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California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

gregor-e Re:Short term (506 comments)

As soon as the advantages of lower death rates, greater highway capacity utilization, and fuel savings become apparent, government will offer huge incentives for people to purchase self-driving vehicles, making them affordable for the masses. Couple that with self-driving-only lanes where the cars automatically form close convoys that all brake simultaneously, giving significant fuel savings and much faster transit times, and the case for purchasing a self-driving car gets pretty compelling for the average driver. I speculate self-driving cars will achieve >50% of new car sales within 10 years of introduction.

about a week ago

Fooling a Mercedes Into Autonomous Driving With a Soda Can

gregor-e Re:Soda can... (163 comments)

From what I've seen of the HOV lanes in the Bay Area, the signs designating it as such are just there for decoration. This suggests a potentially lucrative opportunity:
(1) Position cameras to catch jerks abusing the HOV lane
(2) Look up their address from DMV license plate records
(3) Mail incriminating photos to jerks, informing them of your mailing service, which promises to forward the evidence to the DMV for free, but with the option of custom-mailing it to an alternative address of their choice for only $100
(4) Profit for the rest of your short and violence-filled life

about 1 month ago

Child Thought To Be Cured of HIV Relapses, Tests Positive Again

gregor-e Re:I hate to imagine it (126 comments)

As wikipedia assures us (emphasis added):

A retrovirus is a single-stranded RNA virus that stores its nucleic acid in the form of an mRNA genome (including the 5' cap and 3' PolyA tail) and targets a host cell as an obligate parasite. Once inside the host cell cytoplasm the virus uses its own reverse transcriptase enzyme to produce DNA from its RNA genome, the reverse of the usual pattern, thus retro (backwards). This new DNA is then incorporated into the host cell genome by an integrase enzyme, at which point the retroviral DNA is referred to as a provirus. The host cell then treats the viral DNA as part of its own genome, translating and transcribing the viral genes along with the cell's own genes, producing the proteins required to assemble new copies of the virus. It is difficult to detect the virus until it has infected the host. At that point the infection will persist indefinitely.

about 2 months ago

Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

gregor-e Re:Cry Me A River (608 comments)

Whining about how hard the tools are to use and how, if only the tools could be made as simple as a hammer then everyone could program, is as naive as suggesting that if word processors were as simple as pencils, anyone could write poetry.

What these utopian visions of programmatic democracy all lack is any notion that attacks the essential complexity of the problems being solved by code. Problems that have, if anything, grown more complex with increasing memory and CPU power. All the forays into "graphical programming" or other tools to take the programminess out of programming have shown that it doesn't matter whether you're expressing a solution in text or little icons connected by arrows - the essential complexity of the problem remains. The only way we're going to democratize programming is if AI gets to the point where the thoughtwork of breaking down the essential complexity of problems can be offloaded to some other intelligence.

about 2 months ago

Winners of First Seized Silk Road Bitcoin Auction Remain Anonymous

gregor-e Re:How Can The USMS Sell These? (88 comments)

Unlike most currency, these bitcoins can forever be traced back to their seamy past, allowing owners to potentially extract value from their history.

about 2 months ago

Happy Software Developers Solve Problems Better

gregor-e Management is hard (121 comments)

This is one more tricky aspect of managing software or any other creative/analytic project. You can start with the smartest, happiest people in the world, only to have your schedule blown because one of them is going through a messy divorce or a loved one gets cancer. The bad vibes can drag a whole team down. I forsee a huge market in happy pepper-upper pills for programmers. Oh, wait. That's what coffee is for.

about 2 months ago

Cambridge Team Breaks Superconductor World Record

gregor-e Powering down? (73 comments)

How did they power down that experiment? If they let the temperature rise until it drops out of superconductivity, it'd explode. Or did they just load magnetic field until it burst and chalked up the maximum as a new record? That's almost enough to make magnetic munitions - shells that explode on impact and also pack an EMP wallop.

