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Cisco Complains To Obama About NSA Adding Spyware To Routers

Slur BOTH! (297 comments)

Either they're willful manipulators or incompetent buffoons, but not both.

Yes, they can be both. They can be incompetent buffoons in the sense of not realizing that their stupid empty ideology based on religious indoctrination is a mental trap that pushes them beyond stupid, yet be very good at manipulating things to accomplish their childish goal of armageddon and rapture. Or, they can be total slaves to their corporate masters with no sense of morals or ethics of their own, and yet be very good at carrying out the goals of their masters.

about 7 months ago
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3D Printing: Have You Taken the Plunge Yet? Planning To?

Slur I built a Prusa i3 (251 comments)

I discovered the world of 3D printers when I was looking for interesting projects to build with Arduino, as I'm starting to learn electronics to augment my coding skills. I could have started with a programmable LED cube, but when I discovered the RepRap project I was immediately hooked. Not only could I learn a lot of useful skills and get soldering practice, but at completion I'd have a machine I could use to build custom cases, buttons, and any other custom parts I might need for future projects!

I did a lot of up-front research comparing the commercial offerings to a growing plethora of open source designs. It seemed clear that I would probably save money and gain more valuable experience by self-sourcing parts and building a RepRap myself, so it was really just a matter of choosing a design. I finally settled on the Prusa i3 Mendel for several reasons, foremost being the large (20cm^3) build area, low cost, and elegant design.

The sourcing and acquisition of parts took me about a month, and I made some noob mistakes, such as buying unsuitable stepper motors and the wrong RP parts for my chosen i3 variant (single plate). I also needed to buy tools and supplies, such as a soldering kit, a grinder to cut metal rods, a glass cutter, nuts and bolts, Kapton tape, blue painter's tape, acetone, etc. My main sources were SeeMeCNC, eBay, and McMaster-Carr. I overspent a bit up front, but I was able to recoup most of that overage in reselling my surplus. Today I have much more savvy (and now I can print my own parts) so I could easily build a sister to this printer for under $500.

I did learn a lot in the process of building this machine, and I've learned a lot in the process of enhancing and upgrading it since. The printer certainly hasn't "paid for itself" even a year later, but that doesn't matter to me. I did this project to educate myself and get hands-on experience, and compared to the cost of a college semester it's been a total bargain. Not only am I now familiar with Arduino programming (and have contributed code to Marlin firmware - you're welcome), but I've gotten pretty good making things in OpenSCAD, gotten to know a great group of geeks at the Seattle Metrix:Create Space, delved into Blender 3D, and gotten to know electrical current and the smell of burning components... None of which I would have gained just buying an off-the-shelf Cube3D.

The progress of low-cost 3D printing has really been accelerating lately. Some of the most vexing problems (such as bed leveling) are being solved, better extruders are being made, the slicing software is smarter and faster, and the quality of parts designs is constantly improving. I've got a half a grocery bag filled with failed prints and imperfect prototypes after a year of messing around with this machine, but I've gotten really good at calibration at this point, so very few prints fail now. You do still need to watch prints carefully, and that goes for the commercial machines as well, but generally speaking the reliability of newer machines is much better than their predecessors.

As for how useful a 3D printer is to any individual, that will depend on the intensity of their interest. I took the time to learn OpenSCAD, but not everyone will feel inclined to do so. I've made some useful items, such as the "hanger" part to repair some Sony headphones, a light cover, a slick sign for my workshop door, some iPad sound deflectors, cases and covers for various things, and of course upgrades for the RepRap itself. I've made several sets of printer parts and sold them on eBay, so the printer is slowly paying for itself. I help others with their 3D printer builds, sharing the experience I've gained in my first year, and that's a lot of fun. I think it's a great tool for hobbyists and professionals alike, especially those with engineering skills, and I can anticipate a time, not too far in the future, where 3D printers will be as ubiquitous as home computers.

about 9 months ago
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3D Printing: Have You Taken the Plunge Yet? Planning To?

