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Comment It's why they don't want salary sharing also (Score 1) 632 632

Heer's a newsflash- Google is just anothedr Big Company Doing Evil.

From the forced serfdom which resulted when they knowingly, illegally and maliciously conspired to refuse to hire other SV companies programmers (so those programmers , if they quit, couldn't get another job OR couldnt' look for another job while working at any of those companies ! ) to the driveby stealing of WIFI passwords via StreetView to the CLEAR cooperation of Google with the NSA Prism program.. on and on and on and on... here's a newflash for anyone whose been under a rock these past years- Google Is Evil.

Of course they're sexist as hell in their hiring practices. That's just a small part of being evil. Of course they pay men and women doing exactly the same job different salaries, that's just another small part of being evil. Read their horrified reaction to the fact of employees sharing salary data- why do you think they're horrified? Because those salaries don't revweal a distinct sex bias?

Google is a dirty dirty dirty dirty dirty dirty company. It just is. It does whatever it needs to to make money, lies about anything it needs to, have zero respect for anything which might interfere in it's making money (but goes the extra yardage and when caught frames their actions as a natural expression of their philosophical view of the owrld (Eric Schmidt- Anyone doing something online that they don't want others to know about maybe ought not to be doing that in the first place...".)

I mean is there anyone out there who is surprised at this?

Comment I Wonder (Score 4, Insightful) 49 49

I wonder if they'll be able to sense the level of contempt I have for them.

Remember, these aren't "apps" as in applications you use to achieve some life goal. Like the click through TOSes that you agree to, these will be one-sided, spying malware which you can't say "no" to because on the other side will be resources society now expects you to know about or use, FB being the classic example of such malware.

What tech companies have discovered is that the 20% of thoughtful, skeptical people in the population can be forced into submission by creating a world whose parameters and nature is defined by whatever the oblivious 80% will swallow, which is pretty much anything.


Comment Re:2001: A Space Odyssey (Score 1) 236 236

You couldnt' be more wrong about my identity or educational background or likely occupation --- BIG HINT

I'll just assume you really don't understand the point, so I'll make it another way.

Science does indeed only truth about a universe we cannot directly see or otherwise know about. But the scientific method is a way of thinking or more specifically - reasoning.

For instance, at it's core , a thing cannot be both A and not A at the same time.

If we permit that as an axiom then all our math becomes nonsense and all the results of our reasoning become arbitrary (this is not an idea I am having, it's a formally proven mathematical and logical fact. Of course, it also jibes with intuition).

Since science gives us all our knowledge about the world and ONLY gives us truth, then that's that.

But what I just described may be nothing more than a good description of what it's like to be a goldfish.

It all makes goldfish sense to a goldfish. Using a goldfish's abilities, the goldfish can prove (to the goldfish's own satisfaction ) that permitting a thing to be both A and not A at the same time leads to across the chaos and nonsense.

But *reality could still be* something that is simply non-representable in every sense of the word to the goldfish brain.

It will ALWAYS strike the goldfish as just completely insane to allow that a thing can be both A and not A at the same time, literally, a thing can be both true and untrue- in the usual sense and stricted sense of those words . And the goldfish will immediately "prove" to anyone that the contradictions which would therefore abound as soon as this is permitted (as an axiom) lead directly to contradictions in the known physical universe.

The point may be too meta for some people to grasp. Yes, there is only science and the scientific method as avenues to knowledge - avenues to discover the facts about the world.

At the same time, we are 100% dependent on our ourselves and our thining and reasoning to know what we know and that will never change.

Yet there may be something, or even most things, that are outside of our ability to grasp by what we call thought (of any form, reasoning, observation, deduction , visions whatever) that not only are we not aware of, but worse, the nature of which we could never hold in our minds at all not one little bit. We're just goldfish, ever expanding the surface area of our godlfish knowledge .

But because of our inherent limitations we cannot ever know about nuclear bombs and the politics that leads to their use.

Even as those bombs fry our flesh and turn our world into vapor.

There is nothing anti-science contained in this view whatsoever. It is a description of a possible world.

Comment Re:Can someone answer me this? (Score 1) 164 164

>>So the moral of the story? ...
>>the mods caught on and shut down his sockpuppet army and took away his rights to mod.

Isn't that the moral of the story? Fraud detected,action taken, troll defeated, more datapoints and patterns discovered to help detect future possible fraud.

Sure, he got one in on you, but getting off a sucker punch is not winning a battle.

Thanks for the feedback about what attackers are liable to try, of course soliciting that knowledge from the crowd was the purpose of my original post. I feel like I advanced my knwledge and I hope some other interested readers feel the same.

