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Comment: Re:And where are the parents? (Score 1) 187

by John Allsup (#49408453) Attached to: UK's Tories Promise To Enact Age Limits For Viewing Online Porn
What happens is that wannabee leaders with good oratory skills stand on a soapbox, sell the majority a fantasy of a magic easy solution that will work, and then the majority vote them into power, some approximation of the 'magic easy solution' gets put into practice and, what-dya-know, it doesn't actually work. Then we repeat the same insanity again and again, and have been for years. Until people learn (and this is the role of the education system) that real solutions to real world problems actually have to work reliably, not just look shiny and sound nice, this will not change. The whole education system is a joke. My sex education was a joke, or would have been if it was in any way funny. The rest of my education sucked just as bad. That I got a PhD at the end, when there are so many people with PhD's who still make reasoning errors so trivial that Pooh Bear would be embarrassed to make them, really means little to me other than that I can ram the 'Dr' bit up an arrogant medical system's arse when they decide to address medics as 'Dr' and me as 'Mr'. I got so disillusioned with the whole education system in my third year of a maths PhD that I never really recovered from the shock of how bad it really was, once I saw in the cold light of day. Cavemen we are evolved to be, and cavemen we are, unless we learn to be different. Right now we aren't even learning anything properly, not least how to give a monkey's about the long term knock on effects of our actions. Why did the ancient spiritual teachers waste their time on our species??

Comment: Re:And where are the parents? (Score 1) 187

by John Allsup (#49408417) Attached to: UK's Tories Promise To Enact Age Limits For Viewing Online Porn
You've just hit the 'fantasy vs reality' problem, and the need for children to differentiate. Like telling boxing from pro-wrestling from fighting-for-real-on-the-streets, kids need to learn to tell the difference. Denying them examples to train their brains on is just not going to work. Advertising and its use of women gives similarly unrealistic expectations if we base our expectations upon what we see in the media. We must all learn not to do that: not to look at women on billboards and think that that is what women should look like, not to see an advertiser's point of view and confuse it with reality, and not to confuse porn with real sex. People need to be taught about real sex, and shown the difference. This means, quite seriously, that we need videos of actual sex, rather than porn, and kids need to be able to tell things apart. This does not come with a religious-wet-dream of a world with no explicit media, or one where only over-eighteeens can watch explicit media. All you do then is shunt the problem to a time in life when learning is more difficulty, and where critical life-changing decisions are going to come thick and fast.

Comment: Re:Good Luck with That (Score 2) 187

by John Allsup (#49408381) Attached to: UK's Tories Promise To Enact Age Limits For Viewing Online Porn
Parenting 102: your kid is going to turn 18 one day, and your parental responsibilities continue. If your kid is not prepared for alcohol and porn, once they turn 18 they will be able to legally get hold of them. You have until that day to ensure that they know how to consume alcohol and porn sensibly and safely. This does not come from a magic bury-our-head-in-the-sand approach, no matter how much you want it to work. I had a sheltered upbringing, and learning for myself was a nightmare that took years. I wrote my thoughts at http://goodpornisart.com if anybody is interested.

Comment: Good mathematics is an art (Score 1) 397

by John Allsup (#49381513) Attached to: Why America's Obsession With STEM Education Is Dangerous
It is easy to write logical porridge. It is an art to write mathematics that is not just logical porridge. Beautiful mathematics is the birthright of the subject, but it takes learning. To learn to write beautiful mathematics you must learn what art is, and what artistic language is. It is likewise with computer code. This is why (IMHO) Knuth named his opus The Art of Computer Programming: maths and computer programming are arts. To understand them, you must understand what makes poetry and art beautiful, and understand that feeling that people get when the perceive beauty. If not you will lack the ability to tell the best science, and the only science worth bothering with, from all the rest. Personally I am totally disillusioned with modern education, more so with modern business, and I am wondering when sense will be seen. Right now I see a world of desperate manic cavemen running around using whatever magic toys they can to magic food onto their table, and using whatever clublike things they can find to defend their territory. This isn't going to save the American economy.

Comment: Ditch the name (Score 1) 92

by John Allsup (#49368617) Attached to: Arduino Dispute Reaches Out To Distributors
Arduino was never the best name anyway. Come up with a new one, with an amusing competition of some sort, then form a less greedy body to take charge of the name, transfer all the open source rights etc to this new name, replace the rest, and teach these lousy business heads that the open source world is not a magic tree to be cherry picked. If a business does not act in the best interests of the rest of humanity, that business should be considered broken. Likewise between business and open-source and free-software. At times we must be brutal. My vote goes for Dinopod -- it's got a bit of the duino bit, albeit without the u, and a nice sounding syllable on the end. Then we just have to hope Apple doesn't think it owns the pod suffix like it thinks it owns the i prefix.

