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Comment Trifecta of obscurity (Score 5, Insightful) 232

"Raises privacy concerns" is elliptical speech: it's made to be deliberately obscure. (It uses "causes concern" to convey the central point without giving any information about what the point is.)

It's also passive voice, in that there's no person performing the action, the action is simply "caused" by something. (For comparison, consider "we wrote reports" versus "reports were written".) Hence, there's no person or group responsible, it's simply an aspect of situation.

And finally, the phrase uses framing to soften the effect. Your personal information isn't being harvested, the system simply "raises some concerns".

Taken as a whole the headline tries to get the reader emotionally involved by stating something we should be concerned about, without saying in concrete terms *that* there is anything to be concerned about, and that it's *other people* who are concerned.

Meh. This didn't work on me, I'm not actually concerned, I'm going to ignore it.

(Propaganda success!)

Comment Always 20 years out (Score 1) 395

This comes up now and again here on Slashdot. Maybe we should have a wiki or something "Frequently Asked Questions" or something

Fusion is always 20 years out, and there's a reason for it. this image sums it up nicely.

Essentially, we could have fusion power in about 20 years if we had the political will to think 20 years into the future and fund it.

Since fusion research won't yield results before the next election cycle, no congresscritters will vote for it.

Comment Re:From TFA: bit-exact or not? (Score 1) 172

There used to be a web page called "Your Eyes Suck at Blue". You might find it on the Wayback machine.

You can tell the luminance of each individual channel more precisely than you can perceive differences in mixed color. This is due to the difference between rod and cone cells. Your perception of the color gamut is, sorry, imprecise. I'm sure that you really can't discriminate 256 bits of blue in the presence of other, varying, colors.

Comment Re:From TFA: bit-exact or not? (Score 5, Insightful) 172

Rather than abuse every commenter who has not joined your specialty on Slashdot, please take the source and write about what you find.

Given that CPU and memory get less expensive over time, it is no surprise that algorithms work practically today that would not have when various standards groups started meeting. Ultimately, someone like you can state what the trade-offs are in clear English, and indeed whether they work at all, which is more productive than trading naah-naahs.

Comment Where do these people go? (Score 4, Interesting) 213

I've often wondered what happens to people like this after the fact.

For example, recall Aaron Barr, the guy running HB Gary and who claimed he could "out" the Anonymous members by dubious correlation of social media accounts.

Or that guy Paul Christoforo who threw down with Penny Arcade founder Mike Krahulik (and got fired, banned from PAX, and his marketing company's client dropped them).

Do these people find jobs somewhere on this planet? Does Kevin Mitnick's security firm have a lot of customers?

The Ashley Madison guy - that's 'gotta be an awkward interview, you know.

"Why did you leave your previous place of employment?"

Comment Rewarded one shilling (Score 4, Interesting) 57

This is one of those situations where a sense of humor could make an interesting story into a great story.

The Marine Biological Association in Plymouth should buy a 1904 shilling (on eBay around $13) and send it to the German couple.

It would be the perfect story ending, generate some good-natured publicity, and the bottle and note are probably antiques of historical value. (Imagine the bottle and note in the Salem maritime museum (Peabody Essex Museum), with the above-mentioned story ending in the description.)

Submission + - Requirements for obtaining a NY BitLicense->

Okian Warrior writes: New York issued its final Bitcoin license rule after nearly two years of debate and feedback. August 8th, 2015 ended the 45 day grace period allotted for operations related to transactions involving any form of digital currency to operate without a license.

Among the requirements for getting a Bitcoin license: .) Non-refundable $5000 application fee .) 10 years of court records in every county you've ever lived. .) 15 years of work history .) Permission to contact every company you've ever worked for .) A surety bond, whose value will be announced later .) background checks by licensed PI firms, including fingerprints .) background checks for everyone in your family

The onerous requirements are causing some bitcoin companies to leave New York entirely.

Link to Original Source

Comment Nice Slideshow (Score 1) 43

I liked the Vimeo slideshow.

Maybe the MIT crew could put up a video somewhere. Something on YouTube perhaps, because it would be nice to watch what people are doing instead of seeing fixed frames every few seconds.

