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Govt Docs Reveal Canadian Telcos Promise Surveillance Ready Networks

Okian Warrior Greater of two evils (74 comments)

The typical reason for doing this is "if we don't do it first, subsequent legislation will require us to implement an even more onerous system".

Let's see how that works in practice:

The government simply waits to see what the telcos implement. If it's *more* than they wanted, they stop and say "well done!". If it's *less* than they wanted, then they proceed with legislation, which they were planning to do anyway.

In game theory terms, what does this type of policy maximize?

3 days ago
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Forbes Blasts Latests Windows 7 Patch as Malware

Okian Warrior Did really he say that? (228 comments)

Ah yes, one bad patch and we should all NEVER PATCH AGAIN BECAUSE THE SKY IS FALLING!

Did he actually say that?

Or did he say turn off *automatic* patching?

It seems reasonable to always be 1 week behind in patching your systems - let someone else be the lightning rod for goofs and mistakes. I know some sysadmins patch "test" systems and try things out to see if the patches break their currently-running code. They don't seem to mind a certain time lag in patching.

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Any Certifications Worth Going For?

Okian Warrior Some suggestions (317 comments)

Go to Toastmasters and get a CC ("Competent Communicator") or any of theit further awards. It'll teach you how to present and interact with others in a professional scenario.

Pick a karate school you like and get a black belt. It'll teach you discipline and focus, and help you keep your health as you get older.

Join the SCA and work yourself up to becoming a knight. If you take it seriously it'll teach you honor and integrity.

Take first aid, CPR, and EMT training. Take some survival courses.

Take MIT courses from edX or Coursera for the certificate and grade.

about two weeks ago
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Clarificiation on the IP Address Security in Dropbox Case

Okian Warrior A plan for Bennett (152 comments)

If Bennett is so completely unwanted on this blog, why don't we do something about it?

In the manner of the fine people at 4chan, suppose we referred to Bennett in the past tense - as if he had passed away. Make all of our responses polite and sincere, but with the assumption that he is no longer with us.

Here's the kicker: the internet works by consensus. If there's an abundance of commentary referring to him in the past tense, it'll get picked up and echoed everywhere, possibly by Wikipedia. I don't know what the full ramifications would be, but hopefully it will play hob with his attempts to get traction on the net. Anyone who googles for him by name or things he has said will get the impression that he's unavailable for comment, interviews, and possibly employment.

Of course, we need to give Bennett fair warning, so I propose the following:

Starting with the next Bennett Haselton article on Slashdot that's more than 2 short paragraphs, we start referring to Bennett in the past tense - as if he had passed away. We're going to start a new internet meme.

Pleading, complaining, and asking has had no effect and we've certainly done due diligence.

It's time to take action.

about three weeks ago
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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Okian Warrior Re:It was an almost impossible case to prosecute (1128 comments)

We the public don't yet know all the facts. [...]

If it went to trial, we *would* know all the facts.

A grand jury doesn't determine guilt or innocence, it only decides whether a trial should happen.

[...] that would have been the case regardless of the races of each person involved.

Apropos of nothing, if there was strong statistical evidence that this statement was flat-out wrong, would you change your opinion?

about three weeks ago
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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Okian Warrior I'm glad there is rioting. (1128 comments)

(Note: The decision(*) was handed down 2 hours ago and already there's rioting.)

I recently posted about a fire inspector reacting to a problem in the most dickish way possible.

The responses were surprising and enlightening. On the topic of his actions, each and every one of the respondents felt that the inspector reacted appropriately, that he in fact had to react in the most extreme manner possible, and that it was the right thing to do(**).

If you agree with this position, then it's OK for police to shoot an unarmed black man in Ferguson Missouri, or a black man purchasing a gun off the shelf at WalMart, or a 12-year old boy in Ohio playing with a toy gun.

The police have a dangerous job - they put their lives on the line every single day (just ask one), and they simply can't take the chance that a black man might be dangerous.