Comment: It's only going to get worse. (Score 3, Interesting) 161

by John Allsup (#49368597) Attached to: Europol Chief Warns About Computer Encryption
People haven't figured out the half of it. The Theoretical Computer Scientists are still trying to figure out if P equals NP, when there is both an easy solution (I've tried to submit one version of it, and have written another), and that when conditions of physical plausibility are introduced, it turns out to be the wrong problem anyway. Hard problems arise as soon as you need one more peek at a pile of data than you have. Then you have to guess, and you are at the mercy of the guess. If it is a genuine binary guess and nobody is in a position to force your random number source (and this is totally unrealistic) then you only have a 50% chance of being totally wrong. Things go downhill pretty fast from there.  Trust me, my sanity has survived by playing these games in my head for the last decade or so, and there is only one sensible strategy, and it is built fundamentally on sensibly chooing friends you trust. Things then either turn into a lovely blissful world of total cooperation (and I'm still dreaming here), or else devolve into a downward spiral of ever decreasing trust, ever increasing suspicion, and total failure to justify that distrust given that when one determined person want to screw things up, he or she happens to be the 1/1000 that you didn't decide to label a 'madman' and lock up. The law enforcement systems they are demanding don't work even in dreams. They face too many decision processes, can't improve matters by adding more decision processes (and this is the mess that using computers to aid they really gets them), and they are demanding that their task is made artificially simple. Doesn't bloody work that way in our universe. Sorry. We live according to the laws of mathematics and physics, and if you find yourself on the wrong side of them, complaining to lawmakers won't make the problems go away, but can screw up a large number of lives in the attempt.

Comment: Maths and foundations of reasoning (Score 0) 236

by John Allsup (#49359465) Attached to: Dark Matter Is Even More of a Mystery Than Expected
Physics is built upon mathematical structures which have their origin in the 19th century.  Both Set Theory and Peano Arithmetic effectively grant you the assumption that there is no limit on how high you can effectively count.  This leads to models of these theories essentially asserting that there are countable numbers which are greater than the number of particles in the observable universe.  I fear this is leading to a hidden paradox in the reasoning process that physicists are using, albeit one that is hard to see and communicate.

Consider this assumption as follows:
(you can count) (higher than) (you can count)
and compare this with the statement 'X > X'. There must be a practical physical limit on counting, and by assuming this limit away, you are rendering the resulting reasoning system physically implausible. An effect known in classical logic is that from a single contradiction, using the rules of logic, you can logically derive any statement at all. The problem with the foundations of mathematics as they are is that they are incompatible with physical plausibility, and to naively shoehorrn in physical plausibility leads to logical inconsistency and 'weird stuff' appearing. I fear that this is the beast that theoretical physicists are actually wrestling with, albeit unknowingly.

Comment: Reliability issues (Score 1) 353

Opinions in psychotherapy, psychology and psychiatry seem to change with the seasons, and to depend upon whom it is you ask.  Such opinions should not be used as the basis for sound reasoning.  End of story.  Sure in some cases internet addiction is a problem, but trying to generalise from a few children with problems to all children is stupid.  That said, this is what I posted on facebook a little earlier today (the relevance is stimulus addiction):

Violent video games are like hardcore porn without the sex. They're just as addictive and it is just as important that the mental discipline is learned to know fantasy from reality, and when enough stimulation is enough. It is society's responsibility to teach parents the principles of separation so that patents can teach their children. Else the bad knock on effects of explicit media will simply not go away, and will be rediscovered and reinvented time after time. Management of stimulation must be a parental responsibility and society must be structured so as not to make thus too hard a task. Right now we are having an Adhd epidemic as children get stimulus addicted and in desperation we turn to (charlatan) mind doctors and their magic pills in the hope that they will make this problem go away. Fail to manage stimulation levels, and it won't.

+ - Is P vs NP really all that hard?->

Submitted by John Allsup
John Allsup writes: I have been a /.er since my early undergraduate days (before there were user accounts). I am 987 on /., the highest 3-digit UID with distinct digits!

Anyway, the P vs NP problem fascinated me as a postgraduate when my main area, Peano Arithmetic, was going nowhere. It is a long story, but I happened upon an angle which made the problem easy. Trouble is I got overexcited, as I am prone to, got asked to see a doctor, who referred me (coercion and all that) etc. Short story is I got force medicated by psychiatrists and it took me just over eleven years before I found this easy angle: medication filesystemchecks your
brain that hard sometimes. Anyway, it occurred to me again, I got the filesystemchecking thing written down, and the sketch is at:

http://john.allsup.co/math/pre...

(please mirror rather than slashdot please — this is a personal web account)

I wonder if some /.ers interested in theoretical comp. sci. or the fate of the
million dollars could sanity check the logic. I don't give monkeys, and am disillusioned with academic research to the point that a career as a mental health patient seems more appealing.

(Can I have my million dollars please ;-) )

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:One thing for sure (Score 0) 531

by John Allsup (#49142847) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion
Put another way, there is, with logical certainty, no qualitative improvement in survival strategy beyond something like the following:

You take Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.  You trust in God.  When God tells you to fuck, you fucking fuck who God
tells you to fuck when, and only when, God, and God alone, tells you to fuck, and you fuck who, and only who, God tells you
you can fuck.  If you are unsure about who Jesus is, who God is, what Christ and Saviour mean in this context, there is no
better method to find out than reading a decent Bible, and you even have a number of translations to choose from.

Lfe is crazy, there is fuck all we can do about it, but we need a surefire method of stopping us questioning this logically certain fact,
which requires nothing stronger to prove than the fact that, in Lisp, if you have 100 words to play with, you cannot make a 101-element
linked list even if the manual suggest you can, and that real world evidence suggests with at least 99% confidence that the 'can
I have another one' routine always works.  You can do the same argument on any computer with an actually finite number of cells availble.  The
observable universe, by the way, is capable of represenign a computer, but is also finite in extent.

We cannot command nature except by obeying her. -- Sir Francis Bacon

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