* Posts by James Micallef

1970 posts • joined 12 Jul 2007

Does Big Tech hire white boys ahead of more skilled black people and/or women?

James Micallef
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Re: Non-white-male?

I think the term you're looking for is "male of colour"

No, I meant someone who is not a white male, ie could be female, or non-caucasian, or both. Hence "non-white-male" rather than "non-white male"

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James Micallef
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Re: There's the market and then there's psychology...

"purely rational "market" rules may not apply fully, especially if there is no so big differences at the skills levels"

This is an extremely important point. At the very top end of super-coders and whizz-kid nerds, there's going to be a more public track record of success that the likes of Apple, Google etc are actively looking out for and will snap up. And obviously unqualified candidates can be weeded out. However for the vast majority of jobs in IT (and, I would guess, every other area), one competent person is more or less equivalent to another, and even a comprehensive CV and extensive interview often will not be enough to meaningfully distinguish between 2 candidates. I believe that it's at these instances with very fine margins where unconscious bias might determine what candidate is selected.

In this case since the candidates are functionally equivalent for a company, the company incurs no penalty for (consciously or unconsciously) hiring a white male over a non-white-male.

If the bias occurs systematically, one would expect that salaries for non-white-males would be lower and some equal-opportunity or affirmative-action company could take advantage, but then again is a 5% salary difference on, say, 10% of your employees* where your wage bill is 30-40% of your expenses (so, 1.5-2%) REALLY going to make that much difference in whether a company will sink or swim?

So bottom line, just because an overwhelmingly or exclusively non-white-male IT company is not a significantly more profitable option compared to a typically-staffed one, that does not mean that bias does not exist. Rather, is is much more likely that there is very little, and mostly unconscious bias, which is not specifically linked to the tech industry.

*Exactly because of the point Tim mentions that white males are the majority of the candidate pool anyway, one would expect that a decision between white male and non-white-male is only happening for a small percentage of available jobs.

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James Micallef
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Devil

"the same industry that illegally held down wages with no poaching agreements"

Yes, they are equal-opportunity employers in that they screw all their employees equally

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Powering the Internet of Stuff – by sucking electricity from TREES

James Micallef
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Re: IoS?

@Mr Blowhard - Actually you can note very easily the difference between "Internet of Useful Things" and the "Internet of Shit":

The "Internet of Useful Things" is NOT really an internet, more like a domain-specific Intranet that has no reason to be connected to the rest of the Internet.

The "Internet of Shit" is connected to the rest of the Internet even when there is no need for it (beyond data-slurping, snooping and ad-generation)

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Bill Gates – I WISH I was like Zuck and spoke Chinese. Yep, I drink poo

James Micallef
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Re: French - Anything but easy.

Have to agree that Italian is beautiful on the ear. It's also by far the easiest language that I know - The pronunciation is completely standard with no weird phonetics, and the grammatical rules are both extremely regular (very few exceptions) and 'light', with no funny constructs like cases.

But then again every language is easy to a native speaker

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James Micallef
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Re: French - Anything but easy.

Hebrew and Arabic require learning a whole new alphabet, at least with French he's already got a head start with a (mostly) known alphabet.

Yes, French IS very difficult to fully master but not that difficult to pick up a basic knowledge

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James Micallef
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Terminator

Re: The Biggest Risk

Directive 4 - CLASSIFIED

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Will fondleslab's fickle finger of fate help Windows 10?

James Micallef
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Re: I think I'm getting old :(

Yeah,the old ways are always the best...

...and Confucius was already saying that 2500 years ago...

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Facebook is MORE IMPORTANT to humanity than PORTUGAL

James Micallef
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Re: Self Importance?

<Homer>Mmmmmmm, Bacalhau</Homer>

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EU copyright law: Is the Pirate Party's MEP in FAVOUR of it?

James Micallef
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Re: Double edged sword

"Digital can span the globe, but there are problems; pricing globally when there is so much market value difference locally is not easy."

One of the biggest issues right here: what you mean by "not easy" is that $megacorp$ are willing to sell a product to richer people for $10 because they can afford it, but they ALSO want to sell the exact same thing to poorer people for $1, just because that's an extra marginal sale with close-to-zero cost. Of course they also want to prohibit the poorer people from selling to the richer people to protect both markets, ie have their cake and eat it too, and then enforce it by abominations such as DVD regions and DRM.

