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Remembering Alan Turing On His 99th Birthday

LandruBek Re:Thank you (146 comments)

That's Doctor Turing to you. :)

more than 3 years ago
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Google Responds To Net Neutrality Reviews

LandruBek Re:Credit Google for Being Open (265 comments)

You've got a good point -- Google gets a nod of credit for attempting to answer its critics -- but I disagree that they're doing the best they can at non-evildoing. I admit, not doing evil is damn expensive, and it's unsurprising that they're hesitant to pay that price, especially now that they're established, publicly traded, they advertise during the Superbowl TM, and basically have found their niche in the fantastically evil machine that is the modern multinational, corporate Borg which drives the upper third of the world's economy. So I'm not shocked, but I'm not such a determinist that I think they're doing the best they can.

about 4 years ago
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Cool, Science-y Masters Programs For Software Devs?

LandruBek Re: my MIT classmates do software; none majored in (150 comments)

My physician gets all huffy when I treat my kids with DIY pediatrics at home. His medical certification doesn't mean he can treat people! In fact he gets so wrapped up in terminology like "distal sassafras obliquity glomerulus" that he can't even get my Chi aligned and balance my four bodily humours.

about 4 years ago
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Cool, Science-y Masters Programs For Software Devs?

LandruBek Re: my MIT classmates do software; none majored in (150 comments)

  • Since none of you majored in CS, how do you know the "vice versa" part?
  • CS isn't just about software development. (Admittedly, a BSCS mostly is.)
  • I've seen what non-CS people call software "competency" and I think we might disagree on what that term means.

(Sorry if this sounds a little bit gruff.)

more than 4 years ago
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Science Historian Deciphers Plato's Code

LandruBek Re:Cretin != Cretan (402 comments)

I'm well aware of the Epimenides paradox, and I tried to work it into an earlier version of my post. (It was "Cretins have nothing to do with Crete, so why don't you just admit you're lying." Not funny enough.) Nevertheless, despite the lying nature of Cretans, that has nothing to do with the deformed humanity of Cretins.

more than 4 years ago
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Court Takes Away Some of the Public Domain

LandruBek I think I know what you mean. (431 comments)

Well said! -- although a lot of people seem to be confused about what you mean. Even those who are trying to defend you seem to misunderstand you.

Let me take a stab at restating this:

Defenders of draconian copyright enforcement are always complaining about how expensive it is to develop their creative works. They've invested soooo much! (Or they cite the money they project they could make -- from an economic standpoint, it's the same thing.) They paint a picture of a huge pile of money, invested in their art. And all that money, that mountain of cash, is regarded as the justification for strict laws against those 'stealing' their MPEGs or MP3s: 'We've invested a lot, so we are entitled to a lot of protection.' What skywire is pointing out is that, per se, a massive investment doesn't entitle you to anything. Ideally the rule of law exists only for the good of society, and if it protects material investment sometimes, it does so only as a means to the end of guarding society.

  • If you spend a ton of money on developing a music business, that doesn't entitle you to warp copyright law and abuse the judicial system to save your business from drowning in red ink.
  • If you invest a ton of money in opening a coal mine and hiring miners, that doesn't entitle you to disregard safety laws, even if fulfilling them would bankrupt your mining company.
  • Maybe you spend your money financing a militia and propping up a South American dictator so that your banana company can pay low wages and stay profitable, but you're not entitled to anything but disapprobation.
  • Maybe you spend good money buying children to work your cacao plantations in Cote d'Ivoire, but if I had anything to do with it, you would forfeit your entire investment and spend the rest of your life in prison.

The 'but I paid good money' argument is spurious -- yet it is cited as justification for legal and moral outrages both large and small. In fact, the law should serve the people, not just the investors.

more than 4 years ago
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Why Online Privacy Is Broken

LandruBek Re:We just need legislation (220 comments)

People are less concerned now about CC fraud not because in the USA they simply are not liable beyond the first $50 of fraud. They seldom think about it because there is little reason to.

more than 4 years ago
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Why Online Privacy Is Broken

LandruBek Re:Odd and Misleading Summary (220 comments)

I think you are giving the Goog too much credit. Were they not sniffing wifi packets, like wardrivers? To their credit, they weren't caught: they turned themselves in. But what they were doing involved no TOS -- the traffic they intercepted and recorded (which might have been encrypted, for all you and I know) simply wasn't theirs, and they should not have been recording it.

Lame analogy: if I don't lock my front door when I go to the store, I'm pretty stupid but it still doesn't give a passerby the right to come in and photograph my belongings.

more than 4 years ago
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Why Online Privacy Is Broken

LandruBek Re:How is 'privacy' defined in the US constitution (220 comments)

IANAL but privacy is not explicit in the US constitution; however the Supremes have found that it is implicitly there; e.g., the Fourth amendment is about privacy even though it doesn't contain the word "privacy." You might appreciate the Wikipedia article.

more than 4 years ago
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Why Online Privacy Is Broken

LandruBek Re:We just need legislation (220 comments)

it's a losing battle as long as the public awareness of the importance of privacy is nonexistent.