(Or maybe if the Vimeo plugin would continue loading the video while paused you could stop the video, work for a bit, and come back and see what's going on. Nope - preload is apparently fixed at some insufficient amount ahead of the stopping point.)

(Also, Adobe Flash FTW!)

Comment Maximum damage (Score 5, Informative) 494

We could do worse than Trump... But.... We could do a LOT better too. I sure hope Trump get's tired of spending his money on this side show pretty soon...

The summary nature of voting on legislature (yea, nay, abstain) puts an upper bound on the amount of damage a bad congressman can do.

Essentially, there are a finite number of times any congressman can vote on an issue. If they vote against the interests of the people every time, they've reached maximum damage.

The same can be said of presidents (pass, veto, pocket-veto, &c.).

Few issues are black-and-white: most laws are some percent good for the people and some percent bad. The two issues I can find that are closest to 100% bad for the people are H1B Visas and the Patriot and USA Freedom acts.

H1B visas take jobs away from Americans and allow corporations to impose misery on the imported workers, and the Patriot act and related violates our rights and makes us less safe (by diverting resources away from effective strategies like intelligence gathering).

The relevant votes are shown below. The government doesn't care about our rights, and it doesn't care whether we have jobs. It has reached maximum damage.

Trump might be the worst president we've ever had, but at this point in time, he's not *guaranteed* to be the worst.

USA Freedom Act (Senate)

YEAs: 67 (D = 43, R = 23, I = 1)
NAYs: 32 (D = 1, R = 30, I = 1)
Not voting: 1 (R)

USA Freedom Act (House)

YEAs: 67 (D = 124, R = 179, I = 1)
NAYs: 32 (D = 70, R = 51, I = 1)
Not voting: 2 (R) 5(D)

Increase H1B Visas (Senate)

YEAs: 67 (D = 52, R = 14, I = 2)
NAYs: 32 (D = 0, R = 32, I = 0)

Comment Heidi Fleiss (Score 4, Funny) 301

Way back when Heidi Fleiss got arrested for running a prostitution ring, and her list of clients fell into the hands of the police, my first thought was: if it were *me*, I'd have:

a) had a backup copy, and

b) been regularly adding high-ranking authorities (for instance: the chief of police) to the list of clients. In a diary fashion, interspersed (in the records) with the appointments of real clients.

For b) especially, having dates and times when the high-ranking official is known to be away from home, such as noon times if they have a day job, or adding verifiable corroborating information such as "and he came in soaking wet" on rainy days and such, would have gone a long way towards giving Ms. Fleiss some leverage.

Ah well... people don't think ahead in these modern times.

Apropos of nothing, I saw this on a friend's twitter feed:

ME: Hunny, did you have an Ashley Madison account?
HER: What?! No!
ME: Damn. That would have made what I'm about to say, a lot easier.

Submission + - H-1Bs Don't Replace U.S. Workers->

Okian Warrior writes: [Ask Slashdot] In response to Donald Trump's allegations that H1B visas drive Americans out of jobs, The Huffington Post points to this study which refutes that claim.

From the study: "But the data show that over the last decade, as businesses have requested more H-1Bs, they also expanded jobs for Americans."

This seems to fly in the face of reason, consensus opinion, and numerous anecdotal reports.

Is this report accurate? Have we been concerned over nothing these past few years?

Link to Original Source

Comment Give it time (Score 3, Interesting) 114

Give it some time.

As any AI researcher will tell you, we know how the brain works and Geoffrey Hinton's recent paper is nothing short of a breakthrough, and will lead to us having strong AI programs real soon.

We have IBM's Watson, a program that actually understands the information it's processing and will be used to augment medical diagnosis, SIRI, a personal assistant application that actually learns, and MAKO, a program who can do anything on a PC!

IBM is already making neural network chips that implement the way the brain really works, a program the learns the same way that a child learns, and many, many more!

We have courses that teach you AI, and ... it's easy!

Give it some time! We need to let the AI mature like a fine wine, and filter down into consumer devices.

It's coming soon - it really is!

Time is an illusion perpetrated by the manufacturers of space.