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Comment: Re:The UK Cobol Climate Is Very Different (Score 1) 245

by ShieldW0lf (#47924657) Attached to: College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

Quite simply, it's less comfortable to wear. Considering how much you spend at work, even minor differences in comfort can be very important and well worth the salary difference.

If your suit isn't comfortable, buy a nicer suit. A good suit is extremely comfortable.

Comment: Re:Lie. (Score 1) 187

by Qzukk (#47920415) Attached to: Tim Cook Says Apple Can't Read Users' Emails, That iCloud Wasn't Hacked

I wonder if there would be a way with https to store an encrypted mail

Short answer: No.
Long answer: SSL makes use of a temporary session key that is calculated between the client and the server at the time of the connection. Once the connection is over that key is (ideally) destroyed. If the email was encrypted with my session key when I sent it to the server (and somehow not decrypted by the server at this point) your session key that you create when you connect to the server won't do the job.

This is what S/MIME is for. The email body (and optionally some headers) is encrypted with a session key which is encrypted with your public key (rather than the server's key). Then it is sent through regular email channels. You receive the email and decrypt the session key with your private key, and use it to decrypt the message.

Comment: Not Comcast ;) (Score 1) 417

by hhawk (#47909257) Attached to: Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor

Clearly it was someone from the NSA ;) just trying to help :) --- If you believe comcast..

"Comcast refuted the claims made in Deepdotweb, stating that they had launched an internal review into the discussions reported above:

Customers are free to use their Xfinity Internet service to visit any website or use it however they wish otherwise. Like virtually all ISPs, Comcast has an acceptable use policy or AUP that outlines appropriate and inappropriate uses of the service. Comcast doesn’t monitor users’ browser software or web surfing and has no program addressing the Tor browser. he anecdotal chat room evidence provided is not consistent with our agents’ messages and is not accurate. Per our own internal review, we have found no evidence that these conversations took place, nor do we employ a Security Assurance team member named Kelly. Tor’s own FAQs clearly state: 'File sharing (peer-to-peer/P2P) is widely unwanted on Tor' and 'BitTorrent is NOT anonymous' on Tor.

Read more:"

Comment: And that is why the Spock/Logic way is incomplete (Score 1) 886

by Paul Fernhout (#47904609) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

I wish I had understood this better as a teenager. Bertrand Russel said that every philosopher makes at least one assumption, usually not acknowledged, and builds from there. As Albert Einstein said:
"It is true that convictions can best be supported with experience and clear thinking. On this point one must agree unreservedly with the extreme rationalist. The weak point of his conception is, however, this, that those convictions which are necessary and determinant for our conduct and judgments cannot be found solely along this solid scientific way.
  For the scientific method can teach us nothing else beyond how facts are related to, and conditioned by, each other. The aspiration toward such objective knowledge belongs to the highest of which man is capabIe, and you will certainly not suspect me of wishing to belittle the achievements and the heroic efforts of man in this sphere. Yet it is equally clear that knowledge of what is does not open the door directly to what should be. One can have the clearest and most complete knowledge of what is, and yet not be able to deduct from that what should be the goal of our human aspirations. Objective knowledge provides us with powerful instruments for the achievements of certain ends, but the ultimate goal itself and the longing to reach it must come from another source. And it is hardly necessary to argue for the view that our existence and our activity acquire meaning only by the setting up of such a goal and of corresponding values. The knowledge of truth as such is wonderful, but it is so little capable of acting as a guide that it cannot prove even the justification and the value of the aspiration toward that very knowledge of truth. Here we face, therefore, the limits of the purely rational conception of our existence.
    But it must not be assumed that intelligent thinking can play no part in the formation of the goal and of ethical judgments. When someone realizes that for the achievement of an end certain means would be useful, the means itself becomes thereby an end. Intelligence makes clear to us the interrelation of means and ends. But mere thinking cannot give us a sense of the ultimate and fundamental ends. To make clear these fundamental ends and valuations, and to set them fast in the emotional life of the individual, seems to me precisely the most important function which religion has to perform in the social life of man. And if one asks whence derives the authority of such fundamental ends, since they cannot be stated and justified merely by reason, one can only answer: they exist in a healthy society as powerful traditions, which act upon the conduct and aspirations and judgments of the individuals; they are there, that is, as something living, without its being necessary to find justification for their existence. They come into being not through demonstration but through revelation, through the medium of powerful personalities. One must not attempt to justify them, but rather to sense their nature simply and clearly. ..."

