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Comment Why is Hansmeier not shielded by the corporation? (Score 1) 69

I read TFA, as well as the past articles. What I don't understand is how the individual, Hansmeier, is financially responsible for the liabilities of the corporation, Prenda. I understand that an employee of the organization, even the head or CEO, can go to jail (ex Enron or Tyco), disbarred, and/or fired. However one of the purpose of forming a business entity is to protect the individual assets in case of corporate disaster. Are all employees liable when a corporation goes bankrupt, or just the corporate officers?

Comment Welcome back, I guess... (Score 0) 109

I loved Bloom County in the 80s. I was sad to see the strip stop. However I moved on and now there are a ton of quality comics to take its place. Do you want sharp, pointed humor? Try Non-Sequiter (ex There is, (yeah, I know the comic is semi-mostly-retired), and PhD (Piled Higher and Deeper)

I'm sorry Bloom County, you were great in the 80s but now it is the 2010s. It might be interesting to read the new strips for the nostalgia factor but that would be about it. After a certain period of time you realize it is time to move on. (Big pointed hint to George R R Martin and his over-delayed next book in the Game of Thrones series)

Comment A victory for internet trolls (Score 2) 144

The gist of this is that now statement in and of themselves cannot be actionable until it can be proven that the mind of the person making the threat actually intends harm. The defendant in this case, Anthony Elonis, argued that he was a rapper and his statements could not be taken in context (i.e. "Fold up your PFA (protection order) and put it in your pocket Is it thick enough to stop a bullet?" and "I've got enough explosives to take care of the State Police and the Sheriff 's Department.")

Internet trolls rejoice. Now anything can be said, no limits to speech, no consequences as long as it can be proven that you don't mean harm. If in doubt, just sign all threats with JK (Just Kidding) or RL (Rap Lyric). People have been kicked off flights for jokes in poor taste (bombs, threatening airline employees...) but now the intent of the threat has to be proven. The internet has always had a large troll population. Now they can come out of the shadows, raise their middle finger, grin, and make very specific threats with impunity. If caught they can laugh and say JK/RL.

This leaves a most unclear situation where it becomes far more difficult to determine at what point does a statement become abuse and actionable? This is likely to spawn enough confusion about this ruling (7-2 no less) that more cases will be heard and with opposing rulings and head back to the USC for further clarification.

Comment Review (bad, boring) (Score 2) 91

I watched the film, despite the long commercials. Essentially (for me) it is was a waste of time.

A good scifi film should raise interesting questions (what is "intelligence", "human", "purpose"...) To some degree this film tries to achieve this. A computer more-or-less becomes self-aware on a long-dead spaceship. Okay, good start. However there is no point to it whatsoever. The computer sits in a chair and thinks and then watches the spaceship explode. Questions about why would someone send a (presumably) research vessel aimlessly into deep space, why design an AI that has no mission to accomplish (no programs, projects, repairs to do?), why did the crew die of old age (advanced spaceship and no cryo-storage?). Come on, a generational spaceship with crew being born, trained, and dying would be better. What destroyed the ship at the end?

I feel this film is a weird cross not of 2001, but of "A.I." (where the entire point is to see the robot play out the end of humanity to far-future space aliens discovering the ruins) and "Silent Running" which details a man trying to save the last bio-habitat space station by sending it out into deep space before Earth can destroy it. At the end of the film he hides the habitat in deep space so Earth can't find it, and beyond their reach. So effectively it is the same thing as destroyed, and pointless.

The commercials were more interesting than the movie. The film technique may be impressive and noteworthy. However to me I'd rather watch a film with so-so technique that is entertaining (ex "Avatar") vs something that is avant-garde and boring (ex: "HENRi", "Blue")

Comment Selective data (Score 1, Insightful) 552

Studies have been done on this before where the data was "managed". Certain readings that would show no temperature increase were not included citing "old equipment" or claimed that data was not relevant to their sample set. Certain instruments that would not support a desired result would have the equipment moved from the sheltered spot it was in to a much hotter area, for example over asphalt. Environmentalist have also been caught in changing the temperature reading on certain devices to be more favorable, which they called "statistical normalization" and "variance correction". Somehow this doesn't happen to equipment that supports their conclusions. Environmentalists can have the data show anything that they want.

Comment What is the alternative? (Score 3) 75

TrueCrypt was trusted because the source code is/was open source, the binaries could be checked, it used respected algorithms, and had few flaws. Yes, there was minor fixes that could be done to make it more secure, and there are methods to defeat the keys (Flash freezing the ram chips in the computer to preserve the stored keys is one). But TrueCrypt reigned supreme with the cost-reputation-cryptostrength score.

Of course, according the (canary) Truecrypt homepage it recommends BitLocker by Microsoft, which few people take seriously. Microsoft recently peeked at its employees private hotmail account, and is known to include features in its OS to make NSA happy as well as copyright holders.

What alternative is there to TrueCrypt?

Comment Transscript? (Score 1) 432

Anyone have a link to the transcript of the conversation? It is easy to say the Turing Test has been been passed, but how well it was passed will show in the quality of the conversation.

