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Researchers Find Problems With Rules of Bitcoin

thoromyr Re:why it's an issue (301 comments)

so, your just fine with someone DOSing bitcoin ("Prevent some or all transactions from gaining any confirmations" is a sufficient example) and don't see that as a weakness? You also can't figure out any incentives for someone to do so?

If I could be arbitrarily prevented from using any of my credit cards or spending money in my bank account, I would consider that a serious concern.

about three weeks ago
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Researchers Find Problems With Rules of Bitcoin

thoromyr Re:Transaction Fees Change (301 comments)

replying to ac, but...

From your statement it sounds like you know absolutely nothing about the history of US currency and just made something up to support your baseless bitcoin fantasies.

When do you think the USG started issuing the dollar? (Hint, it was after the country was founded.) Do you know what was in use before the USG started issuing currency? Do you even know *what* the USG issued as currency? (Hint, it wasn't "worthless drabble that nobody wanted".)

about three weeks ago
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3D Printing: Have You Taken the Plunge Yet? Planning To?

thoromyr Re:Which CAD software? (251 comments)

a common misconception is that you need to use CAD software to use a 3d printer. I suspect that, at least in part, this comes from the relation of 3d printing to rapid prototyping.

I do all of my modeling in 3d modelling software -- no CAD. Ultimately, what your printer will need is a 3d mesh and with the CAD it then must be exported. Apparently all can export to STL (the standard for 3d printing), but I've seen CAD generated mesh that was not correct. If the mesh is of any complexity it may not be practical to fix by hand (CAD generated mesh is terrible) requiring use of another program to fix the mesh if it is broken in a way the printing software cannot handle.

Where CAD is good is mechanical design (which is, of course, why it is normal in rapid prototyping). If that is what you are after, then maybe it would be a good choice (though I do mechanical design just fine in a 3d modeler).

If you can, consider commercial software. Blender is not for all (it is where I started, but I much prefer other modeling applications). Many commercial software titles in this space provide trial versions so you can see what works for you.

about three weeks ago
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3D Printing: Have You Taken the Plunge Yet? Planning To?

thoromyr Re:Not at home, here's why. (251 comments)

As far as I can tell, the Shapeways plastic suffers from the same incredible fragility as stratasys' specially formulated ABS that is so brittle it will break if you look at it wrong. I have no idea what they do to the ABS to make it that brittle. PLA is a much better plastic (than the stratasys ABS), but if you are needing printed metal parts then obviously the typical 3d home printer (which prints in plastic) is not for you. That's great.

Shapeways has a nice finish on their parts. If you actually want to break Shapeways grip on your wallet (you could still sell through them) then you might want to consider a stereolithography printer. The results are weaker than FDM printed PLA, but have that finish you like. If you actually have much plastic printed through Shapeways one of the new "cheap" stereolithography printers would likely be a good investment.

about three weeks ago
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3D Printing: Have You Taken the Plunge Yet? Planning To?

thoromyr Re:Yes, and I don't need my own printer to do it (251 comments)

You are also paying through the nose for not having a printer. If you aren't actually printing much or you have more money than sense, that's fine. But Shapeways only looks reasonable if you are trying to buy a stratasys. Accounting for all costs (such as failed prints, your time) it is cheaper to buy a replicator from makerbot and use the starter spool than pay shapeways for the same amount of final items.

Feel free to continue supporting Shapeways, though. I'm sure they are nice folks.

about three weeks ago
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3D Printing: Have You Taken the Plunge Yet? Planning To?

thoromyr Re:Dammit, Jim, I'm a programmer, not a designer. (251 comments)

actually, it isn't even close. I actually checked once because its fun to the use the printer. But not *that* fun. Down to the store we went and purchased what we needed. Standard items are not a good use-case for 3d printing. Custom parts are.

about three weeks ago
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3D Printing: Have You Taken the Plunge Yet? Planning To?

thoromyr Re:3D printing (251 comments)

I realize that you said you wanted a standard, but is USB enough of a standard or you want something more formalized? Because the bidirectional centronics wasn't the printer, it was the transport layer. Bidirectional for 3d printing to the same extent is already there.

More to the point, both printers I'm familiar with (stratasys and makerbot) provide feedback. You wanted:

1. rendering of current status -- that's just silly, you have the printer. More importantly, if you look at the printer you can see what it *really* looks like, not what it is supposed to look like. Some printers offer a camera so that you can monitor the print status (even remotely). Makerbot's software lets you see a visualize of the slicing *before* printing so you can see how it *should* look -- even better than your "render as it progesses" request.

2. information about consumables -- stratasys does this, but it is part of why you pay so much. To get that information from the printer it uses "smart" print spools. Makerbot is moving in that direction, but even with their older printers you get a "this print will use this much filament".

3. hours on the unit -- both stratasys and makerbot do this (shows percent complete/time elapsed).

4. stepping motor accuracy -- what? I'm not really sure what you are asking for here. In case you are confused, the stepping motors of serious printers are *very* accurate. But there's going to be some slop in the print due to the driving method and, inescapably, from printing with what is, essentially, a liquid. Are you wanting lasers to measure the accuracy of the print as it progresses? Sounds kinda cool, but what are you really wanting to measure? How will it be displayed? If it were a 2d color print you could have an image that visually displayed color accuracy, but for a 3d print I'm really not sure what you could do.

As for the "sealed unit" -- there are manufacturers that make that claim right now. As it happens, I don't believe them, but the claims still exist. Your statement about business and investment is a tautology. What a home user does is not an investment, but it is also basically irrelevant.

For what its worth, the reason I personally bought a printer is that it is the only viable option to producing some items. Despite some of the pie-in-the-sky beliefs about "3d printing" displacing traditional manufacturing that is not really even relevant. I can print a lego minifig, but I'd be the first to tell you to buy one rather than printing it (unless, like me, you wanted to print one "just because" -- but, really, if you want something like that just buy it). What I can't do is buy custom parts in a store. And using something like shapeways almost makes a stratasys printer look competitive. Unless you are very wealthy the 3d printing services are not feasible for any significant amount of printing. For work I did a write up comparing different options and, if you are going to do any amount of printing, it is cheaper to buy a 3d printer -- to include "eating" the cost of failures. Much, much cheaper.

3d printing then is viable for rapid prototyping (but you already knew that) and for custom printing needs where the print runs are still too small to justify setup costs for paying a production service, but not small enough for boutique printing like shapeways. That's a pretty narrow home market, but it exists. Whether or not it is actually large enough to support all the competing 3d printer manufacturers remains to be seen.

about three weeks ago
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Jimmy Wales To 'Holistic Healers': Prove Your Claims the Old-Fashioned Way

thoromyr Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (517 comments)

It is dangerous to challenge people's irrational faith in the god-like powers of their doctors. Over the years I've been forced to realize that there is surprisingly little practical difference between medieval and "modern" medicine. There are definitely areas that have had incredible improvements, but the field *as a whole* is still largely based on belief, or on unscientific empirical evidence. The entire practice of allergy medicine shows that entire fields are still based on magical principles (I was rather surprised to discover that there is no scientific basis for allergy testing or the subsequent "treatments", but you won't see it lumped in with "alternative medicine").

For the people reading this who think that any questioning of "modern" medicine is an endorsement of quakery, I think Edgar Allan Poe put it best in "Never Bet the Devil Your Head", "The homoeopathists did not give him little enough physic, and what little they did give him he hesitated to take." http://classiclit.about.com/li...

about three weeks ago
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Jimmy Wales To 'Holistic Healers': Prove Your Claims the Old-Fashioned Way

thoromyr Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (517 comments)

Yep. But some people like simple and prefer that all biochemical complexity be reduced to a moronically simple formula.

I know someone who lost a significant amount of weight (~100 pounds) and kept it off for a long time by doing two things: 1) absolutely, positively tracking all calories taken in (it is common for dieters to only consider regular meals and ignore snacking); and 2) starting a strong exercise regimine.

Yes, this matches gp's claim on the face of it and it *is* a good approach (reduce intake, increase output). There's no need for fad dieting, etc. But you can long term hurt your body depending on the particulars of how you go about this. For example, as parent noted, it is *not* as simple as calories in and energy expended. The Atkins diet is good for losing weight fast -- and putting your body into ketosis. It is a harmful diet, more than most fad diets I've seen.

