Obama Unveils Plan To Bring About Faster Internet In the US
The President has sent his people out over the land, finding things that don't work very well. He will now spend the rest of his tenure urging various federal agencies and Congress to "stop doin' stupid stuff", accompanied, if possible, by some form of federal largess. Rinse. Relather. Repeat.
How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting
No, the scores of organizations are there because it is to their benefit to get out the vote, not because the process is hard.
When I say the process isn't hard, I mean it literally isn't hard because I have watched tens of thousands of ordinary people go through it with no problems. Shoot, even people with physical disabilities somehow manage to cast a vote.
How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting
The causes of low voter turnout are many, and difficulty with the voting process itself is not one of them, except for one factor: waiting time in the big, popular elections. Waiting time is not a factor in most elections. I am an officer of election, and have worked the polls for nearly a decade.
Despite all the hullabaloo, it is not, in fact, difficult to register to vote. It is not, in fact, difficult to show up at a polling station, check in, and cast your vote. There are scores of organizations that exist merely to help people with the process.
So, the whole rationale behind this BitCoin idea falls on its face.
Hotel Group Asks FCC For Permission To Block Some Outside Wi-Fi
"The hotel group found support from Cisco Systems. 'Unlicensed spectrum generally should be open and available to all who wish to make use of it, but access to unlicensed spectrum resources can and should be balanced against the need to protect networks, data and devices from security threats and potentially other limited network management concerns,' Mary Brown, Cisco’s director of government affairs, wrote.
While personal hotspots should be allowed in public places, the 'balance shifts in enterprise locations, where many entities use their Wi-Fi networks to convey company confidential information [and] trade secrets,' she added."
Why yes, the balance shifts in places like hotel conference centers, where many people use their own, personal hotspots precisely so they can better lock down confidential information. Please. This is a naked money grab. No more charging $thousands just for an Internet connection at a trade show.
Neglecting the Lessons of Cypherpunk History
The author says that "cryptography is underhanded", but you will look in vain to find any technical meaning of that phrase anywhere in the article. What he really means is that the major corporations (Google, Apple, et al.) are underhanded because they are working with state spies to cripple algorithms and put in back doors, etc.
But trying to cripple cryptography this is something we already are aware of, and there are ways to shore up the technology to make it much, much harder for government to spy on us in bulk. Even using weak, crippled cryptography forces the spies to expend computing resources. Cryptography is all about raising the cost of spying, when dealing with government, not with preventing spying.
US Midterm Elections Discussion
You do know that ballots "filled in by hand" are actually counted by machines, yes? No one literally counts ballots by hand, the error rate is over the top. Imagine 100 people counting 10,000 ballots: how many of them would you expect will come up with the exact same answer? And, if they don't agree, how will you tell which ones were counted correctly? The answer is, you'd look for a way to remove humans from the equation, because humans are notoriously bad at repetitive tasks. You will use a machine to do the counting. Every time.
The question you really should be asking yourself is, which is more error-prone? Optically scanning a hand-written ballot and counting the votes, or reading a touchscreen. Occam's Razor alone should convince you that the system with the fewer number of moving parts and chances for errors is the more reliable.
Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right
Hm, are you really sure about this? The tagline of evolution isn't, "survival of those who just happend to be here, in no particular order, and for no particular reason", but "survival of the fittest." "Fitness" is properly a design principle, I would argue; it is an optimization (selection) with a purpose (survival). Adding millions of years and hundreds of genetic mutations to the equation doesn't change any of that.
Even your statement that "very likely you'll see increased complexity over time" betrays (if that's not too strong a word) a hidden assumption of progress. Why very likely? If truly random, why not equally unlikely?
Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right
Behind the theory of classic evolution lies a metaphysical explanation for the universe: that life "progresses", from simple to complex, from the more fundamental to the more sublime, from problem to solution. The metaphysics of evolution is very much rooted in the philosophy of positivism and progressivism. It is anti-religious not in the sense that it is against the idea of a God, necessarily, but in the sense that the concept of a God is not needed to explain the natural world. God is irrelevant.
