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The Men Trying To Save Us From the Machines

nomad-9 Skynet and terminators? (161 comments)

These people must have watched the Terminator series and the "self-aware" AI system Skynet. IMO, the threat of nuclear war triggered by malfunctioning defense computers is way greater. There are several well-documented instances of nuclear near-misses caused by machine failure .

Are machines more dangerous when they become super-intelligent, or when they stay "stupid" and flawed?

about 10 months ago
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Stephen Hawking Warns Against Confining Ourselves To Earth

nomad-9 Yeah, we're so great that... (414 comments)

...the rest of the universe is dying for us to show up.

Aaaah, all those new cosmic markets of unlimited potential, just sitting there,waiting for our neo-liberalism, our lawyers and our banking system All those rivers to poison, life-forms to exterminate...We'll share with aliens everywhere all the greatest recent accomplishments of human civilization: we'll sell them iPhones, have them have Facebook accounts, invite them on Oprah. And if they happen to have lots of oil...well, even better: we'll pretext the presence of WMDs to invade them and introduce them to democracy..

With all due respect, Mr Hawking, please shut the hell up and let us auto.destroy in this planet. The rest of the universe will do just fine without us.

1 year,10 days
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Hatebase Tries To Scan For Precursors of Genocide In Language

nomad-9 "The 8 stages of Genocide" (190 comments)

Just read the part about the 8 stages of genocide of this so-called "Genocide Watch" ( http://www.genocidewatch.org/aboutgenocide/8stagesofgenocide.html )

Unfortunately they focus mainly on religious and ethnic hatred, which doesn't really account for some of the biggest genocides of the 20th century like in Pol Pot's Cambodia, Stalin's USSR and Mao's China, They do mention Pol Pot a couple of times, for the "blue ribbon" symbolism and the "Denial" stage, but miss the root of the problem. Their view is shallow at best, IMO.

It is fashionable to focus almost exclusively on race, religion and nationalism, but ironically, the biggest killings in the past century came from ideologies aiming to unite mankind beyond those "hate" barriers.

"Genocide Watch" would have probably missed those "early stages" of Communism...

1 year,17 days
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Stan Lee Celebrates 90th Birthday

nomad-9 Stan Lee in The Big Bang Theory (57 comments)

"You boys may have gotten autographed comics from Stan Lee, but I saw the inside of his house and got an autographed application for a restraining order."
" Plus, I get to hang out with him again at the hearing."

- Sheldon, ("The Excelsior Acquisition" episode).

about a year ago
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NASA On Full Court Press To Deflate Doomsday Prophecies

nomad-9 History of Apocalyptic days (286 comments)

Here's a partial list:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dates_predicted_for_apocalyptic_events

Of course, nobody could let the following years slip by without a doomsday label attached to them:: 1000, Jan 1 (Pope Sylvester II), 1666 (surprise!), 2000, Jan 1.

And of course, the year 2020 is among those future doomsdays. I'm surprised 2222 is not in the list, but not to worry, some "psychic" or religious nut is bound to take that opportunity and get some followers...

NASA is wasting time with this nonsense. If the history of failed apocalypses teaches us anything, is that a large chunk of the world population will always be irrational.

about a year ago
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Research Suggests Apes and Humans Separated By a Single Gene

nomad-9 Not a "single gene" (243 comments)

The article is crock. Scientists didn't pretend that "all the difference humans and apes comes down to a single gene", they stated that they discovered a new brain gene that is unique to humans .and they are hopeful to find more of the same to help explain what makes us who we are.

They don''t even say that this gene was the "first" and sprang all the others. All they are saying is that it played a significant role in human evolution, and that it appeared from junk DNA after humans evolved from apes.

Being unique to humans, and being the one and only single difference between humans and apes, are two different things. One is a scientific statement and the other is typical media sensationalist drivel.

about a year and a half ago
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UK To Use "Risk-Profiling Software" To Screen All Airline Passengers and Cargo

nomad-9 No profiling? (222 comments)

"The company making the Risk-Profiling Software in question, of course, strongly denies that the software would single people out using factors like race, religion or country of origin. It says that the program works by feeding in data about passengers..."

...which singles people out using factors like race, religion or country of origin.

They can deny it as "strongly" as they want. How else would they get anything remotely relevant without resorting to racial or religious profiling? And would that be useful anyway? Is the hypothetical future "airline terrorist" a real problem, or more of an excuse to make money by Fear entrepreneurs and peddlers?

about a year and a half ago
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It's Hard For Techies Over 40 To Stay Relevant, Says SAP Lab Director

nomad-9 The problem isn't age, but incompetence. (441 comments)

That confirms what my many years of IT experience has taught me. i.e. : The major problem in IT is the wrong people heading IT departments. Too many"Directors", "CTOs" and "CEOs" have no fringing idea of what they're doing or saying.

