The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby sardia » Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:34 am UTC

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/06/upsho ... ntrol.html
Miracle treatment to prevent half of cancer risk discovered. Turns out that cancer being bad luck is uncommon, most of it is controlled by your behavior. In short, Don't smoke, Don't drink, Don't gain weight, Don't be physically lazy, Don't forget sunblock, and Don't forget your vaccines. The only hard ones are working out enough, sleeping enough, and diet.
Many studies have shown that environmental risk factors and exposures contribute greatly to many cancers. Diet is related to colorectal cancer. Alcohol and tobacco are related to esophageal cancer. HPV is related to cervical cancer, and hepatitis C is related to liver cancer. And you’d have to be living under a rock not to know that smoking causes lung cancer and that too much sun can lead to skin cancer. Using sophisticated modeling techniques, the researchers argued that less than 30 percent of the lifetime risk of getting cancer was because of intrinsic risk factors, or the “bad luck.” The rest were things you can change.The requirements...Not smoking was defined as never having smoked or having quit at least five years ago. That’s clearly good for health. Moderate alcohol consumption was defined as no more than one drink a day on average for women, and no more than two for men. That in no way requires abstinence. Adequate weight was defined as a BMI of at least 18.5 and no more than 27.5. The cutoff for “overweight” is 25, meaning that you don’t have to be thin; you just have to be less than obese (BMI 30). Finally, exercise was defined as 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jul 06, 2016 3:21 pm UTC

sardia wrote:http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/06/upshot/helpless-to-prevent-cancer-actually-a-lot-is-in-your-control.html
Miracle treatment to prevent half of cancer risk discovered. Turns out that cancer being bad luck is uncommon, most of it is controlled by your behavior. In short, Don't smoke, Don't drink, Don't gain weight, Don't be physically lazy, Don't forget sunblock, and Don't forget your vaccines. The only hard ones are working out enough, sleeping enough, and diet.


Amusingly, I argued about this here years ago, and people refused to believe this. The telltale signs were there in the data already if you looked for them.

Not that I'm perfect on actually doing this. Need to get back on the exercise track again. Always that gap between knowing and doing. But yeah, a lot of the other stuff is definitely fairly easy. Vaccinations are super easy, if your parents aren't awful.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby sardia » Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:35 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Amusingly, I argued about this here years ago, and people refused to believe this. The telltale signs were there in the data already if you looked for them. Not that I'm perfect on actually doing this. Need to get back on the exercise track again. Always that gap between knowing and doing. But yeah, a lot of the other stuff is definitely fairly easy. Vaccinations are super easy, if your parents aren't awful.

Why would people refuse to believe it? Did they think you were exaggerating or stating the obvious?

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ ... story.html
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jul 11, 2016 3:37 pm UTC

"Victim blaming" was the term used, I believe. It was ages ago, but I believe it was in the context of describing the predictability of risk, and the eventual trending of, with enough information, insurance toward individual risk factors, resulting in decreasing cost smoothing.

I had *thought* it was obvious, but I suppose viewpoints vary.

I really hate the monopolies/semi-monopolies enjoyed by various ISPs. Sure, sure, given enough competitive options, net neutrality might be fairly emergent, but...we sadly do not have that in broad swathes. My Comcast is freaking miserable atm. Keeps cutting out, I've had a tech out repeatedly, they can't figure it out. Definitely outside my house, but every tech has to do the same stupid stuff of checking the different connections, and wants to leave the instant the intermittent problem ceases for a time. Ugh.

I've basically got them or Verizon, though.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby sardia » Mon Jul 25, 2016 3:26 am UTC

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/26/healt ... y-fat.html
Why do fat people often develop serious and sometimes life-threatening medical conditions?

The answer, it turns out, has little to do with the fat itself. It’s about each person’s ability to store it. With that understanding, scientists are now working on drug treatments to protect people from excess unstored fat and spare them from dire medical conditions.

