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Comments

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Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

thisisauniqueid Re:Structural integrity of cornea impacted with La (519 comments)

Oh, and the reason I finally got PRK was because I realized PRK cost the same amount as my Canon EOS 5D Mark II, and I valued seeing things with my eyes more than through a camera lens. I sold the camera and got PRK.

yesterday
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Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

thisisauniqueid Structural integrity of cornea impacted with Lasik (519 comments)

If you get Lasik, the structural integrity of your cornea will never be the same as it was. One impact of a branch on your eye, or a tag from your jacket flicking you in the eye, could dislodge the corneal flap... and trust me, that's an injury you don't want to have.

I opted for PRK instead of Lasik for the following three reasons: (1) there's no flap with PRK, so no loss of structural integrity; (2) PRK reportedly causes fewer problems with dry eyes (because you're not severing the nerves within the cornea, just cutting off the nerve endings); and (3) PRK removes less of the cornea than Lasik, making a later "touch up" operation more of an option.

Recovery from PRK was brutal -- for two weeks you can't see anything ("I see men as trees, walking") and it feels like someone has poked both your eyes with their thumbs. Five years later I still have frequent issues with dry eyes -- primarily, I often can't really open my eyes when I wake up until I have put drops in, they're very painful otherwise. Getting salt from the Dead Sea in my eyes recently was excruciatingly painful -- more so than for normal people. I don't have halos at night, but if my eyes are dry I get some glare. Would I do it again? I think so -- life without glasses is awesome, and my vision is better than 20/20 now. I can live life without glasses for the next 10 years, then only need them while reading once presybyopia sets in. But the dry eyes almost make me say no, maybe it wasn't worth it. I go back and forth on this. And I miss the style factor of wearing glasses, to be honest.

yesterday
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Was Turing Test Legitimately Beaten, Or Just Cleverly Tricked?

thisisauniqueid Artificial stupidity (309 comments)

From metalev.org: Every news outlet is currently covering the story that a chatbot pretending to be a 13-year old Ukranian boy has deceived 33% of human judges into thinking it is a human, thereby "passing the Turing test for the first time". There are so many problems with the Turing test (even with the numerous refinements to it that many have proposed) that I don't know if it will ever tell us anything useful. The creators of the above chatbot hinted that part of their success in convincing the judges was that “his age ... makes it perfectly reasonable that he doesn’t know everything” -- in other words, to make a believable bot, you can't give your bot super-human knowledge or capabilities, even if this is technically possible to do (e.g. computers can multiply large numbers almost instantly). Limiting computational power to appear human-like is known as "artificial stupidity". The need for artificial stupidity to pass the Turing test illustrates one of the deepest issues with the test, and one that cannot be fixed by simply tweaking the rules: the Turing test is a test of human dupe-ability, not of machine intelligence. I'm pretty sure we'll start seeing several claims per year that a bot has "passed the Turing test", followed by a flurry of discussion about what was actually tested and whether the result is believable or even meaningful, until it becomes so cliche'd to say that your bot passed the Turing test that nobody with a halfway decent AI would actually *want* to claim that their AI passed a test of this form. Hopefully we see the day when the Turing test is inverted, and we realize we need a test to establish that someone is a "genuine human" and not a bot ;-) But until then, we still have a heck of a lot of work to do!

about a month and a half ago
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WebKit Unifies JavaScript Compilation With LLVM Optimizer

thisisauniqueid FTL = Faster Than Light (170 comments)

In Physics, FTL = Faster Than Light. Nice pun. However, the sheer horrendous complexity of the system they described in the blog post indicates all that is wrong with Javascript as "the assembly language of the Web". Why, oh why, haven't we replaced Javascript with something cleaner, more robust and more efficient? It's 2014, people.

about 2 months ago
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Cellular Compound May Increase Lifespan Without the Need For Strict Dieting

thisisauniqueid Riiight (66 comments)

(1) So since it works in worms, it will work in humans? (2) And of course nature never thought of this before or tried this before. Reminds me of a TV character in the 80s (was it ALF? or Steve Urkel?) who was modifying car engines to get 200mpg. Trouble is, 500 miles down the road, the engine fell out of the car. (3) Maybe nature doesn't want us living for 200 years? See (2).

about 2 months ago
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Why Scientists Are Still Using FORTRAN in 2014

thisisauniqueid Why is anyone still using C++ in 2014? (634 comments)

