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Comment: They're right about one thing (Score 1) 1007

"Natural selection is not evolution" is actually correct. Evolution is the observed fact that species change over time. The fact that evolution has occurred is not really open to debate, unless you're prepared to entertain loony notions like "God put those fossils there to test our faith."

Natural selection is the mechanism that Darwin proposed to explain why/how evolution happens.

Comment: Banning CNC would be utterly pointless (Score 4, Interesting) 651

by McGregorMortis (#48038161) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

An AK-47 receiver made out of a rusty shovel:


Perhaps the problem is that the receiver is the legally-controlled part of the gun. Everything else is spare parts. Making receivers is easy now.

I'm no expert, but it seems to me that making a barrel is the hardest part. Why isn't the barrel the controlled part?


Hospitals Begin Data-Mining Patients 162

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the records-indicate-you-don't-deserve-care dept.
schwit1 (797399) sends word of a new and exciting use for all of the data various entities are collecting about you. From the article: You may soon get a call from your doctor if you've let your gym membership lapse, made a habit of ordering out for pizza or begin shopping at plus-sized stores. That's because some hospitals are starting to use detailed consumer data to create profiles on current and potential patients to identify those most likely to get sick, so the hospitals can intervene before they do. Acxiom Corp. (ACXM) and LexisNexis are two of the largest data brokers who collect such information on individuals. They say their data are supposed to be used only for marketing, not for medical purposes or to be included in medical records. While both sell to health insurers, they said it's to help those companies offer better services to members.

Comment: Re:Money Laundering? (Score 1) 330

Sure, I can hide the origin so it's not obvious where the money came from. So, if I'm a high-school chemistry teacher, and I used this bit-coin trick to "launder" the millions of dollars I made selling meth, then can I just go out and buy a mansion and fleet of Lamborghinis, and expect to stay out of jail? I think not...

Comment: Money Laundering? (Score 1) 330

Perhaps I just don't understand what "money laundering" means, but I don't really see how bit-coin is of any use whatsoever for money laundering.

Money-laundering, as I understand it, means to disguise the true origin of ill-gotten funds, so as to make the income appear legitimate.

I think there's confusion in the two different means of the word "disguise". In one sense, it means simply to hide or obscure. In another sense, it means to make something or someone appear to be something else.

Bank robbers wear a disguise in the first sense. A bank-robber doesn't wear a Richard Nixon mask because he wants people to think Richard Nixon robbed the bank. He just doesn't want to be identified in a line-up. This is the same kind of disguise that bit-coin offers. And even in that, it doesn't really stand up.

But I think people interested in money-laundering are using the other sense of the word: they want to be able to actually spend their ill-gotten gains without arousing suspicion. They need to make it look like legitimate income. That is why Walter White bought a car-wash.

Merely obscuring the true origin of your money is useless. If the government is even a tiny bit curious about the true origin of your money, you're already well and truly fucked, whether or not they can ever figure it out.

Comment: Why the lower receiver? (Score 1) 528

by McGregorMortis (#42347139) Attached to: Makerbot Cracks Down On 3D-Printable Gun Parts

I don't know much about gun technology, so maybe somebody can explain why the lower receiver is the controlled part. Why not the barrel? It seems to me that the barrel is the heart and soul of a gun. You can make a gun with just a barrel and nothing else: it's called a cannon.

Furthermore, I would think the barrel would be the hardest part to manufacture, given the forces and temperatures it must endure, and having to be perfectly straight, and rifled. I would imagine that 3-D printed barrels are probably a long, long way off.

3-D printed receivers are already here, and only going to get better and cheaper. If they don't change the regulatory framework to start controlling the rest of the parts, then soon anyone that wants to will be able to make a gun at home and all the gun control laws in the world will just be so much pissing in the wind.

Comment: Prosecutor's Fallacy (Score 5, Insightful) 513

by McGregorMortis (#42027413) Attached to: Dutch Cold Case Murder Solved After 8000 People Gave Their DNA

I haven't RTFA, but from the summary, this sounds like a textbook example of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosecutor's_fallacy, which is a special case of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base_rate_fallacy

If you have a suspect in hand, then DNA evidence can be pretty compelling. But when you comb through the population trying to find a suspect using DNA evidence, then you're walking straight into a miscarriage of justice.

Comment: Re:Mintchip is designed to track you (Score 1) 84

by McGregorMortis (#41011217) Attached to: Voting Begins For Canadian Digital Currency App

People are always worrying about digital currency destroying the anonymity of cash. And certainly the government appears to have a number of motives for doing so, which fall at various points on the good/evil spectrum.

But I wonder if the government really, in its heart, wants to do that. The complete eradication of anonymous transactions changes the game entirely, and it would alter society in ways that are hard to predict.

There are a lot of activities that people want to keep secret, but that don't involve terrorism, drug-trafficking or pedophillia. Those less-than-squeaky-clean activities will become impossible. As long as humans have been around, it has been possible to deviate somewhat from socially-acceptable behaviour without too much fear. Suddenly, circa 2013, it becomes impossible. The government knows everything about everyone. By extension, everybody knows everything about everyone (because they can't keep their systems secure any better than anyone else.) So, what unintended consequences of that change might follow?

The people who make up the government are part of society, and they'll reap what they sow along with the rest of us.

The Mayor of Xyzzy may have liked to spark up a doobie now and then. But there'll be no more of that. Perhaps the Minister of the Frobnitz occasionally enjoys the company of those ladies who advertise in the back pages... sorry dude, that can be traced right back to you.

For selfish reasons alone, the government may want think twice about making anonymity impossible.

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.