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What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

fyngyrz Re:So let me get this straight... (437 comments)

So who had TV in 1960? Not the poor, I'll tell you that. A phone from the year 2000 is still one hell of a lot better than the phone I had in 1965.

Sure, at some point, what we have today moves out of our economic grasp. But you simply cannot sensibly deny that the standard of living, lifespan, and contentment of the lower levels (not the lowest... that's another problem entirely, a legal one) are continually rising.

23 minutes ago
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What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

fyngyrz Taxes, shmaxes (437 comments)

Money is a proxy for exchange of work. If the work is being done by automation that does not require exchange, money is not required.

o Mining: automated
o Agriculture: automated
o Livestock industry and/or artificial meats: automated
o Manufacturing: automated
o Ordering: Network based, zero cost
o Network maintenance: automated
o Transport: automated
o Delivery: automated
o Power: Solar and storage based, instead of local fuel-based

So what's left for you to do in this production context?

Consume. That's all. Outside of that, enjoy yourself. Hump a lot (robot partners or real ones.) Consume entertainment. Sleep. Exercise. Pursue hobbies. In a word, enjoy your leisure.

Also:

o Firefighting: automated
o Policing: automated
o Emergency response: automated
o Medical care: automated
o Scientific advance: automated
o Travel: automated

And of course:

o Repair of automation: automated

Only things of inherent scarcity would still have value; land, spectrum, that sort of thing. Those are going to be the initial "crunch points" in any transition we attempt to make. There will be others, such as extreme consumption (hand build vehicles like Lambos, huge domiciles, yachts, like that.

about half an hour ago
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What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

fyngyrz Re:Yet another clueless story on automation (437 comments)

Well said. Except for one thing. It's not the government who pays them. They're just like a banker, they're just handling the money as it passes by. (Poorly, but that's another post.) We pay them. So the burgers do indeed cost more, it's just that the cost is hidden by moving the payment to the tax collection step.

41 minutes ago
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What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

fyngyrz Corporations outvote you every time (437 comments)

Corporations don't vote.

You couldn't be more wrong. Corporations vote through extremely powerful multiplying proxies variously described as bribes, campaign contributions, assurance of later employment and so on, often via extremely powerful channels known as "lobbyists." These votes carry more weight by far than any collection of constituents. You can change the players, that is, vote congress in and out repeatedly, but this does not affect how corporations and the rich control the actual legislative outcomes in any significant way. It just changes who gets the bribes and so forth.

It's like your server changing at McDonald's. New guy or gal, they're now getting the the income the previous employee no longer receives, and they're still telling you "I'll see to it you get a great burger, sir!" but you're still getting the exact same burger. Every time.

Of course, this control isn't actually a voting process, instead they represent a much more direct and effective mechanism of control (direct meting out of money and power and opportunity), but the effect is that your vote and my vote isn't worth a plugged nickel in controlling what legislators do, or don't do. It's just like being outvoted, only much more consistent and effective. The only time your vote appears to matter is when you are voting for the same ideas the rich and the corporations are pushing.

There are very, very few legislators who retire poor. Funny thing, eh? Oligarchy: Look it up, read it, and weep.

45 minutes ago
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What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

fyngyrz Oh, no. You have this REALLY wrong. (437 comments)

Of course they're benefiting from government assistance. When employees cannot survive on low wages, the government makes up the difference, thereby providing business with the continuing ability to pay lower than adequate wages. No health care? Government. Not enough food? Government. Can't pay the rent? Rent assistance. Not enough for day care? Childcare assistance.

And guess who pays for all this? Not walmart or pizza hut or subway... no, we do.

