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WikiLeaks Publishes Afghan War Secrets

Virak Re:Conflicted (966 comments)

"Herp derp you're posting anonymously" isn't a good argument. It's not even a bad argument. It's just throwing out some retarded insult completely unrelated to anything he said. It's especially ridiculous seeing it come from someone posting under a pseudonym.

"sycodon" doesn't tell me anything more about who you are than "Anonymous Coward" does. All it says is that you're (probably) the same guy who made the other posts under the "sycodon" account. You aren't bravely putting forth personal information based on some sincere belief that one should be public about one's opinions on such matters if they truly believe them or anything like that. All you are doing is using your own personal Silly Internet Name instead of using Slashdot's publicly available Silly Internet Name and feeling smugly superior about yourself like there's any real difference.

more than 4 years ago
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Pixel Inventor Goes Back To the Drawing Board

Virak Exceedingly silly (304 comments)

First, here's the actual paper, since it clarifies what exactly he's suggesting and doesn't seem to be linked anywhere in the article.

It's not a suggestion that we start using non-square pixels for displays or cameras or scanners or what not, though he's certainly not being very clear about anything and the reporting on this is just making matters worse. What the paper proposes is a method where:
1) The image is split into 6x6 blocks
2) For each block, you go over the four rotations of the two following two-section masks:
The triangular mask:
ABBBBB
AABBBB
AAABBB
AAAABB
AAAAAB
AAAAAA
The rectangular(ish) mask:
BBBBBB
BBBBBB
BBBAAA
AAAAAA
AAAAAA
AAAAAA
for a total of eight effective masks, and average the values under each section, resulting in two values, A and B.
3) For the mask and rotation that has the largest difference between A and B, you output the mask, the rotation, and the A and B values, resulting in 19 bits from a 6x6 (288 bits) block.

Though he talks of non-square pixels and whatnot, it's really just a compression algorithm. A really stupid one. Basically it's a bad variation of vector quantization, with lots of baffling details. Why 6x6 blocks? Why those specific masks? Why are you maximizing contrast instead of minimizing error like any sane person would do, WHY? There's no rationale given for any of these choices, not theoretical, not empirical, not even subjective.

The same sort of rigor extends to his comparison, where he compares his compression algorithm to, instead of, say, another compression algorithm, the image apparently simply downscaled and then scaled back up. And not even with a halfway decent resampling algorithm, but with nearest neighbour. Not to mention that the "non-square pixels" version has 2.375 times as many bits to work with. If he'd done a comparison to a reasonably modern compression algorithm like JPEG, the results would be much less favorable to him.

tl;dr Some old guy put together his My First Compression Algorithm kit and it's being treated like a revolution in graphics by ignorant reporters. Nothing to see here, move along.

more than 4 years ago
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NASA Launches Moonbase Alpha

Virak Re:Please... (230 comments)

Convincing the public that space is cool! and exciting! so they can continue to get enough funding to at least barely get by has always been an important part of NASA. See also: all those pretty pictures they release.

more than 4 years ago
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YouTube Hit By HTML Injection Vulnerability

Virak An update (224 comments)

They actually got it fixed a bit after I submitted this story. A shame, lemonparty was a big step up from the usual level of discussion on YouTube videos. More seriously, I'm interested in finding out exactly what happened here. Hopefully Google will post some sort of explanation. YouTube is a massive site and it's somewhat bizarre seeing them make the sort of mistake you'd expect from something put together by a drooling moron with nothing but a "How to learn PHP in 24 hours!" book.

more than 4 years ago
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Climategate's Final Days

Virak Re:More science still (872 comments)

I only skimmed the results and read some of them that looked promising (a Google search results page is not exactly the best way to do these sorts of things), but all the problems, the few there are, appear to be in the Working Group II report. The one he linked to was the Working Group I report, and was even explicitly labeled as such. If you know of "the problems with said report", it'd be nice if you could provide some sources, preferably reasonably credible ones, that actually point out such problems.

more than 4 years ago
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VP8 Codec Coming To FFmpeg

Virak Re:Hmmm... (218 comments)

The post the parent linked to goes into extensive detail about the technical aspects of the codec, has a real world comparison, a proper one, and is overall an excellent article. In contrast, the article you linked to uses poor quality source videos, JPEG for their comparison images, and by their own admission didn't even manage to use the same frame for both codecs in the images, among other problems. If you're calling that a "real article", you are in no position to be calling someone else a troll.

