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NSA Wants To Reveal Its Secrets To Prevent Snowden From Revealing Them First

wrackspurt Spin Doctors (216 comments)

It sounds like the spin doctors have taken over. The body blows have been landed and now they're just trying to bob and weave. No matter what they do I still can't help but see Dr. Strangelove in their corner calling the shots. Curiouser and curiouser.

about 10 months ago

Sears To Convert Old Auto Centers Into National Chain of Data Centers

wrackspurt Re:Sounds Good (167 comments)

I dunno and I don't think they do. My guess, based on retail management types I've known, is that they were just trying to come up with something that would fit in the space and seem innovative. Personally I don't see why they just don't turn them into lube & brake shops.

about 10 months ago

IBM To Offer Watson Services In the Cloud

wrackspurt Re:Watson sold as Watson (56 comments)

Your Brain Sees Things You Don't

Science Daily has a piece on recent findings that suggest we throughput much more information than we're consciously aware of.

the brain processes and understands visusal input that we may never consciously perceive. ...Sanguinetti showed study participants a series of black silhouettes, some of which contained meaningful, real-world objects hidden in the white spaces on the outsides. ..."The specific question was, 'Does the brain process those hidden shapes to the level of meaning, even when the subject doesn't consciously see them?"
The answer, Sanguinetti's data indicates, is yes. ...Study participants' brainwaves indicated that even if a person never consciously recognized the shapes on the outside of the image, their brains still processed those shapes to the level of understanding their meaning. ...

"There's a brain signature for meaningful processing," Sanguinetti said. A peak in the averaged brainwaves called N400 indicates that the brain has recognized an object and associated it with a particular meaning.

So it's not just that AI can't process all that we can in the variety of ways we can. It's also that our brains are processing a bunch of stuff we're not consciously aware of.

about 10 months ago

IBM To Offer Watson Services In the Cloud

wrackspurt The Other Watson (56 comments)

In February 2013, IBM announced that Watson software system's first commercial application would be for utilization management decisions in lung cancer treatment at Memorial Sloanâ"Kettering Cancer Center in conjunction with health insurance company WellPoint.[12] IBM Watsonâ(TM)s business chief Manoj Saxena says that 90% of nurses in the field who use Watson now follow its guidance.

Watson is an artificially intelligent computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language,[2] developed in IBM's DeepQA project by a research team led by principal investigator David Ferrucci. Watson was named after IBM's Thomas J. Watson.

It's surprising the number of people outside of IT who think it was named after Dr. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes books. "Elementary my dear Dr. Watson." Apparently AI still hasn't made it past let alone through what we take as elementary.

about 10 months ago

Sears To Convert Old Auto Centers Into National Chain of Data Centers

wrackspurt Sounds Good (167 comments)

But you need demand. Just because your bricks and mortar are in place in small centers it doesn't mean the demand is there. Still though if you've got the assets paid for and in place it's probably worth the try.

about 10 months ago

Bitcoin Hits $400 Ahead of Senate Hearing On Virtual Currency

wrackspurt Cavet Emptor (276 comments)

Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given socio-economic context or country.[1][2][3] The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value; and, occasionally in the past, a standard of deferred payment.[4][5] Any kind of object or secure verifiable record that fulfills these functions can be considered money.

Money is historically an emergent market phenomenon establishing a commodity money, but nearly all contemporary money systems are based on fiat money.[4] Fiat money, like any check or note of debt, is without intrinsic use value as a physical commodity. It derives its value by being declared by a government to be legal tender; that is, it must be accepted as a form of payment within the boundaries of the country, for "all debts, public and private"[citation needed]. Such laws in practice cause fiat money to acquire the value of any of the goods and services that it may be traded for within the nation that issues it.

The money supply of a country consists of currency (banknotes and coins) and bank money (the balance held in checking accounts and savings accounts). Bank money, which consists only of records (mostly computerized in modern banking), forms by far the largest part of the money supply in developed nations.

