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

by Tolvor (#47639901) Attached to: Old School Sci-fi Short Starring Keir Dullea Utilizes Classic Effects

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

by Tolvor (#47457329) Attached to: The Last Three Months Were the Hottest Quarter On Record

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

by Tolvor (#47192553) Attached to: Turing Test Passed

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

by Tolvor (#46927509) Attached to: Norway Is Gamifying Warfare By Driving Tanks With Oculus Rift

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

by Tolvor (#46610389) Attached to: 5.1 Earthquake Hits California

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

by Tolvor (#46239855) Attached to: Massive Storm Buries US East Coast In Snow and Ice

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

by Tolvor (#46043119) Attached to: Celebrating Dungeons & Dragons' 40th Anniversary

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?

Comment: A snowball's chance in Hell? (Score 4, Insightful) 62

by Tolvor (#45555597) Attached to: Comet ISON Survives Perihelion (Barely)

If ISON can survive its pass through the corona of the Sun, what else is possible?

Will it be possible that Democrats and Republicans work together for the nation?
Will RIAA/MIAA admit that they have been wrong and allow that piracy in fact is not as harmful to the music industry as they have said?
Will sheeple wake up and take charge of their lives?
Will Thanksgiving day shoppers will be calm, patient, and polite?
Will my boss give me a raise?

Yes I know people say "A snowball's chance in Hell", but a snowball just did... So will these now happen?

Comment: How to say No to cow-workers? (Score 1) 111

by Tolvor (#45528469) Attached to: 23% of IT Workers Spend Thanksgiving With Coworkers

Here in the United States it is coming close to Thanksgiving, a holiday to visit family and be thankful for our many blessings. However corporate culture, as a part of our-business-is-a-family mentality likes to do pot lucks. I will encourage and support anyone that wants to have the pot luck on company time as long as the company does not make me participate. I, like many people, do not regard my co-workers as a "family". I don't feel like investing extra money to feed these people in the name of company-is-family and "team building". I'm not a hostile employee but I realize that the company regards everyone as a replaceable cog and a lowest-cost expense. Of course I realize saying anything like this to our company would cause me to be fired. I am sure I am not alone in feeling this.

Here's hoping you have a great Thanksgiving, and spend it with those that matter - your real family.

I submitted this as a submission a few days ago, and didn't get accepted... ah well.

+ - SPAM: Great global climate change shame

Submitted by Willianlau
Willianlau (3442849) writes "Like many who took part in this year's UN climate talks, I leave Warsaw tired. Not as tired as those that spent two weeks talking, drafting, wrangling, redrafting and horse-trading, followed by an almost 40-hour marathon final session. But I do feel tired. I'm tired by the fact that all of that effort, energy and, in the main, goodwill has again resulted in so little progress.

Where does it go wrong? Nobody can now dispute that climate change is a threat to human society, to the planet as a whole. Nobody can genuinely be confused about what we need to do to reduce this threat. But still inaction seems to be an option, for some the preferred option.

Should we blame those tired negotiators and their governments? Did they draw too many red lines? Did they turn the negotiations into hopeless rhetorical tangles? Can we blame them for putting the interests of their citizens ahead of citizens from other countries or continents? Can we blame them for looking towards re-election? For remembering who put them in office? For reflecting on who donated the most to their campaign coffers?

Or should we blame the UN process? Are there too many voices at the table? Too much semantic hair-splitting, procedural squabbling and high-level posturing? Too much politics? Too many egos? Too much pride?

More info:
[spam URL stripped]
[spam URL stripped]
[spam URL stripped]"

Link to Original Source

+ - How do you avoid corporate Thanksgiving?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Here in the United States it is coming close to Thanksgiving, a holiday to visit family and be thankful for our many blessings. However corporate culture, as a part of our-business-is-a-family mentality likes to do pot lucks. I will encourage and support anyone that wants to have the pot luck on company time as long as the company does not make me participate. I, like many people, do not regard my co-workers as a "family". I don't feel like investing extra money to feed these people in the name of company-is-family and "team building". I'm not a hostile employee but I realize that the company regards everyone as a replaceable cog and a lowest-cost expense. Of course I realize saying anything like this to our company would cause me to be fired. I am sure I am not alone in feeling this. How does everyone else deal with this?"

It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions. - Robert Bly

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