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Benoit Mandelbrot Dies At 85

flajann To Mandelbrot, and Beyond the Infinite. (131 comments)

Every since the publication of "The Fractal Geometry of Nature", my views of our Universe have been transformed.

And in case you haven't noticed, the title here is a paraphrase of a title of a chapter of a story (or film) of another Great that, too, is no longer with us. Let's see if you recognize it.

It is sad that brilliant minds die. But it happens. And may you fall into an infinite trench of Fractal wonders.

Mandelbrot has inspired many, and has inspired me to create Gravity Set Fractals.

Long Live Self-Similarity!!!

more than 3 years ago

Many More Android Apps Leaking User Data

flajann Oh boy, big potential problem... (299 comments)

What if a rogue app turns on the microphone or camera on command from some central server unbeknownst to you? The app could easedrop and spy on you. Is is my hope no app stoops that low, but you never know!

more than 3 years ago

Many More Android Apps Leaking User Data

flajann Come on, Google! (299 comments)

"Only install apps you can trust..."

Isn't that a bit of a tautology?

More importantly, just how are you supposed to know what you can trust or not? If an app zips your private info off to a server somewhere, you'd never know it. Even if you sniff the packets, it could still be encrypted or stenographized.

Google should give the user finer control and log what private info has been requested by what app.

more than 3 years ago

Red Hat Urges USPTO To Deny Most Software Patents

flajann Not just Software Patents... (175 comments)

Not just software patents should be denied, but lifeform patents as well. In fact, I would love to see all lifeform patents invalidated, as this would take the wind out of the sails of Monsanto.

more than 3 years ago

Pentagon Aims To Buy Up Book

flajann Re:YOUR tax dollars is paying for it (347 comments)

The Military sucks up a HUGE portion of the national budget. If you got rid of that alone, we'd probably be OK.

Surprisingly, the military is a more or less fixed cost, and can be dealt with in various ways, by increasing revenue or cutting spending. As you can see from this graph, we've been cutting military spending for a long time

On the graph it states that spending in Iraq and Afghanistan was "mostly" excluded, so we're not looking at a complete picture.

(and replacing it with social programs), and Robert Gates seems to be doing a capable job of continuing that trend. I'm also going to suggest it would be unwise to completely cut military spending (and indeed, we couldn't immediately because a large portion of military spending goes to things like pensions). The biggest problem with the national budget is actually medicare (there are a number of ways to fix social security, it's just a matter of choosing one and fixing it). As you can see from this graph, medicare will eventually push out all other non-obligatory spending, and actually the problem has gotten worse since that graph was made. I'm ok with cutting military spending, but let's address the root of the problem.

Yes, entitlements will eat the US alive. It was not sustainable to begin with. Something will have to give, and to "fix" the problem means either raising taxes, which would be devestaving, or cutting the entitlements, which will impact those who have the expectation of getting them.

My retirement plans do NOT include entitlements of any sort. They simply will not be solvent by that time, or will pay so little it'll be a joke.

This is the government's Ponzi at Gunpoint Scheme that it forces us all to "buy" into, but will leave us much worse than high and dry.

more than 3 years ago

Pentagon Aims To Buy Up Book

flajann Re:YOUR tax dollars is paying for it (347 comments)

If you have to keep borrowing and borrowing, and doing so faster than you can pay it off, meanwhile the basis of your credit is shrinking, it's a disaster waiting to happen.

The Military sucks up a HUGE portion of the national budget. If you got rid of that alone, we'd probably be OK. Or at least not as bad off as we are.

But what's wrong with being cash positive rather than cash negative? Continuous borrowing is always a loosing proposition, both for the borrower and the creditor.

more than 3 years ago

Pentagon Aims To Buy Up Book

flajann Re:YOUR tax dollars is paying for it (347 comments)

I know you're trolling but I'll bite.

I'm not trolling, actually, but that's besides the point.

The US is no longer on the Gold standard because Gold is worthless.

Worthless? Really? Can I have your gold then? I watch the financial markets nearly every day and gold is anything but worthless.

What is valuable is debt aka IOUs or promissory notes aka US Dollars otherwise known as Government issued Reserve Notes. Debt is backed by labor or goods and services which have real intrinsic value.

Ah, see, you are proving my point already, but let's continue.

Gold is only useful in niche electronic components and fashion jewelry.

FYI Reserve Notes are backed by Birth Certificates which have an economic value of ~$750000 - $1000000 for the lifetime of the individual, which is how much that Citizen is expected to contribute to the national economy in their lifetime in labor, services, intellectual property, etc.

So us human citizens are being used as collateral for the debt! Ah, therein lies the rub! Unless you have infinite growth, this model fails. The planet is only so big, and there are only so many resources, places to live, farmland, etc. Population growth cannot continue to grow indefinitely -- it's mathematically impossible.

