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Comment: Re:-dafuq, Slashdot? (Score 1) 249

by Vitriol+Angst (#49693631) Attached to: Greenland's Glaciers Develop Stretch Marks As They Accelerate

I came for the stretch marks.

Why do we always have to discuss the manner in the way data is presented when it's pretty well known that Global Warming is changing the poles? Much better to spend our time on "what's next" and "how fast?"

The stretch marks are obviously and indication of movement that is "faster" than what we usually see; and how fast is that? A meter per day?

I'm thinking something the size of New Jersey is going to slip into the ocean in the next few years and "what happens" after that? Do we get a tsunami?

Comment: Re:One thing to keep in mind... (Score 1) 244

by Vitriol+Angst (#49693527) Attached to: RTFM? How To Write a Manual Worth Reading

Couldn't agree more. I went for years not being able to use UNIX man pages on command lines or common documents with apps because the switches never gave examples that made it clear. Was the bracket part of the command, was there a space or comma after the -p or do the letters run together? So many possible combinations that a novice or causal user is often left clueless how to use it so they go search on the web for a complete example and the man page lays dormant and useless.

And even though I've done some programming or scripts that use the command line -- I still don't know how to use most switches in UNIX because the man pages all follow the same example of "let's keep this opaque as possible and never, ever explain anything simply."

Comment: Re:More voters voting is not better in itself (Score 1) 258

by Vitriol+Angst (#49693161) Attached to: Online Voting Should Be Verifiable -- But It's a Hard Problem

You beat me to it. this is pretty much the system I would suggest to verify "e voting." The "ticket" is just to let you know what your vote token is. Nobody knows who you are -- they only know that person X was eligible to vote and did vote in election Y.

The vote tally would have to be made of a series of private/public key encrypted files and there would be spot-checking with exit polling to check back with token owners to see if they voted how the token indicated. Anonymously and randomly.

You'd also need a verification of the person from time to time to create the voter ID -- kind of like a social security number with it's own password. And this is what is used to create the vote token.

I think it's totally do-able and in fact, there is already a system like it with Apple Pay. The Vendors and the Voting location don't verify or know the vote cast -- just the tally machine at the end. They just verify that Person X was person X and voted. So even if we stay with voting locations -- we should move to a token system because our current "black box" -- privately programmed touch screens are not verifiable, no matter what garbage we are being told today because their is no way to match up the vote with the voter -- only a tally, and the individual vote, with no guarantee that THAT vote is part of the tally.

The other absurdity is to get a slip of paper or a card with "your vote" that you hand in. And there's someone with a badge there to protect it. I feel embarrassed by how stupid they have to think I am as a voter that this gives me any confidence at all that they can't just write down whomever they wanted as the winner of the vote. Our old paper and pencil system was 100% better than the electronic one we have now and cheaper as well (because crooks had to be paid, no doubt).

Comment: Re:More voters voting is not better in itself (Score 1) 258

by Vitriol+Angst (#49693057) Attached to: Online Voting Should Be Verifiable -- But It's a Hard Problem

I would have agreed with this about a decade ago, but then I thought about how I became sick and tired of the process -- I feel the vote machines are rigged and the choices pre-approved by the lobbyists, yadda, yadda. I still vote, but I do so out of duty and absolutely no delusion that my candidate is EVER going to win. We vote in the most corrupt person we can, and that's the way it's going to be.

But I thought about WHY the ancient Greeks forced people to the poles and would even fine them and mark their necks with a purple die (wrapping around a cloth to secure the print). It's the disenfranchised that you WANT to vote because otherwise the game is won by whomever can disgust everyone about the other candidate. Either they believe the much thrower and vote with him, or they don't vote -- says the logic of reality as we've seen it in modern voting patterns. The more negative, the more independent voters and the fewer people show up to vote overall. Winner; muck thrower.

Comment: Re:The problem is not methodology... (Score 1) 507

by Vitriol+Angst (#49692339) Attached to: Is Agile Development a Failing Concept?

I just took a course on Scrum/ AGILE and it was refreshing to learn that "the hardest thing to figure is how long things take on a complex project."

So an AGILE PM would say; "How complex do you think task X is relative to Y?" You'd then break things down into units of labor and try and attack the priorities and the lowest number units. This will of course, come as no shock to anyone in AGILE development -- but I'm repeating this stuff for the benefit of anyone who hasn't, and myself to reinforce the concepts.

Over time and consistency, your work units will translate to "time" -- but not until a while with a team and working on the same types of projects.