Money acts as a standard measure and common denomination of trade. It is thus a basis for quoting and bargaining of prices. It is necessary for developing efficient accounting systems. But its most important usage is as a method for comparing the values of dissimilar objects.


Bitcoin may be money in nearly every sense of the word but it lacks stability to act as a standard measure and common denomination of trade. Just as money in unstable countries lack the same attributes. It's a medium of speculation and not being tied to a stable market place perhaps overseen by a stable government it will likely never be more than a means of speculation.

about 10 months ago

Venezuela: Cheap Television Sets For All!

wrackspurt A Whole New Meaning To The Term (702 comments)

'National guardsmen, some of whom had assault rifles, were positioned around outlets of [Daka] ...

FIRE! Sale

about 10 months ago

Bill Gates's Plan To Improve Our World

wrackspurt Re:Socialism vs. Capitalism (445 comments)

I was thinking generally more along the lines of progressive taxation and wealth distribution. Tax in Norwaysuggests wealth distribution is dealt with by way of progressive taxation. While I don't have any numbers on hand and I'm too lazy to round some up, I'll go out on a limb, and suggest the taxation systems in Scandinavian countries is much more progressive than in the U.S.A.

The relatively high tax level is a result of the large Norwegian welfare state. Most of the tax revenue is spent on public services such as health services, the operation of hospitals, education and transportation.


about 10 months ago

Soylent: No Food For 30 Days

wrackspurt Brian Merchant (440 comments)

A real people person ;)

about 10 months ago

Porn-Surfing Execs Infecting Corporate Networks With Malware

wrackspurt Porn! (151 comments)

As old as graffiti as new as twitter. Ubiquitous, indomitable, insatiable.

about 10 months ago

Bill Gates's Plan To Improve Our World

wrackspurt Socialism vs. Capitalism (445 comments)

I am a devout fan of capitalism. It is the best system ever devised for making self-interest serve the wider interest.

The argument can be made that capitalism widens the divide between rich and poor. The old question remains whether unbridled capitalism and philanthropy can better address the world's woes, or, would a more socialist political structure like those seen in Scandinavian countries better address and more quickly narrow the divide.

about 10 months ago

Apple II DOS Source Code Released

wrackspurt Re:They printed off assembler (211 comments)

Whatever your complaints about your job, at least debugging your code doesn't involve stepping through assembly on a pencil and paper virtual machine.

That was how I wrote my first published game back in the 80's. I have no complaints.

Do you think the pencil and paper mechanics made any qualitative difference, good or bad, to the overall learning process?

about 10 months ago

GCHQ Created Spoofed LinkedIn and Slashdot Sites To Serve Malware

wrackspurt Almost Cut My Hair (335 comments)

And I'm not feelin' up to par
It increases my paranoia
Like lookin' at my mirror and seein' a police car
But I'm not givin' in an inch to fear
'cause I promised myself this year
I feel like I owe it to someone

I bet a lot of /.ers are mentally running through some of their past posts right about now. Where did I leave that tinfoil?

about 10 months ago

First Arab Supercar Costs $3.4 Million, Has Diamond-Encrusted Headlights

wrackspurt Conspicuous Consumption (241 comments)

Conspicuous consumption is the spending of money on and the acquiring of luxury goods and services to publicly display economic power â" either the buyerâ(TM)s income or the buyerâ(TM)s accumulated wealth. Sociologically, to the conspicuous consumer, such a public display of discretionary economic power is a means either of attaining or of maintaining a given social status.

Moreover, invidious consumption, a more specialized sociologic term, denotes the deliberate conspicuous consumption of goods and services intended to provoke the envy of other people, as a means of displaying the buyerâ(TM)s superior socio-economic status.

