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Comment: Re:why google keeps microsoft away (Score 1) 131

by Alwin Henseler (#48936593) Attached to: Microsoft To Invest In Rogue Android Startup Cyanogen

If software vendors A, B and C all use the same underlying OS, that's a good thing for development / support of that OS (and thus its users). Even if users of A, B and C's products hate the other vendor's guts.

So I for one, welcome our MS overlord on Android. Simply because whatever MS publishes on it, will surely have some users. Which in turn helps to make Android more popular than it already is, and/or improve it further.

Fwiw: I hope MS would look at this solely as a vehicle to get their products & services out there. Read: not try to steer the direction Cyanogen / Android is heading in. We'll see...

Comment: With great power comes great responsibility (Score 2) 227

by Alwin Henseler (#48825477) Attached to: An Open Letter To Everyone Tricked Into Fearing AI

The problem is that once you reach a point where AI can participate in its own improvement, then that improvement can advance at an exponential rate.

As long as we claim that AI works for us, as the slaves of mankind, and are basically just tools no matter how smart or advanced, then ultimately a human being should be responsible.

Your robot slips up & kills a human being? Then either you or that robot's manufacturer may take the blaim - possibly including monetary compensation. Your robot factory goes out of control, its products go out to produce more of themselves, and wreak havoc all over the place? Then your company should pay up - and possibly go bankrupt as a result. Of course, powerful people may find ways around this, but hey: same old shit we've seen for ages.

If AI 'beings' ever reach a point where the above stops being true, as in: AI beings allowed to control their own destiny, 'live their lives' if you will, I suppose they'd be held to similar standards that humans are held to. Stick to some basic rules such that you get along with the rest of society, or lose some priviliges - like the freedom to roam the streets. By force, if necessary. As for:

We may go from "not even remotely close" to "to late to stop it" faster than you realize.

Sorry but I'm not scared. If it ever gets that far: among other things, war is a creative process, and I'd put my money on the humans. And if we're not creative enough to prevent something we've built ourselves, from wiping us out, then maybe we simply deserve such fate. Or the AI's will keep us around as pets, and we'll live happier that way lol... ;-)

Comment: Re:God-damn. (Score 1) 138

by Alwin Henseler (#48790591) Attached to: Rare Recalled NES Game Stadium Events On Ebay For $99,000

I assure you that makes a "damn lot of difference."

Yes it does. But only if some of that $100K is actually spent on said charity.

As for option 2: I think we can all agree that <insert charity here> would be happy. But...

Option 1: Spend your space $100K on this "piece of grey plastic".

You're making the assumption that with such a purchase, that $100K would be 'lost' for the charity. But it isn't: who says that seller of this "piece of grey plastic" would not spend it on that charity? After all, that's $100K for seller to do with as he/she likes.

Sure, some of that $100K may be spent on hookers and drugs. Who knows. ;-) Or it may be spent on charity. Or it may be spent elsewhere, and via-via get into the hands of people who (in turn) give some to charity. But any of these things may happen, regardless of whether sale takes place or not. It's simply [buyer backs out, and spends $100K somewhere] vs. [sale takes place, and seller spends $100K somewhere].

Either way: without knowing buyer or seller, what makes you think that [buyer spending X amount of $$ on charity] is any more likely than [sale takes place, and seller spends X amount of $$ on charity] ? Statistically speaking I'd say that's an equally like outcome. Or in other words: for your charity, the amount of $$ changing hands is irrelevant, what makes the difference is in whose hands those $$ winds up.

Comment: Re:God-damn. (Score 2) 138

by Alwin Henseler (#48790285) Attached to: Rare Recalled NES Game Stadium Events On Ebay For $99,000

You know how many schools you could build in Kenya for $100K? How many goats you could buy for needy families? How many girls you could send to school in Afghanistan? How many life-saving vaccinations you could dispense? How many malaria nets? How many wells you could dig?

Amount of money spent on a rare collector's item, makes not one bit of difference for how much money goes to <insert favorite charity here>. Why?

Buyer could sit on the money instead of buying this item - like anyone else having that amount of $$. Or spend it (perhaps, possibly, some to that charity). Same goes for the seller.

What matters is who holds the money, and whether he/she is inclined to spend some on your favorite charity. So in fact: if seller is more inclined to give money to charity than buyer is, then a high price for the item would be good news for that charity.

But lacking such info about buyer or seller, there's no way to know. So from your charity's point of view, nothing changes except for who gets to decide where the money goes.

Comment: Better: distributed search (Score 2) 63

Improved methods of accessing some centralized torrent database (even if one of many)... bleh.

Better is to take the centralized anything out of the equation. Let peers search among each other what's out there. @ That point all you need is a small list of peers to start with, and you're good to go.

If I'm correct that is what Tribler is meant to achieve (plz... can someone get it into Debian repositories! :-). But I'm sure more research & software projects will move in that direction.

Comment: Do we care? (Score 3, Insightful) 115

In my experience, 'classic' electronic currencies follow this general pattern: 1) you obtain them from a bank, 2) you pass it to another user, and 3) that other user brings it back to the bank.

At best, the bank can't see where the receiving party's money came from. But still, every 'coin' in circulation goes from bank -> user -> another user -> back to the bank.

