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Comments

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Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

Prune Re:But was it really unethical ? (612 comments)

Right after posting, I realized that my mention of bounded rationality might be misinterpreted to mean that I was referring to a subset of the population who would be "too dumb" to reliably use a consequentialist approach. But that is not the case; it applies to everyone, albeit to a different degree. Bounded rationality was seriously approached first in the field of economics, but it's scope is far larger. From neuroscience we see ever more how deep the integration between reasoning and emotions is (for example, Damasio's somatic markers). From cognitive psychology we see that the brain is so constrained by its finite processing speed (as a result of the biological pressures of its caloric cost and its size requiring hips so wide for childbirth that, were they any wider, humans could not walk upright) that it uses fallible heuristics as information processing optimizations. In this context, value ethics and deontology ethics have significant practical advantage over the more analytical consequentialism ethics because values and rules (principles), and not only because they're easier to process (less time, effort, and caloric expenditure), but also because, once taught and instilled, they have a more direct connection to an emotional response, which gives them more power when an individual is trying to make a choice where ethics conflict with other considerations.

about a week ago
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Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

Prune Re:But was it really unethical ? (612 comments)

Funny enough, the value- and rule-based approaches can themselves be justified by consequentialism, for reasons of pedagogy, and because humans are boundedly rational. It can be impractical due to finite reasoning ability and time constraints to carry out a full analysis of every ethical situation one encounters, and thus applying consequentialism directly may be too burdensome. Many would, as a result, not have the impetus and discipline to apply such an approach to ethics consistently. The first two approaches, on the other hand, are simpler to apply, and thus easier to teach, easier to demonstrate and market by anecdotes and role models, and easier to keep in mind and apply consistently. Thus, on the whole over a population, they are likely to result in producing more of the consequences of ethical behavior than actual consequentialism ethics.

about a week ago
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Nano-Pixels Hold Potential For Screens Far Denser Than Today's Best

Prune Can be used foor true 3D display (129 comments)

Currently we do have auto-stereoscropic displays (no glasses), but they only account for stereopsis, not accommodation (different focal distances for the eye). In current 3D displays, the 3D cue of stereopsis conflicts with the information from accommodation to a flat plane, and the 3D effect is significantly diminished (and can even cause discomfort or headaches). With an ultra high pixel density display base, lightfield displays become practical, and they can reproduce both stereopsis and different focal depth per image element. Current prototypes I've seen at SIGGRAPH have been very low resolution, as you need a patch of 2D pixels under each microlens (lightfield displays are based on a microlens array with multiple pixels under each lens). I imagine a 1920x1080 microlens array with 32x32 pixels under each microlens. If the display is also high-dynamic range and with extended color gamut, it would be the ultimate visual equivalent to a window into other worlds.

about two weeks ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

Prune Re:Distinct DNA (1330 comments)

Following this line of argument, we end up with a descent into the trivial.

about three weeks ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

Prune Re:Distinct DNA (1330 comments)

If they're "woman-slavers", as you claim, you're a "baby-killer".

Leave the name-calling out--it just reveals that you're not able to discuss this rationally.

about three weeks ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

Prune Re:Distinct DNA (1330 comments)

On the contrary, all I did is take his comment at face value and derived a corollary from it. I'm not mischaracterizing the expressed position; it actually is unreasonable via reductio ad absurdum. To argue otherwise, you ought to present something more substantive than "gross oversimplification".

about three weeks ago
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When Beliefs and Facts Collide

Prune Re:Not surprising. (725 comments)

who unfortunately has succumbed to some pretty weird ideas in his old age

How can you make such an inappropriate comment? It's suitable for politics, not supposedly rational discussion.

It's really simple, if you look at it from the point of view of stochastic search algorithms. If you significantly weaken selection pressure (as we've done and will continue to do increasingly) while mutation and crossover continue to randomize the gene pool, the average fitness of a population by any given metric will fall over time (because the gene pool is very far from random, and individuals are on average closer to some (local) maximum of the current fitness function than a set random samples would be). There's just no way around it. If there's no natural selection, then there's a clear case to be made for artificial selection. I equate eugenics with selective breeding in the most general sense. It doesn't require genocide, and it doesn't require preventing anyone from reproducing -- it only requires encouraging reproduction for some portion of the population. While that still is distasteful for some, I'm still waiting for an alternative proposal for the very long term.

about three weeks ago
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When Beliefs and Facts Collide

Prune Re:Not surprising. (725 comments)