Nothing new.

about 10 months ago

Yahoo CEO Says It Would Be Treason To Decline To Cooperate With the NSA

wrackspurt Re:Four legs bad, two legs good (524 comments)

I've been trying for some time to come up with reasons to disagree with what you've posted. I readily admit I'm not doing all that well. I've one hypothesis and that is that democratic states with all the freedoms such states entail will generally win out over less democratic states because freedom of speech and assembly among other fundamental rights inherently provide efficiencies that less democratic states lack. This idea doesn't necessarily apply to special cases like China today which is playing catchup by stealing our methods, or, even necessarily to contemporary Russia which is selling off it's natural resources without provisions for the future. It does hold over the long run, but then as Keynes pointed out, over the long run we're all dead.

1 year,6 days

Social Media Is a New Vector For Mass Psychogenic Illness

wrackspurt NSA Plot (373 comments)

This is obviously an NSA plot to lay the groundwork to propagate false beliefs in terrorist activity to validate their ongoing domestic surveillance programs.

1 year,6 days

TSA Reminds You Not To Travel With Hand Grenades

wrackspurt You're So Warped But So Beautiful (378 comments)

'Leave Your Grenades at Home'

It's all so darkly twisted and Kafkaesque. As a non American looking in I can't imagine that in a 100 years some history student reading his text book will ever know how twistedly, wickedly funny and scary and sad it all is.

1 year,7 days

Black Holes Grow By Eating Quantum Foam

wrackspurt Con CERN (164 comments)

CERN scientists suggested they might create miniature black holes whilst looking for the Higgs Boson particle. There was some concern of the hypothetical danger creation of such black holes might pose. Now are we positing the first black holes of the universe fed off just such Quantum foam stuff?

1 year,7 days

German Federal Police Helicopter Circles US Consulate

wrackspurt Gamesmanship (239 comments)

Gamesmanship is the use of dubious (although not technically illegal) methods to win or gain a serious advantage in a game or sport. It has been described as "Pushing the rules to the limit without getting caught, using whatever dubious methods possible to achieve the desired end" (Lumpkin, Stoll and Beller, 1994:92). It may be inferred that the term derives from the idea of playing for the game (i.e., to win at any cost) as opposed to sportsmanship, which derives from the idea of playing for sport. The term originates from Stephen Potter's humorous 1947 book, The Theory and Practice of Gamesmanship (or the Art of Winning Games without Actually Cheating).

This smacks of cold war gamesmanship. I've known a few spooks and what they had in common was a deep seated sense of gamesmanship.

1 year,9 days

China Allows Most Online Criticism But Cracks Down On Mobilization and Gossip

wrackspurt Hybrid Culture (94 comments)

It's interesting to watch China spin a hybrid culture starting from a central planning state like that implemented by Mao and branching out into an economic powerhouse. America started from a clean slate and basically wrote and implemented a new state from the ground up using ideas from people like J.S. Mill and John Locke. China seems to be taking a more tentative and perhaps a more organic approach of melding business enterprise while maintaining a central planning government. It should be interesting to watch the economic imperatives rub shoulders with the rear guard of the politburo over the next couple of decades when a strong middle class evolves.

1 year,9 days



Poland Hosts UN Climate Change Conference And International Coal Summit

wrackspurt wrackspurt writes  |  about 10 months ago

wrackspurt (3028771) writes "The Huffington Post is reporting that Poland will be hosting a high-level coal industry event while hosting the annual U.N. climate talks. Coal accounts for more than 80 percent of Poland's electricity generation and the industry provides about 600,000 jobs in a country with a 13% unemployment rate. Poland joined the EU in 2004 but the government opposes the current EU emissions cut target of 20 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres, a keynote speaker promotes efforts to boost renewable energy and cut funding for fossil fuels."

Testicle Size Linked To Fatherhood Behaviour

wrackspurt wrackspurt writes  |  1 year,8 days

wrackspurt (3028771) writes "BBC News has a report out of Emory University suggesting smaller testicle size correlates with increased parenting in males. Males with larger testicles seem to put more energy into mating and less into parenting. It's thought testosterone plays a part in the behaviour. When shown pictures of their infants men with smaller testicles showed a larger response in the reward area of the brain. The study didn't take into account social and cultural factors."


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