Interesting Read: “Tim Berners-Lee, the Man Who Created the World Wide Web, Has Some Regrets”

I’m counting on all you tech wizards to explain how and where this all goes wrong, but *I* thought it was interesting. Katrina Brooker, in Vanity Fair:

For people who want to make sure the Web serves humanity, we have to concern ourselves with what people are building on top of it,” Tim Berners-Lee told me one morning in downtown Washington, D.C., about a half-mile from the White House. Berners-Lee was speaking about the future of the Internet, as he does often and fervently and with great animation at a remarkable cadence. With an Oxonian wisp of hair framing his chiseled face, Berners-Lee appears the consummate academic—communicating rapidly, in a clipped London accent, occasionally skipping over words and eliding sentences as he stammers to convey a thought. His soliloquy was a mixture of excitement with traces of melancholy. Nearly three decades earlier, Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. On this morning, he had come to Washington as part of his mission to save it…

Berners-Lee, who never directly profited off his invention, has also spent most of his life trying to guard it. While Silicon Valley started ride-share apps and social-media networks without profoundly considering the consequences, Berners-Lee has spent the past three decades thinking about little else. From the beginning, in fact, Berners-Lee understood how the epic power of the Web would radically transform governments, businesses, societies. He also envisioned that his invention could, in the wrong hands, become a destroyer of worlds, as Robert Oppenheimer once infamously observed of his own creation. His prophecy came to life, most recently, when revelations emerged that Russian hackers interfered with the 2016 presidential election, or when Facebook admitted it exposed data on more than 80 million users to a political research firm, Cambridge Analytica, which worked for Donald Trump’s campaign. This episode was the latest in an increasingly chilling narrative. In 2012, Facebook conducted secret psychological experiments on nearly 700,000 users. Both Google and Amazon have filed patent applications for devices designed to listen for mood shifts and emotions in the human voice.

For the man who set all this in motion, the mushroom cloud was unfolding before his very eyes. “I was devastated,” Berners-Lee told me that morning in Washington, blocks from the White House. For a brief moment, as he recalled his reaction to the Web’s recent abuses, Berners-Lee quieted; he was virtually sorrowful. “Actually, physically—my mind and body were in a different state.” Then he went on to recount, at a staccato pace, and in elliptical passages, the pain in watching his creation so distorted.

This agony, however, has had a profound effect on Berners-Lee. He is now embarking on a third act—determined to fight back through both his celebrity status and, notably, his skill as a coder. In particular, Berners-Lee has, for some time, been working on a new software, Solid, to reclaim the Web from corporations and return it to its democratic roots. On this winter day, he had come to Washington to attend the annual meeting of the World Wide Web Foundation, which he started in 2009 to protect human rights across the digital landscape. For Berners-Lee, this mission is critical to a fast-approaching future. Sometime this November, he estimates, half the world’s population—close to 4 billion people—will be connected online, sharing everything from résumés to political views to DNA information. As billions more come online, they will feed trillions of additional bits of information into the Web, making it more powerful, more valuable, and potentially more dangerous than ever…

The idea is simple: re-decentralize the Web. Working with a small team of developers, he spends most of his time now on Solid, a platform designed to give individuals, rather than corporations, control of their own data. “There are people working in the lab trying to imagine how the Web could be different. How society on the Web could look different. What could happen if we give people privacy and we give people control of their data,” Berners-Lee told me. “We are building a whole eco-system.”

For now, the Solid technology is still new and not ready for the masses. But the vision, if it works, could radically change the existing power dynamics of the Web. The system aims to give users a platform by which they can control access to the data and content they generate on the Web. This way, users can choose how that data gets used rather than, say, Facebook and Google doing with it as they please. Solid’s code and technology is open to all—anyone with access to the Internet can come into its chat room and start coding. “One person turns up every few days. Some of them have heard about the promise of Solid, and they are driven to turn the world upside down,” he says. Part of the draw is working with an icon. For a computer scientist, coding with Berners-Lee is like playing guitar with Keith Richards. But more than just working with the inventor of the Web, these coders come because they want to join the cause. These are digital idealists, subversives, revolutionaries, and anyone else who wants to fight the centralization of the Web. For his part, working on Solid brings Berners-Lee back to the Web’s early days: “It’s under the radar, but working on it in a way puts back some of the optimism and excitement that the ‘fake news’ takes out.”…

It’s hard to believe that anyone—even Zuckerberg—wants the 1984 version. He didn’t found Facebook to manipulate elections; Jack Dorsey and the other Twitter founders didn’t intend to give Donald Trump a digital bullhorn. And this is what makes Berners-Lee believe that this battle over our digital future can be won. As public outrage grows over the centralization of the Web, and as enlarging numbers of coders join the effort to decentralize it, he has visions of the rest of us rising up and joining him. This spring, he issued a call to arms, of sorts, to the digital public. In an open letter published on his foundation’s Web site, he wrote: “While the problems facing the web are complex and large, I think we should see them as bugs: problems with existing code and software systems that have been created by people—and can be fixed by people.”…






276 replies
  1. 1
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    Sort of OT but this has got to be the best tweet ever.

    My mate has two tickets for the England vs Sweden game on Saturday. He didn’t realise that it’s going to be on the same day as his wedding, so he can’t go. If you’re interested and want to go instead of him, it’s at St. Andrew’s Church in Cambridge and her name is Sarah

  2. 2
    Mike J says:

    I’m counting on all you tech wizards to explain how and where this all goes wrong

    I’m guessing the place where it will go wrong is the fact that you will still need an ISP to connect computers together and Comcast will cut the limbs off of anyone who gets in the way of their profiting from your privacy.

  3. 3
    Pete Mack says:

    If Berners-Lee is the father of the web, Vanevar Bush is its grandfather. Amazingly, he published a popular article on what would become hypertext in 1945, imagining a desktop device storing an encyclopedia on punch cards, with cross-linked text features. He was of course limited by the technology of the time, but all the basics are there. It’s one of the most amazing articles I have ever read.

    http://history-computer.com/In...../Bush.html

  4. 4
    A Ghost To Most says:

    I spent the 80s helping to lay down the foundations for America’s commercial internet.
    My architecture for network switches is still in use today.

    Yes, I have regerts.

  5. 5
    Baud says:

    Then he went on to recount, at a staccato pace, and in elliptical passages, the pain in watching his creation so distorted.

    I hope he never learns of Balloon Juice. It would destroy him.

  6. 6
    The Dangerman says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    I spent the 80s helping to lay down the foundations for America’s commercial internet.

    Mid 90’s and Pac Bell for me (when there WAS a Pac Bell … damn, but their San Ramon facility rocked); I was involved in very, very early fiber to the home. If memory serves, they were predicting 50% market penetration by 2020. Yeah, a wee bit off.

    He didn’t found Facebook to manipulate elections; Jack Dorsey and the other Twitter founders didn’t intend to give Donald Trump a digital bullhorn.

    They didn’t … but they didn’t care. They were the equivalent of people giving gasoline and matches to everybody (including pyromaniacs) and then crying when the fires started.

  7. 7
    lollipopguild says:

    Baud wants to destroy his enemies, drive them before him and hear their woman’s lamentations on Twitter.

  8. 8
    germy says:

    I don’t understand how Solid would replace the corporate model. I mean, I could sign up for it; we could all sign up for it and use it exclusively, but the corporate model would still have our personal info. How does the horse get back behind the gate?

  9. 9
    germy says:

    @A Ghost To Most: The problem isn’t with the architecture, it’s with those annoying pop up autoplay ads.

    And RW trolls. And the book of faces.

    Don’t blame yourself.

  10. 10
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @The Dangerman:
    It’s almost as if the free hand of the market isn’t a substitute for government oversight or a strong sense of social responsibility.

  11. 11
    lollipopguild says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: The free hand of the market leads to monopoly and oligarchy. See Russia/Putin

  12. 12
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Pete Mack: It’s far easier to think something up, than to make it happen, cap’n.

    /engineer

  13. 13
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @germy: No, I regret that we didn’t forsee all the potential for misuse.

  14. 14
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    Haha. You might be amused by this, “Confessions of a World Cup Jailbird.”

  15. 15
    The Dangerman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    …government oversight or a strong sense of social responsibility.

    More the latter … and this goes all the way down to the ladder. In 2000, before the first bust, I saw kids fresh out of school (or who learned to code at home as teenagers) that were making plans to retire at 30. OK, some did, but the ethics (or total lack thereof) of all that were playing in that game at the time was amazing to witness firsthand.

    ETA: Plus, this happened so fast (in relative terms) that governments didn’t have a chance.

  16. 16
    Ruckus says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:
    On Amtrak LOL

  17. 17
    HeleninEire says:

    No, no, no. IMHO the two greatest inventions of recent times are air conditioning and the internet. (Just looked up when a/c was invented, turns out it’s 1902; who knew??)

    Besides the fact that the a/c thing is only because it makes me happy, the internet keeps us informed. Knowledge is everything. There’s a reason why teaching slaves to read was illegal. I care that it is being abused. But that does not override the positive. Not at all.

  18. 18
    debbie says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    “No, I regret that we didn’t forsee all the potential for misuse.”

    I bet someone somewhere has said this about every new thing.

  19. 19
    Duane says:

    @lollipopguildThe free hand of the market should be in prison for assault.

  20. 20
    Mary G says:

    Since “Don’t Mourn, Organize” is one of the tags, I want to share an email I got from the local organizers of the Families Belong Together march I sort of participated in, which has cheered me up today:

    :Here’s a message from the host of the Families Belong Together! event you signed up to attend:
    Friends,

    You are proof that Orange County REALLY CARES!

