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Comment: Make your own (Score 1) 393

by Okian Warrior (#48895061) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today?

Get a used mouseman from ebay ($10 and free shipping), throw away the top cover, and 3-d print your own.

Don't own a 3-d printer? Probably one of your friends does, or the local university, or the local hackerspace, or as a last resort you can use shapeways.

Grab some modeling clay in your hand, make a 3-d scan of the resulting "handle", add fasteners for the buttons and ball (or IR chip), then 3-d print a custom-grip top cover. You can get IR mouse elements and ball elements from old mice, usually for free on Craigslist. Or the local Salvation Army store.

Purchase a sheet of friendly plastic (polycaprolactone), soften it in a pan of boiling water, then lay it over your relaxed open hand like a handkerchief. Wait for it to cool and harden, take a dremel to it, and use that as a custom-molded mouse top.

Get an Arduino, or any of the zillions of hobbyist microcontroller systems (pic, propeller, &c) which have a USB interface, and add buttons and an IR chip from an existing older mouse and program the buttons specifically for your needs.

Get a used mouse with lots of buttons, remount the buttons into a custom top as mentioned, then reprogram the button codes in the driver.

Or write your own USB driver at the OS level - it's not that hard. (For windows, it involves downloading the DDK and modifying an example found on the net.)

Comment: Thorny issue (Score 1) 176

by Okian Warrior (#48886255) Attached to: New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed Where Others Have Failed

I find this offensive?

We're spending science mind power, money and time researching a way to make a drug that replaces a persons weakness of character and lack of willpower.

That is an excellent statement of the moral issues involved. Here are some more issues to consider:

Measles: We are spending science effort, money, and time producing a vaccine that replaces a person's physical weakness.

(Is character and lack of willpower a learned trait, or conditioned by physical attributes? Should we force people into weight-watchers and exercise programs?)

Guns: Guns have a protection effect similar to vaccines. Even though the probability of being self-injured by a gun goes up if you own one(*), the aggregate total chance of death from all causes goes down for the neighborhood. It's a sort of "herd immunity" for crime.

(Is restricting guns better or worse for society in general, as measured by the mortality rate?)

Flu: We are spending science effort, money, and time producing a vaccine who's purpose is largely to increase manufacturing productivity; ie - to keep you at work for an extra 5 days during the winter (**).

(Is it worth millions of people each spending $35 for a vaccine that's only partially effective?)

And note that everything mentioned is a probability, and that there is a probability of having a bad reaction to any individual shot. The probability is very low, but it's not zero.

(If the probability that the child will get the disease is lower than the probability that they will get a bad reaction, should we still force them to get vaccinated?)

What we have is a spectrum of efficacy weighed against the morality of forcing someone to do (or not do) something. The measles (and smallpox and polio) vaccine is on one end, while the Lyme vaccination is probably on the other.

Where do we draw the line with forcing people to do things? Is "living in society" a strong enough reason to go against someone's religious beliefs? Do the beliefs have to be religious to qualify for an exception?

Are we ready to ditch the doctrine of individual dissent, or must everyone bow to the wishes of society?

Where do we draw that line?

(*) Mostly due to suicide, and as has been pointed out, suicides will happen whether guns are available or not.

(**) Yes, the flu can kill and it's miserable to have, but the marketing is all about not losing work due to sick days. Go online and try to determine whether getting the flu shot is *effective* - you won't find studies, all you'll find is people saying "of course it is!". Science by authority, and all that.

Comment: Let's forgive Dish and move on (Score -1) 230

by Okian Warrior (#48881929) Attached to: Dish Network Violated Do-Not-Call 57 Million Times

Most of the calls are from telemarketing companies that sell Dish, not Dish themselves. I work for an authorized, small local company that sells and installs Dish (and DTV). As we see it, the biggest problem in the industry is telemarketers that sell the systems and then don't care at all about the customer. These unethical companies are the ones breaking the laws, but Dish looks the other way as long as they are sending them lots of business.

Lessee here. 57 million calls at 10 seconds per call is about 433 man years wasted

This is the complete livelihood for the 5 of us that own and work at our company. We handle some large accts like our state capital, entire state prison system, state University medical center (to name just a few). My boss has built a great little company, it will be very sad to see it taken away as a result of this. This is actually quite scary, we all have over 15 years of our lives invested in this company.

I'm sorry, I don't get it.

You seem to be implying that I should care that you, an admitted telemarketer, might be put out of a job along with four others.

I just don't understand your position.

Could you explain it with a car analogy?

