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Comment: Re:No win situation (Score 1) 184

by Harvey Manfrenjenson (#49149699) Attached to: Facebook Puts Users On Suicide Watch

What they've done to the mobile site is far far worse. It now features intrusive banner ads that take up 20% of the screen and WILL NOT GO AWAY. You can't scroll past them, you can't close them. (Also, the disable-ads option is gone). I didn't care that much about the earlier changes, but this is the change that is literally going to drive me away from Slashdot.

Comment: Re:Why does an AI need to be "saved" (Score 1) 512

by Harvey Manfrenjenson (#49147465) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

What did the newly-created human do that requires an act of redemption?

Logical argument about illogical premises is illogical.

Yes, but at least with human beings, you can argue that we are born with certain flaws. We're genetically predisposed to be aggressive, violent, selfish, and perhaps racist as well. Even the kindest, most moral person ever to walk the earth has presumably had some thoughts and impulses which were not very admirable.

Christians blame it on "original sin", I blame it on genetics, but it's the same idea. And my point was... how do we know that an AI would have the same flaws?

Comment: Why does an AI need to be "saved" (Score 1) 512

by Harvey Manfrenjenson (#49139355) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

Christianity is based on the premise that we are born in a state of sin, and that Christ needs to "save" us from our fallen state. Redemption by the blood of the lamb, and all that jazz.

So what the f*ck did our hypothetical, newly-created AI do that requires an act of redemption? How does Reverend Benek know that this not-yet-invented AI needs to be saved? Maybe it will be created in a state of perfect grace and enlightenment. No lamb's blood needed.

Comment: Re:Pope Francis - fuck your mother (Score 0) 894

by Harvey Manfrenjenson (#48830807) Attached to: Pope Francis: There Are Limits To Freedom of Expression

It's a rare occasion when "fuck your mother" is the most appropriate and insightful response possible. However, this appears to be exactly such an occasion. Dear Pope: Fuck your mom and fuck the Catholic Church, too. I'll be waiting in the parking lot if you want to do anything about it.

Comment: Re:I'm amazed (Score 1) 169

Yes, the record stores are mostly gone (still a few in Chicago but they're better suited for browsing than for finding a specific item), and yes, record sales were usually not a big moneymaker for the artist. Still. You can buy almost any music you can think of online-- and today the artist just might earn a healthy percentage off that sale. (Not always, but it's more common than it used to be).

I do understand that sometimes you may want to cue up a piece of music *right now*, without wanting to buy it, but that's what youtube is for. (Still ripping off the artist, but at least youtube does not exist for the *sole* purpose of ripping off artists).

Comment: Re:Time to buy vinyl? (Score 2) 169

Vinyl doesn't have a shuffle option.

Novels don't have a shuffle option, either. The songs are in that order for a reason, or at least they should be! I'd hate to listen to Sgt. Pepper's on "shuffle"... Also $10 per record isn't necessarily such a "low price" for vinyl anymore... a lot of people just want to get rid of their LPs, and will sell them to you by the boxload.

Comment: Re:I'm amazed (Score 1) 169

Thank you for the 1/10th of a cent.

Signed,
the bands you like.

In the case of Spotify, it's not even a tenth of a cent; it's more like a quarter of a tenth of a cent. (Put it another way: a MILLION plays, which most musicians would be lucky to see once in a lifetime, nets you about $250).

The Wikipedia article on Spotify is worth reading, if you really want to understand how insanely f*cked up the Spotify business model is. Out of respect for the professional musicians I know, I *will not* use Spotify or similar services. I'd rather donate money to the Illinois Nazi Party than give Spotify my business.

Comment: Re:Automation and jobs (Score 1) 720

I'm not sure we are in disagreement here. Yes, I think a lot of the disability patients would be happy to work part-time if it didn't affect their disability (and more importantly-- what I didn't mention-- their health insurance).

I should clarify here that I am talking about people who collect disability but who are not truly disabled. That's a big subset of people, and since I work in mental health, I tend to see a disproportionate number of them. I'm talking about folks who tell me, month after month, "I'm feeling fine, the meds [if they're even on meds] are working great". But they don't want to work because they'll lose their check, they'll lose their health insurance, and if they happen to get laid off from their new job, they're screwed. I can't blame them.

