* Posts by jmch

388 posts • joined 6 Mar 2017

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Horn star Sudan, last male northern white rhino, dies aged 45

jmch
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The only answer is to eliminate demand. Literally. Capital punishment for anyone not only trafficking but also buying, in any quantity. Draconian I know.

Now, if only the government of the main source of demand were a highly controlling one, often keen to make a statement and not too scrupulous about human rights...

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16 exoplanets found huddled around 12 lightweight stars

jmch
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Re: Tides

Tides, metallic core etc etc ineresting to discuss as to how it affevted evolution of intelligent life, but what might be more interesting is, what components are needed to support human life of a human race with the technology for interstellar travel.

I guess rocky and having at least some zone with temperature 0-30 degrees with only minor variations. Beyond that? a human race capable of interstellar travel would surely be able to set up some protective domes with controlled atmosphere and radiation filtering, and with sufficient energy (dare I hope that controlled fusion will be cracked in a few hundred years, if we survive that long), comets / other space junk can be harveted for water and minerals, crops can be grown hydroponically etc etc.

For interplanetary travel, it's already quite well studied / established what might be required to support human life on Mars. In effect the biggest obstacle is heavy launch capacity from Earth's gravity well, and the gigantic associated costs. We already have most of the required technology, it just needs refining / minitiarising / commoditising to be reliably usable on a large scale (which again is limited by cost).

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London Mayor calls for social networks and sharing economy to stop harming society

jmch
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Money quote

"Rather than blaming companies for innovating ahead of regulation, politicians must fix things when the regulation is out-of-date. The question now for governments - or traditional sectors - should not be how we slow down innovation in its tracks - because we can't. And we shouldn't. It should be how we mitigate against the potentially negative impacts of disruption. And - more than that - how we can harness the very same technologies to drive up standards and to create more just and equal societies."

Spot on

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Elon Musk invents bus stop, waits for applause, internet LOLs

jmch
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Re: I suspect you're not thinking like a futureologist!

"Public transportation can be made so much more energy efficient though if the transports don't stop"

There's an idea right there. Something like ski-lift mechanism, the main 'train' continues at constant high speed while individual cabins can attach and detach at slower speeds at the 'stations'

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Oculus Rift whiffed, VR fanbois miffed

jmch
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Re: here we go again...

"don't embed a certificate with finite validity in a product"

Corollary - if using a finite-validity certificate, make it a shorter validity rather than longer. If it's a longer multi-year validity it's easier to forget about it

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FBI chief asks tech industry to build crypto-busting not-a-backdoor

jmch
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Facepalm

Re: I'm sure they know better - power grab

Looks like instead of having a back door, they now want the keys to the front door.

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Brit semiconductor tech ended up in Chinese naval railgun – report

jmch
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Re: Return of the Battleships?

"Possible but the range of a missile and or plane will always be greater than that of a lump of iron/shell however you fire it"

Missiles and planes are horrendouly expensive. Even if the railgun itself would also be expensive, projectiles would be relatively cheap. So it's a great weapon to have for developing nations or ones not expecting to intimidate any of the major powers.

The other advantage is that I expect the lump of iron is tiny compared to missile/plane and have correspondingly tiny radar signature. It would be much more difficult to detect incoming attack before being hit, and perhaps even the origin of the attack. That makes it very dangerous in the hands of anyone willing to take a calculatd gamble.

"The laser probably works better than throwing metal around for most purposes anyway"

The laser intercept of incoming missiles has repeatedly shown itself ineffective. If you could get the accuracy, projactile would work better, and being able to throw multiple projectiles very quickly would surely work better as an intercept method.

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jmch
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Trollface

Re: Return of the Battleships?

" it would have been less important had the Germans not kept hitting things"

Yeah, how unsporting of the enemy to actually be any good!

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Good luck saying 'Sorry I'm late, I had to update my car's firmware'

jmch
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"when you turn the key to “off”"

More and more cars no longer have a key to turn to 'off', just keyless ignition (hopefully) secured by encrypted key on the remote fob. In fact there's probably no high-end car sold in the last 3-5 years or mid-level car in the last 1-2 years that still has a physical ignition except as backup when the remote fails.

So there is no physical switch and SOME electronics have to be always-on

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Ah, uni days! Drugs, sex, parties... sci-tech startups? Not so much

jmch
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Re: Meanwhile in America ...

