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Comment: Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (Score 1) 76

I recall some talk during the lead-up to the Afghan war about the potential for a draft. It wasn't clear at the time just how big that particular conflict would get. It wasn't impossible to imagine it turning into World War-sized scenario against a lot of Islamic countries. The resulting conflicts were small compared to that, but we had to scale up the military substantially and if they'd grown any bigger we'd have had to have a draft.

Now that women are allowed access to combat positions, it's going to be very hard to exempt them from a draft should one be necessary. I can't conceive of the legislature passing any such bill right now (I can't imagine this Congress passing any non-trivial bill, and I don't see that changing), but a wise legislature would want to do that ahead of need rather than after the fact. If women are going to be drafted, you'd need to start registering them now.

I sincerely hope that it's never necessary. And if a war of that scope does happen again, we'll probably be a lot less selective with our weapons of war. (Afghanistan and Iraq were fought house-to-house, because as bizarre as it sounds that was a way of reducing civilian casualties, at least compared to just flattening entire cities as was done in World War II.) So we may well not have a draft even in a bigger conflict. But I think that, while it's politically impossible, a really good pragmatic case could be made for starting to require Selective Service registration for everybody right now.

Comment: Re:Best Buddies! (Score 1) 111

by mpe (#47426367) Attached to: UK Gov't Plans To Push "Emergency" Surveillance Laws
What disturbs me is the apparently lockstep between the UK and the US in the subversion of democracy and installation of fascist totalitarianism.

What I find interesting is that neither UKIP or The BNP have much to say about UK/US relationship. Even though both claim to be "nationalist". Whilst UKIP has plenty to say about "Europe" their silence is deafening with respect to how the UK government interacts with most of the world.

Comment: Re:UK is not a free country (Score 1) 111

by mpe (#47426041) Attached to: UK Gov't Plans To Push "Emergency" Surveillance Laws
OK, to clarify... disappearances and purges are bad news, but it's not as if these historical dictatorships were all fine and dandy up until the point where people started disappearing.

Historically the majority of the public may see little wrong even when people are disappearing. Many people appear to have a great deal of faith in both politicians and governments. It can be far easier to believe that the disappeared were somehow to blame.

Comment: Re:Most humans couldn't pass that test (Score 1) 258

by jfengel (#47426033) Attached to: The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI

To me, this seems to cut to the heart of it. AI is commonly conceived of as trying to mimic human intelligence, while there are cognitive tasks that cats and even mice can do that prove too hard for computers. A cat can recognize a mouse with essentially 100% accuracy, from any angle, in an eyeblink. No computer would come close, and the program that came closest wouldn't be a general-purpose object matcher.

Vertebrate brains are pretty remarkable. Human brains are an amazing extra step on top of that. We don't know exactly what that is in part because we don't really understand the simpler vertebrate brains. IMHO, we won't have a good mimic for sapience until we've gotten it to first do sentience. We don't have to rigorously follow the evolutionary order, but it seems to me that conversation-based tests are rewarding the wrong features, and even if they get better by that definition they're not getting us any closer to the actual goals of understanding (and reproducing) intelligence.

Comment: Re:UK is not a free country (Score 1) 111

by mpe (#47425673) Attached to: UK Gov't Plans To Push "Emergency" Surveillance Laws
In the US the FBI is recommending that anyone who knows such things as "Encryption" or "VPNs" be turned in to their local police immediately as a terrorist. So, because I am good at my job and understand complex concepts, that means that I am a terrorist? That's funny, it used to be called "American pride".

There's a good chance that actual terrorists will be using some communication method so "low tech" that it would be un-noticed.
Only a terrorist group which is geographically dispersed is going to need "telecommunications" in the first place.
Even then dead drops and codes even broadcasting (e.g. spam) maybe more use to them than any form of cypher.
Maybe there is a super special watch list for anyone who has ever read http://www.amazon.com/Codes-Se...

Comment: Uh... I don't get it (Score 1) 26

by jfengel (#47425133) Attached to: The Video Game That Maps the Galaxy

I did read the fine article, but I'm afraid I just don't get what's going on here. Are the players contributing something in some kind of crowd-sourced "Yes, that blob is a star, and its center is here" kind of way? Or are they using players' computers as a distributed processing system?

It's nifty either way, but I don't the New Yorker's audience has the same kinds of questions about the technology that I do. Can anybody in this audience (more like me) help me out?

Comment: Re:Solaris not well supported by OSS toolchain (Score 1) 157

by LWATCDR (#47423531) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Dedicated Low Power Embedded Dev System Choice?

Simple native development can be a lot easier than cross development.
If you have the money for some really good embedded tools, cross development is not bad at all. But if not native development is a lot simpler.
I would still do most of my work on an X86 Linux box and then move the project over to the embedded for testing but that is just me.

Comment: Re:Climate Change on Slashdot? Bring on the fun! (Score 1) 337

by mpe (#47419683) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis
Actually, as a climate skeptic, I've been saying for years that we should all focus on innovative nuclear technologies. Fossil fuels are dirty, finite and expensive. Cheap, safe & clean nuclear energy is something that could benefit everybody, regardless of beliefs. I don't understand why global warming believers aren't pushing super hard for this.

It's even stranger when you consider that whilst nuclear is both "low carbon" and "renewable" much of what is pushed dosn't meet those criteria at all. Indeed plenty of it appears to be worst, including by "warmist" metrics, than doing nothing!

Meanwhile, 80 billion is spent on global warming programs

What effect will this money have on "carbon" emissions anyway?

and fusion programs get their funding cut.

Nobody has yet managed to build a working fusion generating plant. In contrast there are "off the shelf" uranium (or plutonium) fission designs available.

Comment: Re:"Thus ends "Climategate." Hopefully." (Score 1) 365

by mpe (#47419387) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann
If a climatologist and a mathematician disagree on the math used in a climate paper, who is the expert?

That is very much the crux of the matter.
In order to possibly be meaningful "climate science" must also follow the rules of many other sciences. They form a foundation to it. In the same way that biology must be consistent with both chemistry and physics.

Comment: Re:"Thus ends "Climategate." Hopefully." (Score 1) 365

by mpe (#47419217) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann
Given that there's remarkably little proof that this is not caused by humans, wouldn't it be better to follow the path that would avoid a catastrophe in the event that the models are close and it is human caused.

Exactly what path is that? There are plenty of ideas which have the potyential to CAUSE a catastrophe. Even ignoring unexpected consequences.
Plenty of supposedly "green" methods of generating electrity turn out to have similar, even larger, "carbon footprints" than burning fossil fuels to boil water. With an existing technology which is "low carbon" dismissed by "envronmentalists".
This sounds like the so called "precautionary principle". Where "precautionary", along with "renewable" and "sustainable" has it's definition twisted in the sorts of strange ways associated with political extremism.

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes. -- Dr. Warren Jackson, Director, UTCS

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