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fMRI Data Reveals How Many Parallel Processes Run In the Brain

YttriumOxide Re:analog computer (91 comments)

What interests me the most are the levels of subconscious/consciousness and where all this combines to create our singular, waking awareness.

Based on evidence of the effects of dissociative drugs, psychedelic drugs, and general anaesthetics, it seems likely that our 'singular, waking awareness' is primarily an effect of the information transfer between various brain regions through the posterior cingulate cortex.

Of course, knowing that doesn't make it any less of a head-fuck to contemplate how strange it is to be anything at all.

about two weeks ago
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fMRI Data Reveals How Many Parallel Processes Run In the Brain

YttriumOxide Re:Oh Please Edge Detection and Motion Detection (91 comments)

While you're not wrong, I do think that from the perspective of the article, it's also not really so relevant.

'This means that, in theory, an artificial equivalent of a brain-like cognitive structure may not require a massively parallel architecture at the level of single neurons, but rather a properly designed set of limited processes that run in parallel on a much lower scale'

Basically from my understanding, he's saying here that if we handle the sub-systems in a more traditional manner - as in, existing edge detection and motion detection algorithms in standard computing systems - that with ~50 parallel threads, we could have something brain-like.

It's also worth considering though that this is far less cool than it sounds at first blush simply by fact that the sub-systems would not be brain-like in the slightest.

about two weeks ago
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fMRI Data Reveals How Many Parallel Processes Run In the Brain

YttriumOxide Re:analog computer (91 comments)

While it may seem analogue, I'd definitely call the brain digital from a functional perspective.

The amount of neurotransmitters, strength of electrical activity, and so on are definitely analogue inputs; but due to the way that action potentials fire in cells, you're either "firing them" or "not firing them" (analogy: magnetic data on a disc is also analogue, but we only really care about the on/off state of it). Most information appears to be transferred based on the rate of firing them, and is not encoded in any special aspect of the spikes themselves. Furthermore, you might then assume that the rate timing of the spikes may be considered analogue data - again though, it's not really. There is a refractory period that limits the maximal firing rate of a single neuron, and downstream effects of this basically mean that the firing rates themselves could also in theory be quantised in a digital manner (although it'd be a massively complex problem to actually figure that all out).

While the whole system is quite fundamentally different from our current digital computers, it is nevertheless something that could also be a digital system.

about two weeks ago
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5 Million Gmail Passwords Leaked, Google Says No Evidence Of Compromise

YttriumOxide Re:How do we actually know? (203 comments)

I could harvest 5m gmail names from google searches, and then publish them with bogus passwords and create panic. Is there some statistic that says how many of these were real passwords?

Statistics, probably not. But to confirm they're not just all made up, I checked a few of the ones that were obviously a password for another site (one of the '+' addresses) and after 4 tries, found one that worked (on the 'other site', not on gmail). So they're definitely not just 'made up' passwords; they just aren't necessarily a password that was ever actually used for the email address they're associated to.

about 2 months ago
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5 Million Gmail Passwords Leaked, Google Says No Evidence Of Compromise

YttriumOxide Re:Probably a few sites were hacked (203 comments)

where are you finding the passwords? Im on the list and use KeePass for just about everything so should be able to nail down exactly where they got my password from.

The list with passwords was easily available for a while (and still is if you hunt around a bit - I found it without too much trouble).

about 2 months ago
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5 Million Gmail Passwords Leaked, Google Says No Evidence Of Compromise

YttriumOxide Re:Just people using same passwords (203 comments)

I'd guess it's just hacks of other sites, filter it on just gmail accounts and hope they used the same password for both

I'm pretty sure that's right. Actually, I'd say I'm around 5 nines certain.

My email is on the list (afforess@gmail.com, go check!) I use a password for gmail I have never used for any other site.

According to the list, the password is a 7 character string, lowercase, moderately common first name starting with c.

about 2 months ago
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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

YttriumOxide Re:The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science (600 comments)

I was with you until:

Per capita, I'll bet you've got more stupid fucks than we do.

I don't think that's something that's particularly easy to measure. I agree that pretty much every country has a large number of stupid people and a large number of intelligent folk. To suggest however that the ratio of intelligent to stupid is better is in the US than everywhere else however is pushing it a bit.

about 7 months ago
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What If the Next Presidential Limo Was a Tesla?

YttriumOxide Re:Don't they have to fly that thing around? (330 comments)

What if the next presidential limo was 3000 mics of LSD, Donald Sutherland reading "The Cat In the Hat" and a disco ball?