Forget Fortran, I want to know why anybody in their right mind is still using the obtuse juggernaut mongrel of a language known as C++ in 2014. (Even with the 11 and 14 versions don't make things any better, they only wallpaper over obtuse features with other obtuse features... very few people alive truly know all the weird quirks of C++ inside and out.)

about 2 months ago
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Bill Would End US Govt's Sale of Already-Available Technical Papers To Itself

thisisauniqueid Who is Bill? (32 comments)

Just wondering.

about 3 months ago
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A 2560x1440 VR Headset That's Mobile

thisisauniqueid Latency (135 comments)

Low motion latency (not above half the frame interval) is far more important than resolution. None of these headsets are there yet.

about 4 months ago
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Google Unveils Android Wear

thisisauniqueid You could also look out the window. (103 comments)

You could also look out the window. That's the other thing on the wall that looks like a monitor, only it's 3D.

about 4 months ago
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Who's On WhatsApp, and Why?

thisisauniqueid Bedouin nomads (280 comments)

I just got back from traveling through Bedouin country in Jordan, and several Bedouin men who live miles from civilization without wired electricity and whose extent of knowledge of technology is how to drive their truck and charge their feature phone from solar panels separately told me that they use WhatsApp to communicate with other Bedouin families and friends. The cost savings over SMS is key, but the brilliance of WhatsApp was the decision even in this day and age to implement Symbian and J2ME clients.

about 5 months ago
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If I Had a Hammer

thisisauniqueid This is ridiculous (732 comments)

This is ridiculous. The capabilities of man + machine will always be greater than the capabilities of a machine by itself, so we're not going to run out of intellectual jobs just because machines can do smarter things. Machines, including computers, are just power tools for the brain. (And I say this even as a full-time AI researcher with a PhD in the field, developing new AI algorithms for my day job at a major tech company.)

about 6 months ago
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How Asimov's Three Laws Ran Out of Steam

thisisauniqueid The real problem with the laws (153 comments)

The real problem with Asimov's Laws is that for them to be followed, they must be understood, and we are so far from being able to build any system capable of genuinely understanding anything that it is not realistic to believe we can impute laws with social nuance to an algorithm anytime in the immediate predictable future. Mounting guns on robots that run computer vision algorithms to detect and kill humans, however, is last decade's technology. (Disclaimer: I am an AI and NLP researcher at Google.)

about 7 months ago
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Kdenlive Developer Jean-Baptiste Mardelle Has Been Found

thisisauniqueid Re:Classic... (85 comments)

An open source project stuck in "refactoring hell". Seems to have happened to Inkscape too. Such a waste.

Heavily refactoring projects of this size rarely brings any benefit for the users, it's just technical masturbation. If you're lucky, you will after a few years end up with a project that does the same things as before, most likely it will have acquired some bugs as icing on the cake.

That's why when we don't like code, we should start reimplementing it from scratch immediately.

about 7 months ago
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Reuters: RSA Weakened Encryption For $10M From NSA

thisisauniqueid They deserve the $10M (464 comments)

Since there are only about three people in the world that could actually tell you whether one set of elliptic curve constants are inherently more secure than another set, I'd say they deserve the $10M, probably a lot more. (Whether or not what they did is ethical is a totally different issue. It clearly was not ethical to betray the whole world's trust like that, especially for a company where half their core business is verifying trust.)

about 7 months ago
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Cyanogen Mod Raises $23 Million Funding All Set To Become Major Android Player

thisisauniqueid Re:What about contributers? (133 comments)

It was the attitude, not the money.

about 7 months ago
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Cyanogen Mod Raises $23 Million Funding All Set To Become Major Android Player

thisisauniqueid Re:What about contributers? (133 comments)

PS granted, Steve is a very good hacker and a generally all-around good guy, the only thing I'm pointing out is that, at least at that point, he wasn't about the Utopian ideal of sharing around the wealth with the commoners that work in the fields. But maybe not being a communist is a good thing, or he may not have landed the most recent round of funding.

about 7 months ago
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Cyanogen Mod Raises $23 Million Funding All Set To Become Major Android Player

thisisauniqueid Re:What about contributers? (133 comments)

What do people that have contributed to the code base get? Who is getting money for this? I don't understand how you can go from an opensource project to a for-profit project.

