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Comment: There is no "Should we?" involved. We will. (Score 1) 120

by Doghouse13 (#47903977) Attached to: The Challenges and Threats of Automated Lip Reading
If recent history teaches anything about technology, it's that if something is technically possible - and it seems highly improbable that automated lip-reading isn't - someone WILL do it. Further that, if it's not actually illegal to do so, someone will make it commercially available in the civil domain. And that if it's made illegal in the civil domain, that's very unlikely to stop the security community, in all its sundry forms, from weaponising it (sorry, my Orwellian paranoia is on clearly overdrive; that should, of course, have been "deploying and using it for the overall good of society"). And even if it's illegal in some jurisdictions, it won't be illegal worldwide anyway.

Comment: Flights of fancy/tasy? (Score 1) 28

by Doghouse13 (#47895977) Attached to: Hidden Archeology of Stonehenge Revealed In New Geophysical Map
OK - not an archaeologist here. But the new picture seems to be dangerously close to a wish-fulfilment fantasy based on 'expert' interpretation of patterns in the data - and I'd be interested to know just how universally accepted amongst other experts that interpretation is. Because if I learned one thing from watching "Time Team", it was how often the experts' interpretation of geophys data turned out to be quite different to what was found when the site was actually dug...

Comment: Re:photons are not particles (Score 1) 129

by Doghouse13 (#47895887) Attached to: Researchers Working On Crystallizing Light

Your comment sounded kinda insightful, apart from your use of a made up word 'scenarii'.

I mean - do you mean, as opposed to your own made-up word, 'kinda'? Or your made-up phrase, 'made up', come to that?

(Ob pedantry: Actually, of course, as language seems to be hard-wired into people, but the actual words clearly aren't, every word we ever write or say is ultimately 'made-up' - it's just that groups of people who speak the 'same' language tend to be more-or-less in agreement on what words to use. 'Scenarii' is an abnormal plural that's almost certainly down to a misunderstanding of the singular word's origins; but it's clear what it means, and if enough people start using it, it will gain enough traction to be seen as 'correct'.)

((How the heck does something like the parent get up-voted 'Insightful'?))

Comment: Discretion, always (Score 1) 246

by Doghouse13 (#47592457) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: IT Personnel As Ostriches?

Think three times before talking about, or using, anything that you learn accidentally in the course of doing your job.

You'll undoubtedly take note of office politics (although you don't necessarily talk to others about the detail, or how you came about it); office politics may well affect how you go about your job anyway, and it often helps to know where the potential traps and difficulties are, so that you can attempt to step around them.

You never, under (almost) any circumstances, discuss anything confidential that you came upon by accident and weren't entitled to know, if you do so, you are likely to find yourself looking for a new job very quickly - and quite right, too. The only exception I can think of to that would be if you were to come across something that the law or your employer would expect you to bring to an appropriate person's attention, where not doing so could land you in serious trouble if it subsequently came out that you hadn't done so. If unsure, consider covering yourself by questioning it, confidentially but in writing. Escalate, with care and tact, if not happy with the reply. And understand that, in doing so, you're not so much doing so doing so out of duty, as covering your own position.

(Putting things in writing is a good policy anyway, for almost all aspects of almost any job - NEVER assume that people will choose to remember things the way that you do, or that "nice" people won't attempt to hang you out to dry at a later date, if it serves their purpose. When you agree something verbally with someone, if it's even remotely important, drop them a note confirming YOUR understanding of what was agreed.)

Comment: "So what?" (Score 2) 84

by Doghouse13 (#47588095) Attached to: Driverless Buses Ruled Out For London, For Now

Yes, and the buggy-whip makers won't be pleased, either.

That argument does not pass the "So what?" test, and never has. Technology advances, and society changes; it's why we're not still all running around dressed in skins, hunting down our food with rocks. When it does, some types of job inevitably become less-sought, or even redundant. If that job's what you do, or me, that's just tough; the world doesn't owe anyone a living. If your job goes away, you go look for another. Yes, there's a social argument for cushioning the transition, if things are moving so fast that lots of people are going to find themselves out of work in the same place at the same time - but that's rarely what actually happens.

