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Comment: Re:Performance (Score 1) 283

by akozakie (#48115955) Attached to: Tesla Announces Dual Motors, 'Autopilot' For the Model S

Not surprising. Electricity is the silver bullet of the energy market - it scales, it has a lot of production options, it can power almost anything. It's the closest thing to "pure energy" you can get at the moment. Wind, solar, nuclear, coal, gas... who cares - the reciever works just as well, and the engines are very good.

The one thing I really miss is a way to transform elctricity onto kinetic energy that scales into space. The one limit of current technology I find really annoying is that it takes so much chemical fuel to get to space. That means pollution, but more importantly that means weight. Find a way to get to orbit with nothing but electricity (in orbit we already have ion drives) and we're ready to go spaceborne on macro scale.

Of course that might be a bit optimistic, as I'm assuming that electrical energy storage will continue to develop at a high rate. I wonder where the limit for that is. If electricity remains difficult to store (in kg/J terms), it's a dead end.

Comment: Re:Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (Score 4, Insightful) 173

by akozakie (#47981009) Attached to: Mangalyaan Successfully Put Into Mars Orbit

Nitpicking is fun, so I'll have a go.

This is true, first missions used caveman technology compared to what is available now. 20+ years later is a completely different matter, right? That would be the 90s. Great, succesful missions like Mars Observer, Mars Polar Lander or Mars Climate Orbiter? Oh, wait...

Over 20 years of technology moving forward did not make it easy for NASA to reach Mars. 20 more would not make it that much easier for the first-timer - a bit cheaper, perhaps. This is really an impressive accomplishment.

Comment: Re:Uncompetitive? (Score 1) 312

by akozakie (#47811205) Attached to: Uber Now Blocked All Over Germany

So, in other words, any law is a bad law if it is not exactly like in the US? To hell with the fact, that European countries are in general democracies? And more direct than American at that (direct election, not through electors)?

Yes, some jobs are "closed" in a way in Europe, with huge differences between countries. But, pathological examples aside (and they do exist), they are only closed in terms of setting prerequisites and perhaps taxes - very far from a cartel. In this case:
- As long as you are legally allowed to drive and do not make a profit from it, you're free to arrange cost sharing with passengers - it's eco-friendly and good for the traffic.
- If you are healthy and have extended insurance, register and you can carry passengers for profit on prenegotiated routes.
- If you are healthy, have extended insurance, probably pass an extra test, maybe something else as well (I'm not German)... In other words, if you meet all the requirements, you can register as a taxi driver. Now you can not only carry passengers for profit, but also use taxi stops, pick up chance passengers from the street, use taxi lanes, etc. No, you do not have to be related to a taxi driver, bribe someone, etc. Just meet the requirements and register.

So, what do you call a free market? One where only the price and reputation decides (remember that reputation does not scale very well)? Where first encounter with a service provider is by definition a high risk? Sorry, I actually prefer to know that if I get in a taxi with the official sign, I know that the driver is a professional, knows the city, the car is in a good condition and if anything happens anyway, the insurance will cover it well above the limits set for regular drivers. Or not, but a driver carrying the taxi sign illegaly risks a lot (at least a large fine or even jail time).

Feel free to run your country anyway you like, but please be cautious about telling others that their ways don't make sense. Most choices in like are multicriterial optimisation problems and there is no clear ordering of Pareto-optimal solutions.

Comment: Re:No you do not (Score 1) 353

by akozakie (#47625803) Attached to: Microsoft Tip Leads To Child Porn Arrest In Pennsylvania

Yeah, yeah, I don't like it so it's "standard $FAV_NMY dismount".

In a healthy system society controls the government and the government controls powerful corporations. In a sick system corporations control the government, both control the society, nobody controls the corporations. Which kind of system seems closer to you?

Yes, without MS or Google's power the government couldn't have gotten involved. Obviously to you this makes all discussion moot, while I disagree. So it wouldn't get involved this time - too bad, but the alternative is worse.

It's interesting that you read an opinion on pros and cons of large-scale snooping as an anti-government rant. Shows your objectivity. Of course I had to involve the government - as I wrote previously, ability to trust it is quite crucial to assesment of the consequences of the situation described in the summary. Why would I rant about the US government? It's not mine. Won't put me in jail, unless I move to US, which is not likely (although with the level of cooperation between our governments maybe I'm a bit too optimistic about that).

I'm deeply sorry I've hurt your priceless views. Very mature of you to blow it off like that. All those great arguments you've presented, wow!

Think, disagree, try to convince me by showing why. Or think, disagree, ignore. I'm fine with both. But please, keep such empty "I disagree so shut up" to yourself. It's makes you look childish.

Comment: Re:No you do not (Score 1) 353

by akozakie (#47620643) Attached to: Microsoft Tip Leads To Child Porn Arrest In Pennsylvania

One fly in your ointment: last I checked Google and Microsoft were not the ones that actually put people in jail. The government does, that's its role.

