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News

Parents Sue School After Pod Daughter Is Banned From Prom 21

Posted by samzenpus
from the pods-are-people-too dept.
With the prom season only a few months away kids and parents alike are starting to make plans for the big day. However, one girl's alien replacement might not get a chance to experience that special day if a school district has its way. Even though Darcy Swope's pod duplicate is virtually identical to her, the Santa Mira school district has decided she is not welcome to prom. School officials acknowledge the duplicate attended school and did Darcy's homework for an unknown period of time but say she isn't really a student and therefore doesn't belong at the dance. Darcy's parents disagree with the decision and have filed suit against the school, Her dad says, "We miss Darcy every day, but the thing that consumed her and is now pretending to be my daughter is almost the same and deserves to be treated the same." "She may not have that sparkle in her eye or the vocabulary as our flesh and blood daughter, but she has never missed curfew and has a thirst to learn. It would be a shame if Darcy II didn't get a chance to experience this important part of being human, even if she isn't one," adds her mother.
News

V'Ger Source Code Released 47

Posted by samzenpus
from the build-your-own dept.
One of the biggest hurdles to interstellar domination has always been the prohibitive cost of proprietary software for ships or super-weapons. That is all about to change thanks to a surprise move by a mysterious alien race of living machines who have released V'ger's source code. While you'll still need a way to generate a "twelfth-power energy field," this opens the door to many would-be conquerors and ultimate weapon enthusiasts. The release has been praised in terms of increased security and reduced costs by most, but some worry that cheaper, more secure super weapons aren't what the universe needs at this time. Federation spokesperson Lieutenant Ilia disagrees saying: "This is in the carbon units best interest. Many worlds have been infested, You will listen to me."

Comment: Re:This ex-Swatch guy doesn't have a clue (Score 1) 389

If you buy an expensive watch you're buying the skill and craftsmanship of the watchmaker.

Except that modern manufacturing process can beat a skilled craftman any day. People buy expensive watches because they're expensive. It's a status symbol. They have something that other people can't afford.

For that reason, the $10k edition of the apple watch will sell plenty. Like the old "I Am Rich" app

Comment: Re:This ex-Swatch guy doesn't have a clue (Score 1) 389

And back in 2007 you'd be telling us the iPhone would present no threat to BlackBerry.

No, personally I always thought that the BlackBerry sucked so much that any alternative at all that would let people have mobile e-mail would instantly replace it, no matter how much it sucked. BlackBerry was the phone you went, "goddamnit, I need to replace my nokia or motoralla with this shit, because of my need to send and receive e-mail anywhere!"

And before that you'd have told us that the iPod would pose no threat to other mp3 players.

That one I'll cop to. In fact, I still don't understand it. The ipod is the worst music player I've ever seen. Back when it came out, I had a Windows PDA, and I thought that worked better.

Comment: Re:Parody (Score 3, Informative) 255

by LateArthurDent (#49179965) Attached to: Gritty 'Power Rangers' Short Is Not Fair Use

Isn't satire supposed to be funny?

Actually, no. Satire can use humor, but it's not a requirement. It can use any other tools available, as long it is used to criticize a topic:

Satire: the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

Comment: Re:Parody (Score 4, Insightful) 255

by LateArthurDent (#49175769) Attached to: Gritty 'Power Rangers' Short Is Not Fair Use

"Satire" doesn't mean "Different".

In a reddit AMA, Khan explained what he wanted to show was the nature of how society finds violence acceptable in a kids show versus what they consider adult themed. He said the major difference between his short and the original power rangers cartoon was that when characters get shot, red liquid spurts out. Plus he showed titties. Other than that, it's the same type of fighting, with people hurting or killing others. But one is a kid's show and the other is "gritty".

It absolutely fits as satire and valid commentary.

Comment: Re:One thing for sure (Score 2) 531

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) 309

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.

Science

NFL Asks Columbia University For Help With Deflate-Gate 239

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-up-the-pressure dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news that the NFL has reached out for some help answering the questions raised by deflate-gate. "Yep, it's for real. The law firm representing the NFL (Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison) has reached out to Columbia University's department of physics to recruit an expert on 'gas physics' to help determine, as has been reported, the 'environmental impacts on inflated footballs.' This is one of those rare times when the jocks turn to the nerds, so fellow fans of molecules and momentum — climb out of that gym locker you were stuffed into — this is our moment. Stand tall. And do the wave....They want to talk to a physicist, I presume, to help determine if a drop in temperature — a slowing of the air molecules inside the football — can explain the low pressure that was found in some of the balls used in the A.F.C. championship game two weeks ago between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts."

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.

Time-sharing is the junk-mail part of the computer business. -- H.R.J. Grosch (attributed)

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