If this pans out, it will be a ground breaking realization. People aren't getting sick because they are fat, they are getting sick because they can't get fatter. The mechanism seems simple enough, excess calories is stored in fat tissue, which is healthy, but has a limited capacity. Once that buffer is filled up, it's stored around your organs, like your liver, where it is damaging. Hence why going on a diet helps most fat people get healthier, but also why 10% of fat people show no signs of illness. In both cases, it's all about how much of the fat buffer you have used up.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby HES » Wed Aug 03, 2016 12:29 pm UTC

The straddling-bus - yet another bad transport idea.
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby RCT Bob » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:10 pm UTC

HES wrote:The straddling-bus - yet another bad transport idea.

I don't know, I think in the basis it's a good idea. The potential of having your car traffic not halted by busses or trams that have to stop at the bus stop all the time, and the public transport not being hindered heavily by traffic jams can be quite good to improve the traffic situation in crowded Asian cities, reducing air pollution and stuff. Of course it still needs some improvements and refinements until launch, like methods for car drivers to see to the side (next to the vehicle), and methods for the drivers of these vehicles to see underneath themselves, but those aren't impossible engineering problems. Transparent support on the sides and maybe some cameras underneath could already work. I don't think it's a bad idea at all.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Echo244 » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:16 pm UTC

That's a low ceiling it's got there. What happens when someone cruises up behind it in a big SUV? Or a van? Minibus? Tall truck? Any car with a roof box? Taxi with a sign on top?

And it looks like overtaking it is designed to be impossible, as it is now.

Maybe if it straddled two lanes out of three so that tall vehicles could overtake...

There are a lot of design compromises that need to be made to accommodate all the other traffic on the roads. And even then, you'll probably need to design the rest of your transport system around it - straddle-bus-only periods at traffic lights, for example...
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Yakk » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:22 pm UTC

The real problem I have is with the blades.

The bus requires that everyone stay in their lanes perfectly for it to overlap other cars. Stalled car partly in lane? Bus cannot move. Car nosing its way onto the road? Bus must stop. Construction? No bus allowed! Pot hole? No swerving allowed!

Traditionally, cars are supposed to follow lanes, but the road works when they do not. That construct only seems to work when the situation is perfect.

I mean, I could imagine creating a bus-only transport loop, where one direction of busses is that elevated thing, and the other are on the ground under it. But then, it probably would be easier to just create two stacked roads instead, or use two light rails (one above one below).
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby commodorejohn » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:28 pm UTC

This is what happens when you let engineers watch too much Inspector Gadget.
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Dauric » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:34 pm UTC

It's not really a "Bus", It runs on rails, making it a "Train", just one that straddles the roadway rather than operates exclusively to one side or the other.

It's definitely a low clearance. Whatever roads this is deployed on cannot be used by most freight haulers, that could make deliveries to commercial districts serviced by these transports a nightmare.

Another problem with the low clearance: Even trained to be aware of clearances some professional truckers still hit low bridges and/or utility poles, to the point that most low clearance obstructions are preceded by a safety bar of some kind so the truck hits the bar instead of the actual obstruction, and damage is limited to the steel pole instead of the bridge or utilities. This transport provides a moving low-clearance that (relatively) untrained drivers now have to be aware of, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of safety margin for the passengers if a collision were to happen.

The -idea- is certainly intriguing, but I don't think the implementation has been completely thought out.
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby HES » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:43 pm UTC

RCT Bob wrote:I think in the basis it's a good idea.

Perhaps, but it's use is extremely limited and there are plenty of issues beyond those already noted. It's not a terrible idea, but there are better alternatives.

That said, it might work well as a tourism gimmick.

Dauric wrote:It's not really a "Bus", It runs on rails, making it a "Train"

I almost mentioned this. I'd call it a "Tram", as it's running on rails on a road.

Dauric wrote:It's definitely a low clearance.

It doesn't even meet (UK) requirements for pedestrian or cyclist headroom (2.1m and 2.3m respectively)
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Dauric » Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:01 pm UTC

HES wrote:That said, it might work well as a tourism gimmick.


"Nail, thanks for coming to the party, have you met Hammer yet? I'm sure you two will get along smashingly!"

