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London's Crime Hot Spots Predicted Using Mobile Phone Data

Baby Duck Bad Analogy (63 comments)

This is not like Minority Report at all. It predicts which locations at which times have a higher probability of a crime committing. It does not predict the particular crime, transgressor, or victim. It won't actually stop any crime from happening. The best it can do is allow a police force to more intelligently deploy their forces. They will be more able to rapidly respond to crimes after they happen, since statistically, they will more often have officers already dispatched to the nearby crime area.

4 days ago

FBI Completes New Face Recognition System

Baby Duck Re:So wear a Guy Fawkes mask (129 comments)

Once it's rushed out without our consent, all us dissenters can be cataloged and tracked :-(

about a week ago

New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance

Baby Duck Re:'Pass it on to the consumer' (323 comments)

But there will also be more competition since rivals with enough scruples to not engage in tax evasion now have a more level playing field.

about a week ago

The Growing Illusion of Single Player Gaming

Baby Duck Re:Satre was an embittered multiplayer game player (291 comments)

Guild Wars 2 has an even more compelling "single-player illusion". Each mob has private loot for each player who hit it (mobs don't "tag" to the first attacker). Each gathering node is completely independent for each player -- they just happen to be in the same locations. There are events in the real world all the time where anyone can freely jump in or out. You don't have to join a party/raid or even communicate with those around you. Since you can bid on items that aren't even in the auction house at that moment, a lot of the need for trade chat goes away (though not completely).

about a week ago

The Growing Illusion of Single Player Gaming

Baby Duck Re:No trouble finding single player games.... (291 comments)

Wolfenstein: the New Order is single-player, AAA, and surprisingly has very good storytelling, dynamic character growth, and excellent female role models.

about a week ago

Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

Baby Duck Snowden (499 comments)


Cohen speculates that the massive leaks by Edward Snowden of national security secrets, which began in June 2013, could also have been a factor in NSF’s decision. “If it’s a matter of weighing the employee’s statement against what the investigator says he has found, agencies will resolve it in favor of national security,” Cohen says. “That’s just how it is, especially after Snowden.”

Confirmed my suspicion when I first read the summary. THIS will be the lasting legacy of Snowden's actions. Not increased government accountability or transparency, but a hellbent determination to make sure they will never be caught with their pants down again. Sigh.

about two weeks ago

Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

Baby Duck More Complicated Than That (211 comments)

a key property that distinguishes living from non-living systems: their ability to store information and replicate it almost indefinitely.

As Douglas Hofstadter pointed out, it's actually more complicated than merely indefinite replication. It has to allow variance while still retaining the ability to replicate. Sure, there are clones everywhere, especially outside the animal kingdom, and they still considered "living". So the quote is still technically true. But it doesn't capture how immensely more difficult it was for life we observe here on Earth to come about. It also raises an interesting question. Did non-varying life have to come about first, in order to saturate the environment with organic compounds? Did the varying life then come about later, piggy-backing on this enriched environment? Or can you go straight from an abiotic world to varying life?

about two weeks ago

Tesla Plans To Power Its Gigafactory With Renewables Alone

Baby Duck Re:Musk worship (260 comments)

His company doesn't get tax breaks to succeed. He gets tax breaks to entice bringing lots of jobs to THAT state instead of some OTHER state. Getting lots of jobs gets you re-elected.

about two weeks ago

How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

Baby Duck Consensus Has Its Place (770 comments)

Hard Science is fairly limited in what it can do to prescribe actions humans should or should not be taking to address perceived problems with climate or the environment. There is no "Second Earth" we can use as a control group. It's closer to "healing" done by medical doctors than it is science. A doctor will tell you, "try eating this, try swallowing X mg of this Y times a day, try exercising like this, avoid chemical triggers like that, etc. Come back in 2 weeks, we'll see how you are doing, and then we'll make adjustments." Sure, doctors spanning decades through time and countries across the globe can temper their advice from longitudal studies and statistics across populations. But chances are those any double-blind experiments haven't been done on your unique body, health conditions, and living environment. Often the best they can do is "close enough, you are still a human, after all" and then make adjustments. They don't PROVE to you a particular pill or a particular dosage will work for YOU before they ask you to take it.

