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Obama Presses Leaders To Speed Ebola Response

QilessQi Re:War! (220 comments)

Let's hope it goes better than the "War on Drugs".

2 days ago
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Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads

QilessQi Re:Unterminated quotation (405 comments)

(Addendum) Apparently, this may be rooted in the archaic practise of:

“Using a
“quotation mark at the
“beginning of every line
“of the quoted text. This
“practise was actually
“pretty commonplace during
“the Georgian and Victo-
“ian Eras.”

Curiously, this is:

> Strongly reminiscent
> of what a quoted
> message looks like
> in emails and newsgroups.
> The cycle is now complete.

Or, you could say that:

/* modern quotes
are like block
comments */

whereas...

// Victorian
// quotes
// are like in-line
// comments.

I think that's neat. :-)

about a week ago
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Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads

QilessQi Re:Unterminated quotation (405 comments)

I'm not sure that's true. In my experience, an unterminated quotation is meant to span paragraphs until its termination (although, confusingly, subsequent paragraphs must begin with the quote to remind you that it is still open. Like this:

http://english.stackexchange.c...

“That seems like an odd way to use punctuation,” Tom said. “What harm would there be in using quotation marks at the end of every paragraph?”

“Oh, that’s not all that complicated,” J.R. answered. “If you closed quotes at the end of every paragraph, then you would need to reidentify the speaker with every subsequent paragraph.

“Say a narrative was describing two or three people engaged in a lengthy conversation. If you closed the quotation marks in the previous paragraph, then a reader wouldn’t be able to easily tell if the previous speaker was extending his point, or if someone else in the room had picked up the conversation. By leaving the previous paragraph’s quote unclosed, the reader knows that the previous speaker is still the one talking.”

“Oh, that makes sense. Thanks!”

about a week ago
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Can ISO 29119 Software Testing "Standard" Really Be a Standard?

QilessQi This sounds... familiar.... (152 comments)

By implementing these standards, you will be adopting the only internationally-recognised and agreed standards for software testing, which will provide your organisation with a high-quality approach to testing that can be communicated throughout the world.

....Be the first on your block to collect all five! GOTTA CATCH 'EM ALL!

about two weeks ago
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Google To Build Quantum Information Processors

QilessQi God, I love living in the future... (72 comments)

That summary reads like something out of Star Trek. Superconducting qubit arrays! Imagine a positronic network of those. ;-)

about two weeks ago
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

QilessQi Re:Her work (1262 comments)

That you posted this AC tells us everything we need to know about you.

about three weeks ago
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DARPA Wants To Kill the Password

QilessQi They should watch "Archer"... (383 comments)

Pam: Oh, OK, then good luck with all the biometric scanners. Unless you wanna cut off my fingers and scoop out my retinas.

Kidnappers look at each other.

Pam: Oh, don't be dicks!

about a month ago
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New NSA-Funded Code Rolls All Programming Languages Into One

QilessQi FTFY (306 comments)

"Web applications today are written as a poorly-coordinated mishmash of artifacts written in different languages, file formats, and technologies.

"...and here's another one!"

about a month ago
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Extracting Audio From Visual Information

QilessQi Re:tl;dr: (142 comments)

Laugh if you want, but if you yell MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB at your rhododendrons, the NSA will know about it.

about a month and a half ago
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US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

QilessQi Re:Can we just recognize it as currency and be don (172 comments)

I would guess that one reasons that retailers are converting BTC to local currency immediately is that it is insanely volatile right now, so holding BTC comes with risk. If the value becomes more quiescent (say, on a par with the USD), and if the retailers can purchase their supplies from other retailers who also accept BTC, then direct re-spending of BTC would rise without the vendor going through an exchange first. Which would be ideal, since any exchange is going to skim a little off the top.

See, I also think cryptocurrencies in their present form have a good chance of failing, but for very different reasons:

1. The blockchain doesn't appear to scale well. It takes a long time to verify transactions, and we're hardly stressing BTC to reasonable levels. 1.2 million users is paltry compared to the population of the world. One would ideally need something like a BTC credit card, where actual transactions are mediated by insured banks that act as buffers, providing the illusion of "instantaneous" and "reversible" transactions for a fee that might be paid for by either card holders or merchants. The bank would then take on the risk of a transaction subsequently failing to verify, using typical means to go after the offending party to get the funds back.

2. It all goes south when the power's out. If there's a widespread blackout or communications outage, I can't use my BTC. I can use the bills in my wallet, or even trade the physical goods/services I have for the ones I need. Of course, you might say that credit/debit cards have the same problem, and increasingly that's what we use for daily purchases. If the computing infrastructure of the world were to collapse, I'd say we'd have bigger problems to deal with -- but I still like the idea of coins and paper money as a backup for temporary outages.