Comment Re:Can someone answer me this? (Score 3, Insightful) 164 164

A lot of thoughtful comments inthese replies.

I don't see that anyone could brigade away anyone else since it's up to the end user who to remove from view. I am not suggesting people marked trolls be auto-disappeared without the end user deciding to take that action. Remember, the same thing happens here- people get modded down and who has /. set to view the 0 rated comments? (does anyone?)

I agree that auto creation of sock puppet accounts is troublesome. I read recently where this many tens of millions of accounts on FB are simply fake.

Nevertheless it seems to me that we should be able to auto-recognize fake accounts. Brigading comments (using secondary accounts for sniping and down voting) should therefore be an identifiable event, to some probability.

I can't believe we can't use the sysadmin's god's eye view of all comments to win this war- it's clearly an asymmetric advantage.

OK just talking about brigading, take two use cases one using sock pupet accounts , the other just ganging up.

In the first case, instead providing a view that just says 50% of users think this comment is a troll (in pie graph form say) provide a view that gives that information AND ALSO a "factor in sock puppetry" overlay, which changes the pie graph to show non-sockpuppet percentages.

Point is, you can't run forever. We can make realistic sock puppetry require a deep time investment. We can make recognition of sock puppets an easy thing and then your investment is gone in a flash. We dont' have to ban sock puppets, we just have to recognize them witha high degree of probability and include that as a datapoint available to users.

Inthe second case where real humans are ganging up, we can detect coordination. People who act together *in certain ways* (to be defined, but don't tell me I can't do it) are highly likely to be coordinating. People who act together because of their shared world view but are not coordinating might look like they ARE coordination, but there are differences between those two cases involving timing and past behaviour etc. etc.

It's not that problems can be felled with a single blow, it's that you can make it time-expensive to successfully engage in the kind of system rigging. You can even bring in outside facts about the world generally to act as a reality check to distinguish genuiine behaviour from non.

It's just a variant of fraud detection, right, but without ever actually having to confront the fraudster (since you may be wrong and don't want to alienate honest users). You don't finger anyone, you let your users do that and then your other users decide and or learn to trust or not those user's judgments.

I guess I feel like this is something people just don't want to invest in for some unknown (to me) reason . It appears that people do a little of this and that the hope for the best. That's the level of technology and sophistication we're bringing to it and I don't know why.

Trolls and maurading bands of assholes are an issue but with enough data points- and sysadmins have datapoints - you can just run trolls and other bad behavior to exhaustion, make it too expensive in terms of time and too low in terms fo rewards. That's how the peace is kept in this world generally.

Comment Can someone answer me this? (Score 3, Interesting) 164 164

I don't understand why the following doesn't solve all discussion board problems with trolls. OK here goes:

1) the ability to declare someone either interesting or a troll (or neither) and have such cumulative count public.

2) have the option to hide from your view all posts by poster X

3) have the option to hide all poster's posts hidden by one or more posters you think are interesting

4) have a reputation report available on each poster, including yourself, on how many or what % of posters are hiding that posters posts and how many of those posters you marked interesting.


1) you can learn from long timers who the trolls are and inherit their preferences.

2) you can block someone without declaring him to be a troll

3) you can see how people see you. Trolls whose posts aren't seen go away.

Slashdot has something like this in prototype. But it seems simple to me. Implement that and you're basically done.

Seriously, what am I missing?

Comment Re:2001: A Space Odyssey (Score 0) 236 236

Really? You heard me say something anti-materialistic? You did? I wonder where I said that. What I said was our brains - inclusive of our reasoning capacity- may not be capable of processing all of reality. Certainly we have examples of such a situation IN ALL OTHER SPECIES. But you think we're exempt.. because... because we're special!

The reflexive attack on this very very simple observation on my part as "spiritual" is a perfect example of scientism. The personal, mindless and fact-free assault on anyone who offers a counterpoint to scientism that the "true beleivers" can't counter.

Your point about the fish "evloving past us" is a literal non-sequitor about which nothing more need be said.

Really, if you want to be sen as intelligent, offering up obvious non-sequitors is just going in the wrong direction

That's the constructive part of my reply. Now comes the fun part.

Your "hogwash" ejaculation marks you as a white male of a *certain* age who heard certain phrases uttered by the pompous authority figures of his day, not that there's anything wrong with that, "by jove"!

Comment Re:2001: A Space Odyssey (Score 1) 236 236

Yep the biggest check on that kind of thinking is all the people around them who dont ahre that view,. Of course, they could counter THAT with extreme compartmentalization and "need to know" games. But you have to have faith that the democratic impulse is strong enough in enough people throughout all those TLAs that we will act as a check on anyone afflicted with Lt. Calley type thinking.

