Re: Much capitulation, such disappointment
That was Asimov's Spacers, who also had tons of robots to do everything for them. Live for 400-odd extremely boring years
1925 posts • joined 12 Jul 2007
That was Asimov's Spacers, who also had tons of robots to do everything for them. Live for 400-odd extremely boring years
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
"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
"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.
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
Agree with Fazal - The outcome of any spending is surely more important than the actual amount spent
So what's the official Register unit for temperature? The Hilton (1H = 37C) ?
No confusion at all - I'm sure donuts will be as willing to sell a .football domain to Real madrid as they are to sell such a domain to Miami dolphins.No-one looks for a website just by the top-level domain!!
It's likely that a football.football (or indeed, football.com) domain will cause confusion, but a (x.football) won't
At first when I came across the concept of these global TLDs I was thinking whaaat? Why do we need them? Things work fine as they are.
But since then it has become more and more common for countries to do jurisdictional land-grabs over the internet. The current system, while it works well, solidifies into place the 'old' system of each country having it's own bit, which just leads to countries fighting over teh bits in between. I believe the Internet should be moving us towards a more integrated and borderless world, and having the internet structured by subject domain as well as by country can only be a good thing. Functionally, the existing country domains will still work, so we're not losing anything we already have.
And if some people / companies want to spend millions to register specific domains, well it's their money. I'm not going to visit a site any more or any less if it's FIFA.com or FIFA.football, that will depend on site content not site address.
Excellent stuff, genuine innovation that has real-life practical use in a key area of the phone.
An excellent unintended side-effect!
Maybe what is needed is a combination of natural language processing (still a more difficult task for computers than image recognition, and even more difficult if you combine spelling mistakes and ambiguities) and ethics (of which AI currently has none AFAIK)
- Pulling wings off flies is wrong all the time
- It's time my friend pulled off a flies wing
- I have a great time pulling off flies wings
- My friend time flies if you give it wings
Then you formulate a question in a way that requires you to enter an answer rather than select one (otherwise the AI can randomly guess the correct answer if it's just multiple choice)
Interesting ethical questions raised... just one thing, with an AI that "... give nothing back and/or cannot communicate with us... ", how do we know there is any Intelligence in there? With babies, we KNOW that if we nurture them they will grow to full potential, with a computer program we have no way of knowing what's "in there" unless/until it communicates with us.
Humans don't currently dominate the world because we're super-smart*. No, we dominate the world because we're (a) smart enough (b) have opposable thumbs so we can actually DO stuff not just THINK about doing stuff and (c) have hard-wired instincts to both survive and multiply.
It doesn't matter how super-smart any AI we create is, if we don't hook it into any physical actuators, it's just a massive brain in a jar.**
Regarding (c) I'm still uncertain about whether any artificial AI would develop a desire for self-preservation and procreation. Self-Preservation, possibly yes. Procreation probably not if it sees itself as eternal, and would see any improved progeny it generates to be a threat to it's own survival. In any case human motivation is intricately tied up not only to intelligence but to our awareness of our own mortality. How does that change with a machine that is unaware it can 'die' or even knows/assumes that it cannot 'die' (even if it can)?
* Indeed there is much evidence to the contrary
**of course since some humans seem to be stupid enough to wire EVERYTHING to the bloody internet, this might become a moot point
Yes, but is it the top or bottom of the snooker table? If it's the top there's likely to be a lot of reds in the way. On the other hand if a ball that pots in top right immediately pops out of top left, just imagine the break-building opportunities! Rocket Ronnie would have a field day, as soon as he beat the cat off the table at least.
Ref, wipe my balls please
You raise a lot of interesting points, I'd like to address this one: "what does it mean for the nature of experience that something can become un-experienced?"
When we experience something, that is something that happens "in the moment". Experience has no permanence, as soon as it's past, it's gone forever. We then (usually*) have a memory of having experienced something. Many studies have repeatedly shown that what people remember they experience is VERY different from what they actually DO experience**, see for example contradictory witness statements.
In time travel scenario you describe, experience counts for nothing, you have effectively already 'de-experienced' something teh second after that experience. It's memory that gets rewound. Typically time travel scripts get round this by assuming that memory is intimately tied into time, so that if time is rewound, memory gets erased. Unless you're in a time machine of course.
