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Who's Responsible When Your Semi-Autonomous Shopping Bot Purchases Drugs Online?

arkenian Re:Simple answers (182 comments)

So I basically agree, the writer is responsible. That said, in this PARTICULAR case, I think its an excellent example of when prosecutorial discretion should apply, as they notified the police immediately etc.

about a month ago
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Ancient Planes and Other Claims Spark Controversy at Indian Science Congress

arkenian Re:...and... (381 comments)

It's a good thing this sort of quackery is limited to India and Russia. I'd be pretty embarrassed if we had some of our people claiming that the world was only a few thousand years old, that climate change doesn't exist, and that we didn't evolve over time but were all designed by a supernatural entity.

These two situations are not comparable. Yes, the United States has Creationists and such, but they tend to move in their own circles, and even in academia they are found at private Christian universities. In India and Russia however, one tends to see a lot of quackery coming from state-run universities. This is probably facilitated by stronger job security (against much lower salaries) for certain faculty, combined with lower barriers to publication.

To some extent. But the claims on ancient indian technology are religious-based as well, in most respects. And what an indian government official says is not necessarily a shared opinion of the actual academics. As a side note, my recollection is that the pythagorean theorem being first discovered in India actually has some credibility, the rest of the examples are utter garbage of course.

about a month ago
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US CTO Tries To Wean the White House Off Floppy Disks

arkenian Re:Seriously? (252 comments)

I was using boot floppies until about 2006. Currently CDs and USB thumb drives. I can see how govt would hate using thumb drives (a rogue thumb drive could mimic any USB device), but all the optical drives should be fine. Securely erasing them is impossible, so shred & melt...

The reason the government hates thumb drives is because they are very small, and can store LOTS of data. Even in unclassified areas, the government tends not to want them around anything even the slightest bit sensitive. I would be surprised if they're permitted anywhere near the white house, and wouldn't be surprised if most of the computers in the white house are configured to disallow them. A floppy is harder to smuggle, and carries less per disk. Enough floppies to store a gigabyte of data is nearly impossible to hide from the secret service (well, so one would hope, but then . . . )

about a month ago
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By 2045 'The Top Species Will No Longer Be Humans,' and That Could Be a Problem

arkenian Re:AI is always "right around the corner". (564 comments)

My greatgrandchildren may just live to see the day when the computing field accepts that AI just isn't going to happen!

Probably you're right. On the other hand, I had lunch the day before yesterday with a man who built a circuit board that helped a man take back off from the moon after landing on it. And it certainly wasn't something he expected to happen when he started his career working on the first hi-fi speakers. Striving for better computers isn't a bad thing. We just shouldn't hold our breaths.

about 7 months ago
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TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

arkenian Re:Christmas is coming early this year (702 comments)

So the thing is... this isn't really new. I can remember back long before there even WAS a TSA, back when laptops were the hot new portable device . . . And security would often ask you to power it on. And if its battery was dead, you could plug it in first. I agree it can be a bit of a problem because batteries often get used up in the course of travel, and I'd be interested to see how security actually handles it. I traveled just a few days ago, and they certainly weren't requiring EVERY passenger to demonstrate their devices. Also: When first going through security, I very rarely have a problem with my phone being dead because, you know, I'm just STARTING to travel, not after a long day of it. (Although I won't say never. It has happened)

about 7 months ago
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X.Org Foundation Loses 501(c)3 Non-Profit Status

arkenian Re:that crazy old IRS (208 comments)

My allegation was that the IRS chose to be stricter with X.org than it is with other nonprofits.

3 years of silence and then a sudden tax exempt revoke is a very cagey response to 3 years of not filing any tax returns.

The IRS shouldn't have waited that long without sending notice.

The fact that the feds and the corporations are in bed elsewhere is also a good reason to at least suspect underhandedness on the IRS's part.

Actually, that's pretty normal for the IRS. The IRS is not, actually, much in the habit of giving warnings. It takes them a while to get around to things, and once they do, its pay-up-or-else (or revocation or whatever). They aren't well enough funded to bother with warning notices, or hearings, etc. If you disagree with their finding, there are things one can do and an appeals process, but generally they don't initiate such things except in certain categories of audit issues.

about a year and a half ago
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Biggest Headache For Game Developers: Abusive Fans

arkenian Re:Who else should comment on your games? (381 comments)

I work for Microsoft.

I have never in my life received an actual death threat, and I have a feeling the products I work on are used by more people than what play Call of Duty. It's not a matter of "just ignore them", it's more of a matter that this kind of reaction can be received for any work of mostly non-offensive (not all of CoD applies here) art.

More likely, its just that people don't know who you are. Game Development shops have a bit more cult of personality about them, as they tend to have credit screens like movies, not like office products. I can assure you that if you, say, work on exchange, you have had many people wish you dead, just most people don't know how to inform you of their desire ;)

about a year and a half ago
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The Science of 12-Step Programs

arkenian Re:Gotta have a plan (330 comments)

People suspect that many things work and sometimes they are wrong.

