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Comment: Why is Watson needed for this? (Score 1) 46

by DumbSwede (#46534777) Attached to: IBM's Watson To Be Used For Cancer Treatment
While I applaud the goal, I don’t see why a machine optimized to understand general language queries is the best platform for this application. What Watson did to win at Jeopardy doesn’t seem to have that much of a connection to decoding which genome sequences affect protein pathways and affect cancer progression. Granted both require a lot of brute force searching, but not all search algorithms are equal. Watson was good at searching general language – surely there are better search algorithms for this search space and better machines on which to run them.

Comment: Doubtful (Score 4, Interesting) 160

by DumbSwede (#46280537) Attached to: Does Crime Leave a Genetic Trace?
I will go on the record predicting this research will widely be discredited within the next 5 years. I’m not saying there is no epigenome, but why would it work in an apparent anti-Lemarkin fashion, let alone anti-Darwinian? The implication is that nobody gets bad-genes, just that genes get shunted aside for multiple generations due to changes in the epigenome.

I think there is some huge motivation on the part of the research here to explain why certain segments of the population remain in a loop of poverty and violence. I think social factors can adequately explain the problems we see. Perhaps there is a genetic component as well to why some groups do better than others, but research of that kind routinely gets the authors in trouble. Here we can have a quasi -genetic predisposition explanation that does away with the shame of having bad genes and suggests that it is society’s fault for not preventing the stressors in earlier generations that lead current generations to underperform.

What is a little strange is the implication that the changes to the epigenome stay permanently, of course only if they are negative changes.

Comment: We do -- and don't -- live in a simulation (Score 1) 745

by DumbSwede (#46262487) Attached to: Mathematician: Is Our Universe a Simulation?
I had over a period of years formulated my own idea about the nature of the universe largely inspired by Conway's Game of Life simulation. There was speculation that if the space for a Game of Life was large enough and evolved enough, the cellular automata could evolve into true life or intelligent life in their own celluar atomation universe. At some point I had the thought that the the automana didn't need the computer to exist. The mathematical definitions that defined their potential existence gave them a real existence whether we ran the simulation or not on some giant computer. The simulation was like recreating something that already exists. If we assume an infinite number of universes exist as quantum mechanics seems to suggest, then we are just experiencing one branch of a solution, one parametric path, of an immense equation with near infinite or truly infinite independent variables.

Our universe and our existence would be the same. Nothing need exist except the rules of math. You don't ask what comes below the bottom of a parabola, the same with our universe. The start is just where the rules start from a singularity. There is nothing before it because time is just a parameter that has no meaning before the singularity. Just has -1 y means nothing to the parabola y = x^2. The start of the parabola universe is at x=0 and there is nothing before it. However the Parabola Universe is not complex enough to contain sentient creatures such as ourselves. But there are infinitely more definable universe all with real existence in a sense, but then again only those complex enough to contain thinking creatures might be called/perceived as real. Given the infinite universes that then exist, there would indeed be some running simulations that create simulations of our universe, but our existence doesn't depend on those simulations being run, it merely gives those universes a window into ours.

I had started on a few occasion to put pen to paper to write these ideas down, but it appears I was beaten to the punch by Max Tegmark and his Mathematical universe hypothesis

Comment: Why not use this as a thruster in space? (Score 1, Interesting) 438

by DumbSwede (#44413067) Attached to: "Slingatron" To Hurl Payloads Into Orbit
The maximum exhaust velocity of a Space Shuttle engine is approximately 10,000 mph, they are shooting for a velocity much higher than this. Why not use the Slingatron as a direct propulsion device once in space? You could use solar or nuclear to generate the electricity then your fuel could be anything. You can use all your waste as propellant, just fling it away, or cannibalize unneeded (spent) portions of your ship as you go. You could use BB sized objects as the propellant so I imagine this thing could be scaled to a something easily within current launch capabilities.

