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Comment: Re:Fucking Lawyers (Score 3, Interesting) 170 170

That would be sufficient to make the APIs stop working. Perhaps you should think again about what information is required and copyrightable.

I think that this decision may mean that Google will need to do something like alphabetize the API. (Customized organization can be copyrighted, but alphabetical order can't.)

Comment: Re:There are ideas. Here's one. (Score 3, Informative) 202 202

by "some ideas" you mean "some theory".

Yes, of course. What else did you think I meant? It's an idea. It's not a certainty. I'm not sure what your point is. Care to elaborate?

When I say "no idea" I mean literally we have no demonstrable understanding of any one single cognitive function of the brain. Any brain

You might have meant that, but writing "no idea" didn't (and still doesn't) actually say that. The statement was made that we have no ideas. We do, in fact, have ideas.That was the assertion, and that is my answer.

Human brains? We've got nothing.

Human brains are not what are at issue here, but even so, that statement is incorrect. We have made progress at the small scale (see Numenta's work) and there are multiple ideas out there that presently have significant merit. Personally, as someone working in the field and conversant with a lot of what's going on in the technical sense, I have a fairly high level of confidence that we're much closer than the popular narrative would have us believe. Am I right? We will see. :)

Comment: Human visual processing... not so great. (Score 2) 202 202

Understanding how humans store and recognize images primarily is not a barrier to AI. It's not memory or image recognition that's the hill to climb; The fundamental algorithmic/methodological challenges are thinking, along with conceptual storage, development and manipulation (these things incorporate memory use, but aren't a storage problem per se.) Hardware needs to be able to handle amounts of ram and long term, high speed storage that can serve as a practical basis for the rest as well. Right now, we're getting close, but it'll be a few more years yet before anything really smart can be instantiated. That's even if we were to figure out precisely how to do it right now.

It is possible -- though I consider it doubtful -- that we would implement human style vision neurology in hardware for an AI, but frankly our abilities are so poor compared to what can be accomplished I really don't see why we'd cripple an AI that way. It'd be abusive. "We could have made your visual recall incredibly acute, but... instead you're like us, and really don't have much more than a general idea what was in a scene after you have seen it." [AI nukes silicon valley] (Mods: that's humor. HUMOR.]

Also, check out Numenta's work.

Of course, understanding how humans store and recognize images is (very) important to our understanding of human physiology and disease, and it's wonderful that we're working on it.

Comment: Re: Coral dies all the time (Score 3, Interesting) 109 109

"Adds heat" is a woefully inadequate simplification of whether or not it's an issue to be concerned with. When temperature goes up, other things change as a result of the relevant phsyics. For instance, the evap/precip cycle accelerates, carrying more warm air and moisture up, and more cool air and moisture down. CO2 in the upper atmosphere reduces radiation by a factor, but more heat up there, more often, increases radiation. More CO2 almost universally implies conditions better for plants. More and healthier plants means more of all sorts of things and less of others.

Dire predictions: Warming moves the zone(s) within which plants and animals flourish north. There's plenty of room to go, a great deal of northern area is frozen wasteland at this point. More CO2 is good for plants. People might have to move. They do that all the tiime. Coastlines may change and infrastructure may need to maintained, adapted, moved or replaced. That happens all the time. Currently estimated timescale for sea level changes: inches per year. Totally yawn-worthy.

In short, the issue is complex beyond any possible "on noes, warming" assessment -- hysteria is entirely uncalled for.

Science is a method. When facing something new, it involves formulating a hypothesis, testing that to validate or disprove it, and then drawing conclusions. We have not seen and do not know what happens when CO2 increases by large amounts due to our production of it. In the historical record, CO2 increases trail warming, not lead it -- which is another way of saying that historically speaking, CO2 increases herald cooling, so that is not any kind of adequate confirmation of the idea that human-caused CO2 increases will lead to significant climactic warming. Doesn't mean it won't -- it just means that this is a new thing and that drawing conclusions either requires flawless modeling that takes everything significant to the process into account (which we don't have... not only in re natural processes, but in re unanticipated technology), or actually seeing what happens. Without one of those - which again, we don't have -- it's not settled science. It is unvalidated hypothesis.

o Yes, we should be trying to figure this out.
o No, we have not figured it out.

When will we know when we have figured this out? When we have a model that accurately predicts climate change as known to have occurred in the historical record.

PS: coral does not "die when you touch it." I have multiple coral reef tanks. I touch my corals (hard ones and soft ones) all the time to move them around, frag (subdivide and transplant) them, brush them when I'm reaching for something else. I cut colonies of soft corals with a razor in order to divide them into more than one instance and place them in multiple places and/or share them with other coral reef owners. Certainly doesn't kill them (doesn't even seem to hurt them.) For hard corals, you break them into separate instances (frag them) with tools that are basically smallish hammers and chisels. You even do this out of the water. Again, doesn't kill them. They don't die because they were bothered or touched. I've never, ever seen that happen. Some of them don't react at all or very much, but the most I've ever seen them do is pull away or retract, dependably to return to their original extension and condition within minutes of the disturbance that caused it ending. Fish touch them all the time as well. Doesn't hurt a thing.

