×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

wytcld Re:New law. (372 comments)

Robots are mechanistic, deterministic machines. As such they have no consciousness, however complex their programs. Complexity of programs is a sort of "intelligence," especially if they are well-programmed. But that intelligence is an extension of their conscious makers, for instance, us.

Now, your idea of limiting "IQ" of robots is interesting. Clearly low IQ is no bar to gaining political power in our world. But any political power gained by robots would be on behalf of those who had programmed them. A person with the resources and intelligence to deploy a robot army would be powerful, the same as a CEO or general deploying a corporation or human army is. In a sense, the robots might all be avatars of the person behind them. And their sheer calculating ability might be many times his or hers, just as is true of the computers we all use today.

Robots as dangerous machines, yet powerful ones: yes. Robots as able to conduct their own civilization: no. Not until someone has the capability of endowing them with consciousness. We're no where close to that. We hardly know what direction to go to do it. It may not even be an available direction to go in. In this universe, there is some class of imaginable prospects which is nonetheless truly impossible.

2 days ago
top

A Domain Registrar Is Starting a Fiber ISP To Compete With Comcast

wytcld Tucows - good and bad (65 comments)

Tucows has Ting cell service - which if you don't mind being on Sprint's network is quite a bargain, and the staff is friendly. They also have the Hover retail registrar - which refused to support DNSSEC for domains registered there, even if you run your own DNS, unless you pay them $500 per domain for their help with it. Management at Hover is hostile to users.

3 days ago
top

Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

wytcld Both sides (433 comments)

First, how good your digital sounds depends a lot on the digital-to-analog circuitry. Your speakers are still analog, as are your ears.

Second, all reproduction loses information. The question, as those who developed MP3 and other psycho-acoustic compression models realized, is which losses are more noticeable to human listeners. Also, our brains process information at far higher resolution than we can consciously report. As philosophers say, phenomenal consciousness is broader than access consciousness.

Third, I just got a new turntable after my 35-year-old model quit. It turns out that $250 today buys more turntable than $150 did then. I've got a high-end receiver and decent speakers, and have been spinning the old vinyl collection after ignoring it for years. Some of it - not all but some - has more presence than anything I've got on CD (and I have a very good CD deck). The instruments sound more like they're in the room; it's easier to visualize the performers there. I'm sure someone could devise a proper psychological test for this effect: Have people listen to music, test how effectively they're envisioning the performers, and don't tell them whether the source is analog or digital.

about a week ago
top

Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

wytcld Re:The problem is much bigger than energy (652 comments)

Are you suggesting that the intelligent response to complexity is surrender to doom?

A dollar here, a dollar there, and soon enough you have a million. An LED here, and LED there, and soon enough you've saved a mountain of coal from burning. Also, you've saved money on the bulb + electricity cost. But if you'd rather waste your money and surrender to doom....

about three weeks ago
top

Debian's Systemd Adoption Inspires Threat of Fork

wytcld Re:How (555 comments)

As far as the init system goes, the vast majority of packages are not daemons. Only daemons require init support. Writing sysv init files is an art, but it's well-refined. It won't give you the fastest possible laptop boot. Laptop users who don't just hibernate or suspend, but do fresh boots frequently, should definitely go systemd. Of course systemd D is a Borg, assimilating far more than init scripts. But the task of maintaining a couple hundred init scripts wouldn't be hard for a small committee of volunteers. For init stuff outside that, if you can't start a daemon from rc.local you shouldn't be a sysadmin. For the non-init stuff, the trick is to convince upstream developers to support diversity, which can be done by continuing to embrace open standards and APIs.

about 2 months ago
top

How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

wytcld Re:AGW (795 comments)

Yep, coorelation != causation.

Correlation is necessary but not sufficient to scientific proof of causation. To prove causation you need to have a theoretical model allowing you to construct experiements which, with variables controlled for, produce fresh demonstrations of the posited effect. There have been laboratory experiments demonstrating the "greenhouse" effect of CO2 levels since the late 1800s.

Correlation + theory + well-designed experiments + confirming results = causation

Science often starts with observed correlations. But not always. Sometime the theory comes first. It's only on putting all the parts together that science can speak with confidence about causation. If we use the "corelation != causation" slogan as if it refutes all science which follows from observation of correlations, we entirely miss the point.

about 3 months ago
top

How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

wytcld What's the legitimate topic here? (795 comments)

religion concerns the ultimate causes of things and, again, by definition, science cannot tell you about them

To whom here is this not obvious nonsense? In systems of geometry we have axioms "by definition." So if you're doing a problem in Euclidian terms, parallel lines don't meet in space. But if you're doing the problem in real, relativistic space rather than an Euclidian idealization, lines that start out parallel locally, and each continue absolutely straight, sometimes do.