    Thank you for attending the Families Belong Together Orange County March.

    We want to share with you a story from a woman who volunteers with Friends of OC Detainees:

    “Today I visited one of the women who has been detained at Musick for the last 5 months. I asked her if she knew about the march. She surprised me by saying they all knew about it and they could actually see the marchers from a high window in the facility. She said they have hope that your voices will save them. She was grateful and very happy to know people care about their situation. She also said, many women have been released on parole over the last week and one women was being reunited with her son today. Progress!”
    Sue

    By most estimates, more than 5,000 people attended the march. We are heartened and overwhelmed by the response to the call for donations — we collected hundreds of items for the children. The toys, books, and games were received by- crittentonsocal.org

    We raised nearly $2,000 in monetary donations!

    The funds collected will be split and sent directly to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) and Kids In Need of Defense (KIND).

    For a beautiful photo montage of the event by Gaston Callestanos, please click here: https://www.facebook.com/gaston.castellanos.39/videos/10213505932855997/.

    Please share your pictures in our community album here: http://bit.ly/famliesbelongtogetherOC-PICS

    Now we VOTE! We are asking you to help by committing to registering new voters. Get involved with our supporting groups who work to make our OC the place we love to call home!

    Once again, thank you for your participation with us — we look forward to continuing to affect positive immigration change in Orange County and OUR Country.

    With appreciation,

    Lead Organizers

    WAVE (Women for American Values and Ethics)
    Together We Will OC
    HB Huddle
    Imagine Action OC
    Indivisible OC 48
    Resist Here
    Orange County Justice Fund
    OC Rapid Response
    Indivisible OC 45

    If you look at the pictures, it’s quite heartening how many white people there are. My favorite sign was:

    Roses are Red
    Tacos are Enjoyable
    Don’t Blame Immigrants
    Because You’re Unemployable

  21. 21
    oatler. says:

    @A Ghost To Most: put down that Snickers bar

  22. 22
    HinTN says:

    @The Dangerman: Government needs to be run by the young.

  23. 23
    Mnemosyne says:

    Since we’re discussing websites, I think I’m going to go with Tiger Tech for my website hosting because they seem like a good starter hosting service. They’re not the cheapest, but their website is clean and easy to use, they have lots and lots of explanations for the noobs, and they’re located in California so we’re in the same state and time zone.

    Now I need to buy my $49 WP theme from Theme Forest and sign up with Tiger. I just have to take a deep breath before I spend $160 on all of this (the hosting is cheaper if you pay for the whole year up front, but I can cancel and get refunded if needed).

    Thanks again to everyone for their suggestions and advice!

  24. 24
    WhatsMyNym says:

    @HinTN: I’d settle for more of the young getting involved and voting (thankfully, starting to happen now).

  25. 25
    different-church-lady says:

    While Silicon Valley started ride-share apps and social-media networks without profoundly considering the consequences…

    And that, in a nutshell, is why I now get pissed off and dismayed every time someone starts enthusing about the next big thing in technology.

  26. 26
    WereBear says:

    @Mnemosyne: Wow, it’s a big day! Author stuff, I gather?

  27. 27
    WhatsMyNym says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Hope you made some money off of your work. I know so many that put in the work, but got screwed out of a share of the profits or their companies just didn’t survive against the competition.

  28. 28
    different-church-lady says:

    I wonder if the guy who invented pipes was ever dismayed about people running shit through them.

  29. 29
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @oatler.: If this is a dig, you need to up your game.

  30. 30
    Mnemosyne says:

    @WereBear:

    Yep — I’m going to the RWA conference in Denver in a couple of weeks and I have my URL listed on my business cards, so it’s time to have at least the stub of a blog for my pseudonym up and running before then. As you know, self-promotion is the new normal for authors.

  31. 31
    Mnemosyne says:

    @different-church-lady:

    I’m pretty sure that’s what pipes were invented for. 🤔

  32. 32
    Duane says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Are the regerts a direct result of your internet work? You should see a doctor. Regerts sound painful.

  33. 33
    The Dangerman says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Now I need to buy my $49 WP theme from Theme Forest and sign up with Tiger.

    I’m entirely unfamiliar with Theme Forest (so, BIG grain of salt here) but, at one time, Template Monster was the coolest thing ever. It’s been a while since I’ve looked but they were the gold standard at one time (and this goes back a ways, so, again, BIG grain of salt).

  34. 34
    different-church-lady says:

    @HeleninEire:

    … the internet keeps us informed.

    The problem is it also keeps us mis-informed.

  35. 35
    Mnemosyne says:

    @WereBear:

    Also, I’ve decided to be a clothing rebel and wear my funny book t-shirts with a blazer, casual skirt, and colorful tights. I can look uptight and professional next time — this time, I want to be memorable.

    (The standard uniform for lady romance novelists is a cute and colorful dress. I have several of those, but I decided to stand out from the crowd this time instead.)

  36. 36
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @WhatsMyNym: A pension from GE, and a GE Engineer of the Year rock.

    I was incredibly turned off by the greed I saw from my year in Silicon Valley (1982), so I bailed to GE. They owned all my work.

  37. 37
    WereBear says:

    It was ever thus:

    In talking about various technopanics over time, there’s always someone who hates some new technology because it somehow “undermines” the good “way things were.” These days, think of the books by the likes of Nick Carr or Andrew Keen, who focus on just how awful new technology is making people, compared to “back in their day…” when things were just lovely. Yet, as we’ve pointed out, these sorts of complaints about new technology happen throughout history, such as the attacks on the telephone (makes men lazy and breaks up your home life) and novels (corrupts the mind). But sometimes it goes back much, much further. In the past, we’ve even joked about those “poor monks” put out of the scribe business by the printing press.

    But what we didn’t realize was there actually was just such a concern at the time.

    A Fifteenth Century Technopanic About The Horrors Of The Printing Press

    And yeah, lots of people died horribly because it led to the Reformation. What are you gonna do? It’s good and bad in every tech advancement, but on the whole, we advance and it is an advance.

    Leeches vs antibiotics, anyone?

  38. 38
    different-church-lady says:

    “For people who want to make sure the Web serves humanity…

    “We’ve parsed the code and… IT’S A COOKBOOK!!!

  39. 39
    different-church-lady says:

    @WereBear:

    Leeches vs antibiotics, anyone?

    Solve the problem of people dying and you create the problem of over-population. [shrug]

  40. 40
    WereBear says:

    @Mnemosyne: And, I hear, rightly so. Lots of good info here:

    KrisWrites.com

  41. 41
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Duane: I get the Snickers reference now, duh. Hoist on my own meme.

    Tatooist Tatoos “No Regerts” while eating Snickers. Apologies to Duane.

  42. 42
    WereBear says:

    @Mnemosyne: Absolutely, stand out! Be memorable :)

  43. 43
    Lee says:

    There is very little to even guess what Solid might be.

    If I were look into a crystal ball I would guess it is one of 2 or 3 things.

    A mesh internet.
    Something that obscures your browsing.
    A new type of VPN of some sort.

  44. 44
    germy says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Did you sell your GE stock?

  45. 45
    different-church-lady says:

    t’s hard to believe that anyone—even Zuckerberg—wants the 1984 version. He didn’t found Facebook to manipulate elections

    How do we know this?

  46. 46
    Miss Bianca says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Ghostie, that sounds fascinating. I hope to hell you’re coming to the meet-up on the 17th.

  47. 47
    HeleninEire says:

    @different-church-lady: Yes. And we need to figure out what is true. It’s hard.

  48. 48
    germy says:

    Off topic. Any Laurel & Hardy fans here?

    http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/.....an.761316/

    John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan play them in a new film that dramatizes their 1950s “comeback” tour.

  49. 49
    Duane says:

    @A Ghost To Most: That was oatler with the snickers dig. I jumped on your regerts typo. This blog is funner without an edit function.

  50. 50
    Lokahi says:

    @Mnemosyne: Tiger Technologies is good folk. I hope you have as great an experience with it as I have since 1999. Good luck!

  51. 51
    RSA says:

    @WereBear:

    Leeches vs antibiotics, anyone?

    On the other hand, muskets vs AK-47s, too.

  52. 52
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Miss Bianca:
    I would not want to encourage psych1 to bomb the place with you all in it.

  53. 53
    Doug R says:

    @Mike J:

    I’m guessing the place where it will go wrong is the fact that you will still need an ISP to connect computers together and Comcast will cut the limbs off of anyone who gets in the way of their profiting from your privacy.

    That’s where Public WiFi comes in…

  54. 54
    oatler. says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Ok, you spelled “regrets” wrong, and I assumed you were referring to a well-known candy bar commercial.
    OT I was reading the Ditko obit in the Guardian when I noticed the Tom Wilson (Zippy the Pinhead) obit.

  55. 55
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I expect you’ve probably already seen this, but in case not, it’s an interesting (to me) read about increasing diversity in romance novels. Beware: link is to FTFNYT.

  56. 56
    Mnemosyne says:

    @WereBear:

    The big self-publishing guru right now is Mark Dawson, if you’re not already listening to his podcast. He’s going to do a couple of workshops at RWA promoting himself while showing other people how to promote themselves 😉:

    https://selfpublishingformula.com

  57. 57
    Miss Bianca says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Wouldn’t you know it would be the freaking *Colorado* meet-up that gets a psycho Bernie Bro to preemptively lay a stink bomb and then flounce out in a virtual huff? : (

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Yes! Someone in the Writers For Diversity Facebook group I belong to posted that. It’s a huge topic right now and a lot of the disgruntlement is being fueled by the fact that a lot of writers of color are doing very well in self-publishing but still can’t get a contract from a traditional publisher, which seems to indicate that traditional publishing is doing it rong when they say they can’t sell diverse books.

