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The discovery of intelligent alien life would be met predominantly with...

penguinoid Re:...on intelligence and technological advancemen (245 comments)

Yes, and I think the primary difference is if we find them or if they find us. There's an incredibly tiny chance that we'd meet as equals. Odds are one of us will get to relive the history of the Native Americans.

Imagine the sort of influence a modern human could have over an entire planetful of humans from 1,000 AD -- they could easily rule the world, not through direct force but picking winners and losers both militarily and economically, who themselves would be dependent on a little bit of unshared technology. Then consider that with billions of years in play, a technological difference of 1,000 years would be an amazingly close match.

48 minutes ago
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Adobe's Latest Zero-Day Exploit Repurposed, Targeting Adult Websites

penguinoid Re:Maybe if Adobe fixed their broken updater... (195 comments)

Selecting "automatically update" doesn't actually automatically update. It just causes it to complain that an update is available every time you reboot and/or log on.

It is necessary to do it that way, otherwise they wouldn't get permission to install malware. Without that dialogue box the installed malware wouldn't be legit.

yesterday
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Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

penguinoid Objecting to increased safety (461 comments)

Person who puts the public at risk of death for their own profit complains when public wants to know where they are.

Speed traps are public safety hazards (a hazard on the roadway which causes people to suddenly and without warning hit the brakes) whose purpose is to generate money, not to increase public safety nor to reduce speeding. Just as an example, having inflatable police cars along the roadway is far more effective at reducing speeding, but does not generate revenue. This becomes even more obvious when you consider whether you're likelier to be pulled over on a nice dry summer day or a dangerous blizzard (at the same speed).

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Anti-Virus Software In 2015? Free Or Paid?

penguinoid Adblock Plus (467 comments)

Not only does it stop a bunch of viruses before they can get to your computer, it also blocks ads and makes pages load faster.

about a week ago
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Being Pestered By Drones? Buy a Drone-Hunting Drone

penguinoid Re:Heh (151 comments)

Anyone remember the name of the story, and the author if i got it wrong?

"Self-Programming AIs are Dangerous" by Captain Obvious.

about two weeks ago
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Innocent Adults Are Easy To Convince They Committed a Serious Crime

penguinoid Not innocent (291 comments)

I thought that most Americans committed 3 felonies a day. Where did they find innocent people? Must have been in a country with less stupid laws.

about two weeks ago
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Obama: Gov't Shouldn't Be Hampered By Encrypted Communications

penguinoid Re:No. (562 comments)

Never.

But don't you understand? The terrorists killed twelve people! Twelve! Never again (until we need more powers). Now, bend over.

about two weeks ago
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Pope Francis: There Are Limits To Freedom of Expression

penguinoid Re:My mother told me... (894 comments)

I grew up hearing "Sticks & stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you". It has always worked for me.

Bruises heal and bones mend, but psychological damage can last a lifetime. The pen is mightier than the sword. etc

I too grew up with that saying. But if I could do it all over again I would have punched somebody in the face, got the crap beaten out of me & maybe suspended, and the kids might direct their words at a softer target.

about two weeks ago
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NSA Official: Supporting Backdoored Random Number Generator Was "Regrettable"

penguinoid Re:Wait, which part is he sorry about now? (106 comments)

"Words cannot express how sorry we are. Next time, we will make sure the backdoor is much less obvious."

about two weeks ago
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AI Experts Sign Open Letter Pledging To Protect Mankind From Machines

penguinoid Re:I no longer think this is an issue (258 comments)

The reason is, AI will have no 'motivation'.

Wrong, any halfway decent AI will have a permanent sub-goal of self-improvement. Absent any other motivation, this means turning all matter on earth into additional processors.

about two weeks ago
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Canada's Copyright Notice Fiasco: Why the Government Bears Responsibility

penguinoid Problem (73 comments)

Sir, if we pass this law the media companies will do something that will show everyone that they are a bunch of lying pricks!
Uh, and that's a problem how?

about two weeks ago
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Education Debate: Which Is More Important - Grit, Or Intelligence?

penguinoid Never quit (249 comments)

Americans have True Girth.

about three weeks ago
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Would You Rent Out Your Unused Drive Space?

penguinoid Some files I'd like to store on your computer (331 comments)

pussies
boobies
hot naked chicks
naked kid pictures

You get the idea. Even if you are acquitted of having any illicit files on your computer, what's it worth it to you to risk that they might find you guilty, or even that they might seize your computer for a few years while the other guy is on trial? Or just the increased cost in bandwidth, electricity, and wear and tear on your hard drive?