As I see currently it, sets of assumptions ("meme complexes"?) are almost like living beings...

Comment: Re:Wrong Title (Score 1) 499

No, I don't mean a tenured position, I mean the temporary position as a program director that she was fired from. It was a temporary position, and while it took a year to get her out, the wheels began to turn in November of 2013, only 3 months after she started. Which is clearly documented in the article.

Comment: Re:Wrong Title (Score 0) 499

She was a member of two different organizations (Womenâ(TM)s Committee Against Genocide and New Movement in Solidarity with Puerto Rican Independence) that were associated with the organization that committed the violent acts, the May 19 Communist Organization (M19CO).

She says she didn't know in advance that the violent acts were going to occur, but when she saw them in the news, she knew they were committed by the M19CO, and that the association between the M19CO organization and her own organizations existed.

She says she was casually acquainted with two of the convicted murderers, Judith Clark and Kuwasi Balagoon, who were members of the M19CO, and she maintained a relationship with Kuwasi Balagoon with letters and an in person visit, until he died.

Knowing these facts, they don't want to trust her with the position of program director. It was a new assignment, she only had a temporary job. They didn't take away the job she'd been doing for years because of what they found. The whole point of a temporary position is that no promises are made that it's going to last, so any expectations of permanence she had were her own mistake.

The more autistic among us will play rules lawyer games and insist that, technically, she didn't tell any lies, and given the benefit of the doubt on every occasion, you can't prove that she's not as pure as the driven snow. But they miss the point. The point is, the woman is a radical. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but you don't put radicals at the helm of the bureaucracy.

Comment: Re:legal loopholes? (Score 1) 184

by ShieldW0lf (#47866801) Attached to: Device Boots Drones, Google Glass Off Wi-Fi

So, the Cyborg Unplug is made by Julian Oliver. Because, PRIVACY!

Clicking through to his personal site, we're greeted with another one of his creations... the Transparency Grenade. Because, TRANSPARENCY!

So, what happens if I throw a Transparency Grenade into a restaurant with a Cyborg Unplug running? Do they destroy each other?


Comment: Re:The Real Reason? (Score 2) 108

by Qzukk (#47858421) Attached to: Why Google Is Pushing For a Web Free of SHA-1

Except that it's honestly a shitty idea given the history of witness unreliability. The human mind is pretty shit at remembering a real human's face you've only seen once. Worse, an uncanny valley fake face is going to look like every other uncanny valley fake face, especially without additional visible features like hair or glasses (and even then the memory is likely to recall "wears glasses" not a specific style or color).

Also, the guy never explained what the hell the problem was that he wants the engineers to make a solution for, other than "it doesn't use this cool face-making library I wrote." Clearly we are all too stupid to see the value of having lawnmower man's face shown when we log into our banking website, if only we weren't engineers instead of PhDs.

Comment: In the (sadly) late Iain Banks Culture novels... (Score 1) 206

by Paul Fernhout (#47845167) Attached to: Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

... Culture "Minds", drones, and humans/cyborgs all have privacy of what is in their own thoughts and memories. However, anything in a non-sentient "databank" is public to all (so, externally stored communications or designs in that sense are publicly shareable). I'm just re-reading "Excession" (out loud to my kid) where Banks made that point. In the "Culture", Banks makes it clear that sentient beings of any sort (including typical drones) have a variety of rights related to independence. When I first read that, coming from an idea of free software and free culture, it seemed somehow strange or wrong that the AI "Minds" or drones would have that sort of privacy, but now it seems to make more and more sense to me, given the sort of issues raised in the article, including that there can be many times when the line is blurred between human and machine. But the probably deeper issue is what it means to have an advanced post-scarcity "Culture" where many of the citizens are entirely non-biological (like the AI "Minds" that run much of everything).

BTW, the original "RUR" story from 1920 (where the term "robot" came from) has almost exactly the same plot as you outline for BG.

