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Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

TsuruchiBrian Re:This is no different. (206 comments)

It is about choice. In my opinion, it is different because such a device would not be carried by choice nor would it have data that you voluntarily placed on it. A cell phone or other computer you carry by choice. Data you put on your cell phone (pictures, email, GPS tracks, etc.), you put on by choice. With a pacemaker (or other medically necessary device), you really don't have a choice to have with you (unless you choose to die). Operational data that such a medical device might gather, you don't have any practical control over.

Why does it even matter? If there is significant evidence that you have committed a crime, and a court issues a warrant to search your electronic devices, why should the person who has a pacemaker be granted extra privileges than a person with a cell phone? I will concede that the person with the cell phone may have had more of a choice in deciding to own/possess their device, but so what? Why is that important?

Furthermore, I don't see why people would not have the freedom to choose pacemakers that were not able to incriminate them (i.e. ones that do not record histories, but rather simply use current sensor data, or encrypt any historical data so it is only accessible to people with the cryptographic key).

While fingerprints or left behind DNA can indicate that you were somewhere, they don't on their own give a history of the places you have been. You can't take a fingerprint or DNA sample from a person and get a history of all the places they have been. With an embedded device that keeps location history, you could theoretically extract the history of the locations you have been (without having to go to those places to collect evidence).

Which is why you shouldn't be able to access this information without a warrant (i.e. significant evidence that a person has committed a crime). I really don't see why it makes a difference if the information gives a complete or partial picture of historical events. Would it be ok to search the futurisitic pacemaker if it only recorded GPS locations to a precision of 100 miles? (i.e. obscuring the complete picture and forcing police to collect additional evidence)?

about a week ago
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Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

TsuruchiBrian Re:This is no different. (206 comments)

Why does it matter if the device is physically inside you or necessary to live? Why is a futuristic pacemaker any different than a cell phone? I would argue that a modern cell phone is more a part of a person than this hypothetical futuristic pacemaker, despite being outside the body. The cell phone in addition to storing location information also has all your emails, text conversations, search histories, voicemails, facebook stuff, etc.

Would forcefully extracting information from such a device be any different than compelling a person to testify against their will?

Should fingerprinting someone or taking a DNA sample be considered forcing that person's body to betray them and therefore be considered compelling them to testify against themselves?

The cyborg examples really don't add any new dimensions to this debate.

about two weeks ago
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Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

TsuruchiBrian This is no different. (206 comments)

You need a warrant to search external electronics that belong to people. You should also need a warrant to search internal electronics that belong to people. There is no new legal questions created by putting electronics inside people rather than simply keeping them detached.

You can't just shove your iphone up your ass claim to be a cyborg to evade a search warrant. By the same token, the police can't use the fact that your iphone is up your ass to call you a cyborg and search it without getting a warrant.

about two weeks ago
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Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

TsuruchiBrian Re:Is Coding Computer Science? Of Course! (546 comments)

At all of the software companies I've ever worked for, and most of the ones my friends have worked at, knowing big O notation is *completely* useless.

You need to know about things like time and space complexity when selecting appropriate data structures. For people who don't know what their doing, an array works just as good as a linked list (until it doesn't), and someone who understands time complexity needs to figure out why the code is slow and fix it.

Some plain old coders know the basics of computer science, but there are a lot that don't. There are even people with CS degrees that don't know the basics of CS theory. So no, not ever programmer needs to know about the halting problem and finite state machines, but you need to at least know the basics to write code that doesn't completely suck.

I'm not saying you need a degree. I'm saying that a degree usually indicates at least a basic understanding of CS theory which I think is indeed very important. There is more to being a software developer than "Knowing how to code" (i.e. Writing code with correct syntax). And I have found that many if not most self taught coders (along with some CS degree holders) do not really have the skills necessary to write *good* code, due to lack of understanding about basic theory. And by good code I mean code that doesn't have to be rewritten at some later point by someone knowledgeable.

Some of them don't even have a person with a CS degree on the team. But those applications/websites aren't crashing and burning because they lack academic knowledge: they're (successfully) powering your life.

