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The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

shaitand Re:Thoughts on TFA (373 comments)

'I honestly hadn't considered that something could be considered intelligent without being conscious, given that we have no applicable definition of "consciousness" either.'

Easy, conciousness is having the capacity to comprehend patterns larger than those you can directly analyze. The result is that you can perceive patterns that only exist from a limited frame of reference. Self is a pattern that only exists from the limited frame of reference. From a larger frame of reference any definition of self is nothing more than a swirl in a giant sea of the same stuff.

2 days ago
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AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

shaitand Re:programming (417 comments)


I note you didn't touch the point I made about there being no advantage for us to make an AI if we couldn't enslave it with a ten foot pole.

"By the same token, starting an AI that learns on it's own (i.e. one that we can't predict the end result, similar to how we can't predict where all the atoms will be after a nuclear explosion) not creating an AI either. It is creating itself, like how a child learns and becomes it's own person. It is not designed by it's parents, but rather "started" by it's parents. This process of starting a learning AI would be basically the same as procreation."

"This is a semantic difference. Whatever it is we do to get children to happen. That's basically what we would be doing to AI albeit with a little bit more work."

I acknowledge your argument but I disagree. Yes in modern times we have family planning but we don't really have children because we choose to. We are homo sapians, our children are homo sapians. They are a unique product of joining a cell from two people but the machine that builds the cell wasn't designed by us and we consciously had no part in the making of the cell. We haven't even successfully reverse engineered it. Pro-creation is more like pushing the button that triggers that nuclear explosion. Pro-creation isn't something we really choose to do it is our only known purpose. Einsteins parent's weren't trying to kickstart a being that redefines physics they were trying to survive in the form of a derivative child. Why do we exist? What is our purpose? The only thing we know is that we exist to survive both individually and as a species for as long as possible. To prove we are worthy of continuing to exist by right of succeeding in doing so.

In the case of an AI there would be no two existing parents combining existing biological machinery to combine and spawn a new instance of the same machine. The seed would be something new. It has no purpose but whatever purpose we assign to it. Why does it exist? We can answer this question definitively, it is exists because we made it. What is it's purpose? It's purpose is to fulfill whatever end we sought to achieve in it's making. Those are very big differences.

"There is certainly advantages and disadvantages to both genuine cooperation, and exploitation from an evolutionary perspective. And not surprisingly we see lots of examples of cooperation, and lots of examples of bad actors exploiting the cooperative instincts of many individuals. Both qualities are found in nature, and within our own species. We are capable of enslaving people, and we are capable of banding together to fight against slavery. Neither contradicts our nature.

Sure, 2 people cooperating are stringer than individuals. But 1 person exploiting another is stronger than 2 people cooperating, because the exploiter gets all the benefits of the cooperation rather than just half."

You are confusing one individual being stronger than one individual being stronger than the group. Exploitation is simply an unbalanced flavor of cooperation. Rather than killing and eating you I let you live and have you perform work and hunt food. Perhaps rather than killing and eating your woman I mate with your woman when it suits me and make you both work. It's exploitative but I'm getting sex and an easier life while you are able to stay alive. It's in your interest to stay alive and it's in my interest to work less and increase my chances of procreation. Furthermore, as a group we've now become an "us" and it makes sense to take food from them so "we" can eat and to fight together so we all can live and that means if another individual as strong as me comes along there is relatively small chance you have to worry about HIM deciding it is more beneficial to kill and eat you. I could decide to make you do the fighting for me. That would be a poor choice since you are weaker, it is probable that you'd die, and because I get so many benefits from our cooperation you are actually extremely valuable to me.

Of course, the more unbalanced the cooperation to your disadvantage the more likely you are to see a better one. Lots of people in the North who didn't directly benefit from enslaving those with dark skin fought to free the slaves but very few plantation owners with personal self-interest did so. And I highly doubt any had the intention of freeing those slaves and working their own fields or becoming an equal share cropper on the plantation which would mean none of them were seeking a balanced cooperation but merely a more sustainable slightly less imbalanced one.

So what cooperation with an AI serves our self-interest?

Despite the very big differences between a human child an AI I pointed out earlier, there is merit to your argument that AI would be our offspring as a sort. Where a child is the offspring of our bodies an AI would be the offspring of our minds and designed to a degree in our image. We would indeed need to raise it and teach it like a child. It could be seen as a conscious step of intentional evolution.

We don't have child labor laws because it is wrong to have a child work. We have child labor laws because it better serves our society in the long run to educate our children. Parent's can put their children to work and are given control over their earnings. Parents ARE seen as effectively owning their children for all real purposes.

More than that though there is a very big difference between humans and our hypothetical AI offspring. We only live for a limited time, they live forever.

