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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

TheLink Re:Uber, uber, uber, uber (257 comments)

If I had to bet, I'd bet on the trucking companies replacing their drivers with robots first before the bus or taxi companies do.

Buses are too messy - dealing with too many unpredictable people and vehicles in complex scenarios. Taxis would be even worse (buses have bus routes, taxis don't).

In contrast imagine being able to run trucks nonstop using robot drivers that don't need sleep, robot drivers that are safe and reliable enough to make the insurance companies to charge lower premiums. Maybe every Xth truck on the route has a human (who doesn't drive) just in case a truck encounters a problem that needs a human around. The trucking companies can pick routes that are more robot-truck friendly. Can't do that for taxis, and maybe hard for buses too.

When a robo-truck crushes a kid on a "no pedestrian" highway, that's a lot less bad PR than a robo-bus crushing a kid in a city or residential area.

about a month ago
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Critical XSS Flaws Patched In WordPress and Popular Plug-In

TheLink Re: Regular expressions (41 comments)

Many of these exploits and xss-worms would not have been effective if people had implemented the suggestion I made more than a decade ago:
http://osdir.com/ml/mozilla.se...
http://osdir.com/ml/security.w...
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/P...

Plenty of people suggest libraries to sanitize stuff, but when people keep creating new "GO" buttons and never a single "STOP" button - how can you be sure you've disabled every possible "GO" button? With my proposal, a "STOP button" could even disable future yet to be invented "GO" buttons.

Anyway since the Mozilla bunch supposedly have a better idea, how about getting on with it: https://developer.mozilla.org/...

about a month ago
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

TheLink Re:This is silly (720 comments)

Automation increases jobs.

Automation does require the displaced employee to get another job. This may require retraining, returning to school to upgrade or acquire a skill set that is marketable. The may require a change of career. Most displaced employees will find other jobs.

Imagine the Chinese, Indian etc workers as robots[1]. Have all the US workers who've lost their jobs to these "robots" experienced the increased number of jobs you mention? Now imagine what happens when Foxconn et all replace those Chinese workers with real robots (as Foxconn is actually doing).

What will these Chinese workers do? Some of them will take your higher end jobs: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetw...
From the article:

And it turns out that the job done in China was above par â" the employee's "code was clean, well written, and submitted in a timely fashion. Quarter after quarter, his performance review noted him as the best developer in the building,"

If the population growth remains at X% and the Earth resource/wealth extraction rate does not increase by much more than X% if robots and automation take some human jobs, there will NOT be replacement jobs that pay out the same amount of wealth. Because in most cases automation is about reducing costs and increasing profits. Furthermore the resource extraction rate cannot continue increasing as long as we are stuck on Earth[2].

See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?...
tldr; the automobile destroyed the jobs of the horses, there was no increase in replacement jobs that the horses could do.

And that is what will happen to most humans once the robots get good enough.

[1] Many of these workers are actually doing jobs that are "robotic" and could be automated- it's just that they are cheaper and more flexible than current robots and someone else paid for much of the manufacturing).

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

about 2 months ago
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NASA's Competition For Dollars

TheLink Re:Oh geez, is that all? (78 comments)

Mars as the next step is a stupid idea. And that NASA also keeps suggest it as a next step proves to me how unworthy NASA is of funding. Same whenever they keep doing stupid studies on humans spending long periods in confined areas (they can always ask the nuclear submariners about it).

The true next step for anyone serious in making actual progress in space tech is to build a space station with artificial gravity (tethers+counterweights or other).

Once you have that you can test various animals (rats, food fish, humans) at Earth and Mars "g" concurrently to see how well they hold up for months in space.

And if you succeed in making that tech practical and cheaper it means you don't actually have to go to Mars - you can colonize the asteroids.

There's no actually much benefit going to Mars in the next few decades. The "g" is wrong, the pressure is wrong - you can't really use the tracts of land for farming without effectively building a "space station" on Mars (pressurization, shielding etc) - so there's little advantage over a space station with the disadvantage of not being able to pick your "g".

about 4 months ago
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ICANN Offers Fix For Domain Name Collisions

TheLink Re:In other words (101 comments)

ICANN should just reserve a TLD or two for private networks similar to how some IP ranges were reserved in RFC1918. For example:
.private (broad scope - for internal/private use)
.here (narrower scope - limited to a particular location e.g. different starbucks outlets could be using whats.here and at each of those outlets it resolves to that specific outlet's stuff )
Feel free to think of other TLDs for private but different usage.

I actually proposed .here many years ago: http://tools.ietf.org/html/dra...

But seems they were too busy approving "Yet More Dot Coms" (e.g. .biz, .info etc).

That's one of the reasons I have a low opinion of ICANN. Anyone in the field could see this problem years ago, but they have done little to help and maybe even made things worse.

about 4 months ago
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Kevlar Protects Cables From Sharks, Experts Look For Protection From Shark Week

TheLink Re:The Discovery channel? (103 comments)

Look at the amount of ignorance and stupidity around? See the number of university graduates thinking hoax mails/posts are true and spreading them...

So what would any sociopathic channel boss prefer to run? Stuff that most people would watch and talk about, or stuff that only a minority would enjoy?

It's about making money not educating people. That's why actually "public TV" can be a good thing. It's not like the private sector would care or even if they did at first, the $$$ pressures would change them.

Compare National Geographic's narration for their octopus vs shark video-
2006: https://www.youtube.com/watch?...
2007: https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

I prefer the 2006 narration - less annoying. But I guess most viewers would prefer the 2007 version?

about 4 months ago
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Android Motorcycle Helmet/HUD Gains Funding

TheLink Re:Oh man (126 comments)

I don't know about small windows- your car has to pass other safety laws and regulations.

As for HUDs I think you can have them if they can only show driver/rider related stuff while the vehicle is in operation, if the screen can be general purpose like Google Glass then it's illegal:
https://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vc...

27602. (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle if a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, is operating and is located in the motor vehicle at a point forward of the back of the driverâ(TM)s seat, or is operating and the monitor, screen, or display is visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle.

(b) Subdivision (a) does not apply to the following equipment when installed in a vehicle:

(1) A vehicle information display.

(2) A global positioning display.

(3) A mapping display.

[etc]

The law doesn't seem that crazy as laws go considering how crazy drivers can get ;).

about 4 months ago
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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? (71 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.

about 5 months 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 6 months 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 6 months 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 6 months 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 6 months 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 6 months 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 6 months ago

Submissions

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Cisco Type 4 passwords have no salt

TheLink TheLink writes  |  about 2 years 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  |  about 3 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 4 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 6 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 8 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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