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The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

Pfhorrest Re:they really are talking, we just can't hear (378 comments)

Even if aliens are using radio waves, even we generally aren't broadcasting unencrypted analog signals. Most of our communication now is directed, encrypted, and digitally encoded, to the point that you'd only pick it up if you were lucky enough to pass directly between sender and intended receiver, and even if you did get it you'd have great difficulty discerning it from noise, and even if you knew already that it wasn't noise, you'd have a hell of a time making any sense of it would knowing the encoding and encryption.

For all we know, a lot of "random" gamma ray bursts and things we pick up are the Earth just happening to pass across some kind of interstellar communication channel, but we can't discern the message from noise and so have no idea there's even a message there.

2 days ago
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The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

Pfhorrest Re:Life form? (378 comments)

Life is self-productive machinery: physical systems that transform flows of energy through them in a way that reduces their own internal entropy.

Everything traditionally considered life meets this formal definition, and essentially nothing else doesexcept computers, because the storage and processing of information constitutes a reduction of their internal entropy.

Robots, computers with fancy peripherals, are therefore alive.

(Doesn't mean we have to worry about the ethical treatment of computers though, because the bacteria all over your kitchen countertop that you happily exterminate every time you clean house are also alive, and we don't have to worry about ethical treatment of them. TFA is talking about sapient and therefore sapient robots though, and we would have to care about them.)

2 days ago
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Investigation: Apple Failing To Protect Chinese Factory Workers

Pfhorrest Re:We had this in USA (191 comments)

Communism was supposed to be a labor movement.

It's clear that whatever China has is not communism, if it ever was.

3 days ago
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At 40, a person is ...

Pfhorrest Re:The Future is Surreal (186 comments)

People like her often develop a problem with the world after the world repeatedly demonstrates that it has a problem with them.

Someone who transitioned over two or three decades ago like she did, back when the world was even less accepting and understanding than it is now, probably even more so than someone just starting the process today.

3 days ago
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At 40, a person is ...

Pfhorrest No judgement-free options? (186 comments)

At 40 a person is statistically close to the middle of their probable lifespan, and that's neither inherently good nor inherently bad. I'm disappointed that there is no option for that. You're neither a younger nor elderly, you're middle-aged, but that's neither "in a good way" or derogatory, it just is. Anything good or derogatory there might be to say about you would have nothing to do with your age.

3 days ago
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Bellard Creates New Image Format To Replace JPEG

Pfhorrest Re:Ok, looks good (377 comments)

GP (not sure if that's you or not, both ACs) mentioned both 2 megabyte images from his current (7.2 megapixel) camera and a 2.1 megapixel old camera, and was apparently surprised that the 2 megabyte (presumably JPEG) files from his current camera have fewer artifacts than the 5872 byte JPEGs on the example site. I suspect he thought the 5872 number was kilobytes, i.e. a 5-6 megabyte file, which would explain why he would seemingly expect that to have better quality than the 2 megabyte files.

And bits per pixel times pixels only gives you a higher number of uncompressed bytes for the resultant files; compression should more than compensate for that, such as how his 7.2 megapixel camera which is presumably 32 bits per pixel doesn't therefore produce 28.8 megabyte files, but rather only around 2 megabytes files. If his old 2.1 megapixel camera was generating files that looked as crappy as the 5872 byte JPEG on the example site, they were probably (or at least hopefully) only a few kilobytes large each themselves.

about two weeks ago
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Bellard Creates New Image Format To Replace JPEG

Pfhorrest Re:Ok, looks good (377 comments)

Why are you surprised that a 5.8 thousand byte image has more artifacts than a 2 million(ish) byte image?

about two weeks ago
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Peter Sunde: the Pirate Bay Should Stay Down

Pfhorrest Re:You guys should give it up (251 comments)

Offshoring and immigration are completely irrelevant to the "information wants to be free" debate. One is about labor relations, and asking the government not to enable (though immigration and tax policy) greedy corporations to force down the price of wages for local people just to stuff the pockets of corporate shareholders and executives. The other is about communication and not prohibiting any forms of it. They have nothing to do with each other.

about two weeks ago
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Civil Rights Groups Divided On Net Neutrality

Pfhorrest Re:First Do No Harm (127 comments)

There's no reason one approach has to block the other.

