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Comment: Read "Rationality: From AI to Zombies" (Score 1) 421 421

Eliezer Yudkowsky's "Rationality: From AI to Zombies" is a must-read on this subject. He lays out very clearly and compellingly just why self-improving AIs are so dangerous, and what extremely narrow path the humanity needs to walk to avoid this danger.

Comment: Re:that's fine (Score 2) 408 408

Honestly, you can say it wasn't their fault, but nearly 10% of them in 6 months have been involved in accidents. Even if it wasn't the fault of the technology itself, why is the accident rate so high?

Because they are constantly on the road, for testing and data collection. I would imagine that they drove more in these 6 months than many cars do in 6 years.

Comment: Re:that's fine (Score 4, Informative) 408 408

Accident rate in general: 4-5% Accident rate so far with only 48 vehicles: 8-9%

Ah, no, the meaningful rate is accidents per miles driven, not per car. These cars are driven constantly (for testing, data collection, etc), surely way more that twice the average.

Comment: Non non-free option either. (Score 1) 578 578

And why is it that you are owed free content?

It's not about not having free access - it's not about having access period. I would have gladly paid for an online-only access, but there is no such option. I've tried signing up for a TV service with Comcast (which owns NBC) - not only I have to pay something like $70/month for huge package of channels I would never watch, but the only way to buy it is to sign up for installation of equipment for TV I do not own, and I would only get access when such equipment arrives - there is no option to sign up for online access and not have their cable equipment shoven down my throat.

P.S. I looked into using a Canadian VPN service, but had trouble getting olympic coverage to show up correctly on Linux. Now I am planning to watch Olympics on eTVnet - a Russian-language site in Canada, which, unlike NBC, is happy to take my money to provide me with access to content I want to watch.

Comment: Re:The have your punk kid nephew do it mentality (Score 3, Informative) 327 327

1. Python. I thought all the quants liked C, assembler, and even VHDL for their high frequency stuff.

Not necessarily. For example, an HFT company Jane Street Capical uses OCaml, claiming it makes code reviews go a lot faster and Knight-style errors a lot less likely.


USPTO Won't Accept Upside Down Faxes 427 427

bizwriter writes "This may seem like a joke, but it's not. The US Patent and Trademark Office will not accept patent filings faxed in if they arrive upside down. That's right, the home of innovation of the federal government is incapable of rotating an incoming fax file, whether electronically or on paper."
The Courts

Landmark Ruling Gives Australian ISPs Safe Harbor 252 252

omnibit writes "Today, the Federal Court of Australia handed down its ruling in favor of the country's third largest ISP, iiNet. The case was backed by some of the largest media companies, including 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. They accused iiNet of approving piracy by ignoring thousands of infringement notices. Justice Cowdroy said that the 'mere provision of access to internet is not the means to infringement' and 'copyright infringement occurred as result of use of BitTorrent, not the Internet... iiNet has no control over BitTorrent system and [is] not responsible for BitTorrent system.' Many Internet providers had been concerned that an adverse ruling would have forced themselves to police Internet traffic and comply with the demands of copyright owners without any legislative or judicial oversight."

Google Proposes DNS Extension 271 271

ElusiveJoe writes "Google, along with a group of DNS and content providers, hopes to alter the DNS protocol. Currently, a DNS request can be sent to a recursive DNS server, which would send out requests to other DNS servers from its own IP address, thus acting somewhat similar to a proxy server. The proposed modification would allow authoritative nameservers to expose your IP address (instead of an address of your ISP's DNS server, for example) in order to 'load balance traffic and send users to a nearby server.' Or it would allow any interested party to look at your DNS requests. Or it would send a user from Iran or Libya to a 'domain name doesn't exist' server."

Apple Patches Massive Holes In OS X 246 246

Trailrunner7 writes with this snippet from ThreatPost: "Apple's first Mac OS X security update for 2010 is out, providing cover for at least 12 serious vulnerabilities. The update, rated critical, plugs security holes that could lead to code execution vulnerabilities if a Mac user is tricked into opening audio files or surfing to a rigged Web site." Hit the link for a list of the highlights among these fixes.

Why Coder Pay Isn't Proportional To Productivity 597 597

theodp writes "John D. Cook takes a stab at explaining why programmers are not paid in proportion to their productivity. The basic problem, Cook explains, is that extreme programmer productivity may not be obvious. A salesman who sells 10x as much as his peers will be noticed, and compensated accordingly. And if a bricklayer were 10x more productive than his peers, this would be obvious too (it doesn't happen). But the best programmers do not write 10x as many lines of code; nor do they work 10x as many hours. Programmers are most effective when they avoid writing code. An über-programmer, Cook explains, is likely to be someone who stares quietly into space and then says 'Hmm. I think I've seen something like this before.'"

How Do I Keep My Privacy While Using Google? 533 533

hubert.lepicki writes "I use Google all the time. I keep two GMail tabs open when I'm online (one is private, another is a corporate account), I use Google search, and recently I switched to the Chromium browser. Google's services are fast, easy to use and usually reliable. At the same time, I know Google is tracking everything I do; I can see it in search results or their ads on web pages, which tend to match my interests. After the recent post by Mozilla's community director suggesting Bing has a better privacy policy (a response to questionable comments from Google CEO Eric Schmidt), I started to... 'google' ways of keeping my private data safe while browsing and using Google services. The results weren't very helpful, so I ask you, Slashdotters: how do I stay anonymous to Google while using their services?"

Mozilla Thunderbird 3 Released 272 272

supersloshy writes Today Mozilla released Thunderbird 3. Many new features are available, including Tabs and enhanced search features, a message archive for emails you don't want to delete but still want to keep, Firefox 3's improved Add-ons Manager, Personas support, and many other improvements. Download here."

Computer Games and Traditional CS Courses 173 173

drroman22 writes "Schools are working to put real-world relevance into computer science education by integrating video game development into traditional CS courses. Quoting: 'Many CS educators recognized and took advantage of younger generations' familiarity and interests for computer video games and integrate related contents into their introductory programming courses. Because these are the first courses students encounter, they build excitement and enthusiasm for our discipline. ... Much of this work reported resounding successes with drastically increased enrollments and student successes. Based on these results, it is well recognized that integrating computer gaming into CS1 and CS2 (CS1/2) courses, the first programming courses students encounter, is a promising strategy for recruiting and retaining potential students." While a focus on games may help stir interest, it seems as though game development studios are as yet unimpressed by most game-related college courses. To those who have taken such courses or considered hiring those who have: what has your experience been?

Easing the Job of Family Tech Support? 932 932

DarkDevil writes "Ever since I was introduced to computers at a very young age, I've been the resident tech support for a household of 7 users. I've been in a cycle for the last ~8 years where something happens to my parents' computer, I spend a week or two trying to non-destructively fix the problem (and try to explain to the users what caused it and how to avoid it), and then if it's not easily fixed I'll reformat and start from scratch. Most often, the level of infection warrants a reformat, which usually ends up taking even more time to get the computer back to how my parents know how to use it. 4-8 months later, it happens again. Recently, I found ~380 instances of malware and 6 viruses. I only realized something was wrong with their computer after it slowed down the entire network whenever anyone used it. My question for Slashdot is: are there any resources out there that explain computer viruses, malware, adware, and general safe computer practices to non-technical people in an easy-to-digest format? The security flaws in my house are 9, 26, and ~50 years old, with no technical background aside from surfing the internet. Something in video format would be ideal as they are perfectly happy with our current arrangement and so it'll be hard to get them reading pages and pages of technical papers."

The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance.