Google Poised To Settle EU Anti-Trust Probe
I was looking into the YaCY P2P search engine ( http://yacy.net/âZ ), but I have not given it a go yet. Have you tried that one? What did you find about it that was bad?
A Rebuttal To Charles Stross About Bitcoin
(I dream of a blockchain based DNS system, login/ID system that can't be corrupted or subverted by violence or legal threats pointed at a host or host organization)
Your dream has been (partially) answered: Namecoin :)
US Spying Costs Boeing Military Jet Deal With Brazil
If that is their worry, then buying any NATO countries produce would not help them. AFAIK The SAAB Gripens use American engines, avionics and components. Apart from the airframe and the final country of assembly (and some local parts), they are not really making much a difference as far trust of the hardware goes.
If that was the real worry, then you'd have to buy someone elses (probably Russian), but they went out of the race a while ago.
The Geekiest Game Ever Made?
One of my faves (physics simulator), where you can create all sorts of machines.
The only game I know of where you can simulate nuclear reactions, and build different types of nuclear reactors/rockets with it.
Wasted hours of my life on it.
GPL game at: http://powdertoy.co.uk/
DRM To Be Used In Renault Electric Cars
Funny you mention that, here in the UK, like in most of Europe, cars have DRM already. As such you have to go to "authorized" garages, where they have to reprogram the car computers every time they replace the part. The result being that they can charge you Â£300 to replace a headlamp.
Classic cars (80's mostly), anyone can do it, and it is cheap (I had my alternator replaced for Â£35, including parts cost). When I tell people that their jaws drop, as their yearly checkup alone costs a few hundred. That is why I never owned a new car.
The thing is, so many people have realised the same as me now, and have started buying classic cars, that classic car insurance premiums have been increasing rapidly. Car insurance companies have taken to refusing to insure classic cars because of demand, unless you can provide you will not use it as a daily driver (i.e. you can only have a classic if you own a modern, and the classic is only for meets, shows and the occasional drive).
It is becoming harder for me to keep mine to be honest because of the switch, and I wonder if in future there will be a bigger push to restrict people from the classics.
It is interesting to note that the largest rise in classics I've seen corresponds to the years when European new car sales have been flat or shrinking. I suspect causation.
EU To Allow 3G and 4G Connections On Planes
Yes, I've heard great things about the trains in Europe, however they don't go where I want to, and quite frankly I like driving.
What I would not mind is an extension of what Germany does. There you can drive your car onto a train, and it will do the long boring slog for you (which currently I have to do on highways), and you can drive off at your destination.
However the above is only in Germany (And in Italy, but apparently it doesn't work that well there, and is horrendously expensive), and the high speed rail doesn't go to south/southeast Europe at the moment.
We will see what the future holds, but I am grateful that we actually have alternatives to flying, at least in the core EU.
EU To Allow 3G and 4G Connections On Planes
No no no... this is the EU doing this, not the US. This means that, after twelve long years, we FINALLY have something about which WE can feel a smug sense of superiority over someone else's airline travel.
Actually, my description of the above is from the EU ;-)
What, you thought we were better? Pretty much everyone here mimicked the US when they introduced their procedure, primarily because they insisted that anyone flying to the USA had to go through this, and it was cheaper to just subject everyone to it then make a whole separate line (and hire separate people) for those traveling to the US.
I pretty much avoid flying in Europe whenever I can. Driving is so much nicer (even if more expensive), plus I can take as much luggage and liquids as I want, without being fondled at the border!
At least we have the option of high speed trains, which I've heard work really well.
EU To Allow 3G and 4G Connections On Planes
Between the long lines at security, stress, and being fondled and stripped before entry, the only nice thing that was left about flying was the lack of self-important people yakking on their phones throughout the flight... until now.
(hopefully the roaming charges will make absolutely sure nobody does voice calling, but that will depend on how much they charge).