Watching what you eat means more than just tracking calories. You also have to be mindful of how you feel. There's a basic hunger that goes with being thinner. Once you get used to it, the hunger just fades into the background and is lost in the noise. I don't mean paying attention to that basic hunger, but to feeling ill or energetic. Because negative responses can be an early warning that the diet is not properly balanced. Not that you should wait for that feedback: eating balanced meals is a good place to start.

about three weeks ago
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Jimmy Wales To 'Holistic Healers': Prove Your Claims the Old-Fashioned Way

thoromyr Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (517 comments)

and, unfortunately, this is true of most "modern" pharmaceuticals. The actual requirements for pharma may not be what you think:

1. null hypothesis? You've got to be kidding me
2. trials? yes, but...
3. patentability? *this* is key

If it can't be patented/approved, or will be difficult or expensive to patent/approve, then the drug is no good.
If it can be patented and approved there is an expectation of result based on the compound. Conduct experiments to confirm activity.
If experiments look okay, move to trials. Otherwise, conduct experiments to see if it has *any* effect -- once you find one, move to trials.
Establish trials to confirm the expected activity. This part is pretty easy as doctors are paid for participating in the trial, but not much. There is no meaningful incentive to follow the rules of the trial, only to document participation without passing a limit of unwanted effects.

A specific example of "difficulty of patenting/approving" comes from kombucha: it doesn't cure cancer or have any of the outlandish properties claimed for it, but was promising as an antibiotic. It was studied, but due to the symbiotic culture would have been too difficult to get approval and interest went away immediately.

The problem with initial testing is pretty well known and permeates modern medicine. Basically, results are analyzed to find something, *anything* that passes statistical criteria. Why this makes a mockery of the scientific method is left as an exercise to the reader, but is suffiicent to explain why initial published results are consistently downgraded or completely disappear when re-testing is done. Of course, re-testing to confirm someone's results isn't as prestigious as doing new work so generally researchers focus on conducting tests and then analyzing the results for something, *anything* that passes statistical criteria. This effect has itself been studied and research published on it.

The problem with trials is not only apparent from the outside, but having known some doctors conducting trials... it is regrettably true that trials are a farce.

Most of what "modern" medicine has going for it is some very significant gains in treating severe trauma (like gun shot wounds, hands/fingers taken off by a chainsaw, etc.). Much of the rest is little (or no) better than the charlatans. Prescribing anti-biotics without any concern for whether or not there is a bacterial (as opposed to viral) infection is a very common example. In fact, most people's exposure to anti-biotics is pretty much the same as if they took a placebo or saw a witch doctor.

about three weeks ago
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Mt. Gox Gone? Apparent Theft Shakes Bitcoin World

thoromyr Re:This kind of thing is why FDIC exists (695 comments)

you are not describing a ponzi scheme. Hint: bitcoin is a ponzi scheme, Mt. Gox/Madoff is incompetence at best, fraud at worst.

Alright, technically bitcoin isn't a ponzi scheme (as there is no pay-in from new investors and pay-out to prior investors), but it otherwise exhibits the characteristics (namely, that the crook(s) on the ground floor make out like bandits at the loss of everyone else -- with bitcoin this is built in by the successively lower returns). It is an elegant way to defraud libertarians and my hat is off to the criminals who invented it.

about 2 months ago
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Mathematician: Is Our Universe a Simulation?

thoromyr Re:This explains quantum physics (745 comments)

you are seriously confusing "random" with "not representable". If you are working in discrete frames, which is what your post says, then there is no partial solution. The implicit limit in binary representation isn't that you get something random if you try to slice between two values, you get either one or the other. The fact that the "real world" does not operate this way does not somehow give weight to the supposition of a discrete time-sliced simulation, it does the opposite. If the "real world" is in fact a simulation then it is not operating in a strictly binary way with discrete frames (which, as others have pointed out, is not a necessity of a simulation even when run on a binary computer).

