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Comment: Re:You can't sink a conspiracy (Score 1) 261

by Altrag (#47971843) Attached to: Nvidia Sinks Moon Landing Hoax Using Virtual Light

Climate change deniers are a bit out of place in that group. While its pretty obvious to any sane person that climate change will (and in fact is) happening, we aren't yet to the point where it HAS happened (at least not in a big enough way to be obvious to anyone who wants to ignore science in the first place.)

Also, strongly suspect (and this may just be my own personal conspiracy theory) that most of the biggest/loudest climate change deniers are in league with the large energy and similar companies who stand to lose a lot if climate change regulation comes into play. Of course the loud (but "sane", in the selfish-I-just-want-money way) ones spark the idea in the actual crazies and it builds from there.

On the other hand, there is no such monetary incentive for anyone giving any fucks whether the universe was blinked into existence by a supernatural being 6k years ago or a multidimensional brane fart 14b years ago. People who choose to deny the evidence in favor of some arbitrary (and officially denied, assuming these folk are Catholic-derived and not some other Christian branch) interpretation of a 2000 year old book have no reason for their views other than being legitimate nutters.

Same with the holocaust. Except some of those people are still alive so the deniers are pretty much telling the people that watched their friends and families being abused, tortured and killed that its all in their heads. But the last of them will only be around another couple of decades at most and then there will be nothing but a terrible tale in the history books that hopefully future generations will take to heart and not repeat. The only people with any real incentive to deny the holocaust are those who might be called out for war crimes during that period.

Comment: Re:Cue "All we are is dust in the wind" (Score 1) 111

by Altrag (#47971795) Attached to: "Big Bang Signal" Could All Be Dust

The first is not specifically wrong. Thermodynamics implies that the big bang's energy had to some from somewhere. The trouble is that we have no idea where it would come from, which is why no respectable description of the big bang will leave out the part about us only knowing/theorizing up to the first few nanoseconds.

Prior to that everything we know about the universe upends itself in ways that we can't even begin to describe with any consistency because all of our known (testable) laws of physics have fundamental lower limits (the Planck length in particular is a limit we don't know how to breach -- the math we've got breaks down and our experimental devices, even the LHC, are many many orders of magnitude above that still so there's no way we can peek in and see what comes out.)

Black holes face similar problems beyond the event horizon. We've come up with some very surprising theories about the "surface" of black holes such as the 2D "record" of 3D events being encoded in some fashion, but basically we've got nothing regarding their interior. Its quite possible that understanding black holes may help understand the big bang (or vice-versa.. or not) but until/unless we can come up with a way to probe those phenomena we're literally just guessing.

Its not like discovering QED or even probing gravitation where we can see the effects (or expect to see them at or near energy levels we can reasonably achieve at the moment) and are just looking for ways to describe them mathematically in higher and higher precision. We've literally got zilch to go from since our theories break down completely in those situations and any measurable effects they might exhibit are (so far) extremely well beyond our instruments' capabilities so we're not able to create new theories (other than like I said, just guessing. String theory for example might be beautiful and mathematically sound and could potentially answer some of these questions.. but until has a testable theory with a positive result that can't be equally well explained via the standard model, its really just math and not science.)

Comment: Re:The WHO (Score 1) 435

by Altrag (#47971739) Attached to: Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75"

And sadly, that will be a terrible day for the planet. We're already stressing the damned thing well past any measure of sustainability.. stop the aging process and we'll replace "dying of old age" with "dying of thirst/starvation."

Or worse, some sort of cleansing program to maintain a sustainable population level. Nothing sinister about that concept.. And of course because "me starving" is a bit stronger motivator than "some guy I've never met in a country I've never been to being executed," a cleansing program (or alternatively a forced sterilization program) is almost certain to be implemented.

Not getting straight A's in advanced Reimannian topology and also able to run the quarter mile in less than 8 seconds by the time you're 14? We've got a nice camp over here for you.

Comment: Re:The WHO (Score 1) 435

by Altrag (#47971715) Attached to: Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75"

No more arbitrary than 18 being legal age.. or 21 being the drinking age.. or whatever. There's plenty of kids who know who they want to get naked with and what political affiliation they're comfortable with and how much booze is too much by the time they're 16.. And there's plenty of people who really don't understand the responsibilities that come with such "adult" actions well into their 30s, 40s and beyond. One size definitely does not fit all when it comes to any developmental cycle.

