Four short links: 24 January 2017

Doomsday Prep, Printing Skin, Autonomous Skepticism, and Slow Wifi

By Nat Torkington
January 24, 2017
  1. Doomsday Prep for the Super Rich“I think, in the back of people’s minds, frankly, is that, if the world really goes to shit, New Zealand is a First World country, completely self-sufficient, if necessary—energy, water, food. Life would deteriorate, but it would not collapse.” Bless ’em. NZ has 51 aircraft in the airforce, 11 ships and 11 helicopters in the navy, and about 6,500 soldiers (including the reserves). If the apocalypse comes and someone wants our sheep, they’ll be able to take our sheep. Just sink the container ships heading for us, and the populace will revolt as soon as their supply lines of cheap Chinese crap are interrupted. Move to NZ for quality of life, but don’t delude yourself it’s a bolthole if civilization breaks down. PS: bless you if you think we Kiwis aren’t just going to gut and eat the foreign billionaires first. “It’s all you can eat beside the fancy golf course!” Also, Max Levchin is my hero: “I typically ask people, ‘So you’re worried about the pitchforks. How much money have you donated to your local homeless shelter?’ This connects the most, in my mind, to the realities of the income gap. All the other forms of fear that people bring up are artificial.”
  2. 3D Printing Skin — that’s a Yoda figurine I don’t want.
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  4. Toyota’s Gill Pratt on Autonomous VehiclesThe trouble with this Level 4 thing, or the “full autonomy” phrase, is that it covers a very wide spectrum of possible competencies. It covers “my car can run fully autonomously in a dedicated lane that has no other traffic,” which isn’t very different from a train on a set of rails, to “I can drive in Rome in the middle of the worst traffic they ever have there, while it’s raining,” which is quite hard.
  5. Why Does It Take So Long to Connect to a Wifi Access Point?studies on five million mobile users from four representative cities associating with seven million APs in 0.4 billion WiFi sessions lets this paper’s authors develop a machine learning-based AP selection strategy that can significantly improve WiFi connection set-up performance, against the conventional strategy purely based on signal strength, by reducing the connection set-up failures from 33% to 3.6% and reducing 80% time costs of the connection set-up processes by more than 10 times.
Post topics: Four Short Links