It does remind me of the Disney monorail, complete with claims of "This is how we'll get around in The Future!", a nice tech demonstration, but some significant issues before it's ready for full-scale deployment.
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby RCT Bob » Wed Aug 03, 2016 6:24 pm UTC

Echo244 wrote:That's a low ceiling it's got there. What happens when someone cruises up behind it in a big SUV? Or a van? Minibus? Tall truck? Any car with a roof box? Taxi with a sign on top?

And it looks like overtaking it is designed to be impossible, as it is now.

Maybe if it straddled two lanes out of three so that tall vehicles could overtake...


I presume that's the idea. Ban the two lines that this vehicle use to all vehicles taller than the clearance, let the tall vehicles take the third lane. Most normal cars should fit underneath, it's not the US where everyone has a big SUV. But testing should reveal whether a higher clearance is required, It depends on the local traffic demography.

Yakk wrote:The real problem I have is with the blades.

The bus requires that everyone stay in their lanes perfectly for it to overlap other cars. Stalled car partly in lane? Bus cannot move. Car nosing its way onto the road? Bus must stop. Construction? No bus allowed! Pot hole? No swerving allowed!

Traditionally, cars are supposed to follow lanes, but the road works when they do not. That construct only seems to work when the situation is perfect.

I mean, I could imagine creating a bus-only transport loop, where one direction of busses is that elevated thing, and the other are on the ground under it. But then, it probably would be easier to just create two stacked roads instead, or use two light rails (one above one below).


Trams also have the same issue with stalled cars on the lane, at least in the Netherlands. I think most people solve it by simply pushing the car out of the way (or if the car owner isn't around the municipal guys come and tow the car away). The difference is that if a car stalls on the lane itself these vehicles can still pass, while a tram cannot. And yes, construction is a nightmare, it also is with trams. It usually means that the tram has to take a different route, or a separate track is constructed next to the original one first to act as a substitute during construction.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby sardia » Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:38 pm UTC

Trains that share the road with cars are a stupid idea. Imaginea bus that can't change lanes. That's a tram. Trains need dedicated lines, not this sharing crap.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Chen » Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:15 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:The real problem I have is with the blades.

The bus requires that everyone stay in their lanes perfectly for it to overlap other cars. Stalled car partly in lane? Bus cannot move. Car nosing its way onto the road? Bus must stop. Construction? No bus allowed! Pot hole? No swerving allowed!


I'm confused to this objection. How often do you go off the road to avoid potholes or stalled cars in the city? Aren't there sidewalks or bike paths or something there? Basically to hit the sidewalls I'd need to be going onto the sidewalks on pretty much any street I'd drive on, aside the highway. And if its on the highway it's only going 60 kph, so you're going to pass under it pretty quickly anyways.

Now granted Im assuming this thing is going to straddle the WHOLE road, with the sidewalls being on the outsides of all lanes. If it's going to cover 2 lanes of say a 3 lane road, that I would think could be a serious problem.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby HES » Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:54 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Trains that share the road with cars are a stupid idea. Imaginea bus that can't change lanes. That's a tram. Trains need dedicated lines, not this sharing crap.

And what are you planning to demolish to provide dedicated lines in an urban centre?

RCT Bob wrote:And yes, construction is a nightmare, it also is with trams. It usually means that the tram has to take a different route, or a separate track is constructed next to the original one first to act as a substitute during construction.

We generally move all the underground shit out the way when the lines are built, so that the need for disruptive construction later on is kept to a minimum.

Edit: didn't realise this thread existed.
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby elasto » Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:45 am UTC

I’m on the university campus, inside the Warwick Manufacturing Group’s (WMG) state-of-the-art, £3.2m driving simulator, the only one of its kind in the world.

What does the 3xD Simulator for Intelligent Vehicles have that other simulators don’t? First of all, the car itself is not a simulation – it’s a Range Rover Evoque. The engine has been removed and replaced with a bunch of blinking boxes designed to fool the car’s sensors into thinking it is driving. The car sits in the middle of a 360-degree cylindrical screen projecting a high-definition, digitally rendered route, a total of 30 miles of roads round and about Coventry (the longest ever route mapped for a simulator, although they didn’t know this at the time). Its connectivity also makes it unique: the simulator can feed in GPS and 4G signals to mimic entertainment and guidance systems.