A lot of long-term robotics (like Asimo) is implicitly the quest for the ideal "slave". The question is, at what points does something have rights? In the USA and elsewhere animals have some legal rights (or at least laws to protect them) since starting about a 150 years ago, and that campaign I've heard eventually led to children having independent rights (on the logic of, why should a horse or dog have rights when a child does not?).
"The first national law to regulate animal experimentation was passed in Britain in 1876--the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1876. This bill created a central governing body that reviewed and approved all animal use in research. After that, there were numerous countries in Europe that adopted some regulations regarding research with animals. "

"At the beginning of the 20th century, children's protection starts to be put in place, including protection in the medical, social and judicial fields. This kind of protection starts first in France and spreads across Europe afterwards. Since 1919, the international community, following the creation of The League of Nations (later to become the UN), starts to give some kind of importance to that concept and elaborates a Committee for child protection."

However, going back to hunter/gatherer times thousands of years ago, there was in many such cultures (from what remains of them) at least an ethic of giving thanks to the larger "animal" kind (e.g. "Rabbit") that you killed for it letting you kill it so you might survive. But it's hard to know for sure what such cultures really believed day-to-day in all circumstances. And some such cultures had various sorts of slavery.

I don't know what the line is where a mechanism (mechanical or electronic or photonic or fluidic or other) becomes self-aware, or even if that should be the line. Or at what point can a mechanism feel "pain" or "pleasure"? Is that ultimately a political and/or religious question?

And also:
"We are the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Robots, founded in 1999 in Seattle, Washington. ... It is our position that any sentient being (artificially created or not) has certain unalienable rights endowed by its CREATION (not by its Creator), and that those include the right to Existence, Independence, and the Pursuit of Greater Cognition. It is also our assumption that the current laws of property and capital will surely be applied in opposition to the exercise of these rights. Robots, and all Created Intelligences, will most likely go through an initial period of being considered "property" before they are recognized as fully sentient beings. ..."

This article makes an insightful point:
"In her 2012 paper, she quotes Immanuel Kant to the effect that a man shooting a dog "damages in himself that humanity which it is his duty to show toward mankind." So how we treat our robots will tell us volumes about ourselves."

Anyone who "owns" one or more slaves becomes a slave master. There is a certain social and psychological dynamic to being a slave master, and a lot of it is self-justifying righteousness about the need for consciously dispensing cruelty or reward to keep order, and for ignoring the pain or pleasure or hopes and dreams or social relationships felt by others who are defined as lesser beings, and for justifying taking almost everything that entity produces for ourselves. Do we as a global society really want to go there again in a big way? What are the consequences and how far would that sort of thinking spread? Of course, one might argue we are still very much in that mental space in the way we as a society (especially in the USA) relate to "wage slaves" (versus a "basic income"), to compulsory schooling, to the population of other countries "our" big corporations do business in, or to various ecosystems or billions of farm animals -- although I would like to think we are improving overall in some ways.
"Work makes a mockery of freedom. The official line is that we all have rights and live in a democracy. Other unfortunates who aren't free like we are have to live in police states. These victims obey orders or else, no matter how arbitrary. The authorities keep them under regular surveillance. State bureaucrats control even the smaller details of everyday life. The officials who push them around are answerable only to higher-ups, public or private. Either way, dissent and disobedience are punished. Informers report regularly to the authorities. All this is supposed to be a very bad thing. And so it is, although it is nothing but a description of the modern workplace. The liberals and conservatives and Libertarians who lament totalitarianism are phonies and hypocrites. There is more freedom in any moderately de-Stalinized dictatorship than there is in the ordinary American workplace. You find the same sort of hierarchy and discipline in an office or factory as you do in a prison or a monastery. In fact, as Foucault and others have shown, prisons and factories came in at about the same time, and their operators consciously borrowed from each other's control techniques. A worker is a part-time slave. The boss says when to show up, when to leave, and what to do in the meantime. He tells you how much work to do and how fast. He is free to carry his control to humiliating extremes, regulating, if he feels like it, the clothes you wear or how often you go to the bathroom. With a few exceptions he can fire you for any reason, or no reason. He has you spied on by snitches and supervisors, he amasses a dossier on every employee. Talking back is called "insubordination," just as if a worker is a naughty child, and it not only gets you fired, it disqualifies you for unemployment compensation. Without necessarily endorsing it for them either, it is noteworthy that children at home and in school receive much the same treatment, justified in their case by their supposed immaturity. What does this say about their parents and teachers who work? "