  59. 59
    Mnemosyne says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    Meh, you’re not even the one he hates most. I should probably bring an extra pair of glasses in case he decides to show up and punch me in the face. 🤔

  60. 60
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Mnemosyne: @SiubhanDuinne: So, I read “A Princess in Theory” not too long ago – not really that well-written – there were some, to my critical mind, fairly glaring plot holes and an unduly hasty wrap-up – but certainly fun. I kept picturing Chadwick Boseman as our hero. Yum : )

    Also got my hands on “Unforgivable Love” by Sophfronia Scott, which I *hugely* enjoyed. Highly recommend, if neither of you has read it.

    About damn time we had more diversity in the romance field.

    I’m also deep back into the Vorkosigan Saga. Just re-read “Cordelia’s Honor”, probably my favorite of them all. Yeah, Miles Vorkosigan is a great character, but I’m really just so in love with his parents…sigh. *Swoon*.

    That is all, from Mt. Woebegon.

  61. 61
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yup. The article talks about that — and the related problem of the big retailers only wanting to go with “proven” writers with a string of best-sellers to their credit. Looks as though diversity is going to be a major topic at your conference. I’ll be very interested in seeing your dispatches from the field.

  62. 62
    NotMax says:

    Anne, did you get the second e-mail sent about NY meet-up?

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    I really feel like Bujold is on a roll with her more recent books that get away from all of the (to me) boring military stuff and concentrate on the politics and other aspects of Barrayar. Lord Vorpatril’s Alliance is basically a straight-up romance novel with a terrific heist subplot, and Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen is about Jole and Cordelia figuring out how to continue on together without Aral, the center of their happy triad.

    And, of course, A Civil Campaign is one of her all-time best.

  64. 64
  65. 65
    NotMax says:

    It’s hard to believe that anyone—even Zuckerberg—wants the 1984 version. He didn’t found Facebook to manipulate elections; Jack Dorsey and the other Twitter founders didn’t intend to give Donald Trump a digital bullhorn.

    Each can be remedied practically with the flick of a switch. They claim ownership and control of those platforms but choose to exercise only the former.

  66. 66
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yeah, I’ve been reading around wildly out of order – I think “A Civil Campaign” was actually the one I read first, so of course I didn’t get nearly all the subtext surrounding the characters, tho’ the butter bugs by themselves were enough to keep me howling. “Lord V’s Alliance” is one I just got done with, so I then went back and have started reading – or re-reading – in more or less chronological order.

    I don’t know how I’m going to stand it when I get around to “Gentleman Jole” (gorram auto-correct just made that “Gentleman Cole”, which I think is hilarious). I mean, I knew she had dispatched Aral but he’s just such a favorite character of mine, I’m probably going to be weepy all the way thru’. Damn, that woman is *hard* – talk about killing your babies! : (

  67. 67
    2liberal says:

    test

  68. 68
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    Yeah, definitely read the rest before tackling Gentleman Jole. It won’t make it any easier, but at least you’ll get all of the references.

    I can’t say that she has any bad books, but there are books of hers that I re-read and books that I don’t. I felt like Jole was kind of an Easter egg — I suspected something was there when I first read The Vor Game, like, 20 years ago.

    And the Gregor and Laisa relationship has so much more impact when you see Gregor growing up in the course of the books and coming into his own as emperor. Plus he wins her over using a horse, which you will love. 😉

  69. 69
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Mnemosyne: by “something was there”, I’m *guessing* you’re talking about an affair between Jole and Aral, but that could just be my kinky brain, of course. > : >

  70. 70
    CarolPW says:

    @Miss Bianca: Can’t think of how to say my first thought about your comment without a spoiler, so will just say that yes, you have some tears coming.

  71. 71
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    I loved both of the leads in “A Princess in Theory,” so I was willing to go along with the ride. I wasn’t bothered by plot holes, but I did feel like her pacing was way off. Naledi should have been on the plane to Thesolo at the midpoint, not at the end of act 2, because there was way too much plot left to deal with in Thesolo, so the ending was very rushed.

    I already did a pre-order for the next book in the series, which will be her friend Portia’s story.

  72. 72
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Without the internet, we’d still have Fox News and Sinclair Broadcasting, but no Balloon Juice! 🖥 Thank you for your service!

  73. 73
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    Nope, that’s exactly what I suspected! I didn’t expect it to be a full-blown triad, but I should have since Bujold has always emphasized Cordelia’s Betan background and impatience with Barrayar’s backwards attitudes towards sex.

    The one thing I find slightly weird is that she keeps pairing bisexual men into long-term relationships with women. It’s becoming a pattern.

  74. 74
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Mnemosyne: Oh, good, it wasn’t just me, then! Those were pretty much my objections, but yeah…loved both hero and heroine, and loved how her profession was actually *integral* to the plot, not just some “oh, wouldn’t this be a cool career for our career girl!”

    Yeah, I think I’ll be sticking around for Portia’s adventures.

  75. 75
    Woodrow/Asim says:

    @Mnemosyne: Thanks for that mention, I’ve asked to join that FB group!

    And that above sentence of mine? Is the challenge any kind of contender for breaking apart Facebook’s dominance faces, no pub intended.

    Save for a very few topics, you can find a fairly vibrant group for damn near anything on FB. And that diversity of content + years spent grabbing as many people as possible means a critical mass of people that help draw others in, and keeps you in.

    Solid is far from the 1st contender for the crown to go for handing off social media control to end-users (Diaspora*‘s been around since 2010). It’s simply that getting folks to join up when it’s a) more complex to use than FB and 2) has far fewer friends is a tough, tough proposition.

    That said, I hope Lee’s approach can break thru, in some key ways.

  76. 76
    frosty says:

    @Miss Bianca: Cordelia’s Honor. Is that the early one where she rolls the emperor’s head out on the table from her shopping bag? Must have reread it half a dozen times.

  77. 77
    Miss Bianca says:

    @frosty: Yep. JUST got done with that scene. Probably my favorite scene in all SF. Nah, definitely my favorite. I had to read aloud all the dialogue to my friend D, cackling like a loon. He’s hooked on the books too, so we had a grand time of it together.

  78. 78
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Woodrow/Asim:

    FWIW, it’s primarily for romance writers, but I think you’ll be okay in a mostly-women group. We primarily trade stories and videos that we think will be helpful for making all kinds of stories more diverse.

  79. 79
    Pete Mack says:

    @A Ghost To Most: No. Bush was a consummate engineer just by his other work. He recognized perfectly well that the technology to solve his problem wasn’t there. And with the advent of transistors, be recognized that it was coming. Bottom line: www 1.0 is not a complicated protocol. And it is not very different from Bush’s design (As was acknowledges by many of the developers of the internet–which is a whole lot more than www.)

  80. 80
    Mnemosyne says:

    @frosty:

    /Bujold geek hat on

    Technically, Cordelia’s Honor is an omnibus edition of two books that were published separately, Shards of Honor and Barrayar. That scene happens towards the end of the second book.

    /Bujold geek hat off

    “You’re Betan! You can’t do — ”

    And, of course, it’s not a coincidence that the civil war is stopped by three women: Cordelia, Drou, and Kareen. And Cordelia’s “dog,” Bothari.

  81. 81
    efgoldman says:

    @Duane:

    That was oatler with the snickers dig.

    No regerts Snickers or its brother, Milky Way?

  82. 82
    JGabriel says:

    A Ghost To Most:

    No, I regret that we didn’t forsee all the potential for misuse.

    I think it’s always going to be difficult for good people to imagine all the horrors bad people want to unleash upon the world.

  83. 83
    Bess says:

    @Doug R:

    I’m guessing the place where it will go wrong is the fact that you will still need an ISP to connect computers together and Comcast will cut the limbs off of anyone who gets in the way of their profiting from your privacy.

    That’s where Public WiFi comes in…

    On Elon’s do list is a system of low orbit satellites providing ISP connections to the planet. First use will be for Tesla EVs self-driving systems. Then it should be expanded for general internet use.

  84. 84
    MomSense says:

    @JGabriel:

    The problem has always been human nature.

  85. 85
    Emma says:

    @Miss Bianca: Trust me. Read it last but read it. It has one of the greatest confessional lines in the history of novels. It also brings you to closure regarding Aral and his legacy.

  86. 86
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Formerly disgruntled in Oregon: Does anyone else worry about the AI advancements we are now seeing? AI is a real danger in my mind. We may end up just another species in the zoo, if we don’t wreck the joint first.

  87. 87
    piratedan says:

    @Emma: not to mention that she does a wonderful job of letting her characters have flaws and failings and writes complications and situations into her story that allow them to blossom and sometimes even be solved without it feeling forced. In that respect, I think that’s why she’s so popular, people being people, doing things that people do and letting the stories tells themselves through the characters.

    She’s simply awesome….

    The fact that she came move between the Chalion, Vorkosigan and even the sharing knife stories illustrates what a great gift that she has for tone and tale telling.

  88. 88
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Formerly disgruntled in Oregon: Does anyone else worry about the AI advancements we are now seeing? AI is a real danger in my mind. We may end up just another species in the zoo, if we don’t wreck the joint first.@Miss Bianca: He/she/it did the same thing to me back in December (?), when I was in a bad way. 6 months of retirement, and my semi-feral ass is back and pissed.

  89. 89
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Pretty much any invention one can think of has potential for misuse. TV was supposed to be the Great Educator of the Masses and what have we got? Three gazillion stations of infomercials.

  90. 90
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    I’m just waiting for the MSM to realize that since Al Gore actually was crucial to the commercialization of the Internet, they can now blame him for all its shortcomings.

    Does anybody remember the days when it was such a bad thing for a politician to tell lies, that journalists would just invent the lies?

  91. 91
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Mnemosyne: “I’m tired of your stupid war. End it.”

    Ah…wouldn’t I just love to see a real-life Cordelia storming the White House…

  92. 92
    raven says:

    @Gelfling 545: Like Tang!

  93. 93
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Public opinion has turned strongly against the Rigged Witch Hunt and the “Special” Councel because the public understands that there was no Collusion with Russia (so ridiculous), that the two FBI lovers were a fraud against our Nation & that the only Collusion was with the Dems!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 7, 2018

    Dispatches from Earth2

  94. 94
    Miss Bianca says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    Dispatches from Earth2

    *lolsob*

  95. 95
    chopper says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    jfc, this guy just cannot spell the word ‘counsel’.

  96. 96
    Redshift says:

    @Bess:

    On Elon’s do list is a system of low orbit satellites providing ISP connections to the planet. First use will be for Tesla EVs self-driving systems. Then it should be expanded for general internet use.

    I like a lot of what Musk is doing, but that’s not any more public than the current ISPs. I don’t recall him mentioning any intention to turning it over to a nonprofit or anything.

    Don’t get me wrong, it (and some other similar projects) could be good for getting connectivity to places that don’t have it without a lot of infrastructure in the ground, but it’s not about taking control back from ISPs.

  97. 97
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    the only Collusion was with the Dems!

    This is still the most ridiculous thing ever. Why this doesn’t cause the media to point and laugh every single time he says it, I don’t know.

    Oh wait, I do. They’re tools.

  98. 98
    Bess says:

    that’s not any more public than the current ISPs

    It gives people a second option to the company that might cut your cable or throttle down the sites you want to visit.

  99. 99
    Redshift says:

    It’s hard to believe that anyone—even Zuckerberg—wants the 1984 version.

    Seems like Berners-Lee is being extremely charitable here. Zuckerberg’s line is “Move Fast and Break Things.” He may not have wanted 1984, but he absolutely acted with reckless disregard for whether he was heading there.

  100. 100
    Redshift says:

    @Bess:

    It gives people a second option to the company that might cut your cable or throttle down the sites you want to visit.

    Hmm, maybe. Ghost may be able to correct me here, but last I heard direct-to-satellite had enough lag that it’s not going to beat even a throttled ISP for speed.

  101. 101
    Major Major Major Major says:

    @different-church-lady: “Solve the problem of people dying and you create the problem of over-population. [shrug]”

    Ah, I’m glad to see we’ve gotten to the essence of your view of technology.

  102. 102
    Redshift says:

    One thing I’ve been thinking about lately is how right wing free-market fundamentalism has twisted their thinking in ways even I had never anticipated. And by that, I mean the religious belief that the free market always produces the best outcome, and anything that makes money is automatically good. (A while back I was in a back-and-forth with a winger on twitter about health care, and when challenged about the better outcomes from other countries’ national health systems, his rebuttal was literally that health insurance companies made more money, so they must be better.)

    Anyway, I was reading about the GOP senators’ treason trip to Moscow and some related stuff about covert Russian money here and in the Brexit campaign, and as cynical I can be, I never expected that “yeah, it may have undermined my country, but they offered me money, so it has to be good” would become a commonly held view on the right. (Though of course they’ll also deny that it undermined the country.) No particular point here, just shaking my head and wondering what can be done about it. (Not what I want to be done about it, which is sedition charges all around, but what is likely to actually be done about it.)

  103. 103
    lollipopguild says:

    @Viva BrisVegas: Politicians/Public Figures have always told lies but never like our current occupant of the White House. He lies almost every time he opens his mouth.

  104. 104
    Bess says:

    @Redshift:

    Hmm, maybe. Ghost may be able to correct me here, but last I heard direct-to-satellite had enough lag that it’s not going to beat even a throttled ISP for speed.

    High orbit satellite ISP has a significant lag. I lived with that for a few years (Hughes). Musk is going with much lower orbits, the lag should be unnoticable.

  105. 105
    lollipopguild says:

    @Redshift: For a lot of these people public exposure/shaming is about all that they will suffer.

  106. 106
    Bess says:

    Here’s a good explanation of the Tesla/SpaceX broadband system and its difference from high altitude geostationary satellites such as used by HughesNet.

    https://www.cnet.com/news/how-spacex-brings-starlink-broadband-satellite-internet-to-low-earth-orbit/

  107. 107
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @HeleninEire: Aren’t you leaving out electrification? That was *massive*. A/C (I’d lump in refrigeration generally) was huge, but you can’t really get it without electrification, right?

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:

    @lollipopguild:

    True public shaming actually works — that’s why Dershowitz and the Possum Queen have been running around screeching about how mmmmeeeeaaaannnnnn everyone is being to them, and the MSM is tsk-tsking about “civility.”

    Our problem is that most of these assholes have been protected from public shaming their entire careers and the MSM has always treated assholes like John Bolton or Elliot Abrams as mere functionaries. That needs to stop.

  109. 109

    @Mnemosyne: I wonder how many of these folk have been getting “special sauce” for years when they’ve eaten out.

    ETA: Still trying to figure out where to take the kido for Milky Way photography tonight, Red Rock or west of Santa Barbara.

  110. 110
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Bess: The only real thing I know is satellites introduce 1/4 to 1/2 second delay. You can see it in long-distance interviews on TV.

  111. 111

    @A Ghost To Most: We used to get that when we talked to our fellow minions of Satan up in Alaska.

  112. 112
    Haroldo says:

    @A Ghost To Most: As someone who worked at length in semiconductor captial equipment development, I worry about my contribution (as modest as it was) to this whole mess. Smaller, faster, less power consumption…meh. The emerging market is AI. I fear we are doing this because we can, not because it’s wise.

  113. 113
    Mnemosyne says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    All of them, Katie.

    But that’s still not public shunning or shaming, that’s secret revenge. Having a restaurant refuse to serve you affer you show up did is public shaming. Having people no longer invite you to their parties is shunning.

    Shunning is one of the most powerful and effective tools we have. It’s the worst punishment that a group can mete out to its members. We need to use it more often.

  114. 114
    Mnemosyne says:

    *after

    I hate that the edit function has gone away on mobile. 😢

  115. 115
    NotMax says:

    @Mnemosyne

    Even the Klingons know it.

    ;)

  116. 116
    Chetan Murthy says:

    Berners-Lee’s Solid appears to be some sort of decentralized personally-identifying-information (PII) management system. [For those who recognize the reference] Imagine OpenAuth, but for data (my address, gender, political preferences). The problems are numerous:

    (1) Cannot prevent divulging of your PII: you can prove you own a secret key without divulging it. You can’t (ahem) “prove you know what my propensity to believe bunk about the Learned Elders of Zion is,without divulging that propensity”. More simply, it’s hard to prove you know my gender, without divulging my gender. This means that if someone wants to do something useful with your data, and you want to permit it, you’ll also be permitting them to copy your data. At which point, we’re back to today (why would they delete their copy? LAWS? *giggle*)

    (2) Requires omniscience on the part of users: We all download apps and install them on our phones, clicking thru screens asking if we walt to allow access to various bits of our data. E.g. “this app wants access to your contact list”. Most people aren’t attentive enough or thoughtful enough to make informed choices.

    (3) Lots of PII isn’t and never will be owned by the user: Setting aside PII that could be argued as “mine”, there’s a ton that isn’t “mine”: is my Google search history mine, or Google’s? How about my Facebook”like” history? All of these are examples of where Berners-Lee’s stuff CANNOT help: b/c there ain’t no way some company’s gonna part with its data, that it spent good, hard money to create, letting a user hold it, unless it’s forced-to. And we’re back to LAWS. It isn’t surprising that all the laws and policies around PII are pretty much for “opt out”, not “opt in”.

    (4) All the algorithms need the data to be close-together in space (at the company’s datacenter): Many (most?) AI algorithms are hopelessly dependent on bringing all the data close-together and using high-performance computing methods — the term in systems circles is “clusters with full bisectional bandwidth” — to process that data. You can’t do that if your data is scatters 10/100 milliseconds away (speed-of-light-wise).

    And it goes on downhill from there.

  117. 117
    efgoldman says:

    @Haroldo:

    I fear we are doing this because we can, not because it’s wise.

    Whatever “it” is, if someone can monetize it and make a profit, they will

  118. 118
    NotMax says:

    @efgoldman

    Snarkcoins are the future.

    :)

  119. 119
    The Dangerman says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    …for Milky Way photography tonight, Red Rock or west of Santa Barbara.

    Check 101 for Goleta Fire (Hoilday Fire?) impacts.

  120. 120
    Jay says:

    @efgoldman:

    Pretty much everybody deep in AI notes that the inevitable end result will be human extinction,

  121. 121
    NotMax says:

    @HeleninEire

    There were pre-electric forms of air conditioning in the 19th century. Not as reliable nor as efficient, but for what they were intended to do they worked.

    Am 100% with Chetan Murthy above. There was a program back around the turn of the century about the greatest inventions/discoveries of the 20th century. They made no mention of refrigeration, which I felt was an egregious omission.

  122. 122
    Bess says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    Most other satellite internet services, like Viasat or HughesNet, rely on a handful of big satellites in geostationary orbit, over 22,000 miles (35,000 kilometers) above Earth.

