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Comment Re:So what's the solution? (Score 1) 351 351

A sensible response.

I think the author isn't proposing policy. He's making a point, and I think an increasingly valid one. All media is manipulative. Not just the ads. Broadcast content uses a continuum of malicious devices that suck up our dollars and shape our votes and our opinions. The more we're made aware that we are being manipulated, the better for our autonomy. And our sanity.

Is there a change in policy out there that could address this in a positive way? I don't know. But I'd love to have discussions with other interested motivated intelligent folks to see if anyone can propose a better way, because what we have now really sucks.

Comment Re:What Marketing is vs. What it should be. (Score 1) 351 351

Marketing has to be TRUE? Do you really believe this or are you just trolling?

There is no SHOULD in marketing. Nothing in law or theory requires marketing to be true or proper. As in the US judicial system, truth is irrelevant. There is only legal and illegal. Thus by law, marketing must be lawful, or at least not so over the top that it is called out for patently indefensible abuses and lose the case in court, whatever the legal reason.

Making broad assuptions about the presence of principles in a process whose sole objective is to manipulate people -- that isn't just absurd. It's insane.

Comment Re:combines two of my... (Score 1) 64 64

Much is left unsaid when making this claim. If your cancer is found before age 65, or if the cancer is not localized, you absolutely will want to treat. The "wait and see" approach applies mostly to men who are closer to 80 than 65.

Yes, early prostate cancer (e.g. Gleason 3) does advance slowly relative to other cancers. But we're *not* talking about 10 years here. If you hope to live more than perhaps another 5 years after diagnosis, you definitely will need to address the cancer somehow (surgery, radiation, or hormones).

IMHO, watchful waiting is overrated unless you're in late stage retirement. And PSA screening is badly underrated.

Comment Messy IEEE article (Score 5, Informative) 64 64

The original IEEE story is about the use of MRI when doing prostate cancer biopsies, not prostate cancer surgery, which is almost always the radical removal of the prostate -- something that would not be aided appreciably by MRI. (The visual field is already outstandingly clearly illuminated during a DaVinci robotic procedure. Seeing *within* the prostate would be unnecessary during removal.) Likewise, prostate surgeries for BPH (enlarged gland) won't warrant MR either, since the procedure is already well served by a simple camera attached to a trochar.

The article also fails to mention how economically feasible the use of MRI would be for biopsy, given the high cost of MR in general (perhaps 10x more than CT, which is perhaps 5X the cost of ultrasound, which is what's used now). In practice, it's more likely that advances in ultrasound (like doppler) will prove more useful and feasible for biopsy than will MR.

Comment Smorgasbord (Score 3, Interesting) 203 203

In the Pipeline (chemistry and pharma)
MathBabe (math and data mining)
Schneier on Security (crypto and computer security)
My Biased Coin (statistics)
Steve on Image Processing (image proc w/ Matlab)
Paul Graham (computing and Y Combinator)
Lessig Blog (intellectual property and cyber law)
The Volokh Conspiracy (politics)

Talking Points Memo (political)
Google Research Blog
KDD Nuggets (datamining)
R-Bloggers (R and datamining)

Comment AI Evolution will be Punctuated Equilibrium (Score 2) 367 367

Nice article. I disagree though that most AI researchers are motivated by the good that automation will do. They're not that naive. I think Oppenheimer had it right: scientists want to work on projects that are "technically sweet". AI is definitely that.

But I totally agree that the real world impact of AI will be like evolution -- following a pattern of punctuated equilibria where disruption arises in chuncks as each significant skill area is usurped by automation (like car/truck drivers, then call centers, then retail clerks, then jobs requiring physical skills).

That said, once the first skill area falls that requires substantial linguistic facility (like a call center), I see most white collar jobs tumbling like dominos soon thereafter. Once machines can converse using speech and perform the simple logical deductions/inferences that humans do, would anyone hire a human for an office job ever again?

Comment What about drone squadron commanders? (Score 1) 298 298

Are the drone squadron commanding officers burning out too? It seems likely that they share the same high stress and poor prospects for promotion as their pilots. You have to wonder then, how far up the chain of command does this problem extend? And therefore, will we have to auotmate not only the pilots, but the next two higher levels of command as well, perhaps up to base commander?

Of course, if we do, the command to take each kill shot will have to be fully automated, since no colonel-level commander will have enough time to call all the shots across multiple squadrons and dozens of drones.

How far up the chain will robots go?

Comment The Future of Top Gear: HBO or Film (Score 2) 662 662

The best outcome for everyone (but the BBC) is for all three hosts to go to another network and set up shop there. Call the new show anyhthing you like. The magic of Top Gear lies in the hosts, not the network. And Lord Knows, not the BBC.

Top Gear is the most popular TV show in history, with over 350 million viewers worldwide. There is no way in hell the show will fade away. Or the cast. There is no way Clarkson can be replaced, successfully. Fair or not, many viewers would see May and Hammond as traitors. The two will quickly realize they would be insane to stay, especially given their other (much more lucrative) options. So they will go too, probably to rejoin Clarkson at a network of their choosing, where they have *much* better support and artistic freedom. And hot food.

Clarkson was paid a measly $1.5M/year by the BBC. He can make more money per *episode* at a real network. It's plain from his recent shenanigans that Clarkson has been eager to rewrite his contract with the BBC for some time now. The only question is how soon Hammond and May follow Clarkson's example and head for greener pastures.

Bet on it.

Comment Constitutional Amendment (Score 1) 239 239

The 4th and 5th amendments are not enough to assure personal freedom from search in the digital & wireless age. Only an amendment to the constitution that spells out this freedom can prevent it's continued abuse.

We must decide how much freedom we want to give up in order for law enforcement to investigate / prevent terrorism. We could draw a line between the enforcement agencies, preventing trickle down of personal info that is unrelated to terrorism. Or we could outlaw the gathering of this info entirely. But only a definitive constitutional amendment can compel all authorities and future presidential administrations to stay within boundaries that are sufficiently clearly marked to prevent routine abuses.

Comment Mercury and Atomic Browser (Score 4, Informative) 223 223

Both browsers are cheap and will block most ads. I've used Atomic for the past several years as my primary browser on my iPhone 4 and 5s, iPad 3, and iPad Mini retina, and it has worked very well on all. The browser is very configurable and makes much better use of small real estate than Safari. It's very rare that Atomic has let me down or that I have to fall back to using Safari or Chrome (maybe twice a year?).

I've used Mercury less than Atomic, but only because Atomic has worked well. The little I have used Mercury, I've had no complaints.

Alas there's precious little company support or user community for Atomic. If Mercury turns out to be better for this, I might be willing to switch.

Nothing is rich but the inexhaustible wealth of nature. She shows us only surfaces, but she is a million fathoms deep. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson