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Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin

grumpy_technologist Re:Competition Sucks (507 comments)

all ridesharing transportation partners carry best-in-class commercial insurance coverage in the event of an accident.

Also, their coverage is considerably higher (in dollar amount) than commercial taxis in major cities. Uber provides this for their drivers. The drivers do not need to purchase this.

source: http://blog.uber.com/uberXride...

about 4 months ago
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Adjusting GPAs: A Statistician's Effort To Tackle Grade Inflation

grumpy_technologist Re:The whole system needs to change (264 comments)

I disagree. 90% of the population would not be able to complete the education or would drop out. The selection criteria exist to make sure that the bottom line is met in an institution which must spend money to provide a complete education. Drop outs are costly.

about 8 months ago
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Adjusting GPAs: A Statistician's Effort To Tackle Grade Inflation

grumpy_technologist The experiment was a disaster for both parties. (264 comments)

You might want to take note of the following quote from the article, which I completely agree with.

He now recommends keeping the same GPA measure, but perhaps using the adjusted GPA to distinguish students with a special mark or honor so that graduate schools and employers know the student stood out.

In my opinion, school is primarily for education. If you learn all of the material satisfactorily, then you have earned an A. If you want impose some sorting (to distinguish certain students), provide limited access to undergraduate research and project-based courses which have an internal application process or require extra work. Don't expect to put everyone in the same bucket and have them naturally separate any more.

In my second opinion, this is the new norm, and we shouldn't be trying to focus on fixing the big "inflation" (degree inflation, tuition inflation, grade inflation)., which is necessarily a backwards-facing perspective.

about 8 months ago
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Dishwasher-Size, 25kW Fuel Cell In Development

grumpy_technologist Re:More ripping off the taxpayer (379 comments)

I know!

  • How dare they take research dollars and research new technologies?
  • How dare they follow through with successful research by *forming a business in the U.S. of A.* the very country that funded the research.
  • How dare they take advantage of NSF-funded programs to transfer successful research to US-based businesses? It's almost like they (congress, policymakers, and business) wanted this to happen.
  • How dare they use a volunteer-based peer review system to verify the findings and disseminate the results?
  • Finally, how dare they use the NSF-mandated Data magagement plan to make all data available to the public and other researchers? Clearly they are trying to dupe us all now!

Source: NSF funded researcher. Disclaimer: NSF-funded researcher.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is the Bar Being Lowered At Universities?

grumpy_technologist I can comment only at the University level (605 comments)

First, I'd say you can always find some schools where it is easier to get A's than it was. But it probably isn't a trend.

Second, if it is a trend, do not blame the teachers. This is an administrators' issue. At my University (where I teach and TA), there is a huge push to increase graduation rates. Sounds great, since graduation rate is a huge problem where diversity is high and support is low. Unfortunately, the easiest way to get X students / year is to "lower the bar."

However, the teachers always fight back against this. In general, the average graduating student with a decent GPA is in fact a good representation of what we want a student to look like. So, thanks in part to the tenure system (in which curmudgeonly teachers can't be ousted by angry administrators), we still have high standards for our honor students.

about a year and a half ago
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German Science Minister Stripped of Her PhD

grumpy_technologist Re:PhD's in Germany (123 comments)

That's a sweeping and unfair generalization.

about a year and a half ago
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Artificial Wombs In the Near Future?

grumpy_technologist You bet this is useful! (367 comments)

After watching my friend suffer through multiple miscarriages related to her uterine lining, and the grief it caused her and her husband (also a great friend), I can say without a doubt: Yes, there will be a market for this.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is a Home Drone Feasible?

grumpy_technologist Re:Short Answer: No (274 comments)

Greetings from the CS side of autonomous systems R&D.

Drop the video goggles and you are right on.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is a Home Drone Feasible?

grumpy_technologist Some advice (274 comments)

Hey OP,

I've worked on autonomous robots for environmental monitoring for two years now. That doesn't make me an expert by any means, but it does provide me some insight which I'd like to pass along.

  • Don't assume radio connectivity. Ever. If a platform requires you to maintain connectivity or it will (bad) crash, (ok) return home, or (best) continue on, choose based on the worst case, and know that you are responsible for what it does while you can't control it.
  • Don't assume GPS will work everywhere all the time. Even a valley can have terrible GPS simply because of high mountain walls. Most autonomous systems are completely reliant on GPS and will slam into the nearest obstacle like magic if GPS error starts to increase. This is often well before GPS is completely "lost"
  • Don't even try real-time telepresence, video-streaming, or remote control unless you are at 1) at short range all the time and 2) have a reliable connection at all times. This means 3/4G or Wifi for video streaming or a high-powered hobby remote for line-of-sight control. Some radios can transmit text data (ZigBee being the first that comes to mind) but most require line-of-sight. This will probably limit your deployment range to 1km to 5km. Claims to the contrary are difficult for me to believe, but you may have better luck than I have.
  • Don't build your own control software. Controlling a platform like a UAV is difficult. Trust an expert. Pay $ for this, as much as possible. Look to academia or defense for this component. DIYDrones I believe, started this way.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is a Home Drone Feasible?

grumpy_technologist Re:Define (274 comments)

This is correct, in that this is the best option. Unfortunately, none of these options will be perfect. OP should be prepared to lose drones because of momentary GPS loss, and should not assume that radio connectivity can be maintained . I can't stress that enough. Even these well-proven options typically required a human-failsafe. In an alpine setting it is easy to imagine that radio connectivity will be lost.

Disclaimer: Not an expert, but have 2 years experience with autonomous vehicles for similar tasks over short time scales (1 day max).

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is a Home Drone Feasible?

grumpy_technologist Re:DIY VS. Time (274 comments)

I can't stress removing telepresence enough. That requires a reliable, constant-on connection. *IF* 4G is available reliably throughout the deployment area, this is a viable solution. If you are willing to settle for less-than-telepresence (text feed of proprioception (self-sensing), mission status, etc), then 3G or even standard cell coverage is enough. If there is even a possibility of losing connectivity, then skip telepresence all together and build a reliable autonomous system. Unfortunately, "reliable" and "autonomous" don't go together very well in the small-scale-commercial setting.

Disclaimer: I'm not quite an expert, but I have a couple years experience with autonomous robots for this type of application (environmental monitoring) over short-term deployment (1 day maximum).

more than 2 years ago

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