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Google's Punishment? Lecture Those They Snooped On

Ieshan Godwin (252 comments)

The Aaron Swartz Story is quickly becoming some new kind of Godwin's Law.

Yes, it was a horrible tragedy that everyone involved probably wishes they could do over again. No, it has nothing to do with this case.

about 2 years ago

Intercontinental Mind-Meld Unites Two Rats

Ieshan Re:cool. (176 comments)

The Brazil rat didn't "know" to communicate signals. The US rat didn't "read" the mind of the Brazil rat.

Here's how it works.

There is a recording electrode in Brazil Rat's head. It passively records the activity from a region of the brain involved in the task. There is a stimulating electrode in US Rat's head. It passively replays the activity that was recorded from Brazil Rat's head.

The control condition in this case is what happens to the US Rat's choice behavior when they shut off the stimulating electrode.

Make more sense now?

about a year ago

Bradley Manning (WikiLeaks Source) Given Hearing After 2 Years In Jail

Ieshan Re:Case dismissed? (369 comments)

Why does this insanity continued to be repeated on Slashdot?

Resolutions were passed authorizing the use of force. Congress has authorized vast sums of money to wage war. Politicians in both parties have acknowledged that we are at war. Personally, I'm not particularly happy that we went to war, but it's pretty clear that we did so.

more than 2 years ago

Airline Pilots Allowed To Dodge Security Screening

Ieshan Re:How is this a problem? (285 comments)

The problem is not really preventing pilots from carrying guns on planes. It's preventing people who look like pilots from being given special security breaks and dealing with the costs associated with preventing that while reaping only minimal gains from not scanning pilots.

This essay: https://www.schneier.com/essay-130.html by Schneier does a fantastic job at explaining the problem. The basic synopsis is:
1) Security is a system, and for all the easy changes you make ("Let's not screen pilots, that makes no sense!"), you actually need to build tons of other systems (Databases to validate pilot IDs, training for security personnel to access those databases, hard to forge ID cards to identify pilots, etc).
2) Because of those things you didn't think of in (1), and because security is a zero-sum game, all the dollars you spend building security systems to deal with pilots and all the minutes that you save not screening them could have been spent doing more impactful things that make everyone safer and reduce time at the security checkpoint for less money.

Basically, with limited resources and the hidden costs of not scanning pilots, is it worth it to not scan pilots? Probably not.

more than 3 years ago

State of Alaska Prints Out Palin's E-Mails; Online Distribution 'Impractical'

Ieshan Well, of course. (516 comments)

As we learned during the last Presidential campaign, Alaska is close enough to Soviet Russia that instead of sending emails to Alaska, email sends you to Alaska.

more than 3 years ago

Autism-Vax Doc Scandal Was Pharma Business Scam

Ieshan She's STILL SAYING IT! (541 comments)

Famously, Jenny McCarthy went on Oprah and told parents not to vaccinate their kids. Many doctors and parents LISTENED! If you read the articles, you'll see that as a result children died of easily preventable childhood diseases because parents were too scared to get the proper vaccinations.

She's STILL DOING IT! She still says the same thing. Article in Huffington Post, dated TWO DAYS AGO:

I know children regress after vaccination because it happened to my own son. Why aren't there any tests out there on the safety of how vaccines are administered in the real world, six at a time? Why have only 2 of the 36 shots our kids receive been looked at for their relationship to autism? Why hasn't anyone ever studied completely non-vaccinated children to understand their autism rate?

These missing safety studies are causing many parents to approach vaccines with moderation. Why do other first world countries give children so many fewer vaccines than we do? What if a parent used the vaccine schedule of Denmark, Norway, Japan or Finland -- countries that give one-third the shots we do (12 shots vs. 36 in the U.S.)? Vaccines save lives, but might be harming some children -- is moderation such a terrible idea?

This debate won't end because of one dubious reporter's allegations. I have never met stronger women than the moms of children with autism. Last week, this hoopla made us a little stronger, and even more determined to fight for the truth about what's happening to our kids.


about 4 years ago

Wired Responds In Manning Chat Log Controversy

Ieshan The Critical Section (222 comments)

When The New York Times ran an entirely appropriate and well reported profile of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange — discussing his personality and his contentious leadership style — Greenwald railed against the newspaper, terming the reporters “Nixonian henchmen.”

Similarly, when Assange complained that journalists were violating his privacy by reporting the details of rape and molestation allegations against him in Sweden, Greenwald agreed, writing: “Simultaneously advocating government transparency and individual privacy isn’t hypocritical or inconsistent; it’s a key for basic liberty.”

With Manning, Greenwald adopts the polar opposite opinions. “Journalists should be about disclosing facts, not protecting anyone.” This dissonance in his views has only grown in the wake of reports that Manning might be offered a plea deal in exchange for testimony against Assange.

