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Comment Re:That won't last long... (Score 1) 780

He didn't follow their advice and continue to wonder around the school with it, not obeying other instructions, which could be seen as suspicious.

You don't arrest people because you're suspicious. This culture of fear is a terrible thing and it really needs to stop.

You see a kid with something that might be potentially dangerous, you approach him and ask him, "what's that?" He shows it you, tells you it's a clock. You look at it, you let him explain it to you. At that point, you said, "cool" and leave him alone because it's clearly not dangerous. There's no reason he should put it away, there's no reason he shouldn't have it on him. The next person who sees it and is concerned should simply follow the same procedure and ask.

Doing anything beyond that is completely unjustified. If he tried to pass it off as a bomb, that'd be another thing, but everyone who asked was told it's a clock. He deserves a settlement for the shit he was forced to go through. I don't know about the amount, but that's all up to the lawyers.

Comment Re:News At Eleven (Score 1) 108

Like seizing Tormail and using it to install malware in Tor users browsers? I agree, the FBI should be putting some of their own in federal prison for these crimes the same as anyone else would be. If anything police should be punished more severely for breaking the law than anyone else.

I'm not familiar with that case, but if they did so without a warrant, then yes, absolutely. I agree entirely with your sentiment, I do think law enforcement should be held even more strictly to the laws than everyone else.

Comment Re:News At Eleven (Score 1) 108

What are your thoughts on warrantless use of stingray?

That's a very good analogy, and I had to go read about how it works in order to answer your question.

I think I'm ok with the use of stingray to intercept communications as it happens today, but think it should be treated as a security flaw and the method shouldn't work in the future. It works by forcing nearby cell phones to connect to it, but in order for the call to be completed it must also connect to a legitimate cell phone tower in a man-in-the-middle attack.

Ideally, the cell phone companies should fix the protocol with stronger authentication between phone and towers, to prevent such attacks. Then, in order to operate a stingray in this mode, a warrant would be required that would compel the mobile company to provide the police with a valid key for use by the stingray device for a particular tower, for a given period of time.

Comment Re:News At Eleven (Score 4, Insightful) 108

'Consultants' perform wide-scale, warrantless, attack against large number of individuals not even suspected of wrongdoing on behalf of FBI under the guise of 'research'(probably not IRB approved); FBI thanks them for their assistance and introduces the fruits of an operation that would have been dubiously legal in scope even with a warrant; much less without one.

I'm the first to complaint about warrantless search of Americans, but I don't think this qualifies. If you're going to install software on computers you don't own in order to capture information, you need a warrant. If you're going to ask a private company to hand over data on their users, you need a warrant. If you're going to capture information that passes through your own hardware, even if it's encrypted, that's fair game. If you find a way to break the anonymizing network by creating your own fake relays to do it, as far as my judgement goes, the data was yours to play with, because it passed through your relays, and the research was legitimate, because you did find a flaw on the network.

The only thing I see wrong with this entire operation is that we have laws against what people can or can't take. It's their life, their bodies, their decision, and the FBI is wasting resources going after people who pose no danger to society (at least as far as Silk Road 2.0. The first Silk Road had the guy in charge trying to hire a hit man. Definitely not just a drugs thing. The investigation was legit, the research was legit, and it gives the Tor Project something to think about as far as improving their network.

Comment Re:Ancient Aliens? (Score 2) 339

When there is no scientific evidence to back up one's wacky and complex idea, we should consider simpler and more plausible explanations (occam's razor)

That's not actually what Occam's Razor says. What Occam's Razor says is that we should consider all explanations that haven't been proven false by evidence. When two explanations give the exact same predictions, and therefore can't be differentiated through observation of evidence, then you assume the simpler one. Not because it has a higher probability of being right, because given nothing to differentiate between the two theories, you can't make that claim. Simply because even if the more complex explanation is right, the simpler explanation is clearly an excellent model for it.