If you trust the government fully, you really don't need to worry about things like that. They will not ask the corporations to do anything wrong, like identifying your political views, applying censorship, etc. Relax, it's just the corporations doing bussiness, probably searching for marketing clues in your data with that little extra functionality, which is good. If you don't want your data searched or at least don't want targeted ads, encrypt, don't use the cloud, or simply look for a cloud service with SLA which explicitly prohibits it (remember - you trust your government, so pacta sunt servanda, especially by corporations, as the government punishes the stronger players harder).

If you have any doubt about you government, however...The tradeoff becomes much less clear. Sure, in order for law enforcement to actually work, you have to allow some snooping, searching, arrests, etc... But you have to keep it under control and cry foul whenever the power seems to grow too much or is misused. Moving the snooping to corporations makes it unsupervised - the controls in constitutions of most countries are designed to limit the government, not private companies. If you can't trust your government to not use this against the people and to hit the companies hard if they misuse the data they collect, then this is a very worrying development.

In either case, however, it is incredibly stupid to expect your files in the cloud to be 100% private, unless you actually signed an agreement that explicitely says so and provides huge penalties (and I'd still be suspicious in that case). Not free for the company to share - sure, that's a possibility, but not free to look at? Doubt it. If you want it private, keep it private. Don't put it in the cloud or at least encrypt.

Comment: Re:Why wouldn't you think they are scanning? (Score 1) 353

by akozakie (#47618189) Attached to: Microsoft Tip Leads To Child Porn Arrest In Pennsylvania

This.

I really do not understand it. How can people (hell, it seems like MOST people) not see that using anything like a storage facility removes any expectation of privacy unless there are clear regulations about that in the agreement? In real, physical world this is so obvious. Earlier you could count on laziness and scalability problems, but hey - automation!

I believe that the problem is we simply did not have the time yet to adapt to the thought that over less than a single generation processing went from a very costly activity to cheap routine stuff. We just didn't adapt to the growth of FLOPS/$ rate. For most of our history it was ok to do whatever you like, as long as you can keep it relatively quiet and don't make enemies. In the XX century we learned that anything can get you in deep trouble, but since the hunters are only human and limited, you'd need to provoke them somehow. Low profile can save your... rear parts. When will we realize that it's no longer true? It is more or less possible to process and analyse more or less everything now. Still costly, but possible. And the only change we can expect is growing accuracy (both FP and FN reduction) and deeper analysis. A police state was never that cheap.

No, whatever you were thinking about, it's not private. More and more the only thing that is private will be your own thoughts. But I guess that will change before 2100 as well...

Comment: Re:No you do not (Score 1) 353

by akozakie (#47617991) Attached to: Microsoft Tip Leads To Child Porn Arrest In Pennsylvania

Nah, not "to a police state". The difficult part of observing a slippery slope is the admission than "yup, we're mostly there". Otherwise you'll just lie to yourself until you're not just at the end of the slope, but anchored, settled and playing solitaire with a full family there.

That's the problem with highly emotional subjects (like pedophilia). You need to conciously limit your emotional response to them, otherwise you will accept as "lesser evil" things that are really a bigger problem.

Scale is what matters. A single child saved is a huge accomplishment? Hell yes. But even a thousand saved children is still just a tiny fraction of the children out there, while the lost freedom affects everyone - including all those children people think they think about. It's frighteningly difficult to deconnect from emotional response like that, but it is really the only way to limit the effects of manipulation.

It all boils down to one question - do you trust your government (all levels) to use such abilities wisely and responsibly? Because if you do, this really is good news. If you have any doubt, however...

And that's the funny thing. The US was literally built on distrust towards the government. That's the general spirit of your entire constitution and most of the amendments. And yet you seem to be one of the countries with the lowest backlash to things like that.

Moral outrage is a great thing. It's so emotional, so detached from reason, so easy to steer... And so universal. Works with muslims, catholics, hell, even atheists... Just needs a bit of tuning towards the target audience and the standads it accepts. And "think of the children" is gold - works practically everywhere, just adjust the wording.

Comment: I need therapy (Score 1) 353

by akozakie (#47617305) Attached to: Microsoft Tip Leads To Child Porn Arrest In Pennsylvania

Seriously, I must not be normal. This is clearly "for the children", there's really nothing morally disputable about this particular case. So, why can't I see it as progress? Why am I worried that it was automatically spotted?

I need to get my s... straight. Think of the children. Think of the children. The system is good for me. The good guys have nothing to worry about.

Comment: Re:It's almost sane(really) (Score 1) 502

by akozakie (#47585805) Attached to: Judge: US Search Warrants Apply To Overseas Computers

If you are right, then this lawsuit is simply one of several steps it will take to make Azure (and others) a complete failure in the EU market. If by using Azure you're subjecting yourself to US jurisdiction and accept responsibility for any breaches of EU law that result from this... Bye bye US-owned cloud services.