I don't know whether or not Wired is guilty or innocent here. But it seems they've got a fair point about Greenwald, and it seems fair to give them the benefit of the doubt.

about 4 years ago

Wikileaks Booted From Amazon

Ieshan Re:There's no need to fear Joe Lieberman (528 comments)

If I'm supporting the Dark Ages, you're supporting a world where apparently the US doesn't trade with anyone, because we have stopped caring about what happens outside of our own borders.


We're talking about things like:
* Famine
* Military Aid to Allies
* Sending drugs to Africa to fight AIDS
* Pressuring Countries to Adopt Climate Change Legislation
* Enacting Fair Labor Laws in other Countries


People who are upset at US influence because of fucking copyright protection have no idea and who want to revert to absurdist protectionism because they are upset at the RIAA are so far off the mark here it's not even funny.

We're talking about the ability of the US Government to communicate sensibly with its allies and negotiate reasonably with its enemies. Not the fucking RIAA, and not copyright law.

more than 4 years ago

Wikileaks Booted From Amazon

Ieshan Re:There's no need to fear Joe Lieberman (528 comments)

Go look for it. I used those tags here because other forums have mainly switched to them. I've had a positive comment history here for what, 10 years?

more than 4 years ago

Wikileaks Booted From Amazon

Ieshan Re:There's no need to fear Joe Lieberman (528 comments)

This is the most ridiculous sentiment to come out of this entire thing.

Presumably, you want your government (whatever government that might be) to have strong diplomacy and the ability to influence its region of the world. Diplomacy allows countries to resolve conflicts and solve problems without throwing bombs at each other. And, you want other countries, your allies, to be able to approach your country with issues about their own security from threatening neighbors, without necessarily throwing gasoline on the flames.

Both of those things [i]require secrecy[/i]. Both of those things [i]require confidential communication[/i].

It may be true that the US Government (and ALL governments) do things that overstep the bounds of power. But all diplomacy and negotiations require some measure of confidence, and all alliances require the ability to have confidential communication.

This leak wasn't about exposing some massive corruption about the US putting drugs in the water supply. It was about releasing a bunch of documents, mostly about either relatively mundane topics or communications between countries or embassies.

Strong diplomacy is worth the secrecy that comes with confidential communication. Jeopardizing that to "fight the man" is certainly criminal and probably insane.

more than 4 years ago

Oxford Scientists Say Dogs Are Smarter Than Cats

Ieshan Thorndike would have argued differently! (716 comments)

Oddly enough, despite your characterization of dogs and cats, it turns out that the conditioning you are talking about in your dog example (Operant Conditioning) was first studied by Thorndike... in cats!

Really, it just has more to do with the way pet owners tend to treat their animals than "conditioning" vs. "attitude".

more than 4 years ago

Google Says Ad Blockers Will Save Online Ads

Ieshan And allow them to collect demographic data... (419 comments)

And, presumably, if there are ad-blocking extensions to Chrome, they will send their information back to Google, and give Google information about precisely which ads are being blocked.

So, when company X comes to Google and says, "Your prices are far too high, most of our ads aren't making impressions anyhow, they're being blocked by clever browser extensions!", Google can come back and say, "Well, we've actually got some data on that, and..."

more than 5 years ago

RIAA Argument About Streaming To Be Streamed

Ieshan Re:I'd expect the decision to hinge on whether ... (92 comments)

So, I just read an article off your website, and while it made good and obvious sense that the RIAA wouldn't want to be publicly embarrassed, I had never put together just how much control over the information they really have, and how crucial this control of information is to the legal campaign they're waging.

I mean, it's as if they're waging a thousand-front war and winning on the basis of a gimmicky weapon, and on each of the fronts, their enemies are completely unable to communicate with one another and unsure what strategies to pursue.

Who else is getting sued? Who else is even fighting the suit? Who else is settling? How much did they settle for? The only people who know the full details are the ones bringing the lawsuits. As best I can tell, from your writeup, it seems that even the COURTS don't know what's been done previously, as the RIAA brings motion after motion filled with reasons to join a number of cases that have already been denied several times.

What a brilliant and strange strategy. I'm not a lawyer, but I can't even think of another possible life example for something like this, never mind a legal one. Has anything like this ever been done before?

more than 5 years ago

Wolfram Promises Computing That Answers Questions

Ieshan Yeah, but... (369 comments)

Why would someone brand something that was supposed to be an intelligent machine as "W".

more than 5 years ago

Bionic Eye Gives Blind Man Sight

Ieshan Re:It is VERY impressive (203 comments)

In fact, humans will also adapt under such circumstances. The first reports were as early as 1896, but we have a great video that we show our students in Psych 1 here at the University of Iowa that demonstrates a british student who wears world inverting specs for a week or so. At first, she can't do simple things like write her name or make tea, but later in the video it shows her sketching, riding her bike down a country road, and doing all sorts of other things that require visual perception to accomplish.

It really is a remarkable phenomenon.