Wow that Millenial Doorbell thing is insane!

Note the implication that if I'm texting/calling someone instead of ringing their doorbell, I'm expecting them to have their phone immediately at hand all the time or set to to a fairly loud ringer volume, AND conversely the same is expected of me when I'm at home. So for millenials the phone is more part of themselves than a seperate entity. Same for the doorbell ringing, can she really not just ignore it?? Insane!!

I truly hope for the future of humanity that the ultra-connected circle-blogging arse-in-butt millenials are just the noisy few and that there is a sane silent majority out there somewhere

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IPv6 and 5G will make life hell for spooks and cops say Australia's spooks and cops

jmch
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WTF?

Re: So they want..

This sounds bonkers to me. With current NAT, any device connected on the same router looks like it has the same IP on the outside network, therefore police cannot identify an individual from IP address, only a router. They cannot identify a single device, only a set of devices, and possibly not comprehensively.

With ipv6 they can do a 1-to-1 mapping of IP address to device, which surely is much stronger from the point of view of bureden of proof.

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Bosch and Daimler jump in together on driverless vehicle tech

jmch
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WTF?

" the self-parking mode failed to engage"

I'm surprised this is even a thing to show off. I'm not an avid follower of all things automotive, but I believe self-parking has been in production cars for a couple of years now, I know for sure at least the latest Qashqai, and Fords for a year or two ago have it, so I would sort of assume that the higher-end cars like Mercedes have already had this for 2-3 years now. Any petrolhead on the forum who can clarify?

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KFC: Enemy of waistlines, AI, arteries and logistics software

jmch
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@Lost all faith

If you read the whole of my post not the bit you quoted...

"Local temporary changes could be signalled through a radio transmitter beaming the local changes to any vehicles passing by."

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jmch
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Re: Human drivers

"to find that out and to ban signs that could cause accidents."

Apropos of that, I can't remember the details but I seem to recall that some years ago a Dutch town removed all road signs anf the accident rate dropped.

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jmch
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Re: Have I missed something?

"morality questions that have been posed. e.g. When the car has no option but to crash does it place the lives of the car occupants above those on the street."

This is a straw man. The trolley problem is a thought exercise to which there is no "correct" answer. It's not even known for any given human driver whether they would prioritise themselves / their passengers / anyone outside the car. Quite possibly, any human driver who THINKS they would react in a given way when it's a thought exercise could react in a different way when it's for real. So giving the car AI simple hardcoded instructions for collision avoidance priority will be sufficient.

There are many problems to solve to be able to get self-driving cars. Morality is not one of them.

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jmch
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One would think that, given the advances in GPS and mapping, that any self-driving cars need to stop 'looking' at traffic signs and have the relevant information already encoded in their maps. There is no complex recognition required, and regular updates can be done (even on-the-fly through mobile ata, same as 'live-ish' traffic updates). Local temporary changes could be signalled through a radio transmitter beaming the local changes to any vehicles passing by.

Of course there still would be security issues, in particular the car would need to be hardened gainst attacks to the update system and to the 'local warning' system. BUT these would work on quite specific and well-known channels - encrypting and authenticating small packets of data is actually a well-advanced technology even if in many cases it's woefully applied. It's certainly more easy to secure than relying on an artificial "Intelligence" that is based on a neeural net where even the designers don't know exactly how recognition/classification decisions are being made

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Arrrgh! Put down the crisps! 'Ultra-processed' foods linked to cancer!

jmch
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Trollface

The science isn't bunk, just a very VERY high-level observation. That should then be repeated focusing on more specific elements eg sugar only, salt, fats, additives etc. Generally speaking, it is extremely difficut to make any sort of diet-related study becaue to get truly scientifically meaningful results you would need to monitor and control exactly what everyone is eating, drinking and smoking, what exercise they do, how much sleep they get etc. Self-reporting can only work to a certain extent but can be flawed because the data itself isn't so reliable.