Comment: Indeed (Score 1) 512

Getting the world to equate being anti-Israeli with being anti-semitic was a central strategy in the new Israeli state's international policy - one of Israel's first ambassadors (I *think* Israel's first ambassador to the US, Eliyahu Eilat) openly admitted as much when interviewed on the BBC by Michael Parkinson, saying that he regarded his success in that field as the crowning achievement of his career. And in the US in particular, that's hardly exactly been weakened by the degree to which the influential Jewish lobby has consistently demanded that successive governments of every political persuasion back Israel to the hilt, whatever its excesses and however odious its behaviour.

However. There's a biblical saying about reaping what you sow (New Testament, mind - so not necessarily familiar to Israeli politicians, which is perhaps a pity). Put otherwise: equations work two ways. If you want the unthinking, great unwashed to think of "Israel" and "Jewish" as the same thing when the consequences suit you... ...good luck with trying to convince them that's not the case when you'd rather they understood the distinction.

Comment: Re:Question: (Score 1) 115

by Doghouse13 (#47514235) Attached to: UK Users Overwhelmingly Spurn Broadband Filters

Lovely to see that the Loony Left is still alive and well in remoter parts of the country. I thought they'd pretty much gone extinct by now.

Firstly, precisely what's actually on the block list has nothing to do with politicians; that's one of the huge iniquities of the legislation - lack of transparency and democratic oversight. Secondly, politicians of ALL persuasions have been falling over themselves to show themselves "tough" on anything that has the slightest chance of playing to the (pretty much non-existent, but that doesn't seem to bother them) gallery - when last in power, in its need to try and out-macho the Tories, Labour put spurious and gratuitous new criminal offences on the statute books at the rate of more than one a DAY.

This farago had everything to do with PR and spin, and NOTHING to do with party politics. Or, indeed, reality,

Comment: Problem of the Commons (Score 1) 710

In other news, "Fire burns".

I care. But I can't do anything alone. Unless everyone changes behaviour, all that happens if I change mine unilaterally is that I end up paying more for my standard of living, or with a lower one, or both. Impact on climate change - effectively zero. All my effort can buy me is a clearer conscience - and frankly, that's not high on my list of priorities.

Comment: Re:Hmmm, (Score 1) 112

I'd also question whether the usual arguments against "security by obscurity" apply in a case where the software is being used "single shot" and infrequently, with massive potential impacts in the event of a breach. The software needs to work right, once, rather than almost right over a continuous period. Frankly it's a case where, gut reaction, I'd prefer the potential bad guys to have no opportunity to spot a potential vulnerability, rather than rely on the overall community spotting and exposing all such loopholes ahead of time. Too much at stake to get it wrong; too much likelihood that a potential vulnerability will remain exposed and unpatched.

Comment: Tim Minchi, "Storm": (Score 1) 242

by Doghouse13 (#47441221) Attached to: Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

"If you show me
That, say, homeopathy works,
Then I will change my mind
I'll spin on a fucking dime
I'll be embarrassed as hell,
But I will run through the streets yelling
It's a miracle! Take physics and bin it!
Water has memory!
And while it's memory of a long lost drop of onion juice is Infinite
It somehow forgets all the poo it's had in it!"

A brilliant number, start to finish. See (e.g.), at about 6'45"

Comment: Let's just say... (Score 1) 381

by Doghouse13 (#47441177) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?
...that the reasons why I and the public in general might have a use for a smart watch are not, as yet, obvious to me. It seems to me that a smart watch inherently cannot do more than my smart phone is already capable of; just redestribute precisely how it's done. So - which are the apps that would work better sitting on a tiny screen on my wrist than on my phone? I have to say I can't (offhand, as it were), think of one. Niche applications, maybe - but niche isn't going to turn smart watches into the next big technological "thing". Oh - and a personal foible. I don't actually wear a watch at all right now, except on those few, special occasions when I know I'm really going to need it. I'd been wearing one for so long that I'd forgotten just how much more comfortable it is not to have one on. I wouldn't easily go back for the sake of a little electronic bling. I have a perfectly serviceable, cheap digital casio in my pocket that I can put on when I need to, and I have my phone. So to get onto *my* wrist, whatever that smart watch is going to do, better not only be something useful, but something I need sufficiently often for it to justify the annoyance of wearing a watch again. Frankly, it seems unlikely to me that that's going to happen.

Comment: No weasel words, please. (Score 1) 772

by Doghouse13 (#47127277) Attached to: Belief In Evolution Doesn't Measure Science Literacy

It may suit your agenda to do so, but do everyone the courtesy of NOT deliberately conflating two related but very different meanings of the word "believe", please.