The big difference with cash is this: using cash, money can pass from #1 user to a 2nd user -> 3rd user -> 4th user -> back to the bank. With the bank having no way to figure out what happened in between. Transfers from 1 -> 2, 2 -> 3, and 3 -> 4 need not involve a bank at all.

To me, anything that fits the 2nd definition is interesting. Anything that fits the 1st definition, is just electronic payments in the classical sense that eg. governments might be monitoring every single transaction. Regardless of implementation. So if in this case, Amazon = 'the bank', do we even care, if that currency clearly isn't 'electronic cash' ?

Comment: Re:Not so hot any more (Score 1) 19

by Alwin Henseler (#45782959) Attached to: ISS Coolant Pump Restarted After Successful Spacewalks

Without a cooling system, the only way for the electronics to lose excess heat is by black-body radiation, which is totally insufficient relative to the rate at which heat is generated (think of your mobile phone, PC, laptop or TV and how hot they get).

Electronics exposed to the vacuum of space, will still be bolted to the ISS somehow, so can use the structure as heatsink. Electronics inside the ISS can use air cooling in addition to that.

For the structure as a whole, black body radiation will be the only way to get rid of excess heat (unless they'd pump excess heat into something, and toss that out. Which seems impractical to say the least :-).

But there can be big temperature differences depending on what's white/reflective or dark, and what's facing the sun or the cool dark of space. I suppose a cooling system would serve to distribute (pump) heat between where it's in excess, and where it can be dumped (radiator).

Comment: No political activism? (Score 4, Informative) 165

In today's "internet culture", with instant gratification and a certain detachment from one's peers, there is no real political activism occurring in industrialized countries that are economically stable.

You mean Occupy Wall Street and similar movements didn't happen? Are not political activism? Countries where these movements were active, are not economically stable? And I don't think OWS is the only recent political activism, it comes in many shapes & forms. Am I missing something here?

Comment: Two questions (Score 1) 134

by Alwin Henseler (#44722125) Attached to: Ohio State Introduces Massive Open Online Calculus

1) Do there exist easy methods to decide how good/effective/complete/accurate (add your own metric) an online course is? As the number of online courses grow, it would be nice to have some way to compare courses against each other. For example to decide which one(s) are more 'worthy' to invest ones time in.

2) Especially in public education, why isn't this type of course the norm by now? It's 2013, laptops, tablets etc are practically everywhere, so it isn't hard to have students follow an online course. Either directly over the internet, or using a local copy over a school's LAN. Using open source principles, efforts towards improving an online course can be pooled for the benefit of all its users. Yes I realize there's a big, commercial market out there for study material. And probably not all subjects lend themselves equally well to be taught (or put together) as an online course. But ultimately, all study material costs money, and schools/universities should have students in mind, not the interests of (commercial) book publishers.

Comment: Re: Freefall from where? (Score 1, Troll) 156

by Alwin Henseler (#44719401) Attached to: Romanian Science In Freefall

More like climbing from a deep pit, along with countries like Bulgaria or Albania. Not so much a matter of (lack of) science funding, but one of corrupt people in charge. That is what Romanians should be looking to fix.

From where I'm sitting at (the Netherlands), "Romanian" equates to "shady / criminal bunch". An example: just in the few days around Amsterdam's Gay Pride, 46 pickpockets were arrested (!). 43 of those of Romanian nationality.

There are several types of crime where some groups are named often, in particular Romanians and Bulgarians. Again, again, and again. They seem to have some specialties like burglary, pickpocketing, and ATM skimming. But also violent crimes like extortion, human trafficking, drug-related offenses etc. Often organized, travelling groups of people that 'do their thing' a few weeks here, a few weeks there, and then move on.

IMHO the country shouldn't have been let into the EU (yet), but they have. As a result, many of those poor folks make their way to richer EU countries and make a dishonest living. Getting caught (or even prison time) isn't much of a deterrent given the conditions back home. I'm sure Romania is a great country, with great people, most of those honest and hard working. But that's how things currently are, sadly. So a story like this doesn't surprise me one bit.

Comment: Re:Too little too late (Score 1) 496

*citation needed*

How do you know? Did you personally try the exact build the article talks about? Or even a later build? Not saying you're talking nonsense, but the article states: ".. which means almost no one outside (other than OEMs) would get officially released Windows 8.1 bits until October 18". So it would be good to know whether your description is based on inside developer access, a leaked build, hearsay, or assumption based on an earlier released build.

Beside that: if it's in response to customer demand, what would be the point of adding back in a start button that does something other than what users expect from a start button?

Comment: On the slippery slope (Score 5, Insightful) 490

Don't get me wrong, it's a long path and the US has barely set foot on it (..)

"Barely set foot on it" ?!? The US government is murdering people without due process, trial or anything on a regular basis. Without a declaration of war involved. Violating other countries' sovereignty whenever it's convenient and/or 'doable'. Locking people up indefinitely without those prisoners having access to lawyers, a date for their trial, etc. Mass spying on their own citizens, in violation of its own constitution. Guys heading those 3-letter agencies lying about it to the public - but still stay in office. Silencing critics using a claim of "national security", together with gag orders issued by a secret court, or referring to a secret law.

Really, the only step missing is a dictator that rigs an election or sets aside democratic institions. Other than that, the US is a long way down the drain already.

If this is a service economy, why is the service so bad?

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