about 2 months ago

A Physicist Says He Can Tornado-Proof the Midwest With 1,000-Foot Walls

gregor-e Re:stupid comparison (501 comments)

So we don't build it out of concrete. The Yellowstone supervolcano will eventually blow and wipe out most of civilization sometime in the next few millennia, unless we do something about it. We can't simply drill a hole to the top of the magma, since that would set it off. What we have to do is tunnel down deep, to the lower part of the magma column, where the density is much higher and the pressure much lower. From there, we can allow the magma column to bleed off pressure gradually, providing us with a constant stream of incandescent magma that can be used for whatever we like. Then all we'd have to do is come up with a high-temperature insulated conveyor belt to transfer all the fresh magma to wherever the current end of the casting is. We could build 1000-foot walls, cast castles, create huge canals or reservoirs, whatever we like. So long as we keep coming up with good uses for a never-ending stream of white-hot magma, we're set.

about 2 months ago

Tech Workforce Diversity At Facebook Similar To Google And Yahoo

gregor-e Re:The problem with all of these stories (265 comments)

Finding enough talent is getting nearly impossible now. As an employee of an up-and-coming Silicon Valley startup, let me assure you - the form factor of the meat package of a prospective developer has zero influence on our decision to hire.

about 2 months ago

Are Habitable Exoplanets Bad News For Humanity?

gregor-e Re:Fermi paradox (608 comments)

Not only is space big to us, just imagine how much vaster it would be to an intelligence that thinks several million times faster that we do. Our civilization has only become 'visible' through RF radiation for about a century. That is a brief eyeblink of time on a cosmic scale. Our communication is already moving away from radio, toward optic fiber. Our intelligence is already making the leap from biological to non-biological substrates. It is not unlikely that a century from now, the bulk of intelligence in our region of space will be non-biological, and operating at several million times the speed of neurons. Such an intelligence will experience a human lifetime of contemplation in the span of an afternoon. Lightspeed lag will be very perceptible to this intelligence. Accordingly, such intelligence will wish to become as densely packed and interconnected as possible. Space, as it turns out, is filled with many variations on the theme of rocks that we are already familiar with. But to the fast, dense intelligence of the future, it will be several million-fold further away. By the time such an intelligence can fork off a chunk of itself and send it into space, even to the moon and back, several millennia of experience and evolution will have occurred. This, along with the fact that all they are likely to discover is more rocks, leads such intelligence to stay put. So the reason we don't see any advanced intelligence spreading through the universe is that shortly after they figure out computation, their communication drops RF and their intelligence implodes into a black hole of dense, tightly interconnected navel-gazing. Perhaps a literal black hole.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How Can We Create a Culture of Secure Behavior?

gregor-e Re:Good morale, perhaps? (169 comments)

Offer a bonus and recognition to any employee whose computer doesn't get hacked by the hired pen tester. Publish tips on how to avoid being hacked. Compliance rates will soar. Also, knowing they are being targeted by an actual human translates an abstract notion of why security practice is important into something concrete.

about 4 months ago

The Amoeba That Eats Human Intestines, Cell By Cell

gregor-e Re:treatment (71 comments)

We should develop a drug that gives them a liking for the taste of their own kind while disliking the taste of humans. Maybe call it ouroborosin?

about 5 months ago

Could Earth's Infrared Emissions Be a New Renewable Energy Source?

gregor-e Power density? (78 comments)

Just how many watts per square meter are capturable this way? Enough to power a small LED?

about 5 months ago

More Troubles For Authors of Controversial Acid-Bath Stem Cell Articles

gregor-e Re:Fraud? Try Idiot. (99 comments)

So it must be time to crank up the conspiracy theories.
Which is more (un)likely:

  1. Someone would attempt to perpetrate such a huge and obvious falsehood
  2. Vested powers, on hearing their castle is about to crumble, vigorously attempt to discredit the new theory
  3. Big money who is outside the potential profit sphere of this discovery is attempting to delay it long enough to get a slight variation patented

about 5 months ago

Flash Is Dead; Long Live OpenFL!