One does not hear debate on the metaphysics of evolution very often, and that is a shame. The philosophy of Progressivism, to me, seems more like wishful thinking, than a real explanation of why things are the they way they are. Is progress absolute? Certainly any objective evaluation of history, with its long record of extinctions, would seem to argue otherwise.
Regarding the Bible's metaphysics, however, there is absolutely nothing in common between progressivism and traditional Christian teaching. The very first chapter of the very first book lays it all on the line: God said, "Let there be light. And there was light..." and so on, for 65 more books. The doctrine of the Bible is that "in Him we live and move and have our being." This couldn't be more orthogonal to the doctrine of positivism.
So, while the Pope may rightly observe that a changing creation is still a creation, I'm not sure that really gets to the heart of the matter, which is a metaphysical argument about origins.
Isaac Asimov: How Do People Get New Ideas?
Asimov's advice for how to run effective bull sessions for creative geniuses is based on the assumption that progress is made by a few "great men" who can see and imagine things that all others miss. This theory is not exactly politically correct these days, to say the least. Modern history books are full of attempts to find and highlight what I might call the "Forgotten Man" of history, the story of ordinary people who represent an entire class of people who collectively brought about change.
Personally, I subscribe to a combination of the two ideas. Masses of people lived for tens of thousands of years in exactly the same manner as their ancestors until someone came along with a genuinely new idea that was then adopted and perfected by mass experimentation and use. So: great men for the original ideas, but forgotten men for productizing them.
If Your Cloud Vendor Goes Out of Business, Are You Ready?
when Netflix stops using AWS. And Expedia. And NASA. And the CIA, fer cryin' out loud.
Statisticians Uncover What Makes For a Stable Marriage
4. Taking marriage vows seriously. A vow is a promise, a promise you make primarily to yourself but of course also to your spouse and your children (if any). Life has ups and downs. When things get really rough, you will have to depend on the promise you made to keep you in the marriage until you can get to the other side.
That said, it is possible for your partner to make it impossible for you to keep your vow, by breaking the relationship itself. If someone is unfaithful and abandons the relationship, for example, or if your partner dies, no amount of trying on your part can repair that. In that case, I would say as there is no vow that can be kept, there is no vow at all.
Ask Slashdot: Multimedia-Based Wiki For Learning and Business Procedures?
I've been involved in many, many projects to share internal knowledge over the years. I had pretty much given up all hope on wiki technology until I got to the latest versions of Confluence, which strikes an excellent balance between flexibility, simplicity, and automation.
Doing the task you outlined (create multiple playlists of media files) could be done in a variety of ways: Create a "File List" page and upload your content, then create separate pages linking to them; create a page and attach the multimedia files, then use the Multimedia Widget to automatically create a gallery of them to playback; or, host the files on a shared disk and link to them from Confluence.
Systems That Can Secretly Track Where Cellphone Users Go Around the Globe
That eeevil corporations and government can track my phone is of course, no surprise. However, how easy would it be to fool such systems, and make them think they're tracking me, when in fact they are tracking someone else, I wonder?
Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White
Mod parent up. A point rarely made: what should matter is if there's any problem getting hired/promoted because of gender, etc.
Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White
You completely missed the point. It's not about "magic", it's about making money. If you could buy gasoline for your automobile that was 30% less expensive at gas pump A vs. gas pump B, why would you ever use pump B? Ditto for hiring.
Economist: File Sharing's Impact On Movies Is Modest At Most
The paper goes into some detail regarding the latest X-Men movie, where there were 7million downloads of a pre-production work copy of the movie, and, with heavy news coverage, it could be assumed that everyone seeing the movie would know it could have been downloaded for free. Even there, the small, positive bump in revenue was found. That's the smoking gun, IMHO.
