top Off the Florida Coast, Astronauts Train For Asteroid Mission
+1. Astronauts are obsolete technology, get over it. People may soon become obsolete for many other tasks as well.
top One Trillion Bq Released By Nuclear Debris Removal At Fukushima So Far
An at least vaguely meaningful measure might be how much it raises the radiation in given environments compared to the background radiation. If 1% then it is not very significant regardless of how many trillion Bequerels are involved.
top Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45
The experiments on the ISS are almost worthless. A solution looking for a problem. Certainly not worth their huge cost. The reason for having the ISS is most certainly not the science.
And for the enormous cost of servicing the Hubble it could have simply been replaced, several times over if necessary and with the latest technology each time.
The new Webb telescope will not have any human servicing, being too far away. If it needs any, a robot will be sent up to do the job.
top A Look At NASA's Orion Project
-1. What, exactly, would that achieve? Better to send some better robots to Mars that can actually dig some decent holes and look for life. Humans are obsolete technology for space exploration.
top Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45
People are obsolete technology for space exploration. Have been for decades.
If the money wasted on manned exploration such as the ISS has actually been spent of useful things we would have the Webb telescope up and running some time ago, probes on Europa etc.
Get over it, Buck Rogers is just for TV. The real world aint like that. And the ISS is an extremely expensive way of producing a bit of TV.
top "Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In
I'm looking forward to Genuine People Personalities, particularly Marvin.
top Airbus Patents Windowless Cockpit That Would Increase Pilots' Field of View
Remember that turkey that flew through a flock of geese and landed in the Hudson river? Us weekend warriors know that they just let their instruments fly the plane.
Given that is the case the display screens might as well show pretty scenery. Show a nice view over the mountains on a clear day rather than the ugly storm that is actually outside the aircraft. Or maybe just waves rolling in on a beach. Something soothing to pass the time. Airbus is not going to let the pilots actually control the plane anyway given that that often leads to disasters.
top The Security Industry Is Failing Miserably At Fixing Underlying Dangers
Just enough to provide functional web pages without glitz. The goal being to make the entire browser code no bigger than the original Mosaic code. So that it can be thoroughly reviewed and made really bug free.
Normal users would not touch it. But for anyone with access to a SCADA system, for example, it could be mandatory. That cuts down one major source of infection.
top Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin
Here in Australia (and I think the UK) a taxi driver license is cheap. But you also need a taxi CAR license costs several hundred thousand dollars. Nobody wealthy enough to own a taxi license actually drives a taxi. So taxi drivers are dirt poor, usually Indians on dubious visas. But the taxi owners love their right to tax fairs. Currently about 55% of a fair goes to the owner.
Uber is great if it breaks up that nonsense.
about a month and a half ago
top Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel
Surely Google already knows where it is best for you to go. It knows everything else about you...
top Bug In DOS-Based Voting Machines Disrupts Belgian Election
Well, the Australian system is pretty fraud proof. Ballots are put into sealed boxes. Scrutineers appointed by the candidates supervise the count. I've been a scrutineer, and it is all pretty efficient and friendly in practice. Count is made on election night. And it is much, much cheaper than the computer systems.
top Google Testing Gmail Redesign
The bigger problem is all that the MBAs in charge do is twiddle with the tinsel, and do not address the deeper problems in semantics that people have asked for. Such as being able to break up mangled conversations. Or add notes to an important conversation to summarize it. Or to add a meaningful heading. There are several others.
GMail used to be innovative. Hard core slash dotters will know that all sent mail belongs in one place only, namely a folder called Sent Mail. GMail introduced conversations to emails, producing threads (just like Usenet...). They also introduced the idea that the same email could be put in more than one folder (label) at the same time. So it could go in Sent Mail, CustomerX, ScalingIssues, and Outsanding all at the same time. Way beyond traditional IMAP.
These things were not done as the result of some market research survey. They were done because the engineers involved thought it would be cool. It would be the way that they personally would like to use email.