Slur Re:Ultimaker (251 comments)

The Ultimaker software is outstanding. I don't have an Ultimaker machine, but I still prefer to use Cura to slice my models because it does such a great job of arranging extrusion into one long continuous line. The latest version (14.03) finally added an option to lift the Z axis when retracting or moving across perimeters, which is helpful for those parts with overhangs that rise as they cool and obstruct the nozzle.

about 9 months ago
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3D Printing: Have You Taken the Plunge Yet? Planning To?

Slur Re:My two drachmas (251 comments)

I'm pretty sure there's a hack on Thingiverse so you can use standard filament spools with a Cube. Check the RepRap forums also.

about 9 months ago
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Adam Carolla Joins Fight Against Podcast Patent Troll

Slur Nothing new... (126 comments)

After all religion is the patent troll of human experience.

about 9 months ago
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Canadian Health Scientists Resort To Sneaker Net After Funding Slashed

Slur Re:Not only in the US... (168 comments)

It's become something of a crusade of mine lately to promote reason, spurred on by stories like this, the rise of scientific illiteracy, and the destruction of culture through a dumbed-down commercial media. I'm not down with any specific ideology, in fact I promote rising above ideology to a more anthropological and phenomenological view of humanity and nature, and a faithful application of empiricism to all things we call "knowledge." Too many people invoke the chemical feeling of "belief" just to get high on it, and have no interest in the hard won truth which comes by skeptical inquiry. Too many of us are willing to swallow conspiracy theories that fit our overblown narratives of authoritarian control, as well, and in that manner also become stupid with time-wasting and untenable beliefs.

I urge people to get into understanding things as they actually are, practicing their arts and exploring the sciences with enthusiasm, focusing on results rather than just pure jollies. Religion, ideology, and self-deception are insidious traps that can hold people for a lifetime, and are very hard to fight against because people are so inured. But fight we must.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Permanent Preservation of Human Knowledge?

Slur As a religious fundamentalist... (277 comments)

...I am offended by your phrasing. It should read "the dark ages or better."

about a year and a half ago
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Watson Goes To Medical School

Slur An Open Watson please! (100 comments)

What I would love to see is Watson's training interface on the Internet, as a service, with anyone able to pick a domain and contribute expert knowledge, whether in the form of questions Watson should ask, answers to those questions, or even just links to sources of relevant information. Through a crowd-sourced approach Watson's capacities could be so much more quickly developed. By keeping each user or group in sandboxes and maintaining knowledge in each domain more or less separately, there would be no problem for those who just input nonsense, or wrong information, because Watson can build up a reliability profile and consider that in later recombination of its knowledge.

Of course first there has to be a nice easy way of making Watson nodes that can be widely deployed. Frankly this is one area of research that deserves all the money we can afford to throw at it. In the future Watson will be able to derive new hypotheses and new knowledge obtained from inference, and it will certainly accelerate our research capacity.

more than 2 years ago
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Function of 80% of the Human Genome Charted

Slur Brace yourselves for the amazingly weird genes... (112 comments)

It will eventually become clear what genes encode the proto-concepts in the brain for mother, father, food, water, etc. Not only that but the concept of the Sun, Moon, and stars will likely have been encoded in there as well. Extrapolate from that notion, you can get Jungian archetypes, a whole catalog of fetishes, and most certainly the predilection towards religiosity.

Bene Gesserit meetup this Sunday.

more than 2 years ago
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A Modest Proposal For Sequestration of CO2 In the Antarctic

Slur Re:Plant more trees (243 comments)

Exactly. Beat me to the punch.

more than 2 years ago
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A Modest Proposal For Sequestration of CO2 In the Antarctic

Slur Trees are free and solar powered (243 comments)

Just grow more forests. It not only sequesters the carbon, it frees most of the oxygen for our use, to breathe and stuff.

more than 2 years ago
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Nobel Laureate Wiped From Pakistan's Textbooks As Heretic

Slur The Totalitarian State (445 comments)

Set aside the religious fundamentalist aspect of the thing, and what you see is totalitarianism in action. Indoctrination is so deep that the people fully sanction their own oppression. It's a nationalistic form of Stockholm Syndrome. Every powerful regime uses religious and nationalistic pretenses to make heretics, infidels, and apostates out of the most rational, individualistic, and liberal people in the society. Under the hypnosis of a culture that promotes alienation and fear, the mob gleefully hunts down and tears apart all independent-minded individuals.

