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Dell Starts Accepting Bitcoin

KramberryKoncerto Re:No it is not. (152 comments)

US isn't seeing any of the benefits (yet) because it's a massive power that can borrow and print money willy-nilly, and the currency is mostly under control at the moment. But not all countries are like that. There are countries where something like Bitcoin can be a viable alternative to official currency, like Argentina. Bitcoin is flawed, but it guards against certain attacks that can be performed to a currency, in a way that is sometimes useful.

On the other hand, the way Dell accepts Bitcoin doesn't bear a lot of risk; a third-party accepts Bitcoin for them and pay them in cash, and absorbs fluctuation risk in return for some fees. It relies on customers bearing the risks themselves. It isn't a big step for Bitcoin; it is only a very small step towards forming a sufficient number of nodes of a skeleton that may or may not turn into an actual ecosystem that eventually circulates Bitcoin. But isn't a terrible decision for Dell either.

about two weeks ago

Elite Group of Researchers Rule Scientific Publishing

KramberryKoncerto Re: When misbehavior isn't punished (123 comments)

Build a system that offers only short term incentives, you can often end up, pretty predictably, with *nothing useful at all*. Lots of research is useless, but they often turn out to be so only after some difficult exploration. It's not very often that you can validly point to a researcher and say "I told you so". There are also research that look promising in early stages and turn out to be pure crap. Research is a treasure hunt - you dig the ground and most of the time it's just plain soil. You should reward risk-taking, because that's like paying the scientists of America each for a discount-price lottery ticket. And the results: even with immensely high research costs over the country, the overall profit is huge.

about two weeks ago

Airbus Patents Windowless Cockpit That Would Increase Pilots' Field of View

KramberryKoncerto strain on eyes (468 comments)

I think it is quite a big problem for pilots to stare at LCD monitors for 10+ consecutive hours without having a window to look out to.

about three weeks ago

European Commission Spokesman: Google Removing Link Was "not a Good Judgement"

KramberryKoncerto Re:Well, duh... (210 comments)

Practically and theoretically, a lot of these rights come with a few "buts" and trade-offs. Due process forces you to give up a couple of rights under certain circumstances. Property rights are "rights", but virtually all governments have the power to claim land "owned" by anyone, most with policies that mandate compensation. Copyright enforcement excludes "fair use", which is related to public interest and the common good. Free speech is a "right", but there are also widely-accepted libel laws. Many other rights are subject to conditions (being in a certain society, accepted some kind of responsibility), even at the philosophical level, especially those classified as non-natural rights. Even with your definition of "rights", note that the "right to be forgotten" is not a universally accepted concept; the "right" part is just a name arbitrarily given to this legal notion, and this very naming is subject to debate, so is the extent of matters that are covered by this "right". Just because somebody else calls it a right doesn't mean you have to defend it unconditionally. Diminishing this "right" doesn't give you a slippery slope to mess with other rights.

about three weeks ago

European Commission Spokesman: Google Removing Link Was "not a Good Judgement"

KramberryKoncerto Re:Well, duh... (210 comments)

The "right" to be forgotten has not yet made its way of being seen as a universal human right on par with free speech. Arguably it's often contradictory to free speech. It is not even well-defined; the name "right" was slapped on it too early before the matter was discussed enough. A concern of public interest is still valid here, and it should not affect the way people should view other rights.

about three weeks ago

What's Your STEM Degree Worth?

KramberryKoncerto Re: My phd? (148 comments)

But it's even harsher for people in their 30s with no substantial industry experience to speak of

about a month ago

The Supreme Court Doesn't Understand Software

KramberryKoncerto Re:Followed the law. if (false) then false (263 comments)

Even "artificial" methods are "discoveries"; "this method can be used to achieve that" is simply a consequence of the laws of nature, discovered by the inventors. An elevator may be seen as man-made, but the engineering of it is still a method, whose usefulness is merely a consequence of laws of nature, hence "discovered". Yet a patent does not "protect" a single elevator, but the method that makes it work. A star can't be patented, but neither can an elevator.

What you advocate is also against the spirit of patents, which is to protect science progress by providing financial incentives to make effort to contribute to science, whether or not some people would think such contribution should be be labelled a "discovery" or an "invention".

I don't have an answer as to whether we should patent mathematical methods, but your argument against it is very weak.

about a month ago

Mt. Gox CEO Returns To Twitter, Enrages Burned Investors

KramberryKoncerto Re:This just in. (281 comments)

Transferring a Bitcoin does not transfer the access to data. You can access exactly the same string of bits (wallet) before and after you make a transaction. Anyway, if someone takes money from your bank account without your consent, by your way of thinking he won't be stealing your money.

about a month ago

Wikipedia Forcing Editors To Disclose If They're Paid

KramberryKoncerto Re:They aren't the problem (135 comments)

He subsequently made the offline sources available online, but those where disputed as well.

about a month and a half ago

Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California

KramberryKoncerto Re:I'm actually not sure it makes much sense at al (519 comments)

It goes both ways; there may be a lot of sub-par lazy professors out there, but the fruits are so valuable that you can see it as buying a lottery ticket that actually has a positive expected payout. It's hard to picture a world where breakthroughs on difficult problems and honest research that lead to controversial findings don't exist, so we get too used to it - and forget these can't be allowed to happen if they are hindered by poor academic culture and policies.

A lot of professors that work hard are protected that way. Old professors also do not have to directly compete with young researchers, so it's much more likely a committee would make sensible faculty hiring / tenure decisions that are free from conflict of interest. It's another issue that academics have to deal with other kinds of competition, such as research funding, as well as erosion of the tenure system by e.g. abusing adjunct professors.