It's a shell game: hiding the actual costs of producing and serving and supplying goods (eg pizza, walmart's merchandise) behind a curtain of indirect government support. If the pizza server and walmart employee earned an adequate wage, this would show up in the price of goods. They don't want that. So instead, your taxes go up, the politicians shrug, and the walmart family is one of the wealthiest in the country, more than a little bit based on those indirect compensation boosts they don't have to pay.

about an hour ago
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What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

fyngyrz Re:When Robots Replace Workers? (437 comments)

What you're missing is that they think eliminating the need for THEM to be a slave to somebody is a good thing, as long as YOU are a slave to them. Because that, in a nutshell, is the situation that wealth concentration creates.

I should be rich.

You should do what I tell you to do, and I'll reward you miserably for it. Or not at all, if that can be managed.

1 hour ago
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What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

fyngyrz Soylent Green (437 comments)

Ahhhg. Soylent Green was "bad movie all the way down."

Read Harry Harrison's "Make Room, Make Room" so you can (a) have a wonderful read and (b) see what a corrupted, idiotic mess Hollywood made out of a perfectly good story.

Soylent Green is the poster child for the message of a scene in The Majestic. Here's a great summary from the Intertubes:

The movie begins in a Hollywood story meeting in the early 1950’s. Before we see anything we hear a group of studio executives (hilarious vocal cameos by some of Hollywood’s top directors) eviscerating a script by casually throwing in every possible movie cliché. As they call out “How about a dog!” and “The kid should be crippled!” the screenwriter sits there, stunned into silence. Finally, he musters up a diplomatic, “That’s.amazing.”

1 hour ago
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What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

fyngyrz Re:One thing for certain (437 comments)

I, for one, would like to be the first to welcome our new primarily welcoming overlords and underlings.

1 hour ago
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What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

fyngyrz Re:Old (437 comments)

We need to ask whether ownership of production will survive a radical change in economic fundamentals.

For things to be valuable, they have to be scarce. Things would no longer be scarce. This implies some kind of change in the economics that isn't accounted for by the idea of owning production.

Further, artificially restricting access to non-scarce items probably won't fly. They'll probably try it, but once these technologies are out of the box, they're almost certain to lose control of them.

Scarcity is "natural" only for things that have inherent hard limits. So property / elbow room, scenic vistas, spectrum, those sorts of things.

Just a few things have to arrive to disrupt the heck out of our present economic structure:

o non-destructive local energy sourcing and storage (from solar, primarily... plenty of that to go around.)
o adequate robotics to provide household maintenance
o custom and template-based production of objects on demand from generalized raw materials
o custom and template-based production of foodstuffs on demand from generalized raw materials

These, taken together, would utterly change the lives and lifestyles of human beings with access.

It'll be interesting to watch, anyway.

1 hour ago
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What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

fyngyrz Re:Good news, bad news (437 comments)

That is unmitigated, blinder-driven nonsense.

Art can be an expression of joy; of nothing; of interest; of form; of function... and it can still be art, even *great* art, no matter if some particular critic or consumer finds it unworthy, or not. It can be found in paintings, weapons, carved shells, code, fiction, sexuality, clothing, history, religion, philosophy, architecture, pottery, bonsai, the manner of one's death, kitchen appliances, on stage, in music... and a whole lot of other places... and all of it can arise with -- or without -- struggle. Struggle is not a required foundation, it's just a circumstance that in some part gives rise to some artworks, as can be said for virtually any facet of the experience of life, of the nature of reality, of the nature of fantasy.

Your view of art is so narrow I'm surprised you even admit there is any.

And *I* am a bloody Philistine, lol.

10 hours ago
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What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

fyngyrz Something confirms it. (437 comments)

AI will be ahead on all of these curves if they see sufficient benefit. And just like our current masters who would just as soon we sat drooling in front of the idiot box, the best thing you will be able to do for an AI is stay out of its way. It will have things to do and likely those plans don't include you. Order another pizza in, bank your government dole, and watch the next episode of "My Favorite Robot." Hump regularly, take your high-end, ultra-high quality AI-produced drugs, and learn to love your new freedom to do nothing.

Or be recycled.

10 hours ago
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Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

fyngyrz Re:It's required (166 comments)

You are promoting the idea that there is safety in a situation for which you have no data.

