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Comments

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Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

Unequivocal Re:I don't get it. (541 comments)

There's is a genetic component to intelligence, but it's just a very insignificant one, at least as far as modern science can tell. Read this book to learn more: http://www.amazon.com/Intellig...

The main problem with genetic arguments is that environmental advantages swamp genetic advantages when it comes to human intelligence, however defined. And importantly, how you define intelligence is driven by culture, which unsurprisingly means that the advantaged people in a culture are measured as more intelligent.

I like the way Nisbett goes after this topic b/c he doesn't deny any impact of genetics for intelligence, but he does give strong research evidence that it's not a meaningful measurement, so not really worth worrying about.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Web Language That's Long-Lived, and Not Too Buzzy?

Unequivocal Ruby/Sinatra (536 comments)

As a greybeard who used to write dynamic gopher sites, I really like to write in Ruby/Sinatra now. It gives me access to lots of nice features (I can install activerecord when I need it) and I can build APIs super quickly and everything in between. And I can get down to the bottom of the network stack pretty easily when I want to. I do miss the Ruby/Rails built-in testing framework, but otherwise haven't looked back since switching from that environment.

about 3 months ago
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Autonomous Car Ethics: If a Crash Is Unavoidable, What Does It Hit?

Unequivocal Choose what's best for all or what's best for occu (800 comments)

I think the really interesting issue here is whether the programming should favor the occupants or the overall situation? And how to balance?

If you have the choice between running down a pedestrian or swerving to hit a concrete barrier at high speed, you might want to choose the pedestrian if your goal is to preserve the lives of the occupants who may die if you choose the retaining wall.

But all low speeds, you want to pick the retaining wall because the occupants wouldn't die - it would just damage the car.

Or in the OP example, picking the smaller car to crash into might increase survivability for the passenges of the autonomous car, but increase deaths for the smaller car being hit. Whereas hitting the larger car (more solidly built, more mass) might injure the occupants of the autonomous car more..

about 4 months ago
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Developer Loses Single-Letter Twitter Handle Through Extortion

Unequivocal Re:lawsuit (448 comments)

Going further OT here.. My understanding is that transactions into and out of some bitcoin exchanges can effectively wash out this "paper" trail? So if the criminal seller and buyer arrange to exchange bitcoins via certain exchanges (designed to wash/hide transaction histories), criminal seller hands over one set of bitcoins and criminal buyer walks way with different bitcoins altogether? Since there's no regulation to my knowledge of money laundering in bitcoin exchanges (yet) this isn't even an illegal business practice?

about 8 months ago
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Developer Loses Single-Letter Twitter Handle Through Extortion

Unequivocal Re:Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen (448 comments)

I disagree - godaddy should not rely on last 4 digits of CC for anything related to security. Paypal giving up the last 4 digits is way less of a problem than godaddy relying on them. The two systems interlocked of course is where this real misery occurred.

about 8 months ago
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Developer Loses Single-Letter Twitter Handle Through Extortion

Unequivocal Re:the moral of the story (448 comments)

How much more expensive? I went to their website and they don't even print their price list anywhere I could see.

about 8 months ago
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Developer Loses Single-Letter Twitter Handle Through Extortion

Unequivocal Re:the moral of the story (448 comments)

Yeah double plus. I just went an enabled two factor on my registrar account. Kind of obvious that having a weak auth there is a major security hole but I hadn't really been paying attention to it.

about 8 months ago
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eBay CEO: Amazon Drones Are Fantasy

Unequivocal Re:Sounds familiar (189 comments)

A treadmill just lets them manage power cables and what not, plus controlling photography etc. That thing is walking autonomously and unsupported, upright on two legs. And regarding the drunk over broken ground, it's almost exactly what a human would look like if they had a blindfold on doing the same task.