No. That's completely wrong, and it comes from police and other government agencies "doubling down" on their mistakes. Something bad happens, someone in authority shouts "it was the correct thing to do!", and it's echoed all over the press and on the net by people who repeat what they hear without thinking it through.

When the department says that the most dickish possible way is the right response they are alienating the people. It might avoid getting the cop thrown off the force, but in the future the department may actually *need* the support or cooperation of the people in order to do their job. This is short-term smart and long-term stupid.

We have schools teaching teenagers how to react to cops, and the take-away message is that cops only hurt people - they are a danger to be avoided

The "broken window" theory of crime can also be applied to the police. If we let them get away with these sorts of abuses, everyone in a position of authority will know that it's OK to act in the most dickish way possible.

I understand how rules exist to prevent the "worst possible scenario" from happening, but do we *always* have to act as if the worst possible scenario is happening right here, right now? Should cops always shoot a suspect who has a gun in hand? Would a more nuanced approach better?

I'm glad there's rioting. This crap needs to stop.

(*) For non-merikan readers, a grand jury does not assign guilt or innocence, it only determines whether a trial should happen. Basically, it tries to determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial. Also, it's heavily rigged *against* the defendant.

(**) There are at least 3 alternative actions the fire marshal could have taken that would have solved his problem without alienating all the con goers, the business, and the hotel. I don't expect anyone in his local area would help if his office needed public support for something, such as "please help us by sending us your video tape of incident".

about three weeks ago
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Upgrading the Turing Test: Lovelace 2.0

Okian Warrior Re:tautology ontology (68 comments)

'AI' is complex machines following instructions. That's what it is. The rest is people projecting their own emotions onto inanimate objects.

That is *great* phrasing - thank you. It's going into my notes and will probably make it into my writings (with attribution). Probably as a chapter heading.

The situation is not completely hopeless: there is a small number of people, myself included, who are working on actual AI. Most of the research is using programming to solve a (particular) problem.

about three weeks ago
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Upgrading the Turing Test: Lovelace 2.0

Okian Warrior Turing test is flawed (68 comments)

The Turing Test has flaws.

Firstly, it requires a human-level of communication. One cannot use the it to determine whether a crow (for example, or cat or octopus) is intelligent since they cannot communicate at our level. Even though these creatures demonstrate a surprising level of intelligence. Watch this video and be astonished.

The extended video shows the crow taking the worm to it's nest, then returning to grab the hooked wire and taking that back to the nest! Can we use the Turing Test to determine whether the crow is intelligent?

Secondly, it conflates intelligence with human intelligence. There's no spectrum of measurement, no "ruler" which can be laid down to measure the level of intelligence in an entity, or to determine whether one entity is more (or less) intelligent than another. Are crows more intelligent than cats? Can the question be resolved using the test? Could the test be used to determine which of two humans is the more intelligent?

But most importantly, the Turing Test has no predictive value: it cannot be used to guide research or development of intelligence.

Consider trying to build a fizzbin, and whether you are successful will be determined by a yes/no decision from a jury of professionals. With no description of what a fizzbin actually is, how hard would it be?

Consider trying to deliver a package, given that you have a GPS system with a broken display. The GPS still works, and the LED will light when you are at the delivery address, but otherwise you have no idea where to go. The address could be in NYC or Tokyo, or anywhere else.

The fundamental problem with the Turing Test is that it doesn't define intelligence(**). Defining something as a test works in mathematics where there is no time or effort to make the axiom of choice on the set of all objects (ie - the universe), but intelligence isn't a purely mathematical concept. It's partly based on a real-world measurement (being: information), and as such is more closely akin to physics.

Instead of a fizzbin, consider trying to build a car. A car can be defined as a body, frame, 4 wheels, engine, and seats, and the purpose is to transport people from place to place (*). A wheel can be further described as a tire on a rim with brakes, a tire can be described as a loop of rubber with steel wires and a valve-stem, a valve-stem as a tube with a schrader valve, a schrader valve is... and so on.

