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Comment Always 20 years out (Score 1) 361

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 Where do these people go? (Score 4, Interesting) 205

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)
https://www.govtrack.us/congre...

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)
https://www.govtrack.us/congre...

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!

Comment Answer a question for me? (Score 0) 97

Neural networks are simulations of how brain works.

Apropos of nothing, since you're familiar with both neural nets and how the brain works, can you answer a quick question for me?

Neural nets have a left-to-right topology, where the inputs go in one side and the outputs leave the other side.

The brain doesn't do that - there's no "loop" in the brain where input neurons are processed on one side and output neurons exit the other.

This has always confused me about neural nets. If they simulate how the brain works, then how exactly *does* the brain work with inputs and outputs both on the same side?

Comment Targeting? WTF? (Score 4, Interesting) 46

I read "Targeting" as an allusion to weapons - taking aim with a firearm or dropped munitions.

The framing implies "very bad", so it makes sense to feel outraged when cigarette makers "target" teenagers, or liquor sellers "target" young adults, or spammers "target" old people.

Let's put this in perspective: HBO, Amazon, and Netflix aren't "targeting" kids, they are taking over a product that kids like. There's no evidence that Sesame Street is bad for kids in any realistic way.

On the flip side, if Game of Thrones is any indication, Sesame Street will be even higher quality than it is now, except that every episode a character will die :-)

Comment Shaped batteries for cars (Score 2) 18

A friend of mine was looking into buying/managing a lithium cell factory.

He mentioned that one limiting problem with big packs (ie - electric vehicles) is heat dissipation. He opined that if you could make "shaped" cells you could put many of them in the interstitial spaces in a vehicle, such as between roof panels and in the columns that hold the windshield and in the quarter panels and so on.

(Okay, maybe not the roof because that gets hot in the summer sun, but you get the idea...)

The theory being that a large, flat battery has better heat dissipation than a rolled-up-newspaper cell packed snugly with many others.

So maybe you could put shaped batteries inside a drone frame, or a curved battery as part of a watch band.

Anyone know more about this? It'd be an interesting innovation to be able to get shaped batteries, in the same way one can get shaped plastic extruded pieces.

Comment Get with the program! (Score 2) 38

IOW it's a teleoperated waldo and not a robot.

Haven't you heard?

Anything that can skitter across the table is a robot.

Anything with eyes and moveable facial parts is a robot.

Any machine that looks like an arm is a robot.

A robot is anything that looks remotely like it's alive, or a piece of something alive.

Get with the program!

Comment Getting caught (Score 4, Insightful) 46

Of course, all this is fraud, and you can be arrested for it if you get caught.

You can get arrested for retweeting someone else's comment.

If you do something they don't like (such as mounting a pistol to a drone, or putting coins in someone else's parking meter), they will find a law that can be extended to cover it.

They can use illegal means to get evidence, then use parallel construction to build a legal case. You can get arrested for anything nowadays.

I wouldn't worry about actions - law in this country has become discretionary, frivolous, and inconsistent. It's not based on harm any more.

Worry instead about getting noticed - that seems to start the process.

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.

Working...