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Algorithm Contest Aims To Predict Health Problems

infinite9 Laughable (138 comments)

The competition challenges data hackers to build algorithms that predict who will go to the hospital in the next year, so that they can be dropped.

fixed.

more than 3 years ago
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Scientists Advocate Replacing Cattle With Insects

infinite9 Re:How about: less people (760 comments)

... elementary school kids learning about condoms and safe sex.

Who gets to decide what my children should be taught at what age? You? Maybe I should demand that your children get religion classes at a young age.

more than 3 years ago
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Famous British Autism Study an 'Elaborate Fraud'

infinite9 Re:The damage is already done (813 comments)

The small pox vaccine was an unusually aggressive vaccine giving severe complication to 1 out of 1.000.000 vaccinated (think hit by lightning). Very few other vaccines are anywhere as dangerous. I think the hepatitis vacinne is the most dangerous of the common vaccines now, and it just gives you joint-pain for a few days if you are unlucky.

When my son (now 12yo) was less than a year old, he received the usual MMR vaccine. What happened that night was the scariest night of my life. Imagine a 12 month (iirc) old baby, clenching his fists and teeth, rigid body, high fever, while screaming through his teeth. This went on non-stop for several hours. The emergency room staff could do nothing. It eventually went away on its own. The doctors later blamed the MMR vaccine and told us not to give him the next round which was due a few years later. Interestingly, he has Asperger's Syndrome. But he got that from me, not the vaccine.

more than 3 years ago
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Greed, Zealotry, and the Commodore 64

infinite9 Re:I win! (645 comments)

This means that until we have a full understanding of Physics (if ever, see Godel's incompleteness theorem) then the existence of God must remain undecided.

"If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice!" Rush - Free Will

more than 2 years ago
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Greed, Zealotry, and the Commodore 64

infinite9 Re:Goes both ways... (645 comments)

In Islam, a core belief is the belief of predestination (qada' and qadar) meaning what has happened, is happening and will happen is already written. As humans we are given the gift of "free will" [......]

You're a scientist and you can't see that those two things are mutually exclusive?

Christianity is nearly identical in this respect. As a human, you have free will to do whatever you want. That thing you do may be God's will for your life, or may go against God's will and serve your selfish interests instead. And even if you do evil, God may still use your actions as part of his plan, for his glory. But God knew from the foundation of the world who you would be, what you would do, and whether you would have faith in christ.

more than 2 years ago
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Greed, Zealotry, and the Commodore 64

infinite9 Re:Goes both ways... (645 comments)

Tell me, what part of your abilities came from God?

All of them. And yours too. Does the pot tell the potter that he doesn't exist? That the pot spontaneously sprang into existence and is an awesome bit of pottery all by himself?

Did he go through the years of school for you?

I would argue that the school, and the earth where it sits, and the teachers, and the people who taught the teachers back to the beginning, and the laws of physics that govern everything from the science you study to the curing process in the concrete used in the school's foundation come from God. You could use the intelligence and curiosity given to you by God to work hard and toil to learn whatever you want and earn your titles and degrees. And with them, maybe you can even do God's will and participate in God's plan for your life. But without God, it's all for nothing. Hell is full of doctors and scholars, as is Heaven. So, as it is in this world, it must not be the piece of paper that makes you who you are or qualifies you for an afterlife that doesn't suck.

Perhaps he inspired you with the knowledge of how chemical reactions work?

Thanking God for your abilities is just pushing it back a step. Instead of me disrespecting a doctor by giving God the credit instead, that's you disrespecting every human teacher you ever had.

Human pride.

If you're thanking God for the aptitude alone, thank your parents -- nature or nurture, the part you're crediting God with likely came from them.

If you're thanking God for every single event that deterministically led to you being where you are now, basically for setting the universe in motion, even if that were true, that seems absurdly far removed from what you're actually doing with medicine -- how do you know you're even doing what the creator of the universe would want?

The bible, the holy spirit, and prayer. This is probably impossible to understand without being a christian.

What is it I'm supposed to be presuming that isn't possible?

That you can save yourself.

more than 2 years ago
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Chinese Written Language To Dominate Internet

infinite9 Re:Unlikely (535 comments)

Thus, there's more people, by far, who can easily (for varying values of easy) learn English than there are who can easily learn Chinese.

I once talked with a naitive chinese speaker about learning english vs learning chinese. The guy was very smart and had a good vocabulary in english, but he had real problems with his accent. He says that while learning to read and write chinese is a nightmare, actually speaking chinese is surprisingly easy for americans. He says the major cities are full of foreigners who can speak chinese, have great vocabularies, and nail the pronunciation, even with the crazy intonation. But they may not be able to read it very well at all.

