top Why Snowden Did Right
The author makes good points, that the only way such surveillance could be allowed to occur is with informed consent, and that's what Snowden gave us the opportunity to do.
I respectfully disagree. I think that, generally speaking, network surveillance without explicit informed consent might be OK as long as all the information is made publicly available. Especially if it is information regarding public officials, which are paid by the public to perform their duties.
I know, this is a radical viewpoint that runs counter to many privacy advocates here. Still, i think if you want privacy then shut the phone down and have a private voice conversation with someone at a restaurant, or something like that. But if you want privacy over the internet to somehow take advantage of your position, hide your stash of illegal cash, or anyhow break the laws you don't like
... sorry i am not necessarily sympathetic to that.
(and by the way, if, say, some laws are so stupid that you need to break them often, then it's time to change the laws, instead of advocating privacy so you can hide the fact that you broke them).
top The Flaw Lurking In Every Deep Neural Net
I bet this is a case of overftting. The network is too "large" (at least in some dimensions) with respect to the data that it is required to approximate/classify.
top Who Helped Kill Patent Troll Reform In the Senate
https://mayone.us/ and read a little bit. The video explaining it is just 4 minutes long ...
Donate if you can, and do spread the word anyway.
As he says, it's a little bit of a moonshot but we need to try it!
top Wine On Android Starts Allowing Windows Binaries On Android/ARM
I think that very clearly the strategy for MS is to start selling Android-based tablets and phones with some kind of wine-like compatibility layer that allows running Office and other windows apps on tablets and phones, without trying to square the circle and forcing windows in an environment that it wasn't designed for.
In the longer run they can transition the same Android based OS (call it windows 10 or something) to home laptops and eventually in the office,
before anyone else does (e.g. google, apple, amazon ...).
top Ancient Pompeii Diet Consisted of Giraffe and Other "Exotic'" Delicacies
... I hear they taste like chicken.
WHAT ??? Sea urchins taste like chicken ?? No way!! If you have to find a comparison perhaps caviar is the closer (but still far) one, since you basically eat the eggs of the female urchin.
In any case sea urchins are more of a delicacy or condiment at best, not a consistent source of proteins. If anything because finding them, fishing them (and opening them) requires some dedicated manual effort, which is not easy to scale or automate.
top Elementary School Bans Students From Touching Each Other
I think there are way too many lawyers and like-minded people who try to solve things be throwing regulations at them without even trying to understand the consequences.
I'm all for smart regulations that try to regulate systems optimally, but this is way too much, far beyond worrysome and not even funny !!
top Hardware Is Now Open (sourced) For Business
If these companies are trying to occupy the same marketplace as the Arduino, i think it's too late. Otherwise it's definitely a good move.
In any case IMO what really allowed the Arduino to take off was not much the fact that it was open source, but rather the fact that it had
readable documentation, which anyone could actually follow and make things work.
I am still amazed at the extent to which, to this day, the documentation for many Arduino-wannabe boards (e.g TI MSP 430, Chipkit 32, and others) really sucks.
top A Ray of Hope For Americans and Scientific Literacy?
The federal government is basically a coalition of the fortune 100 corporations. The larger and more toxic to liberty it gets, the more power the 1% has over the rest of us.
Yes and no. Yes because corporations and the 1% buy lobbyists to get their way. No because representatives are elected mainly with votes, and buying votes costs a lot of money and it's feasible only to a point. So politicians cannot be completely indifferent to the other 99%.
To me, this is a call to fix the loopholes that let 1% and corporations buy votes, more than a call to shrink the government.
Moreover i don't fully understand the measure against which a government can be classified as big or small, perhaps size of public spending vs GDP ?. Remember that most of the taxpayer's money get spent on private entities in healthcare and defense anyway, so the government is just a mean for "us the people" to buy ourselves defense and healthcare.
In any case, i see and understand your point, even if i don't totally agree with it.
Today, the liberals draw more political power to the state with things like encroaching tax, identity politics, censorship, and other marxist tenets
I honestly don't see this, can't make examples of any "marxist tenets" that are held sacred by the left. To the extent that this is really so, and these tenets run contrary to the interest of the population, then it is absolutely something that the left needs to fix.
top Don't Fly During Ramadan
I think corporations don't kill or torture people because, luckily, they live in an environment of laws (which is created and enforced by the governments) which makes such violent action too risky and expensive for them
But, yes, i agree with everything you suggested. I'd only add that whenever governments need to have
some concentration of power (which i agree is dangerous), then they should absolutely positively pay for this concentration of power with transparency, so that they can actually be monitored and kept in check by their citizens.
To me transparency is a key point, if we give power and money to the government to represent our interests, we really can't afford misguided secrecy and privacy laws that prevent us to know how those power and money are spent.
top Don't Fly During Ramadan
Yes. But real power nowadays lies elsewhere. Big corporations, quasi-monopolies, banks, lobbies, all the guys buying off the politicians. And IMO we need STRONG and effective governments to fight this sources of powers which almost always are interested in screwing everyone else.
This sort of thing is precisely why some of us dislike government in general and large governments in particular.