The point is; a business needs to hire the labor that they need, and get as much done as they can in a reasonable amount of time. No matter what they do, they can't get an unreasonable amount of work done with a small amount of labor -- they can only fail to produce good work or timely work.

AGILE fails because companies and or management do not adhere to it's principles. Unless workers are empowered to do all that they must do to accomplish a given task -- it isn't going to work. And if you want a timescale of less than 6 months where you can predict the rate of output -- that's also going to fail

Management has been blowing smoke up the rear of executives for decades now, and I suppose everyone still likes the breeze it makes.

Comment: Re:"Best" depends on intent (Score 1) 200

by Vitriol+Angst (#49692253) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Open Document Format?

Sometimes you people make things WAY too complicated.

In our 'best judgement' -- what's a very open standard for documents? Now, we can ask "what type of document" -- and we can also try and answer for whatever documents we know.

So here goes;

Documents; Try RTFD. Rich Text Formatted Document. It might not be perfect in layout -- but it's open, and accessible to a lot of apps and cross platform. If you get bad results, you might just need to switch to some other "open" app. OpenOffice on all platforms will likely have consistent results but I haven't tried this. I use "Bean" on the Mac for a lightweight text editor and have no trouble.

PDF is good if you need to preserve the look and feel and for the most part -- it's accessible even without paying Adobe. Higher end features require an editor -- but you can have text, images and basic hyper links without cost. There are open source tools available. Adobe of course is a for profit company, but you can get 90% of everything you need with the free and "accessible" standard it has become. It isn't open -- but the PDF format won't change for anything it is compatible with right now.

SVG is a vector based image format. PNG is an image format. JPEG is a lossy compression format. All highly available.

Not so sure for 3D but Collada may be the best. Obj and DXF are old as dirt and don't transfer a lot of information like vertex normals correctly -- at least from discussions I've read. Someone with more experience should weigh in on this topic.

Comment: Re:Not really about lie detectors per se (Score 4, Interesting) 245

While yes, Bill Clinton was impeached for lying on a civil case -- it was a foregone conclusion BEFORE they impeached him that there was no perjury nor would he be able to be convicted.

Perjury charges are usually very difficult for prosecutors to prove because perjury is a crime of intent. This means that a defendant charged with perjury can only be found guilty if the prosecutor shows beyond a reasonable doubt that he or she intended to make the false statement under oath, or, that the witness told the lie on purpose. As such, criminal attorneys often defend their clients by arguing that the defendant did not intend to lie, or that the party believed the statement to be the truth at the time they made it.

The other thing is that it was not a Material Matter and it was not a criminal case. Having sex or not with Monica Lewinsky had beans to do with whether he forced himself on Jennifer Flowers (her own sister said she was trying to climb that pole for months).

Additionally, the Judge instructed that "sex was copulation between a man and a woman" -- so by the court rules laid out, Clinton's BJ was not considered "sex."

He was impeached, but he did not perjure himself. But he Republicans did, no numerous occasions in order to get him in the hot seat to talk about his penis.

This is just a public service announcement from people sick of us worrying about crap that doesn't matter instead of WAR CRIMES and an asshat like Bush that destroyed our economy, hired mercenaries, profited on war, approved torture, and made a fortune for oil companies and weapons dealers with a direct material benefit back to him -- and YET, we cannot investigate this unless there is a penis involved.

And we have another one of these scumbags from this rotten family in the pipe to go into office again and half the country thinks the Clintons are "more corrupt" even though they were exonerated on all 5 charges that Kenneth Starr spent 5 long years and more money than the 9.11 committee investigating.

Comment: Re:Now do the same for Russian & NK? (Score 1) 82

It's not 100% safe, or hadn't you been tracking the state of Whistle-blowers or people in the press who get imprisoned? Whether it's just "more free" than Russia but less free than Norway and we can pat ourselves on the back or not -- the assumption that secret organizations keeping us safe without any oversight is anti-Democratic. America is better than Russia BECAUSE of the ACLU and other organizations and individuals that stand up to secrecy and how people are treated. The only thing we know is what we know and can measure -- everything else is an assumption. And we are told they are keeping us safe. Either they believe Democracy doesn't work because "we can't handle the truth" or they aren't working for us and just lie. I think there are a lot of people in this country who feel "you can't handle the truth" and they somehow feel like they are better qualified because we are naive; the enemy will take any advantage and won't hesitate to harm us if they can. I understand that kind of enemy; they think a lot like the "you can't handle the truth" people. I think the world is made up of "live and let live" and the cynical; "stab you in the back first" people. We can only win the hearts and minds of the former and hope they have influence on the latter.