Of course the whole thing is just mental masturbation nonsense on the same level as solipsism. When children first encounter the idea of solipsism they have a tendency to get caught up in it. But its just spinning the wheels and implicitly cannot ever come to a resolution or in fact derive anything from it. Its only use is to catalog it as such, or to use it as an excuse (for doing nothing, for doing something, it all amounts to the same thing).

about 2 months ago
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New Zealand Spy Agency Deleted Evidence About Its Illegal Spying On Kim Dotcom

thoromyr Re:Maximum penalty... (222 comments)

hollywood is paying for slashbeta. Fuck beta. fuck hollywood

about 2 months ago
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New Zealand Spy Agency Deleted Evidence About Its Illegal Spying On Kim Dotcom

thoromyr Re:Maximum penalty... (222 comments)

exactly, throw the book at whoever is pushing slashbeta.

about 2 months ago
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New Zealand Spy Agency Deleted Evidence About Its Illegal Spying On Kim Dotcom

thoromyr Re:Fuck NSA ! Fuck GCSB ! Fuck GCHQ ! (222 comments)

i agree with the outrage, but I guess today i'm feeling particularly pessimistic because I honestly don't think anything we do will matter. After all, as long as they maintain ad impressions that's all that counts. Who the fuck cares what the site is about, that can be changed anytime. Just keep those ads coming.

The primary problem with "classic" slashdot is that it devotes entirely too much of the available space to comments when it could have more space for branding and advertising. What the fuck were the morons who developed slashdot thinking? That they were providing a forum or something for people to post in?

about 2 months ago
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Fracking Is Draining Water From Areas In US Suffering Major Shortages

thoromyr Re:About beta. (268 comments)

Here's the beta feedback. "leave slashdot alone, or we're leaving"

about 2 months ago
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How Edward Snowden's Actions Have Impacted Defense Contractors

thoromyr Re:Slashdot beta and defence contractors? (180 comments)

it isn't just you. I tried to post a comment, but slashdot solved that problem: it hid the "reply to this" link.

Yeah, I know, I'm sure the site didn't really do that. But it had the same net effect. fuck the beta.

about 2 months ago
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Marc Andreessen On Why Bitcoin Matters (And A Critique)

thoromyr Re:Quantum Computing (332 comments)

so what you are saying (assuming, of course, that the bitcoin algorithm is amenable to computation by a quantum computer) is that bitcoin will be either taken over or killed off by those with the resources to obtain a quantum computer before the general public, should they choose to do so.

Of course, the algorithm might not be amenable to quantum computing in which case its a moot point.

about 3 months ago
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The Other Exam Room: When Doctors 'Google' Their Patients

thoromyr Re:"feeling like I had violated my patient's priva (231 comments)

+1

My doctor is now refusing to continue issuing a prescription (innocuous [not a substance restricted by anything other than requiring a prescription], but moderately expensive) because the insurance company has instructed otherwise. The problem (for me) is that the alternatives either don't work or have bad side effects. This is all documented as the insurance company has kept changing the prescription to anything else under the sun. The doctor now refuses to write the script at all and was plainly afraid of the consequences should he do so.

I went to a specialist and at first they refused as well for the same reason. I pressed, and eventually they decided they "could try". I've been notified by the insurance company that they will allow the script (modified for reduced dosage) for a while, but will not pay any part of it.

So: not only will the insurance company not pay for any part of the medication, but they will only allow me to have access to it for a limited time.

Just one example. Once you get old enough to have chronic health issues the system becomes clear. You pay the doctor, the pharmaceuticals pay the doctor, the insurance company pays the doctor, but only the pharmaceuticals and insurance companies have any say in your treatment (and the insurance companies have the most control). Supposedly this (bureaucracy controlling health treatment) is the problem with socialized healthcare, but it is the reality of our capitalist healthcare system.

about 3 months ago
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Searching the Internet For Evidence of Time Travelers

thoromyr Re:Time travel is not possible without (465 comments)

A physicist/author wrote a book (back in the late 80s I think) that covered some interesting ideas. One for time travel was to build a ring and spin it up. It need enormous mass (I forget if one stellar mass was supposed to be enough) and apparently you could compensate for not quite being able to reach the speed of light in its rotation with a charge. What it would (theoretically) do is distort space time such that the angle passing through the ring would determine the time displacement. You could only come out while it was spinning -- meaning you couldn't travel before it was built or after it stopped.

I always found this sort of thing fascinating. If you think about it, there's no real issue with backward time travel, but hooboy, who you *really* want to be there when it finally becomes live and everyone or thing that is shooting for travel to the past comes through? I'm not sure such a device would stay functional long enough to be used...

about 3 months ago

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