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Comment Re:Wuala used to have this (Score 2) 331

I'm trying hard not to be the token anti-cryptocurrency dude here, but yeah, the theme of the year seems to be "We've invented the wheel - now with Bitcoin!". The glut of different freshly minted cryptocurrencies from everybody who arrived upon the bright idea of starting out a new cryptocurrency, pre-mining it a bit and giving a fancy name has led to people differentiating with different tie-ins to try to get people adopt their coin adopted.

There isn't any instantly apparent reason Storj is tied down to cryptocurrency (which they themselves admit will be changing), although I'll admit it does give a snazzy way to pay for the storage service, but it's nothing new - at least Mojonation was originally based specifically around the idea of micropayments with a cryptocurrency. In fact it sounds exactly like MojoNation from 2000 with Bitcoin like Merkle trees for proof-of-storage thrown in.

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with improvement like that, one thing that catches the eye is that despite copious references, their whitepapers don't really reference any of the prior work on the area of distributed storage like that, and try to sell it as completely new proof-of-concept idea. Oh yeah, along with the "Now with Bitcoin, but all you have to do is buy our new cryptocurrency" :)

Comment Re:Wuala used to have this (Score 5, Informative) 331

Oh, yeah, they should've said that in the summary - the difference to Morpheus, Freenet, Mojonation, Chord etc. (in no particular order) is that with Storj (which, somehow, is supposed to be pronounced "Storage" according to their site) is that to participate at this stage, you'll have to buy (currently) 300 dollars worth of their freshly minted cryptocurrency. No thanks.

Additionally from their FAQ: "As described in the MetaDisk whitepaper, we will use Florincoin as an initial solution. Eventually, we will transition to a system with more direct and scalable access to the Bitcoin blockchain via proof-of-existence. As blockchain technology improves we can use systems like Factom to provide faster throughput, and Ethereum to create enforceable contracts on data storage." So... they're in large part relying on technology not even developed yet. I get the modern rush to put software out before anybody else (Or say, 20 years after...), but this does sound like a prime example of putting the cart before the horse.

Comment Re:Wuala used to have this (Score 1) 331

Ross Anderson and 1996 came calling. And the cypherpunk movement had reasonable implementations of such an Eternity Service for a decade or two already. This is, of course, not to say that the first implementations have ever been winners in technology sphere. However, rather than "Wowz, there's this rad completely new idea of renting out your storage space!", I'd like to hear what new features they actually bring to the table -- besides marketing.

Comment Re:Discoverer? (Score 0) 108

I tried to find a hard and fast rule on what the possessive pronoun "its" would refer to in that case, but alas, no luck... Glad I don't have to learn english! According to Wikipedia though, "In most cases, a pronoun follows its antecedent, and in many cases, the coreferential reading is impossible if the pronoun precedes its antecedent."
In the olden days there was a convention of referring to ships as "she", I would contend partly because of the unclarity of the antecedents, because on the open seas there were less "she"'s the pronoun could refer to. Unfortunately I don't believe NASA follows that convention, in fact it's been falling into disuse overall. In this instance it would have been good because then we could say she = New Horizons, he = Clyde Tombaugh and it = NASA and there could be no confusion over what he discovered... right?

Comment Re:It's a con... (Score 2, Insightful) 109

It's a scam as uch as any cryptocurrency is a scam; ie. essentially a pyramid-scheme. But then, so is the current market economy system, and the cryptocurrencies attempt to make the initial share distribution slightly more fair (Ie. providing largest share to the founders & early adopters...). As such, basic income is one of the more interesting entries to the initial share generation, and one I would fully support...
However, registration for the basic income requires social security number and bank provided secure, two-factor authentication for your personal information... And when someone asked for the national equivalent of privacy policy for the database ... they received an angry, indignant dismissal from the project. So... collecting personal identification information sufficient to take any loans desired in the name of the signed up person, check. Privacy and security? Ehh, lets think about that later, if we've got time... If it's not an outright con, it certainly looks like a disaster waiting to happen.