So now what happens when your assumptions of infinite growth are dashed to the hills? You have enslaved all of your citizens into paying off this debt, and you have to use force to "exact tribute " -- the IRS -- but now the bottom falls out because you hit zero population growth, or perhaps population begins to decline.

So now your creditors become restless and may wish to call back in the loan in full. Or drop you as a basis. Hello, what has China been doing recently? Making lots of noise about switching from the USD to some other standard for world currency -- like GOLD!

Why don't you explain to China and India how "worthless" gold is. Go ahead. I dare ya.

So to summarize we exchanged an economy backed by a semi-rare earth mineral for an economy backed by a population of contributing citizens and abstracted into a commodity by the vehicle of debt and debt reserve notes ( US Dollars).

To rephrase what you've just stated, "we" -- really the US government, not us -- took us off a solid standard with builtin accountability, sold us all out and decided to use you and me as collateral for a debt they keep running up, higher and deeper.

The wars fought today have nothing to do with "National Security" and everything to do with control of resources to keep the illusion going that the debt model will continue indefinitely -- which it will not.

You may love a world of debt servitude, but I do not. You and I did not choose to become debt slaves -- we were signed up for it at birth, and you fully admit it.

So thank you for making my point for me. I couldn't have said it better myself!!!!!

more than 3 years ago

Pentagon Aims To Buy Up Book

flajann Re:YOUR tax dollars is paying for it (347 comments)

You miss my point entirely. We've become a nation that floats on debt. Always in the red. It's the mode of operation that's the problem. You cannot keep borrowing forever without repayment; something has to give eventually. When was the last time the US actually had a surplus? My point entirely.

The debt model that the US has been operating under for the many decades is simply not sustainable.

more than 3 years ago

Pentagon Aims To Buy Up Book

flajann Re:YOUR tax dollars is paying for it (347 comments)

AND it's paying for your enormous deficit, which is likely to bankrupt US pretty soon..

Ok, you've got two unwinnable wars, then what?

The US went bankrupt many years ago. Why do you think all the gold was confiscated back in 1933

and Nixon took the USD completely off the gold standard?

You only resort to these extreme measures if you have a negative ROI. If you have sustained negative ROI, that's actually worse than actual bankruptcy, which is an admission that you failed and promise to restructure. Nope, the rampant spending continues, and the fiat money flows. The broken system becomes even more broken, as fiscal fantasy becomes even more out of line with fiscal reality.

That party cannot continue forever, I don't think.

more than 3 years ago

Patent Office Ramps Up Patent Approvals

flajann We should get rid of all Patents! (101 comments)

As one who does have a patent to his name, I have thought about this entire patent issue quite a bit.

The original intent of the patent was to give the lone inventor a monopoly over his invention in order to spur innovation. And it may have served that purpose once. But today, patents have taken on a completely different use -- the leverage for big deep-pocket corporations to beat up on other corporations and obliterate any possible competition from "the little guy", who could not possibly afford patent litigation.

So, it is my view that patents no longer serve it original intended purpose, and thus should be eliminated. Monsanto patents organisms and genes and uses that to force small farmers to buy their GMO seeds; Microsoft may use patents to beat down startups they deem as a threat, and so on.

Today, people will innovate whether or not patents exist. And most innovations don't ever see a patent, I think. It's just too expensive to procure a patent -- $5,000 to $10,000 -- and if ever someone -- even another little guy -- violated your patent "rights", you could not afford the litigation, anyway.

So let's abolish all patents and close down the USPTO!

more than 3 years ago

NAB, RIAA May Seek Mandate For FM Radios In Mobile Devices

flajann Re:Beyond Stupid!!!!! (489 comments)

Besides, many radio stations already stream their content over the Internet, anyway, making FM even less relevant.

A typical smartphone plan comes with 2 GB/mo, which is worth about 4000 minutes of 64 kbps streaming. This data allowance is shared with video streaming, web surfing, and other applications that also use up bytes. FM doesn't use minutes; instead of customers paying for the towers and the license, the advertisers pay.

A typical smartphone plan costs 60 USD per month. FM works even if your phone is on a $7/mo Virgin Mobile plan.

My Smartphone Data Plan costs me only $30 per month. What's really wild and unbelievable is that TEXT MESSAGING, which represents a much smaller bandwidth, costs also $30 a month, separate from the data plan. Totally insane, AT&T! (and the others do it as well).

more than 3 years ago

NAB, RIAA May Seek Mandate For FM Radios In Mobile Devices

flajann Re:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (489 comments)

Perhaps I'm a dissenting voice here, but I actually do listen to broadcast radio, and I would love it if my android-based smart phone had an FM tuner in it. There are times when I don't have the music I want to listen to on the device, and I would tune in to either CBC 2 (classical music channel) or the local indy/alternative station.

