top How long before most automobile driving is done by computers?
Ironically racing is probably a better defined operating environment so easier to successfully automate.
I work for a company that automates vehicles (ASI). We specifically target controlled operating environments like vehicle proving grounds, mines, and commercial harvesting operations. These places all have one thing in common: ten foot fences (aka, no toddlers in the vicinity).
The biggest struggle we have had is obstacle detection; it only works at distances less than 50m. The various vision devices aren't accurate enough beyond that range (or get lost in smoke, fog, dust, shakiness, etc.) And differentiating small objects (aka, 20cm cube) from standard terrain is neigh impossible with current technologies. The algorithms used to process that information can't run in real-time on embedded hardware.
I'm excited for a lot of recent progress in electronic vehicle control. Look for your favorite auto-manufacturer to introduce electronically controlled steering, transmissions, and throttle over the next few years. The pedals, knobs, and wheels will soon be fancy computer joysticks.
top How much I care about GMO food labeling:
Two options: ignorance or mandated information? Really? 3rd-party certification has been working great on gluten-free products. There's a huge market for non-GMO certifiers -- if they can get past the big corporations in bed with the legislators and the general apathy rampant throughout the world.
GMO food complications are not contagious. Therefore, it should fall to personal choice for me and my family. It should not be a part of government action one way or the other. (As I understand it, the main concerns are the potential of damaged proteins or partial bacteria DNA embedment -- both of which would trigger an immune reaction in many people. These are side-effects of how the genetic material is injected. We need better injection methods: go go gadget RNA rewriter.)
about a year and a half ago
top If the Higgs Boson Is Found I'll.....
After I teleport to Disneyland I'll take their Jedi training course with real light sabers.
top Is There an Institutional Bias Against Black Tech Entrepreneurs?
Observing an apparent deficiency in demographics is not proof of bias, it is merely an observation of what is.
No doubt, brother. The group that gets the most discrimination in the tech world is "women". Every other week the ACM publishes an article to the effect of "Where are all the women in tech?" Who the freak cares? Quit pressuring them. Maybe they don't want to do tech. Let's leave them alone. Maybe tech jobs aren't fun for them. Maybe their natural tendencies and talents take them on some other road. And I give the same criticism to the interracial tech concern.
top EU Scientists Working On Laser To Rip a Hole In Spacetime
As a Canadian, I wish our government would partner with the US to fund super awesome science mega-projects
Well, as an American I wish that the rest of the planet could understand this stuff should be done by private companies and organizations. If you want to do some awesome science, start the company yourself ask for donations to be received out of good will. Don't wine about the government's lack of initiative -- that's the last thing any government needs. Personally, I don't want is some government official pocketing my tax money in the name of science. I can do it better myself. It's not in the proper role of government as it has nothing to do with maintaining liberty and justice for all.
top Healthcare Law Appealed To Supreme Court
The optimal way would be, of course, to use tax dollars to provide health care to everyone.
You're forgetting the other effects of that policy. First, you've brought in force. Everyone has to pay regardless of whether or not they want the service. Second, you don't get "health care", rather you get the "health care" that the public deems prudent to provide you at the time. In other words, you have no options. Third, when you take this decision out of the hands of the citizens, everyone suffers due to the general atrophy that overtakes society. We're already struggling with that in America. Read Bastiat's fantastic "Private and Public Services" for further arguments in that regard.
top New Drug Could Cure Nearly Any Viral Infection
A few years from now we'll find that there are actually helpful viruses in our digestive tract. Welcome to the next wave of malnutrition -- not that we've mastered any of the present food intolerance issues.
top New NASA Data Casts Doubt On Global Warming Models
Dr. Lindzen of MIT showed through his research of thirty years that carbon dioxide does not retain heat. That report was published two years ago. The idea that carbon dioxide is evil is published and promoted only by those who stand to gain from such lies. Breath the free air, people.
top Re. medication requiring a prescription:
One of the original proposals by Obama was to follow the Dutch system where insurers cannot refuse to take on a client, that makes for a plain level playing field.
It also takes away the profit motive. In essence, it destroys the free market system that would drive down prices for the rest of us. It's favoring the few at the expense of the many. It's socialism at its worst: unlike schooling, the program requires no effort on the part of the beneficiary. It's robbery. It's legalized plunder. Read Bastiat to get a grip on the unseen effects of this stuff. His writings are free online.
top Re. medication requiring a prescription:
This idea that insurance should cover standard doctor appointments and ongoing meds is where the thing is wrong. All insurance should be catastrophic coverage only (aka, I won't be out more that $25k for medical bills in a single year), but I don't want to use the force of law to mandate such. When insurance covers too much people quit using their agency to find the best deal and prices go up.
At most every company, if you opt-out of insurance the company will keep it's 75% of the premium. Insurance companies make these deals so that they can be profitable through diversifying over the company as a whole. I hate it. What kind of free market action could change this? My insurance covering my family costs $12k a year. The company pays 75% of that, $2k of which they put into an HSA. If I opt-out I lose that $9k, and I'd still have to pay $1500 a year for catastrophic insurance. At no time in my life have I ever billed more than $5k to insurance in a single year, and that includes my three children's birth years.
top The world will end ...
"day or the hour" -- I suppose that leaves the year open for volley!