Comment: Send in the Clones (Score 1) 130

by DumbSwede (#43686561) Attached to: Transfusions Reverse Aging Effects On Hearts In Mice
If this research pans out I doubt GDF-11 is the only factor that can repair damage. While stem cell treatments have not worked well in the past I have to wonder how well this treatment method would work with a clone of yourself. Indeed these lab mice are probably very closely related if not nearly clones. Just to increase the Yuck-Factor here, how about creating therapeutic clones for just this purpose (or any other) by not letting the higher brain develop.

Comment: Good News Bad News (Score 3, Interesting) 154

by DumbSwede (#43152745) Attached to: Japan Extracts Natural Gas From Frozen Methane Hydrate
We seem to be having an unprecedented set of advances in extracting hydrocarbon based fuel sources other than conventional oil (and all that implies for the environment).

I support clean energy and would really like to see research expanded into fusion energy. However not a week goes by I don’t see someone preaching doom and gloom about Peak Oil. Even if these methane hydrate deposits don’t pan out (which actually they probably will) Oil Shale deposits have proven reserves of over 1 Trillion Barrels equivalent using current technology (and an insane potential with future advances) and the U.S. has the largest reserves worldwide. This is equivalent to approximately to all the known reserves for conventional oil and we have hardly begun to exploit it. Check out this link on Wikipedia for the numbers : Oil Shale Reserves.

Energy may become (slightly) more expensive in the future, there may temporary shocks from transition periods as we go to new hydrocarbon sources, but in the long run usable energy is there for the extraction in an economically viable fashion. If anything all this PEEK-OIL talk over inflates the value of energy. One has to wonder about agendas here. The only thing PEEK-OIL is doing is selling a lot of books for scare-mongers.

Perhaps we should go slow on utilizing these sources because of the environment, but even so I don’t see why prices are so high when every indicator seems to suggest there are massive new sources at hand. On the other hand if prices where low would we continue our slow march toward efficient use of what we have (LED replacement bulbs for instance and better insulated houses).

Comment: Re:If your plane is on fire and not a plane anymor (Score 2) 148

by DumbSwede (#42774303) Attached to: Flying a Cessna On Other Worlds: xkcd Gets Noticed By a Physics Professor
In case anyone misses your reference, here is XKCD's dumbed downed explanation for flying a Saturn V

This end should point toward ground if you want to go to space.

If it starts pointing toward space you are having a bad problem and you will not go to space today.

User Journal

Journal: False Memories in Real Time

Journal by DumbSwede
My wife and I enjoy watching the Chinese mini-series "A Taste of China." How clearly I can recall the English narration, spoken in a deep baritone voice and with a strong, but easy to understand, Chinese accent. The narrator's voice, style, and cadence are all very professional -- the only problem with this memory is that it is totally false.

Comment: Not likely to happen... (Score 1) 179

by DumbSwede (#42445561) Attached to: Researcher Warns That Military Must Prepare For "Mutant" Future
There might be some small attempts to do this, but it will be so vilified that no developed nation would be able to do it to any great degree. Automated free roving killing machines will be FAR easier in the near future and politically acceptable as well, as you are not dehumanizing/exploiting your own citizens to achieve your goals. Plus I don't care how outlandish your mutant enhancements are short of Wolverine regenerative powers, MACHINES, BULLETS and BOMBS will splatter you just like any other flesh based entity.

The future is automated or remote controlled killing machines -- bank on it.

Comment: Re:Why I doubt driverless cars will ever happen (Score 1) 604

by DumbSwede (#42109287) Attached to: How Do We Program Moral Machines?
(dang, my first post was AC)

Likely the car will not self-drive if the sensors are not clear. A whole windshield will not be needed for the sensors, their port/lenses will be small and likely they will largely self-clear of ice and water. The occasional leaf may cause a warning light and instruct you to clear it from the sensor. Redundant sensors will allow safe opperation should some fail while in drive, but will probably demand rider/driver intervention.

Comment: Keep at PS3, get Move and Wonderbook. (Score 1) 267

by DumbSwede (#42069923) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Console For the Kids This Holiday?
I got a PS3 early, but not $600 bleeding edge early. 6 months $450 with 13 free Blu-Rays early.