The things that I have seen be directly and immediately detrimental to corals are Ph changes, temperature changes, salinity changes, very large and sudden changes in lighting, and the actions they engage WRT each other (chemical warfare among corals has to be seen to be believed. They are nasty to each other at times.)

Climate change panic bores me. Climate change dismissal bores me. But, like a lot of other induced hysteria, it's a major component of pop culture and the media's slavish devotion to fanning same, so I have to actually work to avoid both. :)

Comment: I have a theory (Score 2) 292 292

Stats from the last congressional election:

o 14% approval rate -- that was a poll
o 94% re-election rate -- that was actual voters.
o In the same election, national turnout was 36.3%.

I think the advent of the net's new accessibility to information outside of the laundered and agitprop driven channels, the money-based reasoning of SCOTUS, the lobbyist factor, the obvious malfeasance of Fox news, MSNBC, the blatantly unconstitutional legislation coming out of congress... and so on... all combine to give a very large portion of the people who might otherwise vote a sense that the system is so massively corrupt that there just is no point to it.

When you ask them -- polling asks them -- they tell you that. That's why the 14% approval rate.

But the only people voting are the droolers who watch MSNBC and Fox. They're agenda- and plank-driven (abortion! guns! perverts! terrorists! taxes! etc.) and that's driving them to or from one party or the other. And *they* are controlling the narrative here; that's why the polls just aren't -- and won't be -- working in the current context.

It's just an idea. But the data is hard data. Something has to explain it. It's too skewed to be any kind of random happening.

I actually do vote, but I have to say, it's pretty damned fruitless. This is a red (very red) state, and so that's the way the pendulum swings here, regardless of how I vote. If I vote progressive on something, it's not going to happen. If I vote conservative on something, it would have happened any way. This is not encouraging.

The only thing less productive than voting for progressive ideas here is voting for a third party candidate. Neither one does any good at all in terms of biasing the political system, but at least the progressive vote isn't buried or simply not mentioned. Sneered at, I think might be the most accurate term around here, actually. But they at least talk about it.

Comment: Re:Do not... (Score 0) 289 289

If you want to open a business in a free country like the United States and advertise your business as a communication platform there is NO problem requiring that business allow open communication by all.

"Private." "Requiring." I do not think those words mean what you seem to think they mean. Free speech, as the constitution mentions it, applies to what the feds are not allowed to do with regard to the speech of the citizens. It's not a mandate enabling them to force the citizens to participate in things they aren't interested in. It just means that the government can't stifle you. A private entity is something else entirely. You may not like it, but there it is.

You should go read Facebook's terms of service. It'll be educational. I promise.

Comment: Re:Oh look, more dice.com crap ... (Score 1) 263 263

I didn't come here to read what Dice wrote. I came here to read what you wrote.

For better or worse, slashdot attracts a collection of some very smart, and well-informed, and funny, people. And trolls, but hell, trolls are everywhere. Many places seem to only have trolls.

Comment: Re:Open source isn't enough (Score 1) 246 246

The last time I looked into using Objective C on a Linux system the documentation of both Objective C and GnuStep were lamentable. So bad I picked up something else.

I'll agree it's a difficult problem, but Python, Ruby, D, and even Smalltalk (well Squeak, anyway) and Scheme (Racket anyway) have addressed it reasonably. Objective C documentation seems to only work if you're on an Apple, and GnuStep documentation doesn't seem to work anywhere. It's great if you just want something to remind you of how to do something that you already basicly know how to do, otherwise not.

Comment: Re:Linux Support (Score 2) 246 246

I'm sorry, but I don't get the reasoning behind your evaluation. I'm not greatly familiar with Objective C, but the only reason that I didn't pick it up in the past was that other languages had better documentation. (I'm not using an Apple).

Even GnuStep wasn't that bad. It was better at handling unicode than C libraries were. But too many pieces assumed that you had someone at hand to explain basics to you.

So I used Python and D and Java. I looked at Vala, but it seems too tightly bound up with gtk, and when the maniacs began pushing gnome3 I gave up on it. I avoid C because of excessive use of pointers. That's also a problem with C++, but it's really a matter of excessive ambiguity (and poor handling of unicode) that cause me to avoid it. (The unicode problem also affects C and Java, and possibly objective-C, though I never really checked. Java doesn't even HAVE a unicode aware ispunct() function. I needed to fake one up using the general character classification, which Java made numeric for some stupid reason. The unicode version would have made things a lot easier as I could just have checked the first character of the classification.)

So, objective-C has problems with documentation (if you aren't on a Mac), and I'm not thrilled with the GnuStep choice of 16-bit unicode (unless they've changed that since I looked), but what's wrong with the language?

"Ninety percent of baseball is half mental." -- Yogi Berra