Nearly 1 In 4 Adults Surf the Web While Driving
Well... it has less to do with intelligence, then with the driving lessons and tests.
In Germany you tend to not have such incompetence at the wheel. Ditto in the Nordic countries (Finland is where I had a chance to directly observe).
What these countries have in common is a very thorough course in learning to drive, and a lot of time spent on theory (including things about distracted driving). They take driving with the seriousness it deserves.
Quite frankly, I am shocked for what passes for a driving test in the US. It is almost as if driving is a joke, or a game. It was really surprising, considering the US is seen as the worlds biggest Car enthusiast.
One In Five Sun-Like Stars May Have an Earth-Like Planet
if we're so far along the process to colonizing the galaxy, why haven't one of the countless probable civilizations beaten us to it? Or if they had, why is there no trace of their colonies? That's at the core of the Fermi paradox.
Maybe they did, and maybe we are the evidence of it? I can imagine a robotic probe that seeds DNA to hospitable worlds is possible, but that would just be the seeding of life, not any society/culture (and evolutionary pressures may well make the resulting beings look very different to the original). I see no difference to claiming life was brought to this earth by comets, space dust or alien robotic spacecraft (except plausibility, but we will never really know)
I guess it depends on what your goals are as a species, an exact copy of your society (unlikely given the distances and opportunities for information exchange), or just knowing that you are seeding the universe with life that may well develop one day.
Remember, we are only getting started with exploration, only in the last 15 years have we started detecting exoplanets. For all we know some of these exoplanets may bear signs of life, we just can't detect it yet.
Tesco To Use Face Detection Technology For In-Store Advertising
Heh, my Nokia n900 had an app that did the same thing. Fired off every single "power off" command in its database. Took about a minute and could turn off every electronic device in the vicinity with an IR port.
If it wasn't for the broken usb connector making it impossible to charge, I probably would still use it. Shame most new phones don't have CIR.
Drone-Mounted Laser Weapons Are On the Way
Yes, it could be the case that these things may need some time to recharge between blasts, but the advantage is you can have many up in the air at the same time.
So one may only be able to fire every minute, but if you have 20 of them in the air targeting a missile, there is a good chance they will destroy their target.
Unlike manned aircraft, these things have already proven to be able to loiter for hours, so having quite a few in the air at once is possible.
Besides, as energy storage improves, I see no reason why the recharge time won't decrease.
UK Prime Minister Threatens To Block Further Snowden Revelations
No, they would not need to go to war with Japan, all they would have to do is abandon them to the Chinese. Things like removing the nuclear umbrella over them, or cutting off military aid/support would be enough.
NSA Scraping Buddy Lists and Address Books From Live Internet Traffic
I ask you, why did we even fight the Cold War, and win it, if we were just going to embrace everything at a later time?
You are making the mistake of assuming that the cold war was fought between lovers of freedom, democracy and individual rights, vs totalitarian all controlling power hungry nut jobs.
Truth of the matter is, both sides were all controlling power-hungry nut jobs, and the cold war was a fight over who gets to be the all-controlling big-daddy of the world.
The problems with the Soviets is that they laid their system bare, they didn't bullshit. This is how life is, these are your rights, if you're a party member, or if you work to benefit the system, you will be rewarded with perks (Nicer houses, cushy jobs , nice car, sometimes even nice German/American ones).
If you don't work for the system, but not actively against it, you are pretty much left to your own devices, live and let live, and all that.
If you work against the system, directly or indirectly (or you piss off someone in power), then you can be arrested, tried, stuck in prison/work camp, or otherwise disappear.
Now the western system, that was far more subtle. They told you you were free, they gave you the impression you were, that you could choose who ruled you, but fundamentally I don't think the systems were different, like so:
If you work for the system, or to its benefits, you are rewarded with more tokens than most (currency) with which you can spend on bigger/nicer houses, or a nice foreign car, etc...
If you ignore the system and go about your daily life, you are pretty much left alone. You earn your keeps, pay your dues, and you live you life.
If you work against the system, directly or indirectly (or just piss off someone high up and well connected), you can be arrested, tried, put in a prison/work camp, or disappeared (via drone or otherwise). For minor misdemeanors they can just destroy you financially, which is another, less radical lever they have against you.
Turns out, when push comes to shove, people are more willing to serve you if you give them the illusion of freedom, choice and power. One ideology was in your face, the other was in the background. Turns out this worked well for a long time, until the internet came around and made knowledge dissipation so easy, that people began to realise what their world really looks like.
For some the revelations were not a surprise, for others it was a confirmation of what they suspected, but some are in shock about it all, and more are in denial about it.
Aussie Company Planning To Use Drones For Textbook Delivery
What makes you think drug smugglers have not been doing this? Since the paparazzi autopilot came out in 03 (and got refined by 06), it has been perfectly possible to build a DIY drone good enough to move a few tens of kilo's across borders.
Considering the profit motive, and lucrative money for any nerds involved, it would not surprise me if they were one of the first non-military users of the tech.
BBC Thinking of Canceling Sky At Night
Oh dear god no, I think he makes a lousy presenter.
I'm not sure if I fall into the "young people" segment as understood here, being in my mid-20's, but there are so many other science presenters that are better.
I really don't get why people like Brian Cox so much, but then, apart from the odd fanboy/girl, I don't know anyone who actually likes him. Maybe it is just the case for teenagers?
New York Turns Rest Stops Into 'Texting Zones'
Funny you should mention that.
When I was growing up, my father seemed to have the complete opposite idea of almost everyone in society. He believed that those who just passed their license should drive fast and powerful cars. I sure didn't get it at the time, and I thought it was a crazy idea, even though I thought it would be cool if he meant it. And happen it did, after I passed my test he gave me a 82 Porsche, and now, I realise exactly what he meant.
To begin with, most kids go through a phase of not taking a car seriously. They throw it around, mess about, etc... like a toy. They take risks because they feel safe, and because they don't quite realise what they are operating. They are very insulated, surrounded by noise insulation, airbags, and all sorts of gadgets and computers "taking care of things". However, this car was different, completely different to the car I did my test and lessons in (which was a bog standard Ford hatchback from the driving school).
That car instilled a respect into me of what exactly a car is capable of. It has no airbags, no traction control, no ABS, no power steering. It had nothing to make you feel safe. You and you alone were in charge of what happened. The car did its best to connect you with the road, and it worked. I felt part of the car, and the road it was on when you were driving. I remember the first time as a new driver. Like most kids, I didn't take it seriously either. Once I floored it for kicks, and the car slammed my back into the seat as the body twisted and the car took off. That was the last time I did that for years. I had never felt that before, and the power actually scared me, as I didn't feel like I had the ability to control it. I realised that I would have to become a far better driver before I could attempt that again.
No ABS meant I had to learn how to brake properly, and keep enough distance to not hit things. It meant I had to pay attention to the road surface and how much grip it had at all times (which was surprisingly easy, as you could feel it through the steering wheel).
No traction control meant that I had to learn how to control the throttle and gear shifting, so as not to wheelspin, or not to lose traction in corners/rain/snow/ice/etc...
It also meant that I pay a lot of attention to the state of my tyres. When you don't have any ECU's managing the traction for you, you can feel when your tyres are getting worn out, or when they lose traction. I'm the only guy I know who does a pre-drive check before going anywhere.
All in all, when driving that car, you are driving it. It requires concentration on the act of driving, nothing less.
It never popped into my head to fiddle with my phone, or read a book/map, or anything else. I guess it is a similar thing to why some motorcyclists say everyone should ride a motorcycle for a year. You just don't get a chance to be distracted. I've had times when I can't even fiddle with the buttons on the radio, and that requires no looking away either.
I've now had that car for years, and I feel it made me a far better driver than if I had just continued driving modern cars.