    (SpaceX plans) to begin by deploying an army of 4,425 small satellites in low Earth orbit between 1,100 kilometers (684 miles) and 1,325 kilometers (823 miles) above us.

    Once its low Earth orbit constellation is up and working, SpaceX hopes to launch an even larger flock of satellites, 7,518 of them to be exact, at an orbit of around 340 kilometers (211 miles) in altitude.

    SpaceX says this “VLEO constellation” would provide added capacity where it’s needed around the world, “enabling the provision of high speed, high bandwidth, low latency broadband services that are truly competitive with terrestrial alternatives.”

    https://www.cnet.com/news/how-spacex-brings-starlink-broadband-satellite-internet-to-low-earth-orbit/

    22,000 miles vs. 211 miles. That’s 104x longer to get the signal up to the high altitude stationary orbit satellite and 104x longer to get it back to Earth.

    Lags will be a bit longer for less densely populated areas which won’t be served by the lowest altitude satellites. But it will be faster than what we now get with high altitude birds.

  123. 123
    NotMax says:

    @Jay

    So no downside, then?

    ;)

  124. 124
    The Dangerman says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    The only real thing I know is satellites introduce 1/4 to 1/2 second delay.

    I would guess that’s geosynchronous satellites; LEO (low earth orbit) shouldn’t ‘t have that much of an effect. At one time, Iridium was putting up a shitload of LEO’s but I don’t know how far they’ve progressed.

  125. 125
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Haroldo<

    "Mongo just pawn in game of life"

    The IT industry is very different now; I'm glad to be out. YMMV.

  126. 126
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @The Dangerman:

    At one time, Iridium was putting up a shitload of LEO’s

    Heh. They overestimated the market for “anywhere satellite telephony” and ran outta money. ISTR the company that bought them out, did the same.

    A giggle: You can search “221000 miles in light-seconds” and Google will tell you 1.18637082. Love it. I’m slowly forgetting how to do such conversions in my head. And yeah, the whole problem with satellites for telecommunications comes down to distance (and speed-of-light). Run ’em in LEO, and the satellite could be closer than the “peering point” thru which your land-line signal would get sent. SF->San Diego is 501mi — so if I hit a site hosted in SD, going up to the satellite and back down can’t even double the transit time (Pythagoras *grin*) [uh, assuming the satellite is, say, over Santa Barbara when I sent my packet; obvs if it were over Texas, it’d be longer, but again not a second.]

  127. 127
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @The Dangerman:
    Didn’t Iridium go tits up?

    I haven’t worked in networks since 1990, so my knowledge is onion on belt. Large Oracle databases was my expertise after that.

  128. 128

    @The Dangerman: I’ve been checking that, that’s the concern I have about Arroyo Hondo. But it’s pretty far west(about 20 miles) of Goleta. The problem with Red Rock is I’m getting mixed messages on cloud cover from different weather sources.

  129. 129
    Bess says:

    SpaceX say this should give 1Gb broadband with relatively low latency (25–35ms because of the lower orbit than other space-based systems) to millions (or billions) of subscribers

    https://medium.com/@gavinsblog/will-spacex-become-the-worlds-biggest-telecoms-provider-probably-f1cdb22d00cc

  130. 130

    @The Dangerman: Iridium is putting up a new generation of satellites(they don’t flare, that’s why I know).

  131. 131
    The Dangerman says:

    @Chetan Murthy:

    Heh, indeed. Satellites are damned expensive.

    Seems to me you could send up a whole bunch of high altitude drones (large enough I’m not sure you could call them drones but roll with me here) so they could be brought back for maintenance and refueling.

  132. 132
    Bess says:

    @The Dangerman: Facebook just bailed on a solar powered drone system. Cost was too high.

  133. 133
    The Dangerman says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    The problem with Red Rock is I’m getting mixed messages on cloud cover from different weather sources.

    I’m not sure of where Red Rock is … how about Joshua Tree? Seems to me from Glendale to 20 mi west of Goleta should be about same distance as Joshua Tree? Spoken as someone that doesn’t have a clue what the weather is like in JT today.

  134. 134

    @The Dangerman: Joshua Tree is getting monsoonal flow and it’s about 180 miles to inside the park(150 to 29 Palms), Arroyo Hondo(it’s the place with the old bridge), is 120 miles.

    ETA: Red Rock is about 30 miles north of Mojave on the 14.

  135. 135
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Well, fuck me with a fondue fork, I thought that line was from Zathras – one of ’em anyway.

  136. 136
    lethargytartare says:

    I’m counting on all you tech wizards to explain how and where this all goes wrong, but *I* thought it was interesting. Katrina Brooker, in Vanity Fair:

    i think this is the actual plot of HBO’s Silicon Valley.

  137. 137
    NotMax says:

    @Uncle Cosmo

    “Zathras’ life is hard. Zathras’ death will be hard. At least there is symmetry.”

  138. 138
    Ken says:

    @Bess:

    On Elon’s do list is a system of low orbit satellites providing ISP connections to the planet.

    “We call it SkyNet.”

    First use will be for Tesla EVs self-driving systems.

    “It will control the autonomous vehicles and other mobile platforms.”

    Then it should be expanded for general internet use.

    “The survivors, if any, will thank us.”

  139. 139
    Platonailedit says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    Lol. Hopefully, Sarah has a forgiving nature.

  140. 140
    NotMax says:

    @Ken

    “It will control the autonomous vehicles and other mobile platforms.”

    “Dammit. I wanted to go to Portland, Oregon, not Portland, Maine! How do I turn this farkakte thing off?”

  141. 141

    @NotMax: Could be worse, you could have ended up in Auckland instead of Oakland.

  142. 142
    The Dangerman says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    Red Rock is about 30 miles north of Mojave on the 14.

    Oh, I shoulda known that; I’ve been there. Well, passed through there, at high speed. A long time ago ;-)

  143. 143
    Bess says:

    Fear of new technology raises its hoary head….

  144. 144

    @The Dangerman: Most folk pass though there at a high rate of speed, but they usually notice the red cliffs.

  145. 145

    @Bess: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid.

  146. 146
    Misterpuff says:

    @NotMax: Probably not listed in inventions of the 20th century because electric power systems were developed and beta tested in the 19th Century,

  147. 147
    patrick II says:

    @efgoldman:

    It was a Milky Way ad.

  148. 148
    NotMax says:

    @Misterpuff

    Ah, the great AC/DC war. Charge!

  149. 149
    oatler. says:

    @The Dangerman: “Takeshi subscribed to the services of Cheapsat,an economy communications satellite that was not, like more expensive units, geosynchronous, or parked in orbit always above the same spot above the earth- no, instead Cheapsat drifted continually backwards through the heavens, always going over the horizon in the middle of people’s phone calls, as it even now was doing.”
    -from Vineland

  150. 150
    Jim Parish says:

    @frosty: “Where have you been, woman?” “Shopping. Want to see what I bought?”

  151. 151
  152. 152
    The Dangerman says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    …but they usually notice the red cliffs.

    Nice shot; I’m trying to recall last time through there … I think it was well before dawn on my way to Tahoe. A long time ago.

    Back in the day, I used to get up realllllllly early to get the hell outta town; my favorite run was South Bay to Mariposa, which used to have a GREAT restaurant for dinner. Yosemite Valley for brunch wasn’t bad, either.

  153. 153
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jim Parish:

    “Every Vor lady does her shopping in the capitol. It’s tradition.”

    “I paid too much for it.”

    “That, too, is traditional.”

  154. 154
    NotMax says:

    @patrick II

    Only candy bar I can tolerate now (the others are too sickly sweet) has no chocolate at all – Zagnut. And that only once in a great while.

    Note to self: Restock on Zagnut when in NY at the Old Candy store (that’s the actual name of the place), a couple of klicks from Mom’s door.

  155. 155
    NotMax says:

    @NotMax

    Also regularly stocks Hopjes. Impossible to find those here.

  156. 156
    Kathleen says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Actually it’s a Milky Way. (Unlike you all, I have no life and watch way too much TV).

  157. 157
    different-church-lady says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Nobody else can shake their fist at a cloud like I can.

  158. 158
    different-church-lady says:

    @Jay:

    Pretty much everybody deep in AI notes that the inevitable end result will be human extinction

    That’s the inevitable end result with or without AI.

  159. 159
    Amir Khalid says:

    @NotMax:
    @Misterpuff:
    People have been using water evaporation and harvested ice for cooling and refrigeration since ancient times, Wikipedia tells us.. Modern refrigeration technology was developed over the 18th and 19th centuries — Benjamin Franklin worked on some of it — so it wouldn’t have made the cut for a show about 20th-century tech.

  160. 160
    TriassicSands says:

    @different-church-lady:

    The roaches will still survive, which means there’s a chance for Republicans.

  161. 161
    different-church-lady says:

    @Ken: SOCIETY, 2018: “Too many people are dying in car crashes. What can we do?”
    TECHNOLOGISTS: “Self-driving cars are the answer!”

    SOCIETY, 2038: “Too many people are dying because THE SELF DRIVING CARS ARE TRYING TO KILL US!!!”
    TECHNOLOGISTS: “Okay, I think we still have control over a few of the robot dogs with claw heads…”

  162. 162
  163. 163
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Google has been experimenting with high altitude balloons for few years now with Project Loon, for just this reason.

    I believe they tried to use this to provide phone and internet to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

  164. 164
    Kathleen says:

    @TriassicSands: I like the idea of the cockroaches being the masters of Rethuglicans.

  165. 165
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @Amir Khalid: William Gibson has that famous saying “the future is already here; it’s just unevenly distributed”. True, electric power was in-use in the 19th century. Ditto refrigeration. But it was the widespread use of those, that changed our world, and that happened in the 20th century.

