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Comment: Re:Jumping the gun? (Score 1) 251

by darkfire5252 (#38305430) Attached to: Supreme Court Legitimizing Medical Patents?

From TFA:
 

Justices Scalia and Breyer showed some skepticism that patents could cover the use of scientific correlations in medical practice. But the other justices expressed no such skepticism. At one point, Justice Kagan offered some advice to Prometheus's lawyer. "What you haven't done is say at a certain number you should use a certain treatment, at another number you should use another treatment," she said. "I guess the first question is why didn't you file a patent like that? Because that clearly would have been patentable. Everybody agrees with that."

It's not that the fact that they are hearing the case legitimizes anything. It's the fact that they are making comments about how medical patents are valid will legitimize medical patents...

Comment: Re:What good would the government do anyway? (Score 1) 101

by darkfire5252 (#33752752) Attached to: Aussie Gov't Won't Help Fight Cyber Attacks

A late response to a dead thread, but it's worth pointing out that the problem we examined in detail was not too much load, it was a rapid reduction of load. The precise problem was that, if the smart meter is ever compromised (or some other home automation system was compromised in very large numbers), one could switch enough meters off supply such that the load at the generator is very drastically reduced to the point that it is mechanically damaged.

Comment: Re:What good would the government do anyway? (Score 2, Informative) 101

by darkfire5252 (#33724580) Attached to: Aussie Gov't Won't Help Fight Cyber Attacks

If powerplant controls are exposed to the internet, the government should "step in" to waterboard those responsible with battery acid.

I feel like I repeat this at least once per 'cyberwar' thread, but it bears repeating until people start to understand. "Power plants can be attacked via the internet" is not equivalent to "Power plant controls are exposed to the internet". There's plenty of risk to the power infrastructure that comes from systems that can affect power usage being exposed to the internet, even if the power plant isn't exposed to the internet...

The reason that some people give 'cyberwar' more thought than that is that it's not as simple as you make it out to be. I'm a coauthor on a DOE sponsored paper (under security review, so no citation for now) that covers some more subtle aspects of the problem. The electrical grid can be attacked by compromising the control system if that system is internet connected, true. However, if a significant proportion of the electrical load for any one generator can be controlled via the internet, then that generator can be attacked via the internet without requiring any direct internet contact. Case in point, X10, Google, Microsoft, and many other companies are currently looking into home automation and controlling the home's electrical system via the computer. So, what happens the next time there's a runaway MS worm, but instead of just sending spam it gives control of the home automation system to the attacker? Simply by turning the power off in enough houses in an area, an attacker could actually cause physical damage to the power plant.

That's why we can't just dismiss the problem as "unhook the power plants from the internet." In a world that's increasingly hooked to the internet, we can't afford to overlook how the internet-connected components can possibly have an effect on the non-connected components.

Comment: Re:WIth all due repsect (Score 2, Insightful) 401

by darkfire5252 (#33709462) Attached to: Apple, Startup Go To Trial Over 'Pod' Trademark

Fuck U.S. intellectual property laws, and the American legal system for condoning the litigious tendencies of those wanting to bully or extort money from others. Apple's suit is disgusting, yet almost any other U.S. company would pursue the same suit if in the same position; hell, we've had a car company both sponsor and send legal threats to the same web site (with no significant changes to the site).

The lawsuit is a direct consequence of the American trademark laws. From http://www.answers.com/topic/trademark :

The owners of registered trademarks can lose their rights in a number of ways. When a trade or the general public adopts a trademark as the name for a type of goods, the mark is no longer distinctive and the rights to it are lost. The owner of trademark rights must be vigilant to ensure that this does not occur.

The general idea is that, if Apple allows the practice of calling a small electronic device a 'pod' to continue without objection, I can sell my ePod and directly claim that it is 'a better Pod than the iPod!'. Apple has no recourse, because 'pod' can be argued to be a common term applying to handheld electronics, and not anything particularly referring to the 'iPod' or any Apple product...

The general message: blame the legislation and legal precedent. Don't blame Apple for vigilantly defending its trademarks; Apple has to do this or else face losing any trademark rights that it has...

Comment: Re:Building? (Score 1) 271

by darkfire5252 (#33689828) Attached to: Researcher Builds Machines That Daydream

You've missed the point I was trying to make entirely (possibly because I did not do a good job of trying to make it...): I'm not arguing that emotions do not exist or that they cannot be privately experienced.