If there is a monopoly, it should be regulated as a common carrier.

If they don't want to be regulated as a common carrier, they have to let the competition in.

Let the ISPs themselves choose. Would you rather be a regulated common carrier monopoly or free to do as you like in a highly competitive market?

Either way, the users win.

about two weeks ago
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AdNauseam Browser Extension Quietly Clicks On Blocked Ads

Pfhorrest Re: Isn't that click fraud? (285 comments)

Hosting is absurdly cheap though. I have a Dreamhost "unlimited" (for purposes of hosting a website, not being your personal backup, etc) plan that costs me less than $10/mo. The labor required to build and maintain a hobbyist site for a large community would be worth more than cost of hosting. So if you've got hobbyists who are enthusiastic enough to actually do the community-maintenance stuff to keep their online community running, gathering a measly 33 cents a day on average across all of them can't be that hard. If just one person in that community makes a decent enough living that a $10/mo donation to their favorite online community is trivial, then bam, hosting costs handled. Or ten fans who can each spare a buck a month?

about two weeks ago
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18th Century Law Dredged Up To Force Decryption of Devices

Pfhorrest Re:5th Admendment? (446 comments)

It doesn't assign a heapiness value, though: it assigns odds of something being a heap. That still treats heaps as a crisp set. Compare: a probability function will tell me the odds of a die rolling a six, but it still either the die does or doesn't land on six; there is no "slightly six" in dice, there are just the odds of being either completely six or not. That's not the case with heaps: a collection of grains can be only slightly heapish, or very heapish, which is something different than being slightly or very likely to be (completely and unambiguously) a heap.

about three weeks ago
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18th Century Law Dredged Up To Force Decryption of Devices

Pfhorrest Re:Ancient? (446 comments)

Europeans think 200 miles is a long distance; Americans think 200 years is a long time.

(And 2000 years ago is still pretty recent, even just as far as human history goes. That's closer to the Moon Landing than it is to the building of the Pyramids of Giza).

about three weeks ago
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18th Century Law Dredged Up To Force Decryption of Devices

Pfhorrest Re:5th Admendment? (446 comments)

The formalism of use here is not probability, but fuzzy sets. The Problem of the Heap basically highlights that "heapishness" is not a crisp property; there is not a clear-cut line between heaps and non-heaps, rather the demarcation between heaps and non-heaps is fuzzy. A collection of grains of rice can be more heapish or less heapish, and sufficiently non-heapish (for a given purpose, context, etc) collections can be called simply "non-heaps", of sufficiently heapish collections likewise simply called "heaps", but there is never a sudden switch from heap to non-heap.

Probability doesn't express that properly, because it still speaks as though a given collection either is or isn't a heap, and adds the further complication that two different collections of the same number of grains may be a heap and not a heap respectively, though their odds of being a heap are the same.

Going back to chickens: it's not that over time, successive organisms got more and more likely to be chickens. It's that over time, successive organisms got more and more chickenish. Chickens are not a crisp set. Chickenishness if a fuzzy property.

But stillsufficiently chickenish birds came before sufficiently-chickenish-bird eggs, because a chicken egg is an egg laid by a chicken, not necessarily an egg containing a chicken embryo. (Consider: when you buy unfertilized eggs at the store, are those chicken eggs or not?)

about three weeks ago
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Hawking Warns Strong AI Could Threaten Humanity

Pfhorrest Re:Choose better. (574 comments)

This is tangential but I just have to comment that there is so much presumption in your suggestions. That he has retirement savings that he could live off of. That he has a house he could sell. Especially that the alternative to owning a house would cost LESS than owning one — why would anyone ever buy if not to escape the infinite debt that is a life of renting until you die?

