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Comment Consequences of his actions (Score 3, Insightful) 528 528

Right now, he's running away from the consequences of his actions."

Unlike James Clapper who enjoys no consequences for his actions- lying under oath to Congress.

Two legs good, four legs bad.

Obama's administration is going to go down in history as the one that best highlights how politically well connected players are "too big to jail" even as law enforcement became more ferocious towards the common and petty criminals.

The entire NSA engaged in unconstitutional spying on Americans on a scale that made the event which inspired the Church Commission look pale in comparison. That is not my opinion, that is a fact established by the courts. They knowingly and deliberately destroyed evidence of torture in order to evade criminal prosecution. No banking executives were prosecuted for a criminal scam which literally brought the economy down. No banking executives were prosecuted for the near daily now criminal operations from Sinaola Mexico cartel (the video-beheading gang) drug money launderig to LIBOR rating rigging to the criminal MITM attack on the stockmarket which was the subject of the book Flashboys.

Yeah I have mixed emotions about Snowden. But I dont' have mixed emotions about any of the trillion dollar criminals who destroyed millions and millioins of people's life savings and millions and millions of people's lives.

So your snarky shit about facingthe consequences of your actions rigs hollow to these ears. How's Eric Holder doing these days working for the entities he declained to prosecute? You nkow, the same ones he worked for before he was AG?

Oh, we paid all that money back, they say. Yeah? Did you go back and retoractively undestroy all the lives which were destroyed because of your actions also? Did you reset the course of all those personal histories back to what they were before they lost their jobs their homes their savings their time ?

How is THAT REAL cost not calculated in what you did. You paid the government back the bailout money. Fuck you and the horse named the Obama Administration you rode in on.

This from someone who cried tears of joy when this President did his inaugural walk.

Comment million flights a day would be troubling (Score 1) 110 110

There are abuot 87k flights both commercial and private over us skies every day. Since Amazon wouldn't the only drone using company (fed ex , UPS and all other companies) that number could easily go to a million or even ten million. Even if you get five 9s in terms of no-accidents (likely not possible ) that's still 10-100 drones going down a day or 3650-36,500 down a year. All those drones trajectories once they're out of control operate under Newtons Laws . Even if they automatically deploy parachutes (and those work), they're still 40 -100 lbs of "stuff" falling out of the sky onto something somewhere, directed only by wind currents and luck. And that's a best case scenario.

This is what my crude back of the napkin yet fact-based maths tell me. I would love to hear well reasoned, fact- based counter arguments

Comment The three 5-star posts so far are sad (Score 1) 208 208

I find the three 5 star posts in this thread (so far) sad.

The points come across as sanctimonious and the tone is scolding. Scolding to the kids for doing something the authors deem stupid; sanctimonious towards parents who apparently don't care about these stupid kids, or they would have raised them differently and therefore produced different outcomes.

I know the tech sections of the internet skew heavily towards very young, white males, and this may account for the high rating of these posts, but they all show a lack of insight into how humans life is actually lived and what the source of human development actually entails.

The implied requirement of these posts only has to be articulated to be dismissed- that you never do anything stupid, impulsive or otherwise compromising over the entire course of your life in the presence of other human beings (who we can now assume have cameras on thier phones and phones on their person). If you did, tough luck, you were probably old enough to know to not have done that (based on some nebulous theory harbored by the authors), yet you did it anyways.

It would be hard to formulate a more stifling atmosphere than the "wrong once, wrong forever" ethos which permeates these posts. Learning happens through exploring and testing limits imposed by society which come into conflict with the personal perceptions of the individual. That also happens to be how society progresses and the same kind of people who do one are likely later in their lives to be leading the other.

We need the trangressors, the limit testers, the irrational impulse followers, the people who value and trust their own (often mistaken) perceptions above the externally imposed voice of their parents and society because that is just the population which later invents, leads society forward, *thinks different*.

The punishment which society now can and according to these post's authors, should, impose for what were previously private acts of boundary testing by society's youngest members is insane. We're talking about people whose brains can be shown to be anatomically uniquely susceptible to impulsive decisions, which cannot work out the real consequences of their actions, cannot yet accurately model the minds of others or consider long term implications of their decisions.

Not coincidentally I see all of these limitations in these posts themselves .

The fantastical implied requirement embedded in these posts is that people stop going through a developmental stage of life and just get on to adulthood. This is actually how the world thought of children prior to the late 19th and 20th centuries; children were adults in miniature. I would refer you to the history of the 19th and 20th centuries to see the resultant handiwork of people who were actually raised under the influence of that factually incorrect theory.

They say we're are ony one generation away from barbarism, from regressing to previous states of societal ignorance and barbarity, one generation away from the triumph of folk theries of the world and human behavior over science. People aren't mentally ill, they're willfully cretinous. People lives aren't ruined and they aren't driven into destitution through labor-law-free working environments, they simply lack industry. Young people aren't qualitatively different in their reasoning and cognition from adults, they just know fewer facts.

If it were up to me, every high schooler would have to have three semesters of developmental psychology in order to graduate. The first concern society has with education has to be to ensure the non-regression of its members.

To address just one poster's point directly, yes, people know not to drop their pants at high school graduation ceremony. But you can't use your intuition and "common sense" to then relatively score any potential human behaviour in any potential social situation as either more or less developmentally advanced than that pants dropping one. You can't blithely assign a developmental score and a concomitant culpability score.

It's scary to read the pitiless posts on this thread. I hope that the authors themselves later develop the knowledge of not just their own strong opinions and intution but the outside world and the facts that govern that world and the people in it to reflect on their posts as a kind of youthful foolishness, preserved forever on the internet.

Comment Re:Here's a thought... (Score 1) 208 208

Only 15 year olds who live at home think that people can "sue their employer" and continue to get jobs going into the future.

Even more so for something like "someone at work saw a picture of me, and they therefore took negative action, but the picture wasn't what it looked like, your Honor! ".

Your stupid post against permitting 15 year olds protection against their embarrassing youthful mistakes
  might expose you as a person with poor judgement for the rest of your lifem, except I see you're using a pseuonym in this thread and for this particular post you went AC.

So you DO see the social utiility in not being exposed to enduring critical evaluation because of something stupid you said once somewhere at soem point during your life.

So you're a hypocrit as well as.

Nicely played, Sir!

Comment It's why they don't want salary sharing also (Score 1) 633 633

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) 384 384

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.

"There is such a fine line between genius and stupidity." - David St. Hubbins, "Spinal Tap"