Something as nebulous as The Environment needs a similar "healing" approach. "Let's try cutting automobile emissions by X% and see what happens." If we absolutely require scientific proof 100% of the time before we take action with environmental policy, the consequences of such timidness can be disastrous. We don't always have that luxury.

Scientific "consensus" therefore still has merit. I can understand if you want to educate people on the difference between consensus and proof. But to say consensus alone should never spur action is fool's play.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

Baby Duck Re:Database Identity (729 comments)

That's the opposite direction. The user is coming FROM those and domains to a third one. It's the third domain you are reading/writing data for.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

Baby Duck Database Identity (729 comments)

It's outdated database security models that cause me the most grief. I don't want jsmith logging in from to be considered a DIFFERENT HUMAN BEING that jsmith logging in from I want to say, there's ONE PERSON, John Smith, username jsmith, who is allowed to login from BOTH domains with the SAME PASSWORD and GRANTS. Nope. Can't do it. Newer versions MIGHT allow you to swap in your own authentication module instead, but NOT the authorization piece, so I'm still screwed!

about two weeks ago

DARPA Bolsters Blueprint To Build Robotic Services For Satellites

Baby Duck It's The Money, Stupid (10 comments)

Step 1. Stop giving money to Russia for its rockets.

Step 2. Invest that money into US private space firms instead.

about three weeks ago

Coffee Naps Better For Alertness Than Coffee Or Naps Alone

Baby Duck Sleepspace (133 comments)

But WHERE will the employees nap? You would have to layout cots in a grid in an open floor space so no one tries any hank panky. Not all employers have the luxury of devoting so much space to napping, though.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Baby Duck Not A Maxim (637 comments)

Those grads are merely inferior for tasks where memory management is paramount, that's all. Just like someone who graduated with a database class would be inferior for database programming. It doesn't make them inferior all around. Java is just easier to teach AND learn with, really.

I remember doing all these exercises in C about storing multiple "strings" in the same character array. Most programming jobs out there wouldn't deign themselves to be concerned with such low-level solution-space details. Even when I had to deal with "packed arrays" in C++, Java, and JavaScript, the first thing I did was write a class around it to abstract all those details away.

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Linux Login and Resource Management In a Computer Lab?

Baby Duck FreeIPA (98 comments)

Since you are on Fedora already, I'd recommend FreeIPA. It'll give you more than your LDAP+PAM for centralized authentication and authorization, like Host-based Access Control, centralized sudoers policy, DNS, etc.

However, it wouldn't accomplish any of the tasks you specifically asked for out-of-the-box. I was thinking you could write some of these tasks as FreeIPA plugins.

about 2 months ago

The "Rickmote Controller" Can Hijack Any Google Chromecast

Baby Duck Wardriving + Rickmoting = ?? (131 comments)

Cruisin' down the street
Real slow
While the Chromecasters be yellin'

about 2 months ago

Giant Crater Appears In Northern Siberia

Baby Duck As Always ... (122 comments)

Let me guess. The explosion was caught on a Russian dashcam, amirite?

about 2 months ago

Is Time Moving Forward Or Backward? Computers Learn To Spot the Difference

Baby Duck Memento (78 comments)

But would it recognize the time flow of a movie like Memento? Every sequence moves forward, but each subsequent sequence predates the previous one, with overlap. There are also flashback sequences.

about 3 months ago

Human Blood Substitute Could Help Meet Donor Blood Shortfall

Baby Duck Old News (172 comments)

I read about this in Wired more than 5 years ago.

about 3 months ago

The Disappearing Universe

Baby Duck Re:Wormholes + a flat universe (358 comments)

You are correct insofar that the visualization model of a bowling ball on a trampoline is misguided and misrepresentative of nature. However, the Universe Is Flat claim is not addressing spacetime "curvature" and its relation to gravity. Think of a complex 3-D configuration of eletrical charges. If you zoom way out, you can treat the cumulative electrical field as if it's a one-dimensional, singe point of charge. Similarly, if you zoom way out from the observable universe, it's overall shape inside the unobservable universe tends towards being co-planar. Observable "stuff" tends to clump along a plane and the metric expansion of the universe tends to also move along this plane. There is nothing to stop energy/matter or metric expansion from moving or existing further along a Z-axis, but from all observations, it just tends not to (on a cosmic scale).

about 4 months ago


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