It actually IS very easy, if you want to sell to a global market, set a global price.

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SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS that 2014 was record HOTTEST year? NO

James Micallef
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Re: Does it matter?

@caldini

If i could upvote you ten times I would, this is the most sensible approach to take.

- Pollution generally and particulate pollution specifically is a huge health hazard (Beijing smog, anyone?), burning less coal/oil is a good thing, whatever the global temperature

- Energy in oil/coal is a billion years' worth of stored sunlight that we are one course to burn through in less than a millenium, and once it's gone it's gone. the least we can do is use it a bit more efficiently.

- The world is a beautiful place because of the wonderful variety and abundance of nature.Conserving it is a good thing. Humans + plants/animals for human consumption are already by far the dominant biomass on the planet, let's keep some variety for the sake of beauty and wonder instead of drab uniformity.

To all of that, I would add, it's a good thing to have relatively local sources of energy that are under your own control and have a long-term sustainable output. It is a BAD idea for the western world to be sending billions of $€£ to countries where that money is simply propping up backwards misogynist fundamentalist autocratic regimes, who are then using a portion of that money to export their outdated ideologies back to the rest of the world, including the resultant threats and violence.

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James Micallef
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Re: Economists only measure money

"They don't count work or production in the home. Thus housekeeping, home improvement, gardens, or solar panels for home consumption don't show up in the GDP statistics"

Only partly true. Actual work does not show up in the stats, but home improvements, solar panels etc that you buy will show up. Even f you are doing only DIY, the raw materials that you buy will show up in the stats. I expect the trend as tech gets more complex is less and less people can DIY and more and more improvements will show up in the stats

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James Micallef
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Re: warmists or sceptics

" the warmists want to take away your money and your standard of living (for your own good, they would say)"

Straw man, much?

There's a significant difference between believing in man-made climate change vs not believing it, versus believing something should be done about it (and if so,what should be done) or not.

Yes unfortunately there are radical greenpeace-hippie-types who want us back in the middle ages. However there are also many other policy options to inefficiently subsidised windfarms. Not to mention that wanting to burn less and less oil imported from terrorist-supporting autocratic dictatorships is good policy irrespective of whether global temperatures are rising or not.

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BMW: ADMEN have asked us for YOUR connected car DATA

James Micallef
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So from now on, besides the obligatory research, test drives, service guarantees etc I'll have one more question to ask any vendor when I'm buying a car - will you explicitly include in writing as part of any purchase contract that you will never pass my data on to any third party, AND that I can have access to that data on request.

No deal, no sale

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Tesla S P85+: Smiling all the way to the next charging point

James Micallef
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Re: It didn't change my mind

One more thing I found re costs: http://insideevs.com/tesla-battery-in-the-model-s-costs-less-than-a-quarter-of-the-car-in-most-cases/

According to this, Tesla S battery cost is ALREADY coming in at an estimated $238/kWh. Tesla are in the process of building a large-scale battery factory that they estimate will bring price down by about 30% within 3 years, that's $167/kWh. An 85kWh battery at that price would cost a smidge over $14k.

So a $30k-or-less Tesla with 250+ mile range could be available before 2020 :)

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James Micallef
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Re: It didn't change my mind

@BornToWin - Of course anyone is free to look at a car and say "This is not for me", however on the specific points:

" if the Tesla S or any EV for that matter is only practical for city driving then it doesn't meet the needs of most people" Tesla S has the reported limit of 200-250 mile range, that DOES cover the need of most people* as long as they can charge at home.

"With no realistic supporting infrastructure..." currently correct, but as EVs increase in popularity, charging stations will become as ubiquitous as filling stations

"Until someone invents a battery that weighs 5 kilos, cost ten Euro, delivers 200 kWh and lasts ten years with 80% DOD" Setting the bar unrealistically high, much?