“We’re effectively bringing the city to the vehicle,” says Paul Jennings, professor of experiential engineering at WMG, an academic department that collaborates with industry. “We want everything to be as immersive and representative as possible.”

I can testify to the simulator’s immersive nature. The engine hums. The world lurches with every turn of the wheel, and it takes a while to acclimatise. When I look in my rear-view mirror, I see the other side of buildings I’ve just passed. After 10 minutes I feel deeply anxious and quite car sick. I really shouldn’t be driving, because the simulator is primarily used to test driverless cars.

In driverless mode, I sit in the passenger seat while the car takes me on a virtual trip round the Warwick campus, negotiating roundabouts, lights and other traffic. It’s not like watching a movie – I am hypervigilant. At a crossing, a pedestrian steps in front of the car and it brakes sharply. Even after several circuits of this route, my stomach lurches at this moment every time.

The driverless car is one of those futuristic innovations that seems to have arrived on our doorstep well ahead of schedule. Trials of driverless pods on real roads are about to begin in cities including Coventry, Milton Keynes and London. It seems almost pointless to ask whether or not driverless technology is a good idea: it’s here already.

“Do I think driverless cars are a good idea? I would say yes,” says Jennings. “I would put safety at the top. On UK roads each year about 1,500 to 2,000 people die: 90% of those are down to human error. So, theoretically, if we can get more intelligence into driving, we can save lives and reduce the number of accidents on the road.”

It is not just lives that could be saved, but also time. “The average UK driver at the moment spends six working weeks a year behind the wheel,” says Jennings. “You could actually use that for something more productive.”

Although driverless vehicles would be, in theory, inherently safer, testing prototype systems in the real world presents a number of challenges.

“Firstly, it’s a bit scary – you’ve got real driverless cars out there with real people, and therefore you have to be very risk-averse,” says Jennings. “Actually, for the vast majority of the time nothing very interesting happens.”

In the simulator you can recreate real-world situations and test them over and over under controlled conditions. You can push systems to the point of failure – what happens when a signal degenerates, or a sensor misinterprets? – without risking lives. You can look for what engineers call “corner cases”, problems that occur only when a particular set of variables coincide.

“These little, interesting scenarios when things don’t work quite as planned, or that challenge a system a bit more,” says Jennings. “It’s those that we really need to test for.”

One unique aspect of the 3xD simulator is its ability to “spoof” connectivity. The car and the screen sit inside a giant Faraday cage – a metal box, basically – that blocks out all outside interference. The 3G, 4G and GPS signals the car receives are all in-house recreations. You could drive it through Coventry while telling the satnav it’s in Beijing. That may sound needlessly perverse, but cyber security is a big worry for the future of driverless technology.


Cool beans!

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby sardia » Thu Aug 04, 2016 5:19 am UTC

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechcons ... -wildfires
Robotic flying arsonists are now menacing the skies of the US.
A burn crew dressed in yellow and green flame-resistant clothing is about to set a patch of tall-grass prairie on fire — on purpose.

These kind of burns aren't unusual. But today's burn is; a team from the University of Nebraska is testing a fire-starting drone. Once it's airborne, the team directs the drone to inject the balls with glycol just before dropping them one by one to the ground. The glycol mixes with a powder, igniting into flames and burning the grass. Casey McCoy with the Nebraska Forest Service says even small, controlled fires like this one can quickly turn deadly. "We've had a fairly challenging track record here in Nebraska," McCoy says. "In the last five to six years we've had a number of fatalities associated with prescribed fires."

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby jewish_scientist » Thu Aug 04, 2016 10:09 am UTC

My problem with that bus is the same one I have with a lot of inventions that people say will be 'the future of something'; the invention works really well until something goes horribly wrong. Imagine a drunk driver doing double the speed limit at 3:00AM plows straight into the side of this bus at an intersection. The elevated bus makes this situation much worse compared to a normal bus in a similar crash.

The bus's walls look pretty thin to me and it is only 22 meters long. I would bet $20 a car could punch straight through one of the walls. With one of its two support structures greatly weakened, I think that it is possible that the whole bus could tip over and form a right triangle with the road. This adds two deadly factors to an already horrible crash.