The ideal study candidates would be long-term prison population - feed one wing with Asda ready-meals and for the other get Jamie Oliver to do a variation on his school-meals program. I propose that this would not fall foul of 'no human experimentation' guidelines as any ready-meal is probably better than whatever slop is served in prison kitchens by the lowest bidder on a tight budget. And finance the whole program by making a nice TV documentary (prison riot optional)

*only partially tongue in cheek*

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NASA budget shock: Climate studies? GTFO. We're making the Moon great again, says Trump

jmch
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Trollface

Re: Not what they say, what they do

"A fusion reactor in space is well beyond daft"

Well, we're doing rather well with the one we have already :)

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$14bn tax hit, Surface Pro screens keep dying – but it's not all good news at Microsoft

jmch
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Re: does the replacement trigger a new warranty period?

"one thing I discovered after 3 replacements of my Surface Pro 3 was that the warranty period didn't get reset each time"

I'm not sure but I believe that is standard practice.

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Forget cyber crims, it's time to start worrying about GPS jammers – UK.gov report

jmch
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Re: Wow

AFAIK Inertial Navigation System are either very big and expensive, or else not very accurate for large distances / long times as frequently required by location applications. But I guess a combination of multiple satellite systems and a basic INS could be combined into something that can reliably defeat limited local jamming.

I'm not sure it would be possible to defeat a fairly large-scale sophisticated jamming (after all if someone is jamming GPS how difficult is it to also jam Galileo, GLONASS etc?) without using very sophisticated (and therefore expensive and possibly large) INS

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In America, tech support conmen get a mild slap. In Blighty, scammers get the book thrown at them

jmch
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"$150,000 split between about a dozen people and companies doesn't sound like a big deal to me."

True, but still more than zero, as in the UK case

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jmch
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Re: Too mild in both cases

So, actually, US case is 0 jail time and $150k fine, UK case is 0 jail time and 9-month curfew. Lacking any further details as to any fines in the UK case, and whether either guilty plea includes recovery of frudulently obtained assets, I would say that the US case was more lenient, not less.

In both cases I would expect coplete recovery of fraudulently obtained assets, plus fines, plus a few months in the slammer. After all anyone for example hacking a bank system to earn a few millions would be sent to jail.

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On yer bike! Boffins teach AI drone to fly itself using cams on bicycles, self-driving car

jmch
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Re: Rotating blades at groin height

" it can also only move on a single plane at groin height"

what I thought a well, BUT it's an interesting proof of concept. Make then fly at around 2.5 meters (high enough to avoid most urban obstacles) and it would work very well... at least from a technical point of view. As to whether we need/want these things flying around everywhere, that's another discussion to be had (before arriving at a firm NO conclusion)

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I'll torpedo Tor weirdos, US AG storms: Feds have 'already infiltrated' darknet drug souks

jmch
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Facepalm

Re: Just like Prohibition did for alcohol use! Good luck with that...

It's curious that Republicans who are supposedly anti-government and pro-personal responsibility are so determined to police what people put into their bodies of their own free will in their own time and in the privacy of their homes.

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jmch
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Re: Single provider health care

"So Jeff Sessions should be campaigning for a Single Provider Healthcare. This would be good for his boss"

Yeah, except that anyone in the US advocating Single Provider Healthcare is basically labelled a communist. That's the exact reason Obamacare, for all it's evident merits, ended up being so messy - the mess is coming from compromises thrown to Republicans

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jmch
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Re: The biggest troublemakers are not on the darknet

Spot on.

"opioids kill more than 90 Americans every day through overdoses"

How many of those opioids were prescribed? And how many of those were actually necessary? It' an extension of pill-popping culture that Big Pharma pushes down on doctors. Got a fever? Have an antibiotic, who cares if it's bacterial or viral? Fidgety child? Give them Ritalin, when probably all they need is to cut down their sugar intake. And on, and on.

Modern medicine has made amazing strides against serious illnesses, but let's not forget what an amazing immune system humans have, and how effective it is against minor illnesses if we just leave it alone instead of overloading it with more unneeded pills. So many times a doctor, ether for me or my family have as first instinct to prescribe medication, and after we push back and ask if it's really necessary, the answer is no. So many ailments can be taken care of by our immune system, just needing rest, high fluid intake, good diet, etc.

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Here we go again... UK Prime Minister urges nerds to come up with magic crypto backdoors

jmch
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Re: Goal ... disadvantage law-abiding citizens

"People tend to ascribe to others crimes they would commit themselves"

Not only that but even more generally, people tend to ascribe to others any behaviour they would do themselves

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FYI: There's now an AI app that generates convincing fake smut vids using celebs' faces

jmch
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Re: A good use

"Then how come AI-driven cars STILL get into accidents that can't seem to be anything else's fault but its (like the Tesla that didn't see the broad side of a semi)?"

