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Comment Re:oracle all over again (Score 2) 119

Well, if you are operating in twenty different countries, SAP will keep your accounting rules adapted to the intricacies of each one, yearly as rules change in every contry. And then offer you a consolidated view of all your financials.

It's in fact the only solid reason I know for going SAP, but, as the decision makers are usually financial people, it works mightily.

Comment A robot tax is mainly unworkable (Score 1) 72

How do you calculate a tax rate for robots? Does a completely integrated robotic factory (in essence just a robot with thousands of actuators) pay the same tax than a kitchen aid? What about vehicles? If they are AI driven then it's a robot and must pay taxes? Will you have to pay taxes for your Roomba? What if the robot is controlled remotely by a powerful CPU? What if it's not a remote CPU but a cloud of processing power, and more power is used if the robot's decisions are harder to make? The list is endless.

If a transport company fires all drivers and substitutes them by robotic vehicles, it will make a lot more profits (presumably), and so pay a lot more taxes (presumably). It's simpler and more efficient to tax these extra profits than any robot tax you could devise.

Comment Re:0.4 of a phone (Score 1) 91

t doesn't matter that Android completely dominates in the poorer parts of Africa, India, and China

Right, but only up to a point. If you have to travel to Africa and live there for some time, and the local apps (informing of the danger of crocodile infestation, for example) are only developed for Android, then it matters a bit for you that you only have an iOS device (that bit being perhaps the hand lost to a crocodile's bite).

Market share is always important, and one platform tends to push others out, as the cost of developing for more than one platform is always bigger than developing for just one. In the long run, "there can be only one".

Comment Re:Why always going for hominoid? (Score 2) 47

It is explained. The reason was to facilitate the remote controlling by some kind of VR setup. If you turn your head, you expect something similar to happen to your robotic avatar. If you raise your arm, it's better if the distance between your "eyes" and your "shoulder", and the relationship of lengths of your "arms", is human-like. So you end up with a human-like structure. If you want to protect your sensors with a hull, a head-like cover is as good as any other.

On the other side, there are many other alternatives open to you, and it's clear that they went for the hominoid look, but that's also very human :-)

Comment Re:If confirmed, does this make it realistic? (Score 5, Insightful) 477

Are you serious? If the EM drive works we are at the gates of a major revolution in Physics (as in 'our understanding of Physics'). First we should have to understand how it works, tinker with it till the smallest-lightest-efficientest designs emerge. In parallel, other people would be trying to determine WHY it works. That's a much bigger task, that requires a rewriting of most Physic's textbooks. When we have a new theory that explains the EM drive, then probably still better drives can be designed, perhaps using other kinds of radiation.

What I'm driving at, is that discussing how possibly adequate or inadequate this EM drive is to space travel is like discussing the usefulness of electricity when good old Thales started rubbing amber pieces against animal skins.

Comment First or second part? (Score 4, Insightful) 227

Stranger in a Strange Land is really like two novels. The first part is good, classical Heinlein. The second part is some kind of rambling political pamphlet that always manages to bore me. I read somewhere that they were written with several years difference, and it shows.

I hope they base it in the first part, really. Well, probably, if it's a typical TV product, they will take the basic idea and massacre all else, so why do I care?

Comment Another irrelevant study (Score 1) 143

Come on. This is supposed to be a nerds' site. You should know that this kind of studies are useless because there is no way to prove causation. Perhaps people who like soda are more prone to diabetes in the first place. Perhaps (oh! sudden insight) they don't only drink soda but also overeat and don't move their sorry asses, like, ever.

When somebody makes a study of a thousand vegetarians that run 5K every day, and take half and force them to drink a glass of soda every day for ten years, and then compare the results with the other half, then I'll be interested. Until then, extracting a variable like this from such an interdependent mess as is human health, is simply the embodiment of a strong desire for publication, nothing else.

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