Westerners forget that for much of the world it is nearly impossible to cultivate a modern, rational, humanist intellect.

more than 2 years ago
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Journalist Arrested By Interpol For Tweet

Slur Re:and where is exactly the problem? (915 comments)

Stalin killed for an ideology - one that justified killing for a greater cause. Atheism wasn't the source of that sense of justification, Communism was.

more than 2 years ago
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Journalist Arrested By Interpol For Tweet

Slur Positive stuff (915 comments)

It's true that some religions are nicer and more rational than others. I think Buddha's teachings are alright, in that he encourages skepticism and doubt as the means to get past illusions, even including the illusion of the ego. In Buddha's philosophy sectarianism and blind belief are errors born of ignorance. The religions built around Buddha sometimes have superstitious elements, but that doesn't indict the rational psychological core. So I try to encourage people who believe in nutty things like the Son of God to look at Eastern philosophy more closely, to augment and clarify the rationale for their ethics and meditative practices. That makes me more of a Sam Harris style atheist, in that I perceive great value in things like yoga and meditation.

more than 2 years ago
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Journalist Arrested By Interpol For Tweet

Slur Re:and where is exactly the problem? (915 comments)

This is why politicians like to prop up so-called "faith." They love ti that they can get people to believe any nonsense they want, and religion gives them a huge foothold.

more than 2 years ago
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Vint Cerf On Human Rights: Internet Access Isn't On the List

Slur Property (398 comments)

Most of us would never choose to live as homeless ascetics, and yet some of us are unable to work and acquire the minimal property required for basic comfort and security. Should such individuals be given some property as a basic right? I believe that if we are to be consistent to the ideal of reciprocal rights, they must receive some help from society as a whole. Some would disagree. Consider other issues like mental and physical health.

Thing is, by promoting these 'rights' we in fact help society overall. As the downtrodden gain back their dignity, we gain more dignity ourselves, and those individuals grow stronger and give back to society. As we help those with illness, we save resources that would be spent later as their illnesses become more serious.

There are all kinds of areas where something might not seem on its face to be a 'natural right' and yet we must extend a hand in order to raise people up and bring them out of despair and into society. Otherwise we will always function at a minimal level, and most likely a dysfunctional one.

more than 2 years ago
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Vint Cerf On Human Rights: Internet Access Isn't On the List

Slur The Golden Rule (398 comments)

Whys are kind of useless without a common metaphysics, but we do have a common nature and common interests, and those make fine springboards.

The reciprocal principle. If you don't want someone else to have a certain right, you must be equally willing to give it up yourself. If you want some right for yourself, then you must be willing to extend it to others in full measure. I'm sure there are plenty of people who would cut off their nose just to spite their neighbor's face, but generally this principle makes sense.

more than 2 years ago
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AP and 28 News Groups To Collect Fees From Aggregators

Slur Re:RSS as Fair Use (303 comments)

As a person born in America but by no means inured to its culture, I can assure you it pisses me off equally that we hold people at Guantanamo Bay with no legal recourse and no rights of habeas corpus. It especially concerns me because these actions are diametrically-opposed to the ideals upon which this republic was founded, namely to protect powerless individuals from the tyranny of the powerful by a rigorous application of due process. And whose interests are really being considered?

One interesting thing I want to point out is that al-Awlaki would not have been assassinated if he was residing here, or in France, or in Britain, or in any country where the US wouldn't be able to act with impunity. These actions are reserved for places whose lawlessness we find convenient.

Now that the genie is out of the bottle, it's going to be really hard to get it back inside.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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iPhone App Review Time Suddenly 24 Hours

Slur Slur writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Slur (61510) writes "The Apple iTunes Music Store approval process is notorious for being dog-slow, frustrating, and opaque. But millions of iPhone developers received an unexpected gift Monday afternoon when iTunes Connect reopened after a 5 day holiday break. While the stockings were hung by the chimney with care, Apple stealthily deployed an expanded army of reviewers and instituted a more streamlined review and approval process for iPhone apps. The approval time for updates to existing apps has plummeted from 6 days typically to less than 24 hours. Even more positive reports from developers are coming in, with apps going into review within minutes of submission and being approved in as little as 20 hours."
Link to Original Source
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Apple Releases Mac OS X 10.6.1 Update

Slur Slur writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Slur writes "Apple has released Mac OS X 10.6.1 Update for Snow Leopard. Release notes state that the update includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility, and security of the system, including fixes for compatibility with some Sierra Wireless 3G modems, an issue that might cause DVD playback to stop unexpectedly, some printer compatibility drivers not appearing properly in the add printer browser, an issue that might make it difficult to remove an item from the Dock, instances where automatic account setup in Mail might not work, an issue where pressing cmd-opt-t in Mail brings up the special characters menu instead of moving a message, Motion 4 becoming unresponsive, and an update to the Flash Player browser plugin. More information is available at Apple's website, while the details about security fixes are posted in a separate knowledge base article."
Link to Original Source
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Recent Human Evolution Was Driven By Selection

Slur Slur writes  |  about 7 years ago

Slur writes "Call it Moore's law for DNA molecules... The New York Times reports an insightful theory of Human evolution that gives credit for our accelerated evolution to the evolving brain. By virtue of our aesthetic and utilitarian preferences we ourselves have been responsible for molding the present human form and consciousness. Applied to other species we call it "artificial selection," but the new theory implies we did it all quite naturally, unconsciously, and that the exponential evolutionary acceleration we have achieved as a species in recent time is just what you'd expect. It also suggests that the current lull in our physical evolution is by "choice" as well. Is this the dawning of the age of Narcissus? Stay tuned."
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Nature of mind

Slur Slur writes  |  more than 6 years ago

One day science will confirm the primacy of what you might call "pure awareness" as the foundation of the material universe. For my part, it will make this feeling of "being" seem more valid. It will dispel just a little of the mystery as to why my visual experience all seems to happen simultaneously, even though there is no one point where it all comes together in space. It all comes together in time, and somehow this arrangement of neurons - or more fundamentally, beings called neutrons, positrons, electrons... - somehow it translates into the experience of seeing - and making sense of it happens only after the seeing occurs. The seeing itself is not made sense of, it is merely accepted.

My question about your idea and my idea of consciousness is, if all we are is information processors, there is no need for there to be the residue of this visual experience, but it so happens that there is. Whether or not I pay attention to the lady in the green dress across the room, she is in my field. It may be said "I do not consciously see her" but this can't be true. She is there, in my experience. Information about her is not being incorporated and analyzed into my pictorial understanding of the world -- the map I was assigned to make at some point in the past.

And so we don't really bother to see the map either, and yet like the visual field it is there nevertheless like the corkboard collage of a madman, being experienced as a mirror image of the present moment. The mirror guides the dispensation of chemicals into blood, brain, and the environment: adrenaline, serotonin, pheromones. The pupils dilate to allow in more light, and as a sign of our disposition. The body stiffens or loosens.

Person to person we end up relating map to map, mirror to mirror. This hall of mirrors is the meeting place of people and nations. We need to acknowledge this in a common space.

My mirror, gleaned from a typically strangled life, stands as my guard on the window of reality, and lends me expectations, fears, concerns. The whole notion that "I am Scott" and that "this is my life" and every other aggregate concept I hold about men and women, old and young, mad and sane, and on and on vies for attention in every moment.

But back to the imminent experience of seeing. The imminent experience of hearing. There are Zen koans intended to crack these open for us, to demonstrate the difference between experience and interpretation. Meditation sets aside the senses and leaves you resting in the thinking mind - which in me is prone to drown out the present far too often.

There is no obligation in every moment to adhere to the being of one's socially-constructed self, and for those who take to solitary pursuits like boating, hiking, and even computing, there is joy to be found in immersing oneself in the act of acting natural, accomplishing larger goals by momentary steps.

In this visual culture one may as well be obsessed with the present act of seeing. Seeing - simply observed - leads directly to the realization of whose eyes we are seeing with, and how those eyes illuminate not only the so-called external world, but the whole universe within.

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