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Comment Re:ITT (Score 1) 247

moron, congress can simply pass a law which contradicts the 2010 decision

this is not shariah law where the supreme court's rulings carry biblical weight. it's checks and balances. the supremes clearly fucked up, and their decision should be rendered moot

Constitutional decisions are decisions that cannot be overruled by an act of Congress. You can sometimes legislate around them (which is legal), and in theory you can make a contradictory law not subject to judicial review by SCOTUS (which may or may not provoke a constitutional crisis), but the real answer if you can't legislate around the ruling is you change the Constitution.

Comment Stupid People (Score 1) 245

Do the right thing... for whom? Without a specifier it does not tell us anything. It is definitely not the same as "don't be evil", although we've figured out that Google has not followed that mantra for a while now (not at Apple levels yet!).

Do the right thing is more appealing as a marketing slogan because it caters to people who are stupider and more plentiful. It's useful for reaching them. It doesn't even admit to the possibility of evil, It's much more cliche, it probably tests better with focus groups, it's not quite as easy from a communications standpoint to be mocked with it, and it's even easier to make it mean whatever you want and trot it out to use as part of product launches--better, it's designed to do that *without* making someone think about whether something is evil. So suppose you have a business model built around collecting all the knowledge on the planet, monitoring communications, monitoring web sites, fundamentally monitoring behavior... and you want a nice, innocuous little logo.

They're a good company, but their business model is inherently at high risk for evil and abuse of power. So shifting away from the idea of evil is a good marketing decision.

Comment Re:Congress can lie (Score 1) 323

The US and about any country for that matter also has sovereign immunity.


Yes, but it waives sovereign immunity for torts, under the Federal Tort Claims Act. If you had the right set of facts you could theoretically bring a civil fraud claim against them.

Comment Change mechanics, not minds. (Score 4, Interesting) 278

A propaganda effort to change how safe drivers are can help a little bit, but what makes cities safer is physical world changes that make it easier to drive safely and harder to hit someone. In Seattle, for example, they redesigned 75th street after an accident and saw a major reduction in the number of collisions. (Things like removing parking, adding bike lanes, etc...)


Bike lanes are actually useful in that even if not used by bikes, they ensure you can nudge out into a road slightly for better visibility when turning into it if you need to. You also are less likely to intuitively drive as close to the center line as if you are avoiding parked cars.

Comment Re: An interesting option (Score 1) 148

We really cannot build a "sustainable habitat" anywhere, "biosphere 2" has the longest record of about 2 years, the experiment ended when they ran out of oxygen, food, and patience with each other.

We can build a base that is resupplied, and it would be a much cheaper to experiment with base building technology on the moon than it would be on Mars. The Moon is a couple of days away in a space capsule, Mars is two years away at best. Keeping humans alive is the hardest and most expensive part of space exploration and Earth is by far the most livable planet in the solar system, so why bother sending people? Why not spend that money understanding and repairing the incredibly sophisticated life support systems of the space ship we are all riding on now? We won't be making any interstellar trips until we do understand it enough to replicate it on a small scale.

We need robots for now, and humans later. Basically we should have a two-pronged approach, one aimed at developing the technologies for working in space and one aimed at the biological engineering side of eventually terraforming a self-sustainable world. That will be an undertaking of centuries, but it is our best bet for having humanity survive.

Comment Re:Could send them to jail (Score 1) 323

I think you don't know how the legal system works. Prosecutors file an arm long list of plausible charges, hoping than one or two will stick...

No, I actually know a lot about how it works, I'm just calling BS on the idea that this one "loophole" necessarily makes them immune from prosecution.

Comment Re:Racism v. Bias v. Intelligence (Score 1) 444

I'm Asian and my parents neither pushed nor helped me in schooling. In fact, they were downright unhelpful.

What did help you, aside from genetics? Of course it is heavily influenced by heredity, but I suspect culture makes a huge difference. Indeed, while I don't know what your parents in particular did, sometimes being unhelpful and making someone do more work or figure out more themselves is more helpful than helping.

Comment Re:Racism v. Bias v. Intelligence (Score 1) 444

If you have a gifted child, one that is naturally smart, but can't pass these tests it probably shows a lack a parental involvement. Throwing them in a gifted program without that same support structure of the family would be pointless.