This matches my own experience with Japanese. I'm not fluent, but I get by well. For example, on my last visit to Japan, I managed to navigate customs entirely in Japanese. I can read and write hiragana and katakana well enough. But I only know maybe 100 kanji. Speaking japanese really is not as bad as it sounds. I found it as easy to learn as french for example.

English on the other hand is a nightmare to learn to speak and to read/write. The spelling system is screwed up. There's 600,000 to 1,000,000 million words depending on who you ask. There's a dozen or more dialects, each with their own exclusive set of idioms. The south africans are almost unintelligible. We have crazy grammar rules. We have 273 irregular verbs. (only latin and italian have more iirc) And native speakers abuse the language like you wouldn't believe. Even our grandparents often use different idioms and pronunciations than we do. I'd hate to have to learn english as a second language.

more than 2 years ago
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Ford To Offer Fuel-Saving 'Start-Stop' System

infinite9 Re:Cold weather (572 comments)

How does this system behave in cold weather? Sometimes, I want the car running for a while, either to power the heater or to just warm up the engine before I take it on the road?

This feature will flop in florida et al. No engine, no a/c.

more than 3 years ago
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Banknotes Go Electronic To Outwit Counterfeiters

infinite9 Re:Go electronic! (441 comments)

You can buy and sell things so long as you can barter with someone. Making the currency electronic and requiring implanted RFID devices to make transactions will make one's life difficult, but it won't close the barter loophole - and, as in any case of regulation, a shadow economy would inevitably arise, with its own currency (likely gold and other precious metals and stones). So you'd still need a law either way.

Yeah, this is the consensus. That christians will have to find other ways to get what they need. I suspect it will be a lot like nazi germany. There were some non-jewish germans who helped the jews. I think a black market will be a lot harder with a modern surveillance society, but certainly not impossible. The bible clearly says that there will be christians who make it all the way through the tribulation alive. This means 3.5 years on the run. They must be eating something, even if it's been provided supernaturally.

more than 3 years ago
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Banknotes Go Electronic To Outwit Counterfeiters

infinite9 Re:Go electronic! (441 comments)

> I believe that Jeffery Dahmer is in heaven. This is because he was saved shortly before he was killed in prison

You're assuming he actually changed and was actually forgiven - something you won't really know unless you meet him in heaven or hell. There's no faith-o-meter that can tell you beforehand which way someone is going, whether they're just saying the words or they really mean it. If there can be "bad christians", that means there can also be insincere conversions.

Of course you're right. There's no way to be sure. But I've seen an interview with the pastor who met him in prison. It was his opinion that his acceptance of christ was sincere. And I have no reason to doubt that.

more than 3 years ago
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Banknotes Go Electronic To Outwit Counterfeiters

infinite9 Re:Go electronic! (441 comments)

Yes, but meanwhile they are happy to wear the mark of greed.

The christian community has the exact same problems that the non-christians have. There's divorce, incest, child molestations, theft, lying, cheating... everything. If you look at the statistics, there's really not much outward difference between christians and non-christians.

There's a lot of reasons for this. There are huge numbers of people who call themselves christians, but really aren't any different from other people. Maybe they believe. But they don't go to church, and more or less behave like they're not christians. But everyone looks at people like that and says, see? The christians are hypocrites! Is this person really a christian?

Then there's the christians who really are making an effort to behave in a christ-like manner. But this is spectacularly difficult. So difficult that no one can really do this 100%. So people make their best effort with varying degrees of success. They make mistakes, some small, some big. They recognize what happened, apologize to those affected, repent, and do their best to not repeat the mistake, which sometimes happens and sometimes not. When these people make mistakes, the reaction from non-christians is the same. See?! Hypocrites! Christianity is BS! But what these non-christians should be doing is indicting the person and not the religion.

Christianity isn't about never sinning again, although that is the goal. In fact, it's safe to assume that never sinning again is impossible. In the end, it doesn't matter who has sinned how much, if this person has sinned more or less than that person who got into heaven or who didn't. In the end, all that matters is faith in jesus. You either have it or you don't.