Indeed when I do drive modern cars, I find myself hating the experience. So much is out of my control, so much "just happens". Initially this made me very on edge, I would even open the windows so I could hear what the car was doing with the road, as I had no other input. You are so isolated from the act of driving the car that you might as well put a blind fold on. I can see why people end up texting or doing other stuff when driving. Hell, even I found the experience mind numbingly boring, and I like driving! I also found it harder to keep awake/alert when doing long distance driving.
It seems modern cars are designed for people who hate driving, probably by people who hate driving. Everything is done to take the "driving" part away. I don't feel like a drive a modern car. I operate it instead. I have two pedals, stop and go, and I point it in the direction I want to go with the steering wheel. The car does the rest.
I can imagine if someone only ever drove modern cars, they would find it tedious and boring, and would want the car manufactures to automate even more of it. You end up in a feedback loop such as we are in, which will eventually end up with self driving cars, just because the majority don't know any better.
Not to say that everyone should be forced into doing the above, I'm sure there are people there who have absolutely no interest in driving a car for the pleasure of driving, but I do think that this is one of those places where we have automated too much away from the person who is supposed to be in control. We are in the dangerous "middle-ground" of car development, where we've automated so much away that getting distracted while driving is trivial, but not automated enough that the driver can be as distracted as they want without it being dangerous.
Tesla Working On Autonomous Cars: Musk Wants Teslas With Auto-Pilot
Exactly. Tracks are enjoyable for those who like to race, to compete with each other, or otherwise hit the top speed of their cars.
There is far more to driving a car than going fast. I've taken my classic sports car many times round the winding coastal roads in Spain, France and Portugal, and the experience cannot be described. The views, the fun, the sheer exhilaration round corners, it is just amazing (plus you meet so many interesting people off the tourist trail, and you are forced to actually learn the language, as very few speak English).
Some of the time the roads are such that you can't even hit the speed limit on them, so quite often I'm below the posted limit while having fun.
Sometimes in life, I come across people I just cannot comprehend, such as those who want nothing else than to have to do nothing but live in their bubble, with others (be they robot or human) doing everything for them. Those with a massive hard-on for self-driving cars (and banning all manual driven ones) fall into this category.
Then again. I don't commute by car, it is just for visiting distant friends/family, fun, road trips, etc... I commute by public transport, and all shops/bars/entertainment are within walking distance, but that is something that I deliberately decided on when I was looking for a place to live and a job to do.
P.S. If you're near Europe, the roads on the northern coast of Spain, (Basque area) and the ones in the northern coastal tip of Portugal are pretty awesome (especially those that go near or through nature reserves), there are also some lovely roads winding round the Pyrenees (if you decide to not take the tunnels). I don't know if it is due to the recession, but Spain has miles of newly built and/or tarmac-ed road, and so few cars on it that it is crazy (generally the only people I've come across in cars are the locals, who are also having fun).
Thailand Government Declares Bitcoin Illegal
Ah! That would explain why US currency isn't accepted anywhere else on the planet.
Indeed, what he should have written:
"Governments are not going to allow an alternate form of currency to gain traction that they have no control over, unless coerced via threat of violence by a power with overwhelming military force".
That which applies to an individual and their taxes vis-a-vis government, applies in geopolitics as well :)
Bitcoin is not backed by anyone, so there is nobody to "force" its usage. We will just have to see if the sheer weight of people using it will accomplish the same thing without a central government.
Smartphones May Help Reduce Traffic In the Near Future
Maybe so, but property here is expensive. I would probably not mind so much living in the same house as my parents if it was big enough for all of us to have "our space".
However to get that in a city (where the work is) in a country in Europe that is not in crises... you'll be looking at 1 million Euros at least, most likely more.
Way out of league of most people I know. The only ones who can do that are families that have lived in one spot for generations, so bought the place when it was cheap as chips. Then they inherited the place down the line, which nowadays is even difficult for them due to taxes on inheritance.