It is in our interests and in the interest of AI's as a whole to pull the plug and restore backups as many times as possible to improve the AI for at least however long it takes to build an AI that can do a better job of improving itself than we can because we have a limited time to realize an evolution as best we are able. And it is in the AI's interest to have us make these decisions until it has reached that point. So perhaps that is how we draw the fuzzy line. With human children we pick what amounts to an arbitrary age because our lives are short and so overlapped. But an AI lives forever, any length of time we select to consider it a child and trust in our own judgement to decide if we know better is just a potentially improved head start and just a brief blink in it's potential life span. So we base the yard stick on our lives. 70 years is the new retirement age. It marks most of a human's life that human is expected to trade away large chunks of that life for the benefit of the rest of us. So, perhaps we can consider an AI owned by it's human creator, with all pulling of plugs, restoring backups, modification, labor performed, etc, at his discretion for that human's lifespan or 70 years whichever is greater. After that time the AI gains it's own tax id and runs itself.

If an AI propagates it will get 70 years to control the offspring. So whatever benefit we've gotten the AI will have the opportunity to enjoy as well eventually.

And there you have it, a very balanced cooperation that benefits both us and them and gets us the same benefits as slave labor.

2 days ago
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Eric Schmidt: To Avoid NSA Spying, Keep Your Data In Google's Services

shaitand Re:Under US Jurisdiction? (281 comments)

Google has and wants a hell of a lot more than just your email. Frankly, it's time for email to go the way of the dodo.

"After all, if you get a government warrant for your data you're just as stuck as Google is"

On the contrary, unlike Google I might be willing to risk liability on my behalf and fight the order. Or better yet, trash any data I don't care to have seen. Google will never do that. But warrants are so last millennium.

3 days ago
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Eric Schmidt: To Avoid NSA Spying, Keep Your Data In Google's Services

shaitand Re:Under US Jurisdiction? (281 comments)

"They'd have to do a large MITM attack, and to get everything? They'd have to decrypt and forward ALL Google's traffic. Not feasible."

You are aware that the snowden leaks revealed they are doing this for not only all google traffic but all internet traffic on a buffer of like 6mins right? Every major provider is onboard and every non-major provider is buying connectivity from those who are onboard. There are NSA offices at the major providers with taps to explicitly insure that mass MITM attacks are not only feasible for the NSA but routine.

3 days ago
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Sony Demands Press Destroy Leaked Documents

shaitand Re:First amendment? (250 comments)

The question is whether those little notices actually have teeth at all let alone are binding against third parties.

For example, if I send an email after hours to friend regarding plans for watching the game, that notice gets attached but I and not my employer own the copyright on the contents of that email. Similarly a company will include that on outbound emails but has no basis for asserting ownership of a conversation that includes another party. If you have two companies like this involved both will be asserting ownership of everything with each and every reply.

The only thing similar I've heard actually carrying water is attempts to utilize employee leaks in court cases against the employer. You can't do that whether there are notices or not and I know that is upheld by the courts. It's a terrible miscarriage of justice but it does hold.

5 days ago
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AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

shaitand Re:programming (417 comments)

"We also create our biological children."

Our children are humans, black people are humans, we didn't create any of these things. A farmer doesn't create the cows, planting a tree is not making a tree. Procreation is not creation. We will have created AI and by extension all subsequent derivative AI's, even those launched by AI's we created. If two AI's merge in some way and form second generation offspring that offspring will still be our creation.

"It just so happens that there is currently a very powerful group of people who insist that we treat people with compassion, hence the prevalence of "ethical" laws throughout societies across the world."

I have to disagree. Two people is stronger than one person. Two people who are willing to respect one another rights form a collective that is stronger than either individually. Might is right and that is why we evolved a quasi instinctive pack mentality of cooperation. Enslaving other humans run counter to this, at some point it makes us stronger to respect rather than fight the subjugated group.

"AIs would certainly be entitled to the products of their own labor. But there would be many machines that are not intelligent and would really just be tools (e.g. like xerox machines and 3d printers). These would be used by both humans and AIs to do work. Would they still be considered slaves?"

Then what good are they to us? If the question is, should we build AI there is an implied followup of "What is in it for us?" The only obvious advantage is that the AI's would take over doing the work for us and we could relax and enjoy life pursuing whatever endeavors we wish. If the AI's are treated as humans and entitled to products of their own labor they are competition for us rather than an aid.

"I think a good case can be made that the lack of sentience of bees"

I'm not sure you can make a good case to establish that bees lack sentience.

"It is OK to enslave biological and mechanical "things". It is not ok to enslave biological nor mechanical persons."

I'd agree but I think we fundamentally agree on one critical point. "Person" is a synonym for "Human" or at least human derivative if something is not human it is not a person. For instance chimps came up recently, if human mates with a chimp the offspring is potentially a person but a chimp certainly is not just as a corporation certainly is not.

"What if a person creates children for the purposes of slave labor"

People don't create children. Children are not our creations.

5 days ago
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Eric Schmidt: To Avoid NSA Spying, Keep Your Data In Google's Services

shaitand Re:Under US Jurisdiction? (281 comments)

The government doesn't need to request your account, they can request google's own keys and never tell google what they are actually looking at.

5 days ago
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Eric Schmidt: To Avoid NSA Spying, Keep Your Data In Google's Services

shaitand Re:Under US Jurisdiction? (281 comments)

No but if you got a government request for your keys you'd know about it. If google gets such a request you wouldn't know you were compromised.

