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Comment: Re:"Robots" will never be as smart as a human. (Score 1) 294

by Solozerk (#46432817) Attached to: Why Robots Will Not Be Smarter Than Humans By 2029

It's all just matter and energy.

Indeed - very few (sane) people dispute the fact that consciousness can be generated with non-biological hardware (using silicon). We know that consciousness is the result of matter and energy - a more interesting question IMO, is: matter down to what level ? does the brain only use "classical" physics principles to generate consciousness, or does it somehow exploit quantum principles (we certainly know that natural selection has made use of those in some cases - see photosynthesis).
Maybe the brain requires quantum mechanics for randomness (where does a new, original idea come from ? it may simply be extremely complex recombination of previously seen concepts and ideal; but then again, it may include a true source of randomness), in which case the only thing required to create consciousness on a silicon medium would be a "true" source of randomness. Such a source of randomness in the brain could also come, for example, from the interaction between cosmic rays and particles in the brain - an interaction we actively correct for in RAM using error checks.

Then again, maybe the brain requires quantum mechanics for something far more fundamental needed for consciousness - in which case the only efficient way to create an artificial consciousness may be to use a quantum computer, and using a "classical" computer may not be possible.

In any case, given the current rate of progress, I'd be very wary of making any assumption about the progress of tech and research, in that domain or any other - time will tell :-) I certainly hope to see the first artificial consciousness in my lifetime, though.

+ - MIT Scientists Report Cold Fusion Success with "NANOR" Device-> 2

Submitted by Paul Fernhout
Paul Fernhout (109597) writes "E-Cat World reports: "[A video] has been posted on Youtube by someone called ‘AlienScientist’ who attended (and filmed) the recent MIT Cold Fusion seminar and reports about what he has learned. He does a very nice job of summarizing the key points from the seminar, pointing out that Peter Hagelstein and Mitchell Swartz mention such things as how the cold fusion reactions can be enhanced by subjecting the cold fusion cell to an external magnetic heat and shining a laser on the cathodes. He also mentions that they say cracking in the metal and rapid gas loading can cause the deuterium to leak out, thus negatively affecting the amount of excess heat produced. The video also includes pointed criticism of the way the scientific community dealt with Pons and Fleischmann 25 years ago, and laments the lost opportunities that could have been realized if more care had been taken in trying to replicate the effect back then. The takeaway quote from the video (I think) is: “This is quite possibly the beginning of the largest technological breakthrough that our generation will witness.” ""
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:QA (Score 1) 1038

by Solozerk (#45994749) Attached to: Controversial Execution In Ohio Uses New Lethal Drug Combination
Wish I had mod points for you.
There is no crime, no matter how grave, that justifies capital punishment. Beyond the obvious (yes, obvious - a society killing criminals has no right to call itself civilized) moral reasons, there is the fact that it has been proven time and time again that capital punishment does nothing to deter crime. At all. Beyond this, there is also the fact that the person you're killing might very well be innocent - no court is perfect.

Most of the comments on this story are really depressing - it reminds me of a quote (from, I think, Henry James):

"America Is the Only Country That Went from Barbarism to Decadence Without Civilization In Between"

On a related subject, I'm personally against the very idea of prison - here too, it has been proven time and time again to actually increase criminality instead of reducing it. However, I don't think there is a better system right now, although I believe being forced to home residence with an electronic ankle collar is a step in the right direction - it should IMO be the only option for non-violent crimes, never prison. For violent crimes prison is probably the best thing we have right now, but in that case it should be an open prison, similar to (I think) some in Scandinavia - a prison that is more like an isolated town where you are free to move about and work and have relative comfort. Something truly better than the shitholes we have right now, a "prison" that would actually improve the chances of the inmates being rehabilitated instead of being pushed even more towards crime.

Eventually, I'm hoping technological advances will provide better alternatives (something akin to Iain M Banks' slapdrones, for examples).

Comment: Re:Why nVidia only? (Score 1) 211

by Solozerk (#45686903) Attached to: Valve Releases Debian-Based SteamOS Beta
I think not - I may be wrong, but the last time I tried to use a proprietary ATI driver under Xorg it tended to have a lot of bugs - like for example, my resolution had to be a multiple of 16 or 32 (can't remember which) in order to enable anti-aliasing.
It's that kind of shit that made me look for a nvidia card on all my new laptops and desktops in the future - nvidia might not opensource their drivers, but at least they work under xorg, and they also offer proper CUDA support for the same (used it for mining LTC at the time).

Then again, I had a surprise with my latest laptop - it uses Optimus: a "new technology" that includes an on-motherboard intel chipset for common graphics as well as a real nvidia GPU for gaming, the later being used only for graphics-intensive stuff. Sounds like a good idea (especially for battery consumption), but almost no official support for Linux systems. Thanks christ for Bumblebee ( - an attempt at Linux support for Optimus. It requires you to run games and the likes through a wrapper that runs a separate framebuffer using the GPU while running an intel-based Xorg. It works pretty well, but still, it's more a hack than a real support for Optimus.