And enough of these fucking asinine claims about the x264 developers being out to get your poor, precious VP8 that crop up every time someone posts that link. They don't work for MPEG. They don't make obscene mounts of money off of all the people using their free (as in both sense of the word) open source software. They're not secret Chinese agents working to destroy the West from within through the patent system. There is absolutely no motive for them to lie about this sort of thing. VP8 is simply not as good of a codec, and no amount of baseless accusations will change this.

more than 4 years ago
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FBI Failed To Break Encryption of Hard Drives

Virak Re:Wrong Agency (486 comments)

2^(256/96) = ~6.35. So for your claim of it taking 96 characters to be true, those characters would have to be taken from a set of 6-7 characters. Which is an awfully questionable assumption. If you choose characters from, say, the full set of printable ASCII characters (95 characters), you only need log_95(2^256) = slightly less than 39 characters.

more than 4 years ago
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Wikileaks Was Launched With Intercepts From Tor

Virak Re:Fundamental Flaw? (157 comments)

No, this is a fundamental flaw with unencrypted communication, which is exactly what you're doing when you use Tor to access things outside of the Tor network without additional encryption. Either stay inside the network or ensure whatever you're running over it has its own encryption, simple as that. As always, the biggest threat to security is incompetence.

more than 4 years ago
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Acupuncture May Trigger a Natural Painkiller

Virak Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (215 comments)

Well that's the "real mechanism" part. As for the "measurable effect", please see figure 3 of the paper. They used an injection to cause inflammation and then tested the response of the mice to touch and heat, showing both increased sensitivity after injection and a return to lower levels of sensitivity after their acupuncture, with mice without the receptors that would cause the adenosine to be produced having no such reduction.

The results of this paper are exactly as I said. To quote the paper itself, "These findings suggest that A1 receptor activation is both necessary and sufficient for the clinical benefits of acupunctures."

more than 4 years ago
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Acupuncture May Trigger a Natural Painkiller

Virak Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (215 comments)

Yes, it's obvious that the double-quote "skeptics" are supposed to be what he sees as "idiots who irrationally deny it to the bitter end". The problem is that his conception of this appears to be equivalent to ordinary skeptics who are not irrational idiots, as though anyone who demands extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims is just sticking their head in their sand. Though perhaps he just doesn't understand what people mean when they call something "bullshit".

more than 4 years ago
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Acupuncture May Trigger a Natural Painkiller

Virak Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (215 comments)

Oh, ok. But as I said, the way to solve this conflicts is to look at the scope of the conclusion. Either that, or someone messed up.

The results of this paper are "acupuncture has a real mechanism and a real and measurable effect". The results of the other paper (along with other similar studies) are "there is no measurable difference in effect between real acupuncture and faked acupuncture". These can't both be true. "Someone messed up" is the obvious conclusion. And that's not even getting into the fact that supporters of acupuncture say it can do all sorts of insane things that this study couldn't even begin to explain.

Hum... No. Not unwarranted. But as this study shows you can always discover something new where many thought 'there was nothing there'. And that's the good thing about science.

The skeptics mentioned in the article aren't saying there's definitely "nothing there", just that this isn't good enough evidence. Even your hypothetical skeptics who say "this is BS" aren't saying there's definitely "nothing there". Calling bullshit on someone claiming a treatment works with no proposed method for it working and no proper evidence that it works is quite reasonable and far from completely and utterly denying the possibility that it could ever work.

There's a field of studies called meta-analysis just for that. To see if they're picking only the studies they like.

When I said "you", I meant you. There is no "they" involved here. And that's not even what meta-analysis is about. A meta-analysis is merely a study that examines and combines the results of multiple other studies on some matter, to provide a broader view of the available information. It's pretty much exactly as the name would imply it is. It has nothing to do with other people "picking only the studies they like". The only "picking studies" that goes on is in the meta-analysis itself.