This is a constructive definition: an object is made of simpler objects, each of which is composed of even simpler objects. Math is full of these (a field is a ring plus some stuff, a ring is a group plus some stuff, a group is a set plus some stuff... and so on.)

With the constructive definition, one could build a car directly; or at least, know how to make the attempt. You can determine whether something is a car; and if not, know what needs to be changed.

In my opinion (I'm an AI researcher) the Turing test and the Lovelace test have little value. The tests don't show where to look or how to proceed.

(*) A simplified definition to not lose sight of the position.

(**) This is an academic position. I am a great admirer of Alan Turing and his many brilliant results, including the Turing Test.

about a month ago
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Is a Moral Compass a Hindrance Or a Help For Startups?

Okian Warrior Quid-pro-quot for journalists (197 comments)

What a load of bullshit. That sociopath prick running the company is a bully. Many people aren't going to use uber because of this sunshine. Take your astroturfing elsewhere.

That's an interesting response. You are supporting your position by emotional strength - essentially saying that the poster has to back down or you'll respond into a full-blown emotional outburst (see bully).

When I first heard about Uber's plans the first thing that came to mind is "there's no law against publishing public information".

We have fairly clear rules about what's illegal in terms of gathering and publishing data. The police have no qualms about publishing names and addresses, and sometimes courteously withhold that information for the rich and powerful while using it against low-income people.

The press has no qualms about publishing data that people want to keep private, so long as publishing it would sell papers. If someone simply wishes to live out of the public eye, it's a challenge and "Look! We've got the scoop on Satoshi Nakamoto! Find out who he *really* is and why he needs to hide! (Are your children safe?)

If no one takes action to expose the journalists, if there's no consequences for their actions, what keeps the journalists honest? What incentive does any journalist have for journalistic integrity?

This seems like a cromulent quid-pro-quot. So long as no laws are broken, I'm fine with it.

about a month ago
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Interviews: Ask Malcolm Gladwell a Question

Okian Warrior How to become world class (111 comments)

Your book "Talent is Overrated" is misquoted and misinterpreted in many places, but seems to say that anyone can become a world-class expert with enough effort and time.

What should someone do to become a world-renowned expert?

Can you give us a plan or list of steps to take - something that's not garbled by news media reporting?

Can you clarify a summary of the books conclusions, so that others can embark on that journey?

about 1 month ago
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Big Talk About Small Samples

Okian Warrior Re:Confidence levels (246 comments)

Dude! News for nerds indeed. Try using this command in R: 1-pbinom(38,54,.50). You will find that the probability of getting 38 or more heads in 54 trials is approximately 0.0007481294. There are plenty of things wrong with the lump of stupid in the blog post above, but at least get the math right.

Part of explaining something is knowing your audience.

Telling someone to type a command in R doesn't explain *why* typing that command works, or what's going on in the background.

And yes, there's things wrong with the post, but Bennett is most definitely NOT A STATISTICIAN. You don't saturate a beginner with all the gory details - you start from the basics and work up.

Part of explaining something is knowing your audience. Practice explaining things to people and you, too, will figure that out.

about a month ago
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Big Talk About Small Samples

Okian Warrior Confidence levels (246 comments)

38 out of 54 survey-takers, or 70%

Bennett, try this experiment.

Make a program that flips 54 coins and notes the number of heads and the number of tails at each round. Then run this program for one million rounds.

When you're done, note the number of rounds the random generator saw 38 or more heads and frame this as a proportion; ie - "the random generator reached this level X% of the time".

Then compare your results with the random generator. If your results are unlikely to come from the random generator, then perhaps you have something.

Now, " unlikely" is an arbitrary measure with no compelling foundation (it's the wrong measure to determine the significance of a result(*)), but in scientific circles we use a "rule of thumb": results are considered significant when they are less likely than 95% of the random results.

Even at this level, we expect 1-in-20 studies to be due to random chance, but then follow-on studies should confirm or deny the findings (and 1-in-20x20 of *those* will be due to random chance as well).