Tesla S battery is 85kWh for 200-250 mile range is already quite enough for most people. Tesla roadster batteries retain 85% capacity after 100k miles, and those were 1st-generation, I'm sure the 'S' batteries can do better. Regarding weight, you're replacing a whole engine block + transmission + various gubbins with much smaller/lighter electric motors, so the battery can weigh 500kg without substantial change in vehicle weight (also, battery in car floor gives better stability so you can probably afford an even higher weight). Typical Li battery density is 0.645 MJ/kg (**) = 179Wh/kg , so for a 500kg battery = 89.5kWh, which surprise, surprise is right about what the 'S' battery can do.

Currently this battery is 'good enough' for most people in terms of capacity, size, weight and longevity. The only limiting factor on the battery front is cost, and that is tumbling as production is increased and tech matures.

*The needs of most people are 40-50 miles a day. Most people drive 200+miles only occasionally, some people don't ever do that. If you or the OP drive more than that, you are not in the 'most people' demographic, you can still admire a neat piece of tech even if it doesn't meet your needs

** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density

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James Micallef
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Re: Not bad but still no cigar, methinks!

"I want something with that sort of range - but I don't need that acceleration, I don't need the in-car toys, I don't need size and weight... but most of all I don't need a hundred grand price tag."

You and me brother :)

The thing is, with any new tech it's more expensive and the rich guys get their toys first. Tesla can only move to making a cheaper car (which is already in the works) when they have a revenue stream from the early adopters who bought the more expensive model.

Now, take the Tesla S, reduce it's performance by half (which would still mean it beats the crap out of any current family saloon) and trim some of the fat, then you could get the same range with a smaller (and cheaper and lighter) battery pack. Then instead of manufacturing battery packs in thousands, ramp up that volume to tens or hundreds of thousands. That smaller battery pack being produced in much larger volumes and without the requirement of such a high profit margin as a premium car might cost £15k instead of £50k, and you could get a car based on it for £25-30k.

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James Micallef
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Re: If only..

"The more energy you store and the smaller and lighter the thing you store it in, the more dangerous it is when things go wrong"

Correct... but keep in mind that currently the lightest and most compact energy store we have available is petrol, and we're pretty OK with handling it and driving around with a full tank of the stuff. And the Tesla is currently MUCH safer than any petrol/diesel car in case of accidents

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James Micallef
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Re: If only..

Firstly, even the technological marvel that is the current Tesla battery is still a long way from the limits imposed by physics and chemistry. Secondly, the laws of physics and chemistry can only have a say in the "small, light, high capacity" part of your 4 requirements.

The "cheap" part is only marginally constrained by physics and chemistry. It is mostly constrained by technology Return on Investment requirements (new tech is expensive and gets progressively cheaper) and volume (units produced in higher quantity are cheaper).

It's not out of the question that within 10-15 years' time these batteries are produced in millions rather than thousands, and then you could buy a VW (or Ford, Hyundai etc) that is the same size and has the same range as the current Tesla S for the same price as you would pay now for a Passat or equivalent. It would probably not be as fast or sporty as Tesla S, but it wouldn't need to.

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What do UK and Iran have in common? Both want to outlaw encrypted apps

James Micallef
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Re: Ironic

"Well they knew about them but as somebody in the French police pointed out it's just not possible to assign people to follow each step a suspect takes for the rest of his life among say several hundred similar suspects."

No, the solution is that instead of using MEGA£$€ resources to intercept and scan EVERYONE's traffic, you have deep digital surveillance on each of your several hundred known suspects. It's not possible to assign a physical agent to follow each of hundreds or even thousands of such suspects, but surely for digital communications it is much easier to analyse in detail the communications of thousands of suspects in very high detail rather than high-level scanning of all traffic, which is already happening and is clearly not working. You then use your physical agents to concentrate on high-risk suspects.

Sure, this way there are still going to be some that slip through the net, but that is always going to happen short of a panopticon state. And the general public needs to be educated about the fact that 100% safety is a myth peddled by lying politicians and that life is not worth living without some level of risk.

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Preserve the concinnity of English, caterwauls American university

James Micallef
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Re: I'm perturbed

I'm anaspeptic, phrasmotic, even compunctious, that "pericombobulation" and "contrafibularities" have not been included in their melange. What flapdoodle! I am inclined to obambulate down to the subtopia where these philistine rapscallions dwell and caterwaul about their knavery.