Funny how you think you know more about science and didn't provide examples or knew about meta-analysis

Of course I knew about it, it's just wholly irrelevant to anything I've said. Funny how you think you know more about science and yet do not understand meta-analysis and think it applies to what I said.

more than 4 years ago
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Acupuncture May Trigger a Natural Painkiller

Virak Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (215 comments)

So, what you're saying is that studies that contradict this one are more important?? That they should be taken more seriously, because everybody knows "acupunture is BS" right?!

I'm saying they're CONFLICTING , nothing more, nothing less. It means something's up with something, and unless you've got some method of deal with this conflict (with supporting evidence, of course), it's quite early to go "LOL ALL YOU 'SKEPTICS' SURE WERE WRONG HUH"

So yeah, I'm in no position to question that, sir because obviously I don't know anything about science or history of science...

Again, you are leaping to the conclusion that skepticism against acupuncture was unwarranted based on the results of a single study which conflicts with multiple existing studies. You most certainly do not know how science works. You don't just pick and choose studies and go "welp I like the results of this one more so it's way more important than the others".

more than 4 years ago
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Acupuncture May Trigger a Natural Painkiller

Virak Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (215 comments)

This isn't even a problem of not understanding the mechanisms, it's a problem of not having solid evidence that it even works. Again, see the latter part of the summary which is about existing studies that have come to the conclusion that it doesn't work at all (is reading even the summary too much to ask for on Slashdot? I guess it is). "People have been using it since a very long time ago" is not proper evidence as to its efficacy. Bloodletting was in use for centuries too, by many different peoples; today, anyone with a basic education can point out many problems with it.

more than 4 years ago
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Acupuncture May Trigger a Natural Painkiller

Virak Re:Where's your pseudoscience now! (215 comments)

Ugh, there's another one of these a bit up, are we going to see a flood of stupid posts like these on this thread? Did you even read the rest of the summary, particularly the part about existing studies that conflict with this one? As it is, there's not a whole lot of research on acupuncture, and much of it appears to conflict each other. As a skeptic, my first reaction is indeed "this is BS"--as long as you don't have solid evidence for your claims. Guess what is not present here at all?

If you're suddenly rushing to mock skeptics on the results of a single study, when there's plenty of existing studies that conflict with it, you either don't understand how this "science" thing works at all, or you don't really care about science and are just latching onto this to confirm your existing unfounded beliefs. Either way, you're in no position to make this sort of post. Having an open mind is good, so long as you take care to make sure it's not so open your brains start falling out.

more than 4 years ago
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Bangladesh Blocks Facebook Over Muhammad Cartoons

Virak Re:This is religious intolerance. (562 comments)

"Insightful"? Are the mods on crack again*? Your claims are demonstrably false by anyone with the slightest clue about the situation. The content they've been blocked over is "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day". As Wikipedia states:

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day was a protest against those who threatened violence against artists who drew representations of the prophet Muhammad. It began as a protest against censorship of an American television show, South Park, "201" by its distributor, Comedy Central, in response to death threats against some of those responsible for the segment. Observance of the day began with a drawing posted on the Internet on April 20, 2010, accompanied by text suggesting that "everybody" create a drawing representing Muhammad, on May 20, 2010, as a protest against efforts to limit freedom of speech.

But yeah, it's totally intolerant Internet bullies harassing poor little Muslims who just want to be left alone. Yes, they're sensitive about it; that's the whole damn point. They're sensitive to the point of making death threats over a cartoon that doesn't even actually show him at any point. The same episode showed the Buddha doing lines of coke, how many death threats do you think they got from Buddhists? This sort of "sensitivity" isn't something to be respected, it's something that needs to be thoroughly purged from humanity. They need to grow the fuck up and realize that the world is offensive, and murder is not a valid response to this.

*Trick question: the mods are always on crack.

more than 4 years ago
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The "Scientific Impotence" Excuse

Virak Re:Religion (892 comments)

Well the OP obviously can't provide, so how about some evidence from you? No? None? I thought so. When you've got more than "lol ur a sheeple!", come back and try again.

more than 4 years ago
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The "Scientific Impotence" Excuse

Virak Re:Religion (892 comments)

Gotta love strawman arguments! I never said anything along the lines of that. The qualifiers "usually" and "loudest" are very important here and the meaning significantly changes if you ignore them, as you seem to have done. Anyway, like you didn't complain about politicization of science but merely noted it exists, I didn't say you're too deeply set in your ideology to accept scientific theories with mountains of evidence and extremely broad support among the scientific community, I merely noted that such people exist and correlate well with loudly complaining in a manner which you most certainly were not doing.

