Should these people sue CNN because they're being "revictimzed" every time the footage is shown? Just admit it, the logic is unique and doesn't apply anywhere else.
WikiLeaks Cables Foreshadow Russian Instigation of Ukrainian Military Action
I think this all ends diplomatically. Neither Ukraine, nor Russia, nor the rest of Europe, has much to gain from a civil war. Maybe all that needs to happen is Ukraine extends the lease on the port for a decade or two on the cheap. Or something to do with gas royalties. This is the sort of problem that is best solved by bankers and ballots, not bullets.
Don't underestimate the power of someone making sparks in this powder keg, for example some of the 40% non-Russians in Crimea. When you've got soldiers from two different countries standing toe to toe a few armed hardliners could set off a firefight that makes both sides think the others are attacking. For that matter, one of them might want to stage such an "incident" as an excuse to either take over or throw them out, except it spirals out of control and once they start shooting back, well then nobody's going to care much how it started. World War I had one assassination to spark the whole war, even if it's not directly a shooting escalation imagine an incident, an ultimatum to leave, refusal, boom. P.S. You can hardly call it a civil war when it's Russia invading Ukraine, that is war plain and simple.
U.S. Students/Grads Carrying Over $1 Trillion In Debt
So they take 20 years, or 30 years, instead of my 10 years, and instead of paying $12'000 total interest on $230'000 total loan, they pay closer to $100'000 total interest, or 40%!
But they also make down payments later when the money is of less real value. To get the real cost of a loan you should use size*(interest-inflation), which means the real per year cost of loans around here is around 1.5% despite being 3.5% nominal. Personally I think of it more as a running expense, for every $100k more expensive house I want to live in it'll cost me about 1.5% real interest = $1500/year. You're also counting it wrong, imagine you took out a 20 year loan instead and put the extra money in a savings account instead. It's only the interest rate difference that'd be the extra cost of loaning another ten years, the rest is you comparing apples to oranges - someone who makes enough money to pay it down in 10 years and someone who doesn't.
Broadcom Releases Source For Graphics Stack; Raspberry Pi Sets Bounty For Port
If I spend days writing a GPU core port, I MIGHT get $10,000, unless someone beat me to it.
If you estimate days, not weeks for a shot at $10k you're complaining? Don't worry keep doing your $100k+/year day job. My guess is that there won't be anyone trying to do this in secret anyway, if I was serious about it I'd probably announce it on the mailing list and if there was anyone else thinking the same thing probably one of us would back off or we'd join forces. The worst that could happen is probably that one project starts and then stalls, but they're so far along nobody else dares to start. My guess is that the prize is significantly less than the commercial cost of writing the code anyway, like a bonus for people who are already somewhat interested in writing the code for free but the prize check is an extra carrot in the end.
MtGox Files For Bankruptcy Protection
No, client funds are not company funds. If you run a parking lot and a car gets stolen from the lot you're not liable for replacing the car. You might get that liabilty if your valet wrecked the car, but not in general. Same with deposit boxes, storage lockers, mail packages and so on if you want to get your money back in case of theft you need insurance. Which is what FDIC is for bank accounts. No insurance, then you might not even have a claim against MtGox. First you'd have to take them to court and win to make them liable for damages. And even if you do, well there won't be any money to collect there anyway.
Tor Is Building an Anonymous Instant Messenger
Retroshare's problem is that it sucks donkey balls. I tried setting it up with a friend swapping PGP keys - that part wasn't so hard, but setting up a private share my friend he couldn't download at 1/10th the speed I can through HTTPS/SFTP/FTPS/any other secure file transfer mechanism. I don't know what they're doing wrong but it just seemed utterly amateurish so I uninstalled it and hasn't given it a second look since.
Intel's New Desktop SSD Is an Overclocked Server Drive
Chips have tolerances which means there's a spread on how fast they'll run. Binning is not overclocking, if Intel finds a i7-4770K that can run 100MHz above the rated speed they won't sell it now. They'll put it in storage and wait until they have enough of them then launch a new model i7-4790K (coming to you in Q2). People analogy, if you select the best people to go into elite forces and the rest in the regular army you've binned, but not overclocked. That'd be more like putting them on drugs to amplify their combat ability at the long time cost of their health.
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