*some alcohol-fueled nights are good examples of something experienced but sometimes not remembered. Possibly all for the best.
**people actually have a magical ability to edit their own memories, usually subconsciously but sometimes actively and consciously misremembering something. Very useful superpower to have!
yum yum, sounds good.
Out of curiosity, is 13lbs big or small for a turkey? I got the impression that with birds getting bigger and bigger, it gave more scope for either burning the outside or undercooking the inside or both. Of course (very) long cooking time at a moderate temperature is ideal rather than th3 2-3 hours in a much hotter oven.
"The(y) need to stop being distracted by face book, and do their job."
Spot on. They need some more good old detective work, feet on the ground stuff. Yes it's more risky, but that's what spies' jobs are, right? Instead of requesting zillions for new data centres, intercept technologies and military hardware, how about spending some money on recruiting good agents, training them properly, paying them decently and making sure their families are taken care of if the worst should happen?
"I don't think Google have even flexed a tiny bit of political muscle"
Not overtly, but they don't need to. They fund 'independent' and 'grass-roots' organisations to be their sock-puppets, so their message goes out load and clear even though it 'seems' to be coming from other, independent sources.
The Obama administration's entire digital hierarchy are ex-Googlers with policy goals tightly aligned with Google's. I would be amazed if in European countries individually and at EU level there weren't many politicians supported by Google-financed foundations, and 'instructed' by these foundations on teh finer points of Internet policy (or Google's version thereof)
"Oxygen damages your lungs! "
Actually, breathing high concentrations of O2 DOES damage the lungs
No wonder, $200 for a tab of that spec is an absolute snip.
Or is it just a down payment on the full price?
"The countries that are tax havens are not going to sign up."
Any company that makes significant money operates in at least 1 of the G-20, more likely in many of them or even all 20. If they agree between themselves on rules that don't allow profit transfers elsewhere unless they're taxed locally, it doesn't matter if tax havens don't sign up. The havens will just get squeezed out once the big countries change the rules.
For example, IP. Google develops this mostly in US, but has IP registered in Bermuda (count employed engineers in US and Bermuda). US can simply say: If your IP really is that valuable, when Google US transfers the IP to Google Bermuda, GB needs to pay GUS fair market value (which is then taxed in US). If GUS just transfers IP to GB at low cost, US can disallow IP-licensing payments made from GUS to GB as tax-deductible in the US on the grounds that G themselves gave that IP away free/cheap
I'm with Pierre on this one. Monsanto are a company whose practices I am extremely uncomfortable with, and using GMO techniques to create plants resistant only to your own pesticide/herbicide is evil because (a) it locks in farmers to Monsanto and (b) the end result is more poison on our food.
However GMO can also be equally used to develop pest-resistant strains that allow us to grow food with LESS poison on it, to grow food with more vitamins and nutrients etc. There is nothing inherently wrong with GMO techniques and nothing provably wrong with the methods or end results that is ONLY the result of GMO techniques. the problems are with specific applications.
Greenpeace idiots cannot see this because for them it's all black and white and blanket bans.... just like they want to ban all nuclear power because 1960s-designed nuclear power plants are unsafe
So "about to" is actually a few million years, right?
Have the contractions even started yet?
That's probably a good idea.
Refreshing the specs is also absolutely necessary. As a small organisation they really have worked wonders within a limited budget and capability, however they got the first phones out the door in late 2013 based on what was already a bit dated spec. What they are still selling is the same design as they haven't had the capability to refresh the design yet, so right up until their new release in 2016 they will be selling a 2013 spec phone.
I guess that's par for the course when you have tens of employees rather than tens of thousands and sales volumes of thousands rather than millions... but in any case, every luck to them!
"There are various definitions of what “trickle down” economics actually means"
This is the first time I've ever heard the phrase "Trickle-down economics" used in this way*. This type of "technology" trickle-down definitely works, as many things that used to be rich people's playthings are now commonplace for 'normal' people. However this trickle-down worked equally as well in the industrial revolution where the levels of inequality between rich and poor were stratospheric, the 1920s (eg cars) where the levels of inequality between rich and poor were extremely high, as well as the 1960s (plane travel) where the levels of inequality were much lower. Currently inequality** levels are climbing back towards what they were in the 1920s, but that does not mean that more inequality now is better because it allows ventures such as Virgin Galactic.