"'no experimental studies unequivocally demonstrated the effectiveness of AA" in treating alcoholism." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effectiveness_of_Alcoholics_Anonymous#Clinical_studies)

Well controlled scientific studies are great at answering these questions.

and for some things, its very hard to set up an ethical and moral controlled scientific study. In a case like this the best you can do is try to study people who have already elected for various treatments. And the 'anonymous' part of AA (and various other programs) just complicates it all. "Unequivocally demonstrated" is a difficult bar to meet when its not actually legal to set up a properly controlled experiment. Don't get me wrong, I haven't reviewed the literature either way, and don't have an opinion on the effectiveness of AA. Just want to point out that actually achieving a clean methodology and such to study things that screw with people's lives is quite difficult.

about a year and a half ago
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Microsoft To Start Dumping Surface RT To Schools For $199

arkenian Re:Huh? (251 comments)

So something to bear in mind about this is that apple was still putting IIe computers in schools through the END of the 80s. While I agree that in the early 80s they were awesome computers, at the end of the 80s, it was pretty much just dumping.

about a year and a half ago
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$30,000 For a Developer Referral?

arkenian Re:one time my apartment complex gave me $50 (189 comments)

So, every company I've ever worked at, the employee had to be a successful employee for (usually) about 6 months before you got your bonus. That means both a.) the employee will likely stick around, and b.) they have time to decide if your judgement was worth crap.

about a year and a half ago
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Fedora 19 To Stop Masking Passwords

arkenian Re:That's fine (234 comments)

Because many organizations have weird and bizarre rules for passwords that are not based on actual truth of what makes a secure password. My current favorite is 16! Characters, no words, at least 2 each of special characters, numbers, lowercase and uppercase letters. i.e. so long that NO ONE can remember the things if they're truly randomized. Although they're supposedly switching that particular circumstance over to token-based.

about a year and a half ago
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Is It Time To Enforce a Gamers' Bill of Rights?

arkenian Re:What do you mean "we"? (469 comments)

I'm pretty sure you can add in the costs accrued due to lost work and legal fees to your small claims suit, so point one is moot.

So, I can't speak for your state, but in maryland it states in black and white that you CANNOT be paid for your time, and that legal fees are only a maybe. And the official website on the subject goes to some effort to basically point out that for small amounts, it may not be worth the time to pursue the court option. Small claims is not really an option to resolve this except as a matter of principle.

about 2 years ago
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The Pirate Bay Claims It Is Now Hosting From North Korea

arkenian Re:Nope. (309 comments)

Only innocent til proven guilty in criminal cases. Also, who is Bradley Manning, who is Kevin Mitnick... The US is one of very few western countries that has a large part of the country speaking against health-care. The US tortures people. The US pretty much ignores all international treaties, that would have them do something.

The US is not a great country when it comes to human rights.

Ummm. Just for the record, the US has one of the best records in the world for obeying the treaties THAT IT SIGNS AND RATIFIES. Better, in fact (though I can't remember the citation) than most other western nations. Granted, we also sign far fewer of them than, say, the average european nation. But I am not aware of a single treaty we are a signatory to that we can be said to ignore (even the torture thing, we carefully crafted the 'enemy combatant' legal justification within the treaty for our actions. It could, I grant, be argued as thin -- although probably not, the geneva convention is a lot narrower than people make out, especially if you view it in its proper historical context -- but we expended a lot of effort on it.) Most of the treaties we HAVE ignored (Kyoto protocol, world court, etc. etc.) we are not parties to, even though, admittedly, in many cases we had a great deal to do with their construction.

about 2 years ago
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Cisco Looking To Make Things Right With West Virginia

arkenian Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (182 comments)

It depends on whether the cisco salesman was being just a vendor (in which case, its the fault of the idiot buying from him) or was offering a 'free consult to your router needs' in which case, he's theoretically obliged to be honest...

about 2 years ago
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World's First Bitcoin ATM

arkenian Re:Haha (437 comments)

I presume you are referring to US Dollars.

From the perspective of anyone outside the US, Bitcoin is a safer bet than the USD, although the risk is of a somewhat different nature: Bitcoins can go up or down. The USD only goes down, and there is no obvious reason why the rate of decline should not accelerate rapidly. (Ask around in a few African countries if military threats can prevent currency decline - many have tried the tactic, and none have seen it work!)

This is true, except one key point: USD investments pay interest, bitcoins are just like stuffing gold (but way more volatile) in a high-tech mattress. So a USD investment may not necessarily go down, and is generally likely to hold about par, whereas a Bitcoin can go up or down.

about 2 years ago
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Tesla Motors Battles the New York Times

arkenian Re:Unexpected consequences of paywalls. (700 comments)

but who's to say some guy driving to Boston from South Carolina, wouldn't like to make a brief drive through Manhattan. After all, it's within the range guidelines.