But that was before the MBA and user interface experts took over. Just change the window dressing, dumb things down, target the idiot user.
I am actually looking to move to Zoho mail.
As to slash dot, how about just recognizing blank lines as paragraph breaks. That would be enough.
top U.S. Passenger Jet Nearly Collided With Drone In March
I would suggest that being ingested by an engine would be pretty catastrophic for the drone.
top Did the Ignition Key Just Die?
I suppose I can live without a key, although I always use a mechanical one.
But I hear that the next model will not have a steering wheel. You just tell it where to go and it goes there in the best way possible. No controls at all.
The model after that knows where it is best for you to go, no need to tell it anything.
top Could Google's Test of Hiding Complete URLs In Chrome Become a Standard?
+1 I think all common email clients do this and it is awful.
Microsoft still hides folder path names which makes many dialogs hard to follow.
Hiding is evil. It comes from those UI Experts that watch how users interact with machines behind silver mirrors. It dumbs down rather than enlighens. And many of those UI experts do not actually know what a URL is anyway.
top The Fall and Rise of Larry Page
Contrary to what all journalists think, the first major internet search indexer was not Google but AltaVista, circa 1995. It was written by just three people at DEC. The goal was not to sell advertising, nor even to make money. The goal was to show off their new Alpha servers that were so powerful that they could index the entire web (which was tiny at the time).
In the early days the web was small, there were no spamers, and things like Meta tags could be depended on. PageRank only became useful when the web grew. It is sensible, but is exactly what academics have used to rank papers for centuries -- citation citations citations... It is also an old idea from the hypertext community.
So the question is, how did Google succeed as a start up several years later? I would have written off their business plan as hopless. Internet search is an obvious thing to do, it has already been done, and if anyone will compete with AltaVista it will be the big boys throwing money at it. Yahoo, Microsoft etc.
But I would obviously have been wrong. Partly the reason is that Google back then was not run by MBAs. They did not try to extract as much advertising out of the search engine as possible. Nor full of flashing banner ads. Main search results relatively untainted by advertising. But it is still weird.
Weirder is the success of Android. There were giants like Nokia with decades of experience and bucket loads of cash. How could Apple and then a nothing company like Android blow them away?!!!
top DARPA Developing the Ultimate Auto-Pilot Software
It was running malware written by the NSA that was accidentally released into the wild...
top DARPA Developing the Ultimate Auto-Pilot Software
The vast majority of heavy aircraft losses are due to pilots. They are by far the weakest link in the chain. Whether they do something extremely stupid such as hold back the stick in a stall (Air France) or malicious (Malasian Air) the result is the same. Perfectly good aircraft destroyed.
So engineering them out of the cockpit is the next step. Computers have been able to fly entire flights for decades. Expert systems already out perform people at diagnostics. The pilot is just a redundant point of failure.
If you know any pilots put this to them and watch the response
top Vintage 1960s Era Film Shows IRS Defending Its Use of Computers
The amazing thing is that the IRS today is no more efficient then it was in the 1950s before any computerization.
Certainly in 2007 the Australian tax office's internal budget was AU$11.4 billion, or 1.23% of GDP. In 1955 it performed essentially the same task without automation for A£66.7 million which was 1.33% of the 1955 GDP. The difference is not statistically significant. (Normalizing by GDP (essentially the sum of everyone's earnings) accounts for the growing population and inflation.) US figures will show a similar effect.
The only effect of computerization has been to enable the rules and regulations that govern us to become an order of magnitude more complex.
See below for the sad details.
top MA Gov. Wants To Ban Non-Competes; Will It Matter?
+1. Non-competes are good for big established companies (like EMC) but bad for the state's economy. Innovation comes from people leaving heavy bureaucratic companies and exploiting opportunities. And of course they continue to work in the same field.
There is no way that any US government will do something that big established companies would not like. So what happens is that more and more successful start ups happen in places like California, and the industry moves.
Those types of heavy non-compete clauses are, of course, generally unenforceable outside the USA. Certainly unenforceable in Australia.
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