    If we go by the yardstick of “who invented it, when”, then the Internet was invented by Doug Engelbart, whose Mother of All Demos in the 60s is still legendary. [funny story: Engelbart is being shown the Macintosh by Steve Jobs (who hopes that The Master will be impressed by the windows & mouse). Engelbart looks in the back, and asks where the networking connection is.]

  166. 166
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    New Orleans used ice making machines during the Civil War when they were cut off from natural ice in the north by the war.

  167. 167
    Platonailedit says:

    Staying on topic.

    Before the internet, I would have had to call a plumber for every little issue, but now I can watch 14 videos about how to fix it and THEN call the plumber.

    — bananafanafofisa (@lisaxy424) July 5, 2018

  168. 168
    chris says:

    Reading comments with amusement because I just read this piece. Via William Gibson

    The more committed we are to this view of the world, the more we come to see human beings as the problem and technology as the solution. The very essence of what it means to be human is treated less as a feature than bug.

  169. 169
    Amir Khalid says:

    @TriassicSands:
    The roaches better watch out, because Keef Richards will be hungry.

  170. 170
    NotMax says:

    @Amir Khalid

    Was thinking more of not only readily available large scale commercial refrigeration but more specifically electric home refrigerators, which changed the way people shopped and ate, and served to address a host of food safety issues..

    In 1913, refrigerators for home and domestic use were invented by Fred W. Wolf of Fort Wayne, Indiana with models consisting of a unit that was mounted on top of an ice box. In 1914, engineer Nathaniel B. Wales of Detroit, Michigan, introduced an idea for a practical electric refrigeration unit, which later became the basis for the Kelvinator. A self-contained refrigerator, with a compressor on the bottom of the cabinet was invented by Alfred Mellowes in 1916. Mellowes produced this refrigerator commercially but was bought out by William C. Durant in 1918, who started the Frigidaire company to mass-produce refrigerators. In 1918, Kelvinator company introduced the first refrigerator with any type of automatic control. The absorption refrigerator was invented by Baltzar von Platen and Carl Munters from Sweden in 1922, while they were still students at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. It became a worldwide success and was commercialized by Electrolux. Other pioneers included Charles Tellier, David Boyle, and Raoul Pictet. Carl von Linde was the first to patent and make a practical and compact refrigerator.

    These home units usually required the installation of the mechanical parts, motor and compressor, in the basement or an adjacent room while the cold box was located in the kitchen. There was a 1922 model that consisted of a wooden cold box, water-cooled compressor, an ice cube tray and a 9-cubic-foot (0.25 m3) compartment, and cost $714. (A 1922 Model-T Ford cost about $450.) By 1923, Kelvinator held 80 percent of the market for electric refrigerators. Also in 1923 Frigidaire introduced the first self-contained unit. About this same time porcelain-covered metal cabinets began to appear. Ice cube trays were introduced more and more during the 1920s; up to this time freezing was not an auxiliary function of the modern refrigerator.

    The first refrigerator to see widespread use was the General Electric “Monitor-Top” refrigerator introduced in 1927…. Source

  171. 171
    Bess says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Approximately 90% of all car crash fatalities are caused by humans being non-attentive or somehow incapacitated.

    Self-driving cars will not get drunk, go to sleep, text, reach into the back seat to separate fighting kids, look left when they should be looking right, fail to look both ways before moving, etc.

    Self-driving cars may not be 100% safe but a 90% decrease in crashes is a significant improvement. Take it from someone who has been hit from behind while walking on the shoulder of the road by someone looking at flowers on the other side of the road. And someone who have been almost killed twice (serious time in intensive care) by having their car struck by a drunk driver.

    As for you car taking you to Portland, Maine rather than Portland, Oregon you should pick up on that in a very short time if you are not comatose. Just take a glance at the displayed map right after you input your destination.

  172. 172
    J R in WV says:

    @Redshift:

    “Hmm, maybe. Ghost may be able to correct me here, but last I heard direct-to-satellite had enough lag that it’s not going to beat even a throttled ISP for speed.”

    Lag and speed aren’t really the same thing. If the network is fast enough, a little lag doesn’t matter, unless you’re playing a shooter game. If you want to stream a movie, it doesn’t matter if it takes 15 seconds before it starts, as long as it streams fast enough.

    We have a sat link, and it works OK for regular things, unless the antenna gets knocked off the aim at the sat. Then you have to re-aim it. Which requires a signal to noise meter software tool and patience. Takes a big storm to do that, though.

  173. 173
    NotMax says:

    @Bess

    “What? I have to read?! Driving time is nap time!”

    :)

  174. 174
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: In what frame of reference is Auckland a worse destination than Oakland?

  175. 175
    Jay says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Just happens faster with AI,

    The Intelligent Machine’s gonna be much more efficient at killing Man.

  176. 176
    J R in WV says:

    @NotMax:

    …no mention of refrigeration, which I felt was an egregious omission.

    Truly. God bless Mr Carrier!! He may have made it possible for humans to live through Global Climate Change with his refrigeration cycle devices.

    On the other hand, pumping the heat from inside where you want it cooler makes it hotter outside!!! So twisted between two functions again…

  177. 177
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @NotMax: True story: in pre-smartphone days I was driving north on I-95 between RI and MA; since I was only going 75, I kept to the middle lane, as is expected; some dude passed me in the left lane going well north of 80 – he was reading the paper. Yes, he had a newspaper between his hands, which were holding the steering wheel.

  178. 178
    Haroldo says:

    @A Ghost To Most: As happy as a tidal flat of Ipswich clams.

  179. 179
    different-church-lady says:

    [self redacted]

  180. 180
    chris says:

    This is fun, too. There’s a brief article attache to the tweet, well worth a read.

    For instance, developers discovered that Facebook’s AI had begun writing a modified version of a coding language for efficiency, having essentially created its own code dialect, causing transparency concerns.   https://t.co/ZoxY6bWnkL— Divergent Options (@DivergentOption) 7 July 2018

  181. 181
    J R in WV says:

    @J R in WV:

    OK, now,, there’s a long list of other folks who invented stuff, and no one mentions Mr Carrier. Am I that wrong? G’night all!!

  182. 182
    Brachiator says:

    The idea is simple: re-decentralize the Web. Working with a small team of developers, he spends most of his time now on Solid, a platform designed to give individuals, rather than corporations, control of their own data. “There are people working in the lab trying to imagine how the Web could be different. How society on the Web could look different. What could happen if we give people privacy and we give people control of their data,” Berners-Lee told me. “We are building a whole eco-system.”

    I sympathize with this sentiment, but have little patience with it. It is another iteration of the fallacy that open source is the answer to everything.

    Also, the notion that a small group of elites will “give” the people control of their data is a contradiction.

  183. 183
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Gin & Tonic: buying drugs

  184. 184
    Steeplejack says:

    Damn it, missed the start of the Tour de France this morning. Set a reminder for Stage 2 tomorrow (7:30 a.m.-noon EDT, NBC Sports). Ninety minutes of coverage at 4:30 p.m. on “regular” NBC. Stage 1 is being shown on NBC Sports now, will be repeated at midnight.

    I’m not a big fan of cycling, but the Tour is my favorite summer background-TV wallpaper. Gorgeous scenery every damn day, and the announcers are both knowledgeable and soothing.

  185. 185
    different-church-lady says:

    @chris: I’m hoping someday Facebook will be too busy spying on itself to bother us anymore.

  186. 186
    different-church-lady says:

    @Bess: On the other hand, self-driving cars will be susceptible to bugs and hacking.

  187. 187
  188. 188
    debbie says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Like HAL giving up the ghost?

  189. 189
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Steeplejack: I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Phil Liggett is the best English-language sports announcer of any sport, period.

  190. 190
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @chris: I clicked-thru to the referenced Forbes article (link #6) and it isn’t quite as bad as all that. They’re sketchy on details (b/c Forbes) but it appears that they pointed two chatbots at each other (so each responding to the other one’s utterances) and were surprised when they basically evolved their own language. This is ….. not surprising. These are chatbots. All AI is based around some sort of score-maximizing algorithm. So the “language” they evolved was one that caused the interaction to score high on their algorithms. Imagine two boys who really, really, really like talking about, oh, idunno, playboy models. They get off on it. You can imagine that they might end up evolving an entire sublanguage to discuss that, no? B/c the more time they spend discussing it, the more such discussion they can cram into a fixed time period, the more they get off. It wasn’t (from what I can glean from the article) a “coding language”.

    Which doesn’t change that eventually when AIs talk to other AIs, these sorts of loops might result in who-knows-what coming out the end. That IS worrying. As somebody pointed out once, if an AI is optimized for making GRREAT pulled-pork sandwiches, it might decide to kill off all of humanity, in order to have more room for raising hogs, for those sandwiches.

  191. 191
    different-church-lady says:

    @J R in WV:

    On the other hand, pumping the heat from inside where you want it cooler makes it hotter outside!!! So twisted between two functions again…

    For the life of me I cannot figure out why we don’t have refrigerators that pump the hot air to the outside in the summer, and then take in cold air from the outside in the winter.

  192. 192
    RSA says:

    @Jay:

    Pretty much everybody deep in AI notes that the inevitable end result will be human extinction,

    I don’t think so.

  193. 193
    different-church-lady says:

    @RSA: You’re right: climate change will get us first.

  194. 194
    Brachiator says:

    @Bess:

    Self-driving cars will not get drunk, go to sleep, text, reach into the back seat to separate fighting kids, look left when they should be looking right, fail to look both ways before moving, etc.