But, see:


But as to the "hard wired" face perception stuff, I think you might be on the wrong track there.

more than 5 years ago

Pirate Bay P2P Trial Begins In Sweden

Ieshan Re:A Strawman for the Symptom (723 comments)

Meanwhile, the real issues at hand continue to get worse and go unaddressed. Like the fact that the EU just extended music copyright to 95 years (maybe in an effort to catch up with the United States?). Or the fact that people who collect digital music en masse couldn't possibly have bought it all in the first place. Or the important differences between illegal digital distribution and traditional theft of goods or money.

Unfortunately, while all of these are real and relevant issues, the people pirating on the pirate bay, in large majority, just don't care about any of them.

If Copyright were only 1 year, do you really think that people wouldn't still be pirating films by aXXo the day of DVD release?

The Pirate Bay is about theft, plain and simple. It may be true that the monetary losses are not nearly what the record companies claim, and it may be true that the media conglomerates are really out for money for themselves rather than to support the starving artists, but the propaganda is propaganda on both sides.

People pirate movies because they want to watch movies without paying for them. If you're one of the unique snowflakes that pirates movies because you bought every DVD on earth and just want a nicer and non-DRM format, that's cute. But you are not the majority. The majority are thieves.

I think once BOTH the *IAAs and the pirates have a little bit of self-realization is when some real work can be done on copyright. But the pirates are every bit as self delusional as the record labels right now.

more than 5 years ago

The Pirate Bay Is Making a "Spectrial" of It

Ieshan Re:Why? (406 comments)

If I was in their position, I would do whatever it took to be acquitted.

Would you? Suppose you were the guy who runs the Pirate Bay: Your entire identity and celebrity rests on the fact that this website is still accessible. Do certain things and you are forever known as a sell-out, especially after the ridiculous amount of media attention you have heaped on yourself (even in the days before they started being idiots about the trial).

I think there are certain things you wouldn't sacrifice. I think there are social contracts you would choose not to violate.

Do I think these guys really believe in the freedom of information, in the freedom of speech, in the "free format" garbage that gets spewed all over this and other websites? No, of course not. But, their followers certainly do, and that's all that matters here.

I think this is just one side of the cost-benefit analysis. Risk jail time and large fines, but gain media attention and more devout fans.

I don't think these guys are any more brave or principled or high-minded than the guy who goes to jail for his gang rather than snitch on the leader. You'd think that selfish, personal greed would take over, but at some point, you can't sacrifice your identity.

more than 5 years ago

Gov't Computers Used to Find Info on "Joe the Plumber"

Ieshan 1984? (793 comments)

Welcome to 1984, or welcome to a world (just like 2007, 2006, and 2005) where curious people with access to confidential information sometimes abuse it without meaning harm?

I don't think there's any reason to assume malice here, I think stupidity is good enough. This kind of thing happens all the time when famous people check into hospitals and medical residents think it would be clever to pull their file.

This seems more likely to be plain old stupidity than it does evil government influence.

more than 6 years ago

Congress May Kill NIH Open Access Research Rules

Ieshan Re:Part of the problem... (105 comments)

A few reasons.

First, there actually are such organizations.

For example:
Comparative Cognition and Behavior Reviews
a journal that is free, open web access, and still peer-reviewed by experts in the field.

But, there is still a large credibility gap. For example, if you put down on your resume that you were a senior writer for CNN, that has more weight when you go to find your next job than if you were a senior writer for a local newspaper. Also, large journals have a much broader readership and the ability to disseminate their work to other media outlets, which increases the probability of your work getting cited and referenced.

It's also not so easy to start a journal. Google scholar requires that you be a reputable source before they index you. OVID requires a much more stringent standard. ISI Web of Science requires an even more stringent standard. In a day where libraries are essentially not used and everyone finds out about your work through the internet, not having your work published in a major search engine is a serious publication barrier. There are also a lot of technological and technical (page setting, layout, typesetting, etc) barriers to creating professional looking manuscripts that are non-trivial.

Lastly, it is a difficult fight to win. You work through undergrad to get into a good grad program. You work during your grad studies to get a nice job. You get a nice job and you work hard to get tenure. You get tenure and you work hard to get a grant. You get a grant and you work hard to get it funded a second time. When in this process are you supposed to start a journal that competes with other publication outlets, and who is going to take you seriously when you do? It's very difficult for an individual scientist to buck the system, even though most are strongly pro-access.

It would be a little bit like being an independent musician, except there are no cheap bars where you can play small gigs to get by while you fight your crusade against the machine. Musicians always have that choice: 1) you can sign with a big label, 2) sign with a small independent label that preserves your rights but makes it very difficult to get widespread recognition, or 3) quit the music business. Scientists only get option 1 or option 3.

more than 6 years ago


Ieshan hasn't submitted any stories.



A Big Placeholder.

Ieshan Ieshan writes  |  more than 10 years ago This journal entry is a placeholder for stuff on my slashdot user homepage.

In the past, I used to code and do research in Dr. Bob Cook's Avian Cognition Lab. I also did work for the Perseus Project, a digital library for the Humanities.

I'm now at Graduate Student at the University of Iowa, working with Ed Wasserman. Other collaborators include Ian Rasmussen, Eliot Hazeltine, and Andrew Hollingworth.

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