Comment Re:Great... (Score 3, Interesting) 377

It's worth noting the demo page is using JavaScript decoder to display the images; so it seems more than feasible to transition to the new format by first just having JavaScript decoder do the displaying on image-intensive sites. Still, I have to agree that especially with todays website-bloat and bandwidth "Another new format to pack your images even smaller!" isn't likely to fly. If the headline was much better quality, maybe, but it's not immediately clear to me that this is in any way better than just using higher quality/size JPEG. (Although as hinted, image-intensive sites who pay for their own bandwidth surely disagree!)

Comment The assumptions, they make a whoosh out of you (Score 2) 68

So yet another article on Turing test which completely misses the point... First of all computer scientists never considered Turing test valid test of "artificial intelligence". In fact, there's practically no conceivable reason for a computer scientist to test their artificial intelligence by any other way than making it face problems of its own domain.
Perhaps there will come a day where we really have to ask "is this entertainment droid genuinely intelligent, or is it only pretending", possibly for determining whether it should have rights, but this kind of problem still doesn't lie in the foreseeable future.
On the Other hand, as Turing himself put it in the paper where he introduced his thought-experiment, from Wikipedias phrasing: "I propose to consider the question, 'Can machines think?'" Because "thinking" is difficult to define, Turing chooses to "replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words." Turing's new question is: "Are there imaginable digital computers which would do well in the imitation game?"
In other words, the Turing test does not seek to answer the question of whether machines can think, because Turing considered the question meaningless, and noted that if a machines thinking was outwardly indistinguishable from human thinking, then the whole question would become irrelevant.
There is a further erroneous assumption at least in the summary - as of present times, even the most advanced computers and software are basically simply an abundance of if-statements, or for the low-level programmers among us, cmp and jmp mnemonics. If, on the other hand, we expand our definition of a "machine" to encompass every conceivable kind, for the materialistic pragmatic it becomes easy to answer whether machines can ever think - yes of course, the brain is a machine that can think.

Comment Electric car batteries (Score 4, Insightful) 87

If anyone remains confused after the summary as I was, just to clarify they're discussing electric car battery packs. Using them to power datacenters during peak eectricity demand, and charing them back up during low electricity demand would indeed be useful. I'm quite suspicious about their degradation expectations, however.
Being stationary installations well designed datacenters could often use more efficient and environmentally friendly options, like flywheels or thermal storage. There would perhaps be more demand and practical use for such battery packs as backup power during power outages, as those kind of emergency batteries will be required in any case.
Hopefully it is possible to compromise between these two, for example by using 75% of the battery capacity for shifting power-demand to off-peak hours, and reserving 25% for backup power in case there's power-outage before the packs have been re-charged.

Comment Re:who writes these headlines? (Score 1) 126

That was the way I read it until I took in the summary, too. I was really disappointed when I grasped the real meaning, because the original reading made a whole lot more sense. At our summer villa we used to use solar-charged "lanterns" in the dark, such as going to the outhouse after sun had set. These are obviously "toilet torches". I'm not sure why you would even consider them for public health, but they'd probably end up doing very little for it, beyond preventing some campers or outhouse-users from stumbling in the dark, so I'd have to wholeheartedly concur with the headline. Still I'd consider it another headlining failure...

Comment Re:Gun + BC client = $1,000,000,000 (Score 1) 390

Two REAL things: 1) The D-Wave computers are not true quantum computers and can't be used for that, and so far it's not even been shown D-Wave quantum computers exhibit quantum nature at all, and 2) Even a true quantum computer would simply make the hashing faster, which in turn would lead the Bitcoin network to adjust its difficulty higher, for no net gain.
There are numerous reasons to criticize Bitcoins, but "Think about the D-Wave quantum computers!" is NOT one of them. Actually ASIC-miners are lot more realistic and imminent threat that has already materialized, leading their owners to adopting measures and treaties to try to convince Bitcoin community they would not take advantage of it - they're the ones with most to lose, after all.

Comment Re:mAh is only half the equation (Score 1) 131

Well, amount of energy per mass. But amount of energy per volume will come a close second, and unless they have unlimited charge cycles with no degradation, energy per dollar will be sharing that close second position. Charge efficiency is probably around third most important, and whether it's prone to exploding randomly in a fiery conflagration is up high there as well. In short, almost anything else than what was actually provided in the summary :)

Comment Re:Unmanned car ? (Score 1) 63

I'm curious why you claim that, although I probably shouldn't expect much as your message boils down to an ad-hominem without even telling what you object to. Sieverts are weighted by biological effectiveness of the particles, so that when comparing committed doses from different sources ("nature of the exposure") they are intended to be comparable. Whether scientists have been successful in making them comparable is a topic that's perhaps more suited elsewhere than web-site discussion trying to find comparison points for dose rate, but that's certainly the intended purpose of Sieverts.