In my 20s I wanted to spend my life doing things to enrich the world, art and writing and philosophy, but got sidetracked from those things by the need to get a stable enough life that I could do those things without ending up homeless or starving again —after that happened or nearly happened too many times for comfort. Now as I'm approaching middle age myself, it's becoming clear that it's going to take my entire productive life, if I'm lucky and things continue going as well as they recently have started to, to get to a point where I don't have to work doing pointless things that contribute nothing of value to the world just to have a place to sleep, and can actually start doing something worth doing with my life when I retire — if I'm lucky enough to ever actually retire, since it'll likely be by retirement age that housing is secured and I can start saving up food money to live off of for the few years I'll have left, and that's ignoring the probability that by then I will likely have medical expenses destroying any ability to save like that anymore.

So the alternative to "toil[ing] away the rest of my life working for The Man doing trivial things" as the GP put it isn't "sell my house" or "live off my retirement savings", it's "sleep in my car and beg for food money". In either case I lose out on actually doing anything worth living for, but in the former case at least I'm living a comfortable pointless existence.

about three weeks ago
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Ability To Consume Alcohol May Have Shaped Human Evolution

Pfhorrest Re:Genetic defect? (89 comments)

The mold dies once it reaches my stomach anyway, and it's already there by the time the wine gets anywhere near it, so I don't know what you're talking about with "kill the fungus". But seriously, bread and water with a roquefort? That leaves a meal of the strongest savory-flavored food in the world, paired with no other flavors of note (depending on the bread you're thinking of). Gotta add some variety in there, and the sweet and sour notes of a rich fruity wine contrast the savory cheese beautifully.

about three weeks ago
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Ability To Consume Alcohol May Have Shaped Human Evolution

Pfhorrest Re:Genetic defect? (89 comments)

I also have a very high alcohol tolerance and don't care much for the taste, so I never understood why drinking was attractive at all. (With the exception of drinks that actually do taste good, mostly paired with good foods; I do like a nice sangria with my roquefort cheese).

I eventually discovered that I could get drunk if I combined hard liquor with caffeine. And I still didn't understand why that feeling would be appealing. Why would anyone enjoy having poor motor control and cloudy thinking?

Now a drug that made you hyper-competent, that I could see the appeal of; and it would probably be the downfall of me, assuming side-effects and addiction are the price of that temporary boost.

about three weeks ago
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Game Theory Analysis Shows How Evolution Favors Cooperation's Collapse

Pfhorrest Re:Justifying (213 comments)

To be complete, Adams' story was far from complimentary of the B-ark people, too. In fact it's mostly just ragging on how useless and incompetent the B-ark people are (and how they completely ruined the world they eventually settled on), and only mentions in passing how their homeworld also collapsed in their absence.

about three weeks ago
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Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies

Pfhorrest Re:Practically alone... (307 comments)

In mathematics "almost" denotes an infinite set minus some finite subset, so if there are only 10 billion galaxies that can support life and the universe is infinite, then the universe is "almost lifeless": infinitely lifeless except some finite subset with potential life.

about a month ago
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Cameron Says People Radicalized By Free Speech; UK ISPs Agree To Censor Button

Pfhorrest Re:The UK doesn't have freedom of speech (316 comments)

What the IRS did was to punish people for speaking.

Punishing people for speaking is tantamount to prohibiting speech. Virtually every law against anything is a declaration to the effect of "if you do this, you will be punished"; so if you can legally be punished for doing something, it is effectively illegal to do it.

about a month ago
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ISPs Removing Their Customers' Email Encryption

Pfhorrest Re: DMCA (Defamation) (245 comments)

I like your point, but seriously... "copyright", "copyrited", AND "copywrite" all in one post?

about a month ago

Submissions

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Teacher laid off for telling the truth about Santa

Pfhorrest Pfhorrest writes  |  about 6 years ago

Pfhorrest writes "The Times Online reports:

A supply teacher has been told not to return to one primary school after she told a class of seven-year-olds that Santa Claus did not exist.

