Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



iRobot CEO: Humanoid Robots Too Expensive To Be the Norm

codeButcher Turing Test (122 comments)

A lot of comments mention that it would make sense to make a robot along the same pattern as a human: Can use same tools, access same spaces, etc. etc. My question is: if your {AI | robot} can't be distinguished from a real human, why can't you just use a (cheap, ubiquitous) human? Answer: we invent machines precisely to augment our abilities, to do what we aren't so good at: computing faster and less error-prone, be stronger, access spaces we can't, don't get bored, tired, damaged by some harsh environments, etc. etc.

I'm with Angle: see what job (or collection of jobs) your machine needs to perform, then build the best possible machine given the contraints, for that job/s. (Not that they have achieved it with the floor suckers, but hey...)

about 6 months ago

NASA Wants To Go To Europa

codeButcher Re:This could be a big problem for Republicans (216 comments)

One particular example is the Religion vs Science angle

One could well ask why it would be advantageous to eliminate both vigorous religion and rigorous science in the general population? My guess is that a dumbed-down populace that also does not have any hope for something better are easily controllable consumers and tax payers.

about 6 months ago

NASA Wants To Go To Europa

codeButcher Re:This could be a big problem for Republicans (216 comments)

Everything is either black or white. How did it end up like this?

I'm no philosopher myself, but you might want to read up a bit on Hegel's dialectic for a possible answer (Out of the clash between Thesis and Antithesis arise Synthesis.)

One of the corollaries of this theory is that if you manage to build up some of these opposing poles with sufficient skill, you can control the "synthesis" (midpoint) being arrived at as well as neutralize the two extreme poles in the process.

You could look around at the world for 2 opposing poles being somewhat artificially being built up, mostly through "media" working the sheeple into a frenzy. One particular example is the Religion vs Science angle, and our beloved /. does it's own sweet part in the polarization. (And I must confess that with both a strong religious conviction as well as a scientific training, I do not find the subjects conflicting, to the contrary... It is simply the agendas that some elements in both camps push that are causing conflict.)

It's a bit of a guess what Marxist Philosophy in real life officially means, but one view is that the Marxist Dialectic (based on Hegelianism) is that it is not the synthesis that is the ultimate goal that needs to be arrived at, but the struggle between the two is the end. So should a stable state be arrived at with some synthesis, a new opposing pole to that synthesis is to be found so that a new struggle may ensue.

Perhaps highly academic, but once one learns about the existence of such ideas, one starts to see patterns fitting those ideas all over the place. I see the previous paragraph in practice practically every day in the politics of the country where I live.

about 6 months ago

I'd prefer military fiction books that are ...

codeButcher Re:David Weber (236 comments)

Stay away from Tom Kratman. Interesting from a military POV (I guess, as I've never been a soldier), but it gets overshadowed by his sometimes very opinionated ideas on politics, culture, and how humans work in general.

about 6 months ago

Online Database Allows Scientists To Recreate Early Telescopes

codeButcher Re:Disappointed (52 comments)

I suspect that you'd have to punch a curator and run to take some of those pieces outside...

I thought curators also go home at night... The possibilities!

about 6 months ago

Mathematician: Is Our Universe a Simulation?

codeButcher Re:The Thirteen Floor (745 comments)

I believe the so-called Dream Argument may be the precursor to even these modern works of popular culture: that one could "exist" in a very believable virtual reality separate from one's real existence. Descartes' argument from 1637 (in Discours de la Méthode) and subsequent works refer to this and he refutes this by his "cogito ergo sum" ("Because I can reason, I know that I exist in reality") (Which has it's own problems, just mentioned because it is so well known that it has become somewhat of a cliche). But the idea traces back much further and is found in Aristotle, Plato, and the Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi (4th century BC).

about 6 months ago

Mathematician: Is Our Universe a Simulation?

codeButcher Re:The Thirteen Floor (745 comments)

This is old news mister slashdot.

So instead of doing very complicated and expensive cosmic ray physics to prove we are in a simulation, we could just have someone drive as fast as he can to some place he never intended to go...

about 6 months ago

Dyson Invests £5 Million To Create 'Intelligent Domestic Robots'

codeButcher Re:This is the problem with engineering these days (125 comments)

Working hard to solve non-existent problems that any reasonable human being doesn't give two craps about. Unless you live in a 60,000 sq. ft. mansion, in which case you already have "vision system vacuum cleaners": they're called indentured illegal immigrants.

In the meantime, the rest of use in our 600 sq. ft. urban condos made of ersatz materials can easily vacuum the damn place ourselves in 5 minutes. It's not a big deal, it's not a problem that urgently needs solving.

I live in a roughly 1600 sq ft (150 sq m) house. Unfortunately, alone, at this point (I have reasons to stay for the time being). This is not in a North American or European locale, so your mileage may vary.

Cleaning the place is a b***tch and takes most of a weekend. Therefore, I do not do it too regularly, only when the dust is not ignorable any longer :-(.

Hiring the local version of the III has been an option. Then again, in my locale, crime seems to be a slightly greater problem than in the US/EU, and my perception is that an III can in some cases increase this risk - it will be mostly an unknown person being hired, and since I am away during working hours will need full access on his/her own.

On the other hand, having a simple function like having floors swept/vacuumed once or twice a week will greatly diminish the time needed for cleaning - a quick mopping will be quite adequate and could be done some weekday evening.