If the results might lead to potentially catastrophic decisions we might use a higher level of significance; for example, 99% confidence when deciding whether a drug is safe. Physics uses an insanely high level of confidence.

Try that and get back to us - we await your next post with baited breath.

(*) The correct measure is the number of bits saved by compressing the original data by factoring out the result (glossing over some details).

about a month ago
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Mathematics Great Alexander Grothendieck Dies At 86

Okian Warrior It's still a fair point (49 comments)

[It's not insanity... ] Yes it is.... same as Howard Hughes

I dunno... long-term reading of this blog might result in the impression that life is a disheartening, unjust affair. It's full of rights violations by police and government agencies, feckless and obstructive politicians, corrupt and predatory corporations, and so on.

To read online news results, everything is lurid and emotional. For example, the nurse in Main [who was in contact with ebola] who didn't agree to a quarrantine was in a "standoff" with authorities, the Philae lander is "racing against time" (whatever *that* means), there's a tiger loose in Disneyland, and we need to be afraid of everything so that the government can justify their purchases and policies.

Is it that much of a stretch to believe that people will view the world through this skewed perspective?

Given what we know about human psychology - for example, that people will believe what they're told by default (viz. religion) - it makes perfectly rational sense that a small cadre would lose all hope in humanity and seek to avoid it.

I don't think these people can be legitimately called insane. They're not hurting anyone, they're not hurting themselves, and they're living their own lives.

What criteria would you apply to these people to designate them as "insane", and what behaviour would you change about them to fix it? (And how do measure such a change so that you can tell when they're no longer insane?)

about a month ago
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Mathematics Great Alexander Grothendieck Dies At 86

Okian Warrior Crap! (49 comments)

In it, he described his encounters with a deity and announced that a "New Age" would commence on 14 October 1996.

Crap! He promised he wouldn't tell anyone.

Oh well, I guess the cat is out of the bag.

How are people liking the New Age? Any suggestions for improvement?

about a month ago
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After Silk Road 2.0 Shutdown, Rival Dark Net Markets Grow Quickly

Okian Warrior Black list for authorities? (86 comments)

There was a recent post asking how authorities might have breached the Tor network.

A related question to ask might be "what can we do to increase our network privacy/security"?

I've often wondered if a "government authority" blacklist would be worthwhile. For example, the City Police near where you live probably surf from a fixed IP address at that location. We could maintain a list of such addresses and allow websites to subscribe to the list.

If an address geolocates to within 50 miles of Washington DC (or Langley, VA; or Bluffdale, UT) it's probably not someone you want looking at your site.

Anyone with the slightest idea of how the internet works will realize that this scheme will be trivial to get around using any number of techniques, but the purpose isn't to make access *impossible*, it's to make access *harder*. It starts an arms race between government agencies and an army of determined hackers.

Suppose you're a government agent. You can't send a link over E-mail to your boss at the office because when he opens it the site will show different results. You have to do screenshots or make web page copies - it's much more work (and a more complicated evidence chain).

Suppose you're a government IT guy. You have to implement VPN connections to remote computers so that your agents can surf the net properly, and this is a ton more work for you to do, and it's insecure and might open up your internal network to hackers.

It starts a competition for resources. In addition to law enforcement, the government entities also have to spend time, effort, and money to get around the additional hurdle. If it costs us little to implement, and costs them a lot to get around, then it's effort well spent. And there's a multiplication factor: each and every government agency has to implement a solution to our one system.

In the manner of spam blacklists, we could allow people to nominate specific IP addresses as being "city hall in Tallahassee" with some confirmation protocols to ensure accuracy and that the list doesn't get spammed.

You could have your website either block the listed IP addresses, or show different content.

We could make it *much* harder for authorities to gather website evidence.

about a month ago
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Tor Project Mulls How Feds Took Down Hidden Websites

Okian Warrior Statistical timed analysis (135 comments)

As I understand the Tor process, every tine I fire up Tor it randomly chooses an exit node(*).