Then clearly the world would be a better place.

about 8 months ago
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All Else Being Equal: Disputing Claims of a Gender Pay Gap In Tech

YttriumOxide Re:Yeah, but women want it all (427 comments)

So out of curiosity, how many women have you dated who wanted to go dutch on dates? Didn't expect you to buy them flowers or jewelry? Didn't want you to open doors for them? Didn't expect you to protect them in a fight?

Not the person you're replying to, but I felt I should step in here...

My wife always paid her fair share when we dated. I honestly felt a little uncomfortable about it at first, but she insisted.

She loves it when I buy her flowers and jewellery, but she'll buy me stuff I like too; so that seems even to me.

I'll hold doors open for her, and she is happy that I do. But she'll hold doors open for me too, and I'm happy that she does.

She most certainly would expect me to defend her in a fight; but equally, I'd expect her to defend me in one. (neither of us is particularly physically inclined, but we're also not really the types to get in to fights; so thus far it hasn't been a situation that has arisen)

Basically my point is that just because a woman expects some things from the guy, it doesn't mean she's asking for unequal treatment... she may be willing to do all those same things too.

about 9 months ago
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Google Glass User Fights Speeding Ticket, Saying She's Defending the Future

YttriumOxide Re:Reinforcing the term (464 comments)

Douche isn't a gender specific word?

Men can be whores - in fact some research indicates there are more prostituted men than women.

Women can be assholes too.

Perhaps this was a kind of troll? Very lame if so.

I believe it's cultural/dialectal. In Australian and New Zealand English (at least), men can also be cunts - in fact, in southern New Zealand 15 to 20 years ago (I can't speak for today), it would have sounded very strange to call a woman "cunt" whereas greeting your male friend with, "hey you old cunt, what's up?" wouldn't be unexpected in some social circles.
I'm well aware this doesn't really make much sense, but language often doesn't.

The same almost certainly applies for "douche", "asshole", "whore" and so on. Sometimes male, sometimes female, sometime both.

about 10 months ago
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British Spies To Be Allowed To Break Speed Limit

YttriumOxide Re:What about other people? (278 comments)

I don't think you quite understand government mentality around espionage, 'national security', etc.

Casualties are acceptable, if it gets the job done.

And that mentality isn't necessarily wrong, given that you accept the premises they're working under.

Imagine you know that if you don't make it to a place in the next 5 minutes that a man will gun down a room full of schoolchildren. In order to get there, you have to speed and in doing so greatly increase the risk of killing a single innocent pedestrian. Even if that happens, it is a better outcome than the children being gunned down.

Now, that scenario is dramatically oversimplified. Decisions about national security concerns are however made on the same basis. The belief is that the loss of a small number of lives is worth it in order to prevent the loss of a greater number of lives or extreme suffering to a great number of people (one death is better than a million on the edge of starvation; even if no-one dies directly).

I'm not saying I agree with them - I actually don't, because I don't believe that most things they refer to as 'national security' are in fact validly so - but the logic makes sense given that you accept the premises.

about 10 months ago
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Daily Pot Use Tied To Age of First Psychotic Episode

YttriumOxide Re:in the context of society.. (382 comments)

Are you suggesting that you, an individual, is a statistically significant sample size?

Certainly not if you're looking for evidence of general action; however if you consider the original statement that there is no safe level of LSD use, then it only requires one 'negative' to disprove it.

Also, beyond simply myself there is plenty of research that shows LSD is an extraordinarily 'safe' substance by pretty much any measure you care to choose (with the exception of legal ramifications, which is a societal issue, not a drug issue).

about 10 months ago
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Daily Pot Use Tied To Age of First Psychotic Episode

YttriumOxide Re:in the context of society.. (382 comments)

That's not really the point. The question isn't whether X is less harmful than Y, the question is whether X is harmless enough to be legal.

Firstly, if Y is considered harmless enough to be legal and X is less harmful than Y, then surely the question of whether X is harmless enough to be legal is already answered, isn't it?

Secondly, asking the question this way ignores the harm of X being illegal. The war on drugs is a very harmful thing to society - far more so than the drugs themselves.

I fully believe that if all recreational drugs were legalised, there would be new problems in society that we hadn't dealt with before, but the overall amount of harm would be lower.

about 10 months ago
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Daily Pot Use Tied To Age of First Psychotic Episode

YttriumOxide Re:Alcohol (382 comments)

But that does not indicate the various product *causes* the psychosis. It only shows an underliyng problem earlier.