First, the platform is now at a 45 degree slant, which is pretty close to the limit hockey players can keep there footing at. People who are lucky and manage to grab a fixed object (e.g. the metal poles) would have to support half of their body weight. Based on the most reliable source outside of Nature, I doubt these lucky few could hold on for long. Dozens of people would slided closer to the site of the crash, which is the exact opposite of what we want to happen. I bet the force of the impacting the damaged wall would be enough to cause injuries. If the windows on that side did not break and the exit is on the other side, the passengers near the front of the bus would be trapped.

The second is the risk caused by fires. This study conducted by a branch of the US government says that 26 per 1,000 car crashes that result in a fatality involved fire. For comparison, the average rate of fire occurring across all crashes is 3 per 1,000. If a fire started, the heat and smoke would be trapped by the bus. This increases the threat of severe burns and smoke inhalation to everyone under or in the bus. Perhaps worst of all, this situation results in firefighters, police and EMTs having extreme difficulty approaching the crash site. This bus is basically a tunnel barely tall enough for someone to stand upright in. The bus's clearance is 2 meters, so the overturned bus creates a tunnel that is at most 1.5 meters tall (I seriously hope that I got that math right).Firefighting in a normal tunnels is already so dangerous that a text book has been published designed to address this issue. Have you ever seen the episode of House when the patient was in a collapse building and had her leg pinned; the majority of the episode had the characters crawling about and wiggling like a worm to move. Now imagine that House had to also put out a fire.

I will admit, the chance of an accident like this happening is very slim; however, when it does happen the situation would be immeasurably worse.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby HES » Thu Aug 04, 2016 10:51 am UTC

We're more than capable of making things impact resistant - we usually choose not to for the sake of those who crash into the object. So don't let "it looks pretty thin" fool you.

jewish_scientist wrote:First, the platform is now at a 45 degree slant

No. It's not isosceles.

I mean, you general point is correct. Evacuation from an elevated platform is going to be a problem. Collisions beneath it are going to be a problem. Some of your assumptions are a little off, though.
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Chen » Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:52 am UTC

I assume some sort of guardrail type system to protect the sides from internal car hits. Damage would clearly still occur but I'd imagine it'd be done in such a way to precisely prevent cars from punching through the sidewalls. For the most part cars won't be running into the sides head on, unless they're T-boning it at an intersection. Even in that case, I'm not sure exactly what would happen. A small/medium car T-boning a regular bus is pretty bad, but the added mass of the bus helps it a fair bit already. This thing is much more massive. It's not clear what would happen on an external side impact. Are there support columns along the sidewalls? Is it held up structurally in some other way instead? It'll make a significant different in terms of an impact accident.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby sardia » Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:22 pm UTC

Can we move this to the china bus thread?

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q ... di1aXLqUJg
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby jewish_scientist » Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:51 am UTC

HES wrote:I mean, you general point is correct. Evacuation from an elevated platform is going to be a problem. Collisions beneath it are going to be a problem. Some of your assumptions are a little off, though.

I was having one of these kind of days when I wrote that. The Channel Tunnel, which is a train line that goes from England to France, had a very similar problem.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Dauric » Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:41 am UTC

sardia wrote:https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiA6t64n6jOAhXo24MKHdE1Cc4QqQIIHzAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Fnews%2Fspeaking-of-science%2Fwp%2F2016%2F08%2F03%2Fa-molecule-called-sandman-could-help-solve-the-mystery-of-sleep%2F&usg=AFQjCNH2GYOrCpnHybWCejyO_htcOXgymQ&sig2=eludmU6gaMxTdi1aXLqUJg
Scientists have managed to disable the mechanism that controls sleep, disabling it made flies that slept forever. Forced into an unending dream. On the bright side, the flies live longer from being so well rested. I'm not sure if that's awesome or terrifying.


There's plenty of room to be both awesome -and- terrifying.
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby sardia » Mon Aug 08, 2016 1:37 pm UTC

It could be the new death penalty. Just disable your prisoner and they will sleep forever. Like the matrix but real.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/201 ... that-right
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby HES » Mon Aug 08, 2016 1:48 pm UTC

Four times as nutritious as cow milk, I presume?