Only a fool would follow you there.

yesterday
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Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

fyngyrz Re:It's required (166 comments)

No, I didn't claim anything of the sort. I only asked how you didn't know that was the case, which is something else entirely. You need new reading glasses. Or remedial reading classes. Or something.

3 days ago
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Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

fyngyrz Re:It's required (166 comments)

You don't know if they've solved (the last part of) Kryptos. You just know the public hasn't.

The difference between what you think you know, and what you actually know, is often quite significant.

As for the "magic" straw man, not worthy of a response.

3 days ago
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Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

fyngyrz They don't need no steenking warrants (166 comments)

Hysteria, eh? Well, let's just drag a few facts out. Here we go:

o Straight-up misconduct

o Botched paramilitary police raid data

o Judge, jury and executioners in blue: The death penalty -- without a court

o Warrants "not required" data

o Seizure of property without warrants details

o $2.02 billion dollars in cash and property seizures for/in which no indictment was ever filed

o Other illegal horrors

Just a little information -- what we know -- showing our government at work, cavreader. Now, I don't know how you will characterize this information, but I know how I do: Directly and unequivocally indicative of a systemic breakdown of respect, regard, and understanding of liberty and justice that extends broadly across all areas of law enforcement.

Now, you want to talk nonsense about legal protections in a system where the vast majority of defendants are pressured into plea bargains against a completely uneven scale full of extra charges, almost certain financial ruin, threats of extended incarceration, and outright lies from the police and prosecutor, where the police don't have to defend anything in court -- and which can be, and at times have been, followed up by ex post facto laws increasing punishment after conviction -- fine. But don't expect me to take you seriously, because you obviously don't have even the slightest idea what you're talking about.

4 days ago
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Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

fyngyrz Re:Who are you defending against? (166 comments)

In this context a legitimate law enforcement reason means a warrant would indeed be needed.

Are you mad? They don't even insist on warrants when they can't meet the requirements of the 4th amendment, preferring to focus cluelessly upon the word "unreasonable" and ignoring the litany of probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation that were put there to explicitly define what "reasonable" is. They just break your door down, and shoot you -- and your pets.

And you think a law that doesn't even say a warrant is required will somehow stumble in its application on needing them?

I don't think you understand how the justice system works here. Or perhaps you're not from here.

4 days ago
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Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

fyngyrz Re:It's required (166 comments)

What makes you think the government has a polynomial prime factoring algorithm?

What makes you think they don't? What makes you think they even need one? What makes you think they don't hire, and utilize, some of the most powerful math-heads out there? What makes you think that something that can't be broken today won't bring you to the vale of tears days, months, even years later, if that's what it takes? What makes you think they don't have, or won't have, some kind of quantum computing device that obviates encryption entirely? What makes you think they didn't log every keystroke you typed, thus making encryption a complete non-issue? Wait, what, your system is "pure"? You know they can tell what you're typing by the sound, right? Finally, what makes you think they won't come right to your home or place of business or your favorite club, hustle you into a dank basement somewhere, and waterboard you or pound your toes to mush with a hammer or actually, eventually, read your mind electronically and get what they want that way? Got any relatives you treasure? What about the recipient(s)? Now there are (at least) two points of human weakness.

And... you do know that "they" have access to quite a few technologies that "we" do not, right?

I would seriously bet on the idea that if you demonstrate you think you need to encrypt your stuff by simply doing so, all you've managed to accomplish is get on a list of "we'll get back to this suspicious character later."

Right now, if you've got something secret that you don't want the government to become aware of, just don't say it or otherwise communicate it. That's your very best chance of actually keeping it a secret. It may be your only chance.

4 days ago
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Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

fyngyrz Re:Depends... (166 comments)

Further, the presumption that because it falls under the umbrella of law, it is somehow made "ok", is utter nonsense from word one.

