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Comment: Wait - what? (Score 4, Insightful) 280

by Okian Warrior (#48670153) Attached to: Did North Korea Really Attack Sony?

The FBI points to reused code from previous attacks associated with North Korea [...]

Um... I hate to be the non-technical person that points this out, but...

The evidence that implicates NK on the previous attacks - is it the same evidence used to assign blame in the current attack?

Is this citing the conclusions based on the same evidence/situation from previous attacks to give legitimacy to the evidence in the current attack?

What a scam! Claim something on flimsy evidence, then cite those claims to give legitimacy to the flimsy evidence!

I wonder... can I do this sort of thing in the scientific literature? Hmmmm...

Comment: One reason: Annoyance (Score 5, Interesting) 234

by Okian Warrior (#48662641) Attached to: The Slow Death of Voice Mail

One reason for the death of voice mail is the change from convenience to annoyance imposed by the carriers.

First you hear “Hi, it’s John Smith. Leave a message, and I’ll get back to you”. (5 seconds)

And THEN you hear a 15-second canned carrier message "[Phone number] is not available right now. Please leave a detailed message after the tone. When you have finished recording, you may hang up, or press pound for more options. To leave a callback number, press 5.”

That extra 15 seconds is annoying as hell to wait out, and it's only put there so that the carrier can use up metered minutes on an artificially scarce resource.

Then when you go to *play* the message, you have to wait through the "First message, from, phone number xxx-xxx-xxxx, received at ".

The old-style was much more convenient. Leave a message *beep* "Hi, this is your sister, please give me a call". Oftentimes 10 seconds *total* gets the point across.

The new-style - not so much.

Take the time wasted on each worthless recording (15 secs), multiply by the number of messages each year, and you get a *lot* of wasted man-years.

Thanks, carriers! Your relentless pursuit of money has ruined a perfectly useful feature.

Comment: Artistic license (Score 4, Funny) 327

I like what J.J Abrams and Zack Snyder (who directed "Man of Steel") have done to the franchises. They start with the established plotlines and take the stories in new directions. It's an artistic license that gives us fresh, new interpretations of the characters such as superman killing someone (General Zod) or Spock having an emotional outburst (over Kirk's death).

I anxiously await the Michael Bay version of "Hamlet" or the Justin Lin version of "Macbeth". This site has a good overview of directors taking artistic license, including an unannounced (but upcoming) superman movie.

For reference, here's Kevin Smith talking about how movies get made.

Comment: Police waving a baton? (Score 2) 90

by Okian Warrior (#48656901) Attached to: Google Unveils New Self-Driving Car Prototype

Just last week I encountered a cop with a lighted baton who was directing traffic from the side of the road. He would stop traffic, walk to the middle of the road while motioning people across the road with his baton, then walk off the road while waving the baton *behind his back* to signal "go ahead".

Does the self-driving car recognize this sort of thing?

Will it drive when there's snow on the ground?

I think I'd keep the steering wheel and manual control - just in case..

Comment: Also, off-grid storage (Score 1) 133

by Okian Warrior (#48638967) Attached to: Tesla About To Start Battery-Swap Pilot Program

And once the batteries reach end-of-life for automotive uses, they can be automatically repurposed for off-grid storage.

Once battery capacity falls below a certain level (60% perhaps?) it becomes unsuitable for automotive use, but could be used for other purposes such as offline-grid storage. A factory floor filled with older batteries still has quite a bit of capacity - so long as you aren't overly concerned about space or weight efficiencies.

Battery arrays could be installed at wind and solar installations to act as online storage to help even out baseline demand, and as more batteries come available we simply(!) swap out the oldest/least capacity units.

...for some definitions of "simply". In principle it doesn't sound too bad - a computer system monitors all batteries, using robots to install and harvest the batteries. Similar to the ones used for automated greenhouses or the ones that service the amazon fulfillment centers.

...and when they're completely dead ship them off for recycling. Refining lithium from batteries might be cheaper than mining raw ore.

Offline storage is the missing component that would make wind and solar power practical. Maybe used EV batteries is that component.

Comment: Greater of two evils (Score 4, Insightful) 74

The typical reason for doing this is "if we don't do it first, subsequent legislation will require us to implement an even more onerous system".

Let's see how that works in practice:

The government simply waits to see what the telcos implement. If it's *more* than they wanted, they stop and say "well done!". If it's *less* than they wanted, then they proceed with legislation, which they were planning to do anyway.

In game theory terms, what does this type of policy maximize?

Comment: Did really he say that? (Score 4, Informative) 230

by Okian Warrior (#48595741) Attached to: Forbes Blasts Latests Windows 7 Patch as Malware

Ah yes, one bad patch and we should all NEVER PATCH AGAIN BECAUSE THE SKY IS FALLING!

Did he actually say that?

Or did he say turn off *automatic* patching?