3. Properly securing a wallet is hard, and using a compromised wallet is easy. Have you seen what people do to print a secure paper wallet? Disconnecting the printer from the internet, etc.? Average Joes and Janes won't do it. And then access to that single number gives a thief access to however much money you've got in the wallet. Since some folks are storing tens of thousands of USD in wallets, thieves are highly motivated. Money has to be simple to use.

But all this is tangential to the original discussion: do we need special regulation of cryptocurrencies? To which I say, no. Like it or not, they're being widely used as currencies, moreso than the native currencies of certain island nations, so we might as well treat them as such. Now, they may be a bad implementation of a currency, but that's another topic entirely.

about 2 months ago
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US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

QilessQi Re:Your lack of a clue is not my problem. (172 comments)

Hmm, I can't at all see where I "personally attacked you", although I do see you lashing out a lot. But that's ok, son... I ain't mad. :-)

It does seem like you're having a lot of problems convincing people on this thread. Maybe if you stated clearly why you think a cryptocurrency valued at 7.5 billion US$ isn't a real currency just because there's no government backing it, you might get some folks to see things your way. But saying things like "your argument is irrelevant" or "you can't debate facts" without telling us what facts you're talking about is just going to make those people grin and shake their heads.

about 2 months ago
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US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

QilessQi Re:Extra-double illegal because it's digital!!! (172 comments)

Again, agreed. I think the reason people leap to the idea of "regulating" Bitcoin is that it has notoriously been used for shady purposes due to its effective untraceability (yes, you can find out that X BTC were transferred into wallet Y, but finding the real-world owner of Y can be difficult, and can be made even moreso).

But there may be other regulations in place regarding "currency" that pertain to banks and exchanges, and perhaps that is what the OP was thinking. But even so, I don't think we should have special rules for cryptocurrencies, any more than we should have special rules for Canadian dollars. If it's a popular medium of exchange, then it's a de facto "currency", Webster's be damned. And if it's a currency, we know how to deal with it.

The only one thing we can't do with BTC and its ilk is appeal to a central regulating authority, like a government. But given that a consortia of mining pools could collectively control >51% of BTC transactions and act as a regulating authority (deploying changes to the protocol where beneficial, etc.), that may not be infeasible.

about 2 months ago
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US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

QilessQi Re:Can we just recognize it as currency and be don (172 comments)

Sure, agreed. But every time someone comes up with a "Bitcoin can't buy X" argument, someone else posts an article like this -- which was updated today:

http://www.coindesk.com/inform...

Again, I don't own or use Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, but I do appreciate the technology, and how its adoption has spread . And there are a lot of people who seem to be rooting for it to fail, although I can't quite understand why. Jealously at not being one of the early adopters? Fear of the unknown?

about 2 months ago
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US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

QilessQi Re:Can we just recognize it as currency and be don (172 comments)

Oh, I'm sorry... I wouldn't have wasted all that time citing actual numbers if I'd realized that I was talking to the sole authority of facts related to economics! :-)

about 2 months ago
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US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

QilessQi Re:Can we just recognize it as currency and be don (172 comments)

This is always the crux of the Great Bitcoin Debate. What counts as backing the worth of something?

A non-trivial amount of Bitcoins are "owned" by somewhere roughly between 500,000 and 1,200,000 people, depending on how you calculate the number (https://bitscan.com/bitnews/item/how-many-people-really-own-bitcoins-and-why-does-it-matter). They come from numerous countries across the globe. Any one of those countries could collapse, and in theory the BTC holders would remain solvent -- this is touted by the BTC community as one of its big pluses.

In contrast, let's look at some countries with their own currencies, which all have fewer "users" than BTC:

Tuvalu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuvalu):
- Population ~11,000.
- Native currency: Tuvaluan_dollar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuvaluan_dollar).
- GDP: ~37 million USD.

Barbados (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbados)
- Population: ~278,000
- Native currency: Barbadian dollar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbadian_dollar)
- GDP: ~7 billion USD.

Maldives (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maldives):
- Population ~394,000.
- Native currency: Maldivian rufiyaa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maldivian_rufiyaa)
- GDP: ~2.2 billion USD

I don't know how stable the Tuvaluan, Barbadian, and Maldivian economies are, but I'm pretty sure that the combined military might of these countries is no match for the military might of the countries whose citizens hold the majority of BTC's current equivalent of 7.7 billion USD.

(I don't own Bitcoins, BTW... I just think it's fun to watch this stuff unfold.)

about 2 months ago

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