They get nada. I implemented one of the features that caused CM to explode in popularity very early on, and cyanogen did very well out of donations from it, but I never saw a cent of it. I gently raised the issue one day, and he made it pretty clear that he had no intention of divvying up the wealth. Granted, he has put a heckofalot more time total into hacking on CM than I have, but actually, I would have spent a lot more time hacking on it if it weren't for that experience. That was the last code I wrote for CM.

about 7 months ago
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Programming Molecules To Let Chemicals Make Decisions

thisisauniqueid Scale issues (28 comments)

Wait, use chemical reactions on the scale of femtometers to avoid using electronics on the scale of nanometers? Got it.

about 7 months ago
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How a Bitcoin Transaction Actually Works

thisisauniqueid Re:Couldn't get past the first sentence (174 comments)

In other countries (such as New Zealand, where I grew up), passive voice is the preferred grammatical construction, because speaking passively is considered less confrontational. We were taught to write in passive voice in school. We weren't even taught it explicitly; the *teachers* all used it too. Nobody thought it was bad form. Having said that, now that I live in the US, and now that my passive voice constructions have been corrected enough times by self-knighted grammarians, I actually far prefer active voice, and I do see a problem with passive voice. I have no idea if that is just a learned response, or if there's something inherently inferior about passive voice.

about 8 months ago
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Google Wants To Write Your Social Media Responses For You

thisisauniqueid Stuck in a loop (163 comments)

I can't wait to see this system having a conversation with itself.

about 8 months ago

Submissions

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ALS suffrer uses last strength to submit patch

thisisauniqueid thisisauniqueid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

thisisauniqueid writes "Perhaps the most touching FOSS story ever: Adrian Hands, ALS sufferer, used his last strength before he passed away to write and submit a patch to fix a 9-year old accessibility-related bug in the eog project. He did it using a Morse code mouse."
Link to Original Source
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Android vs iPhone4 signal strength bars comparison

thisisauniqueid thisisauniqueid writes  |  about 4 years ago

thisisauniqueid (825395) writes "In the light of the debacle over the iPhone 4 Grip of Death, AnandTech recently reverse-engineered the signal-strength-to-bars mapping for the iPhone 4. Because Android is open source, we can determine the corresponding mapping for Android in combination with the 3GPP spec referenced in the source, allowing the signal-strength-to-bars mapping for both Android and the iPhone 4 to be plotted on the same axes. This shows that the iPhone 4 consistently reports a higher percentage signal strength (as defined by the fraction of bars lit) than Android GSM devices at the same signal strength."
Link to Original Source
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How would you improve life for 1B people in 10yrs?

thisisauniqueid thisisauniqueid writes  |  about 5 years ago

thisisauniqueid writes "I am in the inaugural class of Singularity University, whose stated mission is to "assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies and apply, focus and guide these tools to address humanity's grand challenges". We have been tasked with finding interdisciplinary solutions to global problems that leverage accelerating technologies to positively affect the lives of 10^9+ people within 10 years, preferably focused upon the areas of water, climate, health and energy, and we will be connected with VCs who can make any useful ideas that emerge happen. We are currently in the team project planning stages, and a number of interesting ideas have already emerged. However because crowdsourcing itself is a useful means for problem solving on an exponential scale, I would like to throw the question out to Slashdot readers. What would YOU do to positively impact the lives of one billion people in 10 years through creative use of accelerating technologies?"
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Switch the US to the metric system by 2019

thisisauniqueid thisisauniqueid writes  |  more than 5 years ago

thisisauniqueid (825395) writes "A petition at change.org calls for the Obama government to start the process of metrication now, and complete it a decade from now in 2019. This will reduce trade impediments due to the US using an antiquated and non-scientifically-based system of units, and will avoid more embarrassments like the Mars Climate Orbiter fiasco, where a $328 million NASA initiative burned up on entry into the Mars atmosphere because a NASA subcontractor, Lockheed Martin, was using Imperial units rather than the metric units mandated for the project, so the orbiter came into orbit too low. The Obama government has been actively soliciting citizen ideas, calling it the rebirth of democracy, and this may be the most fundamental scientifically-grounded change that needs to happen now for America's future. Go sign the petition now and make your voice known!"
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Smooth MultiTouch Zooming on the T-Mobile G1

thisisauniqueid thisisauniqueid writes  |  more than 5 years ago

thisisauniqueid (825395) writes "The T-Mobile G1 was released without multi-touch capability, although it was demonstrated a couple of months ago that the screen was multitouch-capable if you hack the Synaptics kernel driver to dump out multitouch events to a file. It turns out though that the kernel driver actually sends the multitouch events all the way to the Android UI stack, where they are promptly dropped. There is now a patch for the Android stack that captures these events and passes them through the event pipeline in a way that is backwards-compatible with single-touch. Perhaps multitouch for the G1 is on its way? (Note that you have to reflash your phone to get this working.)"

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