There do exist professors who switched to less hype-driven research topics once they got tenure; for the most convicted, it's part of playing a game to get their messages through. As you can see it's already a hard game to play, so we don't really want to make it even harder. It's also easier (and quite common) for researchers to move on to more difficult topics after they get tenure, where doing it before tenure is close to self-destruction. Andrew Wiles used his tenure status to gain 7 years of solitude, slow publishing small pieces of research he accumulated previously, just enough to avoid getting fired, and proved Fermat's last theorem, a centuries-old open problem. And there are actually more of these people than you think, that are willing to play some games while working hard even when nobody's watching.

It's also not so clean cut that you can only do popular research to get tenure. Having a "good old boys club" can do bad and do good; a bad academic culture is harder to attack, while good academic culture is also more easily preserved. At a place that has a well-established healthy culture, it's easier to do `unpopular' research and still get tenured, and keep it that way. Sure these tend to happen in top institutions with an abundance of resources and strong attraction to top researchers, but it can be sustained partly because there are strong protection mechanisms within these institutions.

Does the tenure concept need to be refined? Probably. Does it bring good to all universities? Probably not. But it is one of the strongest foundations of a thriving academia, which far-reaching effects, like a bottom piece in Jenga, so you need a view of the big picture and bring a much more stronger argument before you can take it away.

about a month and a half ago

Was Turing Test Legitimately Beaten, Or Just Cleverly Tricked?

KramberryKoncerto The Turing test (309 comments)

... was not actually performed in the research. End of story.

about a month and a half ago

Did Russia Trick Snowden Into Going To Moscow?

KramberryKoncerto Long-ago defected KGB spies hunted by Russia (346 comments)

Boris Karpichko:

Boris Karpichkov worked as a KGB agent in the 1980s before fleeing to Britain as a place of safety. He talks about his career, why Russian spies are again targeting Britain – and why he'll never stop looking over his shoulder ... Karpichkov, it turns out, knows a huge amount: about Russia's murky arms sales abroad, for example. He is intelligent, and a first-class analyst – but, of course, he has no one to report to. Karpichkov says he is "no way scared". But he confesses he is now "dead tired" of the exhausting world of espionage, and concerned for the safety of his wife and grownup children.

Oleg Kalugin:

With the return to power of elements of the KGB, most notably Vladimir Putin, Kalugin was again accused of treason. In 2002 he was put on trial in absentia in Moscow and found guilty of spying for the West.[3] He was sentenced to fifteen years in jail,[6] in a verdict he described as "Soviet justice, which is really triumphant today".[7] The US and Russia have no extradition treaty.[7] Kalugin currently works for the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies (CI CENTRE) is a member of the advisory board for the International Spy Museum.[8] He remains a critic of Vladimir Putin, a former subordinate, whom he called a "war criminal" over his conduct of the Second Chechen War.[3][9]

about 1 month ago

Fixing China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions For Them

KramberryKoncerto Also do that to India, Africa etc. (322 comments)

So there would soon be no more sweatshops for corporate America. Watch your economy crumble.

Krugman spouts nonsense at times, but this one is appalling. Pollution in China involves a lot of forces, including the `clean' countries, acting in their own interests and he can't possibly fail to understand that. Neither the Chinese government nor the US corporations would like such a change. The root of the problem is that some people like to earn money by messing up the world.

This proves he's just a propaganda mouthpiece, to help the US make a handsome profit from polluting activities around the world, while shedding every single bit of responsibility.

about 2 months ago

Local Police Increasingly Rely On Secret Surveillance

KramberryKoncerto Re:Lets see .... (146 comments)

I guess parent is a bit too underrated for being sarcastic; it's an excuse they use for surveillance.

about 2 months ago

Controversial TSA Nudie X-Ray Machines Sent To Prisons

KramberryKoncerto No, no, send the pervs! (108 comments)

Poor machines scapegoated for the pervs that use them to peek.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Computer Science Freshman, Too Soon To Job Hunt?

KramberryKoncerto Re:IT needs to be a skilled trade with trade schoo (309 comments)

... and it's nothing that can't be kickstarted from some minimally-supervised hands-on experience and a short while of book-crunching. It's much harder to train a person to think in the right way than to give him some `skillset' that's just a hill of facts that has an expiry date. The latter is more akin to learning about the functions of Microsoft Word than actually writing an essay. I agree a large portion of people who come out from CS curricula have no clue about either computers or science, but those who prove to be capable of what they're taught and what they've explored often have what it takes to learn what you throw at them.

about 3 months ago

Physicists Turn 8MP Smartphone Camera Into a Quantum Random Number Generator

KramberryKoncerto Re: This story is a dup (104 comments)

I don't think counting photons is going to be unbiased either. Randomness is different from unbiasedness. There must be a distribution, with some more values more likely than others. Unbiased-ness is however not necessary. You can use an unbiased coin to simulate a biased coin, and vice versa, and any continuous distribution can be turned into a coin flip. If you want a more efficient `unbiased randomness translator', there's research on stuff called randomness extractors, which aim to generate as many approximately-unbiased random bits as possible from a random source.

about 3 months ago

Brain Injury Turns Man Into Math Genius

KramberryKoncerto Re:No story here, move along (208 comments)

Sadly, these popular math 'geniuses' and child 'geniuses' never seem to do a damn thing that's truly notable.

Perhaps except Terrence Tao; a famous math prodigy, who also became an incredibly successful mathematician, "Such is Tao's reputation that mathematicians now compete to interest him in their problems, and he is becoming a kind of Mr Fix-it for frustrated researchers. "If you're stuck on a problem, then one way out is to interest Terence Tao," says Charles Fefferman [professor of mathematics at Princeton University].". Also Erik Demaine, who finished PhD and became a professor at MIT at 20; he has a less impressive history than Tao, but still a fruitful career.

about 3 months ago


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