Well, I hope you are wrong. One good thing about Facebook's recent spastic blunders is that at a few, at least, have realized that privacy is something fragile that deserves some protection. If those of us who care will beat the drum from time to time, others just might wake up. In other words, I'm not yet willing to call it a hopeless battle.

more than 4 years ago
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Why Online Privacy Is Broken

LandruBek Re:We just need legislation (220 comments)

"Making everyone happy" was never on my to-do list. "Not get reamed by the corporatocracy" is on my list and remains there. As much as others might enjoy the familiarity of having complete strangers call them by name, and the convenience of having merchandise instantly charged to their accounts, *I* am selfish enough to sacrifice all those pleasures just so that I might exert a little bit of control over what others know about me.

This is a job for government regulation. We don't trust the free market with important things like ensuring food safety, protecting the environment, or verifying whether pharmaceuticals are effective. Why should we trust the free market with personal privacy?

more than 4 years ago
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UC Berkeley Asking Incoming Students For DNA

LandruBek HITN flamebait? (468 comments)

Today, though, the vast majority of "liberals" are just sheep buying into a certain collection of ideas that certain people deem "liberal."

With flamebait lines like that, I don't know how you got a +5 insightful.

As far as one-dimensional thinking goes, yes, everybody knows the liberal-conservative axis is just a loose approximation. Assigning the left-center-right label is sort of like PCA. I read liberal blogs often and I note plenty of eclecticism among liberals; they're not sheep. For instance, all last summer and fall there was tremendous kerfuffle about the scope, shape and size of health care reform. There was lots of disagreement among liberals. So, you are mistaken.

Indeed, the vast majority of judgments about "the vast majority" are bullshit. :-)

more than 4 years ago
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Arizona Trialing System That Lets Utility System Control Home A/Cs

LandruBek Trialing not to laugh (393 comments)

This might be a great idea, we'll just have to trial it out and see if it impacts the system. I'm trialing to think of any disadvantages, but it sounds OK. Arizonans might find it somewhat trialing to their patience to turn down their thermostats, just to find that AzElCo simultaneously trials to turn them up, but those are just some of the trialations and tribulations of life.

And if it doesn't work this time, they can just retrial again later.

more than 4 years ago
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Home-Built Turing Machine

LandruBek Re: I found that no one had ever actually built on (123 comments)

No, actually he was correct. Having an unlimited amount of input (over a finite alphabet) does not promote a finite state machine to being a (classical) Turing machine. If you want to have a real Turing machine, then you must have unlimited writable memory (as well as a few other things). Finite state machines handle unlimited input just fine. Actual desktop computers have "only" a finite (gigantic) number of possible states, assuming you don't let people swap in an unlimited number of new hard drives.

more than 4 years ago
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Cooling the Planet With a Bubble Bath

LandruBek Cue Aesop's fable (219 comments)

A MAN (apparently Don Ho) and a Satyr once drank together in token of a bond of alliance being formed between them. One very cold wintry day, as they talked, Don Ho put his fingers to his mouth and blew tiny bubbles. When the Satyr asked the reason for this, he told him that he did it to make himself feel warm all over, because it was so cold. Later on in the day the Satyr went to the beach, and but the ocean was sat too warm at the surface. Some other man blew tiny bubbles into it. When the Satyr again inquired the reason, he said that he did it to cool the planet, which was too hot. "I can no longer consider you as a friend," said the Satyr, "a fellow who with the same breath bubbles hot and cold."

tee hee hee

more than 4 years ago
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IBM Claims Breakthrough Energy-Efficient Algorithm

LandruBek Re:just trying to be relevant (231 comments)

Thanks -- I thought it might be something like this but I wasn't willing to dig. The press release was nearly useless.

more than 4 years ago
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IBM Claims Breakthrough Energy-Efficient Algorithm

LandruBek not just a change in constants (231 comments)

You're right that spinning this as a green result is trendy. But it can't be just a change in constants, since they say they reduced the complexity. "Reducing the complexity" is a technical term that means the speed, as a function of input size n (or l,m,n, etc.), keeps improving as n gets bigger. That is,

lim time_required_new(n) / time_required_old(n) = 0.
n --> infinity

An example is that an O(n log n) algorithm like Heapsort has reduced complexity compared to an O(n**2) algorithm like selection sort. But you can't legitimately claim to have "reduced the complexity" just by cleaning up the code or cutting out a constant factor of work (like going from bubble sort to selection sort).

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Linux desktops, stand up and be counted!

LandruBek LandruBek writes  |  more than 3 years ago

LandruBek (792512) writes "There's yet another attempt afoot to show that Linux-based desktop systems are not as rare as purported. These folks want to demonstrate that the the penguin sits on at least 1% of desktops worldwide:

With this initiative, we intend to refute the statistics of certain press organizations that ensure [sic] that the use of GNU/Linux does not exceed 1% and has not advanced in recent years at the desktop. If you want to help us accomplish this goal, please participate in our statistics!

They're trying to do this by collecting ten million email addresses of desktop Linux users. If you're in that group, and you're ok with their privacy policy and want to be counted too, then why not sign up?"
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