We use it mostly for watching Blu-Rays in a home theater system. We have not gotten many games for our daughter and have tried to steer her to the more puzzle solving or physically active ones. She has not been much of a gamer, but the Playstation Move works good enough (though expect to do a lot of fiddling every time to get the camera and wands working just right) and they do tend to her favorite games.

It has been a good investment, though mostly we use it for entertaining when we have company. We hadn't been firing it up more than about once a week.

That has all changed for my Daughter, who is age 9 now. She is an avid Harry Potter fan, has read all the books. I bought her the Wonderbook with Harry Potter for here birthday last week and she is addicted. To be honest I was underwhelmed by the Blue-Bar coded Wonderbook when it arrived a week ago, but when used with the Move system this thing finally offers an augmented reality home run of entertainment for kids. PS3 owners shouldn't have to look sheepish when taking to Wii or Kinect users if you have one of these. I always preferred the more accurate Move tracking, but lamented the Party appeal of the Wii and Kinect. The Wonderbook does not solve the Party solution, but it does make a solid rejuvenation of our game system for our daughter.

Someone should make a bar-coded Move dance pad version of DDR (perhaps there is one I'm unaware of) instead of the flaky DDR pads we have tried to use. This would be a more Kinect like experience and potentially more accurate. With bar-coded props Sony could create a new genre of gaming. How-about bar coded steering wheels or space ship controls, fold out cardboard spaceship bridges that morph into Enterprise like helms on-screen? The Wonderbook definitely shows this is possible.

In any event all the next gen systems are coming out next Christmas, milk another year and half from the system you have now and get what ever seems best come the summer of 2014. I'll probably get an Xbox 720 with next gen Kinect then, you know, for parties.

Comment: Or... (Score 5, Insightful) 578

Perhaps more people just wanted to vote for Obama.
I'd hate to think it all comes down to how good your IT team is (even though I'm on one).

Then again, perhaps it is some comfort to the Republican's -- "All we have to do is better IT next time" -- and not bother to change the message.

Comment: Re:While on the other hand do see it working well (Score 5, Insightful) 388

by DumbSwede (#40533745) Attached to: Ford Predicts Self-Driving, Traffic-Reducing Cars By 2017
It seems odd to me that there should be such a Luddite tone here on Slashdot, and an egotistic assumption that humans will always be better at these tasks for the foreseeable future. I see several problems with your lane marking example. 1. If lane markings are so bad humans cannot easily discriminate them, then this should be addressed ASAP autonomous vehicles or not. 2. You seem to assume the self driving car will have no other lane confirmation information other than lane markings from some camera with human eye like contrast discrimination when in actuality, having taken the recent Stanford AI course, they will use multiple input sources and cameras to determine proper lane usage including statistical probability based on previous lane markings, the sides of the road, GPS, LIDAR, RADAR, and placement and movement of other nearby vehicle (and of the latter it will place much more avoidance weight). With Google’s quarter of a million miles already autonomously driven I would assume they often navigated areas with less than ideal lane markings (else we would be hear the hilarious situations the Google cars where constantly getting themselves into).

Yes people will balk at first, but this really is a task humans are REALLY bad at. We may be wonderful at discriminating a dog from a cat or recognizing a pizzeria from the pizza shaped sign, but the self driving car will be hugely better at determining that there is an object at of size X at distance X traveling Z miles per hour towards us. It doesn’t need to understand what every object on the road or side of the road is to operate, it won’t be distracted by video billboards or scantily clad persons of the opposite sex – it is just obsessively crunching data on position and moving object hazards all the while confirming the road ahead is true drivable pavement.

This is a hugely complicated problem, but it is well constrained with clear rules. There is nothing new about driving the self driving car needs to figure out each time. Until streets are better designed for autonomous vehicles they may be overly cautious, but I doubt hazardous, and as streets become optimized for self driving vehicles and as the vehicles themselves improve, they will be able to tear around at incredible speeds safely – if we decided we wanted to let them off the leash so to speak.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten