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Comment: Why the future? Why us? (Score 1) 745

by coalrestall (#46264917) Attached to: Mathematician: Is Our Universe a Simulation?

All these "world as a simulation" models assume that the ones doing the simulating are 1) in "our" future (if that even makes sense), and 2) like us. It would make much more sense to assume that they are not like us and exist in a dimension we cannot possibly imagine. In effect, the question "is our universe a simulation?" is the exact same question as the age old "is there an all powerful god?" And the same logic could be used to prove there's an invisible killer robot from the future living in my cupboard.

Comment: Re:Yahoo has 22 million .jp users? (Score 1) 28

by coalrestall (#43771677) Attached to: Yahoo! Japan May Have Had 22 Million User IDs Stolen

I have Google set up to return English and Japanese results, and never had this specific problem, but two I do consistently get:

1) I search for something using English keywords, and the Japanese Wikipedia entry comes up (English entry nowhere in sight). That's probably Wikipedia's fault somehow. That, and

2) Whenever I search for anything that resembles a person's name (kanji) the first twenty odd results are name-based fortune telling sites.

Comment: Re:Newer tech yes, Smaller reactors no (Score 2) 218

by coalrestall (#43532353) Attached to: Fukushima Nuclear Plant Cleanup May Take More Than 40 Years

Also, it was the tsunami that actually caused the meltdowns. Fukushima had appropriate backups for cooling the reactor, and were well under way when the reactors were shut down after the quake, they just didn't design for the eventually of a tsunami to come and categorically knock them all out.

They didn't entirely ignore the possibility—there was a 19ft sea wall designed to protect the plant from the tsunami. It was just unfortunate that it wasn't sufficient to protect the plant from the 46ft wave that actually came. In fairness though, a tsunami higher than 19ft in that area was pretty much unprecedented until the afternoon of March 11th 2011, and had the plant been made one generation later, a newer backup system would have been in place that used gravity rather than knockoutable electricity and it would have been fine. I guess they figured that if a tsunami higher than 19 feet hits the coastline, the power plant would be the least of their problems. A lot of people still think that...

Comment: Correction (Score 1) 133

by coalrestall (#43041687) Attached to: High Court Orders UK ISPs To Block More Torrent Sites

"On the topic of filesharing, Japan arrested 27 file sharers, using the recent changes to their copyright law that allow criminal charges to be brought against file sharers."

According to TFA

"Existing legislation against uploaders of copyright content already provided for penalties of up to 10 years in prison and a 10 million yen ($108,202) fine."

Given that all the arrests were for uploading or otherwise making available pirated goods, I would say this comes under the pre-existing law, and not the October 1st update.

Comment: Re:Is the judge a member of Anon? (Score 1) 325

by coalrestall (#40598729) Attached to: UK Judge: Galaxy Tab "Not Cool" Enough To Infringe iPad

I don't know. Apple's design philosophy has always been that of making devices that are easy for people that don't have a clue what they're doing to use, and the coolness factor was always an extension of that—coolness makes the devices appeal at an emotional level to people who wouldn't know how to make a rational choice based on specs, and it's those people the devices are aimed at. "Not as cool" doesn't mean that those same people aren't still going to be confused.

Comment: ...That thou art mindful of him (Score 1) 305

I'm guessing they didn't read "...That Thou Art Mindful of Him" then. The gist is that the Three Laws work fine in space where there's a clear chain of command and all humans in the equation are qualified technicians and the such. On earth though, qualitative judgments would need to be constantly made qualifying the first and second laws to determine What is a human? Which humans should be given 1st law priority when more than one is in danger and only one can be helped (and by that token, which "humans" can be left to die without consequence—squirrels and the such)? Which humans should be given 2nd law priority in the giving of instructions (and by that token, which can be ignored completely)?

The long and the short of it is that if robots (or smartphones) on earth are given the Three Laws, they will necessarily define themselves as the highest ranking humans for 1st and 2nd law purposes and take over the world. It's a really bad idea.

Comment: It's simple (Score 2) 119

by coalrestall (#37534742) Attached to: Canadian Government Says DRM Circumvention Not Related To Copyright
Give artists/distributors the choice – their works can either be protected by copyright, or by DRM, but not both. If the DRM is effective then they won't need copyright protection. Plus it's illegal to break the lock. That said, if the lock is broken, the content is no longer protected and the public can do what they like with it (except the person that broke the lock – they're going to prison, if we can establish who they are...)

Comment: Petition (Score 1) 536

by coalrestall (#37383780) Attached to: EU Extends Music Copyright to 70 Years
As I said when this came up and fell through a few years back, Cliff Richards' actions are those of petty greed and unbefitting his royal title. As such, he should publicly and without delay renounce his knighthood. http://www.petitiononline.com/cliffren/petition.html Unfortunately, only one person in the whole world felt strongly enough to show solidarity, but they did give a hearty "Hear hear!"

Comment: Re:The real problem with iPhone tracking (Score 1) 373

by coalrestall (#35939166) Attached to: Steve Jobs: 'We Don't Track Anyone'
If you get it from an employer and it contains company emails, they normally insist (in such a way that you're not given an actual choice in the matter, even if it's your own personal phone) that it be passcoded and backups be encrypted. Given the choice of doing this, or having some vague opportunity to spy on where you've been at the risk of company secrets leaking, I wonder which they'd go for?

Comment: Re:Old people already use that in Japan (Score 2, Interesting) 137

by coalrestall (#34279652) Attached to: Paying With the Wave of a Cellphone
I would guess a lot of those people playing with iPhones have second phones as well. iPhone is still the second and third best selling phone in Japan at the moment (beaten from first only recently by an Android handset) so again, nothing like a failure. Source: http://www.analytica1st.com/2010/11/japan-best-selling-phones-apple-iphone.html The RFID enabled phones here do actually work quite well. They work on the train systems, convenience stores and news stands, some vending machines, an increasing number of restaurants, not to mention points cards at different stores etc. Additionally they can be used as coupons at places like McDonalds where you enter your discounted order onscreen then wave your phone over the sensor to order it. What makes it hard is that there isn't one universal card system that works everywhere; you have to install lots of different card type applications into the phone and activate each one individually. Thankfully the machines when you scan over them can broadly identify which card to charge, but if the same machine can access your suica card (for trains), your credit card and any of the several other payment option cards you have installed, you have to manually tell it which one to go for, after a bit of a while. You may as well have just gotten the right card out of your wallet in the first place. Oh, and with the exception of credit cards, putting money into the phone's RFID card for services such as Suica is a major hassle.

Comment: Re:Old people already use that in Japan (Score 4, Informative) 137

by coalrestall (#34279542) Attached to: Paying With the Wave of a Cellphone
On an average commute (the times where you really get to see what phones everybody are using), I'd say anywhere from a third to half of the phones I see people with are iPhones. It's certainly not a failure here, though if it were to be, it wouldn't be the RFID payment thing (which most people don't use because it's damn near impossible to figure out unless you're the sort of person that regularly posts to Slashdot). It would be because it can't handle websites aimed at Japanese phones, by which I mean the vast majority of websites accessed via a QR code printed somewhere which actually go as far as to completely block access to all but regular phone browsers. These sites are a valuable source of games (very bad ones), discount coupons, postage stamp sized pictures of celebrities that you get to set as your background screen for free, and other such wonders which are fantastically important to the phone buying market.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

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