To drive the point home, I believe that Jeffery Dahmer is in heaven. This is because he was saved shortly before he was killed in prison. Some people would react with shock and indignation to this. After all, why would someone so awful be allowed into heaven? But christians have a different perspective. If even someone as bad as Jeffery Dahmer can be forgiven, then so can I.

more than 3 years ago
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Banknotes Go Electronic To Outwit Counterfeiters

infinite9 Re:Go electronic! (441 comments)

Can you explain how this equates to a "one-world cashless financial system where the government can approve or deny any transaction in real-time"? It would seem to me that a much more trivial interpretation would be a law enacted such that no-one can trade with people not bearing the "mark".

I think it's reasonable to make an attempt to line up today's technology with the prophecy. If you simply passed a law, what's to stop people from circumventing the law? When it says "no one can buy or sell, I read that as no one is able to buy or sell. In other words, it's impossible.

The prophecy quite specifically talks about a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. It would seem that implanting an RFID chip into the left hand should not pose any problem to Christians.

I think christians approach this from a different angle. Rather than say that anything in the left hand is ok, I think we say that it's going to be in the right hand (or forehead) because that's what's written there. In other words, you can speculate that somewhere along the way, we might be offered something in the left hand. But I doubt that will happen at all. But this tends to be a touchy subject for most (real) christians, hence the aversion to anything that even remotely looks like the mark.

There's a lot of debate in christian circles what the meaning of the mark is. Some say it's some sort of tattoo or barcode. Others say that it's purely a spiritual mark and not really something that is manifested here in this world. But I think it would be impossible to control commerce with a purely spiritual mark. So I take a more pragmatic approach. The goal of the antichrist is to flush out the christians so that they can be killed. What better way than to deny us the ability to eat or work or have a place to live? The problem with all this isn't so much the actual mark or participating in the beast financial system. The problem is that you have to swear allegiance to the antichrist. At that point in time, you'll have to make a choice between Jesus and the antichrist. And there will be no middle ground. You're either in our you're out. And being out is really bad news for eternity.

more than 3 years ago
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Banknotes Go Electronic To Outwit Counterfeiters

infinite9 Re:Go electronic! (441 comments)

Not without a lot of baseless guesswork, they don't.

Revelation 13:16-17

It (the beast/the antichrist together with the false prophet) also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.

Sounds pretty clear to me. You'll find that christians will most likely happily go to their death before agreeing to an implanted RFID (or similar) chip used to facilitate buying and selling.

more than 3 years ago
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Banknotes Go Electronic To Outwit Counterfeiters

infinite9 Re:Go electronic! (441 comments)

Was. (if this idiocy is implemented)

The article basically describes RFID tech capable of being built into money. These RFIDs can be read at any point-of-sale cash register. No? Give the government a year or so, as this is the real purpose of all of this--tracking every fucking dollar spent (not to mention the person doing the spending).

As with any RFID system, use your microwave oven liberally. 5 seconds is usually enough. If enough people do this, the whole scheme falls apart as constant "counterfeits" will be a deterrent to doing business and people won't trust the RFID pass/fail determintation. Besides, what happens if your hundred-dollar bill RFID malfunctions (from, say, being crumpled up in a pocket while going through the washer?) and no longer communicates? Are you out a hundred bucks? Will the clerk waiting for you to pay for a full shopping cart of groceries care?

It isn't a collar unless you let them put it on you.

As a christian, stories about tracking purchases are very interesting to me. End-time prophecies say that we'll eventually end up with a one-world cashless financial system where the government can approve or deny any transaction in real-time. Say something bad about the government? Associate with the wrong people? Refuse to take this mark that says you agree to worship the mandated one-world religion instead of whoever you want? No transaction for you... and the police will be there in a moment. Please remain calm.

Just 30 years ago, none of us thought this would be in our lifetimes. After all, who could imagine stringing together 1,000,000 apple 2Es over phone lines to make this work? Now? I think I could design the system myself. We're not supposed to set dates. But at least this part of the puzzle can happen pretty much right now.

Ordinarily, I'd think about this stuff and feel a sense of dread. But I'll be gone when all this happens. It's you non-christians who get to deal with that mess. ;-)

more than 3 years ago
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Electric Cars May Be Made Noisier By Law

infinite9 Re:Why trust your ears? Unless you're blind that i (620 comments)

The thing that floors me is that people get hit by trains. TRAINS! We're talking like five-thousand plus tons of steel rumbling down a track, and people don't notice. How is this even possible? How self-absorbed do you have to be to notice a freaking TRAIN. I used to live not far from a freight line and the whole bloody ground shook when a train went by...

I live in the chicago area. And people do indeed get hit by trains of a fairly regular basis. And I'll explain how it happens.

