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Comment: Re:misdemeanor?? (Score 1) 260

by dougmc (#49502241) Attached to: Gyrocopter Pilot Appears In Court; Judge Bans Him From D.C.

Lots of misdemeanors can result in law enforcement using deadly force on you.

That said, I would expect his autogyro to be considered an ultralight and not require registration, though maybe it's too big to qualify? Also, if it is an ultralight, then he doesn't need a license to fly it.

It's also not equipped with a radio or transponder, though I don't know how required those are or what the penalties for not having them would be -- though a felony seems too strict.

Comment: Re:This is fucking stupid. (Score 1) 278

by plover (#49467219) Attached to: Researchers Developing An Algorithm That Can Detect Internet Trolls

You barely survived bullying, so you should know better than most that many people don't. That's plenty of reason not to tolerate bullying.

Look at it this way: survival of the fittest is already being changed by modern medicine; would you withhold penicillin from a child with pneumonia because he's too weak to survive? By extension, we owe the same level of concern to people with psychological problems.

Comment: Re:A Recognition Algorithm That Outperforms Humans (Score 1) 91

by dougmc (#49465875) Attached to: Killer Robots In Plato's Cave

Don't crash into anything while moving from point A to point B is a fairly unambiguous goal which computers should be able to handle, even if the details in reality are fairly complicated.

Given the number of computer games I've played with horrible pathfinding ... I'm guessing that this must be an even more complicated concept than we are aware of. (Scott Adams had something to say about that ...)

Comment: Re:just what we need (Score 1) 278

by plover (#49464765) Attached to: Researchers Developing An Algorithm That Can Detect Internet Trolls

No, it's pre-crime if they've done no harm at the time they're banned.

The triggers or flags the algorithm recognizes are not themselves the offenses. They are just attributes of posts from people who in the past have exhibited similar early behavior; this algorithm knows how to recognize that pattern.

Let's say that you categorize a thousand historical troll posts, and study their metrics (I'm going to make up some fake metrics here for example.) The average number of posts before they actually get to spewing the bile might be 15. Of those 15, an average of two of them might contain the misspelled phrase "your wrong". Another indicator might be writing five posts within the first hour of registering a new ID. None of those posts contain an actual troll message, but 75% of the time someone matches that behavior, they will have written a troll by their 10th-20th post.

Pre-crime would be banning people based on matching this pattern without waiting for the actual troll post to be made. It would ban 100% of pattern-matchers, but of those, only 75% would statistically have gone on to actually troll. The other 25% would be unfairly banned for their poor spelling and bad timing.

Comment: Re:This is fucking stupid. (Score 4, Insightful) 278

by plover (#49464593) Attached to: Researchers Developing An Algorithm That Can Detect Internet Trolls

While I believe that people who are less sensitive tend to thrive more than others, I don't agree that "thicker skin" is a workable solution. Too many people have fragile emotional states and simply don't have the neural hardware psychological capacity required to dismiss the hate and insults that often happen on line. There have been some high-profile suicides among teens who were attacked online, and who knows how many people remove themselves from public comment because of the hate they've received? For safety reasons I don't think society should completely abrogate the forums to the trolls.

Does that not mean some people are overly sensitive? Sure. But just as we shouldn't velour-line the internet to cater to absolutely every person with a psychological disorder; we also don't have to tolerate the diarrhea that spews forth from the trolls. We don't have to draw a hard-and-fast line on the ground, either, and define "these words are always 100% bad in 100% of situations". Instead, we should be welcoming humans in the loop, asking them to pass judgment when needed. That gets us to a more fluid state than full automation. It also lets the user choose. Don't like the judgment process on Slashdot? Don't hang out on Slashdot.

I know full automated filtering is the holy grail of internet forum moderation, but as soon as you deploy a filter it becomes a pass/fail test for the trolls, who quickly learn to adapt and evade it. Human judges can adapt, too, and are about the only thing that can; there are simply too few for the volume of trolls out there. A tool like this might help them scale this effort to YouTube volumes.

Comment: Re:Seems reasonable (Score 2) 53

by dougmc (#49444319) Attached to: FAA Allows AIG To Use Drones For Insurance Inspections

I wonder what restrictions the FAA put on these insurance companies ... like what sort of training do their pilots require?

I imagine they didn't just leave it up to the insurance company, but probably mandated a certain level of training. I know there was talk of requiring a full pilot's license, perhaps a commercial one, for such things.

I don't know if an FAA unmanned aircraft endorsement exists, or they might require a rotorcraft (helicopter) endorsement for your typical quadcopter. Not that all manned aircraft piloting skills apply directly to a model, but certainly a full scale pilot has a leg up on somebody with no experience at all.

And that said, requiring such a certification is way overkill, but it wouldn't surprise me at all.

Whatever the rules are, I'd expect the insurance companies to make sure that whomever operated these was sufficiently skilled to do so competently, either by teaching them to fly the old fashioned way or by providing aircraft that are automated enough that they don't really do much except tell it where to go.

Comment: Re:Seems reasonable (Score 1) 53

by dougmc (#49444297) Attached to: FAA Allows AIG To Use Drones For Insurance Inspections

The FAA doesn't really concern itself with "privacy", which is the primary problem that people have with these so called "drones" -- the FAA's concern is "safety".

And yet they also know that perfect safety is a pipe dream, and so they try to find a balance between safety and utility, and if they err, they try to err on the side of safety. And in the case of unmanned aircraft, they have erred *massively* on the side of safety so far.

The safety concerns of this are very small, and so there's really no reason for them not to do this, and I'm glad they're giving the permits -- it shows that they are finally relaxing their grip somewhat.

Now, if they had not permitted this, then the insurance company's other options are --

-- ladders (probably more dangerous than the R/C aircraft)
-- cameras on a long stick (probably works well enough for one story buildings, maybe not taller ones)
-- manned aircraft (expensive, probably more dangerous than the R/C aircraft)
-- camera on a kite (as dangerous as the R/C aircraft, often not practical, and the FCC may prohibit this as well)

Comment: Re:Double tassel ... (Score 1) 216

by plover (#49442541) Attached to: Senate Draft of No Child Left Behind Act Draft Makes CS a 'Core' Subject

Because too many people still associate coding with Computer Science, and are not taught Software Engineering.

Computer Science is all about the languages and the algorithms: how to make the computer count, how to make it sort, how to normalize data, etc. Software engineering is about the whys of design principles and design patterns. It's about testability, quality, readability, maintainability. It's about development methodologies. Almost anyone can write a sequential list of instructions, but unless they understand modularity, complexity, coupling, cohesion, they will not produce effectively maintainable code. They still think that because they passed a coding class that they're a coder, so they produce a crappy pile of hard-coded inappropriate dependencies, and then build more stuff that depends on the badly designed stuff, and then they wonder why programming sucks.

If we taught every child in the "Intro to Coding" class using Test Driven Development, we'd be teaching them to be the very first consumers of the code they write, and they'd quickly feel the consequences of making their own poor choices. They'd learn to course correct early, instead of struggling like so many of the questioners asking about homework problems on Stack Overflow. Instead of waiting to teach TDD as an advanced graduate level course, we'd have a lot more people who "get it". Or we'd quickly weed out the people who are incapable of ever getting it. Either way, everyone would be better off than we are.

Comment: Re:IoT (Score 1) 191

A heartbeat can theoretically be traced, at least to the last RF transmitter in the chain. If that's WiFi, it's a few hundred meters at most. If it's typical home automation, it's 20 meters or so. So, if the Evil Midnight Bomber is being watched, the messages originating from him could be noticed. It's definitely not the stealthiest of options.

Yes, a transmitter putting out a watt or two would lead to the needle in the haystack scenario, but the bad guys aren't doing that yet.

Comment: Re:Tin foil hat time (Score 3, Insightful) 142

by plover (#49397193) Attached to: TrueCrypt Audit: No NSA Backdoors

Yes, the NSA has been accused of colluding with RSA to promote the Dual_EC_DRBG random number generator as a standard, despite claims that it contained a backdoor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... . The NSA has also been accused of interfering with standards that would enable ubiquitous effective encryption for popular communications tools, such as phones and email, resulting in the current hodgepodge of patchwork. Sure, you may use TLS to send and retrieve your email to and from your ISP, but the data is unencrypted in their servers, and is vulnerable to interception there. Your cell calls may be encrypted, but Chris Paget demonstrated at DEFCON how easy that is to defeat, using his almost legal homemade version of a Harris Stingray. And the encryption algorithms used by cell phones only protect the data flying over the airwaves, not on the cellular wired infrastructure which is already required to be vulnerable by CALEA.

However, the existence of one backdoor in one algorithm does not prove or disprove the existence of backdoors in other algorithms. Most exploitable weaknesses we do know about come from either protocol flaws or implementation errors, and these auditors found evidence of neither.

Comment: Re:More details (Score 2) 128

According to the article in Nature at http://www.nature.com/news/exo... , it only improves normal walking speed on level ground.

Which is too bad. My sister in law's right side was mostly paralyzed by a stroke. She shuffles around, swinging her body weight on her good leg, and is quite the effort. I was hoping this could help her, but given her gait it's unlikely.

"If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library?" -- Lily Tomlin