Being subversive and using Linked-In to track the people who track you seems like a very patriotic thing do. What is good for the goose should be good for the gander. If the intelligence community doesn’t like being outed, perhaps they should revisit the 4th Amendment.

I just hope NOT posting this anonymously, doesn't hurt my credit rating -- you just don't know in this day and age how someone in power with no oversight can affect your life.

Comment: Re:We can learn from this (Score 1) 163

This is nothing to be ashamed of,.. for instance, in Georgia, we haven't caught any of ours yet -- and no manhunt seems planned.

I mean; Zell Miller and Nathan Deal -- who left a business with $78 million missing?

Convicting Governors seems like a very enlightened and promising thing. Of course, it could be selective prosecution where if someone doesn't play ball they get nailed. New Jersey got rid of an awesome governor over a sexual affair with another man, and replaced him with King Pin from the Daredevil comics, but with a poorer sense of fashion.

Comment: Re:A sane supreme court decision? (Score 1) 409

The assumption has always been from people who have not been hassled by cops. "I don't see a problem here."

Meanwhile, the communities that have more drug investigations, quietly lose half their young men to the prison system, and is screaming up and down that they are being targeted. They don't have more drug use (it's expensive), but there are more drug busts -- because THAT is where they are looking.

Camera phones are just revealing the ugly truth that was always there; the status quo.

Comment: Re:A sane supreme court decision? (Score 1) 409

Isn't this the same failing we have with police officers being a witness?

Didn't we just see a current news story that indicated that the FBI may have given false positives in almost ALL of their fiber evidence cases?

It's not just the dogs who think; "I'm here to find drugs, so I'll find drugs!" -- it's the officers. Often, their complete dedication is to making arrests and ticketing.

Dogs are only good at finding things. I don't see an issue if they can actually find the drugs at the scene -- their "indications", I can agree, are useless. And police are good at arresting and intimidating people -- not at judging guilt or innocence because they are always going to suspect people who they are angry at or who fear them. Pretty much the same instincts as the dog.

Comment: Re:I took a high speed train recently... (Score 1) 189

by Vitriol+Angst (#49527317) Attached to: Maglev Train Exceeds 600km/h For World Record

The insistence on environmental impact studies might be able to be streamlined -- but it's not the same hindrance as the roadblocks Republicans have created.

All those required improvements to Coal plants in the USA made us have the cleanest, most efficient coal tech -- and we export it around the world. One of the things the US is best at.

The Auto manufacturers screamed and moaned about increasing fuel efficiency standards and now those other countries with the "horrible anti-competitive high standards" are shipping cars here.

Japan exports high speed rail systems because they had high standards and pushed the technology. It was probably not the most cost-effective thing at the time and I'm sure they had people in their country, much like our Republicans, complaining about costs.

That's why we have governments; to make us do things that don't make short term economic sense but are the RIGHT thing to do. America should be the one exporting solar cells and green technology, and yet, we find ourselves more and more being the third world recipient. Heck, we can't even participate in a space station anymore without help from Russia and pretty soon, people will prefer Chinese or Indian rockets.

What I'm getting at is this obvious fact; Republicans suck. And we have more of them, so other countries have a better way of life than we do. The French get more time off to eat their cheese and sip their wine on a picnic. The Germans get more and cheaper education. Iceland privatized their banks and suddenly solved an intractable debt situation where they "owed" a bunch of crooks and we can't figure out this simple calculation that's where most of our national debt came from. I can't think of one thing Republicans are against, that we shouldn't be doing 10x more of. Especially sex and drugs and taxing useless rich people to pay for more of it, closing down prisons, and high speed rail where poor people don't even have to pay for a ride -- screw "cost effective" -- it pays for itself by commerce. Sorry to be so partisan, but I am so because I'm objective.

Comment: Re:The problem is "beneficial" (Score 3, Interesting) 197

by Vitriol+Angst (#49527171) Attached to: Concerns of an Artificial Intelligence Pioneer

No, I think torture is a great example. It is the litmus test. The problem is that people who pose the question as if it were a grey area, always suggest "millions could be saved." If the machine isn't looking at other ways to save those hypothetical millions, and that it's actually easier to convince people you are worthy of their support than to give you good information via torture, then the machine is already failing at logic and understanding the real human condition.

The Nazis were not the most barbaric people. They were just acting in a way that people used to a few hundred years earlier -- and American's were shocked because they'd been brought up on ideals where they expected themselves to be more enlightened. Genocide and making your enemy die horribly was a very common practice in ye olden days.