In this case, there's a perfectly natural explanation that seems to fit the case. By all means, let's not assume that it's aliens and make decisions based on that conclusion. The dominant theory at the moment should be debris by a large planetary collision. That said, we have nothing to falsify the partial Dyson Sphere theory, and it does give some different predictions than the natural explanations. So it absolutely means we should dedicate some telescope time and see if we can gather more evidence for or against all possible explanations. That's how science works.

Comment Re:Theora is two generations back (Score 1) 145

Theora, based on VP3, is roughly H.263-class technology comparable to Sorenson Spark (FLV) and MPEG-4 ASP (DivX and Xvid). H.264 and VP8 are a generation ahead of it in rate/distortion performance at Internet bitrates

That's mostly true, although Theora has been improved to the point where it is closer to H.264.

That said, Xiph has also been working on Daala, which is intended to compete with H.265.

Comment Re:Key points about AI (Score 1) 236

1) Real AI will NOT be directly controlled by it's original programs. That is not AI, that is a well simulated AI.

Why should artificial intelligence be any different from natural intelligence? We can't act outside our programming, why would AI?

Intelligence tells you how to get what you wants. How you're wired tells you what you wants. Who you're attracted to, what foods you like and dislike, what activities you find enjoyable...your conscious self has zero control over those things. All you can do and decide how to go about getting in the things you're programmed to go after and avoid the things that you're programmed to dislike.

Oh, sure. Intelligence can help you draw complex conclusions. You want to eat a ton of crap, but you don't want the consequences of being obese. Intelligence lets you make the connection between overeating, obesity, and the consequences of it that you've been programmed to avoid. But you can't choose these things, you can't choose your end goals, and neither will AI.

Comment Re:No, she didn't (Score 1) 851

She got way more than she paid in.

Why does that matter? If she was allowed to opt out of the system, then asked for it in her later years when she realized she needed it, then you'd have a point. But she participated in the system the same as anyone who agreed with it. To not partake in the benefits after you've paid into it makes zero sense.

Everybody except the rich does.

First, that's not necessarily true. My father died this year at 65 years old. Do you think he got more than he paid in?

Second, why is it justifiable to take from the rich? It is their property, so if they're not benefiting from it, how do you justify taking it from them?

I actually am in favor of social security, but let's be honest and use valid arguments, shall we? First, a society that allows people who can't take care of themselves to suffer is a very cruel society, and not one I'd want to be a part of. Second, the rich do benefit from social programs, because a large number of homeless individuals in the society they live in isn't conducive to business and it will hurt their bottom line. Example: I have no children, but I bought a house near a place with good schools. My property taxes pay for that school, and although I don't benefit from the school directly, my property value appreciates at a greater rate as a result of it, giving me an indirect monetary benefit.

Comment Re:Defective (Score 1) 392

The driver should never use a feature of a car that can make it move in a way that it can hit a human.

Except for features of a car that are designed to function without a human. The entire point of moving to self-driving / self-parking cars is so you don't have to do it.

Now, we're not at that point yet, and I agree that in this instance it's the driver's responsibility. However, it's not defensible or ethical for Volvo to sell the pedestrian-detection feature separately from the self-parking feature anymore than it would be for them to sell seat-belts as an option. They know idiot drivers exist, they know the feature could save lives. If you don't offer a self-parking system with that capability, that's fine. However, if you have done the R&D to develop it, you better include it as a selling point of your improved self-parking system over other manufacturers, not as a separate feature. Doing otherwise is simply not ethical.

Comment Re:Funny, that spin... (Score 1) 421

Question: What role do people who think that AI research is dangerous hold in the field of AI research?

Answer: None...because regardless of their qualifications, they wouldn't further the progress of something they think is a very, very bad idea.

Asking AI experts whether or not they think AI research is a bad idea subjects your responses to a massive selection bias.

Yes. Nobody who worked in the Manhattan Project had any reservations whatsoever about building the atomic bomb, right?

Experts work in fields they're not 100% comfortable with all the time. The actual physicists that worked on the bomb understood exactly what the dangers were. The people looking at it from the outside are the ones coming up with the bogus dangers. You hear things like, "the scientists in the Manhattan project were so irresponsible they thought the first bomb test could ignite the atmosphere, but went ahead with it anyway." No, the scientists working on it thought of that possibility, performed calculations the definitely proved it wasn't anywhere near a possibility and then moved on with it. People outside the field are the ones that go, "The LHC could create a black hole that will destroy us all!" The scientists working on know the Earth is struck with more powerful cosmic rays than the LHC can produce regularly, so there's no danger.

