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Comment Not News (Score 1) 113

The Supreme Court hears something on the order of 1% of the cases people try to send it.

It's only news when they decide to hear a case, not when they don't.

It also has no precedential value that they rejected it--meaning the appeals court ruling it leaves undisturbed is all that's there, so this ruling is only binding on one area of the country.

Comment Not Google's Business Model Either... (Score 1) 236

"I would imagine that this is probably different than just making more time for people to click on web sites," --director of Google's self-driving car group quoted in article.

I'm sure he just meant that Google's standard business model won't apply--they will need to actually have people pay to either own or license the technology, rather than freeing time for them to use Google's traditional revenue sources. I imagine the interviewer had to ask a pretty silly question...

Freeing up time is enough to sell billions of dollars worth of these cars--more, to make people spend billions of dollars *more* on cars than they otherwise would--in New York and Los Angeles alone.

Also, the automakers are used to living in a litigation-averse culture; self-driving cars are going to make it a *lot* easier to determine who is at fault in court cases.

Comment Safe code not about ability to make it safe... (Score 1) 65

Three words: goto considered harmful. Safe code isn't only about the ability to make it safe. It's about a set of rules the environment or language imposes on the programmer to make it *easier* to make it safe and *harder* to make it unsafe. The programmer can still choose the language, so it's a self-imposed set of rules. Like garbage collection. Of course any decent programmer can do his own garbage collection. But if you can keep the programmer from having to do that, you (1) free him up to do things that still actually require his intellect and (2) eliminate or at least greatly reduce the probability that he will inadvertently introduce errors. You can make unsafe code go away by teaching good programming habits. That's why we don't see many goto lines in C code any more. But the biggest change comes from making it harder to write unsafe code than it is to write safe code.

Comment True in theory (Score 5, Insightful) 186

It is true, healthcare data mining could save many lives. The problem is nobody trusts health insurance companies because most of them (a) deliberately make it hard to deal with them in order to get people to give up on collecting claims, (b) refuse to cover at least some of the people we know when they need medical treatment, and (c) limit the quality of care received from most doctors. So nobody trusts them to abstain from using the information to come up with some reason to exclude you either from coverage in the marketplace or for a particular condition.

Comment abortion (Score 1) 454

The leading cause preventable of death in the U.S. is abortion; about 800,000 per year. Nobody wants to recognize it, however.

A very good point. It is probably legitimate not to include it in lists as the leading cause, because a large portion of the population does not believe it is death. However, it should be either the first item with a prominent footnote, or listed in a footnote to the first item.

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