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Comment: Re:One thing for sure (Score 2) 499

by LateArthurDent (#49142305) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

Isaac Asimov's books and stories were about why his laws were bad. The three laws are bad, wrong, and do not work. As illustrated by the man himself.

You don't know much about Isaac Asimov. He has stated in several occasions and at the foreword of many of his books that he created the three laws as a response to all the evil robots of science fiction. That it is insane to assume they would turn against us, that we'd have safeguards which would keep us safe, and that we should absolutely build artificially intelligence once we had the technology to do so. Here's one quote on the subject: "One of the stock plots of science fiction was that of the invention of a robot--usually pictured as a creature of metal without soul or emotion. Under the influence of the well-known deeds and ultimate fate of Frankenstein and Rossum, there seemed only one change to be rung on this plot.--Robots were created and destroyed their creator; robots were created and destroyed their creator: robots were created and destroyed their creator-- In the 1930's I became a science-fiction reader and I quickly grew tired of this dull hundred-times-told tale. As a person interested in science, I resented the purely faustian interpretation of science."

The three laws were written with ambiguity not because he wanted to show rules didn't work and our ego of thinking that we could create such rules would be our downfall (the Faustian interpretation he decried above), but because he wanted to make sure there would be some sort of conflict for his stories. However, the rules worked. Most of the time the conflict was a result of the imperfection of humanity: the robots were doing the right things, but we wanted to do something stupid/selfish/prejudiced.

At no point were robots meant to be feared. When their three laws appeared to fail, the moral of the story was always that they hadn't and were working perfectly well. That there was method behind the apparent madness. When a robot appear to lie, despite being ordered to tell the truth (thus apparently disobeying the second law), it lied because it determined the truth would be emotionally harmful to you, and it couldn't disobey the first law.

Comment: Re:Same error, repeated (Score 1) 294

by LateArthurDent (#49126287) Attached to: Moxie Marlinspike: GPG Has Run Its Course

I know quite a few people who have started using GPG via the Enigmail plug-in for Thunderbird lately. The length of the man page is irrelevant and they never publish their keys so are effectively invisible to the statistics. That doesn't mean that it isn't an extremely useful, valuable piece of software though.

Now more than ever we need GPG, and I bet adoption has gone up a lot in the last year.

Why use gpg instead of s/mime, which has native support in most e-mail programs, with no need for plugins? Thunderbird included.

Comment: Re:Oh look, it's the Java killer... (Score 1) 253

Not this time, the new guy has decided that selling Windows is no longer the lock-in platform that makes us all buy Microsoft stuff.

Now, the Microsoft stuff they want use to all buy is services, and that means they have to supply said services across every platform possible.

So, open source .NET in the hope that it'll be cheaper to port it (ie you'll do it for them) and then all those lovely .NET apps that use things like Azure and Microsoft Ads will be ported to Linux and Mac and Microsoft can reap the revenue from more people consuming their services.

Its the same story really, only this time the lock-in has shifted slightly away from Windows.

That's not lock in. You described a company doing what it takes to extend the market in which they can compete in. That's fantastic. Of course they have a plan to make money out of this move, but that's a perfectly legitimate and ethical way of doing so.

Comment: Re:If it ain't broke... (Score 1) 288

by LateArthurDent (#48958415) Attached to: VirtualBox Development At a Standstill

No, no, no, a thousand times no, don't use DOSbox. DOSbox is for games and games alone. Don't believe me? The developers say it themselves:

Well, they don't want to support it, and I don't blame them. Plus some idiot is going to try running mission critical software on it.

The truth of the matter is that if it runs games, it runs other things. I run Windows 3.11 on it. I run several applications both DOS and 16-bit Windows on it. Works great for me.

That said, don't take that as me disagreeing with you. I also often find things that catastrophically don't work. As in, they can corrupt the files they're opening/saving to. If you can't afford trying stuff out (and keeping backups of anything your software will interact with), then don't. If you can, it's worth a shot. Just don't go crying to the developers if something goes wrong, and all is good.

Comment: Re:If it ain't broke... (Score 3, Informative) 288

by LateArthurDent (#48942795) Attached to: VirtualBox Development At a Standstill

boot a native MS-DOS 6.22 image (forget DOSBOX, if you want DOS functionality use fucking DOS!).

Well, depends on the use case. If you want to ensure your software will run on real DOS, you're right. However, in many cases, DOSBox will work better than native DOS. Run on DOSBox and never worry about not having enough conventional memory!

DOSBox will even let me install Win 3.11 drivers.

boot a native Win32 image with complete Win16 compatibility - just like you got in Win9x. Oh hell, I use win9x when I want that kind of functionality. Virtualbox lets me do that.