4 days ago
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Brain Stimulation For Entertainment?

fyngyrz I believe it'll go more like this: (88 comments)

hey y'all, watch this... gimme my transcranial magnetic stimulator -- you can have my beer.

4 days ago

Submissions

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If you're connected, Apple collects your data. No matter what.

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about 2 months ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "It would seem that no matter how you configure Yosemite, Apple is listening. Keeping in mind that this is only what's been discovered so far, and given what's known to be going on, it's not unthinkable that more is as well. Should users just sit back and accept this as the new normal? It will be interesting to see if these discoveries result in an outcry, or not."
Link to Original Source
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RRAM poses challenge to FLASH memory market

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about a year ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "RRAM, a long-awaited alternative to other memory technologies that can retain data while powered down, has finally reached manufacturing. With higher data density, 3D stacking on chip (not chip-on-chip, but layer-on layer), lower power, more longevity, RRAM seems poised to drive electronic storage considerably forward. If initial designs use the current interfaces, we could see some immediate performance gains (RRAM is quite a bit faster than flash) as well as increased data capacities. Of course, no one needs more than... oh, never mind."
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Samsung releases source code for NX300 and NX2000 mirrorless cameras

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about a year and a half ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "There are already powerful third-party software mods for cameras such as magic lantern, but as far as I know, they're all reverse-engineering efforts, and have been somewhat hamstrung because of that. Samsung, in offering the source code to these two cameras, may have tapped a golden vein. I'm a Canon user, but upon learning this, I immediately began to consider Samsung as a 2nd camera."
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Twitter sells two years of user data, tweets

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 2 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Thought those tweets had settled back into anonymity, or that they weren't being kept for long? Ooops. Turns out that Twitter has sold a huge database of several years tweets to a marketing company, which in turn has quite a list of customers ready to data-mine the trove of remarks about, well, everything."
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FAA Bill Authorizes Surveillance Drones over US

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 2 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Congress passed a bill this week that makes it easier for the government to fly unmanned spy planes in U.S. airspace. One wonders if those gentle souls who find it so entertaining to shoot road signs will enjoy this intriguing new opportunity."
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Time Travel in our lifetimes?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 3 years ago

fyngyrz writes "If space travel is the final frontier, then what is time travel?

Einstein showed that mass and energy are the same thing. The time machine we’ve designed uses light in the form of circulating lasers to warp or loop time.

In Einstein’s theory it turns out that not only matter such as the Earth can create gravity but also light. It is the energy of light that creates gravity. Consequently, since time is affected by gravity and light can create gravity due to its energy then light can also affect time."

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Legal Tender? Maybe not.

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 3 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Lousiana has passed a bill that says people may no longer use cash for second hand transactions. The idea being to make all transactions traceable, thus foiling copper theft, etc. This move has profound implications that range from constitutional rights to bitcoin, Craigslist and so forth; I wonder if there are any slashdotters at all that support such a move."
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Costdom of Speech

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 4 years ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "Philadelphia decides that bloggers must pay $300 for a "license." Again, government, this time at a city level, interprets "shall make no law" as "hey, boys, let's make a law!" The first — and the fourteenth — amendment specifically say this is not allowable government behavior."
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In THIS house... FTL fields and currents. Really!

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 4 years ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "So you think of electrons like dominoes in a wire. Push on the one in the end, the others react one after another. Pretty vanilla physics. Further, because the electrons are moving, you get magnetic effects, radio, etc. Good stuff. So. What if you move all the "dominos" at once? Put your virtual hand on all of them, and push them over. They're not moving sequentially any longer. They move together. At any speed you can make them go. Well, that's what these researchers are doing — "pushing" all along a conductor at once, able to make a signal go — ready? — FTL. Fascinating stuff. And it may explain pulsars."
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Copyright sure... but what about "feel"?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about 7 years ago

fyngyrz writes "After securing copyright permission to use the Romantic's song "What I Like About You", the publisher of the game "Guitar Hero" is being sued by the band because "the company has infringed the group's right to its own image and likeness" because the cover song is so similar to the original version.

