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Comment: I'm a big Elon Fan but... (Score 5, Insightful) 583

by Art Popp (#48240275) Attached to: Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"

...we are so far from Strong AI that it's really a non-issue.

When I have a sufficiently enlightened legislative branch that all members know the difference between Guyana and Guinea, then I'll let them decide the engineering constraints for proper safeguards on autonomous agents and their effectors.

Today the rule for preventing the robot apocalypse is: if a robot can kill people, bolt it to the floor. Seriously, a second robot can bring it things to lase, and chop and mash; you don't have to add the lasers and the chainsaws to the combat hardened roving vehicle and hope the rules generated by the congressional oversight committee will keep us all safe.

Comment: Re:Why do you own a gun? (Score 1) 331

by Art Popp (#48199827) Attached to: 3D-Printed Gun Earns Man Two Years In Japanese Prison

>I don't think capital punishment is appropriate for property crimes.

See now, you're exactly the kind of person who should be armed. I agree.

>Unfortunately the track record of citizens stopping crime with guns is poor.

It's actually quite excellent, but the path to that determination is extremely complicated. I do not fault someone who starts with your beliefs for coming to opposite conclusion based on the available evidence.

The problem isn't you, and I don't think it's a flaw with my grasp of stats. either. It is very hard for anyone to measure the number of problems prevented by any factor unless they turn that factor on and off and measure the results in both states, in the same place. Fire is a good example. Fire extinguishers prevent almost zero fires every year. Since they are only generally applied to existing fires, the fires are not prevented. A judgement call is made by the humans that the fire extinguisher made a postitive difference in the situation, and in nearly all the cases where a personal fire extinguisher put out the flame, the fire goes unreported. This plays HELL with any fire statistics gathering. Now imagine if fire extinguishers could occasionally be abused to start fires. Given our poor inputs on how many fires that extinguishers "keep from getting worse" how could we measure that scientifically against how many they start to see if they are a net benefit?

Given the above I would state: It is hard to solve the macro scale math that would determine the appropriate level of firearms distribution for maximum positive effect.

You can solve this problem on the micro scale though. You can take a couple local policemen to lunch (btw: steaks work better than donuts) ask them about the local crime, and then go to a defensive-weapons trainer and ask him about the tools that are effective against those classes of crime. It might be there aren't any and guns are just useless where you live (e.g. Maui); might be that you're a fool to step outside unarmed (Seven Mile Rd., 3:00 a.m. Detroit).

I've helped a non-statistically valid sample of people in the triple digits with this problem. The overwhelmingly popular solution: Pepper spray. Not any; the good shit, found here:
http://www.kimberamerica.com/p...

Dominating reason: Nice people hesitate to shoot bad people. It's just not something they learn to do easily. (Weird, eh?) But considerably less hesitation comes with a non-permanent solution. And less hesitation means substantially more effectiveness.

Be safe.

Comment: Re:Why do you own a gun? (Score 1) 331

by Art Popp (#48199437) Attached to: 3D-Printed Gun Earns Man Two Years In Japanese Prison

And that's the problem, your belief system. You asked the right question: Why own one? So you may not be married to that system. But then you discount the best reason and the most frequently occuring application.

If you were asking your question honestly, then you probably have no attraction to violence, and are enormously likely to be a good person. Therefore, you can probably say with certainty that you'd never shoot school children with your gun. But you'd probably be willing to shoot someone trying to shoot school children with a gun.

It's you I want to arm. Seriously. It's people like you, with no attraction to violence that should lug around: a paramedic kit, a fire extinguisher, and a firearm for just those emergencies where seconds make the difference. In any other case, you would leave the problem to the ambulance crew, the fire crew or the police, but countless lives are saved every year by people who had the skills and tools to step into one of these varieties of tragedy and stop innocent people from being hurt. You can too.

If people being paid for their skills are assumed to be the only ones that have them, there would be no Linux.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

DOJ Often Used Cell Tower Impersonating Devices Without Explicit Warrants 146

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the bending-the-rules dept.
Via the EFF comes news that, during a case involving the use of a Stingray device, the DOJ revealed that it was standard practice to use the devices without explicitly requesting permission in warrants. "When Rigmaiden filed a motion to suppress the Stingray evidence as a warrantless search in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the government responded that this order was a search warrant that authorized the government to use the Stingray. Together with the ACLU of Northern California and the ACLU, we filed an amicus brief in support of Rigmaiden, noting that this 'order' wasn't a search warrant because it was directed towards Verizon, made no mention of an IMSI catcher or Stingray and didn't authorize the government — rather than Verizon — to do anything. Plus to the extent it captured loads of information from other people not suspected of criminal activity it was a 'general warrant,' the precise evil the Fourth Amendment was designed to prevent. ... The emails make clear that U.S. Attorneys in the Northern California were using Stingrays but not informing magistrates of what exactly they were doing. And once the judges got wind of what was actually going on, they were none too pleased:"
Networking