Most code sucks. The reason websites continue to work (sort of), is because they are all relying on good software written by people who *did* know what they were doing. And this code is usually so good that it helps people who are incompetent make something that kind of still works despite themselves (given enough time). Most of the time it is not even cheaper to hire incompetent people because it takes them so much longer to get things done even with all the great tools out there. It costs the same to pay someone $100/hr to finish something in 2 days than it is to pay someone minimum wage to finish it in 2 months.

And as far as people who know a lot of theory but don't know how to actually make anything... I don't think those people really exist. I too spent most of my time in college drawing boxes and arrows rather than coding, but even with a heavily theory based program I was exposed to 2 wuarters of C++, 1 quarter of assembly, 1 quarter of Java, 1 quarter of networking (udp/tcp), 1 quarter of SQL, etc. Learning to code competently is relatively simple. I'm not saying that theory is very hard, but if it were easy, then everyone would do it (without school). There are many of coders for every person who knows theory. And even new grads pick up coding in a few months if they don't already know how to code pretty well at the time they graduate.

about two weeks ago
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Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

TsuruchiBrian Re:Is Coding Computer Science? Of Course! (546 comments)

Of course a construction worker who actually knows what he is doing is more valuable than some kid with an architecture degree who has no idea how to do his own job.

That's true until your building falls down because the construction worker/self-taught architect didn't know the fancy theories behind calculating loads and stresses, and only knew how to attach metal piece together.

about two weeks ago
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Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

TsuruchiBrian Re:Is Coding Computer Science? Of Course! (546 comments)

This is like saying that most buildings don't require architects. This is true if you don't care if the final result sucks. When software fails it's usually just inconvenient. When a building fails, people usually die. We typically care more about building quality than software quality. If you don't care about software quality than hire a self taught coder. If you don't care about your building being safe, then hire a construction worker to design it.

about two weeks ago
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Where are the Flying Cars? (Video; Part One of Two)

TsuruchiBrian Re:I want a flying train (107 comments)

That's close, but roller coasters don't fly. They still rely on a connected physical track for support. I want a flying train that rides on a virtual track. I want the immense complexity of precision flight combined with the harshly inconvenient restrictions of railway travel.

about 1 month ago
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Where are the Flying Cars? (Video; Part One of Two)

TsuruchiBrian I want a flying train (107 comments)

I want something that can fly but still be limited to a one dimensional track such that only forward and reverse are the only directions allowed. This way I can know that my kids are not deviating from the route to and from school, but still be in the air.

about a month ago
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Microsoft's Olivier Bloch Explains Microsoft Open Source (Video)

TsuruchiBrian Re:This is old news (101 comments)

Why would rich countries vote against free solutions? Doesn't saving money make you even more rich? Why doesn't everybody use open source software? Who doesn't love superior products free of charge?

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

TsuruchiBrian Re:Why do CS grads become lowly programmers? (637 comments)

I know that. I have a degree in computer science, and I am a software engineer. I even took one required class in software engineering.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

TsuruchiBrian Re:Why do CS grads become lowly programmers? (637 comments)

For the same reason that engineers still learn science. If engineering is applied science, then you need to have a background in science in order to properly apply it.

about a month ago
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Comcast Confessions

TsuruchiBrian Re:a corporation (234 comments)

I am really not sure what in my post your comment is referring to...

about a month and a half ago
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Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

TsuruchiBrian Re:He just doesent' get it.. (514 comments)

This is a false dichotomy. It's not that there is either only stereotyping, or only real differences in qualifications. It's probably both. In fact the stereotypes and lack of qualified applicants of certain types probably feed off eachother.

I don't expect qualified tech applicants to look like a perfect cross section of society, any more than I would expect the USA to win the world cup. It's not that the world cup was rigged. We are just not as good at soccer (yet).

about a month and a half ago
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Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

TsuruchiBrian Re:Stop the idiocracy (514 comments)

I don't even know how you could show that even if it were true. It's not exactly the most objective of claims.

When I was in college I did witness a tour group of middle school (I'm guessing) aged kids that were almost all black, and when the tour guide (who was trying to get them interested in attending college) asked them what they wanted to do as a profession, all the boys answered either "basketball player" or "rapper". The girls' answers were more varied.