gregor-e Re:Sooooo..... (166 comments)

Sounds like you have to talk your users into running native code on their machine. What could possibly go wrong?

about 5 months ago

Sons of Anarchy Creator On Google Copyright Anarchy

gregor-e Re:Sour grapes (381 comments)

Heck, even just having a nominal annual renewal fee would revert the majority of content over to the public within a few years. Say, $50/year. If the exclusive right to sell a work isn't worth $50 to the rights-holder, having those rights obviously can't be all that motivating. It should revert to the public so anyone is free to have a go at getting whatever value they can out of it.

about 6 months ago

Sons of Anarchy Creator On Google Copyright Anarchy

gregor-e Re:Sour grapes (381 comments)

Theft is depriving someone of access to or enjoyment of something they otherwise would have had. In the example you constructed, your boss would otherwise have paid you a salary. By not doing so, your boss commits theft. Similarly, pirated content is contingent theft - if the downloader would otherwise have paid for the content being downloaded, then it is theft. That is the difference.

about 6 months ago

Amazon Hikes Prime Membership Fee

gregor-e Re:Amazon just wants to see how much they can sque (276 comments)

I just checked my account. 85 orders in 2013. Comes to $.92 shipping per order for me. Heck, even at $99/year, I'd have paid $1.13 shipping per order. The free videos are a cherry on top of that sweet savings sundae. If you are a prime member who didn't wring that savings sponge dry, then I thank you for participating in this little wealth-shifting scheme.

about 6 months ago



Amazon testing drones for 30-minute delivery

gregor-e gregor-e writes  |  about 9 months ago

gregor-e (136142) writes "Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled a new plan by Amazon to deliver packages to customer’s homes within 30 minutes using drones. The company claims to be ready to launch in 2015, so long as the FAA’s rules allow for them to enable air delivery."
Link to Original Source

'Eraser' law will let California kids scrub online past

gregor-e gregor-e writes  |  about a year ago

gregor-e (136142) writes "The first-of-its-kind "eraser button" law, signed Monday by Governor Jerry Brown, will force social media titans such as Facebook, Twitter and Google let minors scrub their personal online history in the hopes that it might help them avoid personal and work-related problems.
The law will take effect on January 1, 2015."

Link to Original Source

Comcast to provide helpful copyright violation popups

gregor-e gregor-e writes  |  1 year,27 days

gregor-e (136142) writes "Comcast is said to be preparing to snoop on your internet browsing to detect when you attempt to download a copyright-protected item. On detection, Comcast will pop up a helpful window that contains information about where you can obtain a legal version of whatever you're downloading."

Obesity cure?

gregor-e gregor-e writes  |  more than 4 years ago

gregor-e (136142) writes "On Friday, ITCES issued a press release detailing phase III trial results for the experimental combination drug AVT-12. They claim their study participants lost an average of 39.4% of their body weight in one year of use. The toxicity profile of AVT-12 is said to be so benign that they feel it could qualify as an OTC product. If true, this could be big."
Link to Original Source

Magazine photos fool age-verification cameras

gregor-e gregor-e writes  |  more than 6 years ago

gregor-e writes "Japan has scheduled a full-scale rollout of visual age-verification on cigarette vending machines. Unfortunately for them, a Sankei Sports news reporter has determined that this system can be fooled by holding up a magazine photo of an adult."
Link to Original Source

Photon-transistors exchange data between photons

gregor-e gregor-e writes  |  about 7 years ago

gregor-e (136142) writes "Scientist from the Niels Bohr Institute at University of Copenhagen and from Harvard University have come up with a way for photons to exchange data. Normally, photons pass right by each other without interacting. What these guys have done is establish a means of transferring information from one photon to another by using a single atom intermediary. This provides a step toward practical quantum computation, by allowing the signals to be purely optical in nature."
Link to Original Source


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