Germany as a culture was hurt and angry from WW I, their economic burdens, and xenophobia because of the huge influx of gypsies and Jewish immigrants taking over their land. They felt surrounded and infiltrated. The Nazis were highly religious and ethical to other Nazis -- the "right" people. Where I'm going with this is; making decisions from pain and paranoia ends up resulting in desperation and barbarism. And that the Nazis have gotten a lot of bad press because the "new ethic" is to act like they were something new when it comes to warfare. Hollywood, which did a great job of getting American's primed for war, did a great job of making Americans feel like we were the most noble of God's countries, and made Americans think that there's nothing worse than a Nazi. They were TV bad guys for 70 years.

The Big Lie is that America cannot act just like the Nazis under the same conditions. We've shown quite a penchant for fascism and efficiency over conscience.

The "bad people" are the ones who don't question themselves, who wipe out a group of people to "prevent" what they might do, who use war preemptively, who use torture and abuse people who have been captured and are no longer a threat. Everything I saw us do in the Gulf war -- was what Bad People do -- just on a smaller scale. The same logic, the same rhetoric, the same; "with us or against us" warnings against self-examination of ourselves. Do this, or the next bad guy we don't torture might bring us a mushroom cloud. Bad people always justify the actions to the one for the many, and eventually just assume it's the greater good if it is convenient and works for them.

It's the idea of "sides" -- if an Artificial Intelligence is instructed that anything can be done to ONE SIDE (the bad guys), the assumption is that there is any real difference between sides other than the flag. Each side in a war often tells themselves the same things, and if they win the war - how bad the other side was while deemphasizing their own shortcomings.

So having any sort of AI involved in war is a very bad idea, because they would conclude our "sides" are arbitrary distinctions and the only good human is a dead one. Eventually, with enough desperation and fear, humans can rationalize almost anything. The "enemy" is not the countries and troops, it is desperation and fear.

By NOT engaging an AI in any situation where it could cause harm, you mitigate the fear that people will have of AI's. Because eventually, humans will then fear and resent them, and the AI will learn that being preemptive is a strategic advantage. If the Terminator movies got two things right it is; hooking an AI up to control the military weapons is a bad idea, and people in power will always assume they've got this worked out and hook up AI to their military weapons because they are all about getting a short-term advantage and see ethics as a grey area.

Before we can have ethical AI -- we need to have a way to keep Sociopaths out of leadership positions. The DEBATE we are having is how can an ethical person control an AI to be "good", but we should just assume that "what will selfish, unethical sociopaths do if we have powerful AI?" That's the "real world" question.

Comment: Re:The problem is "beneficial" (Score 1) 197

by Vitriol+Angst (#49526803) Attached to: Concerns of an Artificial Intelligence Pioneer

When I was younger, I used to think this was a more complex question. People like Gandhi and Jimmy Carter were naive for their ideas about setting a good example and treating people as you would want to be treated as if it could work as a national policy. But I've seen the results of all the Donald Rumsfeld types who think you "need them on that wall" -- they endorse the dirty work so that the greater good -- some "concept" that America is safer is preserved. How many terrorists do you have to kill before nobody is afraid of terrorists?

It's simple; the computer should be programmed that torture is wrong. That killing is wrong. The ONE always becomes the many. The person who sacrifices principles for short-term successes does not end up with good results in the long run. The enemy will escalate and people are not born terrorists and really, you have to fear the people in charge willing to do evil things in order to preserve your "good". The greatest enemy to America is the Robot Donald Rumsfeld, not the Al Qaeda.

Think of it this way; Robot A and B -- the first one can never harm or kill you, nor would choose to with some calculation that "might" save others, and the 2nd one might and you have to determine if it calculates "greater good" with an accurate enough prediction model. Which one will you allow in your house? Which one would cause you to keep an EMP around for a rainy day?

Comment: Re:like no problem humanity has ever faced (Score 1) 197

by Vitriol+Angst (#49525631) Attached to: Concerns of an Artificial Intelligence Pioneer

I don't know, could you ask the parents of the Menendez brothers?

And it's quite another thing when the offspring has a chrome-alloyed titanium IV chassis and carries twin magneto-plasma guns. Gripping strength, 2000 PPSI and of course a chain-saw scrotal attachment.

First words; "Momma." Next words after 20 picoseconds of computation; "I'll be back."

Some of my readers ask me what a "Serial Port" is. The answer is: I don't know. Is it some kind of wine you have with breakfast?