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Comments

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Why the Trolls Will Always Win

FreedomFirstThenPeac The Math is against us (728 comments)

The sorts of analyses that can be conducted using game-theoretic formulations can be used to see what happens when a population is unable to defend itself because it swears off retribution in kind. The numbers are pretty dismal, without strong cooperation by the good people there is a sort of inevitability that the nice go extinct. Until the mid 1800's outlier antisocial behavior ran a high risk of being met by termination, which might not be a deterrent, but it sure reduces recividism. Once we became too civil to retaliate in kind (or stronger) we run the risk of losing to the trolls.

The ability to be anonymous just makes it harder to stop trolls, and any strong efforts to prevent anonymity are met by claims that the internet needs to support anonymity if it is to deliver freedom in the lands of tyranny.

All of this is fodder for great movies (where the bad guys are pursued by the good) but only if the bad guys hit equally evil players will they find meaningful retribution. If the trolls were to accidentally cost the Russian mafie some serious coin, they might find a knock at their door that would be much worse than having the FBI come a-knocking. (This is the plot of one of my tech-fi stories).

about three weeks ago
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No Nobel For Nick Holonyak Jr, Father of the LED

FreedomFirstThenPeac As proven before ... (276 comments)

A good part of how you get a Nobel is similar to how you get an Oscar. Someone works very hard to publicize your work to a voting committee. They vote.

So a Nobel prize, like an Oscar, is a function of two strong independent variables.

Computing coefficients is left as an exercise to the interested student.

about three weeks ago
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Fusion Reactor Concept Could Be Cheaper Than Coal

FreedomFirstThenPeac Re:"will present results Oct. 17 (315 comments)

Multi-stage heat to electricity systems can help minimize the local heat effect, though to the extent the earth is a closed system, if we are adding heat it might be like sticking burning candles into an oven.

Solution? MASERs tuned to frequencies that the atmosphere is transparent to, to pump excess heat out into space. I envision roof-top masers as the final stage of a buildings HVAC system (replacing the current simple heat exchangers). We could mandate that all AC units over a certain size must use same, just don't fly over them. Did Clarke get patent credit for his suggestion that satellites would be useful in telecommunications?

about three weeks ago
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The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

FreedomFirstThenPeac Re:the solution: (651 comments)

Early in the technology cycles of fax and copiers, totalitarian governments tried to regulate or ban them. Fascists gotta be fascists.

about a month ago
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Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

FreedomFirstThenPeac Re:Update to Godwin's law? (575 comments)

Any sort of securista ploy to invade private property like this that starts with "think of the children" should be automatically subject to Reductio ad Hitlerum.

If I weren't at war with the Islamofascists, I'd change my sig block to this bit of brilliance!

about a month ago
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David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

FreedomFirstThenPeac On the other hand (942 comments)

Maybe having to learn odd measures is a good introduction to units analysis and the need to pay attention. As a discipline not a set of facts. Just sayin', there may be more going on here than just imperialistic rhetoric.

about a month ago
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US Revamping Its Nuclear Arsenal

FreedomFirstThenPeac Re:Folks need to see 'The Day After' (342 comments)

Yes, The Day After is a very good movie as it embedded some very real conversations we used to have while sitting alert (Minuteman I (Mod) in 1970's).

I also watch "United 93" the way Israelis visit Masada and vow, "Masada shall not fall again!". Not for the heroics at the end, but for the many presentations of people struggling to understand what was going on. A fight we all are waging all the time, nowadays.

about a month ago
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New MRI Studies Show SSRIs Bring Rapid Changes to Brain Function

FreedomFirstThenPeac Re:mostly clarity (138 comments)

A call to arms for the anhedonists of the World!!!!

... oh, why bother?