Parent's post is one of those that sounds nice, but is factually incorrect, so please mod it down. Many prominent biologists are supporters of eugenics. This includes the co-discoverer of DNA structure himself, the famed James D. Watson, who in recent years became more public about his support for eugenics: http://tech.mit.edu/V119/N46/4... The more you dig around (start with wiki articles on the subject), the more like him you find. Parent poster didn't do his research, preferring to post what fit his ideological preconceptions instead.

about three weeks ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

Prune What about Jehovah's Witnesses? (1330 comments)

You should learn to read. SCOTUS specifically said it has to be a closely knit ownership structure with a history of religious beliefs against abortion. Just like aereo, this is a narrow ruling.

about a month ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

Prune Distinct DNA (1330 comments)

it's -> its

about a month ago
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Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

Prune Re:Except, of course, they have to prove you can (560 comments)

Are you serious? The post specifically says secure _key_ storage. Only the encryption key needs to be kept this way. You could have an exabyte data warehouse encrypted with that key. If the key is safe, so is the data.

about a month ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

Prune Distinct DNA (1330 comments)

So if they clone a human, the clone is not a distinct organism because it's DNA is not distinct from the original, and thus we can do away with it? Something's seriously rotten with the argument you've presented.

about a month ago
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Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

Prune Re:Except, of course, they have to prove you can (560 comments)

There's a much better approach. There are secure key storage ICs you can buy for a few dollars a piece at the usual electronics distributors (Digikey etc.), which have a pin or set of pins to which a signal will cause instant secure erasure of the stored data. With one of these, the solution is quite trivial, and I've prototyped it before. Across it's ground and VCC pins, the device has a capacitor large enough to give it a fraction of a second of charge when disconnected from power. The erase signal pin is triggered by ANDed physical interlocks and power sense. If the power goes out, or the physical interlocks are opened, the key is instantly erased.

about a month ago
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Microsoft's Cloud Storage Service OneDrive Now Offers 15GB For Free

Prune No file delta update--useless for encrypted store (99 comments)

OneDrive reuploads a whole file when it's changed, which makes it useless if you want to store an oft-updated TrueCrypt container, or other encrypted container. Dropbox, on the other hand, does delta updates of files. With OneDrive, every time you add/edit/remove files from your encrypted container, it will reupload the whole container. Unless you have a really small one, that's unacceptable.

about a month ago
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The Supreme Court Doesn't Understand Software

Prune Re:Everything is an algorithm (263 comments)

Information production, writing, storage, and retrieval requires the rearranging of matter and energy in the real world. Information doesn't exist unless it has a physical manifestation. Indeed, physics places very hard fundamental limits on things like processing rate, maximum information density possible (due to Bekenstein bound), and so on exactly because information can only exist through its physical manifestation. This is the case even if said physical manifestation is just the neural correlates in your brain of the thoughts you're having on a possible invention. You cannot sever the idea from physical manifestations. What you refer to as abstract ideas are not fundamentally different from specific applications because there's no such thing as a purely abstract concept that is not married to physics, just as there's no specific application that is not also informational in nature. I stand by my original point -- it's all a matter of degree and subjectivity.

about a month ago
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The Supreme Court Doesn't Understand Software

Prune Everything is an algorithm (263 comments)

At least according to some philosophers and physicists, everything corresponds to algorithms: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... Any patented process and device can be described wholly in algorithmic terms. Does this mean nothing should be patentable? Of course not. There's no sharp dividing line in these things, and this is my point -- there are soft lines here, just like there are soft lines between things that are best described as mathematics, and things that are best described as software processes. Ultimately they all reduce to mathematics, but that in itself doesn't make them unpatentable. The disputes here are on where along a continuum to place a threshold, and everyone has their own favourite point. The summary suggests this is lost on Mr. Lee, who chooses to see this as purely black and white and cut off anything that reduces to mathematics. The problem with that is that, if you were to take this to its logical conclusion, then nothing whatsoever would be patentable. Then again, Mr. Lee may just be radical enough to believe that, even if he's not upfront about it for strategic reasons.

about a month ago

Submissions

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First commercial carbon capture project is failing

Prune Prune writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Prune (557140) writes "A Saskatchewan report that the world's first commercial carbon capture project is failing could be grave news for those involved in efforts to blunt humanity's contribution to climate change.
It's a story with global implications, potentially bad ones, for the energy sector: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/greenpage/environment/carbon-injected-underground-now-leaking-saskatchewan-farmers-study-says-113276449.html"

Link to Original Source

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