Those would fall under the "unskilled and unaware of it" label:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect:

I've seen lots of "young dynamic" (sigh) companies hit the bottom because there were no experienced engineer to stir all the young, inexperienced ones in the good direction. Of course those fresh graduates had "more value" to upper management. since they were cheaper and not experienced enough to question their often unrealistic expectations. The best performing companies I've seen had a mixture of old & young engineers.

about a year and a half ago
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Cyberespionage For Everyone

nomad-9 Really that prolific? (44 comments)

From the article:"Turns out cyberespionage malware and activity is far more prolific than imagined.".

Really? Who "imagined" that malware activity was not that "prolific"? Did they just defrost those "researchers"?. Seems like these folks are the only ones surprised by the existence of script-kiddies, hackers in the Middle-East, the extent of Chinese state-sponsored cyber-espionage, and the growing hacker communities in Brasil and other emerging nations. Globalization => globalization of hacking. Who would have imagined that....

And the article links to another one ("Scope Of APTs More Widespread Than Thought" ) that goes on:
"There's a lot of cyberespionage happening internationally. This is not going to go away," Kaspersky's Schouwenberg says.

Gee, thanks for the eye-opening, completely obvious, self-evident statement, Shouwie, Here's a question: do you experts stay constantly tuned with what's happening in the world, or do you just wake up one day, burst out of the bubble where you were busy "imagining" things, and discover reality?

about a year and a half ago
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Climate Change Could Drive Coffee To Extinction By 2080

nomad-9 Solution: technological progress (345 comments)

About disappearing stuff, like oil, coffee, etc. Necessity is the mother of invention, and the necessity to have something in place of what is poised to disappear, will drive new technological breakthroughs to meet market need.

By 2080, we'll probably have the technology to mass-produce artificial coffee, as no serious entrepreneur will ignore the potential for profit with the millions of caffeine-starved coffee drinkers looking for a substitute beverage.

Of course, before that, the increasing rarity of coffee will drive prices high, natural coffee will become a luxury, and some will make big bucks.

As for other things still found in the wild right now, natural coffee will be a thing of the past. The following generations will have no notion of it. Eating & drinking entirely artificially-produced products will be the definition of normality, Sad but true. As for coffee lovers like myself, there's a bright side: most of us will be dead by 2080.

about a year and a half ago
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Navy Seals Disciplined For Revealing Secrets As Consultants On Video Game

nomad-9 Could be worse (204 comments)

Just a consequence of the glorification of elite warriors (or killers, depending on the point of view) in the media and Hollywood, and in a society almost entirely based on money. That can put some pressure on maintaining a sense of duty and code of ethics in the long run.

Could be worse. They could be"consulting" for the Mexican drug cartels, as some of Mexico and Guatemala's former special forces already do...

about a year and a half ago
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Discovery of Early Human Tools Hint at Earlier Start

nomad-9 Complex Technology? (109 comments)

Am I the only one slightly inconvenienced by the expression "masters of complex technology" for crafting tiny stone blades?

By the same token, the hyperbole-inclined call "Mousterian technological complex" a pretty simple set of stone tools made by Neanderthals...
Right, everything is relative, but still, in historical perspective, none of these even remotely qualify as "complex". Seriously, start with the invention of the wheel, one of the six SIMPLE machines:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simple_machine

about a year and a half ago
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PayPal, Symantec Hacked In Anonymous November 5 Hacking Spree

nomad-9 Saturday Night Live (101 comments)

As for SNL, turns out that was an - Alcoholic - Anonymous who defaced their site. He had much to drink and thought it was a funny thing to do at the time.

Now that he has sobered up, he can't even "Remember, Remember The Fifth of November".

about a year and a half ago
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More Than 25% of Android Apps Know Too Much About You

nomad-9 Apps need permissions to work (277 comments)

The problem I see is that, in order for most apps to do something useful. For example, if you develop an SMS app, besides permissions on reading/writing/editing/sending messages, you will need access to contacts data, phone state and identity. Looks scary, but no SMS/MMS app can function properly without these.

I've been developing a few Android apps and they almost all require some type of "unsafe" permissions to run...except one (a small puzzler game).