Speaking as someone who drives from washington to boston on a semi-regular basis, I go to great pains to avoid "drive through Manhattan" and everyone else I know who does this feels the same way.... In general, though, if what you want is a car to drive from washington to boston, an electric car is not yet a smart choice. If what you want is a car to drive 10 miles (or even 50) to work every day and go grocery shopping . . . it could be a great choice.

about 2 years ago
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Moving the Linux Kernel Console To User-Space

arkenian Re:why? (311 comments)

I think the question wasn't "why should we want a new userspace console" it was "why not have both?"

about 2 years ago
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Does US Owe the World an Education At Its Expense?

arkenian Re:It's a business dude (689 comments)

I have been told by several people who would know, that at least prior to 9/11 this wasn't only a Good Idea, it was unofficial US government policy that was made quietly clear to senior leadership in physics and computer science departments throughout the country.

about 2 years ago
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Intel Leaving Desktop Motherboard Business

arkenian Re:Overpriced (219 comments)

You get what you pay for. So, I guess Aleive brand Naproxin Sodium is three times as effective as generic naproxin Sodium? No, you do NOT always get what you pay for. "You get what you pay for" is a salesman's favorite lie.

I disagree. Aleve brand Naproxin Sodium is not, of course, three times as effective as generic. It is, however, far more Aleve. You get what you pay for is, generally, true. But you need to be aware of what, exactly, you're paying for, and ask if YOU value it. Generally, the salesman lies about what, precisely, it is that you're paying for.

about 2 years ago
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New Asteroid Mining Company Emerges

arkenian Re:Well (148 comments)

I have to believe that it would be essentially impossible to get any sort of credit if your business plan included moving large rocks towards earth . . . given that it can't even be vaguely possible to get insurance for that sort of downside risk.

about 2 years ago

Submissions

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MyFarm makes Farmville Real?

arkenian arkenian writes  |  more than 3 years ago

arkenian (1560563) writes "The BBC reports on a farm in the UK to be run by online subscribers to the MyFarm website voting on which crops to grow and livestock to rear. For a £30 annual fee, 10,000 farm followers will help manage Wimpole Home Farm, in Cambridgeshire. They will be asked to make 12 major monthly decisions during the course of the year as well as other choices. The National Trust says its MyFarm project aims to reconnect people with where their food comes from."
Link to Original Source
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The Sum Total Of the World's Knowledge

arkenian arkenian writes  |  more than 3 years ago

arkenian (1560563) writes "The BBC reports on an article in Science about scientists who calculated that the sum of all the storage is 250 exabytes. Perhaps more interestingly, the total amount of data broadcast is 2 zetabytes (1000 exabytes) annually. In theory this means that the sum of the world's knowledge is broadcast 8 times a year, but I bet mostly that's just a lot of american idol reruns."
Link to Original Source
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Hard-to-read fonts improve learning

arkenian arkenian writes  |  more than 4 years ago

arkenian (1560563) writes "Difficult-to-read fonts make for better learning, according to scientists. The finding is about to be published in the international journal Cognition. Researchers at Princeton University employed volunteers to learn made-up information about different types of aliens — and found that those reading harder fonts recalled more when tested 15 minutes later.

The article goes on to note a second test in a real school environment: "Keen to see if their findings actually worked in practice, the Princeton University team then tested their results on 222 students aged between 15 and 18 at a secondary school in Chesterfield, Ohio."... "Students given the harder-to-read materials scored higher in their classroom assessments than those in the control group. This was the case across a range of subjects — from English, to Physics to History.""

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US presidential nuclear codes lost

arkenian arkenian writes  |  more than 4 years ago

arkenian (1560563) writes "The codes used by the president to launch a nuclear strike were mislaid for months during the Clinton administration, the former highest-ranking US officer has said. This BBC Article goes on to note: "an official had gone to check one month and been told by the aide that the codes were on the president's person but that he was in an important meeting and could not be disturbed.A different official went to do the same check a month later and was told a similar story. When it came time to change the codes, an aide admitted they had been missing for months."

This begs the question: Did the "official" in charge of doing this inspection think he had something better to do with his time than "okay I can wait"??"

Link to Original Source
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Pigeon flies past broadband in data speed race

arkenian arkenian writes  |  more than 4 years ago

arkenian (1560563) writes "Its not quite IP over pigeon, but UK had a race between pigeons and broadband connections. Ten USB key-laden pigeons were released from a Yorkshire farm at the same time a five-minute video upload was begun. An hour and a quarter later, the pigeons had reached their destination in Skegness 120km away, while only 24% of a 300MB file had uploaded. Campaigners say the stunt was being carried out to illustrate that broadband in some parts of the UK is still "not fit for purpose"."
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