That's a good example of lagging development, actually. I have that need, but VirtualBox doesn't have Guest OS Additions for Win9x, which means incredibly slow and awkward performance. VMWare does have guest additions for Win9x, so I tend to use VMWare Player for that use.

do the above headless and feed a thin client or six, simultaneously, off a commodity desktop system.

Yeah, I suppose that's pretty nice. I can't vouch for it, because I haven't used that feature, but it sounds great.

let you export a disk image to a partition mounted via the host and thereafter, boot said exported image on a completely different piece of hardware with no further hacking required. I'm looking at you, DOSBOX.

Huh? DOSBox uses a folder on your box as it's C drive. Just copy that folder over to the new box, and you're done. No need to export or import anything. It's not like DOS has a registry to figure out what's installed, it just has config.sys and autoexec.bat, and whatever folders you installed things at. All of the DOSBox specific settings are really only about what hardware the DOS software sees, it has nothing to do with the host hardware (especially since the settings file now detects the CPU type you have and there's an auto setting for throttling cycles that works reasonably well). So you can copy the DOSBox settings file as well. If you use one of the many frontends, you can have a different configuration file for each game, which is another advantage over native DOS. I remember having an actual DOS Machine with a Turbo button because old games relied on clock cycles for their timing.

let you merge snapshots from specified thin clients into the service image while the image is in use.

Again, sounds impressive.

connect one remote session to another remote session from another server and directly collaborate between the two, migrating clipboard and keyboard events as you go, seamlessly between two completely different desktop environments as if you were hosting them both on the local system. Comes in handy on the odd occasion I'm moving bits of user data (eg user lists) between WAMP stacks that for some reason *have* to reside on the system partition and not the segregated data partition.

Can't vouch for it again, but sounds nice.

Comment: Re:A Simple Retort (Score 1) 556

My philosophy is "when you die, your relatives will throw out 99% of what you own." So throw your stuff out first, live with less and be happy.

That presupposes that what makes me happy depends on how I'll eventually end up once dead, and not on how well I'm doing while alive.

When I die, I won't be alive to care about what my relatives do what the stuff I own. While I'm living, I most certainly care about my stuff, and I live happier with it than without it. The goal is to maximize happiness while you're alive, and if having material stuff does that for you, go nuts. If it brings you more pain than happiness, then learn to find happiness elsewhere. What happens when you die has exactly zero relevance.

Comment: Re:No locks (Score 1) 449

by LateArthurDent (#48720801) Attached to: How We'll Program 1000 Cores - and Get Linus Ranting, Again

So what if you execute out of turn and update your temperature field before a -.001C change comes in from a neighboring node? You're going to be close anyway? The next few iterations will smooth out those errors

Unless you're dealing with a stiff system and that small error just caused you your iterations to start going divergent.

I mean, not to dismiss the approach, because I agree with you there are certainly lots of situations where it'll be fine. However, it's also one of those things that aren't going to replace current paradigms either. We're not going to go all lock free. We're going to add lock-free programming to the toolset.

Comment: Re:The thermodynamics explanation is circular (Score 2) 107

by LateArthurDent (#48555657) Attached to: 2 Futures Can Explain Time's Mysterious Past

Entropy requires time in which to move to a more disordered state.

Time exists because entropy becomes more disordered.

Hmm. Spot the logical flaw there.

Ok. Your logical flaw is a strawman argument. While the article claims entropy is responsible for the arrow of time, i.e., the directionality of it, you pretended it said it's responsible of the existence of time at all. Then you argued against your own statement and pretended that was a valid argument against theirs.

Here's what they're actually saying. Assume time exists. So entropy can either increase or decrease with the passage of time. However, there are many more configurations with increased entropy than decreased entropy, which means a statistically implied direction towards increased entropy.

Comment: Re:Nothing? (Score 2) 429

by LateArthurDent (#48337275) Attached to: Mathematical Proof That the Universe Could Come From Nothing

Again no. A running coming from the other direction would see the doors close in the other order. I think the AC parallel to this post explains it pretty well.

This is a highly misunderstood topic, I'm going to try to clarify it.

You're correct about the concept of simultaneity in relativity. In the barn door example, depending on your frame of reference, the bars could open simultaneously or one after the other.

He's correct about causality in relativity. Causal events are invariant. There is no frame of reference in existence, regardless of your velocity or distance, in which an object shot by a bullet fired from a gun gets hit before the gun is fired. It can't happen. It doesn't happen because with such a causal event, at some point the bullet and the gun were at the same location and the distance between them was 0. Time dilation depends on speed and distance, because time dilation requires an accompanying lorentz contraction. After the bullet is fired, depending on your frame of reference, people can disagree how far the bullet is from the gun, how far the target is from the gun, and therefore how long it took the bullet to travel from the gun to the target. But no frame of reference exists in which people observe the target being hit and then the gun firing the bullet.