Science is not any single geometry, and so has no fundamental set of definitional axioms. There are descriptions of the scientific method, by Popper and others, that generalize about falsifiability and so on. But even those don't exhaust the space of possible science, let alone establish axioms for it. The branch of physics called "cosmology" very properly, and fruitfullly, is concerned with the origin of the universe; and there is a branch of biology concerned with the origin of life. There is no axiom accepted by science that forbids scientific inquiry into origin questions.

about 3 months ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

wytcld I'm biased but ... (392 comments)

My undergrad work was in English and psychology, my grad work in philosophy, and it's done me fine. There's never been an instance where I wished I'd had a computer "science" class. Nor have my most capable colleagues been from computer science, on the whole. The comp sci grads tend to have very narrow views of how to do things, which doesn't work out so well in the real world. You have to like to learn to be good here. The liberal arts are far more capable of cultivating that attitude. Comp sci folks, in my experience, only want to learn enough to get a job. Once they show up on the job they're remarkably uncurious. So they can't keep up with changes in tech and programming methods and style. Also, they tend to be uninventive.

Anyone working with tech should have a class in basic logic, as well as a good command of written English, and know how to closely read a book. Beyond that, it's all just getting experience, preferably in the real world, not from exercises based on idealized and unworldly environments. Those who deeply understand computers do not, as a rule, become professors of it. The rewards are so much better elsewhere.

about 3 months ago
top

Is It Time To Split Linux Distros In Two?

wytcld At least enable tuned installations (282 comments)

I'm friggin tired of installing Linux as either server or workstation and finding a bunch of stuff that's oriented to making a laptop work well. I want to be able to do a clean install that by default has no support for Bluetooth or wifi or dhcp client, let alone a propensity to rewrite /etc/hosts or handle any aspect of networking in anything but a hand-configured way. Also, even if systemd's part of the distro, standard text logs should be there by default, as well as cron and a working /etc/rc.local file.

about 3 months ago
top

Protesters Blockade Microsoft's Seattle Headquarters Over Tax Breaks

wytcld Re:well... (246 comments)

So tell me, if Microsoft left and took the 40k jobs with them, they would then NOT get tax breaks in Seattle.

Microsoft can't go anywhere. 40,000 employees aren't going to happily relocate to Pittsburg or wherever. Can you imagine the cost of building a new campus for 40,000? Can you imagine where they'd ever find a buyer to pay a fair price for the existing campus?

about 3 months ago
top

Islamic State "Laptop of Doom" Hints At Plots Including Bubonic Plague

wytcld Remarkable complacency (369 comments)

Since I saw the Trade Center fall in person (not on screen) I am unable to go "La la la they can't strike us here" and believe myself. Nor do I believe that recent history predicts the future. The main players in Islamic State are far more radical than Osama ever was. Osama was one nasty piece of work who deserved killing, but he wasn't pure evil. His main goal was a "purer" Saudi Arabia without so much US influence. These fucks have as their goal an Earth purified of all who don't share their exact beliefs. Osama was dependent on funding primarily from his friends among the Saudi princes, who insisted on some degree of moderation especailly after 9/11 when they got back-channel messages that we'd come after them next if not; these fucks control their own oil fields, and depend on no other nation as long as they have markets for their oil.

We're can obliterate them now, while they're relatively local, or nuke 'em later, by which time they'll have cells trained and equipped throughout the First World. Our Iraq experience is not what we should be learning from. Iraq needed to be successfully occupied and turned around. We were terrible at that. Islamic State merely needs to be utterly destroyed. That's within our scope. Osama wasn't the threat we thought he was; these fucks are the threat we thought he was. We must abstain from restraint in their obliteration, unless we're ready to tolerate far worse in terms of terrorist attacks than 9/11 ever was.

I say this as a left-wing, pro-Palestinian admirer of Ghandi and MLK. The US might have done well to stay out of WW I, but if we'd stayed out of WW II the world would have been ruined. The US would have done well not to start Iraq War II, but if we hold back from a strategy for full victory over the Islamic State, civilization's odds are not good. If we leave them intact for long enough to attack us here - which they will - say goodbye to what's left of our civil liberties.

about 4 months ago
top

The Evolution of Diet

wytcld Re:The best diet (281 comments)

If you're worried about hardening of the arteries, consider supplementing with K2. Typically until recently there was more of it in our diets than we get now, since a major source is from animals that have fed on fresh green grass (and eggs from such), and our livestock and chickens are much more grain fed now. Also, if you're prone to black circles under your eyes, as I am, it might make them disappear, as it did for me.

about 4 months ago
top

Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

wytcld Uber should be stopped (273 comments)

Uber is abusing its drivers. It advertises "1 million dollars!" of insurance. But that insurance only covers your passengers and victims, and only if you're at fault. It doesn't cover you, or our vehicle, or anyone at all if you got struck by another vehicle, perhaps one without insurance. And your private insurance on your car will not cover a thing if you're driving the car for hire.