Here's may take on the biblical prediction:
1. We know that each seal in the Book of Revelation counts for 1000 years: http://lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/77?lang=eng
2. We know that Christ came in the "meridian" of time, meaning the fourth of the seven seals.
3. We know that his apostles were killed in the fifth of the seven from the description of it in the Book of Revelation.
4. Justin the Martyr was likely the last of the valid apostles called at the time.
5. That gives us a worst case of the seventh seal opening in 2165 AD.
6. The statement about "silence" for "half an hour" could also fall into the 1000 years of man is one day of God domain adding an extra 20-some years before things get exciting.
Of course I also appreciate the parable of the Olive Tree from Zenos, where he emphasizes that one bad branch at a time will be "burned". It's worth a study: http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/jacob/5?lang=eng
top Democrats Crowdsourcing To Vote Palin In Primaries
You didn't even mention the really bad stuff President Wilson did: created the Federal Reserve and the 16th and 17th amendments to the Constitution -- all of which have had awful consequences for America. Those three items right there define the commercialization and authoritarian footprint of congress. They opened the door to the lobbyist and inflation problems of the present.
top The 25 Most Dangerous Programming Errors
My roommate is a pilot. They wouldn't let him carry on his fingernail clippers last week. It must be common temptation for pilots to cut their fingernails mid-flight. (I agree that those of us writing transportation control software have a lot more at stake. If I wanted to manipulate the website on purpose I suppose I could forward myself some credit cards and passwords. That's still a level below accidentally accelerating when we intended to decelerate.)
top Is Console Gaming Dying?
Cut the effects crew in half. Give half of the left over money to the game writers to make something original. Use the other half of the leftovers to reduce the sale price. In other words, show Hollywood how it should be done.
top "Loud Commercial" Legislation Proposed In US Congress
Regulation is bad. Period.
Why? Because Ronald Reagan said so? What do you think caused the current financial mess?
I can think of a number of things that caused the current financial mess, including but not starting with Reagan's debt. Income tax and mortgage lender subsidies find their way on the list as well. It's no a lack of regulation that caused the mess, unless you mean the other definition of regulation slack -- a lack of being fair to all industries.
The loudness of advertising is none of the states' business.
The state's business is whatever the voters say it is. If you don't like what they're regulating, go vote for someone else.
I call BS on you. Either you don't understand basic constitutional republicanism or you are from one of those democratic socialist states. In a democracy, the states business goes with the voters. In a republic, the state's business is to stick to the constitution/charter/etc.
Limiting advertising is a blatant violation of the US Constitution. Duh. You can't do it.
top Calling B.S. On Amazon's Taxation Arguments
If taxes have to be raised, then raise the income taxes or property taxes. Sales taxes are a pain to collect, and they have a dampening effect on retail businesses. Also, they are skewed against the poor, since poorer people typically must spend a higher percentage of their income on retail goods.
This is a blatant lie that needs to stop now. Sales taxes are much cheaper to collect than income and property taxes -- there are significantly fewer retail sales points than tax filers currently. Income tax has the same dampening effect on retail business as sales tax if not worse due to the lack of transparency. Sales taxes are not skewed against the poor. There is nothing forcing a poor person to pay a higher percentage of his income on retail goods than a rich person would pay. If sales taxes were fair, as in they applied to new houses and retail services like visiting a doctor, you would see that rich people pay an equal or higher percentage of total sales tax collected.
top If the Comments Are Ugly, the Code Is Ugly
I have two comments, and they both go with a the same line of code:
Application.DoEvents(); // the special sauce
//Application.DoEvents(); // somebody's special sauce that needs to be done some other way
top Electric Car Nano-Batteries Aim For 500 Mile Range
The fact that the oil will run out is precisely the reason that we don't need to artificially inflate its price or spend any significant funds on repairing its wake. The money would be better spent assassinating anti-nuclear-power dimwits so that we can move on to the electric car. Of course we currently spend huge amounts of money "enforcing" the low oil price in the Middle East, which isn't right either.
top Best kind of engineering:
Here's how social engineering works:
1. The IMF/World Bank says "Yo such and such dictator in Africa or South America. Your people suffer too much. You should put them on welfare and burn down / rebuild your rain forests with a loan from us."
2. Mr. Dictator says "Buy me a personal jet and tank to go with it and you've got a deal."
3. The IMF proceeds to create the money for the loan from nothing (aka, it inflates the money of all contributing nations.)
4. The IMF makes real money through interest payments from the poorest countries in the world.
5. Eventually the poor countries default on the loan, at which point the IMF extends them with more printed money.
6. Repeat and Profit. I just struggle to call making interest on fractional-reserve banking some form of engineering. I think it's robbery.
top Ridiculous Software Bug Workarounds?
I complained to Dell recently about the optical drive on my new laptop. If you put in a DVD with the slightest scratch on it the whole system would hard lock. (Yes, Vista allows the drivers the privilege of taking down the whole OS.) Anyway, the support dude was like "well, duh, we can't read a scratched disk." More googling revealed that TCorp had released firmware to fix the problem.
I recently filed a bug about a certain popular grid control's mouse wheel behavior. The company making the control responded that it was not a bug because "Microsoft's [ancient] grid control has the same behavior." Gee thanks, dorks. Good thing you set your standards so high.
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