Misconfigured Open DNS Resolvers Key To Massive DDoS Attacks 179

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the check-your-sources dept.
msm1267 writes with an excerpt From Threat Post: "While the big traffic numbers and the spat between Spamhaus and illicit webhost Cyberbunker are grabbing big headlines, the underlying and percolating issue at play here has to do with the open DNS resolvers being used to DDoS the spam-fighters from Switzerland. Open resolvers do not authenticate a packet-sender's IP address before a DNS reply is sent back. Therefore, an attacker that is able to spoof a victim's IP address can have a DNS request bombard the victim with a 100-to-1 ratio of traffic coming back to them versus what was requested. DNS amplification attacks such as these have been used lately by hacktivists, extortionists and blacklisted webhosts to great success." Running an open DNS resolver isn't itself always a problem, but it looks like people are enabling neither source address verification nor rate limiting.
Google

Google Pledges Not To Sue Any Open Source Projects Using Their Patents 153

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the now-and-forever dept.
sfcrazy writes "Google has announced the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge. In the pledge Google says that they will not sue any user, distributor, or developer of Open Source software on specified patents, unless first attacked. Under this pledge, Google is starting off with 10 patents relating to MapReduce, a computing model for processing large data sets first developed at Google. Google says that over time they intend to expand the set of Google's patents covered by the pledge to other technologies." This is in addition to the Open Invention Network, and their general work toward reforming the patent system. The patents covered in the OPN will be free to use in Free/Open Source software for the life of the patent, even if Google should transfer ownership to another party. Read the text of the pledge. It appears that interaction with non-copyleft licenses (MIT/BSD/Apache) is a bit weird: if you create a non-free fork it appears you are no longer covered under the pledge.
The Media

What Does It Actually Cost To Publish a Scientific Paper? 166

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the one-trillion-dollars dept.
ananyo writes "Nature has published an investigation into the real costs of publishing research after delving into the secretive, murky world of science publishing. Few publishers (open access or otherwise-including Nature Publishing Group) would reveal their profit margins, but they've pieced together a picture of how much it really costs to publish a paper by talking to analysts and insiders. Quoting from the piece: '"The costs of research publishing can be much lower than people think," agrees Peter Binfield, co-founder of one of the newest open-access journals, PeerJ, and formerly a publisher at PLoS. But publishers of subscription journals insist that such views are misguided — born of a failure to appreciate the value they add to the papers they publish, and to the research community as a whole. They say that their commercial operations are in fact quite efficient, so that if a switch to open-access publishing led scientists to drive down fees by choosing cheaper journals, it would undermine important values such as editorial quality.' There's also a comment piece by three open access advocates setting out what they think needs to happen next to push forward the movement as well as a piece arguing that 'Objections to the Creative Commons attribution license are straw men raised by parties who want open access to be as closed as possible.'"

Comment: Wherever their culture draws the thin line... (Score 2) 132

by Art Popp (#42370053) Attached to: Israeli Bill Would Allow Secret Blacklists For Websites

between "person who blogged about Olmert's overly aggressive war against Lebannon" and "Subversive Hezbollah sympathizer," that line needs to be in clear public view. It is a symbol of a country's bravery in times of fear. Ex-parte, non-disclosed proceedings will make it impossible for people to know the "why" and the balance the court has placed on fighting crime vs. sacrificing free speech. Without that visibility, there is zero chance that the line will be held in place, uninfluenced by politics.

Of all the people that I assumed would be on guard for the State taking powers that could easily be abused to silence the minority, I thought it would be them.

Comment: Re:Balancing potential deaths with real-today ones (Score 1) 130

by Art Popp (#42247599) Attached to: Altered Immune Cells Help Girl Beat Leukemia

Thank you MozeeToby. I thought the difference in these solutions was more confined to the delivery mechanism, but they appear to be more distinct. Yes, it's the "selective tissue killer virus" version that seems far more problem-ready to me too.

If the only place the T-cells get modified is in a test tube, and the only modified T-cells the patient gets are from the doctor, and the patients are not the test-tube in which this combining takes place.... Then I find it much less forboding.

Comment: Re:The world is not changed by timid men. (Score 1) 130

by Art Popp (#42246725) Attached to: Altered Immune Cells Help Girl Beat Leukemia

A fair point. There is a very real price to be paid, in the lives of innocent kids, by not boldly exploring this terrain.

My primary worry is that people are so desperate for this cure, so desperate to focus on something hopeful, that it will become a primary technique before it's long term consequences are well understood. Thalidomide is a great drug for a very narrow range of problems. When applied to morning sickness an estimated 10,000 children in 46 countries got to live with deformities.

My hope is that the companies who stand to profit from this test very thoroughly on a large batch of patients for many years. It's not like it won't pay for itself, most of us will end up fighting some kinds of cancers in our final years. I'd like to know if I'm trading ear-cancer for nose-rot. I prefer to wear a hat to a hockey mask.

Comment: Balancing potential deaths with real-today ones (Score 2, Interesting) 130

by Art Popp (#42246399) Attached to: Altered Immune Cells Help Girl Beat Leukemia

Really; it sounds wonderful, but if Murphy and Pandora had a child, his/her favorite toy would be using lethal viruses to help us combat lethal cancers.

Using nuclear weapons to plug oil gushers, using attack polar bears to guard your bunny farm, using a scalpel to pick your nose... these ideas will go right some of the time too.

A link with more detail:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9508895/A-virus-that-kills-cancer-the-cure-thats-waiting-in-the-coldc.html

Your own mileage may vary.

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