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Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

TheLink Re:Who watches the watchers (241 comments)

Term limits are:
1) Undemocratic
2) Stupid
It takes a while to do anything, so while you may make it harder for elected leaders to do bad things but you also make it harder for elected leaders to do good things.

The smart power hungry sociopaths will just create or move to positions of power where the term limits (and elections) do not apply to them and continue influencing the incompetent figureheads and ruling over voters. Becomes less democratic that way too.

Which seems similar to what is happening now, only more so.

People deciding who they want as leaders is democratic. Term limits restricting their choice is not democratic.

The real solution is the smart people taking the time to educate the stupid and ignorant ones rather then going "Oh Noes, the voters are too stupid, we should remove choice from them - even the choice of re-electing someone they want for another term".

It seems to me that 98% of the US voters who bothered to vote prefer either R or D, instead of the other alternatives. If you think they shouldn't then you shouldn't be trying to stop them against their will. You should be trying to convince them.

Unless of course there are no better alternatives. In which case, Democracy is working as well as it can, and your real problem is elsewhere.

3 days ago

OpenSSL Cleanup: Hundreds of Commits In a Week

TheLink Re:I would think (374 comments)

Taking any significant amount of time makes measurement easier, and errors smaller, and hence this type of attack easier.

Unless you only respond after X + random Y milliseconds, no matter how long it actually takes to do the calculation (where X milliseconds is longer than the max time it takes to do the calculation).

Takes more time, but makes timing attacks a lot harder.

3 days ago

OpenSSL Cleanup: Hundreds of Commits In a Week

TheLink Re:I would think (374 comments)

How about call it "SpreadOpenSSL" or similar. Truth in advertising and all that.

3 days ago

Why Portland Should Have Kept Its Water, Urine and All

TheLink Re:Not Uncommon for Portland (330 comments)

The idea that I was drinking water straight from an open-air reservoir post-treatment nauseates me. Why would anyone want this?

Maybe they like their water to have more body?

Not me though.

3 days ago

Your StarCraft II Potential Peaked At Age 24

TheLink Re:Superior pilots (102 comments)

Check your monitor, mouse and keyboard latency. A decade earlier you might have been using a CRT with lower latency than a slow LCD monitor.

In my experience add them all up and it can make the difference between having a < 200ms response time and a > 250ms response time.

Try digging out an old CRT if you have one and see if it makes a difference in your reaction times on those reaction time websites.

about a week ago

Your StarCraft II Potential Peaked At Age 24

TheLink Re:I have serious doubts.. (102 comments)

Even so, Starcraft also rewards those who micromanage units - like a Terran floating a building as bait to distract unmicromanaged enemy troops while the Terran troops destroy the enemy. All while
micromanaging other stuff and building.

The real life command and control interfaces you mention assume the units won't need to be micromanaged.

about a week ago

UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate

TheLink Re:Nuclear is obvious, an energy surplus is desire (432 comments)

Yeah after all nuclear bombs can help reduce world-wide daily power consumption for centuries.

But most people don't want that nuclear option right? ;)

about two weeks ago

Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

TheLink Re:Good for you. (641 comments)

Yes. However if Microsoft kept doing that Windows would end up being a "BIOS". And someone would do to them what Phoenix etc did to IBM and IBM PC BIOS. I suspect all the BIOS vendors combined don't make as much money as Windows does for Microsoft.

That's why Microsoft has to keep moving the goal posts every now and then. Even like now when they have run out of good ideas on where to put the goal posts.

If they stopped moving and didn't come out with stuff like Vista someone might eventually succeed in turning ReactOS or similar into a practical working Windows XP compatible OS. Then a lot of large companies might switch to it.

How many really care about what BIOS their PC used? As long as it keeps working fine nobody gives a damn, they just want to use the OTHER stuff.

Similarly most people don't actually want to care about the OS. They care about what they want to get done. At most they care about the apps they use to get things done. And crap like Windows 8 just gets more obviously in the way.

about two weeks ago

Sand in the Brain: A Fundamental Theory To Model the Mind

TheLink Re:oblig xkcd (105 comments)

Meh I can come up with silly theories too.

a) neurons while not necessarily geniuses are actually not that stupid, and that the real problem a brain solved was not "thinking" but that a single thinking neuron can't be used to control a multicellular body because of connectivity and redundancy reasons (can't have a whole body wasted just because one neuron died).

b) The brain is like a bunch of Bingo halls each filled with neurons that yell Bingo when something they recognize is "read out". The fancy trick is some of them are supposed to recognize and announce the future before it happens... ;)

Now move along and figure out how a neuron or single celled creature actually thinks.

about two weeks ago

Sand in the Brain: A Fundamental Theory To Model the Mind

TheLink Re:As an observer (105 comments)

Wouldn't Occam's razor exclude the subjective _experience_ (not behavior) of consciousness? There's no apparent "need" for it is there? Couldn't all of us walk, talk, etc without experiencing it? Except for the fact that I know I personally experience it AND I don't think I'm that special to be the only one. There's no proof you can provide to me that you experience consciousness right? Couldn't an AI make the same claims you do and not be conscious?

Or does the simplest explanation in this Universe require that experiential consciousness must exist alongside behavioral consciousness? Both the true or false cases would be interesting ;).

about two weeks ago

Why Are We Made of Matter?

TheLink Re:State of your memory (393 comments)

Maybe you're one of those who doesn't experience the same consciousness phenomenon that I do?

Hmm. Are you an AI posting on Slashdot?

about two weeks ago

Why Are We Made of Matter?

TheLink Re:easy! (393 comments)

that's a pretty good question...humans seem to be the only creatures (that we know of of course) in this simulation that have achieved the level of consciousness of which you speak

But why do you say so? I'm talking about the consciousness _experience_ not the behaviour.

I have no evidence that you experience consciousness anymore than I have evidence that a dog does too. How can you or a dog prove to me that you experience consciousness?

All I know is that I am conscious and I doubt I'm that special, and that's why I have faith that others are conscious too. I don't see such a big difference between humans and many other animals.

From what I gather we don't even know in detail how single celled creatures make decisions! Testate amoebas build distinctive shells for themselves, putting particles in the right places. Some can even decide to not reproduce if there's not enough material for daughter cells to have their own shells. Maybe they experience consciousness too, just limited in their capabilities and senses?

about two weeks ago

Why Are We Made of Matter?

TheLink Re:What if there is no reason? (393 comments)

But couldn't a machine do the same things without generating/causing/experiencing the same consciousness effect I experience? Couldn't something behave as if it was conscious without that consciousness effect emerging? Why not?

Are you claiming that a conventional computer would actually experience "consciousness" and not just behave as if it was conscious when it runs a self-predicting program that's "complex enough"? It'll be interesting if someone can describe the laws of physics/this universe that would cause some NOR gates to generate consciousness... Or would all physical operations generate it?

Or would it only happen to a quantum computer (e.g. the sort of that does quantum superpositions) simulator that also recursively simulates itself?

about two weeks ago

Why Are We Made of Matter?

TheLink Re:easy! (393 comments)

Yeah we might be in a simulation (that's in another simulation and so on) but why do we experience this consciousness thing? Not talking about free will, but the experience of awareness itself.

Are the rules of this universe such that no matter what as long as you have certain processes, consciousness will arise as an emergent phenomenon? And what would those certain processes be?

Could it be extinguished and yet the person still continues on "living" and moving as before? For example say a person went to sleep, and woke up the next day but never had the consciousness thing anymore - but just walked and talked etc like before as if he/she still had it.

about two weeks ago

Why Are We Made of Matter?

TheLink Re:What if there is no reason? (393 comments)

Here's another thing for you to work out while you're at it:

Why are you even conscious? Couldn't a machine exist like you that did the exact same things you'd do but wasn't conscious at all?

Note: I'm not talking about "free will". I'm talking about the subjective experience that I have (and I believe you have) of being aware. I don't think I'm the only conscious being in this universe.

To me the two amazing things are:
0) That there is anything at all in the first place.
1) That there is this consciousness phenomenon that I'm experiencing.

about two weeks ago

Will Cameras Replace Sideview Mirrors On Cars In 2018?

TheLink Re:nope! (496 comments)

The "splayed side mirror config" reduces the rear view of your side mirrors. That's not so good if there's a large vehicle behind you- you can't see what's behind on the other lanes- all you see is the big vehicle behind you in your centre rearview mirror. You can't safely change lanes so easily.

about three weeks ago

Xbox One Reputation System Penalizes Gamers Who Behave Badly

TheLink Re:OMG FAG LOL (183 comments)

Have you seen any alternatives to moderation/meta-moderation schemes that exclude this?

I haven't seen any implemented but a possible way is to keep the opposing groups apart.

If "A" doesn't like "B" just make it less likely that "A" and "B" end up in the same match (or see each others posts).

If "A" starts getting too picky "A" might end up in fewer matches. If "B" really is an asshole, then "B" might end up in fewer matches too.

I've proposed this before to an MMO and also a related "Points of View" method for reviewing products: http://slashdot.org/comments.p...

After a while you might end up with distinct groups and then you can do some research and datamining on them ;).

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Will Older Programmers Always Have a Harder Time Getting a Job?

TheLink Re:As a 40 something programmer recently interview (379 comments)

If you were really writing CGI apps in C and not using stuff like FastCGI then your apps would likely be slower than a FastCGI or modperl/modphp etc program due to the overheads of process creation.

So yeah it does seem silly to use C, a slow to develop language combined with CGI, a slow way of running webapps. Worse of both worlds.

How many pages per second and concurrent requests could your CGI C apps handle?

about a month ago



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

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

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



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?


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


Video games don't kill people

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


Who are the real thieves?

TheLink TheLink writes  |  about 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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