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Comment: I might try freezing their OS (Score 1) 334

Bootable, non-writable CD, schedule computer to shut off every night at 2AM, forcing a daily reboot from said hardened safe CD OS. Leave one or two copies outside the computer where you can tell them to look if they phone and say they had to throw out the one they had been using.

Comment: Re:they will defeat themselves (Score 1) 950

by FreedomFirstThenPeac (#47937583) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children
Yeah, a lack of (internal) opposition has really helped the N Koreans, the Somalies and a few others, do freemen owe freedom and protections to societies and tribes who's oppressed are unable or unwilling to fight back? That is what we should decide first, then the rest is just strategy and tactics. But modern democratic institutions just do not do that discussion well in the presence of radical pacifists and war-hawks, who tend to see the world in black and white (sort of like the old TRS-80s did, due to its similarly limited capacity).

Comment: Only in America (Score 1) 598

Only in the USofA is gun ownership specifically guaranteed because it is in our charter that the people need to be able to overthrow their government. All the rest of this discussion is just chaff.

The statistics presented are part of the PRICE of that guarantee, and it is a fair use to use those statistics to ask if that protection (against the government) is worth the price, and given the way governments tend to evolve, one can ask if the USofA is really immune to the sort of evolution the Constitution was trying to protect against. And it is fair to ask whether the guns we are allowed to own are capable of protecting us against drones, black helicopters and the NSA.

But I must say that if I were confronted with a government that suddenly decided that atheists were amoral gits who deserved beheading (to mix metaphors), then at least I would be able to take one or two with me.

Comment: Mathematics gives a strange meaning (Score 1) 912

by FreedomFirstThenPeac (#47908111) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk
As a mathematician I find that I am struck by the boundary between what mathematics and research tell me and what ethicists (religious and otherwise) tell me. The best example of the conundrum we rationalists face is how to claim that a behavior is moral when the underlying systems model tells us it is not. Consider the classic question of which is "better", the old testament (admittedly an arbitrary source, but bear with me) rule of "an eye for an eye" compared with the new testament rule to "turn the other cheek". Extensive exploration of the long term consequences of these two strategies for life are conducted under the guise of game theory, most specifically, the extensive simulations of the prisoner's dilemma (made famous by the book of the same name). The massive hoops and artificial framing necessary to make simulated evolution favor turning the other cheek are strong indications of the strength of the simpler, eye for an eye strategy. Perhaps what makes us most human (whatever that is) is when we embrace, for our own illogical reasons, turning the other cheek in the face of the systems models that tell us to exact an eye for an eye. But the price we pay is the price of the person who leaps from a bridge hoping to fly like a bird when the systems analysis says it won't work. Because evolution operating on memes will punish the society that follows the gentler turn the other cheek in the face of a society that exacts the eye for an eye. Is extinction the price we pay for the more "moral" and gentler turning the other cheek? I hope not, but keep the eye I have left wide open just in case.

Comment: Re:I don't get it. (Score 1) 541

by FreedomFirstThenPeac (#47658539) Attached to: Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution
If the genetic sequence "ACGTTGTA" is correlated with a differential ability to do some cognitive task and the genetic sequence "GATACCA" is associated with the ability to grow good long hair, and the two sequences are linked (a mathematical/statistical term in this usage), then it is possible to use hair as a visible predictor of the cognitive task ("playing thrash metal", for example). Correlation may not be causation, but it can be an indicator variable.

Comment: Re:Half story (Score 1) 35

As a mathematician working on data mining where we still see lots of false positives, and with the proliferation of easy tools for fools to do data mining, I wonder how long till we see panics starting days or weeks before the government is willing to announce problems. Imagine New Orleans trying to evacuate itself while the NOAA folks think that the weather that is coming is going to be a standard low level rain event. Imagine then if it turns out that NOAA was right to be calm, FEMA was right to sleep through it, but hundreds of thousands of Wx-refugees are now sitting on freeways trying to find gas. The movie Contagion was a good preview.

Comment: The real timing question (Score 1) 184

by FreedomFirstThenPeac (#47532819) Attached to: "Magic Helmet" For F-35 Ready For Delivery
What does a physically limited human in a helmet in the cockpit bring to the battle that a physically remote human in a helmet cannot do? Is the extra "situation awareness" brought about by the kinesthetic sense and the millisecond lag caused by speed-of-signal issues worth the extra cost of making an expensive toy for pilots over making a slightly less expensive toy for armchair warriors? Do we really expect the on-site human to be able to whip that $600K helmet off, squint Dirty Harry style and squeeze of a few thousand well placed rounds into a target that cannot be seen without the enhancements of that helmet? When I was AF, I'd have raised these issues and probably been told what I was told then, the remote sensing and control technology just is not up to the task.

"Prove it" says I, and I would invoke the post WWI demonstration bombing that got Billy Mitchell in trouble.

Comment: Minnesota - Land of 10,000 Lakes (Score 1) 377

I am a member of two planning commissions in Minnesota and I find it very ironic that here in the Land of 10,000 lakes (or, in the spring, one really big lake), we are having to block ethanol plants and agricultural irrigation because of ground water and deep water concerns. Similarly we are finding that the ground water we do have is slowly being destroyed by run-in from fields covered with chemicals. It does make me an outlier in the Republican party (social liberal wing thereof) when I pose these "tragedies of the commons" arguments to the died-in-the-wool free-market libertarian types. I can show them the specific assumptions in their models that cause them to FAIL (mode critical) and as a mathematician I am often surprised that they do not see how those failures force an external, non-free market solution. But I soldier on.

Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future. - Niels Bohr