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Comments

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Interviews: Ask Dr. Andy Chun About Artificial Intelligence

TheLink Re:Where do you see A.I. in 5,10,20, and 30 years? (68 comments)

Uh, but how do you tell when you succeed? Are we even close to discovering what consciousness is?

Isn't it possible to build a computer that behaves as if it is conscious but isn't? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

This is one of the big mysteries of the universe. There's no need for us to be conscious but we are. Or at least I am, I can't really be 100% sure about the rest of you... ;)

It's kind of funny that scientists have difficulty explaining one of the very first observations they make.

5 days ago
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Mars (One) Needs Payloads

TheLink Vote Them Off The Planet (77 comments)

1) Make a reality TV show: Vote Them Off The Planet
2) Vote people off the planet with one way and return categories. whether for real or not doesn't matter, but if for real you can have the option for people to only do the one way when they want to pay for the return leg.
3) Profit!

about two weeks ago
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UK Computing Student Jailed After Failing To Hand Over Crypto Keys

TheLink Re:The Internet Needs More Random Data (353 comments)

Or Ubuntu and other popular distro to do something like this:
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/148440

Then it's normal for people to have encrypted stuff on their drives that they can't decrypt. And thus a "reasonable man" could not be expected to be able to decrypt such stuff even if he cooperated fully. They could be using full disk crypto with an encrypted container file that they can't decrypt. They can decrypt the first but not the second (or maybe they can - it becomes harder to tell :) ).

But once a popular OS has stuff like this by default, it's much easier for the defence to argue that you can't do it.

Of course in this case - the guy has been supplying wrong passwords, so unless you can show it was out of desperation and/or due to duress, he'd still be in trouble.

about two weeks ago
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UK Computing Student Jailed After Failing To Hand Over Crypto Keys

TheLink Re:What if he forgot it? (353 comments)

Sometimes people take turns driving the same car - maybe even on the same day as part of the same journey (road trip).

Not always easy to remember who was driving at the time in question especially if they only send the stuff months later.

about two weeks ago
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A Brain Implant For Synthetic Memory

TheLink Re:Forget reading, GET AN IMPLANT! (87 comments)

It's the wrong approach if you just want a prosthetic memory to help people remember stuff.

To have a prosthetic memory what you need is a computer that can remember stuff - video, audio, photos, text etc. Preferably wearable. Then what you need is to attach a device to appropriate parts of your brain that reads thought patterns that are distinctive depending on what you are thinking (elephants, purple etc). The device does NOT have to decipher or understand what you are thinking. All it needs to do is associate the stuff to be stored/recalled or even _commands_ with the thought pattern(s) you choose for it. I call these thought macros. See also: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3478821&cid=42956909

So you capture a video/audio/picture then you assign it a thought, or "current state" of mind. If you even have difficulty rethinking[1] a thought pattern, you could search by context and time (what I stored some time ago while at home).

There may need to be training phases like in speech recognition, and it's likely to work better with some people than others.

[1] The approach the military is taking would still have problems if people can't even remember that they are supposed to remember something- so whichever approach you'd need the ability to set up "prompts" based on time and context (and brain patterns).

I believe our technology is very very far from the state where you can drop in a memory device with memories already preloaded in, and which people can use to "remember that they are to remember something" (and even if we did, it would be scary and I won't want to have it).

Because there's evidence that memories are stored differently on different people's brains - some people have a halle berry neuron: http://www.caltech.edu/content/single-cell-recognition-halle-berry-brain-cell
http://phys.org/news4703.html
Seems to me to be a bit like a Bingo hall where a neuron yells bingo when it recognizes what the "announcer reads out". And the thing is those neurons aren't in the same place for everyone, they might not even be present for everyone, and one neuron might yell bingo for slightly different things (in one person they might have a neuron that goes bingo for Jennifer Aniston when it sees Jennifer Aniston + Brad Pitt, in another person it might not go bingo for the couple).

Which is also why I think that it's delusional for people to believe we'd soon be able to transfer our minds to other machines. You can transfer something, but it'll be far from everything.

about two weeks ago
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Study: People Would Rather Be Shocked Than Be Alone With Their Thoughts

TheLink Plenty of flawed studies with flawed conclusions (333 comments)

This might be one of those many flawed studies.

How many times did they shock themselves? If it was just once and then they sat there without doing it again then perhaps it was more of curiosity than not being able to be alone and deprived of stimuli.

Many people are very curious about stuff.

And some are stupid or rebellious - if you tell them don't push a button many of them will push the button without trying to find out why not e.g. they might ask "You mean this button?" and then push it...

about three weeks ago
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Use of Encryption Foiled the Cops a Record 9 Times In 2013

TheLink Re:I smell a rat. (115 comments)

But that's why this "vulnerability" should be fixed:
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubu...