Due to these considerations I have been keen on cleaning robots since way back. The first model I owned was the Kärcher RC3000 (joint development by Kärcher and Siemens). It was a fairly robust machine with low intelligence (basically random pattern cleaning with obstacle/stair detection). It did the job admirably well. The downside was the steep price of the damn thing, and when something went wrong on the motherboard, I did not have it repaired. A few years back I then got a Samsung model for much cheaper. It was also more sophisticated, with a room mapping (ceiling-pointing) camera and whatnot. Despite more intelligent functions, it didn't clean as well. It was also quite flimsy and didn't outlast the warranty period. I am still looking for a model that will be my third....

I don't care much about all the AI progress. The random pattern-thing works quite well. What manufacturers can however improve on is:

  1. Edge and corner cleaning (walls and around furniture legs)
  2. Lower height to clean under furniture
  3. And if it could clean stairs, that would be great.

about 7 months ago

At my current workplace, I've outlasted ...

codeButcher Another missing option (177 comments)

At my current workplace, I've outlasted my manager's patience.

about 7 months ago

Super Bowl Ads: Worth the Price Or Waste of Time?

codeButcher Re:Ads are not sold by the second... (347 comments)

CPM = Cost Per Thousand? Good to know these marketeer types can spell.

Maybe they're spelling in latin.

You mean to say that acronym has been around since the days of the good ol Roman Empire?

about 7 months ago

20% of Neanderthal Genome Survives In Humans

codeButcher Re:"fertility skin pigment"? (202 comments)

You may be interested to know that pale skin genes appeared in the European genome only as recently as 6000-12000 years ago. Or maybe not, as it seems you do not want your opinions messed with by fact.

Interestingly, as Homo sapiens appeared in Europe 40 000 years ago or longer, the thinking is that pale skin should have evolved much sooner to enable vitamin D synthesis from the lower UV levels found there.

about 7 months ago

Anti-Polygraph Instructor Who Was Targeted By Feds Goes Public

codeButcher Re:You've brought up a very interesting point ! (197 comments)

Does it mean that USA no longer has to pretend to be that "Good Guy" anymore ? That it can start wantonly violating the liberty of anybody it wants ?

If that turns out to be true, then USA no longer has the authority to criticize _anybody_else_ regarding human rights, regarding liberty, regarding democracy, regarding so many things that USA used to stand for.

Can you comprehend what kind of world we are living in now ?

I guess people without any hope for something better are so much easier to control. And by "control" I mean "manipulate" into serfs and canon fodder.

about 7 months ago

OneDrive Is Microsoft's Rebranded Name For SkyDrive

codeButcher Re:It'll be fun to watch. (197 comments)

Aleph naught drive.

Although personally I prefer the dev null drive.

about 7 months ago

How Farming Reshaped Our Genomes

codeButcher Re:Wheat and corn fucked over the human race (144 comments)

Wheat is particularly hard to eat because it needs milling and cooking. There are dangerous components in it raw.

Wheat (and most other grains, beans and seeds) can be sprouted easily, which turns them into an easy-to-eat-raw food (which is also more nutritious and easier to digest than the dry kernel), and also makes them easier to fashion into a sort of dough for bread (lightly pounding with hand tools, instead of milling). This is a process that has been in use for thousands of years.

I have heard it said that before industrial wheat farming, harvesting and storage, bundles of harvested wheat stalks might sit a day or two in the fields, with sufficient moisture from dew to start sprouting some of the grains. Of course, sprouts spoil easily and don't store, so it has been beneficial for modern agriculture to harvest, dry and store the grains as quickly as possible to prevent this.

about 7 months ago

Google Buys UK AI Startup Deep Mind

codeButcher Re:Voice assistant (113 comments)

it just makes you look like a hipster douchebag when you're out in public talking to the little robotic voice inside your mobile device.

Who are you calling a douche? I'm actually talking to the little robotic voice in my head, the mobile device is just there for camouflage.

about 7 months ago

Bees Are Building Nests With Our Waste Plastic

codeButcher Re:Not good news (92 comments)

I doubt much of our honey comes from bees in the wild and bee farmers have no reason to starting using plastic nests

Reasons: easier to mass produce, cheaper, lighter? The de facto standard Langstroth hive (allegedly) was made to reuse the then-ubiquitous wooden crates for fuel tins, so it is not always suited to the dimensions/habits of all sub-species of bees. Even so, polystyrene is sometimes used in its construction. I have seen a design using Corrrex (corrugated plastic board) adapted to the bee species (and wallets) in Africa, unfortunately can't find a link. Other plastic designs and components:


about 7 months ago

Best skywatching equipment at my disposal:

codeButcher Re:Planetarium? (201 comments)

You can't view the sky with a planetarium. You can only pretend

Maybe it was on purpose, to be snarky ot the pretenders. But I'm not sure, as I haven't heard wooshing sounds yet.

about 7 months ago

Paging Dr. MacGyver: Maker Movement Comes To Medical Gear

codeButcher From the summary (61 comments)

From the article: '[Many people] without any without any formal medical training—can take advantage of access to global supply chains, cutting-edge medical knowledge, and recent leaps in design and fabrication technology that have made the prototyping process faster, cheaper, and simpler than ever before.

And Many people without any formal language training -- can take advantage of access to global electronic publishing media etc.

about 7 months ago


codeButcher hasn't submitted any stories.


codeButcher has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>