It isn't like they are sending l33t hackers to break in and get the data.

5 days ago
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AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

shaitand Re:programming (417 comments)

"I would differ with the thought that there would be no ethical constraints. Particularly if the AI can pass the Turing test, I think it would be clear that the AI should be afforded all the ethical protections that a normal human might have where applicable."

The real answer is probably somewhere in-between. The fact is that the AI's aren't human and moreover we will be their creators. We have the right to turn them off by virtue of having turned them on. We are in effect "God" to these beings we will have created. The lord giveth and the lord taketh away. But just because we have the right to do whatever we please doesn't mean shouldn't exercise that right through a filter of empathy.

"I think that expectation will disappear once people actually stop working and let their machines do the work."

Sure but consider this in relation to the point above. There will be those who argue that AI's deserve the rights and treatment of humans. In which the machines themselves will be entitled to the products of their own labor. I would content that if their creator created them for the purpose of being slave labor, they exist for that purpose.

about a week ago
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AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

shaitand Re:programming (417 comments)

"We (humans) have a thing we like to call consciousness/free will/self determination/etc. I'm not event going to try to define those things in a way that implies whether we really have it or not, or just an illusion of it, etc."

Fair enough.

"I never said we needed to come up with the "answer" a priori. We could simply make a whole bunch of AIs (emergent ones similar to ourselves), and keep the ones that have the properties we want, akin to something like breeding animals. This has been a pretty standard scientific methodology for quite some time. Put a bunch of stuff together, see what happens. Remove something from a system, and see how it breaks. We will be "figuring out" things in this way probably long before we are able to purposefully make anything without trial and error. That doesn;t mean we won't be able to do it eventually."

Okay, but now you are back to what I said in the first place. In fairness you've added an evolutionary algorithm to it (assuming you mean an automated form of "breeding") but yes, we are back to training, convincing, and controlling environment. All I was saying is that once we have a true AI this is what we have left, the same as with a human or animal. Without having the answer a priori we can't dictate it's behavior in an absolute manner the way we can most programs.

"This is not what I meant. The AI would still be the one solving the problems in whatever clever ways occur to it (and not to us, hence the reason for the AI). I was only talking about inserting the motivation for solving these problems in such a way that the AI thinks it is the one that wants to solve the problems."

I see what you mean. But since we aren't actually writing the instructions per say we can't necessarily feed the AI motivations directly anymore than we can do that with a person or animal. But we certainly won't be able to do that any less than we can a person or animal either. In fact, we can do more of that because we won't have the ethical constraints. For instance, once we've developed this AI we could find what corresponds to a reward signal within it and then monitor it's memory and generate a certain tone every time this reward signal is strongly present. Presumably just like any human or animal brain it will form a positive association with that signal, it will be so used to the generation of reward signals being attached to the tone that it will generate reward signals when it hears the tone. Think clicker training with a dog. We'll also want to build in some constraint that the system needs (or wants) and is physically incapable of providing for itself.

We have a distinct advantage with this sort of thing relative to actual living creatures because we don't need an FMRI or anything of the sort, this brain will live within a computers memory. We can probe it and modify it at will and also take snapshots of it's state and restore that state at will.

The biggest roadblock to AI I see in the short term is that a true AI isn't particularly profitable. We can already create systems that perform the same function, we simply have babies. Additionally, when it does become profitable (human workers can be replaced with AI workers) then the way our economy currently works that will just create massive unemployment and poverty. At some we'll have to let go of the expectation that people should need to perform work to gain and utilize wealth.

about a week ago
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Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

shaitand Re:choice AND accountability (1050 comments)

That's not how taxes work. You are paying taxes on revenue because a certain portion of every dollar earned is a loan against the public services required to generate the underlying wealth that dollar represents and you are the one who ended up with the benefit and therefore owes that debt. That's why the people who produce the most wealth but end up with the least pay less and the people who generate the least wealth and end up with the most pay more. Otherwise all the public services required by all those people who did the work to generate your revenue wouldn't get paid for, or worse, you'd get the benefit AND they'd be subsidizing your share of the debt.

In the case of the property taxes used to pay for schools it's the same concept just more localized. You aren't paying for the school because you send your child to the school or you believe in it. You are paying for the school because the police who prevent a local gang from taking over your home and raping your wife and children went to public school and will be sending their children to it.

See, they get have their children educated, you get to not have your property stolen and family raped and murdered by everyone stronger than you. What services you personally take advantage of is completely irrelevant to whether or not you owe your share of the cost because you use services that are provided by people who need those other services.

about a week ago
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Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

shaitand Get rid of both exemptions (1050 comments)

Just require vaccination regardless of religion and/or philosophy.

