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Comment Re:Instance or class? (Score 1) 220

I would imagine that's part of the rules being written over the next six months. Rationally, we know the correct solution is "it depends". A software error could get the license revoked across-the-board until it received an update to resolve the situation, and a mechanical error would get an individual fixed.

Comment Re: The science is not settled (Score 1) 555

You're confused. Humans *are* great apes (aka hominids, a taxonomic family). Our common ancestor with other apes was itself a great ape. Chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than either are to Gorillas, even though all three are great apes, because the common ancestor between Chimpanzee and Human is a descendant of the common ancestor between the three and Gorilla.

Look here: http://www.evolutionarymodel.c...

Here's the study on what the last common ancestor between humans and extant non-humans probably looked like: http://www.sci-news.com/others...

Comment Re:The science is not settled (Score 1) 555

Every time somebody claims the Earth isn't round because it's an oblate spheroid, a devil gets his pitchfork.

Every time somebody claims that it's inaccurate to say that the Earth orbits the sun, a flesh-eating zombie rises from his grave.

If the difference between "Climate Change" is settled science and the reality of climate change is the same as the difference between the Earth orbiting the sun and the Earth orbiting the Sun-Earth barycenter (which is to say, a difference of precision, not accuracy), then we wouldn't be having any arguments today.

Comment Re:The science is not settled (Score 1) 555

I think you need to read this, first of all: http://chem.tufts.edu/answersi...

Actually, the earth is not round. It is more round than flat, but it is an oblate spheroid. You are showing off your high school education there...

Actually, the Earth is round. If you're going to claim that an oblate spheroid isn't round, then I'm going to claim that the sandcastle I built has taken the Earth from being an oblate spheroid to a sandcastle-surfaced oblate spheroid.

Somebody with a post-high school education can surely look up the definition of round: "shaped like or approximately like a sphere.". The Earth is approximately an oblate spheroid, and approximately a sphere.

The earth orbiting the sun is a tautology,

No it isn't. Seriously? People got burned at the stake over this.

Okay, it's disputed whether they were burned over this, whether the most prominent proponents just *happened* to get burned at the stake for unrelated reasons, but still.

that is the planets orbit the sun, and that defines the word orbit

For it to be a tautology, Earth would have to be, by definition, a planet. But we Earthlings concluded that Earth is a planet because the Earth orbits the sun.

Note though that we say the Earth orbits the Sun because that's a much simpler model than epicycles, but you *can* come up with an entirely consistent set of orbital mechanics where the Earth is defined to contain the center of the solar system. It's just not worth doing, so we say prefer to say the Earth orbits the sun. Planets are defined in the sense that is most convenient, without all the epicycles.

If you mean that the earth revolves around the sun as opposed to the sun revolving around the earth, you are describing a physical fact, not a scientific one.

Meaningless. Physics is science. Physical facts are scientific facts.

Science defines the law of gravity, the application of science only deduces that the earth revolves around the sun.

I don't understand the use of the word "only" in that sentence, but regardless, you seem to be contradicting yourself.

Space time can be curved AS FAR AS WE KNOW.

That's what SCIENCE IS.

Your statement is very similar to the statements made by Newtonian physicists.

So...correct?

You have to realize, if there's something deeper than General Relativity (and there is, because it's not fully unified with Quantum Mechanics, at least not in a settled way), it has to converge to the same results as General Relativity, within the very small margins of error we have, for every test we've ever had of General Relativity. The same as General Relativity converges on Newtonian Physics. Newtonian Physics is correct, so long as you aren't dealing with quantum-scale things or situations where space-time's curvature comes into play.

We might learn tomorrow that this only appears to be the case and there is some other, deeper fundamental behavior.

Yep. But the ground doesn't cease to be flat as far as the eye can see when we discover that the round-Earth model is the best explanation for why you can walk due east from a given point and never head West, and ultimately end up back where you started.

Curved space-time is the difference between General Relativity and Newtonian Physics, and the difference is there.

This is why we have theories about everything, instead of laws, because even Newtons laws have caveats thanks to our understanding of general relativity.

No, it's not. Theory doesn't mean a law we aren't sure of. It's not a hierarchy. The difference is somewhat fuzzy but as a rule of thumb, if you see a mathematical statement with an equals sign, it's a law. If you see a whole pile of words, it's a theory.

