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Comment: Re:Loitering (Score 1) 197

by Verdatum (#46996243) Attached to: 7.1 Billion People, 7.1 Billion Mobile Phone Accounts Activated
I've never read a ToS carefully enough to know if it is in violation or not. Plus, ToS can vary by both provider and the laws in that country. Traditionally, these people are just dealing in cash. Though I suppose these days nothing particularly prevents someone from using a modern card reader, besides the fact that people in these areas are less likely to have a line or credit or a bank account. The street corner is usually public property, so permission is not exactly needed. And if a storefront or land owner hassles the person, they can always just move to the next corner. Doing business on public property might be illegal in that area, but, I guess bribes or keeping an eye out for law enforcement might be involved.

Comment: Re:The return of pay phones (Score 1) 197

by Verdatum (#46994401) Attached to: 7.1 Billion People, 7.1 Billion Mobile Phone Accounts Activated
Nothing in particular would prevent such a thing, but it would require specialty equipment that tends to be difficult to acquire unless you're a phone company, and even then, it requires a partnership with whoever owns the property you put it on. This doesn't require anything special, just a phone.

Comment: Re:They can go to 110% and beyond (Score 3, Informative) 197

by Verdatum (#46990515) Attached to: 7.1 Billion People, 7.1 Billion Mobile Phone Accounts Activated
I worked developing mobile telecom equipment for a company that mostly sells to undeveloped countries. This is sort of true in that undeveloped nations often don't have a land-line network in place, and it is far easier to set up a wireless network. So people are more likely to have a mobile phone than a stationary phone. However, impoverished people still don't have phones. It ends up being interesting because the standard Western usage models for phones don't work out at all. We can't calculate the number of available channels needed per subscriber the same way. Many mobile phones in these areas will be involved in active calls nearly 24 hours a day. The reason why is that people will buy a phone and account, and then hire people in shifts to stand on the street corner shouting out that they've got a phone. They then let people make calls for a markup.

Comment: Re:Retrieving memories causes decay? (Score 1) 426

I mean, if you'd like to switch to a completely argument, regarding peer reviewed articles on the concept of near-death experiences as evidence of the supernatural (and I'm not sure you are. Your wording confuses me some) Near death experiences exist, and there is nothing wrong with discussing them in peer reviewed publications. They don't provide evidence for supernatural phenomena though. Show me one of those "I was floating above the room" stories where they do something like win a game of win lose or draw while the patient is blindfolded in a double blind scenario, and I'll change my tune.

But this is just the off-topic discussion of the nature of skepticism. If the only "evidence" is a leap that can only be made sense of by the reader accepting an implicit intervention by supernatural forces, then you've not written a good paper. Or at least, as TFA's intro hints at, not one that is appropriate for the realm of science.

Comment: Re:Retrieving memories causes decay? (Score 1) 426

I completely see where you're coming from. But I'm afraid I pulled the analogies out of my nebulous ass. It's very likely that I heard the ant one elsewhere, and the cache one is just sorta obvious. If I did hear it, it was probably on one of those horrible overdigested shows that often fails to make a distinction between well reviewed science and psuedoscience statistical fallacy bullshit (e.g. Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman).

I constantly marvel at how much we can't verifiably prove we know about the nature of the brain. I'm optimistic we're going to learn things steadily, but compared to so many other things, good lord, we've got a long way to go.

Comment: Re:Retrieving memories causes decay? (Score 1) 426

A turing machine is computable, and it can always be predicted, it merely requires all of the exact same input that it receives. In other words, to mimic a "true" random number generator, you just need a copy of its entropy. It's computable because the turing machine computed it. This is what computable means, it's a very formal term in the theory of Computer Science.

Comment: Re:Retrieving memories causes decay? (Score 1) 426

You don't need to identify or enumerate the algorithm. You only need to show that a working algorithm exists. A functional solution does exist. If it didn't, consciousness wouldn't be a reality, it would just be a nice idea. And we're not debating the existence of conciousness, because descartes did the whole cogito ergo sum thing.

Comment: Re:Retrieving memories causes decay? (Score 1) 426

Yes, I read about this study, and did not find it surprising, and it does raise some interesting points. I thought about bringing them up, but it gets into a whole bunch of "yeah but" things. Memory can be modified, by more recent experiences, one of those experiences being a recollection of said memory, or by physical or chemical influence, beat on the head, drugs, stroke. But the degradation is only in certain aspects. For example, if you memorize the pledge of allegiance, you aren't going to start fucking it up by reciting it more and more.

Comment: Re:Retrieving memories causes decay? (Score 1) 426

I did not assert that there is no supernatural element. I stated clearly that it was the only alternative that would fulfill the requirements. TFA did not invoke the supernatural, so it did not make a proper argument. If the brain does have a supernatural element, that would be extremely exciting to prove. So if you can eliminate the impossible and have supernatural influence being the only remaining solution, concretely, that's some nobel winning shit right there. I'll keep an eye out for such a discovery on /.

Comment: Re:Retrieving memories causes decay? (Score 1) 426

I am well aware that is the definition of computable. Neither you nor TFA has shown why consciousness is not computable. The only way that conciousness can be non-computable is if the brain does something outside of the realm of Von Newman Architecture in the abstract sense. It receives input in the form of electrical and chemical stimulation, it is able to store information in the form of memory (however that memory works doesn't particularly matter) it performs operations based on memory and input, and it produces output in the form of electrical stimuli and neurotransmitters. If the brain follows Von Newman architecture, then it is a computer that produces conciousness, there for it is computable. Proof by counterexample.

Comment: Retrieving memories causes decay? (Score 5, Interesting) 426

"retrieving them repeatedly would cause them to gradually decay"

Ouch. Just. Ouch. No. Noooo. NOOOOO.

There is so much wrong with this statement I don't even know where to start. It implies that the memory is overwritten with the memory of recalling the memory, which is a huge and ridiculous assumption. Memory likely works much more like ant paths. The details that are recalled more frequently are reinforced, and can be remembered longer. It could also be compared to a caching algorithm; details used more often are less likely to be lost, or need fewer hints to retrieve them.

And then using this assumption to declare something as non-computable demonstrates a lack of understanding of the concept of computability. The only way that conciousness could be non-computable would be if there is a supernatural element to it. Otherwise, the fact that it exists means it must be computable.

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