Comment: Re:Why can't people just enjoy the peace and quiet (Score 2) 79

by Solozerk (#45677015) Attached to: JetBlue Launches Satellite-Based Inflight Wi-Fi
Why should we be forced to ?
Don't get me wrong, I usually sleep or read entertainment stuff (recently for me: either Pratchett or Iain M Banks - I heartily recommend his excellent Culture cycle, BTW) on airplanes, but what this is about is giving people choice in the matter. If you want to relax and "enjoy the peace and quiet", fine ! if you want to connect to the global planetary network, be it for work reasons or entertainment too, you should be given the choice.

I get what you're saying - but you can't say to people they *have* to relax just because they're traveling. I've co-founded and currently lead a small computer sciences startup and given the choice, I'd much prefer to read or sleep when I'm in an airplane. However, there were several times when I *had* to work (in my current job as well as the previous, more traditional / employed one) during travel to make sure I was ready upon arriving, just because I didn't have time before that to do it

Basically, what I'm saying here is: the more choice people have, the better. They might use the network to read their favorite news site (slashdot or some twitter feeds or other), or they might use the network to work, or they might simply relax using an old-fashioned book. The point is, if you add Internet connectivity to your flight, you are simply giving them more choice in the matter, which is good in my book.

+ - Hubble Discovers Water Plumes Over Europa->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "Scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope have found plumes of water vapor shooting off the southern pole of Europa, an ice-covered moon of Jupiter that is believed to have an underground ocean. If confirmed — so far the plumes have only been spotted once — the finding could have implications for the moon’s suitability for life and help explain why its surface appears relatively young and crater-free. “The plumes are incredibly exciting, if they are there. They’re bringing up material from in the ocean, perhaps there’s organic material that will be laying on the surface of the south pole. Those are the things that we want to know about,” James Green, head of NASA’s planetary science programs, told reporters at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco on Thursday."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Jackpot (Score 1) 617

See, there's your problem right there. Just because they have lots of money, doesn't mean it's okay for you to defraud them

When the difference is so unbelievably huge, for me it does mean it's okay. If and when large corporations are taxed the same way I am, and tax loopholes are made unlawful, and in general if and when the insane income disparity is fixed (I'm not holding my breath), then I might reconsider that position.
Also, it's not like I actually abused their mistake - I might've ordered 10 covers on that third order so that I could resell the readers on ebay. I did not. As I said, I feel no guilt over this. I get your point of view, though, but I consider that in a sane society no person should ever hold hundreds of times the wealth of the poorest one in the same society. That I find very wrong.

Comment: Re:Jackpot (Score 1) 617

Happened more than once, and I do signal the error and give the money back ;-)
Mostly because in that case it's the clerk that it will impact, not the shop (although I do the same for the small shop owner next to my flat).

I think most people do, too - either for the same reason or because there's an actual human being in front of you (which makes it very different psychologically than ordering from an automated system).

Comment: Re:Jackpot (Score 2) 617

Well, you're a better guy than me then, I guess :-)
That being said, the online store in question is very large (first or second largest in France I think), has a reputation for screwing customers when it comes to warranty/customer service, and has repeatedly been highlighted in the media for cutting their workforce while having record profits.

Given all that, I care little for their ~540 euros loss. Had it been a smaller store, I would certainly have pointed the mistake (but even then, I might not have sent the product back, unless it was a very small shop).

Comment: Re:Jackpot (Score 4, Interesting) 617

No idea either - however, something close happened to me a few years ago.
I ordered an e-ink ebook reader (for 200+ euros) as well as a cover (~20 euros) for the same. A few days later, package arrives: there were two ebook readers in it, no cover at all. I said to myself "lucky ! they made a mistake", did not tell the online store they did (it was a large, national one - I have no guilt over this), and proceeded to order two covers on the same store for the two readers I now possessed.
A few days later, package arrives, contains two other ebook readers. At that point I thought "what the hell", and ordered four covers, one for each of the readers, half expecting four new readers to arrive. This time however, they had fixed the mistake, and I received the product I ordered - the four covers. At that point, me and my flatmates (there were four of us) each had a reader and a cover to go with it anyway.

Frankly, I expected them to at least contact us or use legal action, but the only thing that happened is that we received a phone call with a weird guy asking us "did you order something online recently ?". We simply asked who he was and he answered "I can't tell you that", at which point we simply hung up. Never heard from them again.
This suggests to me that since they made the mistake, they weren't allowed to try and get the products back - I could be wrong though, and I was overseas from said online store at the time, so they may simply have considered that legal action in another country would simply cost them too much.

Comment: Re:This app never seemed necessary (Score 3, Insightful) 187

by Solozerk (#45619473) Attached to: FTC Drops the Hammer On Maker of Location-Sharing Flashlight App
The "built-in" torch function you're talking about in CM is an app. It's open source - see here: .

You make it an app because it makes no sense to integrate such a feature directly in the OS/ROM - it would take longer, and that way you can update it and have additional features (morse code flashing, for example).

What baffles me is why people would install an app named "Brightest Flashlight Free" (name sounds like a moron-magnet), which probably require network access and include ads, when there are tens of ads-less Open-Source alternatives in the Google market as well as outside it.

The first version always gets thrown away.