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Comments

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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 a month and a half 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 a month and a half 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 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 ;)

1 year,4 days
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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.

1 year,9 days
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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 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 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 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 a year and a half 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 a year and a half 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 a year and a half 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 a year and a half 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 a year and a half 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 a year and a half 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 a year and a half 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 a year and a half 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 a year and a half ago
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US Activists Oppose US Govt Calls To Weaken EU Privacy Rules

arkenian Re:Fortunately (151 comments)

The European Commission has proposals for data privacy (including the 'right to be forgotten') and the U.S. government is opposing them.

U.S. has no actual vote or authority in Europe. Or should not, anyway.

WTF is the U.S. even coming from here, opposing laws in sovereign countries (that are not at all easy to invade)

The point of having an ambassador is to tell foreign countries when things impacting your nation in some fashion against your interests are doing so. The US has every right, and, to its citizens, an obligation, to 'lobby' the EU in its interests. The EU has every right to ignore it, too, of course.... if you're an EU citizen and disagree, don't complain to us, just lobby your own government even more powerfully. The US government doesn't begin to have the resources to outlobby a united EU populace.

about a year and a half ago
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How Much Beef Is In Your Burger?

arkenian Re:Actually (709 comments)

I dunno, I had a cousin whose family raised a very nice steer. They named him and everything. Called him 'beef stew'.

about a year and a half ago
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Do Companies Punish Workers Who Take Vacations?

arkenian Re:So what's the answer? (948 comments)

The summary provides a lot of info on how employees view the situation, but it completely lacks any type of proof on whether or not companies are actually punishing workers for using vacation time. The part at the end about the U.S. being the only nation that doesn't guarantee vacation time is a red herring because if an employee has an employment contract that provides a certain amount of vacation time per year, then I would hazard to guess that being punished for actually using that vacation time would be a breech of contract.

Generally it includes some language about the use of vacation that it has to be scheduled in accordance with schedules and supervisor approval etc. which . . . complicates matters.

more than 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 3 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.""

Link to Original Source
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US presidential nuclear codes lost

arkenian arkenian writes  |  more than 3 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 3 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"."
Link to Original Source

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