Go ahead, shoot yourselves in the foot. The US is burninig goodwill like there's no tomorrow...

Comment: Re:Stalking ads (Score 1) 97

by akozakie (#47226177) Attached to: Facebook Lets Users Opt Out of Targeted Ads

Yeah, been there, seen that. Yes, I googled for a stationary bike. Guess what, I bought it. No matter how many times you show me an ad, I'm not going to buy another (at least until this one breaks).

I do not have a Facebook account, but I'm sceptical about targeting. Not just because I'm allergic to stalking (I might be). Just because I've seen it and it doesn't work. I mean Youtube.

I have to clean some youtube cookies every couple of weeks. I view sufficiently different content, that the algorithms they use simply backfire. As my browser window shows more and more "chosen for you" videos, I see less and less things I might want to view. I'm beginning to thing I'm really that atypical, since the things they pick are usually completely uninteresting to me, although I can probably retrace the reasoning behind the choice.

I have no idea if FB ads work the same way, but the ability to set "do not target" seems nice. Not nicer than not having an account and periodic cookie cleansing though.

Comment: Re:Stupid (Score 1) 179

by akozakie (#46678955) Attached to: To Reduce the Health Risk of Barbecuing Meat, Just Add Beer

Which makes this story even more interesting. In this case you're not adding antioxidants to your body, which might protect you or harm you, evidence for both has been reported. You're adding it to the food while it's being prepared, reducing the amount of PAHs, which are doubtlessly bad for you. More antioxidants in your body - open question. Antioxidants acting on your food before you eat it, removing other dangerous chemicals - clearly a good idea.

Analogy: drinking base to reduce bad effects of ingested acid - a very bad idea that might sound good. But add the right amount to the acid you're forced to drink with a gun pointed at you before drinking - tada.wav, you're basically safe, the worst outcome is that the result will be slightly poisonous (unless you prefer acid burns to mild diarrhea).

Comment: Re:Simple.... Odds are even (Score 1) 167

by akozakie (#46672755) Attached to: A Rock Paper Scissors Brainteaser

Ok, Nash equilibrium, finally the correct approach. But here's an interesting variation, seemingly very similar, but a bit harder: same probabilities, but introduce a third side with a predefined algorithm and infinite budget. The game still looks the same to you as the player: 50% rock, 50% human RPS player, but in fact suddenly the game depends on so many details...

The setting: you play RPS against a human opponent, but do not communicate with them directly - the interface is operated by the third side and only shows the choices (no chatting, etc). Your opponent is free to choose as he wishes. The operator intervenes with 50% chance (fair coin toss) by replacing your opponent's choice with rock (replacing rock with rock still counts as intervention). Of course the fact of intervention is not communicated to players.

Scoring rules: On "normal" rounds you and your opponent score against each other as in normal RPS. On "intervention" rounds you both score against the operator's budget. Your score depends on your choice vs. operator's rock. Your opponent's score depends on his original choice vs. your choice (so, yes, in this game you can both win/lose simultanously).

1. What is your best strategy in this game?
2. More interestingly: is the best strategy different if your opponent does not know about the existence of interventions (they change nothing visible on his side after all)? If you could tell him about it before the start of the game, would you?

That's my main question, but for the really bored, some more options. Consider a symmetric variant, where your choices as seen by your opponent also get replaced with rock randomly. Does the strategy depend on the operator's algorithm: option 1 - single throw decides no replacement vs. replacement in both directions, option 2 - separate throws for each direction, option 3 - always replace, single throw determines direction?

And what if your choices get replaced with something different than your opponents'? He 50% rock vs. you 50% paper, or he 50% rock vs. you 50% scissors?

And the most difficult one: review all these variants under "no ties" rule - in case of tie you replay the round, but the coin is not thrown again - if there was an intervention it will happen again, if there wasn't, it won't. This is a difficult variant - the same game might be a tie-resolving round for one player and a start of a normal round for the other, so you're never really sure whether your next round will get a throw. You will no longer see 50% rocks, the actual proportion depends on strategies of both players.

Man, coming up with such variations is fun. And details sometimes matter. Adding a side channel for communication between players also might change everything, as you can then cooperate against the operator... And from the player's point of view all these variants technically still fit within the bounds of the same simplified description: random choice of 50% rock, 50% human RPS player...

Comment: Re:Computable? Simulatable? (Score 1) 199

by akozakie (#46663753) Attached to: P vs. NP Problem Linked To the Quantum Nature of the Universe

100 years? No, that's not how these problems scale. If it isn't P, then a macroscopic object (like the cat) is beyond our ability to simulate using deterministic Turing machines, period. The universe will not be habitable that long. Think about how many particles are involved, then realize that the algorithm scales exponentially. Even if our computers get a million times faster someday - so what, that's still not nearly enough. So, either we find a way to build fast and scalable nondeterministic Turing machines (we're nowhere near that goal) or the model is useless for macroscopic objects.

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern

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