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Comment: Re:Honestly, rifles are not the problem (Score 1) 483

by mdielmann (#48044015) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

What I'm seeing here is that guns are dangerous when the person holding it isn't properly trained in how and when to use it.

It's worth noting that of those 30,000 deaths, about 17,000 are suicide. While they're regrettable, they're also matched by an similar number of non-firearm suicides. Clearly, the suicide problem isn't going to be solved by taking away guns. This is not to dismiss these deaths, just to say that blaming them on guns is rather silly.

In the same year I'm examining, accidental firearm deaths ran at about 600. Again, terrible, but accidental deaths by fire was about 5 times higher, and a great deal of these are cause by improperly trained children dealing with their last live fire drill. Personally, I'm not interested in talking about adults foolish enough to fall asleep while smoking of a bed or couch.

Now, let's talk about homicide. This brings us to about 13,000 per year by firearm. Cut/pierce homicides (stabbing fatalities) run about 2,000 per year, or about 1/6 relative to shootings. I'd say that gun control could probably bring the overall number of homicides down, but not by 13,000. How much is hard to say. As much as it's hard to say how much crime and/or gun deaths would go down if everyone was properly trained with a firearm and could be expected to carry at all times.

I personally don't have any firearms, and would only buy them for hunting (long guns, naturally). I also don't have a problem with properly trained people owning them. Personally, with the freedoms purportedly enjoyed in the US, I think it behooves a great number of the population to not only own guns, but take significant training in their use.

Source for above.

Comment: Re:Broadcast rights (Score 1) 109

Allow me to correct myself, since you're merely trying to make me say what you're saying.

With internet video streaming, I'm not technologically limited to a certain number of sources...

Yes, laws can add artificial limitations. I think whether they should is the topic under discussion...

Comment: Re:We've heard this before. (Score 1) 122

by swillden (#48042681) Attached to: Boeing Told To Replace Cockpit Screens Affected By Wi-Fi

The FAA requirement for a lock on the door was only issued after 9/11

On October 9, 2001, the FAA published the first of a series of Special Federal Aviation Regulations (SFARs) to expedite the modification of cockpit doors in the U.S. fleet. This Phase I fix included installation of steel bars and locking devices.

No mandatory door locks before 9/11.

Yes, but the claim was that prior to 9/11 pilots were asking that locks be installed and that airlines refused the expense. I was asking for a citation supporting those claims -- that pilots asked and airlines refused.

Comment: Re:Let me be the first to say (Score 1) 443

by swillden (#48042659) Attached to: Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

Oh, I see the problem. You've internalized Republican wingnut derp. Only a wingnut would hold being a community organizer against someone.

I'm not a Republican, but even I can see that you've misunderstood the complaint. He's not holding having been a community organizer against Barack Obama, he's implying that community organizer is the role in which Obama belongs, i.e. that he's not competent to be the president and that he should therefore go back to what he knows how to do.

Comment: Re:No, it is not. (Score 1) 443

by swillden (#48042591) Attached to: Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

It is if we are permitted to keep our own information secret from law enforcement except when compelled to deliver it by warrant.

That's an interesting statement, because some US courts have ruled that we cannot be so compelled because it violates the fifth amendment protection against self-incrimination.

I see three options:

1. Makers of devices are required to provide back doors for law enforcement access. This was part of the idea of the Clipper chip... which was a total flop because no one wanted to buy it, and Congress didn't get around to (or didn't dare to) compel usage.

2. Makers of devices don't have to provide back doors, but people can be held in contempt for refusing to provide access to officials with a warrant. Some US courts have taken this position.

3. Makers of devices don't have to provide back doors, and fifth amendment protection prevents requiring people to provide law enforcement access. Some US courts have taken this position.

So, which should we aim for? I think 1 is clearly not a good idea, not least because providing a LE backdoor that can't be exploited by malicious actors is far easier said than done. 2 is what you suggested. 3 is what many on slashdot believe they prefer.

Personally, I lean towards 3, though I can see arguments for 2.

Comment: Re:GTFO. (Score 2) 443

by swillden (#48042313) Attached to: Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

Won't be long before Google and Microsoft follow suit.

Google has never had the ability to decrypt an encrypted Android phone. The key encryption key is derived from the user's password (plus salt), so a brute force search of possible passwords can recover it, but Google hasn't ever had any special back door. If you use a good password, no one is going to be able to get in without your assistance.

(I'm a member of Google's Android security team. Not speaking as an official representative, mind you, but anyone can look at the code and see exactly how it works, so no official statement could appreciably differ.)

Comment: Re:uhh (Score 1) 495

by swillden (#48041891) Attached to: Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

And unlike Earth where you can simply reboot society via going outside and farming a little plot of land, you can't do that on Mars!

You can't necessarily do that on Earth, either. Earth as it is right now, sure. But it hasn't always been like it is now... in fact it mostly hasn't been like it is now, and it's guaranteed that it won't always be like it is now. Changes can happen with lightning speed, too. A supervolcano eruption, a meteor strike... or even just climate change. What would happen if the planet suddenly reverted to "Snowball Earth", with 30 feet of surface ice covering the equatorial oceans?

