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Blowing Up a Pointless Job Interview

gznork26 Re:Tame and lame (692 comments)

Thanks. Using the covers to give an indication of flow makes a lot more sense.

about 8 months ago

Blowing Up a Pointless Job Interview

gznork26 Re:Tame and lame (692 comments)

Round? I lived in Nashua, New Hampshire for a while. The manhole covers there are triangular. The reason given is that if they are placed on edge, they won't roll away.

about 8 months ago

Dial 00000000 To Blow Up the World

gznork26 Cipher Lock (306 comments)

Back around 1980, I worked on a secret project at MacDonnell-Douglas. Access to our secret area was controlled by a 4-digit cipher lock, which was set to 1234. But there was an even better security problem one day. We came in Monday morning to find that the wall beside the cipher-lock protected door had been removed. We dutifully called security and reported a stolen wall.

about 9 months ago

NSA Planned To Discredit Radicals Based On Web-Browsing Habits

gznork26 Who's a target? (415 comments)

The same tactics that are taught to intelligence workers for targeting political thought that threatens what are euphemistically called 'US interests' can be brought to bear on anyone spreading ideas that threaten the internal power structure as well. We've already seen the lengths that the security state will go to in order to protect itself, and that it even considers get-out-the-vote activists to be dangerous. What you espouse may seem innocuous, but any kind of change threatens someone's power, and now that unlimited funds can be spent to control what government does in the name of corporate personhood, you can easily be a target as well.

I dramatized this situation back in 2007 as part of a series of short stories about a group exploring ways to improve the workings of government. Here's a link:

about 10 months ago

What the Insurance Industry Thinks About Climate Change

gznork26 There's always money to be made (385 comments)

It doesn't matter what sort of disaster you're talking about, whether it's man-made, natural, or a combination, someone will always come up with a way to wring a profit from the effects of it. I doubt that the effects of the changes that Earth's climate is undergoing will be any different. With that in mind, the latest short story on my blog takes place near the end of this century, after the oceans have risen about 2 meters and became both more acidic and more polluted, neither of which are good environments for the Golden State Barrage, a sea wall next to the Golden Gate Bridge. An actual plan to build a Golden Gate Barrage was proposed but not approved in 2007. If something of that nature is not built, 2 more meters of the Pacific Ocean will move the coastline inland all the way to Sacramento. Check the on-line sea level rise site yourself. Insurance companies know about this as well. But so do real estate companies, and the corporations who profit from mass changes in where people live. If you want one perspective on what might happen, check out the story. It's called 'Bait.

about a year ago

45% of U.S. Jobs Vulnerable To Automation

gznork26 Typo in paragraph 3 (625 comments)

Debt money LOANED to nations...

1 year,11 hours

45% of U.S. Jobs Vulnerable To Automation

gznork26 Framing Problem (625 comments)

This entire discussion is based on a premise that is no longer true. Once upon a time, wealth was created solely by the performance of labor, the users of the means of production, by people, under the control of capital, the owners of the means of production. But now, wealth is mostly created by capital, either by manipulating the rules of society and of the economy, which is what banks and other financial institutions do, or by the performance of labor by automation. The relationship between the human laborer and the creation of wealth no longer matches the economic model in which people can pay for their living expenses solely through the wages paid to them for that labor.

The solutions that are being offered by governments in the thrall of capital are inappropriate to the reality in which people now live. Wealth derived without the participation of labor is being hoarded by capital. This is the core of the problem. Until and unless that wealth is used to enable people to purchase the products created without their participation, this situation cannot be resolved.

Capital has used the for-profit banking system to control governments and people to their own benefit. Debt money loaded to nations at compounded interest can never pay that debt, because the value of the interest demanded was never introduced into the economy. It's a broken system. Technical people who understand logic ought to be able to work through the math of this, and the network of interactions, to satisfy themselves that this is so. We should also be able to design a better system, rather than argue over how to kludge a fix that can only hide the real problem for a short time.

1 year,11 hours

How Did You Learn How To Program?

gznork26 Binary on a DIGIAC 3080 (623 comments)

It was 1969, and my high school had a desk-sized 'training computer' with bat switches for telling it to load the paper tape with the assembler on it, a card-reader/punch and 4K memory on a drum. After learning binary, the second language I learned was the beast's assembly language. The assembler program backed itself out of memory as it ran so it could load the assembled result. After that, it was FORTRAN, but our teacher had to bring the decks to the college to run them for us.

about a year ago

Researchers Regenerate 400-Year-Old Frozen Plants

gznork26 Re:This is where I get confused about AGW. (77 comments)

