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Comment: Re:No, no. Let's not go there. Please. (Score 1) 880

by fyngyrz (#47900443) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

Agnosticism is about knowledge. the Theism / Atheism poles are diametric opposites: belief and non-belief. There's no middle ground definable by knowledge, or lack thereof.

Agnosticism is not a third position. You're either a theist -- that is, you hold some measure of belief in a god or gods -- or you're not, and you don't. From there, you can, if you like, assert a state of knowledge to bolster your choice, or a lack of a state of knowledge to do the same thing. But your position is still either you believe, or you don't.

The whole point about belief, or not, is that it is contingent upon faith. Knowledge is not.

Hope that helped some.

Comment: Re:What are the bounds of property? (Score 1) 163

by fyngyrz (#47899291) Attached to: Justice Sotomayor Warns Against Tech-Enabled "Orwellian" World

An interesting issue is, the photons that formed the image were not on their property at the time, nor do they have a legitimate claim to ownership of those photons just because they happened to bounce off their stuff. They probably bounced off a lot of other stuff, too. "My photon! MY PHOTON!" has more than a little bit of the ring of insanity about it. :)

If you don't want a photonic record of your actions, the sensible answer is to avoid photons that can form such a thing, i.e., stay inside your dwelling with opaque curtains drawn, erect a fence and a cover, etc.

Comment: No, no. Let's not go there. Please. (Score 5, Informative) 880

by fyngyrz (#47899243) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

The big challenge for atheism is not God; it is that of providing an alternative to Spock-ism. We need an account of our place in the world that leaves room for value."

Atheism is the lack of belief in a god or god. Nothing else. It's not about science, it's not about ethics, it's not about morals, it's not about values. When you say you're atheist, you're saying you do not hold any belief there is a god or gods. That's all. There's no dogma, no book, no set of "therefore we believe these here other thingamajigs", nothing.

If you want to know what an atheist thinks about something other than belief in a god or gods, you really must ask them, or you're simply letting your imagination paint a false picture of the world.

Comment: You know who I don't trust? (Score 0, Troll) 67

by fyngyrz (#47838171) Attached to: Mozilla 1024-Bit Cert Deprecation Leaves 107,000 Sites Untrusted

Anyone but self-signed Certificate providers.

All certs effectively do is provide encryption. The whole "provides identity" thing is a myth because there is *no* way to ensure such a thing. There's about a zillion ways to fake that identity. Encryption is guaranteed. Unbreakable encryption is not. That's all you get. That's all you'll *ever* get.

Browser "trust" warnings are nothing more than scare tactics designed by the cert manufacturers, in collusion with browser manufacturers, designed to build a completely unnecessary industry for scamming web site owners out of a huge amount of completely wasted money. Wasted other than funding the cert provider parasites, that is.

Comment: Insane amounts of... insanity (Score 1) 101

by fyngyrz (#47838133) Attached to: Newly Discovered Asteroid To Pass Within Geostationary Orbit Sunday

Yeah, after all, what is gravity well free access to effectively infinite mineral and other resources? What's the use of long baseline telescopes (of any wavelength) without atmospheric interference? What's the use of 0-G manufacturing? What's the use of 100% availability of solar power? What's the use of heavy manufacturing where pollution is trivially and harmlessly disposable by simply pushing it into (towards) the sun? What's the use of cutting the cost of space travel to other solar locations by removing the whole "climb out of the gravity well every time" "feature"? What's the use of exploring new worlds in a much easier fashion? What's the use of setting up any size nuclear power stations with zero risk to anyone on the planet? What's the point of having almost direct access to any incoming comet or asteroid without having to climb a 1G gravity well first? Actually, what's the point of exploring at all? What's the use of listening for other civilizations without earthly interference, without inherent limitations on size, and power, and wavelength? What's the use of being able to immediately test new space-drive ideas... in space? What's the advantage of having hard vacuum available instead of having to pump for hours at a high energy cost, where said energy and time is anything but free? From the military POV, what's the use of trading multi-million dollar warheads for free rocks?

I mean, jeeze... such a useless idea, creating space habitats, spending whatever for no tangible results whatsoever. The NERVE! You are so right.