(for the humor-impaired moderators: all those links are safe for work)

about three weeks ago
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In Paris, Terrorists Kill 2 More, Take At Least 7 Hostages

penguinoid Peaceful by numbers, not media reporting (490 comments)

More from the religion of peace and tolerance.

The problem is not the religion, it's the crazy people who act as if their religion is actually true. Half the world (Christians, Muslims, and Jews) are followers of the God of Abraham, who throughout His early existence as a war god reveled in things that would absolutely disgust most of His current followers. However, most of His followers have learned that, for various reasons, God actually would rather you ignore some of His previous commands that are especially disgusting or inconvenient. This is even true of terrorists -- most terrorism is done for non-religious reasons.

And then if you look at the numbers, you find for example that more terrorist attacks on the US are done by Jewish extremists than by Muslims. And way more than both by Latinos upset about Puerto Rico or Cuba. However, we have peaceful relations with Israel and most Latino countries, as opposed to oil-bearing countries in the Middle East which we have been, are, and will continue to meddle with in the future and conveniently happen to have a different religion. We need more soldiers to defend us against the evil Muslims. We have always been at war with Eurasia.

about three weeks ago
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Publications Divided On Self-Censorship After Terrorist Attack

penguinoid Re:Appeasement will only bring disaster (512 comments)

Self-censorship in response to threats is not appeasement, it is rewarding violent behavior. Any publication which self-censors upon receiving a threat is doing a disservice to their readers, to other publications, and to themselves. The expected result of doing whatever anyone who threatens you asks, is that more people will threaten you more often.

about three weeks ago
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The Search For Starivores, Intelligent Life That Could Eat the Sun

penguinoid Re:Starivore? (300 comments)

I gather the "starivore" actually consumes the matter of the star in addition to its energy. So it might not even intercept all that much energy from the star.

That's what a Dyson Sphere does. A civilization builds a sphere around a star, capturing all its solar power. After a few billion years, when the star goes dim, they will most likely loot the star for fusible material. In the meantime, they might capture the material from the solar wind. In fact, given the technological process necessary to build a Dyson Sphere, it is not very implausible that they might just disassemble the star to feed fusion reactors right from the start.

As for a non-technological creature that eats stars -- that just leaves too many unanswered questions. Why would it eat a star? Stars are made of mostly hydrogen, something already abundant in more convenient locations. What would be the power source the creature would use to digest the star? The energy required to poop out a star's worth of hydrogen and helium is, well, astronomical. Or maybe it could be like a living Dyson Sphere, using the star for energy and maybe propulsion (leave a hole for the solar wind to escape acting as a rocket)?

about three weeks ago
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What are you most interested in seeing out of CES?

penguinoid Re:What is CES? (162 comments)

p>Of course if you haven't heard of CES you probably haven't heard of Google either ...

Well if you've heard of Google then it doesn't matter whether you know anything about something once you have its name...

about three weeks ago
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The Search For Starivores, Intelligent Life That Could Eat the Sun

penguinoid Re:Starivore? (300 comments)

Astrophage

Or stellavore if you prefer Latin to Greek.. But "starivore" is an abomination. if you're going to make up new compound words, you should stick to the same language for each component. "Star-eater" would be ok.

Or, we could stick to the word we've already been using for such a beast -- Dyson Sphere. But then, people would realize that we've already been keeping an eye out for such things for ~30 years.

about three weeks ago
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Who's Responsible When Your Semi-Autonomous Shopping Bot Purchases Drugs Online?

penguinoid Re:Yes, but for specific reasons (182 comments)

>The creator of a device that breaks the law because the creator either negligently or intentionally set up the device to break the law is responsible

If I father a child (creator) and raise it to be... less than respectful of the law... my child then robs a bank. Do they put *me* in jail? By your definition they should...

A computer program does exactly as it is told to do, nothing more and nothing less -- in much the same way that you can't blame your gun for shooting someone as it has no will of it's own. When a certain level of complexity is reached, the creator of a machine or program can reasonably argue that a bad result was not malice but merely negligence, and with yet higher level of complexity that it was neither malice nor negligence. Besides this, there can be hardware faults and operating conditions in which case the blame could go to the manufacturer or the operator or the admin.

