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US Revamping Its Nuclear Arsenal

FreedomFirstThenPeac Re:Folks need to see 'The Day After' (340 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 week 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 week 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 two weeks ago
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

FreedomFirstThenPeac Re:they will defeat themselves (976 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 two weeks 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 two weeks 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 two weeks 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 three weeks 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 three weeks 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 three weeks 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 three weeks 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 a month 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 a month and a half 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 a month and a half ago
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"Magic Helmet" For F-35 Ready For Delivery

FreedomFirstThenPeac Re:thank you for spending my money on shit (184 comments)

fuck the 1% and their war shit.. and fuck religion fanatics too...

Another dreamer wishing in one hand and shitting in the other, I wonder which hand fills up first.

about 2 months ago
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"Magic Helmet" For F-35 Ready For Delivery

FreedomFirstThenPeac The real timing question (184 comments)

What does a physically limited human in a helmet in the cockpit bring to the battle that a physically remote human in a helmet cannot do? Is the extra "situation awareness" brought about by the kinesthetic sense and the millisecond lag caused by speed-of-signal issues worth the extra cost of making an expensive toy for pilots over making a slightly less expensive toy for armchair warriors? Do we really expect the on-site human to be able to whip that $600K helmet off, squint Dirty Harry style and squeeze of a few thousand well placed rounds into a target that cannot be seen without the enhancements of that helmet? When I was AF, I'd have raised these issues and probably been told what I was told then, the remote sensing and control technology just is not up to the task.

"Prove it" says I, and I would invoke the post WWI demonstration bombing that got Billy Mitchell in trouble.

about 2 months ago
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Western US States Using Up Ground Water At an Alarming Rate

FreedomFirstThenPeac Minnesota - Land of 10,000 Lakes (377 comments)

I am a member of two planning commissions in Minnesota and I find it very ironic that here in the Land of 10,000 lakes (or, in the spring, one really big lake), we are having to block ethanol plants and agricultural irrigation because of ground water and deep water concerns. Similarly we are finding that the ground water we do have is slowly being destroyed by run-in from fields covered with chemicals. It does make me an outlier in the Republican party (social liberal wing thereof) when I pose these "tragedies of the commons" arguments to the died-in-the-wool free-market libertarian types. I can show them the specific assumptions in their models that cause them to FAIL (mode critical) and as a mathematician I am often surprised that they do not see how those failures force an external, non-free market solution. But I soldier on.

about 2 months ago
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Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

FreedomFirstThenPeac Re:Astronomy, and general poor night-time results. (550 comments)

I went with both eyes good for distance vision because I wanted to be able to see well if I fell off my sailboat and lost my glasses (since they would be off-the-shelf sunglasses or reading glasses). I have been quite happy with the results and represent a sample size of 1. On the other hand, I DO need reading glasses, but they are cheap enough that my house looks like an explosion in a glasses factory.

about 2 months ago
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Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

FreedomFirstThenPeac Re:Seems like old times (752 comments)

When I was teaching at the Air Force Institute of Technology, on the topic of the the math behind IFF systems, I used this example (Vincennes incident) as an example of how human factors enter into battlefield decisions in a way that can nullify the best planned algorithms. Now I am using those examples in the hospital decision making environment.

FWIW, the example problem I presented was of an airplane heading towards a base, flying with no IFF transponder, flying low and erratically. The question was whether it was a damaged friendly (no IFF, no radio) and returning to base or an enemy spoofing to look like a damaged friendly. The Army troops were unanimous, "Shoot it down; sort it out on the ground". The flyboys were not so sanguine.

about 2 months ago
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The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI

FreedomFirstThenPeac Wrong question ... (285 comments)

The first thing you have to ask is whether a computer that passes the test has some rights that other machines don't. The test we are looking for is one that, if a program passes the test then legal protections would intervene if you wanted to shut it off and scramble the memory. Any other test is just semantics and tomfoolery, like arguing over what color is the sky. Without the actionable component (a blue sky means I don't need my umbrella to get across the parking lot to my car) the question of "best test for AI ..." is a form of mental self-abuse, without the happy ending.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Back the Future in Nuclear Armageddon

FreedomFirstThenPeac FreedomFirstThenPeac writes  |  about a week 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 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."
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