Suppose I am running some exit nodes (as the NSA is suspected of doing). If I want to find the location of a hidden service I just fire up Tor and access an onion website with a specific tempo. If one of my exit nodes shows traffic with that tempo, then I know that's the exit node for this onion connection and I can trace the exit connection(**).

If you access the site many times, eventually the statistical nature of the tempo (in your own exit node) will be apparent among the random noise of other traffic. If you do the process many times, eventually you'll find a strong statistical evidence for the target IP address.

How many Tor exit nodes does the FBI run? How much time can they put into discovering each site? Can tempo-based access be automated?

See here for more info. From a paper published in 2011 comes the quote:

In this thesis we tested three correlation algorithms. [...] We found that while the two previously-existing algorithms we tested both have problems that prevent them being used in certain cases, our algorithm works reliably on all types of data.

This would be my guess.

(*) For the onion protocol it's listed as a rendezvous point and there's some protocol negotiation, but it's essentially an exit node.

(**) Actually it's even simpler. Tor reports the IP address of your exit node - just keep starting Tor until the exit node is a system you control.

about a month ago
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After Silk Road 2.0 Bust, Eyes Turn To 'Untouchable' Decentralized Market

Okian Warrior Re:The future of capitalism (108 comments)

I don't thing there's going to be any kind of fundamental change in capitalism. The only thing that's going to change is the method and who gets to benefit from it.

I disagree.

Wikileaks was effectively stopped when all credit card companies refused service. Defense distributed lost their payment processor ("Stripe").

The TOS for many online resellers restrict what you can and cannot sell - eBay won't let you sell booze or their empty, collectible containers, animals, or event tickets. (Why can't I resell my event ticket if I decide I'm not going to use it?) Amazon, even Craigslist have similar restrictions. You can't sell fart apps on the apple store.

This will also put a crimp in the way Corporate Law Enforcement operates. Instead of spending time tracking down the distributor of pirated works, they'll have to fall back to investigating murders, thefts, and assaults.

And then there's the economic upheaval which will happen when previously banned markets become easily accessible. Drugs come to mind, but this will also have an effect on easily-copied data streams such as games, movies, and books. Knowing that your movie will be immediately copied and that you will get no revenue *after* it's made, entertainment might have to switch to a kickstarter-style model. Stephen king proposes a new book, gets $100,000 in seed money, writes it and sets it free on the internet. That sort of thing.

These are just the first few things that come to mind. Some are speculative, but others are happening right now.

I'm pretty sure you're under-estimating the effect that secure untraceable commerce would have on the world.

about a month and a half ago
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Computer Scientists Say Meme Research Doesn't Threaten Free Speech

Okian Warrior Einstein and the atomic bomb (109 comments)

I had a related discussion with some friends recently about what they would/wouldn't work on in their job.

Einstein and others famously regretted developing the atomic bomb.

At the time, it was thought that nuclear chain reactions were impossible because the neutrons emitted by a fissile nucleus were too fast to interact with neighboring atoms. Leó Szilárd discovered that graphite would act as a neutron moderator, slowing them down so that they could interact. Each decaying nucleus releases two(*) neutrons, each neutron causes two other nuclei to decay, and so on. Two becomes four, becomes eight, in an exponential manner.

Here's the thing. At the time, conventional wisdom felt that chain reactions were impossible; and entrenched ideas in science are hard to pry loose. If Szilárd had chosen not to publish, it would have delayed nuclear fission research for decades - possibly indefinitely.

Consider the ramifications of having a few decades of technological development before attempting to build nuclear reactors, of social development before ICBMs and Mutually Assured Destruction, and so on. We've come a long way since then - we're much closer to planetary cooperation. The conflicts of the early 20th century seem almost tribal in retrospect.

Here's the essential question: Should Szilárd have published? Knowing that his research was the keystone for nuclear weapons, should he have just kept quiet about it?