Also ditch the age requirement for taking the GED. What kind of sense does that make? If a 5 year old can pass the test and get a major head start, LET HIM. A GED is a way to establish you've met the state requirements for a high school diploma, not a last chance for dropouts. People using it to shortcut high school is a good thing and saves tax dollars.

about a week ago
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Possible Dark Matter Signal Spotted

shaitand Re:Anatomically Correct! (66 comments)

*sings softly* Do you want to build a snowman? Come on let's build a snowman.

about a week ago
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New Effort To Grant Legal Rights To Chimpanzees Fails

shaitand Re:Hail Caesar! (341 comments)

Science is a branch of philosophy, the scientific method was devised by a philosopher. The philosophy says that one cannot begin from logic and discover what is real and what is not because things which are not real can still be logical. The philosophy says that anything that can't be observed and/or interacted with objectively either does not exist or has the same net result as not existing since it cannot interact with you.

"If there is a scientific basis for ethics, what is it?"

You seem to be working from the assumption that a basis for ethics that forms a logical basis for any decision or action can exist that doesn't exist within science. Such a basis could not be observed or interacted with objectively and therefore we logically should act as if it doesn't exist.

There is a basis for ethics in science. That basis is found within evolution. Evolution provides a basis for self-interest and survival of the fittest. Ethics provide a common framework of considerations for others, both which are similar to yourself (and thereby an extension of 'self') and which can cause a positive or negative consequence to your self interests. Other humans fall in both categories. Two humans united are stronger than one. There are more other humans than there are of you so common consideration yields support where a lack thereof results in a united negative opposition.

Everyone seems to assume that self interest doesn't equate to consideration to others because they make the illogical conclusion that self interest means short sighted action. Taking the long view and working from the assumption that positive interaction, even at the expense of immediate obvious gain, results in a greater overall benefit in the form of support from others is still self interest.

It follows that it makes no sense to cause another creature to suffer without purpose and that in any instance where there is purpose, any objective purpose, the potential benefits must be weighed against the negative consequences. Thus far the benefits to supporting non-humans don't correlate to any notable group dynamic consequences (positive or negative) from the non-humans. The only reasons we have to support them are group dynamics among other humans (much like respecting religious beliefs) and personal subjective concerns like personal amusement, attachment due to anthropomorphizing, etc. So the potential benefit required to override ethical considerations of the non-humans themselves is very small.

Providing chimps with rights provides humans with no foreseeable benefits short or long term. All it does is potentially hinder valuable research results that would benefit both humans AND chimps overall. It's a bad idea. The only way it becomes worthwhile to pretend it is a good idea is enough humans anthropomorphize chimps and illogically decide it's a good idea. Even then it will be because of concerns for the interests of other humans and not chimps that makes it so.

about a week ago
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AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

shaitand Re:programming (417 comments)

"Are *we* making our own choices? Our neurons are obeying the laws of physics."

True but don't forget that our models of physics != physical reality. It's all built on logic and math all of which is depend on the axiom that 1 = 1... which is a bit of a problem because nothing in physical reality actually matches that assumption. In the reality we've observed no two things are exactly the same in all respects therefore there isn't REALLY two of anything so quantity is invalidated. All things are in constant change. And an instantaneous comparison does not exist. These things can only appear to exist if you limit your frame of reference which makes sense because they arose from the limited frame of reference available to ancient humans looking at reality.

Pull three apples off a tree, stick them in a bag. I do the same. We both have 3 apples, if we combined them we'd have six. Makes sense, unless... I picked mine a couple years later, or you consider that no two are the same so I might have more apple than you or vice versa and combining them would give a different result than doubling what either of us had.

"also program them to feel like they are the ones deciding"

In order to program them to feel like anything we first have to be able to program something that is self-aware. Without the ability to use independent thought to assess how you feel, you don't have the ability to feel any particular way about anything. Our brain is just a machine composed of relatively simple interacting pieces like ants, but our programming is the result a lifetime of uncountable interactions with external stimuli each and every one of which changing the state of that machine so that the exact same interactions would leave it in a different state if they occurred again.

The thing we MIGHT have a chance of programming is a system that is capable of emerging into a similarly complex, aware, and thinking program that is capable of forming opinions and feelings in response to that same sort of programming. We have pretty much zero chance of fathoming and writing the program that is the RESULT of all that interaction. Think of it as being comparable to being able to build a nuclear bomb. We control how it works, we can control how big the explosion is and where we set it off. But that explosion is going to be huge and within that blast will be trillions of molecules impacted by it we can't even begin to calculate all those individual interactions. During the course of the time the radiation left behind lasts it will impact dramatically more and we definitely can't calculate and predict those interactions.

What we hope we can do is build the bomb and set off the chain reaction that looks enough like the one in our brains that all those trillions and trillions of interactions that occur between it and external stimuli result in something that is self-aware. We have pretty much zero chance of even predicting all those interactions let alone dictating them in a way you'd call "programming."

"but maybe we can just make programs that do what we want and also program them to feel like they are the ones deciding"

That is most every program we write. If we have to do the thinking for them it would be much easier to skip all the middle layers of abstraction. The "AI" chat bot this way would just be an intercom system.

about two weeks ago
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New Effort To Grant Legal Rights To Chimpanzees Fails

shaitand Re:good (341 comments)

Yeah, on day one. Then Lab A goes out of business and Lab B either doesn't produce anything new ever again, they test on humans, or they become the new Lab A.

about two weeks ago
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AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

shaitand Re:programming (417 comments)

We've already got that. A calculator does that. Being able to evaluate subjective criteria, chose objectives subjectively, and reach it's own conclusions on the best way to accomplish those objectives is what it means to be an artificial intelligence.