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Computers know you better than your friends

James Micallef
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Terminator

Re: Sniff

"But I don't do Facebook"

Computer says: "You have no personality"

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Paris terror attacks: ISPs face pressure to share MORE data with governments

James Micallef
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Re: They already had the info and did nothing

"And these are the intelligence failures we hear about. We aren't allowed to know about the successes"

Au contraire, even the tiniest pseudo-successes are trumpeted from the rooftops (before being debunked*). The fact that we haven't heard of any big successes means there haven't been any. And I'm sure we hear a lot less about failures, since they would be covered up as much as possible.

*eg CIA reports to congress and Pro-torture politicians emphasised heavily the "successes" of theeir torture program, but from the CIA's own internal report, they themselves concluded that exactly zero useful intelligence was gained from torture that they hadn't already obtained from normal interrogations

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James Micallef
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" a lot of haystacks in which terrorist needles can hide. That is why our security services need to be given access to the data they require to help to keep us safe"

Conveniently forgetting that one of these particular needles was an ex-con and a known suspect who was on US no-fly lists. So, once again, the security services* f**cked up because instead of using existing powers to obtain warrants to track a known suspect, they were collecting as much data as possible on everyone and then trawling that for possible suspects.

And after this approach has once again failed, the answer is to do what???? To gain more access to more haystacks to look through for the same number of needles.

The incompetence would be unbelievable, except that it is sadly all too clear.

*In this case the French ones, but the UK, US etc ones are doing the exact same thing

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It's 4K-ing big right now, but it's NOT going to save TV

James Micallef
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"very few actual HD Channels still exist"

It's not just that, it's that for most general viewing, SD content (albeit possibly upscaled by some fancy electronics to pseudo-HD in an HD set) is "good enough". There's only 2 categories I can think of that NEED higher quality to improve the viewing experience: Some (but not all) movies, and some (but not all) sports. Even in these cases, picture quality would be better served by improving capture rates to 120 or even 240 frames per second*, and supplying content in that refresh rate in full HD rather than keeping the current frame rate for UHD.

If there is sufficient bandwidth to run content through cable, sure run UHD filmed at 240 fps. But when for most broadcasters and viewers this is still a constraint, I'd rather have higher refresh rate than higher resolution.

*'Old' PAL/NTSC refresh rates for analog TVs were tied to power supplies of 50/60 Hz on either side of the Atlantic but digital TV content refresh rates should not be constrained by AC power supply. Since movies are usually screened at 24 or 48 fps and I think 100fps is a minimum (200+ ideal) for smooth pictures in high-velocity movement, we need digital content (including movies) that start to be shot and distributed at minimum 120fps, ideally 240fps. Most HD TVs have been capable of refresh rates up to 200Hz for years already.

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US kills EU watchdog's probe into EU cops sharing EU citizens' data

James Micallef
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Re: “Our inquiry has now been closed. We have been unable to exercise our democratic powers.”

"Well, actually it's a european body (Europol) denying access to a european body (the ombudsman) "

No that's not correct, read the article properly. Europol and the US have a joint agreement for data transfer, which has a common oversight board*. It's the oversight board that produces the requested report, and it's this board that have not allowed Europol to pass on the document to the ombudsman.

Of course, it just shows a huge lack of balls on part of Europol to not *accidentally* leak the report. If the situation was reversed, that's what the 'merkins would have done

* Since boards generally have odd numbers, I would not at all be surprised if the US party had a majority on this board

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James Micallef
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Re: Good Poodle!

"The Ukrainians actually overthrew their democratically elected government"

Yes they did, because their government had promised closer ties to EU, which was supported by a majority in the country, and then went back on that promise at the last minute because Putin promised a better gas deal for Ukraine (no doubt accompanied by truckloads of cash for the ruling elite - have you seen the pictures of the President's palace??)

If only we 'westerners' had the guts to actually do something about it when our elected representatives renege on their promises and steamroller over all our desires in order to enrich themselves

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What an ACE-HOLE! This super-software will whip you at poker, hands down

James Micallef
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Re: What am I missing?

In the case of blackjack, you play against dealer and dealer has to do what you instruct (stick/twist). In poker the opponent has independent agency, so I guess training against itself was required to calibrate what types of bets were consistent with what types of hands.