I don't see this as a rational position. The idea is that governments are "we the people" remember ? If you don't feel represented by your government then this calls for action to correct that specific problem (e.g. be careful who you vote, make your voice heard, and so on), not for shrinking the government. Without an organization representing "we the people" then we'll descend inevitably into middle ages, 21st century style, where only the strongest (financially) will rule. You don't want that, do you ?
top Can Microsoft Survive If Windows Doesn't Dominate?
Sometimes i wonder whether we might come to a point, like 10-15 years from now, where it might make more economical sense for MS to just rely on the Linux kernel (perhaps contributing just some resources to it, the way that other companies do) instead of having to develop and maintain their own. That could free up resources to do other things, and potentially help to gain some share in the mobile device market, where it looks like NT-based kernels might never be as efficient as Android or Macs.
top Rice Professor Predicts Humans Out of Work In 30 Years
Sure, that might be true for the 0.1% that has dividends of the robot companies, but the rest will probably die off in one way or another.
Also note that if only few survive, many robot companies won't be needed because there will be less stuff to be produced, so the sustainability of this kind of society should not be given for granted.
I suggest you this interesting read about
4 possible futures.
That being said, 2045 is waaaay too soon (i would guess many hundred years) for something like that to actually happen. Robots just aren't advanced enough to replace humans in too many jobs, especially, i would say, jobs that require a mix of many "real world" skills (e.g. plumbers, salesmans,
... drug dealers, and so on, you get the idea:-) about a year and a half ago
top Bosch Finds Solar Business Unprofitable, Exits
I think it is time to pull the plug on solar and focus instead on wind and research thorium reactors.
When you factor everything (e.g. panel production environmental cost, maintenance, use of land, longevity of the panels, and so on), solar is just not worthy, or at least very rarely better than wind. So i see no reason to artificially keep it alive.
Also there is not as much uranium as people think. Civilization is a 18TW bulb. If you power (all of) it only with existing uranium resources the light would last barely one year, (go run the number yourself if you don't believe it or have a look at
this). Thorium should be better. about a year and a half ago
top Dennis Tito's 2018 Mars Mission To Be Manned
I hope this gets actually done soon, so we can call it a day and get back to more interesting concepts like building a base in the south pole of the moon (using robot), or trying to build space elevators, or placing shades in the L1 point to regulate global warming, or, you know, maybe funding actual science (e.g. gravitational wave detectors, and plenty of other very cool missions).
about a year and a half ago
top Networked Cars: Good For Safety, Bad For Privacy
... what you are doing, but you better start looking for a lawyer
top Belief In Hell Predicts a Country's Crime Rates Better Than Other Factors
I really doubt it because it's a rather well know fact by now (e.g. research by Zimbardo et. al) that the majority of people that commit crimes don't actually think about the future before committing them. They don't even think a few months in advance, let alone at what happens after life
top "Part-Time" Scientists Aim To Build Autonomous Moon Rover
... Simultaneous Localization and Mapping.
top Some USAF Pilots Refuse To Fly F-22 Raptor
Agreed. Besides we basically have the F35 ready by now. So tossing the F22 would really be the most sensible thing to do, and i would argue that the only reason why we haven't done it already it's because people get attached to their pork.
Funny how the same people that want to starve the government start to cry bloody murder when government supported defense jobs are at stake.
top One In Eight Chance of a Financially Catastrophic Solar Storm By 2020
The government doesn't want holes. It might even be difficult to find a place for people to dig them. The government wants jobs.
So what ? It does not matter what any entity "wants" to the effect of the GDP. It only matters what gets bought and sold and for what price. If some entity is paying people to do a job, regardless on how useful or useless the job is, that money gets accounted in the GDP. That's just the way it is.
Essentially, it really depends on how the transaction is accounted for. If it's considered as a purchase then it goes in the GDP. If it's listed as a transfer, (that is a gift) then not. However, the multiplier can be greater than one even in the second case, if people spend more than 50% of those money right away on purchases.
top One In Eight Chance of a Financially Catastrophic Solar Storm By 2020
No, you're incorrectly using the expenditure method of measuring the GDP
In this model everything that is produced is bought. And in fact it is a reasonable assumption that always holds for services and almost always holds even for physical stuff that actually gets produced, especially given the decreasing size of inventories nowadays. More and more stuff is produced literally only "after" it gets bought. In fact the expenditure method is the most accurate and the de-facto-standard way of measuring the GDP.
Nobody is buying holes, nobody wants them because they are just filling them up again.
Not true. The government in this case is buying refilled holes.
surely you can see that digging a hole no one wants and then filling it up again is producing nothing of value for the economy.
Again, someone wants that refilled hole. And by definition something "has value" when it is bought. Regardless on whether you can use it later, or how does it look, or any other consideration.
Besides, who are you to tell that something that gets bought and sold "has no value" ? There are people spending a lot of money on sex hot lines, for example. Those money gets accounted in the GDP. I personally see this as "nothing" or even negative produced value, (if anything for the waste of time). And i am sure that one can find a lot of crazy examples in which people buy the most useless services and crap, but, again who am I to establish (against the used definitions and conventions by the way) that something that gets sold and bought has "no value" ??
And finally, even if you want to see this as money for nothing, that is a negative tax, so nothing gets bought from the government, then the second part of the previous post applies, and as i said (but you can do the math yourself) under some conditions (basically if you give money to the right people) the multiplier is still greater than one.
I'll try to get to the article later, it looks interesting.