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Comment: Re:Financial Relationships (Score 1) 382

by ClickOnThis (#49143853) Attached to: Lawmakers Seek Information On Funding For Climate Change Critics

that is one fucking huge gravy train. I am sure no one will be influenced by this funding.....

Whenever I hear anyone compare scientific funding to a gravy train, I burn with contempt.

Surviving as an academic researcher is difficult. There is a high level of competition for grant money. Typically, only one out of every 5 to 10 proposals gets funded. The dollar amount of a grant can vary significantly from $100k to a few million, depending on whether the grant covers a year-long study, or a larger mission that involves building and/or transporting equipment to remote parts of the earth or to space. But no matter what the funding level, researchers' salaries are capped by the institution they work at. Getting more grant money just allows the researcher to do more projects with larger teams. It doesn't increase their take-home pay.

And let's not get too excited about the amount of $21.4B. It is comparable to recent yearly budgets of NASA.

Comment: Re:One thing for sure (Score 2) 506

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: Inquisition (Score 1) 382

by ClickOnThis (#49141713) Attached to: Lawmakers Seek Information On Funding For Climate Change Critics

Wrong, a change is needed in science, where scientists disclose the agenda they are working to, and by who approves the agenda that is funded.

I see what you did there. You are implying that (climate) scientists have an agenda. And that makes it okay for AGW-deniers to have one, doesn't it?

If scientists aspire to any agenda, it is to advance the understanding of nature through observation of it. Of course, scientists are human, and some may have hidden agendas. That is why scientists are obliged to reveal their observations and their methods that they use to arrive at their conclusions, so their peers can examine it. Revealing their sources of funding is part of that process.

Comment: Yes and no (Score 1) 300

by jd (#49129871) Attached to: Moxie Marlinspike: GPG Has Run Its Course

First, the complexity of the engine shouldn't matter. You will never get the bulk of users out there to use, or care about, the real power of the engine. They don't want to mess with the engine. The engine should be under the hood, in a black box, whatever engineering metaphor you want. Users just want things that work.

I remember way back when I was at university. There were various absolute rules for good software engineering. The first was that the user should be presented with a must-read manual no longer than one paragraph. Tips and tricks could be more extensive, but that one paragraph was all you needed.

The second was that the user absolutely must not care about how something was implemented. In the case of encryption, I take that to mean, in the case of e-mail, that the engine should not be visible outside of configuration. A supplied key should trigger any behind-the-scenes compatibility mode or necessary configuration to talk to that user. If the keys the user has aren't suitable to correspond with that person, the system should ask if one is needed and tie it to that protocol.

There should be no extra controls in e-mail, except at an advanced user level. If a key exists to correspond with a user, it should be used. If a key exists for inbound e-mail, the key should be applied. The process should be transparent, beyond getting passwords.

Any indexes (particularly if full indexes) should be as secure as the message, good security practices on both will take care of any issues.

Ideally, you want to have the same grades of authentication as for the early certification system, adapted to embed the idea that different people in the web of trust will have done different levels of validation and will be trusted to different degrees. The user should see, but not have to deal with, the level of trust.

Last, GnuPG is probably not the system I'd use. Compatibility cruft needs to be as an optional layer and I'm not confident in implementation.

There should be eight main libraries - public key methods, secret key methods, encryption modes, hashes (which encryption modes will obviously pull from), high level protocols, key store, index store and lacing store. (Lacing is how these are threaded together.) The APIs and ABIs to those libraries should be standardized, so that patching is minimally intrusive and you can exploit the Bazaar approach to get the best mix-n-match.

There should also be a trusted source in the community who can evaluate the code against the various secure and robust programming standards, any utilized theorum provers and the accepted best practices in cryptography. Essentially replicate the sort of work NIST does, but keeping it open and keeping it free of conflict of NSA interest.