They're seeking an injunction against the game, which could do some real sales damage during the holiday season if granted.

Now, speaking as a musician, I'm right with the program when people say copyright is flawed, but... has this band fallen off the edge here?"

Link to Original Source
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Climate change science; taking a closer look.

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Climate change, global warming. Done deal, right? Not so fast:

A study has been submitted for publication in the journal Energy and Environment which actually looks at the level of support in the scientific community. From the results: "Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers "implicit" endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis." It is very interesting to see how neutral (and properly so!) the scientific community actually remains when it comes to anthropocentric global warming.

Are we seeing the pendulum swing back to a rational position?"

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fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

fyngyrz writes "As always, there are rumbles of discontent from the scientific community with regard to global warming. This article from R. Timothy Patterson, professor and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University, lays the overriding mechanism of climate change squarely at the feet of the various solar cycles. In the article, he explains that solar energy impacting the earth is part of the mechanism, while the sun's solar wind drives cloud formation in a complementary cycle that enhances the effect of the actual heat input. But that's not the kicker. The interesting part is he is predicting global cooling, rather than warming."
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fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Looks like Mars is warming just as fast as we are. Unfortunately, it's a little more difficult to whip the public into a frenzy of guilt over emissions when even the most daft rank and file citizen will figure out that our CO2 excess doesn't make it to Mars under any circumstances, and so the discovery doesn't bode well for the CO2 alarmists.

Looks like we might be back to terrorists, panicking over each others morals, and legislating personal choices for the entertainment of the day."

Journals

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Why no recent journal entries?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Because I have a blog at http://fyngyrz.com/.

It kind of makes the whole journal thing redundant. If you really want to see what I have to say about random things, by all means, you're invited to the blog. If not, well, it seems you're in substantial company, if nothing else. :)

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One of those poignant losses

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

18th October, 2007, we lost a dear old friend, a (mostly) Siamese cat yclept "Gwai-loh." Gwai was quite vocal, as are many Siamese; he also had some strange characteristics, for instance you could hold him upside-down on the ceiling and he would walk around - inverted - for as long as you were willing to hold him up there. For years, we kept him around the office, and he had a habit of coming up for affection when whoever he was approaching was on the phone. So he'd come up to you, get right up to your face (and the phone) and let loose with a really loud meow. Which you would then have to explain to the customer. One time I was on the phone with a rather famous Hollywood special effects dude when Gwai let loose with this, we had a good laugh over it. Eventually, we put up a web page on our site with a .wav of Gwai's signature meow, and a picture of him staring at a screensaver on a ginormous (for the time) monitor. A surprising amount of the code in WinImages was written with Gwai warm and settled either in my lap or across my arms.

Well, eventually, the old boy's liver failed, and I put out a rather startling amount of money to see if we could get around that, and amazingly enough, it worked. We got two more years of Gwai, all of it of quite high quality, before he finally laid down for the last time. His last couple of days were spent purring and head bumping while all the while refusing to eat or drink... finally, he just didn't wake up.

I miss him terribly. Sometimes it hits me right between the eyes and I can't even think straight. I can't dig over a decade and a half of unconditional love and affection out of my system with any amount of rationalization or any other flavor of self-bullshittery. Here's to my grizzled old friend. I only hope he knew how much I loved him in return.

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Mouseovers - as bad as popups?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Is anyone else as annoyed as I am by words and phrases in web articles that pop up boxes because my mouse pointer happened to cross them, temporarily hiding the content I was reading in the first place? I didn't click on anything, and consequently, I don't want a context change. I find these annoying to the point of noting what the site is and not going back. Anyone else feel the same? Anyone have a defense of the practice?

I went to this article today to read it in response to a slashdot posting, and managed to accidentally activate the wireless mouseover / popup as I was reading. Bam. Content hidden, thought stream interrupted. Isn't this essentially popups, revisited?

