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Comment Re:Nothing? (Score 1) 429

"Turtles all the way down" is an argument against the necessity of "God" as a source of existence. Basically, we're standing on a turtle, and "God" is the second turtle. Why do we need 2 turtles? Why can't we just accept this turtle below our feet is the entire world? If there must be a second turtle, why can't there be a third or fourth one? And then, you know, it's turtles all the way down.

Comment Re:I disagree. (Score 1) 145

I guess he means the theoretical bases on which these systems operate has not improved much. It's the same old tricks hacked together at higher and higher complexity, and the best guidance is uninformed trial-and-error. Useful sometimes and at times an engineering feat, but there's no interesting science in it.

Comment Re:And this is the same for copyrights. (Score 1) 240

Although I hate copyright extensions, your argument is weak. Selling things based older productions is probably a sizable revenue stream for a company over its lifetime. There's copyright on derivative work, so a competitor can't beat you out in making a sequel. It can also snowball into franchise over which you have a monopoly. This gives more incentive to make stuff.

Comment Re:Sigh (Score 1) 101

A lot of the strength in cryptography is lost in areas that depend on trust. Like trusting that the vendor doesn't put a backdoor in your system, or trusting your OS doesn't break your firewall, or that any third-party CA's are actually trustworthy, or there isn't a weird compiler bug that kills your entire encryption system. These things may be tested against and prevented one-by-one, but they are overhead, which makes the notion of security a matter of risk management. Cryptography tries hard to reduce the reliance on trust, but it's always a big issue.

More of a theoretician, I was once lectured by a competent software engineer that in security the devil is in the details, where any system has to stand the test of time and often goes through many fixes to be just usable. Theoretical security guarantees are much stronger what is often realized in practical security systems, because implementation details fall through cracks that are covered up by theoretical abstractions that breed high-level cryptography.

Comment Re:Case closed (Score 2) 127

Sometimes true, sometimes not. An enterprise parasite looking for a golden parachute would rationally prefer to suppress disruption to his personal agenda in the short term rather than enhancing the business in the long term. Disclaimer: I hold no opinion on any conspiracy theories of this case.

Comment Re:No it is not. (Score 2) 152

US isn't seeing any of the benefits (yet) because it's a massive power that can borrow and print money willy-nilly, and the currency is mostly under control at the moment. But not all countries are like that. There are countries where something like Bitcoin can be a viable alternative to official currency, like Argentina. Bitcoin is flawed, but it guards against certain attacks that can be performed to a currency, in a way that is sometimes useful.

On the other hand, the way Dell accepts Bitcoin doesn't bear a lot of risk; a third-party accepts Bitcoin for them and pay them in cash, and absorbs fluctuation risk in return for some fees. It relies on customers bearing the risks themselves. It isn't a big step for Bitcoin; it is only a very small step towards forming a sufficient number of nodes of a skeleton that may or may not turn into an actual ecosystem that eventually circulates Bitcoin. But isn't a terrible decision for Dell either.

Comment Re: When misbehavior isn't punished (Score 1) 123

Build a system that offers only short term incentives, you can often end up, pretty predictably, with *nothing useful at all*. Lots of research is useless, but they often turn out to be so only after some difficult exploration. It's not very often that you can validly point to a researcher and say "I told you so". There are also research that look promising in early stages and turn out to be pure crap. Research is a treasure hunt - you dig the ground and most of the time it's just plain soil. You should reward risk-taking, because that's like paying the scientists of America each for a discount-price lottery ticket. And the results: even with immensely high research costs over the country, the overall profit is huge.

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Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code. -- Dave Olson