Sure, why not. We'll be eating insects soon enough, may as well drink them too.
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby sardia » Mon Aug 08, 2016 2:02 pm UTC

HES wrote:Four times as nutritious as cow milk, I presume?

Sure, why not. We'll be eating insects soon enough, may as well drink them too.

Yup, it's even more nutritious than buffalo milk, whatever that means to milk snobs. The big problem is that cockroaches are small and don't produce very much. Maybe the answer will be in newly legalized chimeras.
http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shot ... id-embryos
Pigs with human kidneys, goats with human milk are possible now. The same tech could make cockroach human cow hybrids.
Or old fashion genetically engineered yeasts and goats. Whatever works :-P

We live in exciting, disgusting times, and i can't wait for it.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 08, 2016 2:57 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Can we move this to the china bus thread?

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q ... di1aXLqUJg
Scientists have managed to disable the mechanism that controls sleep, disabling it made flies that slept forever. Forced into an unending dream. On the bright side, the flies live longer from being so well rested. I'm not sure if that's awesome or terrifying.


Downside, when you wake up, society will have changed, and you won't know how to use the three shells.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Trebla » Tue Aug 09, 2016 11:45 am UTC

IBM's Watson AI saved a woman from leukemia

IBM's Watson has done everything from winning at Jeopardy to cooking exotic meals, but it appears to have accomplished its greatest feat yet: saving a life. University of Tokyo doctors report that the artificial intelligence diagnosed a 60-year-old woman's rare form of leukemia that had been incorrectly identified months earlier. The analytical machine took just 10 minutes to compare the patient's genetic changes with a database of 20 million cancer research papers, delivering an accurate diagnosis and leading to proper treatment that had proven elusive. Watson has also identified another rare form of leukemia in another patient, the university says.


I feel like I remember that this was one of the main goals of Watson all along. Awesome to hear it working.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Mambrino » Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:40 pm UTC

A flying ...double-zeppelin ...thing. The future of the 1930s is here again?

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby elasto » Thu Aug 18, 2016 11:30 pm UTC

Uber passengers in Pittsburgh will be able to hail self-driving cars for the first time within the next few weeks as the taxi firm tests its future vision of transportation in the city.

The company said on Thursday that an unspecified number of autonomous Ford Fusions will be available to pick up passengers as with normal Uber vehicles. The cars won’t exactly be driverless – they will have human drivers as backup – but they are the next step towards a fully automated fleet.

Passengers will be able to opt in if they want a self-driving car, and rides will be free to those willing to do it, a spokesman said.

Uber, which has a self-driving research lab in Pittsburgh and has been testing the cars around the city in recent months, has no immediate plans to deploy self-driving cars beyond the Pittsburgh experiment.

Its CEO, Travis Kalanick, has said the ride-sharing company’s future and indeed the future of all transportation is driverless.

“When there’s no other dude in the car, the cost of taking an Uber anywhere becomes cheaper than owning a vehicle. You basically bring the cost below the cost of ownership for everybody, and then car ownership goes away,” Kalanick said at the Code Conference in 2014, shortly after Google unveiled its self-driving car prototype.

I dunno about anyone else, but driverless cars seem to have become a reality from almost nowhere. I don't recall giving them any kind of serious thought more than a couple of years ago, and they have suddenly come of age.

Coincidentally I got a new car today. Could it be the last car I ever own..?

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Dauric » Fri Aug 19, 2016 1:39 am UTC

Y'know, I think about commmunity driverless cars, then I think about all the crap in the backseat of my car (jackets, work gloves, rain gear, misc garbage), the crap in the backseat of my roommate's car (hard hat, tools, jacket, high-vis vest, misc garbage), and the crap in my ex-girlfriend's car (blankets, children's toys, misc childcare stuff), and I'm not entirely certain that the age of non-vehicle ownership is really here. Too many people spend too much time effectively 'living' in their cars (the eponymous "Soccer Moms" and the like). It might work for commuters like myself, going from the suburbs to the downtown and back again, but I don't see it as completely replacing car ownership.
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby HES » Fri Aug 19, 2016 9:40 am UTC

Mambrino wrote:A flying ...double-zeppelin ...thing. The future of the 1930s is here again?