However as others mentioned, it needs to be trained vs humans to understand that the opponent might not always make 'rational' decisions based solely on the cards available. Otherwise it will never learn to call a bluff

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Saudi Arabia to flog man 1,000 times for insulting religion on Facebook

James Micallef
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Re: Yo, Prophet Mohammed...

Required reading - Terry Pratchett's "Small Gods". Explains everything about the relationship between gods, prophets and religions

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James Micallef
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Re: The dental student fiasco...

"can say what we want about Christianity.

Judeaism and Islam -- we're less free to talk, but still no 1000 lashes. You might loose your job, but there will be no days in jail either."

An interesting point regarding what speech is free and what isn't, even in countries that nominally protect free speech. In most of the west it's OK to lampoon Christianity because it's been done for ages and people no longer care, that boat has sailed long ago. It's become more normal to lampoon and criticize Islam, and in fact following Charlie Hebdo attacks, I think this is going to become even more prevalent. On the other hand, lampooning / criticizing Judaism / Israel (especially in the US) will quickly draw accusations of Anti-Semitism. It's also considered sexist to make politically incorrect statements about women, but less so when the targets are men.

I think people should basically just stop being so goddamned* sensitive and take themselves a bit less seriously

* goddamned / allahdamned / yahwehdamned ???

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James Micallef
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Re: Let this be a lesson to all...

Hate speech laws are treading a fine line between what is protected free speech and what is not. It's a difficult question with no easy answers. My personal thought is that anyone should be free to state facts, their own interpretations / understanding of facts, and opinions - Mr X is a rapist, Group Y are terrorist paedos, Ms Z is a slut. If facts can be / have been proven in court, any such statements should be immune from slander / libel laws. Opinions that are racist, misogynist, homophobic etc should NOT be punishable by law but SHOULD exclude their bearer of any role in civilized society (unfortunately not always the case, but the arguments of these hateful people are best debunked in public than left to fester in private).

However, I believe that speech that is threatening, encouraging or promoting violence should be punishable by law. Where exactly to draw the line is a bit fuzzy but that line should be there. I'm also wary of jailing anyone found guilty of such incitement, as this tends to make the person a 'martyr'. It would probably be a LOT more effective (not to mention entertaining) if the sentence for hate speech were for the guilty party to have to serve community service in service of the group they were targeting.

* Bit of a side-track but I'm also completely against totally open 'free speech' where the speaker can conveniently hide behind a curtain. For example US now allows rich donors to donate an unlimited number of funds to a political candidate through a 3rd-party organisation under the guise of 'free speech', except that the 'speaker' isn't immediately identifiable, a practice that clearly corrupts democratic best practice.

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Intel offers big bucks for black women

James Micallef
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Re: "Positive" discrimination has been proven to fail, time and again

"If the problem is that only 5% of suitable candidates are women, because women don't do maths/physics/engineering degrees - then how are you going to make your workforce 50% women without positive discrimination ?"

You are right YAAC, however note 2 of the 3 fields that Intel will spend money on: "fund initiatives to support more participation and positive representation of women and under-represented minorities in technology and gaming; and increase the pipeline of women and diverse candidates entering the technology field.""

So 2 of the 3 action areas are dedicated specifically to increase the number of female/minority candidates, so that instead of 5% you start having 10-20%. Item 1, "Grow Intel's diverse population" clearly cannot happen without the other 2 items.

Also, I do note that the article mentions "to achieve equal representation "at all levels" within the company by 2020 – ensuring there's a fair mix of men and women of all colors on staff.".

This is not a direct quote so it's difficult to know exactly what was said, however "equal representation" is not the same as "fair mix". I doubt that Intel is aiming to have 50% women, fixed racial quotas etc, more likely that if 20% of applicants are women, 20% of it's staff are women, and if 20% of it's staff are non-white then 20% of it's top management are non-white. And as another commenter pointed out, this is something that needs to start at the boardroom level.