Psychedelics are also like that.

There was significant research performed in to whether psychedelics can directly cause psychotic episodes (as anecdotally reported on more than one occasion). It was found that in people with a known predisposition for psychiatric issues (or people with existing psychiatric issues) that a psychotic episode brought on by psychedelic use occurs in a fraction of a percent (sorry, I don't have the research in front of me to look up the exact figure). In people with no known predisposition, there was only one case (out of a very large number; again sorry, no exact number right now) where a psychotic episode occurred. This was in a person who happened to be the twin of a schizophrenic; so it is considered likely that they did in fact have a predisposition that simply wasn't noted.

about 10 months ago
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Daily Pot Use Tied To Age of First Psychotic Episode

YttriumOxide Re:in the context of society.. (382 comments)

There certainly wasn't a "safe use level" of LSD

Being a successful professional, a great husband and father, making inroads to becoming a moderately successful author (see sig), and having used LSD extensively for the past 16 years, I must respectfully disagree vehemently with that statement...

about 10 months ago
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Daily Pot Use Tied To Age of First Psychotic Episode

YttriumOxide Re:in the context of society.. (382 comments)

(alcohol isn't "addictive" in the same way as cannabis, I assume from a background of absolutely zero knowledge)

Alcohol is significantly more addictive than cannabis. This relatively well-known chart is a good starting point (despite being ugly and imprecise; it covers the general idea).

My theoretical solution for a lot of things is "legalise it, tax it, regulate it" - a solution that cuts out a lot of the problems of illicit SUPPLY (which is the main problem with such things), not illicit, personal substance abuse. But I'm just not sure that approach is worth the gain for something like cannabis.

While I have no personal interest in cannabis (I don't like any drug that messes with my ability to think clearly - cannabis and alcohol both included), I do think this approach is exactly what is needed for a variety of drugs, cannabis included. Take a look at how many people are currently in prison for cannabis related offences around the world (and especially in the US) and think about what it's costing to keep them there. This - in and of itself - is enough of a reason that it'd be worth it.

about 10 months ago
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Australian Teen Reports SQL Injection Vulnerability, Company Calls Police

YttriumOxide Re:Never put your name to it (287 comments)

Wow, I hope you never have a complaint to report to the Complaint Department! Word to the wise: the Complaint Department doesn't exist. You will be arrested.

I'm pretty sure most western countries have a complaints department for law enforcement.

Many years ago in my teenage years in New Zealand, I was chatting to random people on IRC (a pretty new protocol at the time) and there was a guy bragging about bombing a plane - specifically, putting explosives on the landing gear of the plane.

Being young and paranoid, but not yet particularly clever in the ways of the computer security world, I 'anonymously' emailed the police with information about it. My attempts at anonymity were however not good enough and a few days later the police came and took all my computer equipment. The search warrant read "Attempted murder and breach of the telecommunications act" (I still have it, along with the write up I got in the newspaper as a reminder of absurdity). Of course, I was never arrested as I had done nothing illegal.

While that all annoyed me greatly, it didn't annoy me nearly as much as them keeping my stuff for over 3 months before I got it back. When I did finally get it back, the power switch on my main system was physically broken and the HDD was formatted.

I made a complaint to the Police Complaints Authority (a government body) and they ended up writing a letter of apology. So, while complaining certainly didn't do anything useful for me, the point is that there WAS a body for me to complain to.

I'm sure it's a little more complex in countries like the US and Australia since there may be differences by state as well as the federal level to think about, but a quick Google search seems to confirm that complaints departments and/or processes do exist there also.

about 10 months ago
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Weapons Systems That Kill According To Algorithms Are Coming. What To Do?

YttriumOxide Re:Skynet (514 comments)

Oh, how I'd love for you to present said evidence, that "proves" people like my brother are mindless killing machines that do everything the government "programs" them to do...

The irony being, of course, that you just described a robot, rather than a human.

That is a serious strawman and if you think I said anything like that at all, you either lack reading comprehension or are just looking for a fight.

In case it's the former, please note that I also wrote: "Also note that I did say "a large number of soldiers" and not all. There are plenty of cases you can find of soldiers going against orders they believe to be morally reprehensible, but the fact that OTHER soldiers then do it is a testament for the argument and not against it.".