The premise isn't that AI vision / recognition is perfect but that it's better than human. In the Tesla case you mention, the human driver also missed it, so the AI was at least no worse than human

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jmch
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Re: A good use

"video should be downgraded seriously as legal evidence of anything, as should audio (same situation)"

It would at least require forensic examination of the underlying bits, I'm guessing that it should be possible to detect the splicing by examining the file and metadata, even if it's not possible to see with the naked eye

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jmch
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Re: FFS people get a grip

"Oh noes they can make fake videos of peoples. Que Shock, Horror and outrage; We can't believe anything we see on the TeeVee anymore! Really? You only *JUST* came to that conclusion?"

I'm sure three-letter agencies have had this capability a long time. It's something new that it's mainstream and can be done by Joe Bloggs in a couple of hours on fairly common and cheap consumer equipment.

"IMHO this is a good thing, The less people automatically trust what they see on the internet & main stream media the better;"

Absolutely!!!

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Biker nerfed by robo Chevy in San Francisco now lobs sueball at GM

jmch
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Re: I think the cyclist is at fault.

"The trouble with "lane splitting" is that it is only legal in the UK "if it is safe", but it never is. If the surrounding traffic is stationery then you have no where to go to, and if the traffic is moving then (as others have already said) you _have_ to assume that the other vehicles are about to change lanes."

If traffic is stationary, there is still space between the lanes for a bike to pass through at a very low speed (20km/h or less). If a car is in the way, slow down or stop, but very often cars will move out of the way to allow a bike to lane-split. Even in stationary traffic, cars usually have space to manoevre a little bit.

In slow-moving traffic, bikes can generally safely do up to 20km/h faster than surrounding traffic. In this type of traffic it is stupid for a car to try and change lane, and people changing lanes most probably won't go any faster in the new lane, and are just slowing the already slo traffic.

In any case, bikers should be paying attention to everything hapening around them, and leave themselves room to manuevre, particularly so when lanesplitting. Keep in mind also that bikes generally can accelerate, brake and change direction much faster than a car, so as long as a biker is payng attention they can usually twist their way out.

In this particular case, I can't comment on fault or blame without knowing very exact details, but it is quite likely that both car and biker could have acted differently to avoid collision.

All the above based on >> 20 years' experience on 2 and 4 wheels

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jmch
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Re: I think the cyclist is at fault#2

Actually "objects in the rear view mirror are closer than they appear" is a pretty valid warning, it isn't so obvious

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jmch
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Trollface

"Actually it's Australia that allows you to overtake on either side - provided there are at least 2 lanes."

So if there are 2 lanes it's still OK to be overtaken on either side?? Wow, the Australian traffic must be as wild as the local fauna :)

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jmch
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Re: @Doctor Syntax

"The motorcyclist prematurely tried to get past"

If the biker was following the robocar at a constant speed, the car started changing lane, then the car in front slowed down, so it decided to abort the manoever, presumably in this case the robocar braked at the same time as aborting the lane change. It's not a given that the biker accelerated into the space. I also suspect that the safety threshold for aborting the lane change is much hgher for the robocar than for a normal driver, ie it could be that the biker expected that the robocar woud complete the lane change manoever because a real driver would have squeezed their way in. (Also, was the biker aware at the time that it was a robocar not a human driver? How well are these cars marked?)

As a small aside, reported speed at impact was 17mph (27km/h) which is very slow-moving traffic. This type of traffic is slowed up even more by idiots changing lanes because they think the next kane is going at 2km/h faster than theirs (hint: it probably isn't)

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jmch
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"Under no circumstance can you pass on the right in the US"

I'm not sure if it's LEGAL to pass on the right, but having driven there I assure you that not only can it be done, but is done with alarming frequency. Add to that 5 or 6-lane highways (when we Europeans are more used to 2 or at most 3 lanes), and the fact that USA-ians have the tendency to not only overtake on any lane, but also cut across multiple lanes at a time, AND do so mostly in gigantic 5-tonne vehicles that are far more truck than car, it can get pretty hairy

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jmch
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Re: I think the cyclist is at fault.