The tools make no political judgments, but unenlightened bureaucrats do. And right now there's a lot of abuse by the people in power, the people we should be able to trust with our welfare. One only has to look at elections to see how psychological research is being used - en mass - on the population for political ideology.

Would it not be better to put this research off a couple of decades so that other, more directly beneficial technologies can come first? An environment of secure communications, anonymous surfing, safe and untraceable whistle-blowing seems to be on the horizon.

We have the hindsight to see the results of Szilárd's choice. Should we choose differently?

(*) Average 2.5 neutrons per nucleus

about a month and a half ago
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Silicon Valley Swings To Republicans

Okian Warrior I'm the one with the vote! (485 comments)

To misquote Ash: Republican? Democrat? I'm the one with the vote!

People believe the promises, so the election becomes a competition to see who can promise the best.

Is your life any better for having these party affiliations? Since the last election, has the government made the country better or worse? Will your kids have a harder or easier time when they go out into the world? Will you retire in ease or hardship?

Since the last election, do you have more freedoms or less?

Don't buy into the promises, they mean nothing. Vote against the people in office. That's the way to promote change, that's the way to force people to action.

Vote out the incumbents.

about a month and a half ago
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Silicon Valley Swings To Republicans

Okian Warrior Party affiliation doesn't matter (485 comments)

1. Republican power is increasing in Washington. If you want a powerful government friend to help you, you make friends with people who whose power is increasing.

2. People don't love Hillary Clinton. Support for Hillary Clinton rests mostly on hatred for her opponents. But her opponent hasn't been chosen yet. It might be Rand Paul. So it's hard to get your hate on enough to write the big check.

To misquote Ash: Republican? Democrat? I'm the one with the vote!

None of what you said matters - not of the republican words, not democratic promises, not adverts or sound-bites.

What matters is what they've *done* while in office. It's the only metric that matters.

Is your life better since the last election? Will your kids be better off or worse off when they leave the nest to go out on their own? Is the government giving you more freedoms or less?

You shouldn't care which party that is. Vote for change, not for words.

When they realize that they have to actually *do* something during their term in order to get re-elected, then we'll start to see some changes.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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Activists Discover Evidence of St. Petersburg's River of Poop

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about three weeks ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "Two weeks ago, a group of St. Petersburg ecologists conducted a test in Novoye Devyatkino, a suburb about 12 miles outside the city, of the local sewer system. In a study they titled “Feces Travel,” the activists dropped ten miniaturized, waterproofed GPS-tracking units down the toilet of a single apartment home and began mapping the devices’ signals.

On their website, the ecologists claim the trackers spilled out directly into the open-air waterways outside the building, without encountering even the most rudimentary sewage filtration. From Novoye Devyatkino, five of the devices reached the open waters of Neva Bay, where the units’ batteries appear to have died."

Link to Original Source
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AltSlashdot is coming

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about 10 months ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "I've registered "AltSlashdot.org". I intend to run a site much like Slashdot used to be — better articles, less decoration and less "in your face" functionality. I'm reviewing and getting comfortable with slashcode right now. I'm looking for volunteers to help with setup and running the site. If the site becomes profitable, I intend to hire from the pool of volunteers. If you've ever wanted to participate in a site like Slashdot, here's your chance! I'm particularly in need of people who can:
  • Set up and manage a high-traffic site (servers, load-balancers, data sites, &c)
  • Edit story submissions
  • HTML, CSS, and script creation/bugfix/repair

Contact me if interested John (at) AltSlashdot (dot) org"
Link to Original Source

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AltSlashdot is coming

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about 10 months ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "I've just now registered "AltSlashdot.org".

I intend to run a site much like Slashdot used to be — better articles, less decoration and less "in your face" functionality. I'm revewing and getting comfortable with slashcode right now.

I'm looking for volunteers to help with setup and running the site. If the site becomes profitable, I intend to hire from the pool of volunteers. If you've ever wanted to participate in a site like Slashdot, here's your chance!