    Self-driving cars may not be 100% safe but a 90% decrease in crashes is a significant improvement.

    I would love it if self-driving cars become a reality, but right now, the idea that these vehicles will produce a 90 percent decrease in crashes is an unrealistic speculation.

    One great problem is that the sensory systems that these vehicles use are unreliable and can not accurately reproduce the decisions that a human driver makes with respect to simple, but common driving situations.

    In one test, a car correctly followed behind a moving vehicle. The vehicle switched lanes, revealing a stationary mock vehicle, which the driver-assist car promptly plowed into.

    These issues can be worked out, but part of the problem is that the engineers need to rethink what a vehicle should “see” and how it should react.

  195. 195
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @different-church-lady: I’m not an expert, but isn’t that what “heat pumps” are? ISTR reading about ’em back in the late 70s in Popular Science. Never really caught on, but I was too young to really understand why or why not.

  196. 196
  197. 197
    different-church-lady says:

    he has visions of the rest of us rising up and joining him.

    Pffffft… the “rest of us” gave Facebook all that power willingly. And most of them will continue giving Facebook all that power as long as Facebook continues to provide them with the toys so vital to modern day procrastination.

  198. 198
    NotMax says:

    @different-church-lady

    If you mean home refrigerators, they (generally) operate as an insulated sealed box and are not designed to exchange air, just to redistribute heat. Seems one would need a fairly large duct (with associated ductwork and noisy fans) if connecting to the outside. Plus every opening to the outside serves as a invitation for something unwanted to skitter in.

  199. 199
    chris says:

    @Chetan Murthy: Worrying indeed.
    “We built this really cool AI.”
    “What does it do?”
    “We don’t know. It found our code inelegant and tedious so it invented it’s own code that we can’t read.”

  200. 200
    NotMax says:

    @NotMax

    Not a pretty picture; imagine opening the fridge door to find it infested with ants.

  201. 201
    Steeplejack says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    No argument here.

  202. 202
    Kayla Rudbek says:

    @different-church-lady: or even just pumping the hot air generated by the refrigerator into the oven would be a good start (think I saw that suggestion in Spider Robinson’s Callahan books)

  203. 203
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @NotMax: I’m more worried about my mother in law getting in

  204. 204
  205. 205
    Brachiator says:

    @Redshift:

    A while back I was in a back-and-forth with a winger on twitter about health care, and when challenged about the better outcomes from other countries’ national health systems, his rebuttal was literally that health insurance companies made more money, so they must be better.

    Wow. This contradicts classical economics in every way possible.

    So, the best product would be one which was absolutely useless, but which generated high profits.

    And a cheap cigarette with the highest level of nicotine would be admirable, even if it produced high levels of second hand smoke.

  206. 206
    Mnemosyne says:

    @different-church-lady:

    I dunno, NotMax was giving you a run for your money yesterday with his I don’t listen to any music recorded after the heyday of the Andrews Sisters schtick. 😘😂

  207. 207
    NotMax says:

    @Kayla Rudbek

    If the heat pulled from the refrigerator is 350 degrees F, you’ve got problems some serious problems.

    :)

  208. 208
    MobileForkbeard says:

    On a completely different note, how do we not have another OT yet?

  209. 209
    Jay says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    If you are in a car, there’s an awful lot of saltwater between Oakland and Auckland. You might need to hold your breath for a while.

  210. 210
    Corner Stone says:

    How old is this thread in blog years?

  211. 211
    NotMax says:

    @Mnemosyne

    Gross exaggeration. Never said that in any manner or form. What was offered was where my preferences in music lie, in response to what you had postulated they were.

  212. 212
    germy says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I don’t listen to any music recorded after the heyday of the Andrews Sisters

    That was funny. “I don’t keep up with these new pop stars.”

    “His first record came out in 1977.”

  213. 213
    germy says:

    @NotMax: The older I get, the more I appreciate the older music, and the less tolerance I have for the hard rock I enjoyed in my youth.

  214. 214
    rikyrah says:

    The Hill (@thehill) Tweeted:
    JUST IN: Seventh former Ohio State wrestler accuses top GOP lawmakers of ignoring sexual abuse https://t.co/yXky9od8q9 https://t.co/7KSz3CEFn6 https://twitter.com/thehill/status/1015762662209343488?s=17

  215. 215
    different-church-lady says:

    @Kayla Rudbek: Spider Robinson. Now there’s a guy who knew where his towel was.

  216. 216
    NotMax says:

    @NotMax

    As a matter of fact, what’s playing in the background at the moment is the “Composers: Berlin, Gershwins, Porter & Kern” AccuRadio channel on the Roku box. The other day it was the 20th and 21st century Ambient Electronic music channel. Last week it was the Klezmer channel. Mood dictates melody.

  217. 217
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone: When we lived in cardboard box in road, we had to make our own thread. And we were happy!

  218. 218
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NotMax:

    Are we not allowed to tease Ye Oldsters anymore?

  219. 219
    different-church-lady says:

    Plainsong: ripe for a comeback.

  220. 220
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @rikyrah: JoPa Jordan. I hope this buries him.

  221. 221
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mnemosyne: Only if we’re trying to make them vote for Fascists.

  222. 222
    NotMax says:

    @Mnemosyne

    You’re more than welcome to tease, taunt or otherwise gibe. Not as welcome to put words never said or sentiments never expressed in my mouth and present them as accurate and factual.

  223. 223
    Brachiator says:

    BTW. I have to thank the technology gods for air conditioning and refrigeration (which gives us strawberry shakes). I had a coupon and stopped by McDonald’s for a drink. I suppose that a number of senior centers opened up today to deal with high temperatures, but along with families with kids, there were also a number of seniors inside, trying to beat the heat.

  224. 224
    lollipopguild says:

    @different-church-lady: YOU had a cardboard box? You were Rich!

  225. 225
    Jay says:

    @Brachiator:

    Self Driving Cars will remain a Glibertarian techno fantasy in 99.9% of the world,

    The problems not going to be the AI, the sensors,

    But instead the reaction time and the infrstructure.

    Every winter the road into town get’s littered with upside down late model SUV’s and pickups. All the “drivers aids”, like traction control, pulse braking, A4WD enable people to fly down the road, with no “feel” for road conditions because there are half a dozen computers and automated features between their butt on the seat and the tires on the road,

    Right up until the moment road conditions exceed the sensor/computer speed.

    Today, coming back home, there was a brutal accident. A P/U truck going through the last intersection in Sahali, had a wheel ripped off by a pothole, lost control and tboned a Kia.

    There’s no way our Glibartarian Tech Lords are going to pay to fix potholes, that’s socialism doncha know.

  226. 226
    Corner Stone says:

    I think the #SecondCivilWar has finally begun. Someone in the neighborhood behind me is firing off artillery at a steady rate.

  227. 227
    NotMax says:

    @Corner Stone

    Time to drag out and crack open that box labeled “Acme Instant Slit Trench.”

    :)

  228. 228
    Jay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Nope, it was rescheduled to November 6th.

    It’s just a MAGAt who’s too dumb to use a calender.

  229. 229
    germy says:

    @Jay: Several years back our entire street was repaved after repairs to a broken water main.

    The street was closed to all but the localist of traffic. Construction crew set up barriers and plastic fences around the big holes.

    On two different nights, two different tractor trailers sped through the street, destroying the barriers and fences. Damage was done to both the construction and the tractor trailer tires. The “Road Closed” signs were run over.

    The trailer drivers told the police they were simply obeying their GPS.

  230. 230
    NotMax says:

    Word of the day is plantigrade.

    Fine old bit of language, that.

  231. 231
    NotMax says:

    @germy

    “I was only following orders” has a, shall we say, checkered track record.

    ;)

  232. 232
    Jay says:

    @germy:

    Yup, pull guys out of the bush every year that were following their onboard nav system and get stuck. Worst one was a guy who had to walk down the road in dress shoes, 3km to the house, in the hopes we had a phone or cell reception, in -20.

    Some nav systems say our road is a scenic drive through to the highway. Hasn’t been since 1932.

    They don’t even plow past our neighbours corrall, so getting stuck that far up the road took a certain level of obstinance.

  233. 233
    The Dangerman says:

    If Glendale Bill is still around and not out already taking pictures of the Milky Way, if you are ever in my neighborhood (let’s call it SLO town), I’ll introduce you to a guy by the name of Russ Genet, who leads up the Orion Observatory locally (and teaches locally). It’s been a little over a decade since I and Russ and Cheryl have crossed paths, but I think they will remember me. Plus, they are friendly enough I bet you could contact them any time. I think they’d love some of your photos.

    ETA: I had forgotten the Russ and Cheryl story was actually pretty cool.

  234. 234
    YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S) says:

    @Bess:

    Self-driving cars will not get drunk, go to sleep, text, reach into the back seat to separate fighting kids, look left when they should be looking right, fail to look both ways before moving, etc

    Spoken like someone who has never seen a BSOD or a FYWP malfunction.

  235. 235
    NotMax says:

    @Jay

    Goofball Piloting Service.

    :)

    Don’t have nav or GPS electronic gewgaws in the car. If it was there, would be disconnected faster than one could say, well, Tim Berners-Lee.

  236. 236
    Brachiator says:

    @Jay:

    There’s no way our Glibartarian Tech Lords are going to pay to fix potholes, that’s socialism doncha know.

    Interesting point. I think that the promise of self-driving cars will actually spur infrastructure development.

  237. 237

    @YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S):I have a sneaking suspicion that Bess is a very bored DougJ.