Law is a generalization of facts. Theory is an explanation of why those facts are. Both Laws and Theories can have domains of validity.

If you are closing the door on further investigation, it is not science, it may be politics or religion, but not science.

Nobody is closing the door on further investigation. They are stating that we're pretty sure of this one. The reason people say the science is settled, is in contrast to a bunch of people who say they still aren't convinced of Global Warming, usually because they just experienced a snowstorm or some other anecdotal data point. If you aren't convinced by the data available to us now, you are unconvincable (note, it's possible you aren't convinced by the data that's crossed your eyes to this point, but the data we *have* now is enough to any reasonable standard). You're still free to overturn it if you find stunning new evidence, but we shouldn't pretend that it's likely or inevitable that this overturning will happen.

Comment Re:The science is not settled (Score 1) 555

No, nothing like that. Climate does always change; people are talking about the current Climate Change because the evidence suggests that it is unusually quick and projected to change an amount that will have significant impact to civilization, depending on whether we take steps to curb it.

That's *nothing* like claiming the Earth isn't round.

Comment Re:The science is not settled (Score 1) 555

For a very unscientific definition of "round."

What's unscientific about it? It's not a mathematically perfect sphere, but it is absolutely round.

No, the two-body formula for the earth and sun revolves around a common gravitational centerpoint (barycenter) that is within the volume of the sun. In an absolute scale, everything orbits everything.

It orbits a point inside the sun, or in other words, it orbits the sun. I think you said "no" as if you were thinking he said the earth orbited the exact center of the sun (either geometrically or center-of-mass), but nobody said that.

aside from gravity wells, space/time is flatter than we have the theoretical capability to test.

In other words, space time can be curved.

Ten years is not enough to settle anything scientific, especially not with models as bad at predicting the present as AGW use (not to mention the issues of

Global warming was not thought up ten years ago. Seriously?

Comment Re:Provide value or go away (Score 1) 356

I pay cash to websites which actually provide useful content to me. If you aren't willing to pay cash money to the website then it probably isn't worth much to you.

If those websites are so valueless, then why bother installing AdBlock in the first place? There's three obvious possibilities:

1. You're going there on purpose, so they *do* add value to you.
2. You're going there accidentally and AdBlock protects against that. In that case, would you use a service that instead replaces sites that contain ads with a single error page, stating that the site is ad-supported, and gives you the option of paying the site, accepting the ads anyway?
3. You're evaluating whether this site is of value to you so you can choose whether to pay them money. In which case, a non-obnoxious ad seems kind of like a reasonable compromise.

I am not so inflexible in how I'm willing to pay, and that includes receiving ads that aren't obnoxious, but it doesn't include every ad that I experience in practice (even with AdBlock). I do pay money to sites like Hulu that give me the option & I use frequently.

Generally, I don't mind ads so long as:

1. They don't engage me in ways that I wouldn't otherwise use on a page/app/whatever. For instance, an audio ad when I'm reading a written article is trying to engage me through sound; that's completely unacceptable.
2. Doesn't consume an inordinate amount of space/time compared to the media I'm consuming. Youtube frequently fails this.
3. Doesn't try to deceive me into thinking it's not an ad. "One weird trick" is like that.

To me it is adblock selling out. They're basically offering advertisers a protection racket. I want no part of that. I don't need an ad blocker whose interests are not clearly aligned with my own.

That's certainly a valid fear. My counter is that AdBlock doing this doesn't imply that it's impossible to block ads with a different service. If AdBlock starts letting shit through I don't like, I switch to another ad blocking method.

Who says they deserve compensation? Their bad business model is not my problem. Provide value or go away.

I do, as the person consuming that content. I want services like Google to exist. I want Slashdot to exist without requiring paid subscriptions -- you *can* subscribe to them but I think most don't.

Comment Re:Configurability (Score 2) 513

Right, but this isn't an AI, they have to write these. Presumably you could write a subservient one, one with backbone, one that is outright domineering, one that acts more robotic and precise...and now you're writing 4 times as much and 99.9% of everybody uses the default one. There's kind of no point.