It seems reasonable to always be 1 week behind in patching your systems - let someone else be the lightning rod for goofs and mistakes. I know some sysadmins patch "test" systems and try things out to see if the patches break their currently-running code. They don't seem to mind a certain time lag in patching.

Comment: Some suggestions (Score 4, Interesting) 317

by Okian Warrior (#48552375) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Any Certifications Worth Going For?

Go to Toastmasters and get a CC ("Competent Communicator") or any of theit further awards. It'll teach you how to present and interact with others in a professional scenario.

Pick a karate school you like and get a black belt. It'll teach you discipline and focus, and help you keep your health as you get older.

Join the SCA and work yourself up to becoming a knight. If you take it seriously it'll teach you honor and integrity.

Take first aid, CPR, and EMT training. Take some survival courses.

Take MIT courses from edX or Coursera for the certificate and grade.

Comment: A plan for Bennett (Score 3, Interesting) 152

by Okian Warrior (#48469329) Attached to: Clarificiation on the IP Address Security in Dropbox Case

If Bennett is so completely unwanted on this blog, why don't we do something about it?

In the manner of the fine people at 4chan, suppose we referred to Bennett in the past tense - as if he had passed away. Make all of our responses polite and sincere, but with the assumption that he is no longer with us.

Here's the kicker: the internet works by consensus. If there's an abundance of commentary referring to him in the past tense, it'll get picked up and echoed everywhere, possibly by Wikipedia. I don't know what the full ramifications would be, but hopefully it will play hob with his attempts to get traction on the net. Anyone who googles for him by name or things he has said will get the impression that he's unavailable for comment, interviews, and possibly employment.

Of course, we need to give Bennett fair warning, so I propose the following:

Starting with the next Bennett Haselton article on Slashdot that's more than 2 short paragraphs, we start referring to Bennett in the past tense - as if he had passed away. We're going to start a new internet meme.

Pleading, complaining, and asking has had no effect and we've certainly done due diligence.

It's time to take action.

Comment: Re:It was an almost impossible case to prosecute (Score 2) 1128

by Okian Warrior (#48454925) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

We the public don't yet know all the facts. [...]

If it went to trial, we *would* know all the facts.

A grand jury doesn't determine guilt or innocence, it only decides whether a trial should happen.

[...] that would have been the case regardless of the races of each person involved.

Apropos of nothing, if there was strong statistical evidence that this statement was flat-out wrong, would you change your opinion?

Comment: I'm glad there is rioting. (Score 1) 1128

by Okian Warrior (#48454893) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

(Note: The decision(*) was handed down 2 hours ago and already there's rioting.)

I recently posted about a fire inspector reacting to a problem in the most dickish way possible.

The responses were surprising and enlightening. On the topic of his actions, each and every one of the respondents felt that the inspector reacted appropriately, that he in fact had to react in the most extreme manner possible, and that it was the right thing to do(**).

If you agree with this position, then it's OK for police to shoot an unarmed black man in Ferguson Missouri, or a black man purchasing a gun off the shelf at WalMart, or a 12-year old boy in Ohio playing with a toy gun.

The police have a dangerous job - they put their lives on the line every single day (just ask one), and they simply can't take the chance that a black man might be dangerous.

No. That's completely wrong, and it comes from police and other government agencies "doubling down" on their mistakes. Something bad happens, someone in authority shouts "it was the correct thing to do!", and it's echoed all over the press and on the net by people who repeat what they hear without thinking it through.

When the department says that the most dickish possible way is the right response they are alienating the people. It might avoid getting the cop thrown off the force, but in the future the department may actually *need* the support or cooperation of the people in order to do their job. This is short-term smart and long-term stupid.

We have schools teaching teenagers how to react to cops, and the take-away message is that cops only hurt people - they are a danger to be avoided

The "broken window" theory of crime can also be applied to the police. If we let them get away with these sorts of abuses, everyone in a position of authority will know that it's OK to act in the most dickish way possible.

I understand how rules exist to prevent the "worst possible scenario" from happening, but do we *always* have to act as if the worst possible scenario is happening right here, right now? Should cops always shoot a suspect who has a gun in hand? Would a more nuanced approach better?

I'm glad there's rioting. This crap needs to stop.

(*) For non-merikan readers, a grand jury does not assign guilt or innocence, it only determines whether a trial should happen. Basically, it tries to determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial. Also, it's heavily rigged *against* the defendant.

(**) There are at least 3 alternative actions the fire marshal could have taken that would have solved his problem without alienating all the con goers, the business, and the hotel. I don't expect anyone in his local area would help if his office needed public support for something, such as "please help us by sending us your video tape of incident".

+ - Activists Discover Evidence of St. Petersburg's River of Poop ->

Submitted by Okian Warrior
Okian Warrior (537106) writes "Two weeks ago, a group of St. Petersburg ecologists conducted a test in Novoye Devyatkino, a suburb about 12 miles outside the city, of the local sewer system. In a study they titled “Feces Travel,” the activists dropped ten miniaturized, waterproofed GPS-tracking units down the toilet of a single apartment home and began mapping the devices’ signals.