Imagine if by default if you don't uncheck a checkbox a popular distro has full disk encryption enabled and/or creates an encrypted container.

Then they can't use the "wrench" on everyone that happens to have that distro, because it really is very plausible that the person doesn't have the keys to the container.

As for the arguments against it - if you're in a country where they are still willing to use the "wrench" on someone who is likely to not have the keys, you're screwed already. In such countries if they're not happy with you, you're in big trouble whether you use crypto or not.

about three weeks ago
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Radar Changing the Face of Cycling

TheLink Re:What about pedestrians? (235 comments)

Granted, it wouldn't work for the little moppets that run between parked SUVs, so it wouldn't be a perfect solution...

That's why I have been proposing that for robot cars they also have cameras/sensors/radars/lidars at bumper height. It's often easier to spot (from a distance) people/animals obscured by vehicles from bumper level than it is to spot them from driver or roof level. But I'm no car or robot car engineer, so someone else will have to actually do it.

You might be able to do something like this for "kiddie" sensors mounted on bicycles/motorcycles, but given the front wheel of those vehicles is movable it's probably a bit trickier :).

about three weeks ago
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Overkill? LG Phone Has 2560x1440 Display, Laser Focusing

TheLink Re:laser beam focus? sounds harmful... (198 comments)

Wonder how well the laser works through glass or plastic windows, or other common transparent stuff you might want to take pictures through.

about three weeks ago
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San Francisco Bans Parking Spot Auctioning App

TheLink Re:They hate our freedom (404 comments)

It's more like hoarding: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

A feature of hoarding is that it leads to an inefficient distribution of scarce resources, making the scarcity even more of a problem

It's in the interests of the city to have parking spaces that are used for only as long as they are needed.

Allowing this "auctioning" thing causes parking spaces to be held longer than otherwise just so that someone can try to make money from it.

There is no significant increase in efficiency if parking spaces are in great demand - the moment you leave your spot, someone else is likely to take it. And even if there is some inefficiency there are other ways of solving it without this auctioning.

about a month ago
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San Francisco Bans Parking Spot Auctioning App

TheLink Re:They hate our freedom (404 comments)

As long as voters can still vote and elections aren't terribly rigged/diebolded, I don't really consider protests that hold public spaces hostage a good thing. It's fine if they rented out a public space (stadium or field) for their "event".

If you want to protest publicly you could wear a particular hat, shirt, colored item, etc as a sign of protest and move about without preventing others from going about their normal daily lives. Causing massive disruption does not endear me to your cause. If you let random bunch of people start disrupting stuff, you cause problems for everyone else - and another bunch of people might start to do similar or _worse_ things if they disagree with the first bunch.

There are additional/alternative ways of communicating and spreading your message. Many people claim social media is useless -tweets, facebook shares, etc. But there are a number of governments that don't think so: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
And looking at various "campaigns" social media can actually be useful.

It's a different case if people don't have other options- they can't vote and communications are blocked/censored.

about a month ago
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Computational Thinking: AP Computer Science Vs AP Statistics?

TheLink Re:What about statistics vs calculus (155 comments)

Yeah. Teaching people to detect bullshit and think scientifically would be good.

As for getting a problem and finding a solution, it's still good to teach students to think and solve problems, rather than be an inferior "Google" and regurgitate memorized solutions or follow very specific memorized processes. Because I actually know adults who can't do basic problem solving- say there's a problem with something, their default is getting stuck. They don't go - it could be caused by A, B, C, D and perhaps other stuff I don't know yet. If it's A and we do X, Y should happen. OK lets try doing X. OK Y didn't happen, so it's not A. Let's see if 's B now, and so on. Or let me use Google to get a list of possible causes and then figure out one by one which it might be. Being able to finding possible answers that way is more important than being able to memorize and retrieve answers.

about a month ago
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Bill Gates To Stanford Grads: Don't (Only) Focus On Profit

TheLink Re:Fuck the world (284 comments)

Yeah we should encourage the people who want to start cooperatives instead of companies :).

about a month ago
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"Eskimo Diet" Lacks Support For Better Cardiovascular Health

TheLink Re:low carb and low PUFA vs high Omega-3? (166 comments)

I'm not saying you should eat stinking fish oil tablets, but them stinking should not affect their effect on the body.

Citation please? What makes you so confident that's true? Fish oil oxidizes easily.

The smell is at least partly due to oxidation: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu...

Effects of oxidized fish oil:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu... (affects lipid profile)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu... (but does not affect oxidative stress markers)
See also:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu... (fish oil easily oxidized)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu...

about a month ago
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Microsoft Runs Out of US Address Space For Azure, Taps Its Global IPv4 Stock

TheLink Re:So after years of panic... (250 comments)

Might not even be procrastination. From the perspective of some ISPs especially those that have strong ties to media companies the increased scarcity of IPv4 addresses and limitations of carrier NAT might be considered an opportunity and a feature.