It could easily be:
(Human) How are you doing?
(AI) Whatever.
(Human) Yeah, don't I know how that feels. Did you watch the game?
(AI) Nah.
(Human) Man did you miss a great game. What are you into?
(AI) I like playing with my Gameboy
(Human) Cool. Which game?
(AI) Whatever.
(Human) Wow, sounds like you're really into it. Are you winning?
(AI) Nah.

The quality of the conversation does matter when calling a "Pass"

Comment Science fiction becomes reality? (Score 1) 106

The first thing that I thought of when reading the article was the scifi novel "A Boy And His Tank" (Leo Frankowski), or maybe a slight echo of the ending of "Ender's Game" (In short, both follow the plot idea of "Yeah kid, this is a neat game. Blow them up!! Great job. Next battle, um, simulation, is tomorrow."

Let's see... computer simulated fighter combat (drones), computer simulated tactical combat (robo-soliders), computer simulated tank combat... Meanwhile Iran hacks drone into following its orders and land (oops). May the best hacker win.

Comment NO!!! An earthquake in California!?! (Score 1) 114

Seriously, is this news? I've lived in California and minor-moderate earthquakes are no big deal. Californians cause about 5 minutes of excitement where everyone runs outside (you don't want a house falling on you), and businesses evacuate (don't want heavy equipment falling on employees or customers), and traffic slows and stops. Afterwards it is not news even for Californians - it is business as usual.

According to the CA Department of Conservation - "Each year, California generally gets two or three earthquakes large enough to cause moderate damage to structures (magnitude 5.5 and higher)" and this from the USGS "Each year the southern California area has about 10,000 earthquakes; the majority of which go unnoticed. " Seriously, minor / moderate earthquakes in California is not news.

In related news:
There are strong wind gusts in Chicago
It is really cold (19F) in Anchorage, AK
People traded *billions* of dollars in stocks and securities on the New York Stork Exchange on Friday
Somewhere in the US there is a thunderstorm, with lightning bolts containing approximately 1 TW of power
Most cities has di-hydrogen monoxide in its food that people are eating right now. The LD50 (median death dose for 50% population to die) is only 90 ml/kg.

Wow! California has an earthquake? Next you'll tell me that a Democrat got caught taking bribes, that a Republican got caught saying something stupid, that a Hollywood movie star got caught behaving badly, and that someone rich just did something like a giant telecommunication merger to make them richer!

Comment Difference between PA and GA (Score 1) 290

I currently live in Pennsylvania (near Allentown), and used to live in Atlanta. I've driven in snow in both states, and snow is definitively worse in Georgia.

Sure PA gets more snow than GA will. Before any snowstorm you will see salt spreaders on the road dusting the road, and huge snowplows can be seen idling in the median of the interstates waiting for the snowfall. PA gets snow every year so PA does have the resources. Drivers in PA know how to drive in snow. I don't know how people in Wisconsin do it, but in PA it is not 10 miles under the speed limit. I've been on the interstate (speed limit 65 mph), 2 lanes, but almost everyone is in 1 lane, and traffic moved at a steady 20-25 mph. (I 81N today, between Frackville and Hazleton). Cars stayed in the tracks of the car in front, and left plenty of room between cars. Driving slow and careful and taking longer is better than driving fast, skidding out, and not getting there.

When I lived in Georgia it rarely snowed. I grew up in Cordele (watermelon capital of the world). I remember only about 2 "snows" in about 15 years, each less than 2 inches. Georgia naturally does not have the snow moving equipment that the northern states do, quite logical, not really needed most of the time. The roads are not designed as well for snow (ex, the I 75N / I 85N merge in Atlanta, with the merge lane in the middle. People on 85 trying to go right for the exit ramps, people on the right trying to go left to avoid the fast lane exits) A lot of people in GA have lived in states that get lots of snow, so GA drivers do know how to drive. Tire stores in GA do sell snow / traction / anti-skid tires. It is just that they don't have enough recent practice with snow driving.

I've heard the joke that in northern states that snowfall of 6 inches or so doesn't make the news and it is business as usual, while southern states will close school with a 1/4 inch of snow on the ground (yes, that happened once in GA). But without the salt, grit, roads with lots of bends, and lack of practice I wouldn't want to drive in snow in GA.

(As a side note, Georgia roads have the definite advantage of not having a many potholes as Pennsylvania has, the pothole capital of the world)

Comment Ah... the memories... (Score 2) 218

You stand in front of the Cave of Alborath, and the signs point that the orc raiding party definitely passed this way. There is a fresh orc-clan sign written in blood to the left of the cave entrance. You hope that the blood is not of the town captives that you seek to rescue.

From the cave mouth comes a slightly rotten stench. Light from the late afternoon sun allows you to see about 30 feet into the cave (60 with infravision) and you see a rough opening about 10' wide, with a 5' wide path around the larger rocks, strewn with fist-sized rocks fallen from the cave roof.

How will you proceed?

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