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Cold War, Version II

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

So I wake up this morning, and Putin has dissolved his government.

Then, same morning, Russia announces a bomb with nuclear-level destructive capability. But they say they're not escalating.

Then, later the same day, the US announces they have a matter-antimatter (proton/positron) annihilation laser, which, they say, is to normal lasers as nuclear weapons are to normal bombs.

At the same time, Bush, old "We'll never pull 'em out", is about to announce a troop pullback in Iraq.

Oil's hovering around $80 a barrel. The dollar is in the outhouse, and we've basically had many of our civil rights eliminated or made irrelevant.

Did I miss something here?

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More on Global Temperature Change

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

As always, there are rumbles of discontent from the scientific community with regard to global warming. This article (vile email registration required) from R. Timothy Patterson, professor and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University, lays the overriding mechanism of climate change squarely at the feet of the various solar cycles. In the article, he explains that solar energy impacting the earth is part of the mechanism, while the sun's solar wind drives cloud formation in a complementary cycle that enhances the effect of the actual heat input. But that's not the kicker. The interesting part is he is predicting global cooling, rather than warming.

But wait; there's more. This months Discover Magazine (print version also) has a lengthy article about this same mechanism, that is, cloud formation driving the climate and the sun driving cloud formation by way of modulating the effect cosmic rays have, by Henrik Svensmark, the 49-year-old director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen.

Svensmark says that we are in a warming trend, so his conclusions are at odds with those of Patterson; but they both agree that CO2 isn't nearly the looming threat that it has been made out to be with regard to climate change.

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Montana surprises us again, this time on Eminent Domain

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Recently, Montana legislators made news when they passed legislation outlawing Real-ID, calling it a threat to privacy and liberty. Now, legislation making the taking of property by eminent domain for the purposes of increasing tax revenues illegal has been passed and signed into law by Montana's governor. For more on why this is a serious issue, check out the Supreme Court's "Kelo" decision, named after a Connecticut woman who (unsuccessfully) fought to keep her home from city plans to arbitrarily take it and subsequently turn it over to private developers with the objective of collecting higher tax revenues from the property.

Montana has a 2% unemployment rate at present, and maintains a balanced budget, something the feds might want to give some consideration to. I have to say that although I am typically very cynical about government, and although Montana has made some very serious mis-steps in terms of liberties in the last few decades, the state seems more interested in doing the right thing than the wrong thing at this point in time, and I am feeling very pleased with my representatives right now as a long-time resident.

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Has Apple made a costly miss-step?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

With the recent news about cellphone activity allegedly being the underlying cause for the sudden loss of large numbers of bees, an insect that forges an absolutely critical and irreplaceable part of the food chain, is Apple's iPhone doomed to enter the market just as cell phones face severe clampdowns, or even wholesale replacement?

Cell phones operate at microwave frequencies for a pretty good reason; basically, microwaves enable small equipment. They also do a decent job of penetrating many types of structures, if not through the walls, then at least through the windows. However, there are other frequencies available, lower frequencies that have been busy for many decades without any significant observed effect on bees or other life. People already understand how useful cell phones are, and there are manufacturers with significant experience in VHF radio, to name one technically possible replacement band — so an interesting market shake-up is certainly feasible. Excellent VHF transceivers are marketed by amateur radio manufacturers, for example.

Normally, we would assume that an established, profitable market similar to the cellphone market would be stable and have a long, healthy life expectancy based on the functionality offered to the market. However, if the bees go, we will too - and that, ladies and gentleman, is an outcome that not even Steve Job's legendary reality distortion field can deal with.

Perhaps Apple should get back to working on OSX, and forget the iPhone. I have this nagging feeling that the iPhone is going to be this year's "politically incorrect" device. I know I've stopped using my cellphone for anything but emergency calls; how about you? Seen any bees lately?

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My Mac finally crashed.