It's just that they don't work in the field of AI, so therefore they must not have any inkling whatsoever as to what they're talking about.

Which is a 100% true statement. They're very smart people, but they don't know what they're talking about in regards to AI research, and are coming up with bogus threats that most AI experts agree aren't actually a possibility.

Comment Re:What does it say about you? (Score 1) 461

You'd have a point, if AOL was irrelevant.

The address most certainly is irrelevant to everything else you said. You haven't needed to have AOL as your ISP in order to have an e-mail address for over a decade. You're the guy that points to every German he meets screaming, "Nazi! Nazi!" World War II is over, and so are the days that you used to spend an usenet dreading that post that signaled a member of the masses just got access to the net. The masses are now the majority of the net, and they use gmail too.

What do you think of people who use Facebook as their primary online contact?

I don't really give a shit. I don't personally use Facebook, but I'm the weird one, not them. I recognize that I make people's lives more difficult when they ask me to get in touch with them via Facebook, because it really is the default these days, and I apologize while asking for a secondary contact option.

Comment Re:What does it say about you? (Score 4, Interesting) 461

Nothing on the internet says 'I'm a blithering idiot, please abuse me.' as quickly and concisely as

I consider judging people based on irrelevant categories to be far more damning.

Shortly after gmail came out, every other free webmail provider upped their storage amount in order to compete, including aol. Gmail at the time didn't provide imap access. You could access your mail via the web interface or pop. Aol, on the other hand, did provide imap, along with a ton of storage space, which allowed me to check my personal e-mail via my PDA's email client (remember those?), instead of its horrible browser.

I had a perfectly technical reason to switch to an aol address while everybody was switching to gmail.

Comment Re:A first: We should follow Germany's lead (Score 1) 700

Unless, of course, we're all free to say we believe in any random thing as our religion and are therefore entitled to tax-free status.

Well, that's my point. That is the case. Anything else in unfairly promoting specific religions, which is constitutionally prohibited.

So, either prevent all religions from having tax exempt status, or accept that anything can be a religion and grant any organization (as long as it is a non-profit organization), tax-exempt status. I don't care which one you pick, but I think only those two options can be fair.

Comment Re:A first: We should follow Germany's lead (Score 1) 700

Sorry, but it's awfully hard to take it seriously as a religion ... it has about as much credibility as being a Jedi or a Pastafarian.

Which is the same amount of credibility any religion has, considering what makes something a religion is the taking of certain axiomatic principles on faith rather than evidence.

Which I don't have any problem whatsoever with, mind you. I just don't like people using age of a religion as a way to discriminate against others. "My religion says the reason humans die is because they allowed themselves to be fooled by a talking snake" sounds exactly as weird to me as, "My religion says we were brought here from intergalactic worlds on DC-10's and were trapped in volcanoes where they set off atomic bombs." You want to believe either of those, I'm going to defend your right to do it.

Now, I know Scientology has done some pretty illegal stuff, and I'm fine with us going after them for that. I don't like that anyone would want to define what gets to be an acceptable religion and what doesn't though. I'm sure plenty of people really and truly believe in the Scientology stuff, and as far as I'm concerned they have the right to do so. I will, in fact, defend their right to do so, even though I don't believe any of it. Same as I would defend the right of anyone to be a Christian even though I'm not one.

Comment Re:Probably Xamarin (Score 3, Insightful) 96

People who want cross-platform on iOS and Android have had it since day 1. Write your logic in C or C++. Its how cross-platform has been done for decades. Then write a wrapper in whatever language the platform uses for the UI.

The problem is that most phone applications are typically 95%+ UI code. If you do that, you're not exactly going to save much time and effort.

"Summit meetings tend to be like panda matings. The expectations are always high, and the results usually disappointing." -- Robert Orben