I am not privy to such things, but I am not aware of any acknowledgment that a disotrtion in thinking of this specific kind is a threat. I know they worry about group think, but not this specfically.

You always have the Alberto Gonzales and Donald Rumsfelds ready to torture and toss the Constitution and the essence of the constitution aside. If the threat is big enough, then more eople join them and, there's no stopping it. The key to democratic civilization is to NOT LET PROBLEMS GET TOO BIG in the first place. That is everything to a democracy.

Democracy is steering system, not a braking system. If you really have to emergency brake, you're about to go off that cliff, things get very ugly very fast.

It's a good exercise for hum drum citizens like myself to know and enumerate all the plausible ways things could possibly go totally south very quickly. These are the real threts to democracy. Towards that specific end I am reading "Future Crimes" - very highly recommended. All the ways we're vulnerable gnow and in the near future given the progress of all technology in all areas. Shocking and truly frightening stuff even for a well read /. reader, but necessary for informed thinking in a participatory democracy.

Comment Re:Cue the Big Oil Hatred... (Score 2) 382 382

Nope, wrong. The magic you're trying to get away with is accounting magic. We can incur the cost of carbon, and never have to pay the principle interest.

Looko, all that has to happen is the effects of carbon become so consequential that car and truck travel become tightly regulated. Long before human civilization itself becomes threatened by climate change, the government will get involved in bigger and bigger ways NO MATTER HOW UNHAPPY IT MAKES PEOPLE.

The real, least painful answer is found in the appoaches offered by Princeton University "wedges" concept and simlar incremental but substantial approaches other universities have calculated WILL work. They call for RIGHT NOW a scaling back of gas and oil and stepping up- through whatever subsidies are needed- of solar wind ocean and nuclear.

Fact is, we've been avoiding the cost of carbon and the sooner we begin to pay that cost the better off we'll be. We can pay it now in subsidies to solar and wind and increased taxes on carbon - or pay it in the future in draconic laws no one is going to

You suffer from a delusion that reality will not catch up with you that you can just keep avoiding physical reality. Well, I'm here to tell you you can't. None of us can.

Comment 2001: A Space Odyssey (Score 4, Interesting) 236 236

Simple- AI has abilities which are superhuman in some regards yet critically circumscribed in ways its designers could not have foreseen. Those limitations become lethal during and to human's most critical mission (humankind's destiny). Speaks directly to the hubris of scientism- the unsupported belief that all aspects of reality can be understood through the scientific method.

Truth is, just as goldfish aren't capable and will never be capable of understanding the details of a nuclear bomb that destroys them and the politics that went behind the decision to push the button, so too we may very simply be creatures whose brains are incapable of understanding the larger reality in which we're embedded. We're good for some thinking things, like the goldfish is good for some swimming things, but thinking and reasoning as we do isn't everything and can't revela all truth.

On a more prosaic level, 2001 is also a good analogy for what happens when the Intelligence Community is left to call the shots on a democracy. Slowly but surely everything is sacrificed to "national security" including the democracy itself. The odds are 100% that there are plenty of real people in the TLAs occupying significant positions of authority who seriously think they have to kill the democracy in order to save it. That is where the unremitting contemplation of a serious threat matrix leads you to in your mind.

I don't see any mechanism for countering this effect.

Comment There's hypocrisy and then there's greed (Score 2) 191 191

Game theory does have a lot to say about why people hold their noses and vote for X, no doubt. What's more, all those crazy asshole congresspeople Michelle Bachman, Jim Inhofe, are very often representing the actual wishes of their constituents- Congress is divided because, largely the nation is divided.

If you want Congress to act like adults, it's up to YOU to find some way to engage people with opposing viewpoints and convince them or find a compromise on things that are important to you. If 75% of a district is telling Inhofe that global warming is a conspiracy, what do you think he's going to do on the Envrionmental Comittee?

That's in defense of the system. On the other hand...

Any argument that attempts to assert, or steers you to the "reasoned" conclusion, that the system HAS to be as dysfunctional as it is, however dysfunctional THAT is, is totall bogus. It's tantamount to saying "well, whatever goes down, it was inevitable anyway!"

We don't have to fund our elections in a way that gives virtually unlimited power to big political donors. We could set aside an amount, and make all candidates live on that amount and that's that.The SCOTUS decision equating money with free speech was just a symptom of the diseaseand nothing more.

The fact is that heedless, reckless greed can and will destroy the nation. The quintessential example is action on climate change being forestalled merely because Bil Oil and Big Coal control the purse strings Senators need to get elected.

In that scenario, it really doesn't matter how you compromise or connduct yourself because there's a direct line from how elections are financed to legislative outcomes to mass extinction. Try compromising with climate reality- see how far that gets you Barney.