Comment: Quick history lesson (Score 5, Interesting) 128

by Okian Warrior (#48879301) Attached to: New Advance Confines GMOs To the Lab Instead of Living In the Wild

Way back in the 1970s, a scientist named Roy Curtiss engineered Chi-1776: a strain of E. Coli for precisely these purposes. It was unable to synthesize d-amino pimelic acid, it couldn't exchange plasmids(*) with other bacteria, it was killed by detergents and UV radiation, and so on.

It was subsequently discovered that the survival of Chi-1776 was greatly enhanced when a plasmid commonly used for research was added.

Chi-1776 was also found difficult to work with. The very safeguards that made it safe for experimental use also made it difficult to grow. In fermentors it was outcompeted by just about everything else in the environment, so absolutely sterile environments were required, and this turns out to be very difficult in practice.

In response, researchers turned to a strain labelled K-12 which had a higher survival rate than Chi-1776, but couldn't infect the digestive tract and also couldn't survive in the wild.

...until it was found to infect mouse digestive tracts after the mice had been given certain antibiotics.

Also, despite strict procedures in place for chemical or physical disinfection, K-12 was subsequently found in the sewer systems supporting the University of Texas.

Those who cannot remember history are doomed to repeat it, or so they say. Does that statement apply to the current situation?

(*) A plasmid is a "loop" of DNA that is sometimes exchanged between bacteria. It's a method of propagating useful survival traits without going through the full reproductive cycle.

+ - What movie technologies will we see in the next few years?->

Submitted by Okian Warrior
Okian Warrior (537106) writes "[[Ask Slashdot]]

The future, as envisioned by Robert Zemeckis' in 1989, arrives in about 10 months. "Back to the Future Part II" is set on Oct. 21, 2015 and imagines a world of flying vehicles, hoverboards, drone dog-walkers. Also, in the future a lot of stuff will float, apparently.

What futuristic movie technologies do you think we will get in the next few years? "Eyeglass phone" seems similar to Google Glass, "drone photojournalism" sounds like it's time has just about come, and there's still time for fax machines to make a comeback.

Any thoughts on what we might see in the next few years?"

Link to Original Source

Comment: The police are terrified (Score 0) 680

RIGHT??! Why is that not the standard policy?

Because the police are terrified.

They have to respond to any incident as if it was the worst possible scenario, because if they ever, ever misjudge a situation they would be held responsible for "not doing enough" to stop crime.

They have to respond in the most dickish way possible.

Just ask them.

Comment: Protect planets? (Score 1) 226

by Okian Warrior (#48853197) Attached to: Sid Meier's New Game Is About Starships

In the game, you control a fleet of starships as you journey through the galaxy to complete missions, protect planets and their inhabitants, and build a planetary federation.

That seems to be targeting only a subset of consumers(*).

What if I want to build a totalitarian empire? Subjugate and control planets, turn their productive output towards my ever-growing fleet of interplanetary destroyers? Drive my enemies before me, hear the lamentation of their women, yada yada.

Sort of like Ronan from Guardians of the galaxy?

Not all of us want to have good, clean, wholesome fun, 'ya know...

(*) I'm reminded of the children's holodeck game from Star Trek, where the "correct solution" was to broker a truce between the tree person and the water person. Made me want to puke.

Comment: Re: Did Congress pass a law? (Score 5, Insightful) 121

by Okian Warrior (#48845511) Attached to: Cuba's Pending Tech Revolution

As much as I like what's happening recently, I'm really troubled by the *way* it's happening.

Eric holder just gutted civil forfeiture. That's a good move, should have been repealed 30 years ago, I'm all for it.

Has anyone noticed that a single man who was not elected gets to pick-and-choose which laws he will enforce? Here's a man in the executive branch who decided unilaterally to dump an entire law. The legislature can pass or repeal laws, that's their job. The supreme court can bless or condemn laws, that's their job.

But the executive branch?

Can they just unilaterally pick and choose which laws(*) they will prosecute?

Similarly, Obama told Holder awhile back not to pursue "Defense of marriage" cases. That's fine too, the law should never have been passed and should have been dumped long ago.

Has anyone noticed that this was done by the executive branch all on its own, with no oversight?

I'm troubled by this because everyone accepts the outcome because the results are so good. The ends justify the means in these cases, it's so good to get these laws off the books that we don't notice *how* they got repealed.

To be specific, in the future we will see the executive branch gutting laws more often, and if people complain they will point to these good results and say "it's OK for us to do this now because no one complained when we did it previously".

This is a troubling turn of events.

(*) I'm making a distinction between pick-and-choose laws, as opposed to pick-and-choose cases, the latter of which is within the discretion of the prosecutor. Yes, there's line, and yes it can be abused.

