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Comment: Re:What's your suggestion for intelligence work? (Score 1) 496

by daveschroeder (#47938235) Attached to: Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

An oversimplification. The US, UK, and allies variously broke many cipher systems throughout WWII. Still the US benefitted from this.

What if the Germans were using, say, Windows, Android phones, SSL, Gmail, Yahoo, and Skype, instead of Enigma machines?

Comment: What's your suggestion for intelligence work? (Score 1) 496

by daveschroeder (#47938053) Attached to: Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

I presume you wouldn't say it was "wrong" of the United States to crack the German and Japanese codes in WWII... when US adversaries (and lets just caveat this by saying people YOU, personally, agree are legitimate US adversaries) don't use their own "codes", but instead share the same systems, networks, services, devices, cloud providers, operating systems, encryption schemes, and so on, that Americans and much of the rest of the world uses, would you suggest that they should be off limits?

This isn't so much a law enforcement question as a question of how to do SIGINT in the modern digital world, but given the above, and given that intelligence requires secrecy in order to be effective, how would you suggest the United States go after legitimate targets? Or should we not be able to, because that power "might" be able to be abused -- as can any/all government powers, by definition?

This simplistic view that the only purpose of the government in a free and democratic society must be to somehow subjugate, spy on, and violate the rights of its citizens is insane, while actual totalitarian and non-free states, to say nothing of myriad terrorist and other groups, press their advantage. And why wouldn't they? The US and its ever-imperfect system of law is not the great villain in the world.

Take a step back and get some perspective. And this is not a rhetorical question: if someone can tell me their solution for how we should be able to target technologies that are fundamentally shared with innocent Americans and foreigners everywhere while still keeping such sources, methods, capabilities, and techniques secret, I'm all ears. And if you believe the second a technology is shared it should become magically off-limits because power might be abused, you are insane -- or, more to the point, you believe you have some moral high ground which, ironically, would actually result in severe disadvantages for the system of free society you would claim to support.

Comment: And that is why the Spock/Logic way is incomplete (Score 1) 903

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:power consumption? (Score 5, Insightful) 207

by bennomatic (#47895549) Attached to: Early iPhone 6 Benchmark Results Show Only Modest Gains For A8
Well, I'd suggest the right question is, how much does this one benchmark matter? Fast enough isn't necessarily fast enough, as people will come up with more and more powerful applications.

That said, the primary CPU isn't the only thing that governs speed. My understanding (and I could be totally wrong, but here goes) is that there's a separate and very fast GPU. Apple's done a lot of work with Grand Central Dispatch (is that the right technology?) to help developers offload as much as possible to the GPU, so what looks like a 5% gain on the CPU might in the real world be 10 times that in a performance increase. And at least Apple claims that the 6 is 50% faster than the 5s (again, IIRC), so if they're telling something that's approaching a reasonable truth, it's not just based on CPU, but on other metrics as well.

Comment: Re:Are You Sure About Germany? (Score 1) 444

by Copid (#47892455) Attached to: If Tesla Can Run Its Gigafactory On 100% Renewables, Why Can't Others?

Unlike most other taxes, the energy tax does not reduce differences in disposable income, but it merely leaves them constant (when electricity use is equal).

The problem is that the things the rich give up to pay an additional flat tax are different from the things the poor give up. A flat tax of $1000 may cause a rich person to buy $1000 less in nice clothes and electronic toys, an average family to cancel a vacation, and a poor family to drop their health insurance. So the tax is flat in a dollar sense, but a much heavier burden on the poor in a standard of living sense.

Comment: Re:Can someone explain to me (Score 4, Insightful) 123

by Artifakt (#47873533) Attached to: SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

"There is no purpose to manned spaceflight. The scientific return comes from unmanned spaceflight."

You are currently modded +4 Insightful for having claimed, essentially, that the HST repair and upgrade missions could have all been done by unmanned systems. I have points, I could have modded you as you deserve. I could just ask for a citation - you're making an extraordinary claim there and you really do deserve to have to back it up or retract it. Instead, I'm taking a couple of months vacation from Slashdot - there's too many like you around - the signal to noise ratio keeps dropping towards an absolute zero, and I join all the 3 digit old farts in saying "This site just ain't what it used to be!" .

Comment: Re:HALO (Score 3, Informative) 368

by Artifakt (#47868581) Attached to: Report: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Studio For $2bn+

Halo was really based in the same universe (or a very similar one) as an earlier series of games usually called the Marathon trilogy. These were Bungie's first big hits, and had two major properties that make them remembered fondly.

1. They were like Doom (2 1/2 D shooters), but with great plots and characterization for their time. (And most of this keenness was something more players saw there for the first time, often before Doom came out, or at least caught on, because Apples were around more then- see point 2). Bungie may have been first with some features, was definitely first to get them right with others, and it took some time for Id games to even be taken seriously. Think of the story everybody wanted for Mass Effect 3, and mostly felt disappointed in. For most gamers who started the series, Marathon 3 was like everything more modern players hoped Mass Effect 3 would be. Plus, many players felt they got a lot of other things right, like squad level control, vehicle movement, microphone talk in multiplayer, weapons/ammo ratios (and not being able to carry 10 or so weapons and thousands of rounds of ammo all at once), being able to design your own levels, and the whole blend of Single Player/Multiplayer/Deathmatch modes.
2. They ran on Apples, and were so big there that many people actually complained about how there was notihng in gaming for the PC as good as for the Apple. (There were other games, such as Myst and Armor Alley contributing to this effect too, I'm not saying it was all Marathon, but Myst and Bungie doing ports to Microsoft shifted the whole gaming scene away from Apple over just a couple of years).

Halo was supposed to be the updated version of those, going to a fully 3D engine, and it delivered an really exciting story with a giant ring around a planet, a weapon that could destroy whole worlds, and A.I. systems that would burn themselves out in 3 years or so just through being so ubersmart (and you had to hope the one you were relying on got you through the next scenario before it popped). And for the first time, there was a version for the X-Box and you didn't ahve to have an Apple Mac!

You know, the difference between this company and the Titanic is that the Titanic had paying customers.