There are perfectly good reasons for regulating taxis. As well, there are good reasons for building solid mass transit options so taxis won't be so needed. Allowing Uber to operate puts the public, and its drivers, at risk for no reason beyond the desire to drive down pay below the already barely-subsistence rates that taxi drivers earn. If you don't have a commercial drivers license, and you're not driving a licensed commercial vehicle, and you don't have full commercial insurance, you shouldn't be taking fares. If you are, that's criminal in many places, as it should be. Uber's executives should be arrested for criminal conspiracy.

about 6 months ago
top

WikiLeaks Publishes Secret International Trade Agreement

wytcld Re:Not sure what the "secrecy" fuss is (222 comments)

a diplomat can say "we don't need the unions to have disproportionate control over production costs"

Good example. Let's posit a world where we do need the unions to have a large say in production costs. This is a world which is rapidly sliding to political and social instability because the gains in GDP over the last 40 years have not been shared with the working and middle classes, due in large part to concerted, successful efforts to undermine the unions. Let's further posit that the results of prior transnational treaties have led to the political destabilization of many nations, and the rise of neofascist populist parties there.

Where are the union representatives at these treaty negotiations? Where are the consumer advocates? If they're not there, this whole process isn't just bogus, it's a threat to future political and economic stability. Heavy-handed, opaque rule always leads to either collapse or revolution, or both.

about 6 months ago
top

WikiLeaks Publishes Secret International Trade Agreement

wytcld Re:Not sure what the "secrecy" fuss is (222 comments)

Why not? It would only create additional, unnecessary public anxiety about stuff that might never even see the paper.

As long as the final version (release candidate would be a better expression here) is properly publically analysed (and, if needed, rewritten), there's no problem.

Stuff that "will never see the paper" can be implicit in the terms which end up in the public release. A lot of negotiation is in the form of, first, defining the goals (removing laws in various nations that limit the power and profits of transnational corporations), and then finding terms which enable those goals while presenting a veneer of respectability for the public. The consequences of the treaty language, if put into effect, are implicit, not stated plainly on the surface of the treaty. Of those in the US Senate who can follow through on the implications, most are complicit in the goals, effectively paid off. The rest are either too lazy or stupid to work it out, or will find their only route to a wider public audience through being interviewed on prime oulets like Russia Today.

about 6 months ago
top

WikiLeaks Publishes Secret International Trade Agreement

wytcld Re:This is just fucked up (222 comments)

Do you really think it would be effective for every draft to be gone over and commented on by every "expert" in the world? The group would spend all it's time fixing misunderstanding and misrepresentations.

Yes. Yes I do. The group should fix misunderstandings and misrepresentations. This sort of treaty impinges on the rights of people across much of the world. It needs to be written in clear terms that average citizens who want to study it can comprehend. We should not be surrendering our rights without clearly knowing what we're getting in return. Even better, we should not be surrendering our rights at all, as individuals or as nations.

about 6 months ago
top

EU, South Korea Collaborate On Superfast 5G Standards

wytcld Re:5G? (78 comments)

If we but allow the several remaining cell phone companies to merge, the efficiency of scale will enable them to bring us infinite, affordable bandwidth. It is only our law against monopolies that prevents OUCH (One Ultra Cell Honcho) from delivering everthing we deserve.

about 6 months ago
top

Did Russia Trick Snowden Into Going To Moscow?

wytcld Re:Long-ago defected KGB spies hunted by Russia (346 comments)

So Boris, who depends on Western intelligence services to avoid being assassinated, as other Russian spies who fled to Britain have been, says what his protectors want him to. Business Insider is just plain stupid to publish this.

about 6 months ago
top

Climate Journal Publishes Referees' Report In Response To "Witch-Hunt" Claims

wytcld Re:That's rich (330 comments)

"Self-introspection" as compared to introspecting other people?