Children at Blackshaw Lane Primary School in Oldham were talking about Christmas when the teacher came out with the news.

Father Christmas was not responsible for delivering their presents on Christmas Eve, the pupils were taught. The teacher, who had been drafted in for just the day, has now been told not to come back.

Parents complained to the school after their children returned home to recount what they had learnt in lessons that day.

With all the contention about teaching religion (or the lack thereof) in schools these days, what do you all think about similar issues regarding more frivolous popular folklore like Santa Claus here? Should a school be able to fire a teacher for telling the truth about something all adults accepts as mere myth?"
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Eternal - Beyond Infinity Lies Destiny

Pfhorrest Pfhorrest writes  |  more than 6 years ago The Xeventh Project is proud to present a Marathon scenario nearly twelve years in the making: Eternal X.

The longest-running Marathon scenario project in history, Eternal began production in 1996 upon the release of Marathon Infinity. Eventually run into the ground and then dormant for many years, it was resurrected in 2004 just in time for a "penultimate" release on Marathon's 10th anniversary, which received over ten thousand downloads. For the past several years since then, a crack team of some of the Marathon community's most skilled artists, musicians, and cartographers has been busy putting the final polish on this ancient project; and now, at long last, Eternal X is complete.

Featuring 52 huge levels, hundreds of new high-resolution textures, over a dozen tracks of original music, a wholly revamed user interface, all new weapons, and several new creatures and characters, alongside the complete cast from the original trilogy and numerous familiar locations, Eternal is one of the largest and most ambitious Marathon scenario projects ever undertaken.

The story of Eternal begins nearly one hundred years after Marathon Infinity, on the S'pht moon K'lia, hanging in orbit over a desolate and ruined Earth. Clearly all is not well with this future, and once again you are the last hope for mankind. The people of this time say that nobody really won in the war with the Pfhor; but now, thanks to recovered Jjaro technology, a plan has been devised to make things right. Paired with another sort of hybrid creature, the former Battleroid known as Hathor, you have been selected to venture back across time, one hundred and eleven years in the past to the U.E.S.C. Marathon. There, you and Hathor are to set in motion a plan that will alter the course of history and bring true victory to mankind. But things don't always go according to plan, and what begins as a mission to right history turns into an epic pursuit which spans not only the stars but also the centuries.

The scenario is available in both a Full Edition, complete with high-resolution graphics and an original soundtrack, and a Lite Edition, which is more amenable to older computers and slower connections. Both the Full Edition and Lite Edition are compatible with all currently supported platforms of Aleph One, including Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux.

To download Eternal X, please visit <http://eternal.bungie.org/>.

-Forrest Cameranesi
Director of the Xeventh Project


ABOUT MARATHON:
Marathon was a landmark first-person shooter created by Bungie Studios, creators of the acclaimed Halo franchise. Originally released on the Macintosh in 1994, Marathon introduced many new features and concepts to the genre including dual-weilded and dual-function weapons; versatile multiplayer modes such as King of the Hill, Kill the Man with the Ball, and cooperative play; friendly NPCs; and a deep and intricate storyline. The sequel, Marathon 2: Durandal, was released in 1995, improving on the engine technologies and greatly expanding the scope of the story. In 1996, Marathon 2 was ported to Windows 95, and the Marathon Infinity package was released for Macintosh, including a new scenario using a modified Marathon 2 engine, and most importantly, the tools used to build it, Forge and Anvil. In the year 2000, Bungie released the source code to the Marathon 2 engine, and the Marathon Open Source project began, resulting in the new Marathon engine called Aleph One. Finally, in 2005, Bungie authorized free redistribution of the entire Marathon trilogy and all related files. This means that the entire trilogy can now be legally obtained for free and played on nearly any computer. To download the original Marathon trilogy, please visit <http://source.bungie.org/get/>.

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