Beyond that, assuming your brother is a front line soldier that has seen combat, ask him about his combat experience. Ask him what was going through his head at the time. I'm willing to bet that he was 'focusing on the job at hand' - the training teaches soldiers to shut out their own concerns and doubts because otherwise they simply wouldn't be effective soldiers.

I get it. You care for your brother. You most likely respect him. You are quite likely proud of him and the job he does. You don't like that I said something bad about soldiers because it besmirches him. I don't know your brother nor anything about him beyond what you've said. But I wasn't talking about your brother - I was talking about soldiers in general. I was talking about what is intended by the training that they go through, and indeed is generally very successful.

It's even entirely possible your brother is one of those who would not blindly follows orders and would think for himself. But if that's the case, then by definition he's not a good soldier from the perspective of his superiors; they failed to do what they wanted as far as his training is concerned; and it might get him in to trouble one day.

about 10 months ago
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Weapons Systems That Kill According To Algorithms Are Coming. What To Do?

YttriumOxide Re:Skynet (514 comments)

because all evidence shows that the weak point always lies with the soldier that has to pull the trigger and decide to kill a fellow human being.

All evidence that I've seen shows that a large number - possibly even the majority - of soldiers have been brainwashed in to following orders unconditionally and will commit the most horrendous crimes against humanity when ordered to do so. And - even when not ordered - that same brainwashing includes training in not thinking of 'the enemy' as human, because that causes you to delay in the critical moment. So they dehumanise the enemy to the point that further atrocities can be committed even when not under orders to do so.

Note that I don't blame the soldiers themselves in a lot of these situations - they are often good people who given time to think and reason it through would not behave that way, but their training has so messed with them that some actions they'll take don't reflect on the person they are.

Also note that I did say "a large number of soldiers" and not all. There are plenty of cases you can find of soldiers going against orders they believe to be morally reprehensible, but the fact that OTHER soldiers then do it is a testament for the argument and not against it.

about 10 months ago
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Weapons Systems That Kill According To Algorithms Are Coming. What To Do?

YttriumOxide Re:Skynet (514 comments)

The key difference seems to be that a human grunt is on the ground and is able to react to the situation in the first person. A robotic grunt's behaviour is determined, entirely, by an algorithm that is of necessity written by someone who is not involved in that specific situation and therefore has to write the code for the general case.

Who says the code has to be written for the general case. It had better be a LOT more intelligent than the equivalent of a bunch of "if/then" statements.

Also, philosophically speaking, I'd say a human's decision making is just a really complex set of algorithms that we don't understand particularly well at this point. What we do know is that humans make significant mistakes with regularity, so the test isn't whether or not these autonomous systems make mistakes in difficult circumstances, but rather the ratio of mistakes compared to human agent.

Not saying I'm in favour of killbots - I'm really not. But I'm not in favour of humans killing each other either. If killing is going to be done (which it is), I'd rather go with whichever system is going to make the least mistakes and have the least side-effects.

about 10 months ago

Submissions

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Konica Minolta launch Developer Support Program

YttriumOxide YttriumOxide writes  |  about 6 years ago

Anonymous Coward writes "Konica Minolta have just released their SDK for creating applications that interface directly with most of their standard office MFP range at no cost to almost anyone that signs up for it. The SDK is a package of assemblies for the .NET Platform (including official Mono support), however the interface specifications (with WSDL files) are also available for anyone wishing to use the communication protocol directly and a few Java samples are available for this purpose. Also included are sample applications (mostly in C# but a little VB.NET also) and documentation.
The licensing appears fairly permissive, however is only free as in beer, not free as in speech. There are no direct restrictions preventing use of the assemblies in GPL works however.
Currently, the SDK is only released through Konica Minolta Europe's Developer Support Program, and according to the sign-up page, you shouldn't access it if you live outside of Europe (however, with most non-obvious email addresses, who knows where you are?). Additionally, the registration form requires a company name, so it is expected you at least work somewhere...
The Developer Support Program also includes specification documents for other developer related topics unrelated to this SDK specifically such as PDL and MIB specifications.
The Developer Support Program is free to sign-up, however for direct support from Konica Minolta, a charged subscription is required (there's a moderated discussion forum for non-paying users though)

Ever wanted the Konica Minolta MFP in your office to do exactly what you tell it? Here's your chance!"

Journals

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This is a journal entry...

YttriumOxide YttriumOxide writes  |  more than 9 years ago

I was really getting sick of an empty journal...

Comment if it pleases you.

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