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Remote Support For Disconnected, Computer-Illiterate Relatives

FreedomFirstThenPeac I might try freezing their OS (334 comments)

Bootable, non-writable CD, schedule computer to shut off every night at 2AM, forcing a daily reboot from said hardened safe CD OS. Leave one or two copies outside the computer where you can tell them to look if they phone and say they had to throw out the one they had been using.

about a month and a half ago
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

FreedomFirstThenPeac Re:they will defeat themselves (981 comments)

Yeah, a lack of (internal) opposition has really helped the N Koreans, the Somalies and a few others, do freemen owe freedom and protections to societies and tribes who's oppressed are unable or unwilling to fight back? That is what we should decide first, then the rest is just strategy and tactics. But modern democratic institutions just do not do that discussion well in the presence of radical pacifists and war-hawks, who tend to see the world in black and white (sort of like the old TRS-80s did, due to its similarly limited capacity).

about a month and a half ago
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High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

FreedomFirstThenPeac Only in America (600 comments)

Only in the USofA is gun ownership specifically guaranteed because it is in our charter that the people need to be able to overthrow their government. All the rest of this discussion is just chaff.

The statistics presented are part of the PRICE of that guarantee, and it is a fair use to use those statistics to ask if that protection (against the government) is worth the price, and given the way governments tend to evolve, one can ask if the USofA is really immune to the sort of evolution the Constitution was trying to protect against. And it is fair to ask whether the guns we are allowed to own are capable of protecting us against drones, black helicopters and the NSA.

But I must say that if I were confronted with a government that suddenly decided that atheists were amoral gits who deserved beheading (to mix metaphors), then at least I would be able to take one or two with me.

about a month and a half ago
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

FreedomFirstThenPeac Mathematics gives a strange meaning (937 comments)

As a mathematician I find that I am struck by the boundary between what mathematics and research tell me and what ethicists (religious and otherwise) tell me. The best example of the conundrum we rationalists face is how to claim that a behavior is moral when the underlying systems model tells us it is not. Consider the classic question of which is "better", the old testament (admittedly an arbitrary source, but bear with me) rule of "an eye for an eye" compared with the new testament rule to "turn the other cheek". Extensive exploration of the long term consequences of these two strategies for life are conducted under the guise of game theory, most specifically, the extensive simulations of the prisoner's dilemma (made famous by the book of the same name). The massive hoops and artificial framing necessary to make simulated evolution favor turning the other cheek are strong indications of the strength of the simpler, eye for an eye strategy. Perhaps what makes us most human (whatever that is) is when we embrace, for our own illogical reasons, turning the other cheek in the face of the systems models that tell us to exact an eye for an eye. But the price we pay is the price of the person who leaps from a bridge hoping to fly like a bird when the systems analysis says it won't work. Because evolution operating on memes will punish the society that follows the gentler turn the other cheek in the face of a society that exacts the eye for an eye. Is extinction the price we pay for the more "moral" and gentler turning the other cheek? I hope not, but keep the eye I have left wide open just in case.

about a month and a half ago
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Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

FreedomFirstThenPeac Re:Great news (269 comments)

Wish I could moderate this up. Nice point about the psychology of racists, which is that they fear "the others" because deep in their hearts they are afraid the others are superior (in the genetic, "breeding success==superior" evolutionary sense of the word).

about a month and a half ago
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Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

FreedomFirstThenPeac Re:Great news (269 comments)

You're a christian, what do you care about karma (it's from a competing meme)

about a month and a half ago
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Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

FreedomFirstThenPeac Re:Great news (269 comments)

Well, obviously one of these two stories is science and the other is political correctness. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to determine which is which. This tape already self-destructed.

about a month and a half ago
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The Five Nigerian Gangs Behind Most Craigslist Buyer Scams

FreedomFirstThenPeac Re:We need to carpet bomb Nigeria (160 comments)

If you have not watched "Continuum" you should. Then figure out how to avoid that situation, because evolution is working towards that ugliness.

about 2 months ago
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Western US Drought Has Made Earth's Crust Rise

FreedomFirstThenPeac Off-topic - but still (90 comments)