Comment: Free Keen and Jury Nullification (Score 5, Interesting) 129

by Okian Warrior (#48816993) Attached to: US Government Lurked On Silk Road For Over a Year

I've been following the trial with some interest.

The Free Keene group went down (from NH to NYC) to protest the trial and hand out Jury Nullification pamphlets, for which they were threatened by the judge.

The government is using threats to prevent jury nullification information from getting to potential jurors. Doesn't seem fair to me, but then the constitution is probably written in some strange dialect of English where the meaning is something different to a lawyer.

It occurs to me that this is one way we can have an effect on government in addition to the vote. By informing people about jury nullification, we can encourage juries to ignore unfair laws.

Comment: Are you afraid? (Score 0, Troll) 258

I'm an AI researcher working on strong AI.

I've wrestled with the morality of making a breakthrough that causes all sorts of mayhem - from changing the economics of getting paid to do work, to making humans superfluous, to starting a terminator-like utopian future. (Or was that distopian? I can never keep those words straight.)

I've asked on this very forum whether a researcher should forego publishing, with the example case of Leo Szilard, who might have put off development of the atomic bomb for decades (possibly indefinitely) by not publishing.

The results were a little surprising. "Yeah - go for it!" 'kinda sums up both the position and strength of the response.

So now I basically don't care about the morality - I mean, why should I when to all appearances no one else does? Will the military worry about the humanity of applying AI to weapons? Will the lawmakers worry about the humanity of applying AI to business? Will the nameless bureaucrats worry about humanity when making regulations about AI?

I'm working towards the downfall and subjugation of the human race, and loving it. Sort of like a James Bond villain, or at least working for one.

If you (meaning: the "royal you", or humanity) don't care enough about yourselves to practice morality, then why should I?

(If anyone has a counter to this position, I'd love to hear it. Note that "just stating your position" is not a counter argument.)

Comment: Re:good luck with that (Score 4, Insightful) 125

by Okian Warrior (#48795487) Attached to: Obama Proposes 30-Day Deadline For Disclosing Security Breaches

This will be considered 'anti-business' and the Republicans won't let it through Congress, just you watch.

Yeah, and the Democratic president waited until *after* the Democrats lost power in the legislature before proposing it.

It almost seems - dare I say it - that both parties are against the needs of the people!

Comment: Any malware writers out there? (Score 1) 311

by Okian Warrior (#48787663) Attached to: Google Fund To Pay For 1 Million Copies of Charlie Hebdo

I was wondering if any malware writers would like to help.

Lots of malware will scan the infected computer for E-mail addresses so that it can send out spam.

Suppose someone wrote a virus which scans infected computers for E-mail addresses with common muslim first names, and sends a randomly selected offensive Mohammed cartoon to that person. One of 10 cartoons that comes bundled with the malware, for instance. (Google has many to choose from.)

This would have the simultaneous effect of trolling (getting others emotionally upset), swatting (getting others to do precipitous actions), ferreting out the extremists, and getting the Islamics more used to satire and criticism.

Of the proposals so far, I think this has the potential to really change the situation. It's like getting allergy injections to teach the body to tolerate irritation.

Any malware writers out there?

Comment: Re:It's a con... (Score 2) 109

by Okian Warrior (#48781785) Attached to: Cryptocurrency Based Basic Income Program Started In Finland

When these crypto-currencies are added to the currency pool, doesn't it reduce the overall value of all currencies, at least a bit.

So if there are $100B paper dollars, and $10B worth bitcoins plus $100 million fubar crypto-currency is added to the circulation, does the USD fall in value or can we keep "printing" new crypto-currencies without affecting other currencies?

Check out this image.

That's for the US, but it echoes the situation in industrialized countries, which is that production of goods and services rises over time. The value of money is the amount in circulation divided by the amount of goods and services produced.

If the money pool were fixed (discounting replacements as bills wear out &c), fixed money supply divided by greater production would make your money more and more valuable over time - year over year the same amount of money is available to purchase ever-larger production.

Governments realize this and put more money into circulation by printing and then spending it. In fact, each year they put proportionally slightly more money into circulation to maintain a positive inflation rate - year over year the same amount of money will purchase slightly less of the same production goods.

Thus, governments have to tweak the amount they print in order to keep up with production and have a slightly positive inflation value. Letting things get too far out of hand would result in runaway [positive] inflation, or negative inflation [generally considered a bad thing].

If there's more money in the pool due to crypto-currency, government regulators would simply adjust their printing output to compensate.

Heard that the next Space Shuttle is supposed to carry several Guernsey cows? It's gonna be the herd shot 'round the world.