Probably, but not necessarily--you can have a gifted child is gifted at something other than taking a test. You can also have (and frequently do have) the WRONG kind of parental involvement. Stress from family life or a smart but clueless parent, or the like.

Comment Congress can lie (Score 5, Informative) 323

Here, fraud presents itself quite naturally and they can't seem to find it.

Perhaps they are worried that the US government could be charged with fraud too since it seems they passed an act which they said would make it illegal for car manufacturers to make highly polluting cars but which, it appears, does nothing of the sort.

Congress has immunity from lying. No, really. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Comment Could send them to jail (Score 4, Interesting) 323

Who's worming their way out?
Sounds like the prosecutors are trying to make a case that won't get thrown out.
You can't just make up law as you go along because it's morally wrong.

You could send them to jail if you wanted to. Fraud, false statements to government, criminal conspiracy, etc...

Just maybe not under the clean air act.

Comment Racism v. Bias v. Intelligence (Score 4, Informative) 444

If the tests are too easy, the kids aren't "gifted."

If they don't pass the test, then they aren't "gifted."

If the test uses words they don't understand, then what words would the researcher suggest the tests use that aren't "culturally biased?" Using three letter words well isn't a sign of ability.

A lot depends on how you're testing for giftedness.

Unfortunately if you don't have money or education yourself, your kids are much less likely to, so someone from a poverty-stricken background or with parents who aren't formally educated are on average going to do much worse on tests. They may also tend to be non-white. That's not racism, but it does create a systemic bias where you place people based on the money and education of their parents.

What we really need is enrichment programs designed to counteract that starting from a young age. A giftedness program isn't that unless we *make* it that.

But if we do use a giftedness program for that, we should be explicit about it--state whether the goal is to be representative of the population or to take the highest-scorers, for example.

Comment Abstract it away with change tracking (Score 1) 82

The formal description of the edit distance is different from that described in the article. This is the one used in some cases of DNA or text comparison.

Insertion of a single symbol. If a = uv, then inserting the symbol x produces uxv. This can also be denoted e->x, using e to denote the empty string.

Deletion of a single symbol changes uxv to uv (x->e).

Substitution of a single symbol x for a symbol y x changes uxv to uyv (x->y).

It's not just about changing a symbol, it also includes adding and deleting symbols. That makes simple parallelization impossible.

It's not clear if the mathematical proof cited in the article is the simple one of only changing symbols, or the more complex case of symbol addition and deletion. From the article, it appears that they are talking about the simple case, which makes the more complex algorithm even more intractable.

That does make the simple hardware a little trickier, although for specific purposes there are some tricks you may be able to design for practically that become more efficient as the size of the insert grows. (An entire gene, for example, would be easier per gene to change than a single base pair).

Basically you can make a list of the changes. If you know you inserted a big object at place X, you can dynamically generate any requested index without having to rewrite the whole really long string, for example.

Similarly, you can design your machine to encode the object in a way which makes insertion and deletion easier. For example, allocate an array of blocks of memory to store the object and insert or delete blocks in the middle as it changes. We could call this a "linked list." Or an array with list-like elements.

If you want, you can set it up so that re-writing to an array occurs in spare cycles to eliminate the dynamic overhead created by the linked list or change history.

Comment Re:If you're so altruistic, why pick Delaware? (Score 1) 40

no one wants to be located in NY, very unfriendly to business here (one of the reasons im leaving)

Unfriendly to some business, but very friendly to other business. There are plusses and minuses. New York has well-developed case law on everything under the sun, and has a very competent commercial division of its courts that deals exclusively with million-dollar-plus commercial cases.

Comment Every War Has Hacking (Score 2) 143

Every War Has Hacking, if you want to survive. You learn from the moment you start fighting.

In France, there were hedgerows, and you needed a way to deal with them.

In Korea, there were lots of jeeps but limited alcohol, so you figured out how to make a still from the parts of a jeep.

In Iraq, the army learned it needed MRAPs right away and that the military procurement system was so terrible it would never get them, so SECDEF basically overrode the whole damn procurement apparatus.

May all your PUSHes be POPped.