I don't know if I agree with the idea of "mincome" exactly, but I do I think everyone should be provided basic dormitory-style housing and food, with a minimum of questions asked. I've seen too many hundreds of people who wind up in ERs, nursing homes, and psychiatric wards because they need a place to stay. It's obscenely expensive and it turns simple charity into a ridiculous legal charade, where we have to pretend that they have a "medical condition" requiring the services of doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, etc.

Comment: Re:Automation and jobs (Score 1) 720

It is an economic impossibility because everyone (well, enough people to make it matter) would just stop working and wait on their check.

This is already happening, to some extent. I work with a lot of people who receive SSDI disability. They're not interested in getting off disability, because "I don't want to lose my benefits". According to Wikipedia, if you got disability in 2004, you were typically receiving 86% of what you would receive from a minimum-wage job-- up from 68% in 1984. (I don't know what the figure is for 2014). If I could make 86% of my paycheck by doing nothing, I probably wouldn't want to work either.

One solution is to make work more rewarding, and that means raising the minimum wage.

Comment: Re:Am i on Slashdot? "Johnny appleseed exhibit"? (Score 1) 71

by Harvey Manfrenjenson (#47496593) Attached to: Exhibit On Real Johnny Appleseed To Hit the Road

I would argue that American history is a perfectly good topic for a Slashdot article. Look, I read Slashdot because it attracts a decent number of highly educated or knowledgable commenters, and I think that's still likely to be the case when the topic is a historical one.

I'm not disagreeing with you on the whole pre-DICE/post-DICE quality issue, since I don't really have an opinion on that. I just think this article was fine and you chose the wrong example to pick on.

Comment: Re:Other variants (Score 1) 66

by Harvey Manfrenjenson (#47274173) Attached to: HUGO Winning Author Daniel Keyes Has Died

Really hated Brain Wave.

As I recall, the novel centers around a group of scientists who are supposed to be unusually intelligent to begin with-- at one point Anderson proudly declares that their average IQ is about 165, or something-- and who become freakishly intelligent as the novel progresses. The problem is that we have a not-terribly-intelligent author trying to portray characters who are freakishly intelligent, and he fails spectacularly. He has them engage in witty repartee which isn't even as witty as an average episode of Seinfeld; he has them pepper their speech with foreign words and phrases (because that's what really smart people do, right?); and so on. Of course, it doesn't help that the characters are cardboard cutouts to begin with.

Comment: Re:Symptom of a bigger need (pun intended) (Score 1) 200

Your suggestion for a peer-reviewed medical wiki is a great one. I really wish someone would make that happen. For now, the closest thing we have to that is going to Pubmed and searching for recent review articles on a topic (everything on Pubmed is, by definition, peer reviewed). The big drawback to that is that the review articles are behind an incredibly expensive paywall, so unless you've got access to an institutional subscription (many doctors do not), you can't read them.

Comment: I don't believe any such conversation took place. (Score 1) 362

A bond manager met with Elon Musk to convince him to abandon a successful car company and devote his talents to building better batteries? No, he didn't. This is an exceptionally clever piece of public-relations bullshit.

The bond manager's advice would ONLY make sense if Musk were sitting on some really wonderful technology-- some new science, engineering or manufacturing process that enabled him to create better/cheaper/lighter batteries than the other seven billion people on the planet. Of course everyone knows that if someone makes a breakthrough in battery technology, it'll be a game changer for EVs. A truly radical breakthrough in battery technology would be a game changer for EVERYTHING-- it would give us a path forward to dozens of alternative energy sources.

So if you read the story casually and uncritically, it generates a lot of warm fuzzy feelings about Tesla Motors. The problem is that I'm not aware that Musk has anything special or proprietary up his sleeve in the way of battery technology. He'll achieve some economies of scale with his new factories, I guess, but that's it.

Comment: Re:Lawrence Kasdan... (Score 1) 457

by Harvey Manfrenjenson (#46961501) Attached to: Favorite Star Wars Movie?

That's nothing. Star Trek: TMP, which contains arguably the most horrific scene in the entire franchise (the transporter malfunction), received a "G" rating from the MPAA. That's right, a fuckin' "G". For you non-Americans out there, that means it is OK for a toddler to watch it.

When I was a bit younger I was pissed off at the MPAA for their long history of forcing studios to censor and water down films that are intended for teens/adults. Now that I have a 5-year-old child... I'm *also* pissed off at them for their apparent inability to warn me about what's appropriate for my kid to see. The MPAA is just a worthless organization all around, with no redeeming virtues whatsoever.

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