"If a Human were driving the car, signaled to change lanes & then didn't complete the maneuver but instead returned to their own lane before completely leaving their lane, then anyone (car or motorcycle) that attempted to pass into their original lane (the one they never completely vacated) then the driver attempting to pass would be at fault."

But it isn't clear that that's what happened. "Lane splitting" was mentioned, and in the complaint the biker said he was on the middle lane. Was he, or was he lane-splitting? And if he was lane-splitting, was it between middle and outer lanes or between middle and inner lanes? As a biker myself I would say that splitting is more safely done between inner lane and next lane out, particularly at speed mentioned of 17mph. This should always be done with awarenss of cars around and making sure they know that you're there, converseley meaning, don't squeeze into a space you can't manoevre in.

With my 'car driver' hat on, when merging into faster traffic I am not only looking at the gaps I can move into but also further ahead to see the situation AHEAD of the car that I want to merge BEHIND, exactly to avoid the situation described. I'm guessing that maybe robo-AI is not capable of accurately guaging this. I also know that as a biker, when driving a car I am more aware of bikes on the road, but many motorists aren't so aware. Is there the possibility that the robo-AI sensors are also more calibrated to see cars than smaller objects? (I should think not as it should be able to detect pedestrians). So did the robo-car not detect the biker at all, or did it somehow get into a position where it had to hit either the bike or one of the cars in the lane it was abortively merging into? In this latter case would be especially interesting to see the telemetry, as one of the most discussed topics on AI driving is, if collision is unavoidable either way, which collision is chosen?

So while the biker is not blamesless, I would not say he is completely at fault either, both himself and the robo-AI displayed errors of judgement, awareness and execution.

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H-1B visa hopefuls, green card holders are feeling the wrath of 'America first' Trump

jmch
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Re: But the good doctor hasn't been keeping his nose clean!

"extensive list of his post-teenage offenses"

So, the only one of those that is remotely serious is a drink-driving 10 yeras ago (I'm not counting the domestic violence as he was acquitted at trial). Re the proof of insurance, I'm just puzzled. Here in Switzerland when I pay my insurance they send a copy to the motor vehicle department. No insurance + vehicle road license is not renewed So if I have a valid license, it is in itself proof of insurance, if I don't then I'm in deep doo-doo. "No proof" seems like a stupid consequence of a stupid system

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France gives les citoyens the right to cock up official paperwork

jmch
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Re: "Forgot your tax return, mon ami? Pas de problem!"

Biensur :)

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Electric cars to create new peak hour when they all need a charge

jmch
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Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

"it just requires... huge investments"

Yes, it does, infrastructure requires large and continuous investments, and if it's scrimped on, you get the US - poorly maintained roads and bridges are crumbling, internet infrastrcture is crap etc. You can't just one-off build infrastructure and leave it untouched.

I specified a 50-year timeframe exactly because I am aware of massive investment requirement

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jmch
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Re: I've been pointing this out for years.

"The pro-EV set always shouts me down"

There are some pretty irrational people...

however to be fair to them, this is not a showstopper, it just requires reengineering and upgrading of grid infrastructure. It's anyway more efficient to burn fuel in a few dozen giant power stations rather than a few million ICEs around the country, not to mention pollution can be minimized and localised at power stations rather than spewing all around areas close to or in large population centres.

The grid infrastructure anyway needs to be maintained so refreshing it bit by bit, including the capability of getting power from homes not only pushing, maes perfect sense. It only needs to be clear that this is a gradual 50-year-plus project, which is anyway how long it would take for electric cars to be in a large majority.

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Death notice: Moore’s Law. 19 April 1965 – 2 January 2018

jmch
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Re: You do know that Moore’s law says nothing about speed?

"There's also no reason at all why performance would go backwards"

Not generally, but from 2017 to the next 2-3 years, probably yes since speculative execution will have to be removed or refined with performance losses to be secure. It's of course probable that new chips designed from the ground up to avoid Spectre/Meltdown could eventually be faster than 2017 chips, but keep in mind that 2017 chips are based on 15-20 years architecture based on speculative execution. It's not a given that the first post S/M chips will have superior performance to 2017 chips although they should of course be more secure

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jmch
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Re: You do know that Moore’s law says nothing about speed?