1) I will routinely admit that I "believe" (small "b") any number of things. In that usage, I mean simply that something is my opinion (one that I may hold very strongly in some cases, but that I still recognise for what it is). Based on such facts as I know, the balance of probability seems that something is the case. But I recognise that my opinion may be wrong - something that causes me not the slightest degree of difficulty, discomfort or internal conflict. If presented with reasonable conflicting evidence, I will weigh it to the best of my ability to do so impartially and honestly, and adjust my opinion accordingly if required.

2) I most definitely do NOT "Believe" (capital "B") in ANYTHING, in the sense that the word is used in religion - to cling dogmatically to a particular viewpoint in the absence of testable evidence (or, worse, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary), secure in the "knowledge" that I already "know" the "true" answer, and that anything that conflicts with that can be ignored because it is "wrong".**


Do I believe in evolution? Of course I do. The evidence is absolutely overwhelming.

Do I Believe in evolution? Of course I don't. If I'm presented with a scientifically sound, alternative explanation that embraces the existing evidence, yet points to a different conclusion, I'll give it due consideration. And if the evidence for the new theory versus the old is sufficiently compelling, I'll happily change my opinion.

Comment: Yes...but a qualified yes (Score 1) 583

by Doghouse13 (#47105887) Attached to: Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel

Funnily enough, my need for controls in self-driving cars isn't the one you usually hear ("I need to be able to take control in an emergency") - as has already been amply researched, (1) the cars are likely to be much better at not getting into trouble in the first place than their cargo, and (2) suddenly handing over control to a human who's been dozing away watching the scenery, reading a book or whatever, simply is a really BAD idea - by the time they've worked out what's going on, it will be too late anyway, and anything they do is likely to make things radically worse, not better.

No, it's a far more pragmatic, human one: Not every car journey I make is a predictable trip from point A to point B, with no regard to what comes between. Sometimes I don't know what route I'll take, until I take it. Sometimes A and B are the same place. Sometimes I don't even know, when I set off, where B is. Sometimes my plans change in mid-journey, at very short notice. And sometimes, how ever good the traffic updates are, I'm likely to spot reasons why the car's preferred route isn't the one to take just then. So I need a reliable, simple interface that will give me enough control over my "autonomous" car to get it to take a particular route, pull over, slow down, speed up and whatever. Because, say, I want to pop into that little shop we just passed, that I've never seen before. Or I need a comfort break. Or the dog's been sick. Or I simply decide I want time to take in admire the stunning view on that windy little back road. What I don't want, and would think very carefully before buying, is a vehicle that takes away some of the freedoms that come with driving for myself.

I have little doubt that, if the time ever comes when these machines finally overcome the hurdles (not least, understandable human prejudices) and make it onto the market (and, frankly, I hope that's not so far away - it looks to this casual observer as though the technology is reaching a level of maturity wher ethe hurdles are legal rather than technical), such features will be there - because, frankly, they're obvious, and any offering that doesn't have them will lose out to the ones that do. But they're definitely needed. Google's prototype's lack of controls is a publicity grabber, pure and simple.

Comment: Two approaches (Score 1) 445

by Doghouse13 (#46309991) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Manage Your Passwords?

Passwords at home, I write down and file (with the exception of hyper-important stuff like bank access, where I choose passwords significant to to me and just write down clear hints that will help me get them but no-one else). I reckon that, if anyone gets access to those, I have bigger problems to worry about.

At work (softwear techie) I had, on average, 20-40 different password-protected access of various types. I (a) followed a theme meaningful to me (usually based on hobby things I'd been doing away from work); (b) used a single password on all systems; (c) guarded it carefully and changed it if I had the slightest suspicion it had been compromised; (d) changed it everywhere at the same time, regularly; (e) wrote down expired passwords so that I could recover any I accidentally failed to change; and (f) tried NEVR changed it immediately before going on leave. I found the combination of a password meaningful to me and the drill inherent in changing it multiple times in succession (and them using it regularly from that point on) meant that I never had a problem. Yes, I only had one password - one breach would have been a bigger exposure. But I NEVER had to write it down - and on the few occasions on which I had a brief memory glitch I could, in the worst case, give myself a big clue by looking back at my previous passwords to remind myself of my current "theme".

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." - Bert Lantz