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

I bought my daily-driver Mac, a mini, pretty much when the PowerPC mini was released. I was tempted beyond belief by that form factor, and the price. I loaded it; a gig of ram, bluetooth, wifi, modem, big drive (for the day), the superdrive, and so forth. I bought every option because the more that was jammed into the box, the more I liked the form factor. I know it's a little weird, but there you have it.

Since then, I've used the little box daily, for just about everything. It's been powered up since I bought it (thanks to a UPS.) This year, a couple of months ago, I bought a Mac laptop - a top of the line 17" Mac Pro - but I still use the mini every day. I've rebooted the mini many times, almost always in response to an Apple upgrade or security modification, once when I went from 10.3 to 10.4, never as an attempt to fix a problem. I've never had any problems of that kind, frankly.

Today, without any particular warning, my Mac dimmed the screen, locked my mouse and keyboard, popped a black rectangle up which informed me in no uncertain terms that I needed to reboot. Now. I lost a long post I had been writing for Kuro5hin.org, and I failed to even reach the level of being annoyed about that because it was just so astonishing to me that the mini had actually - gulp - crashed.

I just want to say that I hadn't even realized that my expectations had been silently and sneakily leveraged to be so astonishingly high. After years of being screwed with, and over, by Microsoft operating systems, I no longer expect that an OS should, or will, crash. Massive kudos to Apple.

...and my little PPC mini came right back up, and yes, I'm using it right now, and I still don't expect it to crash. :) I was using a beta version of a web browser and my guess is it was just a little too beta.

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Best slashdot comment ever encountered

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 9 years ago Best slashdot comment, ever:

Russia's Biggest Spammer Brutally Murdered

Posted by timothy on Monday July 25, @11:48AM
from the but-what's-the-motive-detective-columbo? dept.
Karellen !-P writes "Vardan Kushnir, a notorious russian spammer who headed the English learning centers, the Center for American English, the New York English Centre and the Centre for Spoken English, was found dead in his Moscow apartment on Sunday, Interfax reported Monday. He died after suffering repeated blows to the head."
----------------------------------------
Should have opted out. (Score:5, Funny)
by Tackhead (54550) on Monday July 25, @11:54AM
(#13157866)
> He died after suffering repeated blows to the head.
From a hidden microphone at the scene of the murder:

"You are receiving *WHAM* this blow to the head *WHAM* because you are part of a *WHAM* specially-selected list of *WHAM* people who agreed to receive *WHAM* blows to the head *WHAM*.

To stop *WHAM* receiving these *WHAM* blows to the head, please *WHAM* email us at no-more-please@optout.blowtothehead. com and *WHAM* we will remove you from our list of *WHAM* blow-to-the-head-club members *WHAM* (heh, we said "club"!) *WHAM* within 24 to 48 hours.

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Slashdot needs some fixes

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 10 years ago Slashdot is fun and useful and all, but there are some pretty annoying problems with the site. They constantly come up in an "off topic" manner, and consequently get (sort-of) appropriately modded down - this journal submission is intended to give them a legitimate home. I submitted it as a story, but - of course - it was rejected.

These are the things that seem most obvious to me, but I am sure there are others, given how annoying the issues I have in mind are to me. Please feel free to add your thoughts to all this, shoot my ideas down, whatever.

Moderation is anonymous

I say this is a Very Bad Thing. You can compare this to Kuro5hin, where you can easily see who did what to whom. Moderation with accountability allows anyone to see when a vendetta is being pursued, or when someone is systematically modding a subject down because they disagree, rather than because the issue is actually off-topic, a flame and so forth. I cannot begin to count the number of comments I have seen that have been modded down because they were contraversial, as opposed to offtopic, flamebait, or whatever else the down-mod claimed they were. The site's editors are also anonymous and that provides a hidden power structure which isn't a particularly good thing in any venue. I have read multiple claims that this poster or that poster cannot get mod points "because they modded something [a slashdot luminary] posted some time ago." If this is an illusion, exposing who did what to whom will in turn expose the illusion. If it is not an illusion, then exposing what happened should reduce the problem, because such action would rightfully be condemned by readers if it is inappropriate. I find the idea that the site's editors might be sneaking around and quietly muzzling moderators in a punitive manner more than a little disturbing.