Comment: They won't be crying (Score 1) 165

by fyngyrz (#47831925) Attached to: Buenos Aires Issues a 'Netflix Tax' For All Digital Entertainment

This is a smart move -- they won't see nearly as much of other countries undercutting their markets -- preventing the loss of domestic jobs and the outflow of non-government funds that US policies, for instance, have resulted in.

Kind of funny to see people complaining about them trying to protect their economy.

Guess I need to run wham-a-lart and buy some more inexpensive Japanese, Chinese and Korean stuff now. See you guys later.

Comment: Cool Tech (Score 1) 67

by fyngyrz (#47823063) Attached to: Welcome To Laniakea, Our New Cosmic Home

Fuel injection will never look as cool as two high CFM Holley four barrel carbs sitting above an engine, in series with a blower plenum. Or six two-barrels. Never. :)

Just the same way my state of the art Marantz home theater will never look as cool as my late 1970's 2325 Marantz receiver.

A particular technology may be peak, performance wise; but that's no indicator it's the peak aesthetically as well.

Clipper ships / modern freighters. Another good example. Beauties and the beasts.


Comment: It's all bunk. (Score 3, Informative) 546

by fyngyrz (#47819983) Attached to: Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

The premise in the summary is wrong. Employers have not learned that actual skill outweighs the fact that someone survived college.

The fact is that such a degree in no way indicates that obtaining it involved actually learning what was presented for longer than it takes to pass the relevant examinations.

On the other hand, if the programmer presents a series of complex projects they have completed, this does positively indicate they have both the knowledge (what the degree should attest to, but really doesn't rise to the challenge) and the ability to employ that knowledge (which the degree does not assure anyone of, at all.) Those completed project should also serve to demonstrate that the required portions of theory have both been absorbed and implemented, presuming the project works well and as intended.

Employers and HR departments are rarely focused on actual performance, except in the very smallest of companies. Most use a combination of bean-counting, related age-discrimination, and the supposedly valuable rubber stamp of a degree to winnow out programming job applicants. After all, if said employee screws it up, that's the employee's fault. Not the HR person.

This, in fact, is why most corporate software goes out the door with so many problems, and it is also why those problems typically remain unfixed for very long periods of time.

It sure would be of great benefit to end users and companies if actual skill *did* outweigh a degree. But that's most definitely not happening. It's wishful thinking, that's all. And if you're an older programmer, even your sheepskin won't help you -- you cost too much, your health is significantly more uncertain, they don't like your familial obligations, they don't like your failure to integrate into "youth culture" as in no particular fascination with social media... or even your preference for a shirt and tie. Welcome to the machine. You put your hand in the gears right here. Unless you've enough of an entrepreneurial bent that you can go it on your own. In which case, I salute you and welcome you to the fairly low-population ranks of the escapees.

Comment: Re:Doesn't matter how the government gets the data (Score 1) 199

by fyngyrz (#47819861) Attached to: First US Appeals Court Hears Arguments To Shut Down NSA Database

No. You're completely ignoring what the 4th says. It says "unreasonable" is prohibited, and then it goes on to explicitly define what reasonable means.

If all it takes is some functionary going "well, I think it's reasonable" then the 4th has absolutely no meaning at all, which is not a sustainable position one can take for the framer's intent.

Comment: Re:Surprising constitutional question from judge (Score 1) 199

by fyngyrz (#47819833) Attached to: First US Appeals Court Hears Arguments To Shut Down NSA Database

Verizon can so choose if their contract with me so stipulates (just as a house helper can treat the information gleaned from searching my home as public if I agree they can.) They may not be coerced into this legally, or exempted by the government from keeping my privacy, either. That's just an end run, and it amounts to exactly the same thing: a search without the cover of a properly executed warrant.

Comment: More, done watching (Score 5, Insightful) 199

by fyngyrz (#47819611) Attached to: First US Appeals Court Hears Arguments To Shut Down NSA Database

I just finished watching the entire proceeding, with a few short rewinds.