I'm particularly in need of people who can: .) Set up and manage a high-traffic site (servers, load-balancers, data sites, &c) .) Edit story submissions .) HTML, CSS, and script creation/bugfix/repair

Contact me if interested

John (at) AltSlashdot (dot) org"

Link to Original Source
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Judge orders professor removed from no-fly list

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about 10 months ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "In a followup to Slashdot's previous article, a federal judge has ordered Rahinah Ibrahim removed from the U.S. government's no-fly list.

Rahinah Ibrahim eventually won the no-fly list ruling after her daughter, a US citizen, was prevented from returning to the country to testify at the trial.

Here's hoping this is the first of many successful challenges to the no-fly list."

Link to Original Source
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James Bond Likely To Die An Early Death Of Alcoholism, Study Finds

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about a year ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "Forbes magazine reports that three British scientists studying drinking habits have concluded that James Bond was indeed a raging alcoholic.

The study further notes: "Bond’s drinking would have led some serious long-term ramifications since it puts him into the level-3 category, “the highest risk group for malignancies, depression, hypertension, and cirrhosis. He is also at high risk of suffering from sexual dysfunction, which would considerably affect his womanising.” They give him a life expectancy of just 56 years.""

Link to Original Source
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Facebook mocks 'infection' study, predicts Princeton's demise

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about a year ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "In a followup to our earlier story about Princeton researchers predicting the end of Facebook by 2017, Facebook has struck back with a post using similar statistical techniques to predict that Princeton itself may be facing irreversible decline.

By using similar methods ("likes," mentions in scholarly papers, Google searches) Facebook creates convincing-looking graphs that indicate Princeton is losing ground compared with its rivals and may have no students at all by 2021."

Link to Original Source
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Can an App Improve Vision?

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  1 year,8 days

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "A 12-week, scientifically tested training program, newly available as an iPhone app, uses a technique called perceptual learning to reduce—or even eliminate—the need for reading glasses.

A 30-person study published in February 2012 in the journal Scientific Reports found that after trying [an iPhone app called GlassesOff] participants on average could read letters 1.6 times smaller than they could previously. The program is much more likely to show improvement in adults 40 to 60 years old, scientists say."

Link to Original Source
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ScareMail Tries to Disrupt NSA Email Surveillance

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  1 year,19 days

Okian Warrior (537106) writes ""Are you on the NSA’s email watchlist? Do you want to be? The ScareMail project is designed to mess with the NSA’s email surveillance programs.

Benjamin Grosser has written a plugin for many popular web browsers that uses an algorithm to generate a clever but ultimately useless narrative in the signature of your email using as many probable NSA search terms as possible. The idea behind this is if enough people use it, it will overload the NSA’s search results, ultimately making their email keyword tracking useless.

Ben has a video describing the project.""

Link to Original Source
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Elsevier retracts study on roundup toxcicity

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  1 year,19 days

Okian Warrior (537106) writes ""Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize," by Gilles Eric Séralini et al. has been retracted by the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.

Very shortly after the publication of this article, the journal received Letters to the Editor expressing concerns about the validity of the findings it described, the proper use of animals, and even allegations of fraud. Many of these letters called upon the editors of the journal to retract the paper.

Unequivocally, the Editor-in-Chief found no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data. However, there is a legitimate cause for concern regarding both the number of animals in each study group and the particular strain selected.

"Ultimately, the results presented (while not incorrect) are inconclusive, and therefore do not reach the threshold of publication for Food and Chemical Toxicology. The peer-review process is not perfect, but it does work.""

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ScareMail Tries to Disrupt NSA Email Surveillance

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  1 year,20 days

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "Are you on the NSA’s email watchlist? Do you want to be? The ScareMail project is designed to mess with the NSA’s email surveillance programs.

Benjamin Grosser has written a plugin for many popular web browsers that uses an algorithm to generate a clever but ultimately useless narrative in the signature of your email using as many probable NSA search terms as possible. The idea behind this is if enough people use it, it will overload the NSA’s search results, ultimately making their email keyword tracking useless.

Ben has a video describing the project."