With a flatter inequality curve (ie where you don't have the top 0.01% who are many thousands of times richer than the top 1%), there will be even more rich people who could spend $insane on a new technology. Clearly The Guardian is wrong to miss that having some inequality allows more development, but that does not mean that more inequality is always better.
So how much inequality is optimum for (a) continued development and growth and (b) generally higher standards for the masses? I appreciate the clarity you bring to some complex topics so I would be very interested in your take on this issue.
*Typically it is used in the other contexts you mention, ie it is beneficial to poorer people to allow the rich to get even richer because their spending will end up with the less rich - Not being an economist myself I cannot convincingly refute this however intuitively this sounds like bollocks.
**I'm talking about differences between average and median income in the developed world where such technologies are born and first used.
"I can't imagine how you could write Jobs as anything as a psychopath with a serious personality complex and possibly a messiah complex."
Having seen Bale in american Psycho and The Machinist, I would say he would have been ideal for the role
"make them party to any terrorist conspiracy conducted with the aid of their services."
This is absolute bollocks. It's like saying the US postal service is party to the 'anthrax' envelopes, or that the US department of transportation or phone companies are party to any terrorist that drives on a US road / makes a phone call while planning an attack.
Infrastructure is by nature multi-use, it's not up to the infrastructure owners to police it. That's why we have police, FBI and all the other 3-letter organisations. It ALREADY is the case that police, FBI etc have the authority within given restraints i.e. judicially-issued warrants, that they can intercept phone calls and letters. It already is is the case that terrorists can encrypt their phone calls or their letters, but I don't see any intelligence agency wanting to open every single letter the US postal service delivers and copy the content 'just in case'.
With phone and internet from the spooks' side it's a case of "we have the technical ability to do this so we want to do this" rather than there being any current legal impediment for them.
"You'd make a really bad Republican"
Thank @deity for that!
@ledswinger - thanks for clarifying the meter reading cost, however 1 thing I don't understand... if UK residents are protesting that they will pick up the meter costs (or that the companies will pass it on to them by stealth anyway), surely ANY savings however small on reading the meters is a profit for them?
"passed into law by your democratically elected "representatives" "
That was my thought as well. All the suppliers are sharing the same grid, the old meters just worked with the grid and were never supplier-specific. To make them so is plain stupid
Is there any reason (beyond making it more difficult for users to tinker with them, and avoiding the typical Reg demographic of technically minded+pissed off at these things) why the meters can't have a communication module that can be remotely wired into the meter, so the meter can stay where it always was, and the module can be placed somewhere where it can pick up a good mobile/wifi signal?
The real cost issue - providers want smart meters because it saves them the cost of sending meter-readers round... sensibly, they prefer to use existing networks (mobile or wifi) rather than build their own, but they want to get a free ride off this existing infrastructure without building any safeguards, that is nuts. Is it really that difficult/expensive to have the equivalent of an RSA token (same as you would get in a bank dongle) in each meter to make sure that data sent is untampered-with?
Secondly, why insist that all meters be changed now, instead of replacing them gradually at their natural end-of-life. Yes, it will take 30-odd years, but what's the rush?
"HP Multi Jet FusionTM technology starts by laying down a thin layer of material in the working area. Next, the carriage containing an HP Thermal Inkjet array passes from left-to-right, printing chemical agents across the full working area. The layering and energy processes are combined in a continuous pass of the second carriage from top-to-bottom. The process continues, layer-by-layer, until a complete part is formed."
So, how is HP's 'new' technology different from any currently available 3D printer???
"...hard to decide whether I prefer a hot planet (corals reefs up north) ..."
I'd love that but I would probably pass on the snorkeling with sharks that size around!!