I don't think mandating it is a good idea. But I do think that if more manufacturers put them in smart phones the devices would find a market.

I'm sure you can find a classical streaming source to get the classical music that you love. Or just buy a separate FM receiver. They don't cost much these days.

more than 3 years ago

NAB, RIAA May Seek Mandate For FM Radios In Mobile Devices

flajann Beyond Stupid!!!!! (489 comments)

If consumers WANTED FM Radios in their devices, they would be there already.

The real truth is that with the Internet, consumers have bazillions of choices already as far as what they wish to listen to or view, and adding FM radio would only add a tiny fraction to those choices.

Besides, many radio stations already stream their content over the Internet, anyway, making FM even less relevant.

Let's face the cold hard facts: Broadcast media is on its way out. Good bye and good riddens. Only a handful of choices, and 99% of them lousy or mediocre.

And the FM "feature" that nobody really wants (nor would listen to in all probability) would be at the expense of some other feature consumers may actually want.

Government needs to stay the hell out of regulating the "free" marketplace. Consumers can and will make the choices they want, and the manufacturers can and will respond to those choices to grab marketshare.

The Government and the RIAA can go please themselves elsewhere. Leave the rest of us ALONE!

more than 3 years ago

Child Porn As a Weapon

flajann Re:First off... (774 comments)

Your criticisms are duly noted.

Guns and Cars -- yes, there are many people who drive cars, and most are probably less intelligent about it than I am. And the 41000 deaths per year on our roadways speaks volumes to this.

Innocent people are killed in car crashes, too -- lots of them. And yet we are willing to tolerate the risk. Somehow, even if everyone were free to carry, I don't think we'd have a death rate due to idiot gun accidents that would even approach what we see on the roads everyday.

Of course, we can get some ideas from hard facts. The Swiss, for instance. Or States in this country that have pretty open laws about guns, like New Hampshire.

You may be right about the DC sniper -- bad choice on my part. But I dunno. There's a good chance someone may have seen him pulling out his guns that would've been in a position to do something about it. DC is not exactly a rural area. But I would have to dig up the details of each incident, and I don't have the time. But there's been others, like the one you mentioned yourself, and a McDonald Shooting some time back. Not to mention the handful of incidents where a crazed student shoots up all his classmates. If teachers were armed, they could've taken out this individual before much damage was done.

But then there are some crazy teachers as well -- well, the public school system is crazy in its own right, worthy of a thread all its own.

It's all about risk vs. the reward, and realism. We are willing to accept a relatively high mortality rate for our right to travel. I used that as a benchmark to see how realistic our expectations and perceptions are. Everyone goes insane over the 9/11 incident, a singular incident where ONLY 3000 or so people died, but doesn't bat an eyelash to the 41000 annual fatalities on our roads. Trillions of dollars are being wasted on the so-called "War on Terrorism", and just think what that money would do if it were, instead, used to improve road safety and technology in a realistic way! How many US lives (not counting soldiers) are lost due to terrorism? The risk factors are very low and yet an astronomical figure is spent fighting it.

Which convinces me that Government has it all wrong, period. Always has, and it always will.

more than 3 years ago

Child Porn As a Weapon

flajann Re:First off... (774 comments)

I know personally of a case where a person failed a Police firearms course when he not only failed to safe a pistol but managed to discharge it (thankfully it was pointing down range). This was a person who had been shown less than 5 minutes before exactly what to do and he still managed to fuck it up. If he had screwed up again in a public place someone could have been killed. And his performance in the course went down hill from there. If I knew that that idiot was allowed to carry a gun in public I would fear for the safety of those around him. I would however defend his right to own a gun, and use it in designated locations. And nothing prevented him from trying to pass the course again, for as many time as it took for him to pass.

All the gun owners I know of are highly responsible and have had training in some regard. Occaionally you get the idiot, but all of the idiotic cases I have ever heard of happened in Massachusetts, which is a lot more restrictive of gun ownership than New Hampshire, where I reside.

Government restriction creates inexperience, and inexperience create the problems you describe.

I am fully for responsible gun ownership, and the State must have no regulation or licensing in the matter. Why do I say this? Because if Government has a list of who owns a gun, it can decide to harass those individuals needlessly.

Case in point? New Orleans. I have a friend who volunteered for relief efforts after the mess hurricane Katrina created, and guess what? The government there were rounding up all the guns owned by "blacks", but leaving the "whites" alone. Pure discrimination, plain and simple, at a time you need your gun the most.