Plus 4 legged running: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chPanW0QWhA -- granted not autonomous yet.

about 9 months ago
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Climatologist James Hansen Defends Nuclear Energy

Unequivocal Re:Waste Disposal (345 comments)

Also, even if you have a 1 in 10,000 catastrophic launch failure rate, you will in very short order spray highly radioactive waste all over the upper atmosphere trying to get it to the sun.

about 9 months ago
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Climatologist James Hansen Defends Nuclear Energy

Unequivocal Re: common sense (345 comments)

Fossil fuels and nuclear don't have the "same issue" -- fossil fuels use emits massive amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere creating catastrophic future warming of the planet endangering the human species' survival as we know it. Nuclear fuel use produces some highly dangerous waste material that has to be stored or eliminated.

Which problem would you rather have society engineer solutions for? I'm voting for nuclear.

I'm not saying you don't know this already, but I am saying that your post gives the wrong impression.

about 9 months ago
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eBay CEO: Amazon Drones Are Fantasy

Unequivocal Re:Sounds familiar (189 comments)

Granted these are controlled experiments with prototypes, but autonomous, two legged walking by robots is not a "way off" - it's been done:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mclbVTIYG8E
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SD6Okylclb8

And regarding four legs - seems like BD among others seem well past the "barely" stage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wE3fmFTtP9g

But I guess it's all in your definitions of way off and barely..

about 9 months ago
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Project Rescue Expert Todd Williams Talks About Healthcare.gov (Video)

Unequivocal Re:Me too! (276 comments)

That is false. I live in California and there are people here, including some close to me, who have individual plans and who are keeping their existing plans. A LOT of individual policies in California were cancelled but it is wrong to say that ALL of them are. Plans issued and unchanged prior to a particular date specified in the law are allowed to be grandfathered.

about 10 months ago
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Tech Titans Oracle, Red Hat and Google To Help Fix Healthcare.gov

Unequivocal Re:Answer: No. (404 comments)

Reducto ad absurdum against a straw man is not generally considered a valid way to win an argument.

about a year ago
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Bitcoin Currency Surpasses 20 National Currencies In Total Value

Unequivocal Re:SELL!!! (583 comments)

How do you short bitcoin? There are market options for shorting stocks (via contracts I think) and for traditional currency I'm not so sure, but I'd guess similar vehicles are available. Is there a way to short bitcoins?

about a year and a half ago
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New Malware Wiping Data On Computers In Iran

Unequivocal Re:All the jokes aside... (95 comments)

Lost in the operator game.. The original article talks about *drives* D through I on a Windows machine. Some idiot (appears to be Michael Mimoso) decided that "partition" is a more pro-sounding synonym for "drive" and started using both interchangeably in the article from OP. So we are all left scratching our heads. The point I think is that the thing tries to destroy data on network and attached storage devices, rather than wiping C drive which would give itself away much more quickly..

about a year ago
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Microsoft Invests $300 Million In Nook e-Readers

Unequivocal Re:Very Clever Long-Term Business Planning (197 comments)

That's pretty silly. It's true that MS locked in a juicy piece of revenue when it retained ownership of IBM's OS for the original PC. But I don't think a serious argument can be made that all the subsequent successes stem from that one line of revenue or IP. The transition to Windows was based on the Mac's success not the IBM PC. The work with IBM on OS/2 and converted to Win NT was not premised on that DOS license. Office, MS SQL and just keep counting their market successes from there.

more than 2 years ago
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Microsoft Invests $300 Million In Nook e-Readers

Unequivocal Re:Very Clever Long-Term Business Planning (197 comments)

I'm not make an arguement about DRM inherently at the moment, but I use the B&N NookBook products. I can read the books any of a number devices. I read on a PC, my Transformer tablet, my B&N e-ink reader and on my Android phone (I'm certain it works on a mac and iphone/pad as well). So while the format is not open (aka w/out DRM) they definitely give you the ability to read the book on a variety of h/w platforms.

You can also side-load books into a device and I believe that works for DRM content so long as you have the inherent DRM access rights associated with that content. So I can copy my DRM'ed epubs right off my e-reader and back them up. Then I can copy then back later and they will work with my account still.