I'm appalled even at the suggestion that because the government thinks it "needs" to do something, it can. This theory permeates several of the points made; it is invalid from the ground up. If the government believes it needs something that is constitutionally prohibited, its remedy is found in the pursuit of the processes laid out in article five of the constitution -- not in outright ignoring the hard limits set upon it by the bill of rights or other sections of the constitution.

Likewise, the "is it reasonable" sophistry was very upsetting to encounter again. It's an outright stupid tack to take. The 4th does indeed include the word unreasonable, but it then proceeds to describe what is reasonable: probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, may cause a warrant to be issued though that warrant must be specific as to place(s) and item(s) to be searched for. Those conditions all being met, the search is then both reasonable and authorized. The fact is, if all it takes is someone saying "well, I think it's reasonable that we search fyngyrz premises (or whatever)" and this over-rides the very specific instruction that a warrant is required, then the entire 4th amendment is without any meaning at all other than perhaps, optionally, advisory.

On the subject of who can search what...

If I hire a house-helper to whom I assign the roles of answering the phone, keeping the larder up to date, cleaning and laundering, this person clearly has my permission to search. They will search under furniture, appliances and cushions for debris; they will search cabinets and the refrigerated devices for out of date or missing foodstuffs, they will open my drawers and organize and store my clothing. They will, in large part, know who has called me on my home phone, and who I may have called out to.

Fine. I can give such permission. But this, in and of itself, in no way serves to authorize the government to search my premises -- for anything. The 4th limits the government with regard to my person, houses, papers and effects. It does not (obviously) limit me, or someone I hire a service from and extend such permission to, from searching. The 4th is clearly not limiting action in the public sphere. It is limiting action in the government sphere.

Relating this to Verizon and its peers: By contracting to make phone calls through their capabilities, in no way have I extended the government access to my communications, in any part or parcel. What I have done is arrange for a service by Verizon/peers without extending the government any permissions at all, and the government, absent my explicit permission pretty much identical to that as given to my house-helper, is restrained, intentionally so by the 4th amendment from searching for anything, anywhere, in regard to my communications. Which, in case anyone is wondering, is also the rationale that underlies title communications law with regard to the content of my calls, and also forms the basis for the prohibition of any person monitoring cellular radio links.

Every time the government succeeds in arguments from need instead of authorization, we become subject to the whim of individuals, rather than to a constitutionally limited government. It should frighten the living daylights out of anyone who understands the issues when the rationale is "but we NEED to", as was seen multiple times in the government side of this proceeding; and the more so when the judges don't laugh in the face of the person presenting that argument.

Remember: If the idea is that the constitution is merely advisory, then there is no functional difference between the US government and that of any tin pot dictatorship. Someone says "I wanna", and it happens. That's most definitely not how our country was intended to operate; otherwise the framers were completely wasting their time.


Comment: Surprising constitutional question from judge (Score 4, Interesting) 199

by fyngyrz (#47818543) Attached to: First US Appeals Court Hears Arguments To Shut Down NSA Database

I have the video paused right now at a point (34:43) where the middle-seated judge had just asked, when the constitutional argument came up, if Verizon could not access and utilize these records.

I find the question somewhat bewildering.

The 4th amendment was written to limit the government's ability to search and seize. If you favor an incorporated view of the 14th amendment, these limitations extend to the states, and from there to the legal establishments within the states, the various county and city and town legal structures.

In no way was the 4th amendment addressed to private entities; limits of this type are set by contract, and by over-riding legislation which is not constitutionally based, but instead -- supposedly -- based upon the apparent needs of the community. Even if the constitution is taken as a model for such legislation, it is not the authority for it.

I see absolutely no relevance at all as to what Verizon could, or could not, do with the data. The question at hand is what the government can do with the data.

It is frustrating to see a sitting member of the bench ask such a wrongheaded question, implying that there is any relevance at all between the issue of constitutional constraints on the government, and business practice.

The 4th requires probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, before a warrant may be issued, and that warrant has to specify the place(s) to be searched and the thing(s) being searched for. The clear implication is that the warrant is required or the search is unreasonable, and the prerequisites for that warrant are laid out clearly as I have stated. Here's the 4th itself for reference:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!