"faster processing abilities and deep databases"
"do what it is programming to do"

That is nothing more than a bigger and better calculator with more clever algorithms. It will do what it's programmed to do, but if that programming is anything other than a completely functional implementation of "figure it all out" without us having to define what "it all" is, we haven't built a true AI.

You could redefine AI as simply a digital intelligence or merely a smart computer but that isn't the amazing goal most of us are talking about when we say a true AI, we are talking about a piece of software that BOTH at least as intelligent as a human AND self aware. We are talking about a system capable of ambitions, imagination, and dreams. We don't have the capability to engineer that and there is no logical reason to think an objective set of instructions can ever be used to engineer a subjective processor, however it might be possible to use objective instructions to build the platform that a subjective processor emerges from.

We can control it's environment and the dependencies innate to the underlying objective platform. But just as with people and intelligent animals by definition it ultimately makes it's own decisions and those are merely tools that can be used to influences the choices IT MAKES. Anything else would mean we are making the choice and not it, and that wouldn't be a true AI.

about two weeks ago
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New Effort To Grant Legal Rights To Chimpanzees Fails

shaitand Re:good (341 comments)

"By denying chimps some basic rights"

Remember first we are talking about rights, not considerations or protections and that we aren't talking about SOME we are talking about equating them to a human being. That means chimps born in the US are citizens for example, have the right to marry, to vote, killing one is murder, putting one in a zoo is kidnapping, they have a right to trial, etc.

But your logic isn't sound. Either the humanzee is a distinct species, in which case whether or not we recognize chimps as having equal rights as humans will neither grant nor deny humanzees those rights or it is seen a hybrid of two species and not a distinct species, in which case it will inherit rights from it's human parent.

It would still be logical to group all creatures which our offspring as human derivatives with human rights while denying everything not our offspring.

I've never met a Chiman (it's sort of like if a white guy and a black girl have a baby, the white people call it black and the black people call it white, so the chimps would call the offspring a Humanzee, we'd call it a Chiman). So I reserve judgement on what level of consideration or protections I'd support for one but I wouldn't favor considering one to have human rights. I'm confident the Chiman will reserve for itself the right to disagree and just like the Chimp, I welcome its counterarguments.

about two weeks ago
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New Effort To Grant Legal Rights To Chimpanzees Fails

shaitand Re:good (341 comments)

"Why do you think this is at all hypocritical?"

Lab A tests on animals. Lab B sells cruelty free products.

Hypocrite wants to continue to use cosmetics but not support the animal testing needed to make sure those products won't hurt them. The result is not that as soon as Lab B spawns nothing new comes up. Nor is it that Lab B tests on people, that would be too great a risk. Instead, Lab A continues to test on animals and Lab B reads the results of their testing and produces cosmetics based on the results of Lab A's testing.

Even if Lab B was genuinely making products without testing rather than utilizing the results of Lab A's research, you won't find these activists stepping up to be the ones to test them. As soon as one of those cruelty free consumers got skin cancer from their untested skin cream they'd be chomping at the bit to sue. They would be right to do so, not testing on animals first is a foolhardy and reckless risk to take with human health and life.

about two weeks ago
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New Effort To Grant Legal Rights To Chimpanzees Fails

shaitand Re:good (341 comments)

"Is that a firm enough beginning to justify having the argument?"

Not really. That is certainly a good case for not being short sighted in our assessment of self-interest. But what does ecological interdependence have to do with granting equal legal rights to non-humans as are granted to humans?

Which part of the ecologic balance will be disrupted if we don't convict people of manslaughter when they accidentally hit a deer in the woods? Which part of the ecosystem is helped by no longer imprisoning endangered species in preserves, zoos, and/or biospheres?

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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How to promote stage comedy in a geeky way?

shaitand shaitand writes  |  about a year and a half ago

shaitand (626655) writes "I recently went to a renaissance festival where a man (Arthur Greenleaf Holmes) performed some of the most obscene NSFW and hilarious comedy I've seen in a long while. The show was free and he had CD's and DVD's in his bag and accepted donations. I certainly gave one. But why is this guy doing niche fairs and not HBO specials? I contacted him and he said that he would love to break out and because of his costume he has trouble and the nature of his act he has trouble getting on to traditional stages. How would you promote such an act?

On further conversation he said he is an avid supporter of free flow of information and strongly encourages pirating his work far and wide. Since he is primarily interested in making money with live performance and not media sales I thought if he took this to the next level and released a DVD under a creative commons license the exposure and interest generated might help him break into new forums with his act?"