Reproducing a Monet Painting With Aluminum Nanostructures
That sample image is only 50 microns wide, barely as wide across as a human hair. That's one small security tag, my friend.
FAA Bans Delivering Packages With Drones
It's much like saying the FAA should regulate paper-plane throwing or bungee-jumping
Hey, don't give them any ideas! It's bad enough already.
Teaching Creationism As Science Now Banned In Britain's Schools
the creationists are right, even partially so.
IRS Lost Emails of 6 More Employees Under Investigation
Anyone who would use "Only a godless sinner" to justify an evil action such as cutting off people's heads or driving jet planes full of fuel into office buildings is NOT a religious person, they are a political person who has hijacked religion in the name of their cause. Is the KKK a "Christian" organization? Please. There are millions of peaceable Muslims living in the US. Look around you.
America's Social Programs, the Gamer Edition
China has a "One Country, Two Laws" policy that lets Hong Kong operate outside the restrictions of mainland China. This is a great idea! I bet it could work for America, too. It could set up two versions of entitlement programs: one for those who believe that the government should provide universal coverage, and one for those who believe that government governs best which governs least. And may the best team win!
Team Blue, the universal coverage believers, would continue under the existing entitlement laws of the U.S. They would continue to pay into Medicare, Social Security, and the new health care assurance programs.
Team Red, the limited government believers, wouldn't pay any taxes for social programs. If their employer provides health care and retirement as a benefit, they would get its cash value instead. They would be free to create new social programs such as voluntary cross-border health exchanges, health savings accounts, retirement bonds, etc.
There would need to be some fair-play adjustments, such as how to deal with people who receive government support now, but aren't paying taxes. Naturally, anyone living off of the government would want to be on Team Blue! We could simply divide this population between the teams based on random selection.
Each team could then deal with this population according to its philosophy. Team Blue might want to continue down the path of the recent health care bill. Team Red might do it differently, perhaps focusing more on efforts to take people off of welfare.
If China can do it, so can the Americans. Game on!
Moving Beyond the Copyright Shouting Match
Tech Dirt has a series of articles on the"lies" that the copyright industry tells, and takes particular exception to those in the U.S. Congress who support their cause (see the articles on Rep. Waxman and Sen. Hatch).
I am definitely one of those who feel that the original intent of copyright law has been so distorted that it is now possible to have it serve its opposite purpose: to prevent, rather than promote, the useful arts.
While I am with the author in spirit, I am not in the letter. These articles do little to advance the cause. They are largely just a collection of raw assertions that people are lying. There is little attempt to actually prove any of these claims, as far as I can see.
In the end, what does shouting "liar, liar, pants on fire" truly accomplish? Very little. So, please, let us move on. It is very easy to lay blame and to critique. Much more difficult is to propose a solution.
We have a problem between two communities: the entrenched copyright-holding community, and the consumer. What can be done to bring these two groups to a better understanding of each other's needs?
First, I think we can agree that copyright is a good thing. The right to control copying is rooted in the concept of basic fairness: if a person creates something, they should get to decide who else can have it.
Secondly, I think we can agree that getting something for nothing is unsustainable over the long term. People ought to pay for what they use. None of us would last very long if we never charged anyone for our time and effort.
Thirdly, I think we can agree that the current business model for monetizing the right to copy is broken. Copyright holders try to control distribution and end use, which is technically impossible. Consumer scofflaws use content they haven't paid for, which is unfair.
Add these together, and I think it's pretty obvious that what we need is a consumer-friendly way to pay for content in proportion to how widely it is shared, not purchased. The whole concept of a financial "transaction" with a buyer, seller, and product, works in a retail context, but not in a viral context. Viral communities don't have buyers and sellers, they have friend networks.
It sounds simple, but it hasn't been cracked yet. What would a payment system look like that didn't depend on storefronts and individual transactions? Could we make it lucrative enough to draw the next generation of talent away from the old, out-moded system, and into a new system? Would it be easy enough to implement, such that no reasonable person would object?