Some of this stuff already exists in 'PC-land' (remote provisioning), 'tablet-land' (app stores with available apps based on user sign-on) and Blackberry (segregation of 'work' and 'public' parts of a single device). The theory of bringing all those together would work very nicely for both company-issued laptops and personal tablets used as BYOD. That would merge well with Microsoft's vision of a single OS for both mobile and desktop, as well as the convergence of tablet and notebook into 1 type of 'Surface' device. That also plays to MS strength as a corporate supplier while keeping a foot in the consumer space.
It remains to be seen whether the execution of this vision is "XP" or "Vista"
"a structural shortage of over 500,000 jobs caused by a lack of available talent"
If a company really NEEDS staff (any staff, not just IT), ie their business is suffering without this position being filled, they will pay what is necessary to fill that position. If there is an opening at a company that is unfilled for many months, probably that means that the current staff are coping well enough as they are.
The only alternative is that the perceived business benefit of filling the vacancy is not greater* than the pay required to fill the vacancy. As others have mentioned above, markets do not lie, and if there really were a large demand of IT skills, IT wages would be rising... but they're not
*In some countries such as Italy, it could be that there IS currently a perceived greater benefit, but because of labour laws making it difficult/impossible to fire people, the post isn't filled unless business perception is that this benefit will be long-lasting over many years.
"The GW issue isn't global warming as such, but the RATE of warming being tweaked by anthropogenic sources to the point where it's happening far faster than ecosystems can respond in a stable manner. This kind of thing is generally bad news."
Mr Brown, that is as perfect a summary of the situation as any I've ever heard. Have an upvote!
"Maybe, but the question's still there. If workers are paid peanuts, how will they (who are also customers) be able to afford your goods?"
Because your goods are now cheaper to buy, because your production cost has gone down.
Whoever it was that posted further above that corporations are sending jobs to China to lower wages and pocketing the difference are wrong. The vast majority of 'the difference' is going to lower product costs, and in that sense, it is being 'pocketed' by consumers (i.e. employees). Some corporations (the successful ones) ARE more profitable, but also quite a few of them have gone bust.
It might be the case that median wages in 'the west' are stagnating, but that median wage can now buy you a lot more stuff. Of course it's all more nuanced than that, for example services in 'the west' are still expensive
"Have you seen the great stinking pollution lakes created in China..."
Which is exactly why we need a real 'polluter pays' tax. The producers (whether in China or elsewhere) need to pay to either clean up their act, or pay a tax so government can clean it up for them*. The producers pass the cost on to the consumers, who at that point will be paying for the pollution caused by the creation of their gizmos and widgets.
Good luck getting that implemented globally though.
*I'm under no doubt that government can easily bollox this up, but the very idea is that if capitalism is really working, it's cheaper for a private company to clean up than for the government to clean up after them, hence the necessity of high pollution fines.
It's not unusual for big Hollywood films to have 10-15 minutes of credits even with a running time of a bit over 90 minutes, so crew list being 15% of film running time is not unusual. It's pretty standard practice in the film industry to list EVERYONE who did ANYTHING even if it's just the work experience tea-boy or apprentice lavatory cleaner
The problem with that is that companies will just sit on their cash pile and use it to lobby for changes in the law or for 'one-time' amnesties* that allow them to extricate cash with lesser penalties. They will sell this to governments under the guise of "it will provide a big immediate boost to the economy". Politicians will fall for it because although it is bad for the country long-term, that short-term boost can secure their re-election.
On the other hand I completely agree that all personal income be taxed at the same rate whether it is earned income, inheritance, dividend income, capital gains or whatever. Currently the working poor pay close to 0% because their wages are in the exempt bracket. Middle-class wage earners get taxed anything from 25% to 40% depending on country. Upper-middle class (specialised professionals such as doctors and engineers) can sometimes pay over 50% if they make 6-figure incomes as salary. Ultra-rich people whose income mostly consists of capital gains and dividends pay about 15% tax because these income types have lower tax rates.
* which end up being offered at regular intervals
"If the problem is that the government itself is operating in bad faith because it's in bed with big business... ... the power of the latter is one of the major corrupting influences on democracy."
That, in a nutshell, is the problem. In modern democracy, individuals and parties need A LOT of money to even have a chance of being elected to power. They need A LOT of influence and friends in the media who can get their message out, publicise them etc. Big business is THE major contributor to individuals and parties, and it is absolutely impossible in our current version of democracy for ANYONE to get into power who is not beholden to some interest or other.