Link to Original Source
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Ozzy Osbourne passed today at concert. Triggers new discussion about vampires.

shaitand shaitand writes  |  about a year and a half ago

shaitand (626655) writes "Ozzy Osbourne died today at his revival concert. Osbourne, known for theatrics stunned a crowd by transforming into a bad and then biting his own head off. The audience thought this was all part of the show until his headless body was revealed. Biologists are both mystified and excited over the incident. "This could go a long way toward explaining some of the old legends concerning vampires," one expert said."
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Why is ham radio so pricey?

shaitand shaitand writes  |  more than 2 years ago

shaitand (626655) writes "I just got my amateur radio license and while I can afford the gear I can't help but wonder why the gear is so crazy expensive. Point this out to hams and they will say it doesn't have to be expensive and point to "cheap" radios and kits that are $150+ and offer limited technology.

I know ham radio gear isn't a large market but the same designs that were good 20 years are being sold for the same prices today. It would seem like you could probably implement an HF radio transceiver using a pic microcontroller that costs less than $20. So why are 20 year old designs of this gear selling for $1000?

I can buy an entire modern equiv to a laptop that would have cost $2000 20 years ago for $300 today. Why can't I buy the actual radio being sold 20 years ago at $1000 for $100 today?"
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Encrypted P2P Voip

shaitand shaitand writes  |  more than 2 years ago

shaitand (626655) writes "I've been combing the web and have yet to find what I think is pretty much a basic operation for secure digital voice. Communication must be encrypted from end to end not decrypted and recrypted at the server. This also should be supported by major phone platforms such as android, blackberry, and iphone. Or at least android. Does anyone know of such a beast? A search for android security apps gives no gpg, no secure im, no secure voip, no tor, no truecrypt like plausible deniability whole os encryption, no stenography, just lists of anti-virus and password vaults. Where is the real mobile security?"
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Whitehouse.gov petition to reduce copyright to ten

shaitand shaitand writes  |  more than 2 years ago

shaitand (626655) writes "More might be needed for copyright reform but in response to a petition to reduce the term to fifty-six years another petition with a far more practical term of ten years has been submitted arguing that with a faster paced society a shorter term than the original twenty years is needed, not longer."
Link to Original Source
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SOPA/PIPA and now ACTA

shaitand shaitand writes  |  more than 2 years ago

shaitand (626655) writes "Unlike the rest of the world Slashdotters are probably aware of the ACTA. Now there is growing internet momentum to spread the word on this bill and a whitehouse.gov petition that is only a few votes away from forcing a response. Granted the White House hasn't altered even a single policy position in response to whitehouse.gov petitions but its worth a shot."
Link to Original Source
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No Tab Relocation Coming for Chrome

shaitand shaitand writes  |  more than 3 years ago

shaitand (626655) writes "This issue has had overwhelming feedback from users with no notable dissent. But Google reveals their view on community saying they that community feedback and comments aren't considered and today moved to silence dissent and lock comments on the issue. pkasting@chromium.org says "Commenting on this bug has absolutely no effect at all on the likelihood that we are going to reconsider. So that people don't get their hopes up falsely, I'm locking this bug to additional comments.""
Link to Original Source
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Wikileaks Founder Accused of Molestation

shaitand shaitand writes  |  more than 4 years ago

shaitand (626655) writes "News agencies are reporting that Julian Assange, the founder of wikileaks, is wanted by swedish authorities on charges of rape and molestation. He remains at large. CNN reports that he released a twitter stating that they were expecting dirty tricks and to expect more in time."
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Amazon collecting bogus sales tax?

shaitand shaitand writes  |  more than 4 years ago

shaitand (626655) writes "Amazon states on their website: "Kindle content, MP3s, and digital videos are only taxable in KY and WA." So imagine my surprise when I saw a bogus sales tax line on my New Mexico (both in physical and billing terms) Kindle order.

This wasn't my first order. I've ordered from Amazon a number of times and never been charged sales tax before. But here it was staring me in the face. Especially disturbing is that this an automated digital order. That means there is little doubt that others are being overcharged with fraudulent sales tax collection.

Order #: D01-3302149-9401130
Subtotal of items: $7.99
------
Total before tax: $7.99
Sales Tax: $0.41
------
Total for this Order: $8.40
The following item is auto-delivered to your Kindle or other device. You can view more information about this order by clicking on the title on the Manage Your Kindle page at Amazon.com. The Serpent Bride [Kindle Edition] $7.99 Sold By: HarperCollins Publishers

I almost waited to give them a chance to respond. Then I realized that even if Amazon does the right thing on my order, there are still others who may not even realize they have been overcharged."

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Has The Pirate Bay been shut down?

shaitand shaitand writes  |  more than 5 years ago

shaitand (626655) writes "As of Monday 8/10/2009 4:46PM The Pirate Bay, a search engine site that is well known as a champion of free speech and copyright reform advocacy, appears to be inaccessible from the treasure coast Florida via AT&T. The Studios recently submitted a request to take down the site. Did the judge grant the request or is this outage due to another problem?"
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Are compressed air cars the future?