Comment: Re:Same error, repeated (Score 1) 300

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:The Keystone Pipeline already exists (Score 5, Insightful) 430

by RingDev (#49122411) Attached to: Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

"Nope - because oil is a world market"

Correct, except that it costs money to move. Having a continuous pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf Coast makes it dramatically cheaper to get the crude to the world market. Having the line terminate in Chicago makes it cheaper to refine and distribute regionally. This offsets shipping costs of bringing imported fuels in to the middle of the country. While oil as a whole is a fungible commodity in the concept of investment and pricing, the realistic implementation of it is still dependent on infrastructure and transportation.

"It will certainly reduce prices in the US by increasing the global oil supply."

The XL pipeline doesn't alter the world's supply. The same oil is already being pumped and refined, it just makes it cheaper to get to higher priced markets. It would reduce prices in the US if it were more profitable to sell in the US, which is largely what we currently see with the Keystone pipeline terminating in Chicago. With the termination point in the Gulf, the reduced cost of international distribution allows a greater profit to be earned by shipping it to other countries.

"Becoming a net exporter of oil would be terriffic"

And the XL pipeline would have no meaningful impact here. This is Canadian oil.

"and because we'd no longer have a strategic interest in the Middle-East "

The US doesn't currently have any strategic oil interests of our own in the Middle-East, and the XL pipeline would not impact that. The US only imports ~1/4 of our total oil consumption, the vast majority of that comes from Canada and Central America because it's closer and cheaper than floating barges over from Saudi Arabia.

Europe on the other hand, has extremely limited oil supplies, they are quite dependent on Russia, the eastern block states, and the Middle East for their fuel. And the XL pipeline, even with direct access to the coast, isn't going to push enough oil to offset any sort of major disruption from Saudi Arabia or Russia.

So in closing, no, the XL pipeline would not change us into a net exporter, it would not reduce gas prices in the US, and it would not have a meaningful impact on the global oil supply.


Comment: The Keystone Pipeline already exists (Score 5, Informative) 430

by RingDev (#49122163) Attached to: Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

This bill would move forward with the XL portion of the pipeline. The Keystone pipeline currently terminates at the refineries near Chicago, Il. The XL portion of the pipeline would extends the line to the Gulf Coast, allowing for the oil to be more easily re-sold on the world market as opposed to being land locked into the US market.

The XL portion was never meant to reduce oil prices in the US, it was meant to increase profit margins by reducing costs to transport the oil and oil products to higher priced markets.

Can we take down the environmentalism straw man yet?


Comment: Re:disclosure (Score 3, Insightful) 438

by ClickOnThis (#49104007) Attached to: How One Climate-Change Skeptic Has Profited From Corporate Interests

Most of those who work on the IPCC reports are also paid by their universities, their respective governments or from grants to do their individual research when they are not working on an assessment report.

TapeCutter already said that they get their salary from the university, and thus indirectly from governments and/or grants.

I hope you are not trying to make us believe that only 5-6 million dollars a year is spent on climate research.

TapeCutter did not say that. S/he didn't even imply it. You made a straw man, and a pretty sloppy one at that.

Comment: Re:disclosure (Score 1) 438

by ClickOnThis (#49103977) Attached to: How One Climate-Change Skeptic Has Profited From Corporate Interests

You're expected to cite your funding sources in the acknowledgements of all academic publications, and some funding orgs will get super pissed at you if you don't.

It's common practice to cite not only the funding sources, but the actual grant numbers. The agencies may be supporting several areas of research, and they want to be sure the funding supported the area for which it was intended.

Comment: Re:Snake oil (Score 1) 213

by X0563511 (#49102061) Attached to: Sony Offers a "Premium Sound" SD Card For a Premium Price

I've heard this too, though on mine it was only audible when amplified to absurd levels (well, relatively).

Have you ever had a computer that made odd sounds though the speakers when you move the mouse cursor? In my case, it was a very similar sound. Again, quiet - but if you have it loud enough or it's otherwise quiet enough, you can hear it.

I believe this was a Sansa e200r. It didn't have an SD card, but flash memory - in either case still a lot of digital signaling.

Innovation is hard to schedule. -- Dan Fylstra