It's very difficult to get hit by a train at my station. My station has only one track. Farther out in the suburbs, most of the trains are inbound in the morning and outbound in the evening. There's a few places with double tracks and points where trains going the other direction can let other trains pass. At most stations, there are parking lots on both sides of the track. When my train stops, people get out, then walk behind the train, crossing the tracks, so they can get to their car. They do this with the arms down and lights going. This is arguably safe because there's one train and one track, and the train is heading the other direction. So it's impossible to get hit by a train unless the train backs up. And trains aren't exactly known for their acceleration. Of course, this doesn't stop the local police from writing tickets for this behavior. :-/

Closer in to downtown, the train stations have two or more tracks. Here's how people get hit. Their train stops and they get out. The arms are down and flashing. They cross both sets of tracks behind the train. They think it's safe because the train is stopped and will go the other way. What they don't see is the express training passing next to their train on the other track. They think it's their train causing the lights and arms to come down. Their view of the express train is blocked by their stopped train. And they can't hear the train horn because of the crossing arm bell, and the sound is blocked by the stopped train. In this way, people will step in to the path of a 50mph express train. The result is body parts scattered everywhere.

There's also the occasional suicide which can be accomplished at any station where express trains don't stop.

more than 3 years ago
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Electric Cars May Be Made Noisier By Law

infinite9 Re:MUST PROTECT THE STUPID! (620 comments)

Care to tell me what a blind person is doing alone in a parking lot? Looking for his car?

Blind people drive all the time. You should know this. Ever seen the braille between the lanes? When blind people drive, they open the door and drag their fingers on the ground. Why else would they have braille on drive-up ATM machines?

more than 3 years ago
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Electric Cars May Be Made Noisier By Law

infinite9 Re:Yeah i was thinking about that. (620 comments)

This is actually an old story. Originally marketing and PR firms noted that cars produce distinctive engine noise that promote the label and with electric cars this would be gone, hence they worked on the idea of electric cars making marketing driving noise and seeking excuses to force it on customers.

ooooooohh, you're a genius! I'm replacing my car horn with a really loud "RENT THIS AD SPACE!" Then, someone could rent the space and replace it with "DRINK COCA-COLA!" I could charge buckets of money each month! Then I could have a lobbyist bribe members of congress to pass a law requiring everyone to have it as a safety feature (think of the children). Of course, we'd also need a device to make sure you're honking the horn enough. Or maybe charge per honk.

I'm beginning to think maybe the Amish got it right.

more than 3 years ago
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Woman Sues Google Over Street View Shots of Her Underwear

infinite9 Re:Mental Illness (417 comments)

Even ignoring the fact that the woman's underwear was apparently visible from the street in the first place and it never bothered her. This reeks of unhealthy paranoia to me, is Google really responsible for one woman's mental issues?

Japan has had problems overcoming a few cultural problems. When I was there back in the 80s, it was common and even condoned, for men to grope women on trains. In a lot of cases, people are packed like sardines into the trains. So a man could literally plant his hand on a body part and leave it there until the next train stop, with the woman unable to do anything about it, and everyone around her unable or unwilling to help. This actually happened to my mother on a few occasions.

This is the land that has vending machines for used ladies' underwear. I think there's definitely a reasonable worry that this photo might end up being used by someone for something creepy. Maybe she is overreacting to the perceived danger. But I can definitely see how she'd be creeped out by this. Maybe google's attitude with street view is a little inconsiderate given Japan's culture.

more than 3 years ago
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Woman Sues Google Over Street View Shots of Her Underwear

infinite9 Re:Ugh, this again? (417 comments)

I understand not wanting pictures of your underwear online, but she didn't seem to have a problem hanging it in her front yard.

In my eyes, any legitimacy she had was lost when she sued first instead of just asking to have it blurred or removed.

I spent a few years in Japan. It's actually quite possible that she would assume that no one would look at them out of common courtesy. To give you an idea how Japanese culture works, here's a story. Once, shortly after we arrived in Japan (we had been there only a few days iirc), we were traveling on a highway when we came to something like a toll plaza or something we'd call an oasis. A bus had stopped there, and about 10 men got out of the bus, lined up facing a wall, and began to urinate in public. My mother was laughing at the sight, and suggested that this would be considered rude in the US. The guide said that in Japan, it would be considered rude to notice.

I think American sensibilities would lead people to keep things like that hidden if it worried them. But this just might not be the case in other cultures like Japan.

more than 3 years ago
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UN Considering Control of the Internet

infinite9 Re:Their greatest trick... (402 comments)

...because God promised that he wouldn't flood the earth again. (Despite some more barbaric claims in Revelation that He will indeed come back to destroy the world, and the claim that the rainbow is a symbol of God's promise, instead of a result of light refraction.)

God is supernatural. The very definition of that word means that God is outside of nature. Because of this, God can either work within or without the confines of nature to affect his will. In other words, God could strike you dead by making a piano materialize over your head. Or he could simply allow you to catch aids through your lifestyle and die that way.

Did people 4000 years ago understand that a rainbow comes from refracted light? No. Could God have used light refraction to implement a rainbow? Yes. Remember that the world before the flood was wildly different than it is now. It had never rained before the flood. (water for plants and animals came from other sources) So a rainbow would indeed be a new phenomenon for people here on earth. (People often think this is far too fantastic to be true. But how many weird planets are their in our universe? And how much of a astronomical change would it take to turn our planet into something very different?)

You're right that the bible predicts that the earth will be destroyed by God's judgments. But I think it's important to note that it's humans and their free will that brought these judgments upon the planet. Who is responsible then?

I had an interesting conversation on a christian forum discussing the 2012 "prophecies" and such. The book of revelation describes a lot of events during the tribulation that result in destruction here on earth. A few in particular seem like accurate descriptions of large meteor strikes. One describes something "like a large fiery mountain crashing into the sea." We wondered whether this event would be 100% supernatural in origin, whether God would simply bump an asteroid in our direction depending on our behavior, or whether this asteroid is currently on an intercept course because he already knows the outcome of our behavior. It could be any of those. One of the events associated with 2012 is the galactic crossing where we're supposed to cross through the plane of the galaxy. What if the galaxy contains a saturn-style ring full of space junk? Some of them could be the size of small planets. They could pass through the solar system disrupting orbits, the axis of rotation, even the rotational speed of the earth. Then again, it could just all be supernatural in origin.

Anyway, time is running out. Christians will disappear soon and whoever's left gets to deal with all these unpleasantries. It will be so bad that people will wish for death. Of course, death will bring something far worse than life here under those conditions. Repent or else.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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"Hacker" remotely disables cars and honks horns

infinite9 infinite9 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

infinite9 (319274) writes "While this is really a case of bad password management rather than hacking, I'm still disturbed that this remote disable/honking system is in existence. What's next? Disco Lights or doors that won't lock in houses when people are behind on mortgages? Apparently, he was really good with computers."
Link to Original Source
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How can we slay the varchar date monster?

infinite9 infinite9 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

infinite9 (319274) writes "I've been given the task of designing the architecture and common tools for our new 3-tier .net environment with oracle. Some of our users are in the UK, which means we need to support globalized dates. I've argued that globalization is a job for the presentation tier, and that everything below that should use the provided date data types. I'm getting a lot of resistance from the other developers however. They're claiming that the best way is to store the dates in the database in yyyyMMdd format in varchar fields, or at least convert them all to that before returning from the stored procedures. This is obviously a bad idea. But I've argued this 100 ways and they refuse to "get it". Can anyone suggest a source I can point them at to educate them on proper system design?"
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infinite9 infinite9 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

infinite9 writes "I hear about startups all the time. But most of the time, it's just talk. So I don't take them seriously. But this time, someone has really caught my attention. I'm an independant IT consultant with many years of experience. I'm in my 30s. I make an excellent hourly rate and would most likely continue to do so. But a friend of mine has offered me part ownership as a founding share holder in a new business. I can't talk about what I would be doing, but it's spectacularly awesome. It's the stuff I dreamed about making when I was a kid. I'm usually very skeptical about these things. But in this case, their business plan is rock solid. They have several investors interested already. But when I heard about one potential investor in particular who they've already met with, it floored me. Everyone here would instantly recognize his name. If this person trusts these people and their business plan, shouldn't I? Here's the problem. For the first few years, I would be making what for most people is a great salary. But for me, it's a significant pay cut, almost half. But I'd be working from home a lot. I'd have a lot of control. I'd be working with my friends doing something extremely fun and satisfying. Currently, I put quite a lot of money a year in an IRA/401k. I'd have to stop that. But in exchange I'd get quite a lot of shares. If they just hit the conservative estimates in their business plan, i'd be very comfortable. If they exceed plan even a little, which is likely if they succeed, I'd never have to work again. Worst case, I walk away with valuable business experience, good technical experience, and no IRA/401k. I would be around 40 at this point. So what would you need to justify leaving your comfort zone and taking a risk like this? Other than obvious due diligence, what would you want to know or consider up front?"

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