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What will the future bring? (Ask Slashdot)

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about a year ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "Slashdot's recent article about Andrew Marshall (the pentagon's predictor of future events) got me wondering about about the future in general.

What major changes do you think will happen within the next 5 years or so? What problems do we face today that will become non-issues, what little-known problems will become big, and which problems of today are non issues?"

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5 Year Mission Continues After 45 Year Hiatus

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about a year ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "Hackaday brings us news about a continuation of the original Star Trek series. The Kickstarter-funded project is attempting to complete the original 5 year mission, which ended after only three seasons on the air. The fan based and fan supported reincarnation is cleverly titled “Star Trek Continues” and has CBS’s consent.

Check out the first episode "Pilgrim of Eternity". For being fan-made, it's actually pretty good."

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Linux RNG may be insecure after all

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about a year ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "As a followup to Linus's opinion of people skeptical of the linux random number generator, a new paper analyzes the robustness of /dev/urandom and /dev/urandom.

From the paper: "From a practical side, we also give a precise assessment of the security of the two Linux PRNGs, /dev/random and /dev/urandom. In particular, we show several attacks proving that these PRNGs are not robust according to our definition, and do not accumulate entropy properly. These attacks are due to the vulnerabilities of the entropy estimator and the internal mixing function of the Linux PRNGs. These attacks against the Linux PRNG show that it does not satisfy the "robustness" notion of security, but it remains unclear if these attacks lead to actual exploitable vulnerabilities in practice.""

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Stuffed Animals Riding to Their Slaughter

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about a year ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "A disturbing delivery truck is currently roaming the streets of New York City, showing cuddly farmyard animals being sent to the slaughterhouse. Banksy's super adorable but horribly sad "Sirens of the Lambs" also – in pure Banksy form – makes a social commentary about the horrors of the livestock industry. All types of animals (cows, pics, chickens, ducks, lambs and even a panda) can be seen protruding from the “Farm Fresh Meats” truck, presumably on the way to the slaughterhouse. Some of the creatures move their heads and “cry out” for help, attracting the attention of people on the street."
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NY Comic Con Takes Over Attendees' Twitter Accounts to Praise Itself

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about a year ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "Attendees to this year’s New York Comic Con convention were allowed to pre-register their RFID-enabled badges online and connect their social media profiles to their badges — something, the NYCC registration site explained, that would make the “NYCC experience 100x cooler! For realz.”

Most attendees didn’t expect “100x cooler” to translate into “we’ll post spam in your feed as soon as the RFID badge senses that you’ve entered the show", but that seems to be what happened."

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Gibson Research proposes new secure login system

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about a year ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "Gibson Research is proposing a new secure login system. The SQRL system uses QR codes with a separate authentication system to provide cryptographically-secure authentication and communication. Although meant to be activated from a smartphone camera, the system could also be used from a browser applet or screen-capture program.

The convenience of not needing to enter account names or passwords is quite tempting, and cryptographically safe communications would be a bonus for many applications.

What do other slashdot readers think?"

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Video of Range Rover running over bikers in NYC

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about a year ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "The annual New York City "Hollywood Block Party" motorcycle ride turned violent Sunday after a motorcyclist had a minor fender bender with a black Range Rover. Both the initial accident, and the high-speed chase that followed, were caught on tape via the mounted helmet camera of another biker.

Motorcyclists, after catching up with the car, assaulted the driver."

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Journals

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Non-popularity of Open Source

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Apropos my recent post outlining why open source is not very popular.

I've spent some time researching useability, both in computer software and other areas.

The post was necessarily brief - it only outlined 5 general trends and was light on context, explanation, and supporting examples.

A better treatment would explain all the trends that I see (perhaps a dozen) with more explicit explanations for each. Unfortunately that's not appropriate for a blog post [Slashdot] comment.

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Egad! I've got fans!

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  more than 4 years ago

I've just now discovered that I've got fans.

Contact info:

niroz (dot) 9 (dot) okianwarrior (at) spamgourmet.com

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