Similarly, many apps need internet permissions. You can still look at what the app does, and try to determine if it really needs all the permissions it is asking. But since the problem lies in how do the app creators use those permissions beyond their declared "privacy policy", the only reasonable solution I see, is to install a monitoring app for network access, as suggested by some posters...provided the app itself isn't spying on you...

about a year and a half ago
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The IDE As a Bad Programming Language Enabler

nomad-9 Haskell IDEs (586 comments)

So basically the author claims that, if the language is "good enough", there's no need for an IDE, as for "sane languages" like Haskell,.

But Haskell itself has IDEs in development that do way more than "syntax highlighting" and "parent matching". Examples:
- Leksah (http://leksah.org/)
- .EclipseFP (http://eclipsefp.github.com/)

There was also talk about a "Visual Haskell " based on MS Visual Studio...I have no beef with Haskell, on the contrary, from what I heard, it seems like an elegant and powerful language. But is Haskell becoming an "insane" language like Java because "IDEs are a language smell"?

about a year and a half ago
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Italian Supreme Court Accepts Mobile Phone-Tumor Link

nomad-9 Corrupt science (190 comments)

Funny how, when we finally have an independent study that publishes result not in sync with the big corps interests, a bunch of scientists (often a majority of them) are quick to call for "caution" and to declare that there is "not enough evidence" to draw conclusions.

It happened with the study on OGM recently, and is happening again.

Everybody understands that scientists have to make a living, but what happens when the result of their sponsored studies are not in their employer's favor? Scientific research becomes corrupt and misleading, a disengagement from its ethics, resulting in a loss of honesty, integrity, objectivity, and autonomy....All swept aside in order.to put their professional sponsors, big business, and government agencies in their best light.

The deceit works because most of the general public still trusts people in white lab-coats who play authority figures. Science as the servant of money, power and politics, is for the most part dedicating itself to finding the "correct" result, i.e. the desired outcome, the one that is never unexpected and always conform to the establishment's views. Real science is never that predictable.

In Stalinist Russia, in order to suppress bad news about Soviet agriculture, the "State scientist" Lysenko advocated an ideologically correct biology that led to famines. Good thing were not there... yet.

about a year and a half ago
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Man Finds Roman Gold Coin Hoard Worth £100,000 With Metal Detector

nomad-9 Re:Not stolen by the banks (249 comments)

Actually, Romans had a "light" version of it, mostly in the form of money lending activities. Apart from loans, they were deposits, checks and currency exchange.

The early bankers, were already looked upon with contempt...We can now see why, by looking at what can happen when they are given too much power....

about a year and a half ago
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The Surprising Truth About Internet Censorship In the Middle East

nomad-9 Re:Really? (112 comments)

There are only a few country where politics rule! Almost all of the world is ruled by religion!

No, most of the world is ruled by culture. The fact of the matter is that very little of religion's commandments are actually followed, whether we're considering Christians, Jews or Muslims.
Having read all three books (Torah, Bible and Koran - what can I say, I like to read science fiction stories before going to sleep), I can tell you that they all (yes, all) condemn such things as stealing, killing etc.

If religion was so powerful, there wouldn't be that much violation of its fundamentals, like stealing and killing. Religion is used as a means to not-so-religious ends, and that is because all three monotheist religions,are easy to misquote, misinterpret, and misuse.

Getting rid of all religions could be A Good Thing...or not. Even if they went away, there would still be plain godless Ideology, which has been proven to be at least as effective in turning whole countries into shit for supposedly noble causes.

about a year and a half ago
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Black Hole's "Point of No Return" Found

nomad-9 Re:"Event Horizon" (130 comments)

FTA; “Once objects fall through the event horizon, they’re lost forever,”.. You walk through that door, you’re not coming back.”

*** Yeah, I almost got married once, too. ***

That would actually be a wormhole. You can come back again "on the other side", in another universe, i.e. less the house and plus the alimony payments...if you were the husband of course.

about a year and a half ago
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FTC To Recommend Antitrust Case Against Google

nomad-9 Google Minus Google (195 comments)

Google's own reply to monopoly charges was something like: If people don’t like our search results, they're free to try Bing, Yahoo,etc., or "even Google Minus Google".

Pretty straightforward response and to the point, if you ask me. If you don't trust Google search, try other search engines. Who's stopping you? They're just one click away... and among the first - Google search - results for "search engine":
1. Wikipedia definition of Web search engine
2. Dogpile Web search
3. Bing
4. Yahoo! Search
Interestingly, Google''s own product, its Custom Search Engine, comes only in 7th position...Seems to me if I were to "abuse my position of dominance to hurt rivals", I wouldn't list my results as above.

about a year and a half ago

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