So 75 was chosen not because its better than 70 or 74 or 76 for every single person in existence, but because you need to set a hard number for the sake of having a line to draw if you're planning to call it a cutoff. I'm not sure if that guy picked 75 based on some statistical reasoning or just pulled it out of his ass but that's not really the relevant point -- the relevant point is simply having a number so you can say "this is the line."

And yes, these numbers need to change over time as society changes. 500 years ago waiting until you were 18 to get to boning would have been considered insane and birth control even more so.. your chances of successful childbirth diminish as you age and given the high (relative to now at least) infant mortality rate, getting on with bearing kids ASAP was considered pretty important which is why when you see shows like Game of Thrones, none of the characters bat an eye when they marry Sansa off as soon as she gets her first period -- that would have been pretty much the rule of day back prior to modern pediatrics.

Similarly, if in the next 18 years some of this stem cell and genetic research ends up paying off and is able to keep us not just alive, but healthy and active until we're say 90, he'll probably update his number to match. His argument isn't that living a longer _healthy_ life is bad, he's trying to argue that drawing out an deteriorating life is more of a burden than a gift, to both yourself and to society. Basically if L(ife)=H(ealthy)+D(eteriorated), he wants to maximize the H/D ratio and since increasing H is hard, he's looking at decreasing D (which also has the benefit of fewer deteriorated years in total) while arguing that modern geriatric care has been too focused on getting a larger absolute value for L by increasing D rather than H.

Comment: Re:The whole article is just trolling (Score 1) 711

by Altrag (#47968115) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

I think he's saying that we shouldn't be using evolution as a talking point when we want to say "see science works!" because we have no proof that evolution indeed works as Darwin described. We have right boatloads of evidence to be sure, but no actual proof (evolution is perhaps a bit of a bad example as we can see bacteria and viruses evolving all the time -- but we still can't say with 100% certainty that we're correct in extrapolating that to all of nature.)

The real problem with the article is that _NOTHING_ is 100% reproducible. Even quantum electrodynamics -- aka our most well-tested theory ever and the most sciencey science we have by any definition of the word -- is written in terms of probability. You can't show the two-slit experiment by firing a single photon. Or even a dozen photons. You have to fire hundreds or thousands of them before the interference pattern emerges. Its only "science" (by this guy's definition) due to the fact that its a lot easier to shoot 100,000 photons in a reasonable time frame than it is to evolve dinosaurs on 100,000 planets.

Comment: Re:In lost the will to live ... (Score 1) 711

by Altrag (#47967725) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

"Science" is not a belief system to be sure, but you CAN believe that "science will answer everything given enough time." That's wholly unjustified. Its entirely possible that science can NEVER explain everything either due to the fundamental limits of nature (we'll never be able to see past ~14bn light years for example unless we find something that travels faster than light, which currently seems pretty unlikely) or due to the more simple limits of our measurement devices (we're maybe.. just maybe.. going to be able to detect gravity waves in the next few years. Detecting an individual graviton though may not ever be something we can do as building an LHC-like detector powerful enough to measure gravitons would likely take more energy than is available on the entire planet. Perhaps if we're some day able to harness the Sun's energy in a more direct manner -- heading towards Dyson sphere territory here -- then maybe we could build a big enough detector in theory. But that's an awful lot of extrapolation.)

Comment: Re:The review ecosystem is good and truly broken.. (Score 1) 238

by Altrag (#47967423) Attached to: Small Restaurant Out-Maneuvers Yelp In Reviews War

Not really.. adjust it so that people who rate a lot of things (earning themselves an ebay-like reputation) would be weighted differently than the person who just came in and rated one item.

That would significantly cut down the paid shilling abilities as you couldn't just start up 1000 new accounts to post a single review each for your site, but not eliminate it. (You could do the same thing but also pick 10 random listings to post random reviews on in order to flesh out the numbers.)

Add a temporal aspect to it though -- ie: measure the average time between reviews and if its too low, drop the user's weighting) -- and it becomes harder to game the system yet again as the shills now have to maintain their shilling accounts over time in order to build up enough reputation for their reviews to matter.

