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Comment: Re:Why not... (Score 1) 93

by HeadOffice (#43779139) Attached to: EFF Resumes Accepting Bitcoin Donations After Two Year Hiatus

Accepting them is a "no-brainer" as a donation, there is no loss. But for any other serious financial transaction, well, unless you are a mobster or a dope dealer or otherwise involved in something illegal, the real question is WHY DEAL WITH IT.

There is a (potential) loss. As soon as the Bitcoin collapses, some people will have lost money. And Bitcoin might, in retrospect, be regarded as a pyramid scheme. People will not be happy with any party that has profited from that.

Comment: Re:Complete and utter nonsense (Score 1) 595

by HeadOffice (#43449883) Attached to: Is Bitcoin Mining a Real-World Environmental Problem?

Every Watt spent on Bitcoins is a wasted Watt. (Ok, you can't spend a Watt, a Joule I mean.)

Plus, now we get the environmental burden of producing ASICs, which will be quite worthless in the near future. With the GPUs you could at least organise a fantastic LAN party after the Bitcoin crash.

+ - On no, not those Bitcoins again!->

Submitted by HeadOffice
HeadOffice (912211) writes "Blockchain.info, a site that tracks data on Bitcoin mining, estimates that in just the last 24 hours, miners used about $147,000 of electricity just to run their hardware, assuming an average price of 15 cents per kilowatt hour (a little higher than the U.S. average, lower than some high cost areas like California). That, of course, is in addition to the money devoted to buying and building the mining rigs. The site estimates the profits from the day of mining at about $681,000, based on the current value of Bitcoins. So mining, at least for the moment, is a lucrative business."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Right to your own body? (Score 1) 851

by HeadOffice (#42522693) Attached to: Indiana Nurses Fired After Refusing Flu Shots On Religious Grounds

I'd find these rules more reasonable:

1. You should be free to refuse anything being put into your body (even if it would harm others)

2. You should be free to put whatever you want into your body (provided it doesn't harm others)

3. You should be free to practice whatever religion you want (provided it doesn't harm others)

4. An employer may never impose rules that violate previous 3 rules.

Comment: Slippery slope (Score 1) 851

by HeadOffice (#42522181) Attached to: Indiana Nurses Fired After Refusing Flu Shots On Religious Grounds

Suppose there's a new vaccin that, if taken by nurses, has been proven to completely rule out any chance of them infecting patients. But, as a side effect, it causes X% of the vaccinated to die instantly. Or, on average, those vaccinated live Y days shorter. How large may X or Y be for you to still be a proponent of obligatory vaccination? (And what if X and Y are unknown?)

What if we not only requite nurses to vaccinate, but also policemen, firemen and teachers? What the hell, why not forcibly vaccinate everyone? That would help stop a flu epidemic.

And while we're at it, why not have everyone implant an RFID and put a halt to terrorism!

+ - Pirate Party Netherlands heading for elections

Submitted by HeadOffice
HeadOffice (912211) writes "Tuesday, one day before the Dutch elections, Samir Allioui of the Dutch and Rick Falkvinge of the Swedish Pirate Party will enter a debate with the general public at several locations in The Netherlands. The Dutch Pirate Party, joining the elections for the first time, will discuss the civil rights issues they hope to defend if elected on Wednesday. More information about the debates can be found here: http://blog.piratenpartij.nl/2010/06/08/piratenpartij-gaat-in-debatkuip/ (dutch)."

Comment: Re:Some of the problems. (Score 1) 368

by Flyboy Connor (#20261357) Attached to: 10 Years After Big Blue Beat Garry Kasparov

and more to the point, the computer doesn't even know what chess is. It's just adding, subtracting, fetching instructions from memory, etc. It's kind of like how a guy in a box doesn't really understand chinese, or how none of your brain cells actually know what slashdot is.

Careful. You are (as you probably know) repeating Searle's argument. This sounds like an obvious truth, but it is not. Does a computer know what chess is? You would say no, because you look at the program and observe it juggling bits and bytes. And since the juggling of bits and bytes is not understanding, you conclude that a computer does not understand chess. But can we conclude that YOU do not understand chess because to play chess your neurons are firing, and obviously neurons do not understand chess? No, we cannot. "Understanding" happens at another level of consciousness.

Now, the problem with the level of consciousness of a computer such as Deep Blue, is that the ONLY thing that it has any knowledge about, is chess. Thus it cannot talk about chess, because it has no knowledge of language. It cannot assess the cultural value of chess, because it knows nothing about culture. The only thing it knows anything about, is a field of 64 squares, on which 32 pieces move according to predetermined patterns. However, it knows that particular field VERY well, much better than most humans.

So, the question is whether Deep Blue has a kind of "chess consciousness", in which it really "understands" chess. (Trouble here is, of course, that the terms consciousness and understanding are not well-defined, but let's assume that they mean what is commonly taken as their meaning). And it is very hard to argue that it does not.

Arguments for why Deep Blue has no chess consciousness are usually along the lines of "it does not understand chess because it always makes the same move in the same situation." Not true, as the match of Deep Blue and Kasparov showed. Or, "it does not understand chess because it cannot learn new chess behaviour." Not true, learning algorithms are pretty common nowadays. Or, "it does not understand chess because it cannot explain its moves." Not true, usually a chess computer is perfectly capable of explaining its moves, albeit in a special-purpose language. Or, "it does not understand chess because it uses brute force calculations exclusively." Not true, if that would be the case Deep Blue would need about 10,000 years to make one move. Or, "it does not understand chess because it does not care about the game." Well, that is probably true, but we are now talking of assigning Deep Blue a consciousness of a higher level than just "chess," and I would never argue that it possesses that.

Personally, I believe that Deep Blue has a chess consciousness. True, that consciousness finds its basis in programming (and probably has been automatically configured by Deep Blue itself), but that does not invalidate its quality.

Comment: Law is wrong (Score 1) 1169

by HeadOffice (#20087839) Attached to: A Year In Prison For a 20-Second Film Clip?

Movie theaters are private businesses (like the whole of the music and film industry). If a private business sells something, the conditions of the sale should be (negotiated and) agreed upon between seller and buyer beforehand, e.g. by the seller handing out his (general) conditions on paper before he sells.

I think it's reasonable if there's laws protecting businesses and consumers in cases where conditions were lacking or outrages.

A law that would allow consumers to end up in jail for filming in a theater, even without proof that the filmed material has been spread, is, let me say 'heavily biased favoring the movie and music industry' instead of straight out 'unreasonably unfair and ridiculous'.

Assembly language experience is [important] for the maturity and understanding of how computers work that it provides. -- D. Gries

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