When I see this kind of thing, I am usually the first to point out that this is probably more to do with poverty than skin color, but the fact remains that there is still a high correlation between poverty and skin color. So whether you want to call it "black culture" or the black version of the general culture of poverty, the end result is still that a disproportionately high number of black kids are not being brought up in a culture that respects intellect (At least not the kind that results in interest in science and engineering).

I don't know if lack of education is causing a culture of ignorance, or whether a culture of ignorance is causing a lack of education, but I suspect it's a positive feedback loop, and I don't have a good answer for how to fix it, other than suggesting that ignoring this problem, and pretending that everybody is equally likely to be qualified regardless of race and the only problem is racism, is probably not going to do anybody any good.

I don't want to discount the effect of racism, but I don't think it's the only problem.

So let's *not* talk race. Let's talk education and economic opportunity. If people have a way up, see that way, and believe they can do it, they will rise.

I agree, but I think this trick of picking yourself up by the bootstraps is easier said than done. I know I have had a lot of advantages that others probably didn't (i.e. parents that had a good education, and forced my siblings and I to get a good education), and that's something that's pretty hard to create out of nothing.

Who knows, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe "fake it till you make it" is as good a strategy as any.

about a month and a half ago
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Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

TsuruchiBrian Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step (514 comments)

I always thought the next step for civil rights was getting better proponents than Jesse Jackson.

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Confessions

TsuruchiBrian a corporation (234 comments)

a corporation overrun by the neverending quest for greater profit

This is (and should be) the goal of all corporations. There are many strategies for achieving this goal. A corporation can bribe legislators for laws giving them special benefits and extra restrictions on their competitors, it can try to achieve a monopoly and exploit it, it can lower the cost of operation at the expense of quality, hope no one notices. It is our job as consumers to choose the companies we want to survive. It is in our interest as consumers to vote with our wallets for companies whose strategy for profit is to focus all their attention on creating better products than their competitors. It is our job as members of society to vote in elections for representatives who will not be bribed by lobbyists, and to ensure that corrupt politicians lose their jobs (i.e. regardless of their party).

about a month and a half ago
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What percentage of your media consumption is streamed?

TsuruchiBrian Re: Even my DVDs are streamed (152 comments)

Even cases of fair use involve a non-copyright holder making a reproduction.

Playing a DVD or blu ray movie in a any player, causes a reproduction to be made in electronic memory before it is displayed.

Clearly there are some exceptions, and this clause is not meant to be taken 100% literally.

about a month and a half ago
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What percentage of your media consumption is streamed?

TsuruchiBrian Re:Even my DVDs are streamed (152 comments)

You don't even need to rationalize immoral things if you are an openly immoral person.

about a month and a half ago
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What percentage of your media consumption is streamed?

TsuruchiBrian Re:Even my DVDs are streamed (152 comments)

uncompressed mkv file? An uncompressed video the same resolution and frame rate as a blu ray (which is already compressed) would be like 1TB.

I haven't seen an uncompressed digital video file since 1995, due to how impractical they are.

Also, mkv is just a container format. Whether a file is in mkv format has nothing to do with whether or how it is compressed.

Also, why would someone want a file smaller than 25-50GB? No one will care in 10 years, but for now, that is still quite a lot of space to dedicate to a movie that you may not even like that much.

about a month and a half ago
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'Just Let Me Code!'

TsuruchiBrian I would also like to point out (372 comments)

I would also like to point out that back when it was every coder did everything himself from scratch (i.e. the good old days), the actual products sucked. There was a lot of fun work to be done reinventing the wheel millions of times over, but when 99.9% of the wheels had serious flaws, it was pretty hard for the user of these wheels to get any real work done.

So it turns out that most programmers are terrible, and they think it's fun to reinvent the wheel, because wheels are the only thing (they think) they understand. They think learning new tools are "boring" or "stupid" but mainly because it's hard to do things in a way you aren't already used to and "hard" things are "stupid" to people that want to use the rationale that the only reason they might not understand something is if it's stupid. The smart programmers learn to use the tools because it actually makes more efficient use of the time spent programming.

There was a time when programmers complained that compilers were stupid because there was no need to write in a high level language when you could just write in assembly code instead.

The smart programmers weren't the ones that could read and write in assembly and didn't need high level languages. The smart ones were the ones who recognized that high level languages would make programming more efficient and created that tool.

about 2 months ago

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