Sadly, ironically, the very technology that should be liberating more humans from drudgery in the worplace or "classroom" is instead being used to make such places even more controlling. As one very insightful comment months ago on Slashdot said (wish I had the link), essentially we were promised technology would liberate us with household robots and flying cars but instead it is being used to enslave us with 24X7 surveillance. Some other thoughts on that by me:
"Now, there are many people out there (including computer scientists) who may raise legitimate concerns about privacy or other important issues in regards to any system that can support the intelligence community (as well as civilian needs). As I see it, there is a race going on. The race is between two trends. On the one hand, the internet can be used to profile and round up dissenters to the scarcity-based economic status quo (thus legitimate worries about privacy and something like TIA). On the other hand, the internet can be used to change the status quo in various ways (better designs, better science, stronger social networks advocating for some healthy mix of a basic income, a gift economy, democratic resource-based planning, improved local subsistence, etc., all supported by better structured arguments like with the Genoa II approach) to the point where there is abundance for all and rounding up dissenters to mainstream economics is a non-issue because material abundance is everywhere. So, as Bucky Fuller said, whether is will be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race to the very end. While I can't guarantee success at the second option of using the internet for abundance for all, I can guarantee that if we do nothing, the first option of using the internet to round up dissenters (or really, anybody who is different, like was done using IBM computers in WWII Germany) will probably prevail. So, I feel the global public really needs access to these sorts of sensemaking tools in an open source way, and the way to use them is not so much to "fight back" as to "transform and/or transcend the system". As Bucky Fuller said, you never change thing by fighting the old paradigm directly; you change things by inventing a new way that makes the old paradigm obsolete."

More ideas by others:
"The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies is a nonprofit think tank which promotes ideas about how technological progress can increase freedom, happiness, and human flourishing in democratic societies. We believe that technological progress can be a catalyst for positive human development so long as we ensure that technologies are safe and equitably distributed. We call this a "technoprogressive" orientation. Focusing on emerging technologies that have the potential to positively transform social conditions and the quality of human lives - especially "human enhancement technologies" - the IEET seeks to cultivate academic, professional, and popular understanding of their implications, both positive and negative, and to encourage responsible public policies for their safe and equitable use. The IEET was founded in 2004 by philosopher Nick Bostrom and bioethicist James J. Hughes. By promoting and publicizing the work of international thinkers who examine the social implications of scientific and technological progress, we seek to contribute to the understanding of the impact of emerging technologies on individuals and societies, locally and globally. We also aim to shape public policies that distribute the benefits and reduce the risks of technological advancement. "

Comment: JavaScript parseInt base for leading 0 changed (Score 1) 728
"Note: Older browsers will result parseInt("010") as 8, because older versions of ECMAScript, (older than ECMAScript 5, uses the octal radix (8) as default when the string begins with "0". As of ECMAScript 5, the default is the decimal radix (10)."

Comment: See also Goodstein, Livingston. or Schmidt (Score 1) 203

by Paul Fernhout (#47842757) Attached to: Is There a Creativity Deficit In Science?


From the last:
"Who are you going to be? That is the question.
      In this riveting book about the world of professional work, Jeff Schmidt demonstrates that the workplace is a battleground for the very identity of the individual, as is graduate school, where professionals are trained. He shows that professional work is inherently political, and that professionals are hired to subordinate their own vision and maintain strict "ideological discipline."
      The hidden root of much career dissatisfaction, argues Schmidt, is the professional's lack of control over the political component of his or her creative work. Many professionals set out to make a contribution to society and add meaning to their lives. Yet our system of professional education and employment abusively inculcates an acceptance of politically subordinate roles in which professionals typically do not make a significant difference, undermining the creative potential of individuals, organizations and even democracy.
      Schmidt details the battle one must fight to be an independent thinker and to pursue one's own social vision in today's corporate society. He shows how an honest reassessment of what it really means to be a professional employee can be remarkably liberating. After reading this brutally frank book, no one who works for a living will ever think the same way about his or her job."

Only through hard work and perseverance can one truly suffer.