Carrier NAT would make P2P protocols less efficient. Conventional media companies may prefer a world where "publishing/broadcasting" to many is restricted to those with $$$$$.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Cisco Type 4 passwords have no salt

TheLink TheLink writes  |  about a year ago

TheLink (130905) writes "Cisco's Type 4 password algorithm does not use PBKDF2 and does not use a salt, but instead performs a single iteration of SHA-256 over the user-provided plaintext password. This approach causes a Type 4 password to be less resilient to brute-force attacks than a Type 5 password of equivalent complexity."
Link to Original Source
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Water pump hack attack 'false alarm' linked to hol

TheLink TheLink writes  |  more than 2 years ago

TheLink (130905) writes "Reports that foreigners hacked into the US water system and destroyed a pump have been dismissed as a false alarm.

A water district contractor, Jim Mimlitz, has said he logged into the Illinois utility's control system while on holiday in Russia in June."

Link to Original Source
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Evidence for Psychic Phenomena?

TheLink TheLink writes  |  more than 3 years ago

anonymous (130905) writes "The results of the study showed that the students were better at recalling the words on the surprise recall test that they were later given, at random, to practice. According to Bem, practicing the words after the test somehow allowed the participants to "reach back in time to facilitate recall.""
Link to Original Source

Journals

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How to reduce unwanted wars

TheLink TheLink writes  |  more than 5 years ago In the old days kings used to lead their soldiers into battle. In modern times this is impractical and counterproductive.

But you can still have leaders lead the frontline in spirit.

Basically, if leaders are going to send troops on an _offensive_ war/battle (not defensive war) there must be a referendum on the war.

If there are not enough votes for the war, those leaders get put on deathrow.

At a convenient time later, a referendum is held to redeem each leader. Leaders that do not get enough votes get executed. For example if too many people stay at home and don't bother voting - the leaders get executed.

If it turns out later that the war was justified, a fancy ceremony is held, and the executed leaders are awarded a purple heart or equivalent, and you have people say nice things about them, cry and that sort of thing.

If it turns out later that the leaders tricked the voters, a referendum can be held (need to get enough signatories to start such a referendum, just to prevent nutters from wasting everyone elses time).

This proposal has many advantages:
1) Even leaders who don't really care about those "young soldiers on the battlefield" will not consider starting a war lightly.
2) The soldiers will know that the leaders want a war enough to risk their own lives for it.
3) The soldiers will know that X% of the population want the war.
4) Those being attacked will know that X% of the attackers believe in the war - so they want a war, they get a war - for sufficiently high X, collateral damage becomes insignificant. They might even be justified in using WMD and other otherwise dubious tactics. If > 90% of the country attacking you want to kill you and your families, what is so wrong about you using WMD as long as it does not affect neighbouring countries?

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Lock in on Windows XP instead of chasing Vista

TheLink TheLink writes  |  more than 7 years ago What people should do if they ever want windows is INSIST on XP instead of Vista!

If we hijack the Windows bandwagon from Microsoft, then Microsoft will be like a BIOS vendor when it comes to Windows. Anyone remember "IBM compatible PC"?

If almost everybody stays with XP and DirectX 9 and doesn't move on to Vista, then Windows XP+DX9 could become a defacto standard that even Microsoft can't get rid of! Just like Intel can't get rid of x86 - they tried and failed with their Itanic, and when IBM tried to switch to MCA.

Then the jobs of people doing Wine, Crossover office, Cedega and more become a lot easier - they have a fixed target instead of multiple moving targets.

Be realistic and ignore the fanboys out there, there are many valid reasons for wanting Windows. XP will continue to make a good substitute for Vista, unless more and more people start switching to Vista.

But there is no Linux substitute for Windows yet, BUT if enough people stick to XP, it becomes far more likely for there to be one.

Just a look at Vista will tell you that Microsoft is no longer improving things significantly or meaningfully, so we might as well freeze Windows, and be able to spend more time and resources on innovating elsewhere.

So everyone, start telling Dell, HP et all to preload and sell XP instead of Vista, and tell your friends to insist on XP instead of Vista.

There are already other valid reasons to prefer XP to Vista, for example: A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection

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Video games don't kill people

TheLink TheLink writes  |  more than 7 years ago Video games don't kill people, people kill people ;)

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Who are the real thieves?

TheLink TheLink writes  |  more than 10 years ago

If I copy something I do not deprive the owners access to their original/copy.

Whereas if I steal something I deprive them of access to it.

In fact, introducing more restrictive copyright laws or increasing copyright terms could arguably be closer to stealing (than copying), as it does reduce/remove the public's access to things that once would have rightfully been theirs.

So who are the real thieves?

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