There are other examples where greed and money are clearly the driving force irrespective of "compromise". Eric Holdre very cleary decline to prosecute Wall Street because

a) he's from Wall Steet and those are his bros
(sympathy and identification)

b) The Democratics Party is 100% dependent on Wall Street money, especially if the alternative is that same money switches sides

c) he's cashing in now - to the tune of millions of dollars a year- working for by the same people he should have prosecuted as Attorney General.

What does "compromise" have to do with that kind of sheer in-your-face corruption?

The system can become so diseased that the specifics and overarching context of any negotiations - which is what Frank is talking about- are totally irrelevant to the goodness of legislative outcomes.

That diseased system is in fact what we have. It owes largely to how campaigns are funded and the revoloving door.

Comment Re:Except people's intrinsic motivations still rul (Score 3, Insightful) 503 503

Consider that what we are may not remain static; that's where I get my hope from.

Most people are good some of the time, even saintly (secularly considered). We're not just , you know, totally divorced from goodness.

But as we are, we have brains created under evolutionary pressures which are effectively a bunch of hacks, "designed" not for goodness or beneficience but for survival in the near-zero-sum-game we call natural selection.

You have to believe that we can learn enough about ourselves to tweak ourselves, to close the difference between the best person you know and the worst.

Yes, if we just keep on giving ourselves more nad more powerful technology without making our selves the target of that technology in the way I mean, then we're fucked. We're fucked just for the reasons Einstein said:

"Many persons have inquired concerning a recent message of mine that âa new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels.â(TM) Often in evolutionary processes a species must adapt to new conditions in order to survive. Today the atomic bomb has altered profoundly the nature of the world as we know it, and the human race consequently finds itself in a new habitat to which it must adapt its thinking. In light of new knowledgeâ¦an eventual world state is not just desirable in the name of brotherhood, it is necessary for survival. ..Today we must abandon competition and secure cooperation. This must be the central fact in all our considerations of international affairs; otherwise we face certain disaster. Past thinking and methods did not prevent world wars. Future thinking must prevent wars."

Just substitute "future brains" for "future thinking"

Comment Coming soon to a denier argument by you (Score 0) 249 249

Soon to be featured in a denier argument near you!

"OK OK so burning fossil fuels DOES cause global warming, but we NEED to burn fossil fuels in order to compensate for the double solar whammy which will otherwise freeze the earth solid!"

Comment Except people's intrinsic motivations still rule (Score 3, Informative) 503 503

It's a nice picture of a possible future, but you have to reserve some skepticism whenever the story starts contradicting what appears to be constants of human interaction.

For instance, look at the online communities which have similar motivational incentives- no money, just "prestige". What is it like to be a member of such communities?

Even in academia, when times are good and the money is available to any credible researcher with a reasonable research project, how do they act to each other and what do they do to each other?

The fact is that "reputation" is a nice word for status which is always shorthand for "relative status" which implies a zero sum game for attention and recognition.

What do people do to each other within that kind of game? Because if you're my competitor and I can ruin you through underhanded means, then I come out on top. Don't kid yourself, making people smarter or richer does not allievate or even abate these dynamics.

How much of the bad things that happen in the world are because the poor are ruining everything for the rest of us? How much are because people with an unthinkable amount of money, post-money people, are behaving in anti-social ways?

Then there's the underlying, ultimate competition - the competition for mates. How is that going to be mitigated
in a post momey world? Do the current crop of post money people behave in a relaxed, egalitarian fashion or are they underhanded, status seeking, manipulative, competitors who stop at nothing to satiate their ever-expanding, ever shifting desires?

The REAL revolution that's so far out there in terms of thinkability is the one where science learns enough about why humans behave they way they do that they can control it and shape it. You know that that is REAL science fiction because whenever you hear someone say something like that, your imagination fills with visions of what a dystopia that would lead to.

The reason we have that reaction is because of the set of facts I was talking about in the beginning of the post- what people are like- post-money or not. The idea that people would naturally and robustly be inclined to act in reliably decent ways such that, say, we would not need a police force to stop criminals and terrorists from doing what it is they want to do, is totally unthinkable science fiction.

Even Gene Roddenberry didn't go there, except in episodes where he wanted to show what a false veneer any such society ultimately was.

That is all we know about humans and what humans are inclined to act like and that's the point. It's not a revolution if it's not revolutionary and making stuff for cheap is not a revolution, it's an evolution.

It's not going to take away the badness of the world or even much mitigate it, at least for people living in developed nations.

For people in developing nations, yes, it will be amaterial godsend and yes, that would be a huge and welcome event.

Kiss your keyboard goodbye!