What I was trying to illustrate is that, if a program or other 'artificial intelligence' has a state that it calls 'sadness', it's not such an absurd idea to call that an 'emotion'. If being in the 'sad' state has an impact on certain aspects of the program's function, causes the program to report being 'sad', and has an associated set of measurable internal symptoms of being 'sad', how is that qualitatively or quantitatively different than a human being 'sad'?

Comment: Re:Building? (Score 1) 271

by darkfire5252 (#33689692) Attached to: Researcher Builds Machines That Daydream

My point was not that a machine could at all have a similar experience to a human's experience. That is absolutely untrue. My point is that a machine could have an analogous experience to a human's experience. If I define 'sad' as being a state possible for a machine to be in (with an associated set of possible data stored in the RAM), how is that more significant than defining 'sad' as being a specific emotional state a person can be in (win an associated set of possible chemical reactions occurring in the brain) ?

My point is not that you actually do not get sad, my point is that there is nothing magical about emotion that makes it somehow uncomputable. Emotion is just a possible state that a person can be in that has measurable and predictable effects on their behavior. Can you not envision 'virtual emotion' as being a possible state for a program to be in that has measurable and predictable effects on its operation?

What makes your emotional state so 'special' as to be something that only chemical reactions can represent and not something that computers could represent? When thinking about this, be sure to keep in mind that, in general, it is possible for computers to represent chemical reactions...

Comment: Re:Building? (Score 1, Troll) 271

by darkfire5252 (#33687444) Attached to: Researcher Builds Machines That Daydream

The damned machine is a machine; it doesn't get sad when it's fed a sad story, it just reports sadness.

As a graduate student getting a doctorate researching the field of machine learning, let me present a little thought experiment to you...

I would assert that you never actually get sad. You are, in reality, a soul-less shell of a person that just claims to 'feel' sadness, happiness, or any other human qualities. You never actually have any feelings in reality, you just report that you have feelings in order to not raise suspicion. Prove me wrong; somehow demonstrate to me that there is some abstract notion of 'emotion' that you possess that is present even in the absence of you reporting to feel that way or acting in a manner that implies you feel that way. I.e. prove to me that you somehow feel 'sad' when there are no external signs (you 'report' sadness, you cry, etc.) of your emotional state.

Before you mention that your metabolic processes are affected by your emotion, your body behaves differently (in a manner uncontrollable by you), etc., consider that if you looked at the memory space of the program that is running you could read register values that indicated 'sadness' in a way that is analogous to taking measurements of your physical body that indicate sadness.

Comment: Re:That is the modus operandi (Score 1) 373

by darkfire5252 (#33635980) Attached to: Intel Threatens DMCA Using HDCP Crack

The EU version of the DMCA specifically only provides protection for effective encryption measures.

Not trying to troll here, but isn't the whole concept of "illegal to circumvent DRM encryption measures only if the encryption measure is effective" somewhat ludicrous? The central concept behind DRM is that the content provider will give the user (the potential attacker) some encrypted content and a means to decrypt that content, and then attempt to restrict the use of the decrypted content or the setting in which the key can be used to do the decryption... The only premise in which effective cryptography can take place is when the key is kept secret from the attacker...

Comment: Re:Open Notes & Well-Designed Exams (Score 1) 870

by darkfire5252 (#33573004) Attached to: Preventing Networked Gizmo Use During Exams?

For example, if one is taking a proper mathematical analysis class but they do not know (by heart!) the formal definition of the limit by midterm, then one is left to wonder how much actual analysis they can do. Ditto for Newton's laws of motion, for example, in the corresponding physics class. In every discipline there are these basic things one needs to understand thoroughly—without having to look them up—to even begin to appreciate the rest of the results.

As a person currently enrolled in a graduate level Real Analysis course, I would argue that memorization of a definition is different than understanding the concept and the implications of the concept. The proper way, on both homework assignments and tests, to determine if a student actually understands the concept of 'a limit' is to ask them to analytically prove statements involving limits, not to ask them to mechanically calculate the value of the limit of some function.

It's the difference between the question: "F(x) = ...; find the limit of F as x goes to ..." and the question "Suppose you have a function F, with the following properties... prove that F has a limit and that this limit is finite."

