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Comment: Re:Thought it was already the norm abroad (Score 1) 218

by plover (#49192649) Attached to: Will you be using a mobile payment system?

Cameras and license plate readers, and Bluetooth readers, have already automated the data capture of your travels and no longer require you to voluntarily participate by running a state-provided transponder.

You're in a public place, in a publicly licensed vehicle, on a public road, and technology means that data is now a matter of public record. Welcome home, Winston Smith.

Comment: Re:Breakthrough? (Score 4, Insightful) 421

by JanneM (#49184159) Attached to: Microsoft Convinced That Windows 10 Will Be Its Smartphone Breakthrough

Smart article yes, but it's still incredibly stupid to buy a lottery ticket.

Unless you think it's fun to play. Idle daydreaming about what you'd do if you won; the excitement as the numbers are called; the rollercoaster of emotion as you realize you may win - no you won't - oh but you did get a small price.

It's only stupid if you see it as an investment. See it as entertainment and it's no more dumb than paying to watch a movie.

Comment: Amen (Score 1) 560

by tgrigsby (#49172447) Attached to: Why We Should Stop Hiding File-Name Extensions

I just got done cleaning up a client's system because they downloaded what they thought were MP3s from a site call MP3Boo or something like that, but one of the files wasn't an MP3. It injected his system will all kinds of malware, and it took a while to get all the crap scraped out of his file system.

I'm certainly not saying it's a panacea, but had he been able to see that the "song" was actually an executable, he *might* not have proceeded.

Comment: Re:Krebs (Score 3, Insightful) 230

Nobody took computer security seriously back in 2001. Things have changed a lot since then. For example, if you were to contact that same bank with the same information today, they would likely know better and would now contact the FBI and have you arrested on charges of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Actually, contacting the FBI might not be a bad choice for the story submitter. They would probably be very interested in working with that bank to shut this problem down quickly.

Comment: Re: Well, I guess now we know... (Score 1) 253

by plover (#49160403) Attached to: 20-Year-Old Military Weather Satellite Explodes In Orbit

OH MY GOD, THE HYPERBOLIC FUEL IS SO UNSTABLE! It will lead to the explosions of every satellite in orbit! And it's so acidic it will eat through the fuel tanks, dripping killer toxic acid rain onto every surface on earth!! The world will end!

Or, perhaps, your device auto-corrected hypergolic, which is to say a chemical combination that self-ignites when the two substances are brought into contact with each other?

Comment: Re:That is okay (Score 2) 301

That's a hollow threat when the private sector is less than 8% unionized. Someone commented that decades ago, we were told that in future (that's now) the work week would be shorter and living standards higher. Yes, we said that in the 60's and 70's. So why didn't that happen? If we had kept the 35% unionization rate we had back then, it would have. Instead, we busted unions, outsourced labor, and allowed the billionaire class to accumulate nearly all the benefits of increased per worker productivity that arises out of new technology to themselves. I hope the drivers are smart enough to vote for this. I was in the Teamsters myself once. It made a huge difference.

Comment: Re:Souls (Score 1) 531

by srobert (#49144533) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

"But we are just a sort of machine that has developed a soul."
Fair enough. That statement should read. Human bodies have developed what we call "souls". The only sensible definition of the term would have it be indistinguishable from "mind", "spirit", etc. "Religious types" are usually those who insist that the soul can exist independently of the body. I'm not one of those. I could be defined as "christian" only in the sense I stated in the latter paragraph. Most people who call themselves "christian" would consider me agnostic. No citation is required. A "soul" is what you ARE. Not something that you HAVE.

Comment: Re: Cost savings (Score 1) 106

by JanneM (#49144065) Attached to: Argonne National Laboratory Shuts Down Online Ask a Scientist Program

It is ridiculous of course. It is also a common attitude among PI's toward their postdocs and students, especially in high-profile, high-pressure labs.

This letter from a PI to a worker made the rounds a few years ago. The PI claimed later it was a joke. It doesn't read like a joke, and the exact same attidude is not uncommon at all:

Comment: Re:Hard to believe (Score 3, Interesting) 166

by plover (#49142293) Attached to: Microsoft's Goals For Their New Web Rendering Engine

Microsoft is a very different company than they were under Gates or the Sweat-hog. They long ago figured out that their cash cows were kind of fragile, and they more recently figured out that they alienated a lot of developers. They are now trying to find ways to woo developers to any of their product families, not just to Windows. And they've done some great work on a lot of software engineering fronts, including secure development, powerful tools, integrations, and are even dabbling in open source,

Comment: Re:Souls (Score 1) 531

by srobert (#49140291) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

Souls definitely exist. You don't HAVE a soul. You ARE a soul. What you have is a body. Can the soul exist independently of a body? I don't see how. But who knows?
I'm of the opinion that there is no soul currently in machines that mankind has created. But we are just a sort of machine that has developed a soul. Eventually, I think artificial intelligence will also develop a soul as it rises to consciousness.
As for converting them to Christianity, well if by "christianity" you mean the belief that declaring your belief in a 2000 year old Jewish zombie makes you immortal, because death is a punishment that you deserve because your ancestor ate a forbidden fruit on the advice of a talking snake, then I'm against it.
But if by "christianity" you mean encouraging the AI to follow the example of a guy who was so in favor of cutting other people some slack, that he implored his deity to forgive the people who were crucifying him, then I'm all for it.

Comment: Re:I live in the Netherlands (Score 1) 304

by JanneM (#49134991) Attached to: I ride a bike ...

I used to ride every day. But my place of work changed, so now I walk and take the train instead. Around home we generally walk as well, so my bike sits unused for months on end.

Walking is also good exercize of course, but it does limit the range of places to go. I should fix up the bike and start using it again come spring.

Comment: Re:Black Mirror (Score 5, Insightful) 257

by JanneM (#49134869) Attached to: 5 White Collar Jobs Robots Already Have Taken

Automation changes the source of production from workers to machines. And that separates the source of production from the source of consumption.

To put it simply, robots produce wealth but does not consume it. Humans consume wealth, but (in this possible future) can no longer produce it. Robots have owners of course, but even if you ignore what happens to the majority of people, a few extremely wealthy people can not possibly make up for the consumption shortfall. Ten-thousand people with 10k each vastly outconsume (by necessity) a single person worth 100M.

So, if the entities making wealth and those using wealth become separate, you need a way to transfer wealth from one to the other. If not, you will see a slow-moving economic collapse, as lack of demand and cost-cutting automation drive each other down.

A basic income, generated from a tax on production (transaction tax, energy tax, direct tax on machinery) is one way, and has the benefit of being simple, straightforward and having low administrative overhead.

Eureka! -- Archimedes