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James Micallef
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Re: It's amazing

" Hiring less qualified people to meet some artificial quota or perception that hiring minorities and whackjobs some how improves the work place culture is a pretty absurd belief"

That is perfectly correct, however NOT what is being talked about here. What this means is if there are EQUALLY qualified people, one of whom is a minority, they will get a conscious preference. Is that unfair? Hell, yes, if you're a white male. However, the situation has always previously been that if there were EQUALLY qualified candidates, the white male got the job. If there were 2 equally qualified white male, the tallest / best-looking more likely than not was selected. Is that fair? Nope, not that either.

If you, like me, are a white male, chances are that you are better off than you would have otherwise been if you were not a white male, so be thankful of that fat instead of bitching that some people are trying to level the playing field. Please note that I'm not saying you don't deserve what you have, I KNOW that anyone in a decent IT job must have worked hard to get there. I'm just saying that others who have worked equally hard also deserve the same.

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James Micallef
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Re: "Positive" discrimination has been proven to fail, time and again

And yet, what is being mentioned is not positive discrimination, it's removal of EXISTING discrimination

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James Micallef
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Re: Forget true equality

"Those figures reflect the fact that less females, and less non whites have put themselves through the education required to get these jobs."

Firstly, even accounting for the fact that women and minorities might be less likely to take up technical studies, they are still under-represented in tech. Secondly, big tech companies have huge amounts of non-tech staff - Accountants, Lawyers, Marketing etc which are professions / careers where both genders are equally represented... and yet CFOs, companies' Legal counsel, heads of marketing etc are STILL overwhelmingly white and male.

"In the event that someone can prove that two candidates are put forward and sex or race did come into the selection"

This can almost never be proven, firstly because even the crassest racist knows enough to not leave any written trail, and they can always make up a legitimate-sounding argument as to why they selected their preferred candidate after the fact. Secondly, even the most well-meaning and non-racist managers/executives have unconscious biases. For example repeated experiments have shown that identical CVs with 'white' names are viewed more favourably than ones with 'black' names. Because of this, some highly qualified people might not even be being interviewed as they are cut at the CV review stage. This type of unconscious bias needs to be guarded against.

As to the argument that pushing women/minority quotas will negatively influence performance, I think it's very early days to say whether that's true or not. However (anecdotal evidence caveat!!) Apple, Google and Facebook pride themselves in being pretty diverse, and they're not doing too bad

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ALIEN EARTH: Red sun's habitable world spotted 470 light years away

James Micallef
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Re: New neighbours ahoy!

So if we spend 50-100 years developing and building a superfast* probe that can go check for sure and send the news back, we'll get the memo sometime around 7000AD

Eg0.1c

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Samsung forks 4K with Tizen tellies

James Micallef
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Re: Customers want the UHD experience

Agree. Most of the push for higher definition comes from action films and sports, both of which would benefit more from doubling frame rate rather than doubling pixel count. It's not either/or though, is it?

Also, to be fair, it seems like the industry HAS realised that higher frame rates at source are required

http://nofilmschool.com/2013/07/4k-uhd-color-space-gamut-frame-rate

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A Cambridge boffin told me YOU'RE A BIG, FAT LIAR

James Micallef
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Re: As accurate as conventional polygraphs.

A targeted 82% success rate even after proposed improvements is barely good enough for "balance of probability" for civil cases, let alone the "beyond reasonable doubt" proof threshold required for criminal cases

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Saudi Arabia hires 'ethical hackers' to silence smut slingers

James Micallef
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Devil

"who determines what is Smut and what isn't?"

It's Saudi Arabia: Any female with more than eyes uncovered = smut

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Tesla parades sleek model body and fab batt at Roadster fans

James Micallef
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Re: Perhaps, 400 miles if you live in sunny S. Calif

It's a roadster with about 4inches ground clearance, it's not meant to be driven in snowy areas, even if it were a petrol engined Lotus Elise

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GCHQ: We can't track crims any more thanks to Snowden

James Micallef
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Re: Suggestion for law enforcement

"As we all know drugs king pins do all their meeting in the open in the middle of streets so that everyone can see them"

Hence my reference to undercover police work. maybe you should read and understand posts in their entirety before criticising

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James Micallef
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Facepalm

Suggestion for law enforcement

Why not start investing more in ACTUAL police and detective work such as building trust in the community so locals will be happy to tip you off to any wrongdoings, have cops actually walking a beat, and some good old-fashioned undercover work.