Comment: Re:Not seeing the attitude you see (Score 1) 347

by darkfire5252 (#33527002) Attached to: Apple Relaxes iOS Development Tool Restrictions

As a developer I don't get that vibe at all. Apple realizes the success they have enjoyed COMES from the development community, and offers a ton of stuff in support of developers. [...] There really are no "hoops" at all in application development, and honestly how can you claim there are with 250k approved apps?

As a developer, I absolutely get that vibe. Get back to me when I can code for an iPhone without buying an Apple computer. Cross-platform compilation is a non-issue, and has been for some time. If there really are some horrendous dependencies on the _entirety_ of the Apple environment that make cross-platform development impossible, the problem could be solved by providing a stripped-down virtual machine for development.

They don't offer anything like that. They don't intend to ever offer it. Apple is saying that they would rather me not spend my time developing programs which provide added value to the iPhone unless I'm willing to purchase $500 of hardware to do it... That's not "hoops" enough for you?

Comment: Re:Governmental Fail (Score 1) 461

by darkfire5252 (#33441272) Attached to: Senate Trying To Slip Internet Kill Switch Past Us

Don't design [...] critical infrastructure to communicate with the internet. Life support, power plants, hospitals, water treatment plants can use very secure computers and use local networking. BUT DON'T PUT THEM ON THE [...] INTERNET.

The reason that some people give 'cyberwar' more thought than that is that it's not as simple as you make it out to be. I'm a coauthor on a DOE sponsored paper (under security review, so no citation for now) that covers some more subtle aspects of the problem. The electrical grid can be attacked by compromising the control system if that system is internet connected, true. However, if a significant proportion of the electrical load for any one generator can be controlled via the internet, then that generator can be attacked via the internet without requiring any direct internet contact. Case in point, X10, Google, Microsoft, and many other companies are currently looking into home automation and controlling the home's electrical system via the computer. So, what happens the next time there's a runaway MS worm, but instead of just sending spam it gives control of the home automation system to the attacker? Simply by turning the power off in enough houses in an area, an attacker could actually cause physical damage to the power plant.

That's why we can't just dismiss the problem as "unhook the power plants from the internet." In a world that's increasingly hooked to the internet, we can't afford to overlook how the internet-connected components can possibly have an effect on the non-connected components.

Comment: Re:Give Me A Break! (Score 1) 483

by darkfire5252 (#33380386) Attached to: Facebook Says It Owns 'Book'

they should be thankful that they will be getting free advertising indefinitely, the way the big G does every time someone tells you to go google something.

Google absolutely hates when someone says to go 'google' something, and with good reason. Trademark law is actually somewhat sensible when it comes to recognizing that language changes over time. A company is not allowed to trademark a word that refers to a type of product or a type of action (IANAL, and I'm sure I'm overlooking some finer points, but that's the idea). This includes precedent for invalidating a trademark if the trademark becomes equivalent to such a word later on. This is the reason you never hear the phrase "buy Band-Aids" or "buy Kleenex" in a commercial. They make a specific point of saying "buy Band-Aid brand bandages" or "Kleenex tissues". If usage changes to the point where you cannot refer to an adhesive bandage and have most people understand what you mean (i.e. only 'Band-Aid' refers to that item in popular language to the point that it causes confusion), then SmithCorp can sell "SmithCorp brand band-aids" and make the case that band-aid is a noun, not a trademark anymore.

If Google supports the usage of the verb 'google' as a synonym for 'search on the internet,' then it actually may become the case that you see an ad on TV advertising that "Bing is the best place to do your googling!"

Comment: Re:iphone, iphone, iphone, iphone... (Score 1) 215

by darkfire5252 (#33304886) Attached to: Court OKs Covert iPhone Audio Recording

So for example the government can read your e-mail without a warrant but can't read your postal mail without a warrant;

You should at least recognize when the law has actually understood the technology. Making an analogy between postal mail (communication in a sealed envelope sent privately) and e-mail (communication that takes place by broadcasting the message, in the clear, across many parties) is not appropriate. The appropriate analogy is that the government can read the message you write on the outside of a postcard without a warrant just like they can read your e-mail without a warrant.

Time sharing: The use of many people by the computer.

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