So you don't like these headlines because, what, they're too mean about some of the idiots at the Guardian's competition?

about 7 months ago

Submissions

top

Is Chase.com being DDOSed in followup to Target heist?

wytcld wytcld writes  |  about a year ago

wytcld (179112) writes "Last night I went to do my daily Chase.com check of a Chase credit card account that we used at a Target a few times in the danger period. Couldn't get the site to work. Thought it might just be a bad 3G connection from my vacation location. FInding it still bad this morning, I tried over a good, fast wired connection, and Chase.com still can't complete a login. Is this an active DDOS to do precisely this — prevent people from seeing fraud on the many Chase cards involved in the Target heist? Are other people seeing this problem?"
top

What tools can prioritize individually-written e-mail to a politician?

wytcld wytcld writes  |  more than 2 years ago

wytcld (179112) writes "Sending an individually-written e-mail to my state senator resulted in an automated response saying that since she receives hundreds of e-mails a day, there might be no personal response, but please don't take that to mean she hasn't read my e-mail. So I contacted her again suggesting that was a pretty poor answer. Most of the e-mails she receives are mass mailings coordinated by various interest group websites. Why doesn't she put those to the side, I asked, and prioritize response to individual e-mails from constituents who've taken the time to actually write? Her response? She often can't tell the difference at first, so spends time drafting responses to the first instances of group e-mail spam, and gets diverted from responding to those who really write her. Are there tools out there which a politician can use to identify the incoming group-think blasts and put them to to side? It's easy enough to imagine sorting by repeated content or headers, if I ran the mail server, but I'm looking for packages already out there that a state-level representative, with no staff to speak of, might use to cut through the mess and prioritize communication with constituents who care enough about an issue to draft their own thoughts."
top

Fake out auditors on a network readiness test

wytcld wytcld writes  |  more than 5 years ago

wytcld (179112) writes "When Verizon spun off its Northern New England lines to FairPoint, FairPoint leased Verizon's computer network to manage them. This was costly, so FairPoint readied its own network. To prove its own network was ready for the switchover a demonstration was prepared for an outside auditor, Liberty. Now a whistleblower claims:

when Liberty was watching what they thought was 'flow thru' within a system and from one system to another, they were really only seeing a small program that was created to assimilate what they wanted the systems to do. They were not actually in the systems at the time nor were they in the test systems. They were in a newly created small program that used screen shots from the real system to deceive the audience into believing that they were watching a real demonstration.

How easy is it to find auditors who can be fooled by such a simple trick? This could be useful in many business situations. Whether or not the test was faked, the network has proved so unready that FairPoint is close to bankruptcy, and may have its licenses to operate revoked in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont."

top

Fairpoint Pledges to Violate Net Neutrality

wytcld wytcld writes  |  more than 5 years ago

wytcld (179112) writes "Fairpoint Communications, which has taken over Verizon's landline business in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, announces that on February 6:

AOL, Yahoo! and MSN subscribers will continue to have access to content but will no longer be able to access their e-mail through the third party Web site. Instead, Yahoo! and other third party e-mail will be accessed directly at the MyFairPoint.net portal.

Since Verizon spun off its lines to Fairpoint in a maneuver that got debt off of Verizon's balance sheets by saddling Fairpoint with it, there was concern by the public service boards of the three states about how Fairpoint would deal with that debt. Fairpoint's profit plan: force all Webmail users through Fairpoint's portal, by blocking all direct access to Webmail portals other than its own.

Will Fairpoint's own search engine portal be next? What can stop them?"

top

Alpha trial of net newspaper censorship?

wytcld wytcld writes  |  more than 7 years ago

wytcld (179112) writes "Mid-day yesterday into this morning, my attempts to view The LA Times, The Washington Post, The Union Leader, and The Guardian all consistently failed. These major newspapers, diversely located in IP space, were all still immediately responsive to a "telnet <site> 80". But in response to "GET / HTTP/1.0" none of them could get a page through to me, on any workstation, with any browser. Meanwhile, numerous other sites remained normally available, including The New York Times, many blogs, &c. SSH'ing to a remote system (different city, different ISP) and browsing from there showed these sites were all running normally — just blocked somehow from serving pages to systems here.

The local ISP confirms they know what the cause was, but refuses to share the knowledge. With the sites so dispersed, and consistently 100% unavailable, the regular sort of routing problems wouldn't fit as an explanation. The candidates look like: either a badly-implemented traffic-shaping attempt by my ISP (or their backbone provider), or the test of a Chinese-style firewalling of newspaper sites. Did anyone see this event from other ISPs while trying to read the Sunday papers? Does a more innocent explanation than a trial of a net newspaper censorship system jump to your mind?"
top

Will robotics doom Chinese manufacturing?

wytcld wytcld writes  |  more than 7 years ago

wytcld (179112) writes "Sending manufacturing to China was brilliant. It weens the American worker from factory jobs. The next stage is fully robotic factories. Those won't be in China, since a robot costs the same in any market. They will be close to markets, to save transportation cost. All those Chinese workers will lose their factory jobs, while the American workers will have already transitioned to better professions. China is going to be severely hurt by this whole thing. America (and Japan) will come out supreme. Discuss."

Journals

wytcld has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?