Slightly less explodey this time
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Zamfir » Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:33 am UTC

I dunno about anyone else, but driverless cars seem to have become a reality from almost nowhere. I don't recall giving them any kind of serious thought more than a couple of years ago, and they have suddenly come of age.

I could be wrong, but my hype-o-meter is twitching. As in, there is genuine fast progress in the field, but it looks even faster than it actually goes because companies are PRing themselves as leaders of the field.

If you read the articles on this uber plan, than at the core they have the take-over of a firm called Otto. Made up of former Google engineers who were disappointed by Google's slow approach to marketing the technology. And Google has been downplaying their program over the last year- talking about the years and years it's going to take, where they used to talk about the Amazing Progress.

I find it really hard to judge progress from such activities as these Uber vehicles. AFAICT, they have experimental cars that drive around with a driver who takes over part of the time. Something other companies have been doing for years by now. The difference is that they allow passengers to sit in the back - which is more a marketing stunt than a technical breakthrough. Perhaps these cars really are close to being commercially viable driverless taxis - but the experiment doesn't tell us anything except that Uber would like us to think that.

EDIT: the core issue here is that Uber is (at the moment) a money-losing business. They attract foreign money, in return for monopoly profits in the future when they are established. So they have to look, to the outside world, as if they are on top of this driverless taxi thing, or the funding dries up.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Whizbang » Fri Aug 19, 2016 11:32 am UTC

I'm sorry. I can't hear you over the sound of the future arriving.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Trebla » Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:48 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:Y'know, I think about community driverless cars, then I think about all the crap in the backseat of my car (jackets, work gloves, rain gear, misc garbage), the crap in the backseat of my roommate's car (hard hat, tools, jacket, high-vis vest, misc garbage), and the crap in my ex-girlfriend's car (blankets, children's toys, misc childcare stuff), and I'm not entirely certain that the age of non-vehicle ownership is really here. Too many people spend too much time effectively 'living' in their cars (the eponymous "Soccer Moms" and the like). It might work for commuters like myself, going from the suburbs to the downtown and back again, but I don't see it as completely replacing car ownership.


Yeah, the use of a car as an extension of your home is pretty ingrained in culture (US culture, at least). I can see this dwindling to a single car per family in the reasonably near term, but it may be a generation or two for the culture to shift completely away from private car ownership. And this assumes that community cars are available enough that there's always one when you need it.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Diadem » Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:24 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:
I dunno about anyone else, but driverless cars seem to have become a reality from almost nowhere. I don't recall giving them any kind of serious thought more than a couple of years ago, and they have suddenly come of age.

I could be wrong, but my hype-o-meter is twitching. As in, there is genuine fast progress in the field, but it looks even faster than it actually goes because companies are PRing themselves as leaders of the field.

It's difficult to say what is hype and what is actual progress. I mean the field certainly is making progress, and the potential is there. But yeah, companies do have an incentive to oversell their progress.

Last week Ford announced that they plan to have fully autonomous ride-sharing service by 2021. That's only 5 years away. Of course making plans is the easy part. It remains to be seen if they will make it. But still, having fully autonomous (they apparently won't even have a steering wheel or pedals) cars by 2021 is faster than I expected. And they aren't talking about just a few test vehicles. They want to deploy hundreds of them.
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby commodorejohn » Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:36 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Last week Ford announced that they plan to have fully autonomous ride-sharing service by 2021. That's only 5 years away. Of course making plans is the easy part. It remains to be seen if they will make it. But still, having fully autonomous (they apparently won't even have a steering wheel or pedals) cars by 2021 is faster than I expected. And they aren't talking about just a few test vehicles. They want to deploy hundreds of them.

Sure, sure, but the real question here is, are they going to have an animatronic Robert Picardo driving?
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby morriswalters » Tue Aug 23, 2016 4:45 pm UTC

No the real question is are they going to eat Uber and Lyft?


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