Comment: Re:peer review is a low bar (Score 3, Interesting) 35

Peer review filters out the stuff that is obvious crap, stuff that doesn't even fit the form of a proper scientific article. The purpose is not to say that articles are true, but rather to get rid of articles that are obviously wrong.

  If the scientists are lying about their data, it's hard for peer review to catch that. That's why reproducibility is important. If it's a result you care about, you can reproduce it.

Well, reproducibility is part of peer review. If anyone is making decisions based on the results of one paper, they're idiots. Even if the research methodology was flawless, and the researchers are brilliant and honest with all their data, certain results can still come about as a result of chance. Obligatory xkcd

I wish we'd put more emphasis on reproducing published results, though. I've mentioned this before, but I feel like this would be the ideal work for grad students during their first few years, before they're deep in their own research. They need to get papers published, there should be journals devoted to publishing data from reproducing results. Students get experience writing papers and conducting research and everyone gets stronger peer review in their fields.

Comment: Re:AP? (Score 1) 115

by LateArthurDent (#47806241) Attached to: Statistics Losing Ground To CS, Losing Image Among Students

The problem is that AP classes are, pretty uniformly, badly constructed. Half of the education in AP math and science courses is How to Use the TI-83 Calculator. Half of AP Computer Science is How to Program in Java. The College Board is single-handedly blocking progress in the education of technology in math and science.

Yeah, but they replace the low-level introduction courses in college, not the more advanced ones. 100-level computer science courses in college ARE, "how to program in Java." And, like I said, my Calculus course in High School seemed better than the equivalent in college from what I was seeing.

If anything, those high school courses mean you don't have to take the BS introductory courses in college, and you can go straight to the more interesting / demanding ones during your freshman year.

Comment: Re:AP? (Score 1) 115

by LateArthurDent (#47806171) Attached to: Statistics Losing Ground To CS, Losing Image Among Students

He may be right about AP Statistics though. Taking statistics in high school means that most people will have forgotten it by the time they get to advanced courses that use statistical methods.

Unless you're an actual statistics major (in which case you'll pick up whatever you missed in subsequent courses anyway), that's going to be true regardless of whether you take statistics in high school or college. I took AP statistics, but my university required me to take "Statistics for Engineers" as an EE major, and wouldn't allow the AP stat course to count towards that. Stats for Engineers was an absolute joke, and the high school class was for more rigorous.

Comment: Re:AP? (Score 2) 115

by LateArthurDent (#47764579) Attached to: Statistics Losing Ground To CS, Losing Image Among Students

It stands for "Advanced Placement." They're college-level high school courses. At the end of the year, you take the advanced placement exam, and depending on your scores and the college you attend, you can get college credits for them.

I think getting rid of an AP is a stupendously short-sighted idea. Having students take more advanced courses earlier is a great idea. If there's reason to believe the courses aren't actually as demanding as their college equivalent (and I don't think there is, based on my experience taking AP Calculus in high school and looking at what people taking Calculus in college were seeing. We covered the same material, and if anything my high school class covered more), then you can make an argument for the tests more challenging / add to the requirements of those courses. Getting rid of it is just an attempt to waste students' time and extract more money from them by forcing them to take more university courses.

Comment: Re:Snowden's comments at odds with his actions (Score 0) 194

by LateArthurDent (#47665481) Attached to: Snowden: NSA Working On Autonomous Cyberwarfare Bot

You think its right and normal that the NSA can spy on 7 billion souls? You re ok with that? Disgusting, you really dont belong here.

To be fair, I also think it's right and normal for foreign intelligent agencies to try spying on Americans. It's our counter-intelligence job to prevent it.

The NSA should be sure as hell trying to spy on every single non-American out there. It's their counter-intelligence job to limit it.

Comment: Re:Snowden's comments at odds with his actions (Score 1, Insightful) 194

by LateArthurDent (#47664331) Attached to: Snowden: NSA Working On Autonomous Cyberwarfare Bot

That seems amazingly charitable, considering he should really get a presidential pardon and be welcomed back as the heroic guy who did the right thing to expose law breaking and billions of constitutional violations.

If the only thing he did was expose the illegal spying being done on Americans, I'd agree with that. But he indiscriminately takes everything he can get his hands on and reveals perfectly legal programs, like this one. "Identifying and blocking foreign threats" is the NSA's job, and why wouldn't that include cyber attacks? What justification does he have for revealing this?

I think we should specifically pardon him for for the relevant whistleblowing, to encourage other people in those positions to do the right thing. But we should sure as hell prosecute him for everything else he's leaked.

There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about. -- John von Neumann