Perhaps you have a blind trust of government, but I know too much history, recent and past, to be that naive. We have few to no problems in New Hampshire with idiots owning guns, as we have a very strong culture of gun ownership here, and neophytes are strongly encouarged by their more experienced peers to seek training -- or are simply taught directly by their more experienced peers.

Places like Massachusetts south of us don't have this, since they hate guns so much, and that's where you see the most inane mishaps, like a young kid being allowed to handle a semi and loosing control of it due to the recoil. That crap would NEVER happen in New Hampsire. I can't imagine why anyone would be so stupid.

And I needn't say that licensing will only affect law-abiding citizens, not actual criminals who will conceal carry despite whatever laws you want to have. Better to allow free gun ownership with the option to freely conceal carry in public for such idiots. They'll be put down after the squeeze off the first shot, I assure you, thus saving many lives otherwise lost -- like in that shooting spree incident that occurred around Washington DC shortly after 9/11, or that case where the loon on the barracks went on a shooting spree recently.

But this would require you to put the usual knee-jerk fears aside and look at what ACTUALLY HAPPENS.

more than 3 years ago

Child Porn As a Weapon

flajann Re:First off... (774 comments)

Carrying a gun into the bank should be OK.

... and then Americans wonder why foreigners think they are crazy gun-loving SOBs...

We are gun-loving. But that doesn't make us crazy SOBs. Just a part of our long standing tradition and culture, as all...

more than 3 years ago

Child Porn As a Weapon

flajann Re:how to stop this from happening? (774 comments)

Give me 10-15 minutes to explain, and they'll know. I have to explain it to non-technical higher ups all the time.

"It's software that allows somebody at a distant location to covertly take control of the computer without the owner/user knowing, allowing them to move files/data, steal the user's information, or even perform attacks on other computers."

More techical stuff is explained all the time; and you should make time to explain it in a misdemeanor trial, much less a felony one.

That's a completely functional explanation. Shame on you! :-)

Of course, explaining HOW a rootkit does all of that is another matter. Whether or not that level of understanding is necessary to the investigation is even more of another matter.

more than 3 years ago

Child Porn As a Weapon

flajann Re:It's all bits and bytes... (774 comments)

I remember hearing about the FBI seeding fake child-porn images that would somehow call home when they were loaded by a computer. This was, of course, to catch people seeking out and downloading the images. However, some person(s) got the idea that it would be funny to take the image (or rather the image link) and place it on a website's background somewhere as a 1x1 pixel image. Thus, people physically unable to even SEE the image were nevertheless downloading the image.

Nice little trick. And then all you'd need is some Flash or JavaScript to copy the images to some place else on the computer.

more than 3 years ago

Child Porn As a Weapon

flajann Re:Obvious consequence (774 comments)

Law Enforcement should be spending its efforts going after the perverts that create kiddie porn, where it would actually do the poor kids some good.

They'd have a lot less to validate their paychecks if they did that.


more than 3 years ago



China's Shenzhou VII to launch manned space flight

flajann flajann writes  |  more than 5 years ago

flajann writes "The Shenzhou VII spaceship has been transported to the Jiuquan launching pad in northwest China's Gansu Province. This means China's third manned space flight is now in its final stage of preparation. Engineers say if the fine weather continues, Shenzhou VII can expect to blast off late next week.

        The Shenzhou VII rocket was transported in an upright position bundled together with the manned spacecraft, the escape tower and the Long March propelling rocket.

        This combined structure moved along a 1500-meter-long rail, at a precise speed of 28 meters per minute.

        Accompanying engineers also kept a close eye on wind-speed, just in case wind-velocity exceeded 10 meters per second. They were careful to make 2 stops, just to check the state of the equipment.

        Zhang Jianqi, Director of China's manned space program said "Transportation causes vibrations. And if the frequency of the vehicle's vibration matches that of the rocket's, this can damage parts of the spacecraft. We must make sure that doesn't happen. "

        The whole process took just over an hour. Now firmly positioned in its launching pad, Shenzhou VII is all set to take off with three astronauts on board next week. One of them is scheduled to take a walk in outer space."

Link to Original Source

flajann flajann writes  |  more than 7 years ago

flajann writes ""It was perhaps inevitable the imaginative world of arcade games would be imbedded in the online community to create a world where people could go to find anything they needed and become whatever they imagined."

Second Life Article in Union Leader, Merrimack NH

This is my avatar in Second Life that made front-page news here. It is nice to see the rest of the world taking notice of what we're doing and creating online! The article also mentions how big business is begining to take a serious look at Second Life as well — presumably to hit us with more of their ads. Well, it's a mixed blessing."



Into the lonely night...

flajann flajann writes  |  more than 8 years ago On this night, I hack away at the deepness of my own code.

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