Granted when B&N goes out of business, etc, there may be some problems (not sure how their DRM is operated and whether it needs to check-in with a home base periodically to keep my DRM books open). I've had my device disconnected from the internet for a month with no problems but who knows.

more than 2 years ago
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US Military Working On 'Optionally-Manned' Bomber

Unequivocal Re:No one see's a problem with this? (278 comments)

Huh - interesting point. I would have a thought a few exploding bolts would do the job, not a fiery end but would end up with a drone in lots of pieces, instead of a whole stealth drone in the hands of Iran.. Which seems like something they don't want.

more than 2 years ago
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US Military Working On 'Optionally-Manned' Bomber

Unequivocal Re:No one see's a problem with this? (278 comments)

That airframe was stealthy apparently so I'd guess it's pretty valuable. Note the seals tried to destroy the airframe of their stealthy (and up to that point unknown) helicopter on the Bin Laden raid, partially successfully.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Ask Slashdot: What happens when there are no more bitcoins left to be mined?

Unequivocal Unequivocal writes  |  about 8 months ago

Unequivocal (155957) writes "I've been following the bitcoin saga from a distance for some time. I'm technical and I think I understand how it works, but I'm definitely no expert on the subject. I've got a couple of questions for Slashdot. I've noticed that baked into the system is a fundamental limit on the total number of bitcoins. I haven't seen any articles addressing the two main questions that arise for me relating to this fundamental limit on total circulating bitcoins:
  • Question 1: Fiat currency like US dollars don't limit the amount in circulation so as to manage inflation of the currency. Currencies in the past that don't do this are usually subject to runaway inflation or deflation at some point. Why won't bitcoin be subject to this economic condition? I understand that bitcoins are infinitely divisible so perhaps that is the way bitcoin inflation/deflation is handled?
  • Question 2: I believe the bitcoin network processes it's transactions by incentivizing miners with new currency in exchange for processing the transactions (I think that's how it works). What happens when there are no more bitcoins for miners to mine? How will all the transactions be processed? What are the incentives to support the transaction network without new bitcoins as incentives?

I definitely appreciate any insights into the economic mechanics of the network along these lines!"
Link to Original Source

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Bing ripping off search results from Google?

Unequivocal Unequivocal writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Unequivocal (155957) writes ""Hiybbprqag. It sounds like a rare cuisine or a complex chemical. But according to Google, Hiybbprqag is the nonsense word that proves that the team behind the Microsoft Bing search engine is cheating. In a statement released this week, Google's Amit Singhal alleged that Google engineers had long been suspicious that Microsoft was copying queries from Google results pages – including 'rare or unusual queries and misspelled queries.'""
Link to Original Source
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Court rules WHOIS privacy illegal for spammers

Unequivocal Unequivocal writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Unequivocal (155957) writes "Spammers hiding behind a WHOIS privacy service have been found in violation of CAN-SPAM. It probably won't stop other spammers from hiding (what can?) but at least it adds another arrow in the legal quiver for skewering the bottom feeders:

'A recent decision by the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has determined that using WHOIS privacy on domains may be considered "material falsification" under federal law... Although the ruling does not make use of WHOIS privacy illegal, it does serve as a clear message from the court that coupling the use of privacy services with intentional spamming will likely result in a violation of the CAN-SPAM act. This is an important decision that members of the domain community should refer to prior to utilizing a privacy shield.'"

Link to Original Source
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A space cannon that might actually work

Unequivocal Unequivocal writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Unequivocal (155957) writes "Chalk another one up to Jules Verne. Physicist John Hunter is proposing a space canon with a new design idea: it's mostly submerged.

Many engineers have toyed with the [space cannon] concept, but nobody has came up with an actual project that may work. Hunter's idea is simple: Build a cannon near the equator, submerged in the ocean, hooked to a floating rig...A system like this will cut launch costs from $5,000 per pound to only $250 per pound. It won't launch people into space because of the excessive acceleration, but those guys at the ISS can use it to order pizza and real ice cream.