But let's cut the crap, shall we? You indeed were, and I indeed was. And your original post was complaining about the evil cabal of climate scientists and their bogus theory of anthropogenic global warming. Anyone could see that. Sure, you tried to be vague about it, but the stuff about scientists "forcing their ideology on a skeptical populace" and harming the economy and restricting freedoms (because the freedom to screw over other people is the most essential freedom of all, of course) is a classic AGW denialist stance. Nobody else makes that specific set of claims, particularly the "oh they're going to destroy the economy" line.

And now we come to the central point of the matter, and why your original post was was modded down as a troll. You are claiming that a scientific theory with decades of research, enormous amounts of evidence, broad consensus amongst the relevant experts, and no denial by any international or national scientific body is a fraud, mere ideology-pushing. You are accusing the scientific community (not just climatology, it'd have to be far larger than just that to work) of conspiracy and deception on a massive, unprecedented scale, which somehow over all these years has not had a single insider coming out with the truth. And you are making these accusations without the slightest shred of evidence to show that said theory is wrong, and certainly not enough to prove that it is the product of some immense conspiracy.

You're talking about "research and facts", so let's see what you've got to support your position. Otherwise, your troll moderation was wholly deserved.

more than 4 years ago
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The "Scientific Impotence" Excuse

Virak Re:Religion (892 comments)

The people who complain loudest about politicization of science usually are in reality complaining that science isn't politicized in the way they'd like it to be.

more than 4 years ago
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Theora Development Continues Apace, VP8 Now Open Source

Virak Re:First in-depth technical analysis of VP8 (312 comments)

All it takes is one patent if you're just an ordinary OSS developer. If you're one of them most powerful technology companies in the world, one patent probably isn't too much of a problem, but many patents, and potentially major ones, could certainly be a problem. And VP8 hasn't seen any real usage yet either and there's already been possible problems with regard to patents identified. While I certainly hope everything will work out fine and we'll have something that's a pretty big step up from Theora, my hopes about VP8 so far have not held up well.

more than 4 years ago
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Theora Development Continues Apace, VP8 Now Open Source

Virak Re:First in-depth technical analysis of VP8 (312 comments)

Yes, like I said, it's still an improvement for patent-unencumbered codecs (if it truly is such). But while I certainly didn't think On2's claims of 50% greater quality than H.264 were anything more than blatant bullshit, I at least figured it'd be on roughly the same level as H.264, not just barely better than the Baseline profile. Before this, I was thinking, "hey, maybe I can start switching over to VP8 for my own encodes once the encoder gets a bit of work done on it". Now, not so much. I'm understandably thus a bit disappointed.

And while having a behemoth like Google behind it is certainly nice, I'm still far more confident about Theora, as it has been out in the open for much longer without problems, and doesn't quite so freely "borrow" from recent and heavily patented standards.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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YouTube hit by HTML injection vulnerability

Virak Virak writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Virak (897071) writes "Several hours ago, someone found an HTML injection vulnerability in YouTube's comment system, and since then sites such as 4chan have been having a field day with popular videos. The bug is triggered by placing a <script> tag at the beginning of a post. The tag itself is escaped, but everything following it is cheerfully placed in the page as is. Blacked out pages with giant red text scrolling across them, shock site redirects, and all sorts of other fun things have been spotted. YouTube has currently blocked such comments from being posted and set the comments section to be hidden by default, and appears to be in the process of removing some of these comments, but the underlying bug does not seem to have been fixed yet."
Link to Original Source
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Virak Virak writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Virak writes "MySpace has been sued by four families after their underage daughters were sexually assaulted by adults they met on the site. One of the lawyers from a firm representing some of the families claims that MySpace waited too long to implement measures to protect underage users from predators, and should be held responsible for the safety of users of the site. MySpace, however, says that they do attempt to protect users of their site, but online safety is a shared responsibility, requiring users to apply common sense and offline safety to their online activities."

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