The wording on the "10mSv/yr average, 20mSv/yr max" claim makes it sound like it is committed dose. As I pointed earlier I'm aware geiger-counters don't measure Sieverts, at most they will show air gamma-ray dose at midpoint of body if calibrated correctly. In general this would be in ballpark of the minimum committed dose. If they ingest, inhale or touch anything, it'll be higher of course. In a car or cleaned up house it'll likely be lower due to distance and shielding. I've brought up the geiger-counter readings only as a means to show the average dose can't possibly be as low as 10mSv/yr, and the maximum certainly isn't 20mSv/yr.

However the Wikipedia quote on smoking is misleading if not outright incorrect, as I checked the original sources. The wording indicates it's whole body (effective) dose, but checking out the original source turns out it's only bronchial epithelial dose, so that is not really comparable to the others.

Comment Re:Sorry but you are half correct (Score 1) 63

It's clever to switch to claiming "average" instead of the indefensible "highest", as to prove average one has to go through every square inch... On maps Namie seems to usually be lumped up in the >30mSv/yr range (which ranges ranges all the way up to 1.6Sv/yr on the NPP). 10 mSv/yr would equate to 1.1 microSievers/h and it's actually hard to find outdoors areas that low in Namie town. On Namie town's own site (if you can read Japanese) decontaminated areas are listed as up to 10microSv/h (87.6mSv/yr) - they're actually lower than normal due to snow cover. According to the highest monitoring post measurement within Namie prefecture is currently 9.2 microSv/h. The measuring posts showing lower than actual values is well documented however, probably owing to decontamination and shielding of the monitoring posts, though they're probably within that range.

It's hard to get there with a counter and measure for yourself, the government has taken a hard line on that and uninvited visitors face penalty of up to month in prison, so most measurements are just outside the mandatory evacuation zone. That's right, there's nobody living there, just empty buildings so they do have a legitimate worry about guarding property there. The dose rates before people were evacuated, back in 2011 (it's been over two years now) were much higher, up to 50mSv before evacuation (according to WHO). Radiologically hottest isotopes have decayed and the rest dispersed across the world since then, though.

For the Youtubers, there's always for example. Person in that video at end of last year is measuring 13.05 microSv/h at waist height. Bringing the geiger-counter to fallen leave on ground, the dose rate jumps to 42.69 microSv/h. Given 365*24 hours in a year those come to 114 mSv/yr and 374mSv/yr respectively. And that's actually 28km from NPP within Namie prefecture, not 8km - but fallout can be spotty. But there's been no concerted effort to find the highest spot, just measurements here and there.

Finally... Fukushima will be good for us and telling people to stay out of mandatory fallout evacuation zone is unscientific fear-mongering? Ah, I see, you're just trolling, well carry on.

Comment Re:Unmanned car ? (Score 3, Informative) 63

About that, actually studies have quite consistently found airline crew annual exposure is around 2mSv/yr, see for example flights.html. 20mSV is the absolute maximum annual dose that "should" be allowed for airline crew, while studies have found 20mSv is typical lifetime dose for airline crew.

There's better comparisons to put the dose rate in perspective though - for example, "Smoking an average of 1.5 packs per day gives a radiation dose of 60-160 mSv/year" (Wikipedia) while a CT-scan can give around 20mSv per examination - classified as "moderate" risk of developing cancer, as in 1 in 1000 to 1 in 500.

In this context of course none of this hardly matters - the Google driver isn't going to be spending an year there, and they're certainly not going to "internalize" most of that radiation. But it's very valid point for the prospect of people returning to Namie - the dose rates measured are taken at around waist height height where alpha and beta rays hardly even reach, indicating only external gamma ray dose. Those dose rates tell nothing about people who live, bathe and breathe in that isotope-soup. But currently, nobody lives in Namie and it's not know when, if ever, that can even be considered.

"All the people are so happy now, their heads are caving in. I'm glad they are a snowman with protective rubber skin" -- They Might Be Giants