  238. 238
    efgoldman says:

    A new Balloon Juice tradition: Seeing how long we can run an evening thread without posting a new one.
    Two nights in a row.

  239. 239
    germy says:

    @Brachiator:

    I think that the promise of self-driving cars will actually spur infrastructure development.

    But not in a good way.

    Do we really need more cars (self driving or not) more roads, more parking lots, more car dealerships? Should we be adding more lanes to six lane highways?

    I really wish we could invest in rail and other forms of public transit, rather than continue on the “one car per citizen” path.

  240. 240
    NotMax says:

    @efgoldman

    Front pagers melted?

    (It’s possible the site is going bananas again and the front pagers’ access to posting tools is once again under siege.)

  241. 241
    Brachiator says:

    @NotMax:
    RE: Don’t have nav or GPS electronic gewgaws in the car. If it was there, would be disconnected faster than one could say, well, Tim Berners-Lee.

    Southern California drivers used to depend on the Thomas Guide maps. GPS tools have totally replaced them.

    Hell, I love GPS so much, I’ve used it for walking directions.

  242. 242
    Jay says:

    @NotMax:

    I don’t have AC, power windows, mirrors or doorlocks.

    Fanciest pieces of tech are my lockers, Marlin Crawler, winch, lights and a CD player that I can plug an IPOD into.

  243. 243
    germy says:

    @Brachiator:

    There’s no way our Glibartarian Tech Lords are going to pay to fix potholes, that’s socialism doncha know.

    That’s the pizza delivery company’s job.

  244. 244
    germy says:

    @NotMax: Cole refused to give them a wage increase, so the front pagers have gone on strike.

  245. 245
    YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S) says:

    @NotMax:

    If the heat pulled from the refrigerator is 350 degrees F, you’ve got problems some serious problems

    We make it up in volume?

  246. 246
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Chetan Murthy: Our lovely little all-electric suburban ticky-tacky box here in southwestern Ohio has a heat pump.

    It works just fine as an air conditioner in the summer but we are a bit too far north for it to supply enough heat during the coldest parts of the winter. They are really a better choice for warmer climes.

    Once it gets down to around 20 degrees, the auxiliary electric heating system kicks in, and that is expensive. But since there is no gas line on our street, we don’t have another option.

  247. 247
    NotMax says:

    @Jay

    Sounds like nothing so much as an International Harvester Scout.

    :)

    /dating myself – again

  248. 248
    Brachiator says:

    @germy:

    I really wish we could invest in rail and other forms of public transit, rather than continue on the “one car per citizen” path.

    Self-driving cars may be part of public transit. And buses and trains may use driver assist and Self-driving technology.

    In the past, the most reliable public transit was walking, and for the middle and upper classes, trucks, taxis and other delivery vehicles were heavily used. And of course, the wealthy had use of all kinds of private vehicles
    And horses. But you had to have money to sustain this.

  249. 249
    YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S) says:

    @efgoldman:

    A new Balloon Juice tradition: Seeing how long we can run an evening thread without posting a new one.

    Shooting for Tbogg units.

  250. 250
    NotMax says:

    @YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S)

    When E.F. Hutton efgoldman talks, people listen. Fresh thread just popped up.

    :)

  251. 251
    YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S) says:

    @NotMax: Shoot, I was just about to post my autonomous flying car / infrastructure crack.

  252. 252
    Jay says:

    @germy:

    Not gonna happen. There would have to be a return to 1950’s taxes, the one part the Glibartarians hate.

    Instead, there will be turther tiering, with Duchebro’s riding in even fancier busses, some urban/suburban areas “gated off” for the convenience of the 1%ers in their Chauffeurless cars,

    While “Missy” the waitress lives in her car on blocks, several miles from her workplace, with her hovel protected from being towed away by the huge gaping potholes in the abandoned industrial park.

    ‘Murka ain’t getting high speed public transportation. Only places like China or the EU deserve that socialist hellscape.

  253. 253
    MagdaInBlack says:

    @Jay:
    We in the collision repair industry have a lot of thoughts about all those features they put on cars, but it boils down to most people don’t know how to drive in good conditions, mush less when things get dicey.
    God bless them, they keep me living indoors, but driving skills are becoming non-existant.

    The computer screen in the middle of the dash is a guaranteed accident waiting to happen. Who the heck decided THAT was a good idea?
    ETA: self driving is a fantasy.

  254. 254
    Jay says:

    @NotMax:

    Nope, lifted ’84 solid axel ‘Yota.

  255. 255
    Jay says:

    @MagdaInBlack:

    Well, I once worked for a company that made industrial computers. Window’s based, so of course, it came with Solitaire.

    That 45% Productivity drop in manufacturing was all our fault.

  256. 256
    Jay says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    Pellet stove.

  257. 257
    Brachiator says:

    @Jay:
    RE:. Murka ain’t getting high speed public transportation. Only places like China or the EU deserve that socialist hellscape.

    In China, high speed public transportation is the bicycle.

  258. 258
    NotMax says:

    @Jay

    How do you say “brick sh*thouse” in Japanese?

    :)

  259. 259
    Jay says:

    @Brachiator:

    Not since the ’70’s.

    “In 2017 HSR extended to 29 of the country’s 33 provincial-level administrative divisions and exceeded 25,000 km (16,000 mi) in total length, accounting for about two-thirds of the world’s high-speed rail tracks in commercial service.[1][2] It is the world’s longest HSR network and is also the most extensively used, with 1.713 billion trips delivered in 2017 bringing the total cumulative number of trips to 7 billion.[3][4]”

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Trumpenomic’s is gonna be putting most of you back into the drivers seat of a ’71 Chevy Vega if you are lucky.

  260. 260
    Kayla Rudbek says:

    @NotMax: True dat. But heating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit from about 120 degrees Fahrenheit would still take less energy than going to 350 from about 70.

  261. 261
    Jay says:

    @NotMax:

    Toyota Hilux.

  262. 262
    Kayla Rudbek says:

    @different-church-lady: he is still alive and he joined Twitter recently

  263. 263
    NotMax says:

    @Jay

    Borrowed a friend’s brother’s (then) late model Toyota pick-up for a day when several trips to the landfill were in order. Standard tranny and V-8.

    Could watch the gas gauge steadily and inexorably moving downwards as it drove.

  264. 264
    Jay says:

    @Kayla Rudbek:

    Texas A/C. Buried pvc pipes fed to the furnace use the furnace fan to pump ground cooled air (54-59F) through the house. In winter, in cold climes, it uses the same phenom to preheat the air, saving up to 82% on winter heating bills.

  265. 265
    Bess says:

    @different-church-lady:

    self-driving cars will be susceptible to bugs and hacking

    Bugs will have to be almost totally eliminated before the public is allowed to use the system. We have to assume there may be a bug or two that isn’t detected until it causes a problem. If other car manufacturers follow Tesla’s lead bugs will get fixed very quickly ‘over the air’. Tesla changed the braking algorithm for the Model 3 within a few hours of Consumers Reports finding that braking distance was increasing after multiple ‘panic’ brakings in a row.

    Tesla has worked with the problem of getting hacked. We’ll have to see if they’ve done enough. I suspect there’s a core set of instructions (Don’t hit anything.) that won’t be accessible over the air but can only be accessed in a Tesla shop.

  266. 266
    Bess says:

    @Brachiator:

    The Tesla system can see the car in front of the car. It uses signals bounced under the car in front of it.

    Don’t confuse Tesla’s Autopilot system with a self-driving system. They are not the same thing. The Autopilot is a driver assist program which depends on a human driver to be alert for developing problems and take control.

  267. 267
    Jay says:

    @NotMax:

    Yup, ‘Yota lost me when they went “North American Gas Guzzler” and kept the Hiluxes to the Emerging Markets and the Jihadists.

    I’ve got a 2.4L 4banger built and tuned fulie that gets 36mpg on the highway. With the two fuel tanks I can run north to the Skeena, fish around, and only have to fuel up to return home.

  268. 268
  269. 269
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NotMax:

    So all jokes must remain strictly within the realm of the factual, with no exaggeration or hyperbole permitted?

  270. 270
    NotMax says:

    @Mnemosyne

    Sorry to disappoint, but have no interest in playing in a game of moving goalposts.

  271. 271
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NotMax:

    The only person here who doesn’t seem to understand that I was making a joke using a humorous exaggeration of what you said yesterday is you. I apologize if I offended you by making that joke. I will make certain to never attempt to joke with you again.

  272. 272
    NotMax says:

    @Mnemosyne

    Impressed you can speak so authoritatively for everybody else. Love a good joke, even harbor affection for a bad joke. That twasn’t neither.

    No apology necessary; water under the bridge and we row on. I hold no rancor at all.

  273. 273
    different-church-lady says:

    @Jay: SELF DRIVING CAR OWNER: “Take me to the supermarket.”

    SELF-DRIVING CAR AI: “Are you kidding? I just saw a snowflake. How about a nice game of chess?”

  274. 274
    different-church-lady says:

    @Bess:

    Bugs will have to be almost totally eliminated before the public is allowed to use the system.

    Ah. So never.

  275. 275
    Steeplejack says:

    @NotMax:

    Late to return to the thread, but as part of “everybody else” I will weigh in to say that you overreacted to what was clearly a joke.

  276. 276
    Aardvark Cheeselog says:

    @A Ghost To Most: I too was proud to help formulate the pavement of the Information Superhighway, though I don’t know if my contributions to TCP are still in use.

    I remember when we thought that computers everywhere, all connected, would be a great force for freedom. People would be able to say whatever they wanted, without fear!

    Unfortunately, it turns out that much of what they have to say is hateful and very, very stupid.

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