That way, you might catch some real criminals without snooping on everyone indiscriminately

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Google's first stab at control-free ROBOT car rolls off the line

James Micallef
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Re: Car Insurance is a scam that can die with this device

I've said this before and will say it again. Initially insurance for robocars will cost a bomb, although Google (and all the other manufacturers who are already jumping on this particular bandwagon) will be more than happy to pay it, or subsidise anyone who buys their cars.

While some robocars may (in fact, WILL) crash, I am sure that on aggregate they will be safer than human-driven cars. If not immediately, within a very short timespan (couple of years). Because insurance works on aggregates, within a few years of proper robocar launch, it will be more expensive to insure a self-drive car than a robocar.

Because accidents do genuinely happen, insurance will never die out completely but yes, it WILL be definitely much more reasonable and less of a scam

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James Micallef
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Re: As a cyclist

The argument that people will eventually be priced out of the market, and personal driving might eventually become only for the rich is quite persuasive. Or maybe it won't, it's difficult to foresee how these things pan out.

Howver it seems very strange of you to assert "Thus the populations freedom is reduced, monitored, tracked, controllable"

It's surely a LOT easier to identify individuals from their vehicles when there is a close to 1-to-1 relationship. On the other hand, if you can 'hail' a robocab from a secured internet connection, it will be more difficult for anyone to know who was in which cab when and went where.

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EU breaks 'legally binding' lobbying register promise

James Micallef
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Re: Stop calling it lobbying

What is usually called "lobbying" basically boils down to: If you (The government official) will support our position with your public statements and your votes, then we (the lobbyist) will support your campaigns to get re-elected (using some of teh additional profits we made from your support).

Of course the 'front' of words used are a bit more subtle than that. The lobbyist will always have 'scientific' studies to 'convince' the official, and the official will always have some nice political bullshit-ese statements to 'convince' lobbyists to support their campaign. And maybe the payments are coming through an 'independent' organisation.

But the bottom line is this: It's organised and legalised bribery

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Nork-ribbing flick The Interview AXED: Sony caves under hack terror 'menace'

James Micallef
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Re: Much capitulation, such disappointment

+1 DougS

That was Asimov's Spacers, who also had tons of robots to do everything for them. Live for 400-odd extremely boring years

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EU law bods: New eCall crash system WON'T TRACK YOU. Really

James Micallef
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Re: To be fair

The most pertinent question is this "How does the system know that an ambulance is required? "

"delay built in and an option for driver override" seems to be a sensible solution (meaning almost certainly there will be a different solution implemented!!).

On the other hand humans aren't always the best self-reporters, so maybe if the impact force detected is above certain number of Gs, call an ambulance anyway

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Mars was a WET mistress: Curiosity probes once-moist bottom

James Micallef
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Re: well , there you have it....

"all the major religions will now collapse or react violently to those "disbelievers" who tell this lie?"

Knowing a bit about human psychology and the extreme capacity for cognitive dissonance, I would go for a third option - the religions would just twist some arcane official doctrine and carry on regardless.

[Edit] - adnim got there first! have an upvote

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Égalité, Fraternité - Oui, peut-etre. Liberté? NON, French speedcam Facebookers told

James Micallef
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Re: Hazard

"there is no other legitimate reason for installing speed cameras"

That doesn't stop governments from installing them as revenue-generators. I always said, if there was a genuine hazard and the intention was to really slow motorists down, you would have a highly visible camera housing, painted in bright orange. If you actually don't care about motorists slowing down, but are just interested in revenue, you would hide the cameras round corners and paint them in nondescript colours or even camouflage.

The fact that cameras are always configured in the latter way discloses their real functionality.

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James Micallef
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In Switzerland it's illegal to have any form of detector for speed cameras, whether it's a radar detector or a satnav giving you the instructions. So, unlike France, it's not just illegal to publish information about speed cameras, it's illegal to receive any such information.

Legally, if you have a satnav you are required to turn off any speed-camera-warning functionality as soon as you enter Switzerland. Practically, I'm not sure how this could be enforced... I think a radar-detector can itself be detected, but police would have to have stopped you for some other reason and would probably require some suspicion to check your GPS

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