"the number of transistors that can be fitted on a silicon chip of a given size will double every 18 months"

Correct, but that is limited by the physical size of atoms, there just isn't any more space for smaller circuits. On the other hand I'm not sure if in the original intention, the doubling was of transistors per square cm rather than per cubic cm (back then the circuits were rather flat), and so number of transistors per area maybe can still be improved upon with 3d layering of components.

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Mass limit proposed so boffins can tell when they've fingered a brown dwarf or a fat planet

jmch
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Re: Arbitrary?

"until such time as we have a complete definition, we still have to classify the discovery"

Do we HAVE to? It sounds like the type of thinking Feynman was railing against - that just beause you can give something a name you know anything about it

"It wouldn't do to throw everything in the "Undefined" folder"

No, but if the mass is the only reason to think it could be a brown dwarf, how about "Probable Brown Dwarf". Otherwise there is the big risk of mischaracterising a number of celestial bodies, and once a label is given it's difficult to shake off (see - Pluto: planet)

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jmch
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Arbitrary?

Seems like a fairly arbitrary cutoff, even the proposers themselves say that it's probabe rather than definite that anything above 10XJupiter is a brown dwarf. Why insist on a definite classification of objects about which we don't have enough information for classification?

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Camels disqualified from Saudi beauty contest for Botox-enhanced pouts

jmch
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Re: Saudi beauty pageant

Well, they can't really have a beauty pageant for women... it would end up being a burqa fashion show

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2018's first spacewalk bugged by software

jmch
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Trollface

Reboot time

"Rebooting the robotic arm cleared the problem, but that set back the astronauts by roughly an hour"

So no complaining about your laptop reboot time, now!

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Squeezing more out of slippery big tech may even take tax reforms

jmch
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Audit penalties?

One trope I keep hearing form those of a more Randian persuaion when the proles complain of how little tax big multinationals pay is: "Well, it's avoidance not evasion, and it's legal". Putting to a side for a moment the fact that thanks to extensive lobbying an supporting pet politicians, these corportions have a huge influence on tax laws that are written to their advantage.... I think it's extremely pertinent that whenever they were audited, it turns out they had to pay more tax. So, a couple of points...

- If they had to pay more following an audit, does that not count as evasion?

- If an ordinary citizen is audited and found to have underpaid, as far as I know they have to pay not only the unpaid tax but also a fine. Was any fine paid in this case? And why is the fine not x% of hteir turnovre rather than a slap on the wrist? I mean, they have helped to write the system themselves to their own maximum advantage, and they are STILL gaming it??

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Meltdown/Spectre week three: World still knee-deep in something nasty

jmch
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Re: Intel "shouldn't be selling CPUs?"

"What's the world supposed to do for CPUs in the meantime?"

At least customers can have some informed consent on the chips they have been buying in last 6 months that Intel KNEW were borked (and possibly they knew of the flaw even before 6 months ago). I'd expect at least a discount / partial refund on any chips bought in the last 6 months. And given that Intel had 6 months to work on a software mitigation patch, isn't the least to be expected that it was properly tested? Maybe the Register jumped the gun by a couple of days, but the disclosure was due anyway, Intel should have thrown as much resources as it took to fix this on time.

"Even if AMD's CPUs were 100% bug free, for many workloads they are slower than Intel CPUs with the fixes applied"

I'm not an expert on chip performance is this confirmed anywhere? Anyone?

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jmch
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Re: Intel "shouldn't be selling CPUs?"

"Even if it can be fixed via software? Or would a fix that reduced performance by even 0.01% be unacceptable to you?"

It CAN'T be fixed by software. It can be (partly or mostly) mitigated. If it could be fixed with a 0.01% performance loss no-one would be kicking up the stink that they are, but reality is that it can be mitigated with a perforance hit of anywhere between 5-20% judging by reports I've seen.

Can you imagine if you paid north of 30 grand for a car with 200 bhp, and the manufacturer says hey, the brakes might fail at any given moment, very unlikely to happen guv, but here's a fix and by the way, your car now has 160bhp not 200.

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In Soviet California, pedestrian hits you! Bloke throws himself in front of self-driving car

jmch
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"He ran into the rear bumper, so I think it's a little more interesting than that..."

According to the report he ran into the LEFTrear bumper and managed to break the RIGHT tail-light. So, even more interesting!

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