We're eventually going to have to learn to either (a) sustain human life in extreme conditions or (b) engineer the planet's climate, deflect rocks, suck the energy from supervolcanos, etc., or else we'll die. Learning to live on Mars, or in space for that matter, without constant support from Earth is a Good Idea.

Comment: Re:HIPAA EDI (Score 1) 221

by Qzukk (#48041459) Attached to: Back To Faxes: Doctors Can't Exchange Digital Medical Records

the HIPAA EDI transaction codes are X12 837 (claim/encounter transactions), X12 270 and 271 (eligibility inquiries and responses), X12 276 and 277 (claim status inquiries and responses), X12 278 (referrals and prior authorization transactions), X12 835 (health care payment and remittance information), and X12 275 (health claims attachments).

Huh. Which of those do I use to order a CBC? Which one sends a history and physical to the hospital? Which one does the MRI machine use to send me the picture of your brain? (trick question!)

Everyone's been using these transactions for years, but they are not relevant to the issue being discussed here.

Comment: Re:the solution: (Score 1) 483

by swillden (#48040177) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

Or are you under the illusion that this one amendment is sacrosanct while they crap all over the rest of it?

Are you arguing that because they crap all over the rest of the Bill of Rights, we should allow them to crap all over the second as well? Really?

Obviously, the correct solution is to required our government to obey all of the law -- and in the extreme (and unlikely, I think) event that we fail to achieve that via political processes, we'll have to make use of our arms to retake control (our arms and the unwillingness of the US military to fight fellow citizens; both are necessary). The "crapping all over all the rest of it" makes holding onto the second amendment vastly more important, not less.

Comment: Re:"artificial intelligence" has become a religion (Score 1) 90

like i said a few comments back, you've been watching too much sci-fi and have no concept of how this stuff is actually made

I've been consistently ignoring such snide remarks and I'm going to continue doing so... but my willingness to be so patient with your snark is wearing thin. Cut it out or I'll simply stop responding.

As for whether or not I know "how this stuff is actually made", you might consider that I'm a professional software engineer with 25 years' experience, currently working for Google. I know quite a lot about how "this stuff is actually made", including familiarity with current machine learning techniques, since I'm a guy who makes it. I also personally know a couple of people who've worked on Watson (I worked for IBM for 15 years, including on Watson Labs research projects)... and they agree with my perspective on this question: AI is clearly possible; we don't yet know how to create it because we don't understand intelligence.

***we already understand "artificial intelligence" it's just code***

You can argue in exactly the same way that programmers in the 1950s understood how to implement knowledge graphs. Or computer vision. Or voice recognition. After all... they're "just code". Never mind that programmers of that era had no conception of the modern algorithms needed to actually make those things work. What they lacked wasn't just horsepower, but fundamental understanding of the problems and the solution. They couldn't build a computer system capable of driving a car that was infeasible only because it couldn't compute quickly enough, they couldn't build such a system at all.

the notion that "artificial intelligence" is something that we can 100% "undesrtand" shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what "artificial intelligence" actually's just software running on hardware, all programed by humans

Certainly it will be software running on hardware, all programmed by humans. Humans that understand what intelligence actually is and how it works... something that we don't yet know. To get a little more specific, it appears that human "intelligence" is actually a collection of several different components, with several emergent properties. It's long been thought that "self-awareness" is the key emergent property, but many animals have self-awareness and yet lack the crucial ability that makes humans distinct.

The current best thinking is that the distinction is a particular form of creativity. Specifically, the ability to create abstract explanations. We certainly know how to write computer programs that manipulate abstractions, but they're abstractions of the programmer's creation, not of the program's. We need to learn how to write software that is able to create and criticize its own conjectured solutions to problems. We do not yet know how to do that.

We know it's possible, because we possess computers that can do it. In our heads.

I linked you to the Universal Declaration of Human should at least have a cursory undestanding of how civil rights works in the's absolutely ridiculous that you think I need to proffer up some sort of link to prove humans have free will

There are several misunderstandings implicit in this sentence.

First, I didn't ask for a link to prove humans have free will. You mentioned current legal definitions of free will. I asked for a cite to explain what such legal definitions are.

Second, you seem to think that civil rights are somehow related to free will. I don't see any such link. It's perfectly possible to have free will without having any civil rights, and it's equally possible to have civil rights without free will. I suppose you're trying to argue that we have established systems of human rights in order to protect the expression of free will... but that's clearly a second or third-order effect.

Third, you seem to think I'm questioning the existence of free will. I'm not. I don't think our perception of free will is in any way incompatible with the notion that our brains are deterministic machines... and I also don't think that they necessarily are. Quantum effects may well add a non-trivial amount of non-determinism to our thought processes. Such non-determinism may be a necessary component of what we perceive as free will, or it may not. We don't (yet) know. And it's possible that this non-determinism is both fundamental and is the mechanism by which a supernatural influence (e.g. our souls) play into the picture. Actually "supernatural" isn't quite the right word, because if there is such an effect it is also natural, just not part of the physics we understand.

Comment: Re:Interesting. But might end up as more of a toy. (Score 1) 56

As said this could be an interesting device. But I'm not really sure what this will allow anyone to do.

The point isn't what you can do with it, the point is that it's fun to build it and to experiment with all of the sensors. Perhaps that experimentation will spark some ideas for building things that actually are useful, but even that's a second-order concern.


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