Not that it couldn't still be gamed.. but it would require a much more substantial investment by the shills in order for their shilling to be of marketable value. But that also makes them semi-trackable -- set up a fake company listing, hire a known shiller to promote it and then ban any account that posts a glowing review. Because those accounts have to be curated over time, this would be a significant risk for the shilling firms and would at the very least require them to invest enough time/effort to try and determine if your fake listing is actually fake (and of course you could go the next step and create an actual fake company with a fake website and a fake email address/phone#/etc if you wanted.)

Censorship

Putin To Discuss Plans For Disconnecting Russia From the Internet 240

Posted by Soulskill
from the taking-his-e-toys-and-going-home dept.
New submitter GlowingCat writes: Russian President Vladimir Putin and several high-ranking officials will discuss the security of the Russian segment of the Internet at the meeting of the Russian Security Council next week. According to various reports, the officials will make a number of decisions about regulating the use of the Internet in Russia. This includes the ability to cut off the Russian Internet, known as Runet, from the outside world, in case of emergency.

Comment: Re:So everything is protected by a 4 digit passcod (Score 2) 503

by Altrag (#47939719) Attached to: Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

That works for basic access passwords since the only check is "is it right yes/no?" at one particular entry point (the login screen.) You can reset that password and they only have to "update" the one location (their password hash file.)

Encryption is a whole different beast as you're effectively password protecting every single byte on your device. Simply changing the access password won't change those bytes.

So unless they're storing your password in plaintext (or reversibly encrypted,) or they've built a master key into their algorithm then no, they can't recover your data even if they reset your password for you.

No major company with any sanity would store user passwords in a recoverable form -- way too much chance of a rogue employee or a hacker getting their hands on the file and open them up to massive lawsuits.

Similar issues if they store a "hard to get" copy of the password right on your phone -- it won't take very long before someone figures that out and how to access it and then you may as well turn off the password feature all together for all the security it would give you.

Master passwords are a little bit more likely.. not because they're any saner (for the same reasons) but its a little easier to control a single key stored in a vault somewhere than it is to control a (probably distributed) password file that needs to be accessed regularly. Of course having it in a vault is great for something like the CSS or the PS3 master keys (which were both cracked eventually of course) but less good when your level 1 or even level 2 tech support need to use it periodically..

Comment: Re:So everything is protected by a 4 digit passcod (Score 1) 503

by Altrag (#47939605) Attached to: Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

If they already have you, which is pretty likely if they've managed to get your physical phone since most people keep those on or near them at all times, then they can probably figure out how to lift a print. Or you know, just coerce you to touch the pad.

Comment: Re: So everything is protected by a 4 digit passco (Score 0) 503

by Altrag (#47939397) Attached to: Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

If they ever get quantum computing off the ground, we will see some earth-shattering advancements as it will break pretty much all modern crypto systems. (Factorization for sure. Apparently discrete logs as well according to a quick Wikipedia check. Those two underpin the vast vast majority of crypto systems in use today.)

Of course quantum computers only help with certain classes of algorithms. We've already come up with new crypto systems that aren't (currently believed to be) breakable using quantum computers and I'm sure more will crop up as time marches on.

Comment: Re:they will defeat themselves (Score 1) 952

by Altrag (#47929719) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

That only applies in a closed system. Honestly if ISIS or whoever takes over their local region and then plays nice with the rest of the world, we (US/Europe) will likely leave them alone. Maybe a few minor economic sanctions as a slap on the wrist.

But if they take over their local region and then start posturing about taking over things we actually care about (either through direct military action or terrorism,) they'll find very quickly that Allah is more likely to welcome them to heaven than he is to stop the bombs and bullets coming their way.

Comment: Re:they will defeat themselves (Score 1) 952

by Altrag (#47929537) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Yeah I think there might be a misinterpretation somewhere. I can't see any religious reason to ban math, especially when TFS goes on to state that physics and chem (both of which require a lot of math) are fine as long as the teacher adds on a "praise Allah" every time he (I would assume.. BS like this usually isn't particularly free of gender constraints!) makes a statement that sounds intelligent.

Banning sports is also kind of strange. Perhaps this group really is attempting to make "only" religious nuts rather than religious terrorists. If they were looking for the latter, you'd think that keeping the kids in shape and espousing team>individual would be beneficial in the long run.

If you aren't rich you should always look useful. -- Louis-Ferdinand Celine

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