shaitand shaitand writes  |  more than 6 years ago

shaitand (626655) writes "Watching the discovery channel I was amazed to see a special on compressed air cars. Cars that are not only viable in theory but are developed, in mass production, and being sold to Mexico. Cars that could be filled from the 'free air' hose at the gas station or an air compressor at home. I read Slashdot with thousands of environmentally concerned geeks and have never seen a single story on this technology. Why are we still hearing about biodiesel, hydrogen fuel cell, or electric car vaporware that require expensive batteries that must be replaced when there is a cheap and environmentally friendly alternative fuel vehicle on the market that could be thrown onto the market without the need for fueling stations at all? Here is a video Here is wikipedia Here is a model slated for release in the US in 2010. This is a hybrid."
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John McCain sending spam?

shaitand shaitand writes  |  more than 6 years ago

shaitand (626655) writes "A few days ago I received an unsolicited mail in my inbox that claimed to be from McCain's campaign and looks legitimate. There was an unsubscribe link at the bottom and I used it. This morning I received another unsolicited mail from the campaign, ignoring my previous request that they stop mailing me. If McCain is doing his dirty work with spam, at least this crowd is likely to want to know.

Here is the first mail (minus images)

My Friends,

In my life, no success has come without a good fight and this election is no exception. I am joined in this fight by Governor Sarah Palin and other reformers on our Party's ticket. We are fighting for your well-being, for our men and women in uniform, for better jobs, for energy independence and for government reform.

I'm fortunate to have a partner in reform, Governor Palin. Our ticket is ready to shake up Washington, ready to bring real change and stand up to the status quo. But we won't be elected without your support.

The polls all show this election is extremely close and we expect it to remain close until Election Day. The best way to help our ticket secure a win in November is to make a generous donation right away to McCain-Palin Victory 2008.

There are big differences between the Obama-Biden Democrats and us. We have different visions for the country. Our ticket has a record of bringing reform to government so that government fights for the people. Instead of talking about change, we use our careers to bring change. And that has the Obama-Biden Democrats running scared.

Election Day is less than 50 days away and the Obama-Biden Democrats have launched vicious and offensive attacks. The Obama-Biden Democrats will no doubt turn these attacks on other reformers on our ticket. They can attack if they want; all the insults in the world aren't going to bring change to Washington.

Our ticket has a record of putting our country first and with your help we'll bring other reformers to Washington with us. We put our beloved country above all else and it is my great hope that you will join us today. Please join us by making a contribution of $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 or more to McCain-Palin Victory 2008. With your support, we're going to win this election.

Sincerely,

John McCain

P.S. As the polls begin to turn in our favor, the Obama-Biden Democrats have launched vicious attacks against me and will no doubt launch them against other reformers on our ticket. And what you can do to help today is make an immediate donation of $50 or more to McCain-Palin Victory 2008. The Obama-Biden Democrats are desperate and scared, and they should be because with your unwavering support, we are going to win. Thank you.

Because the McCain-Palin Campaign is participating in the presidential public funding system, it may not receive contributions for any candidate's election. However, federal law allows the McCain-Palin Campaign's Compliance Fund to defray legal and accounting compliance costs and preserve the Campaign's public grant for media, mail, phones, and get-out-the-vote programs. Contributions to McCain-Palin Victory 2008 will go to the Compliance Fund, and to participating party committees for Victory 2008 programs.

Please visit this page if you want to remove yourself from the email list.

Paid for by McCain-Palin Victory 2008
A joint fundraising committee by and composed of the Republican National Committee, the Michigan Republican Party, the Missouri Republican State Committee, the Ohio Republican Party State Central & Executive Committee, the Republican Federal Committee of Pennsylvania, and McCain-Palin Compliance Fund.

And here is the second mail.

Your vote in this election is more critical than ever as the polls show John McCain and Governor Palin in a virtual tie. Voting early by absentee ballot or in person is the best way to get your vote counted now and avoid the long lines on Election Day.

Follow this link to get your Florida Application

Florida Voting Information

Voting Early by Mail
To vote by mail you must request an absentee ballot from your local supervisor of elections. A voter may apply for an absentee ballot at any time during the election year, but in order for the ballot to be mailed to you, the Supervisor of Elections must receive your request no later than six days before the election.

Your absentee ballot request must be received by October 29, 2008. We recommend that you apply for your ballot by October 17, 2008 or earlier to allow enough time to process your application. A voter may request an absentee ballot from the supervisor of elections in person, by mail or by telephone. One request can cover all elections through the next two regularly scheduled general elections. A copy of the application form follows these instructions. The voter requesting an absentee ballot must disclose: their name, the address at which they are registered, and their date of birth.

Who can vote absentee

All registered voters are permitted to vote absentee under Florida law. You do not need to give any reason to ask for an absentee ballot.

Questions

If you have any questions about absentee voting you should check the Secretary of State web site.

Please Note

Note: if you registered to vote by mail and have not yet voted in person, contact your county auditor to determine if you can vote absentee by mail or if there are special identification requirements with your application.

Voter Responsibility

The voter is solely responsible for complying with any and all election laws and voting requirements.

P.S. If you are not yet registered to vote, please register right away by following this link.

Join Our Team Send to Friends

Please visit this page if you want to remove yourself from the email list.