So my first suggestion here is simply to lose moderation anonymity. My second is that if and when mod capability is removed from a user, the date of, and reason for, that action be posted right in their user page.

Many - perhaps even most - down mods are punitive or inappropriate

I suggest that the meta-moderation process be adjusted to include the ability to flag down-mods as obviously inappropriate, and to remove moderation privileges from those who commit such down-mods, as well as the down-mods themselves.

Up-mods don't need metamoderation

I suggest the outright removal of metamoderation of up-mods; if someone considers something interesting (or whatever) positive characteristic, who are we to say that this isn't so? That's the moderator's take on the comment, and up-moderation is a (very limited) opportunity for a moderator to "uplift" the story to the rest of us based on that perception. Upmods aren't harmful the way down-mods are - quite the contrary - and it seems to me to be a complete waste of time to metamoderate upmods for that very reason.

With mod points so scarce (and I agree they should be) we are forced to pick the things we really appreciate to up-mod. I rarely see an honest need to down-mod (obvious "first post" and gay/nigger trolls excepted), but I simply do not see a need to counter an up-mod. Someone thinks this, that or the other thing is insightful or interesting or sexy or whatever? Ok, that's at least notable - and that is exactly what an up-moderated and hence higher point comment does, it becomes more notable - not more interesting, not more insightful, but more notable. It might not actually seem that the applied moderation is accurate to us on reading the modded comment, but it is interesting that so-and-so (or at least "someone", if moderator anonymity remains preserved) thought it was worthy of a mod point. Comments can argue the issue if a poster is so motivated, and that seems like plenty of recourse to me. We see this all the time anyway; why not simply make it the official means of argument with an upmod?

Metamoderation is a scarce resource - put it where it does the most good

The removal of up-mod metamoderation could allow multiple meta-moderation of down-mods so that a reasonable, multi-user consensus that a down-mod is innapropriate can be reached. It seems to me that it should not be a light thing to say that someone is abusing the moderation system; you want to be reasonably certain. A meta objection to a down mod should cause that down-mod to immediately rear its ugly little head in a bunch of other meta-moderation queues so that consensus can be reached - and then corrective action taken if the mod is widely deemed inappropriate. This last point is important: It is a real shame that reasonable posts are permanently lost to the default view because some moderator was being a twit.

Fix the comment point system

There are several things wrong with this area of the site. The first is simply exposure, like authorship of moderation. Anyone who looks at the summary of points in a profile and tries to figure out what happened to a heavily moderated comment in a story is doomed to failure. It's Byzantine at best, and opaque and threatening at worst. Expose it.

Next, The math behind up/down mods is bizarre, to say the least. At a minimum, fix it so it is linear; or if not, then at least expose each and every mod point and show what it did to the story (along with the inflicting member - again, see Kuro5hin for a nice example of how this should be done.) Of course, if only this is done, an outcry will probably arise to fix the math, for the obvious reasons. :)

Expand the moderation choices

I have also seen lots of very good suggestions for additional moderation reasons. I'd like to see the readership discuss that here and perhaps a poll be subsequently created to see which new moderations should actually be added.

Story submission is entirely in italics

How is one expected to visually check the HTML of a story if the story preview enforces italics for the entire body? Why not use dark blue on white, and let italics flow according to the story tags so we can actually see what we're writing? You know, that radical new concept, "WYSIWYG"?

Sign the Polls

Stories are signed so we know who to thank (or blame) for the story. Sign the polls too. As I write this, there is a poll up for "favorite writing instrument" and the poll fails to include "keyboard" as an option. Somebody should have some digital egg on their face for that one. Maybe accountability will result in better quality polls. One can hope, anyway!

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