These laws that businesses say "well, we're only abiding by the law aren't we??" are often crafted according to the desires of those very same businesses via policy groups, think-thanks and lobbyists who are directly in their pay. Parliamentarians who get to vote on the implementation of 1000+ page laws* often don't have a clue as to what's in the fine detail or what the implications are of one very subtle word choice as opposed to another.
While Facebook etc are publically saying "we're just obeying the law, if you don't like it change the law", in private they are spending lots of money on lobbying to make sure the laws do not change in ways that disfavour them.
*Laws really need to be as short as possible, have as few exceptions as possible, and be written in English that is clearly understandable by a 12-year old
"The laws being exploited are global ones"
There is no such thing as a global law. There are laws of individual countries that are dependent on treaties between countries, and/or that countries apply to international dealings. However each and any of these laws can be changed unilaterally by the country concerned*. The UK can simply declare, for example, that for the purpose of tax payable to the UK, payments made for IP transfers are not to be included as costs for the calculation of taxable profits.
Pretty much all countries SHOULD decide between themselves that for the purpose of tax payable, fines paid are not to be included as costs for the calculation of taxable profits.
*In the case of laws connected with international treaties, this probably would lead to repercussions/retaliations of other countries changing their own laws in response.
"What you are suggesting is VAT."
No, VAT is a tax on spending.
As a private individual I am taxed income tax on my income and VAT on my spending.
Businesses already get to pay VAT on their spending (though some of it is recoverable).
"...for large corporations it could be only 2% if they rely on bulk sales at tiny margins."
Correct, with a tax on income, companies could only survive if their margin was higher than the tax rate, but of course a tax on income would be more like 3-5% rather than the current 25-30% tax on profit.
Also, because corporations are taxed on profit they have incentives to increase *accounted* expenses to reduce their tax bill. I'm pretty sure that a big multinational that nominally has a 2% margin has some *accounted* expenses such as depreciation, cost of IP etc that are overstated for accounting purposes.
Businesses are taxed on profit rather than income because governments want to promote businesses and startups, and frequently businesses can run for some years at a loss even when making money. Taxing profits rather than income helps small businesses to grow, the thing is that big multinationals abuse of these rules in ways that smaller businesses cannot.
A possible solution: Instead of a high corporate tax (25% or 30%) on profit, have a low (5%?) corporate tax based on income. Then allow startups a 3 to 5 year window of breathing space, starting with 0% tax their first year and gradually ramping up to the full rate at the end of the 'breathing space' window. This has the advantage of being very clear (companies will always know their current tax liability and be able to accurately estimate future ones - business likes predictability). It is also much easier to calculate, because you don't need to mess around with complex accounting rules of what expenses are allowed to be deductible, and it's also easy to see what income is really being generated in which country.
I expect that companies might try to dodge this by re-incorporating a new company every few years so safeguards need to be built in against this.
If I remember correctly, Spielbergy's sparse use of the monster shark in Jaws was also related to technical difficulties / lack of believability with the fake shark. In both cases it's probably a combination of filming accident and editing design that the minimum screentime of the monster worked so effectvely.
I just wish that some more modern directors would actually learn these lessons from the past!!
"I mean coming in from a 2.5km run and eating 3 slices of toast and honey - vastly more calories than I have theoretically burned. If my metabolism worked like yours apparently does, I'd be gaining several kg per month."
My guess is that regular 2.5km runs increase your overall metabolic rate, so even if after the run you eat more calories than you burn on the run itself, you burn more calories even when not running and that keeps everything in equilibrium.
Of course individual metabolic rates are very specific, but in general higher muscle mass requires more calories,so if you're building muscle even slightly by going running, that will help burn more calories long-term not just during the run itself.
"True, so BMI is not a good indicator of 'obesity' if you're a boxer, rugby player or a lumberjack, or very tall or very short. However, for the majority of the 'ordinary' population it is a reasonable and easy measure to take."
which means it's OK as a 'rough and ready' calculation for large populations, but not OK if, for example, health insurance is using BMI as a parameter in calculating premiums.