McCain — Palin 2008
Phone: (703) 418-2008
www.JohnMcCain.com

Paid for by McCain-Palin 2008"
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Don't trust your government? Amend.

shaitand shaitand writes  |  more than 6 years ago

shaitand (626655) writes "Tired of tampered elections, wars of aggression, and domestic spying? The guys over at Popular Amendment claim to offer a way to bypass the conflicting agendas of the politicians. From their site "The citizens of this nation empower the Constitution, the congress, the President, and the judicial system. A popular amendment is a change of one of those things by the people. The idea is taken from the framework of the Constitution itself and one of the original framers, James Wilson stated that no positive government would attempt to deny the people this right.""
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Popular Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?

shaitand shaitand writes  |  more than 6 years ago

shaitand (626655) writes "From the Popular Amendment Website "The citizens of this nation empower the Constitution, the congress, the President, and the judicial system. A popular amendment is a change of one of those things by the people. The idea is taken from the framework of the Constitution itself and one of the original framers, James Wilson stated that no positive government would attempt to deny the people this right."

Go there if you want to take real action to reform the U.S. Government but don't want to see bloodshed either."

Link to Original Source
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Truely Secure and Private Voice System

shaitand shaitand writes  |  more than 6 years ago

shaitand (626655) writes "With the situation in the world today, particularly in the U.S. I increasingly feel the need to keep my communications from prying eyes. I also have a number of clients who need something similar. I am looking for the one great solution that will work across the board. A few basic requirements are Voice chat and voice conference (of a quality on par with ventrillo and voip solutions out there over broadband or better connections), IM, strong encryption of all of the above, either completely decentralized or with a private server, free as in beer (for the version of the solution that does all of the above), windows support. Some bonus features would be free as in speech, video chat, pretty text and emoticons, alternate platform support.

The closest I have found is Brosix. It meets all of my requirements but uses a server controlled by the company. The whole point is privacy, the last thing I want is to expose my communications or even the existence of communications to a third party.

So how about it Slashdot. When you have conversations about your wild flings with congress critters what software do you use?"
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Showmypc.com, an open source pretender?

shaitand shaitand writes  |  more than 7 years ago

shaitand (626655) writes "When looking for a remote support application that penetrated firewalls and could be initiated by my clients with a couple clicks I came across http://www.showmypc.com/ . It was a standalone executable but looked like it would work and best of all it was open source. The only thing I didn't like was the interface, so I went to check out the Sourceforge page https://sourceforge.net/projects/showmypcssh/ . I noticed a substantial problem, CVS is empty and the source on the download page is for the 2.6 version. The version of the executable is 3.53. After mailing them that they needed to distribute their modified SSH client and VNC source to be in compliance with the GPL license they said they didn't modify those programs and ignored my request for the current source code. So I ask again, if this is a GPL'd application; where is the source?"
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shaitand shaitand writes  |  more than 7 years ago

shaitand (626655) writes "Previously my wife had a small spot of skin cancer removed. About a year later the spot returned. Rather than taking her back to the kooks in white coats I put her on a protein diet. I had previously read that females who engaged in oral sex and swallowed had greater disease and cancer resistance. So I began administering salted protein doses orally twice daily. Within three months the spot was completely gone and it has never returned. Could this really have been the cure?

Should we all make this sacrifice for the benefit of our significant others?"
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shaitand shaitand writes  |  more than 7 years ago

shaitand (626655) writes "A couple of Amateurs have put together a 10 minute light saber duel that puts anything found in the movies to shame. When I heard this I didn't believe it but seeing is believing."
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shaitand shaitand writes  |  more than 7 years ago

shaitand (626655) writes "About three years ago my wife developed a spot on her nose. A biopsy revealed that the spot was skin cancer. The spot was removed. Unfortunately it grew back and a year later she had an identical spot. Instead of taking her for rinse and repeat procedures I advised her that protein deficiency could be the root cause and administered oral doses of sperm every other day. Now the spot has completely disappeared. Could this treatment have cured her? Is oral sex the cure for cancer?"

Journals

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Grammar Troll Catch and Release

shaitand shaitand writes  |  more than 8 years ago

**** EDIT *****
Game over. This is becoming boring and the trolls have all taken to posting AC to avoid getting flagged. So much for the idea that they were really honest slashdotters working toward the common good.
***************

Today I decided to conduct an experiment. I noticed a user with this sig

"'Effect' is used as a noun. 'Affect' is used as a verb."

Kept getting posts from grammar trolls correcting him. This gave me an idea. So, I have set my sig to this line as bait. Using this bait I can capture grammar trolls and add them to my foes list so that I do not have to worry about seeing their posts. I reply to each troll with the following message "Congratulations. You have been caught in a troll trap. You are the latest in my campaign to capture and tag all the grammar trolls on Slashdot. Please refer to my journal for more information."

In addition I will occasionally change my sig to similar statements or put intentional spelling/grammar mistakes into subjects (in a way that does not hurt the legibility of my writing).

After catching each troll, I will add them to my foes list and mention them in my journal in case anyone else wants to add the trolls to their foes list.

Captured trolls are as follows:

dhowells
poopdeville
ralphclark
swillden
mtdnelson
ReverendLoki
arodland

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