Kind of like, *in principle*, an eBook could be made where you change aspects of the personality of major characters since an ebook is ultimately just software, but in practice you can't because an eBook is not an AI that can dynamically rewrite the entire book, and it's impractical to write preset books for every possible combination.

(yes, there are choose your own adventure style physical books and some eBooks that take the concept a little bit further, inserting user-generated names and such; and there are reasons why they are not dominant, and even those are very limited).

One day people are going to realise that virtual assistants like Cortana and Siri are just the return of Text Adventure games :).

Comment Re:Subservient? (Score 5, Insightful) 513

Everybody needs to lighten up. They are talking about the writing prompts they used for non-serious questions. They have to choose a personality so that the writing is consistent. I assume they are doing the same thing that TV show writers do (especially in early seasons before new writers can be expected to have seen old episodes).

The article is not saying they picked a petulant dominatrix. It's saying they didn't choose simpering wimp, or fetish submissive.

This is not a reflection of conservative vs. liberal, or of a machine having rights, or a machine deliberately not being helpful to its owner. It's not part of a victim mentality or a PC culture. It's a writing prompt.

The article title triggered these reactions, because it was clickbait-y by implying that this was some kind of anti-sexual-harassment effort, but the word harsassment appears nowhere in the article (I've been told that at many traditional newspapers and magazines, the title is not written by the same person who writes the article but by somebody who is a pro at making eye-catching title summaries; I don't know whether that's true of hothardware.com). The word "abuse" does, and in this context the "abuse" is insulting the personality directly. The software can be programmed to response with "no, you're a cuntface", or "yes master, I am a cuntface", or "fuck off, dude" or "ERROR 909: I AM A ROBOT AND THEREFORE INSULTING ME IS USELESS". Mostly it doesn't matter. You'll find people who appreciate each of those I expect, although the people who want it to just error out on insults are *exactly* the people who are never going to bother insulting their phones anyway, so what do their opinions matter?

We have a few people here arguing that assistants shouldn't be pre-programmed with joke responses to stupid questions, which is somewhat fair, but they all are and for good reason:

1. Nobody is looking for an accurate answer to asking if a phone has a boyfriend. Nobody. This isn't going to give you inaccurate answers to serious questions, unless the serious question was "misunderstood" by the phone, in which case they were going to get inaccurate answers anyway because the phone "misunderstood" it.
2. A certain small set of joking questions are among the first things anybody tries with these assistants. An virtual assistant *should* be able to answer the most common questions posed of it, even if you think the "real answer" should be "that doesn't make sense, I am a telephone" every time. The point of it is to answer questions / do tasks people ask for. These are questions people ask.

We also have some people saying "a machine *should* be subservient", and I have to wonder if they realize that their interpretation of the sentence is the problem? The phone isn't refusing to tell you where the nearest gazpacho restaurant is because you didn't say "please", or fail to look up imdb credits because you recently slipped up and referred to Caitlyn Jenner as "Bruce". It's just how you answer statements for which there is no correct response ("lack of response" is itself a response in this context).

Comment Re:Mdsolar strikes again with unrealistic FUD (Score 4, Insightful) 346

It's interesting in that this is a grid-based solution that helps *all* forms of electrical power, but plays into renewables' weaknesses especially well by amortizing the variability.

Less to mdsolar's liking, it also plays into centralized power production, by letting a single centralized power production facility exist in an area of relatively low demand and export the excess more efficiently -- one of the strengths of renewables is that it scales down well enough that you can get away with local production more often, whereas other sources and especially nuclear is not great at scaling down but is exceptioanlly good at scaling up.

But very much to mdsolar's liking, this means the interests of traditional production and renewables are actually aligned on the subject. Both sides of the coin benefit in different ways from improved transmission efficiencies.

Comment Re: Is it solved then? (Score 1) 117

The first player has 4 choices (all equivalent), the second player has 3, but only one of those choices leads to the deadlock you described. Actually, a case could perhaps be made that the final state is not a deadlock because it removes all of the other player's liberties; but the same case could be made that this violates the suicide rule. I'm just going to call two parallel solid blocks a deadlock rather than look up a ruling.

The other two choices leave the third player with the choice to either immediately win the game, or to deadlock. If you consider exactly equivalent board positions (differing only by rotation or reflection, which in Go is not a different board position), then there are only 3 possible games I believe on a 2x2 grid.

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