On their website, the ecologists claim the trackers spilled out directly into the open-air waterways outside the building, without encountering even the most rudimentary sewage filtration. From Novoye Devyatkino, five of the devices reached the open waters of Neva Bay, where the units’ batteries appear to have died."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:tautology ontology (Score 1) 68

by Okian Warrior (#48444071) Attached to: Upgrading the Turing Test: Lovelace 2.0

'AI' is complex machines following instructions. That's what it is. The rest is people projecting their own emotions onto inanimate objects.

That is *great* phrasing - thank you. It's going into my notes and will probably make it into my writings (with attribution). Probably as a chapter heading.

The situation is not completely hopeless: there is a small number of people, myself included, who are working on actual AI. Most of the research is using programming to solve a (particular) problem.

Comment: Turing test is flawed (Score 1) 68

by Okian Warrior (#48441175) Attached to: Upgrading the Turing Test: Lovelace 2.0

The Turing Test has flaws.

Firstly, it requires a human-level of communication. One cannot use the it to determine whether a crow (for example, or cat or octopus) is intelligent since they cannot communicate at our level. Even though these creatures demonstrate a surprising level of intelligence. Watch this video and be astonished.

The extended video shows the crow taking the worm to it's nest, then returning to grab the hooked wire and taking that back to the nest! Can we use the Turing Test to determine whether the crow is intelligent?

Secondly, it conflates intelligence with human intelligence. There's no spectrum of measurement, no "ruler" which can be laid down to measure the level of intelligence in an entity, or to determine whether one entity is more (or less) intelligent than another. Are crows more intelligent than cats? Can the question be resolved using the test? Could the test be used to determine which of two humans is the more intelligent?

But most importantly, the Turing Test has no predictive value: it cannot be used to guide research or development of intelligence.

Consider trying to build a fizzbin, and whether you are successful will be determined by a yes/no decision from a jury of professionals. With no description of what a fizzbin actually is, how hard would it be?

Consider trying to deliver a package, given that you have a GPS system with a broken display. The GPS still works, and the LED will light when you are at the delivery address, but otherwise you have no idea where to go. The address could be in NYC or Tokyo, or anywhere else.

The fundamental problem with the Turing Test is that it doesn't define intelligence(**). Defining something as a test works in mathematics where there is no time or effort to make the axiom of choice on the set of all objects (ie - the universe), but intelligence isn't a purely mathematical concept. It's partly based on a real-world measurement (being: information), and as such is more closely akin to physics.

Instead of a fizzbin, consider trying to build a car. A car can be defined as a body, frame, 4 wheels, engine, and seats, and the purpose is to transport people from place to place (*). A wheel can be further described as a tire on a rim with brakes, a tire can be described as a loop of rubber with steel wires and a valve-stem, a valve-stem as a tube with a schrader valve, a schrader valve is... and so on.

This is a constructive definition: an object is made of simpler objects, each of which is composed of even simpler objects. Math is full of these (a field is a ring plus some stuff, a ring is a group plus some stuff, a group is a set plus some stuff... and so on.)

With the constructive definition, one could build a car directly; or at least, know how to make the attempt. You can determine whether something is a car; and if not, know what needs to be changed.

In my opinion (I'm an AI researcher) the Turing test and the Lovelace test have little value. The tests don't show where to look or how to proceed.

(*) A simplified definition to not lose sight of the position.

(**) This is an academic position. I am a great admirer of Alan Turing and his many brilliant results, including the Turing Test.

Comment: Quid-pro-quot for journalists (Score 1) 197

by Okian Warrior (#48422045) Attached to: Is a Moral Compass a Hindrance Or a Help For Startups?

What a load of bullshit. That sociopath prick running the company is a bully. Many people aren't going to use uber because of this sunshine. Take your astroturfing elsewhere.

That's an interesting response. You are supporting your position by emotional strength - essentially saying that the poster has to back down or you'll respond into a full-blown emotional outburst (see bully).

When I first heard about Uber's plans the first thing that came to mind is "there's no law against publishing public information".

We have fairly clear rules about what's illegal in terms of gathering and publishing data. The police have no qualms about publishing names and addresses, and sometimes courteously withhold that information for the rich and powerful while using it against low-income people.

The press has no qualms about publishing data that people want to keep private, so long as publishing it would sell papers. If someone simply wishes to live out of the public eye, it's a challenge and "Look! We've got the scoop on Satoshi Nakamoto! Find out who he *really* is and why he needs to hide! (Are your children safe?)

If no one takes action to expose the journalists, if there's no consequences for their actions, what keeps the journalists honest? What incentive does any journalist have for journalistic integrity?

This seems like a cromulent quid-pro-quot. So long as no laws are broken, I'm fine with it.

Round Numbers are always false. -- Samuel Johnson