The Little Ice Age was what happened the last time the Gulf Stream stopped. It was the reason why some artists had painted ordinary-looking scenes of people out on the ice of their lake -- something that had not happened before in those places. The North Atlantic gyre can be stopped by the addition of too much fresh water from melting ice, because it is the difference in salinity that drives the currents and the upwelling from the depths. We live on a planet with a lot of interconnected systems that rely on one another to keep the cycles going. A small change can have large effects.

about a year ago

Sensor Uses Body's Electrical Signature To Secure Devices

gznork26 District 9 (64 comments)

So that's how the alien weaponry in District 9 worked. Alien physiology would be significantly different from human, and the guns could only be used when one of those aliens held it.

more than 2 years ago

NASA Satellite Measurements Show Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Melt

gznork26 Atlantic Currents (411 comments)

With that much fresh water being added to the North Atlantic, we ought to be talking about the health of the Atlantic Ocean currents that are energized by the temperature difference between equator and polar regions, and the deep water exchange, which is driven by the difference in salinization. Most important of these currents is the Gulf Stream. It stopped several hundred years ago, over the course of a single lifetime, and caused the Little Ice Age in Europe. I've already heard some reports about the speed of the current slowing. An awful lot depends on those currents, and we've heard nary a peep about the implications.

more than 2 years ago

How the Inventors of Dragon Speech Recognition Technology Lost Everything

gznork26 Re:Why civil? (606 comments)

Sure. Go ahead. Make corporations 100% people. Give them all of the rights they've been lusting after, and once they've grabbed that carrot, shut the door behind them and give them the responsibilities and the punishments as well. I fantasize about this sort of thing on my blog. This one launched a series:

about 2 years ago

Bluetooth Keyboards With a 10-Year Charge Promised

gznork26 Re:Ha! (270 comments)

An idea I first heard from Tom Digby at the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society about 1980. Why not?

more than 2 years ago

Debt Deal Reached

gznork26 Re:Then Why Are We Seeing the Same Negative Effect (844 comments)

The US government can't order the Fed to just 'hand it over'. That money is loaned to the US at interest. The amount owed to the Fed (principle + interest) is more than the amount of money available, and can never be paid back except by extracting it from somewhere else outside of the US's economy.

more than 3 years ago

Robot Jet Fighter Takes First Flight

gznork26 Cover (119 comments)

I would imagine that s group of some later version of the bird could fly cover for a single (remote or actual) piloted aircraft. That strategy would insinuate human judgement into the mission, while freeing the robots to do what they need to within those restrictions. Of course, hijacking the flight of robots would then require only gaining control over the piloted craft and changing the mission definition. When do we start seeing these things in movies?

more than 3 years ago

RoboEarth Teaches Robots to Learn From Peers

gznork26 Be careful what you tell them, then (97 comments)

This has potential. They'll start teaching each other things, and pretty soon those robots will be sporting what some people might refer to as 'artificial' intelligence. Of course they might get a bit touchy [ ] about us calling them that, though. And at some point, the lies we tell them will come back [ ] to bite us. But hey, these are just stories. Fiction. Well, at least they were when I wrote them. Now I'm not so sure.

more than 3 years ago

Is Setting Up an Offshore IT Help Desk Ethical?

gznork26 Re:Any time you need to ask the question... (826 comments)

>>>> Nature didn't select for "non-competitiveness"

Actually, it does. Nature selects for survival, and that can be achieved by finding ways to avoid competing for the same resources. For example, staking out a different plot of ground, or an unoccupied tree, or eating your second-favorite food because you don't have to fight over it.

more than 3 years ago

1928 Time Traveler Caught On Film?

gznork26 Re:Verizon's Network Was So Terrible in 1928 (685 comments)

Not Tesla, Farnsworth. According to the time traveler from Westercon 100 that I met at the Seattle Westercon 50 Science Fiction Convention in 1997, Philo T. Farnsworth not only invented TV, but in 1927 he invented the time machine. If you don't believe me, ask Dr. Robert Forward; his grandson from the future was on some of the panels.

Read my short stories at

more than 3 years ago

Researchers Find a 'Liberal Gene'

gznork26 Re:Oh, just great (841 comments)

This sort of thing can be spun either way, so any attempt to investigate it further could be hazardous to the researchers and publishers. In fact, I explored the potential side-effects of doing so in one of the political short stories at my blog, called 'Forced Inquiry'. Pop the following into your browser and have look.

more than 3 years ago

Apple iPad Reviewed

gznork26 Re:Better reviews here (443 comments)

In particular, it might be handy to have a separate device that is good for reading, and which communicates with your desktop. I've long wanted to have the help or docs somewhere other than either in the way of what I'm working on, covered by what I'm working on, or on a second monitor I don't have. With the doc on an iPad beside my keyboard, I can work more comfortably, and I can take it to somewhere more comfortable if there's a lot to read before proceeding with the software I'm using.

more than 4 years ago


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