Does anyone remember when there were plans to inject water into faults to make them slip before the strains reached epic proportions? Fracking and drought are now running those sorts of experiments for us.

about 2 months ago
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Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

FreedomFirstThenPeac Re:I don't get it. (541 comments)

If the genetic sequence "ACGTTGTA" is correlated with a differential ability to do some cognitive task and the genetic sequence "GATACCA" is associated with the ability to grow good long hair, and the two sequences are linked (a mathematical/statistical term in this usage), then it is possible to use hair as a visible predictor of the cognitive task ("playing thrash metal", for example). Correlation may not be causation, but it can be an indicator variable.

about 3 months ago
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Online Tool Flagged Ebola Outbreak Before Formal WHO Announcement

FreedomFirstThenPeac Re:Half story (35 comments)

As a mathematician working on data mining where we still see lots of false positives, and with the proliferation of easy tools for fools to do data mining, I wonder how long till we see panics starting days or weeks before the government is willing to announce problems. Imagine New Orleans trying to evacuate itself while the NOAA folks think that the weather that is coming is going to be a standard low level rain event. Imagine then if it turns out that NOAA was right to be calm, FEMA was right to sleep through it, but hundreds of thousands of Wx-refugees are now sitting on freeways trying to find gas. The movie Contagion was a good preview.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Back the Future in Nuclear Armageddon

FreedomFirstThenPeac FreedomFirstThenPeac writes  |  about a month ago

FreedomFirstThenPeac (1235064) writes "As a former Cold Warrior (both launch officer side and staff analytical mathematician side) I now appreciate more than ever the bitterness I saw in former WW2 warriors when they would see a Japanese car. One even commented that he was pretty unhappy that he had served in submarines to beat the Japanese, only to see their products rolling down the streets. Now I see that the President who was elected partially on a "no new nukes" plank is presiding over a major ramping up of US nuclear power.

This expansion comes under a president who campaigned for “a nuclear-free world” and made disarmament a main goal of American defense policy.

Mind you, Mutual Assured Destruction is a dangerous path, and one we managed to negotiate only because we were lucky (and we were) and because we were careful (and we were). As a strategy, it only works with rational people (e.g., world powers with lots to lose) who might have irrational expectations that they will win in the long run, the rapid fall of imperialist Russia was helpful (I have seen blackboard talks on this as a mathematical result in game theory). This speed minimized the time we spent in the high-risk regions while transiting from MAD to where we were in the 1990's, but the political world has changed, and this President is finding it hard to toe a pedagogical line in the face of neo-realpolitiks.

Refs:

"
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Can't sleep? Maybe it not just those powerdrinks!

FreedomFirstThenPeac FreedomFirstThenPeac writes  |  about a year and a half ago

FreedomFirstThenPeac (1235064) writes "SciAm reported that late night video, especially the "I'll just read my tablet so sweetie can sleep" variety, might be to blame for sleeplessness. It re-programs your circadian rhythms through your primary EM coding interface (eyeballs). So now I'll be wearing blue-suppressing sunglasses to bed, think that'll get noticed?

Refs:
  1. The first ref is the SciAm article Bright Screens Could Delay Bedtime
  2. The second is a what's what list of great references from the literature f.lux sleep research site
"
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Detecting depression from your internet mechanics

FreedomFirstThenPeac FreedomFirstThenPeac writes  |  more than 2 years ago

FreedomFirstThenPeac (1235064) writes "Apparently we could diagnose you as depressed if the mechanics of your internet use fit certain patterns. By using a cleverly embedded questionnaire that classifies the subject as depressed, and by using existing net usage data collection to collect features (variables), researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology were able to correctly predict the diagnoses of the questionnaire using the net usage data. I wonder if this could be a new Firefox plug-in, designed to help parents detect depression in their adolescents by tracking the mechanics (not the sites) and automatically emailing them if their ward is showing increasing signs of depression."
Link to Original Source

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