Though it won't work on people, with launch costs that low, who cares?"
Link to Original Source

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FCC declares Net Neutrality will be enforced

Unequivocal Unequivocal writes  |  about 5 years ago

Unequivocal writes "FCC's Chairman Genachowski told Congress today that the "Federal Communications Commission plans to keep the Internet free of increased user fees based on heavy Web traffic and slow downloads. Julius Genachowski, the FCC chairman, told The Hill that his agency will support "net neutrality" and go after anyone who violates its tenets. "One thing I would say so that there is no confusion out there is that this FCC will support net neutrality and will enforce any violation of net neutrality principles," Genachowski said when asked what he could do in his position to keep the Internet fair, free and open to all Americans. The statement by Genachowski comes as the commission remains locked in litigation with Comcast. The cable provider is appealing a court decision by challenging the FCC's authority to penalize the company for limiting Web traffic to its consumers."

It looks like the good guys win, unless the appeals court rules against the FCC.."
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Open textbooks win over publishers in CA

Unequivocal Unequivocal writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Unequivocal writes "Recently California's Governor announced a free digital textbook competition. The results of that competition were announced today. Many traditional publishers submitted textbooks in this digital textbook competition in CA as well as open publishers. An upstart nonprofit organization named CK-12 contributed a number of textbook (all free and open source material). "Of the 16 free digital textbooks for high school math and science reviewed, ten meet at least 90 percent of California's standards. Four meet 100 percent of standards." Three of those recognized as 100% aligned to California standards were from CK-12 and one from H. Jerome Keisler. None of the publisher's submissions were so recognized. CK-12 has a very small staff, so this is a great proof of the power of open textbooks and open educational resources."
Link to Original Source
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White house announces major open government plans

Unequivocal Unequivocal writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Unequivocal writes "TechPresident has reported on a release of new White House initiative following up on the President's promise for a more open government:

What's emerged from the White House isn't a final product. Instead, it's a process. Over the course of the next month, the White House website — under the direction of OMB, GSA, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy — will house an on-going discussion aimed at the creation of an open government directive with buy-in from inside and outside government. Stage one, titled "Brainstorming," launches today, and is meant to establish the framework for the whole public discussion to follow... Ideas from the public will be solicited and sifted using IdeaScale, a third-party platform that enable anyone to post an idea, add comments, and vote them up or down. That process will run through May 28. The National Academy of Public Administration, which guided the discussion process on Recovery.gov, will handle the management of this effort.

From the White House site:

The Administration is committed to developing those recommendations in an open fashion. Consistent with the President’s mandate, we want to be fully transparent in our work, participatory in soliciting your ideas and expertise, and collaborative in how we experiment together to use new tools and techniques for developing open government policy.

Does this solicitation for involvement mark a real change in the way the US Federal government relates to the citizens?"

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Federal government releases data.gov

Unequivocal Unequivocal writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Unequivocal writes "TechPresident is reporting that Vivek Kundra's office of the CIO is releasing data.gov:

If you spend time hanging out in Twitter land, then you no doubt know that Data.gov has entered the world. We hear both programmers and site are resting comfortably. Seriously, we'll have more information on the site, insight from CIO Vivek Kundra, and bigger news about the White House's effort to become more participatory, collaborative, and transparent at 1pm ET today. Stay tuned. For now, check out Data.gov's 47 data feeds in multiple formats — XML, CSV, and the geo-spatial standards KML/KMZ and ESRI — and its built-in tool for extracting raw data.

Is the government finally "getting with it?" Will we finally start seeing real government mash-ups like those we've seen in the private sector using Google, Yahoo and other web services for the last 5 years?"

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Aneesh Chopra confirmed by Senata as first US CTO

Unequivocal Unequivocal writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Unequivocal writes "FCW has scooped the news that Aneesh Chopra has been confirmed as the first Federal CTO during an executive session on May 20. Reading from prepared remarks Chopra is quoted by WSJ blogs as saying:

We will apply the most innovative technologies to our most important challenges — bending the health care cost curve, optimizing the energy grid to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, delivering an educational system focused on student excellence with special emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, protecting our nation's critical infrastructure, and building the high-wage, high-growth jobs in all corners of our country

Some information on what the CTO didn't say during his confirmation hearing can found at Read Write Web. Summary: He didn't speak about his plans for openness in government because no one asked him about it."