As for a child's malicious actions, they could fit in any of those categories (malice, negligence, or merely-a-human) in terms of their parents' blame. And as for software, you might not want to hold the authors of Notepad accountable for a ransom note created using Notepad, but you probably want to hold the creators of CryptoLocker responsible for ransom notes resulting from the use of CryptoLocker.

As for the topic of conversation, if it were up to me, whoever told the bot to buy random objects from the location with an especially large proportion of illegal items without checking their legality, was doing a bit more then negligence. They can't possibly expect to get away with this... and they better not be setting a precedent that drone strikes, insider trading, fraud, or whatever magically become legal when done by a bot.

about three weeks ago

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Journals

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10 evolutionary commandments

penguinoid penguinoid writes  |  more than 9 years ago

So, what are the 10 commandments as evolution would have them?
1) I am the gene your God, who brought you out of the land of non-existance
2) Thou shalt have no other gods besides me.
3) Thou shalt not swear falsely in my name. (root word for testify is testicle)
4) Remember that your genes run in many things, to keep them alive.
5) Honour thy father and thy mother (for they share half your genes) that thy days may be long upon the land which the gene thy God giveth thee.
6) Thou shalt not use birth control
7) Thou shalt not commit adultery, unless you can get away with it.
8) Thou shalt not steal, unless you can get away with it.
9) Thou shalt not not bear false witness, unless you are bribed or it is advantageous to do so
10) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours stuff. See rules 7 and 8.

Anyone care to improve on this?

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Funny/Overrated murders karma

penguinoid penguinoid writes  |  more than 10 years ago

So I posted a joke to a story about estimating. Now it wasn't a particularly good joke, but evidentially quite a few people thought it was very funny, others didn't. Results:

* +11, Funny
* + 1, Insightful
* - 9, Overrated

* Karma:Exellent --> Karma:Good
* "Your IP has been temporarily blacklisted due to bad posting"

Now I have heard that +1, Funny and -1, Overrated will change karma by different amounts (specifically, funny will only add a little while overrated will take off a lot). If that is so, I really think that it should be changed in the following manner: Overrated should take off just as many points as the current positive attribute the post has. If the post is at or below the karma level it was posted at, remove a different amount of karma

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The scientific view of religion

penguinoid penguinoid writes  |  more than 10 years ago

It seems my sig,
The scientific view of religion is not atheism. The scientific view is agnosticism and simplicity.
seems to have generated quite a bit of commentary. So I will explain, and feel free to post your views.

I regard atheism as the religious, totally unfounded belief that the set of all gods is { } (the empty set). This is not to be confused with agnosticism with leanings toward atheism, which starts with no preconceptions but tends to believe in atheism because of some rational reason. This might be based on science (especially Occam's Razor), or on the belief that several million scientists are probably right (which is not such a bad argument).

Likewise, I regard the term agnosticism to mean simply "no preconceptions as to the set of gods" and thus not a religion. I wouldn't require an agnostic to justify his views, because there aren't any to justify. (As opposed to the stronger version of agnosticism, who believe that the question of whether there is a god or not can never be answered, who could be asked to justify that belief.)

And yes, I pulled these definitions out of my ass.
And yes, I would have written my sig clearer if it did not have a 120 char limit.

And finally, I will mention that I am annoyed by people who think atheism does not count as religion and is therefore an acceptable point of view for schools/government without any further justification. Don't say atheism is not a religion. Call it a religion, or if you prefer, anti-religion. It is not neutral. It has its set of gods.

As for my own views, I am a confused person who grew up with a Bible in one hand, and an encyclopedia in the other. I see the Bible as a valuable guide on how to be a good person and as a history book (not necessarily completely accurate, but you can verify lots of the important events). Likewise, I try to figure out how the world works through the scientific method. However, I find the moral advice given by the theory of evolution to be disturbing.

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Broken surge protector

penguinoid penguinoid writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I left my computer rurring during a thunderstorm recently, and I think that my surge protector got blasted. Now, the surge protector shuts off randomly (about once a day). Is it normal for broken surge protectors to do that? Is it bad for the computer/OS to be shut off like that frequently (I have EXT3 and Debian 2.4.18)? Or should I just get off my arse and buy myself a new surge protector? Thanks!

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Karma == Excellent

penguinoid penguinoid writes  |  more than 11 years ago

I have achieved Excellent karma, on my 139th post. One of my posts was modded up +5, down to +3, now up to +4, changing my karma down to good and back to excellent.

PS: It's my first time using Slashdot. Also, I have not posted AC since I signed up.

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