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Obama's gov't to use Creative Commons 3.0 license

Unequivocal Unequivocal writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Unequivocal writes "The Laboratorium has noticed that Change.gov is licensing its content under the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution license. "Talk about doing the right thing. Now the collaborative power of Change.gov isn't limited by what the transition team itself is able to enable. Anyone can take the policy points and discussions from the site and create their own remix or branch of it. This is a very good sign of the transition team's attitude towards their task. It's also a good license choice. Attribution 3.0 is the Barack Obama of CC licenses: modern, dignified, generous, and tolerant.""
Link to Original Source
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Yahoo patents "smart" drag and drop

Unequivocal Unequivocal writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Unequivocal writes "According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Yahoo has filed a patent for "smart" drag and drop. From the article:

"There have been a series of new [patent] applications... some of which are pretty broad and outrageous. For example, check out this one from Yahoo! claiming to have patented "smart" drag-and-drop technology. Here's claim one:
A computer-implemented method for manipulating objects in a user interface, comprising:
  • providing the user interface including a first interface object operable to be selected and moved within the user interface; and
  • in response to selection and movement of the first interface object in the user interface, presenting at least one additional interface object in the user interface in proximity of the first interface object, each additional interface object representing a drop target with which the first interface object may be associated."
How do these patent claims differ from normal drag and drop? In pretty trivial ways if at all. From the EFF article "You drag, you drop, you infringe!" But it may be hard for a patent examiner to understand that trivial changes in drag and drop user interface are not in fact novel enough to warrant a patent. If Yahoo gets this patent, they'll have a mighty big stick to shake at competitors. Which is of course the whole purpose of the current, broken patent system."
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Yahoo tries to patent "enhanced" drag and

Unequivocal Unequivocal writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Unequivocal writes "They're at it again. Yahoo has recently submitted an application to the USPTO describing "enhanced drag and drop" functionality. Patents are supposed to be non-obvious, useful and novel. You think this doesn't qualify? You may be in for a surprise. Andy Oram notes that "this application seems to be a tough one to crack, despite its simplicity. Only two comments are posted, and no actual instances of prior art (although one comment tentatively suggests on instance). If no prior art is found in 35 days, the comment period closes on Peer to Patent and little stands in the way of granting the patent." Law Profs Jason Schultz and James Grimmelman discuss this issue in greater detail.

Bottom line: Unless the public submits some useful prior art soon, the patent examiner who gets this application will likely approve it. So show some holiday spirit and dig into your TurboPascal source files from 1987 and find some clever drag and drop tools that show this idea has been around for a long, long time."
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Palm kills Foleo to focus on Linux-only platform

Unequivocal Unequivocal writes  |  about 7 years ago

Unequivocal writes "The Inquirer is reporting that "Ed Colligan said on his blog that the firm won't be releasing its Foleo 'mobile companion' device, to focus on a 'single software platform' — Linux — for the company's upcoming phones.

The Foleo was 'close to shipping' according to Colligan, and that means that a lot of wonga went down a hole: 'This decision will require us to take a limited charge of less than $10 million dollars to our earnings. This is a lot of money, but it is a small price relative to the costs that would be required to support two platforms going forward.'"

Is this a mark of Linux finally being accepted by corporate IT/development for high profile end-user projects? Would this mean the days of standards-creep and OS lockout are finally waning?"

Link to Original Source
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Microsoft patents "unpirating" music

Unequivocal Unequivocal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Unequivocal writes "A new Wired magazine blog entry shows that Microsoft has patented a technique for preventing and reversing music piracy at the hardware level. FTA:

'Microsoft and Apple are thinking along the same lines when it comes to enabling users to copy music between their wireless devices.

Certain cellphones already allow you to [transfer music] via Bluetooth file transfer, but Microsoft's patented idea would take the concept further, by allowing users to trade MP3s that may have come from file sharing networks to one another, expiring the song on the recipient's device after three plays, unless the user pays Microsoft a fee in order to continue to listen to the track, with a percentage going to the person who provided the song. As the abstract puts it, "even [the] resale of pirated media content [can] benefit... the copyright holder."'

Also, this patent is now being peer reviewed on Peer to Patent's website. Join the discussion there, if you can show how this patent is original and innovative or not."

Link to Original Source

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