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Comment: Re:but I'll defend to the death your right to say (Score 1) 285

by davecb (#49131865) Attached to: Google Knocks Explicit Adult Content On Blogger From Public View

I was commenting on Google's actions being incongrous in the US, where free speech is a social norm. That it was even part of the constitution of the country, unlike many other countries of the day, was an example of the importance it had in the minds of the Colonists.

--dave
[ I'm eminently aware of the narrowness of US constitutional law! Apologies for going off-topic, but ...

It's widely cited in the popular press to excuse unconscionable actions by non-government actors. The assumption seems to be that if the government is prohibited from doing something, everyone else is therefor perfectly free to do it, whether or not it's a good idea. To use a frivolous example from India, it does not follow that if a government is prohibited from strangling random passers-by, that individual devotees of Kali can then take it up as a hobby.]

Comment: but I'll defend to the death your right to say it (Score 3, Interesting) 285

by davecb (#49119121) Attached to: Google Knocks Explicit Adult Content On Blogger From Public View

The full quote is Voltaire's, "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."

I'm unimpressed by Google's position: in other countries they push back against restriction on free speech. It seem incongrous to impose speech limitations in the US, which actually has the right to free speech as part of their constitution.

+ - What If We Lost the Sky?

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Anna North writes in the NYT that a report released last week by the National Research Council calls for research into reversing climate change through a process called albedo modification: reflecting sunlight away from earth by, for instance, spraying aerosols into the atmosphere. But such a process could, some say, change the appearance of the sky — and that in turn could affect everything from our physical health to the way we see ourselves. “You’d get whiter skies. People wouldn’t have blue skies anymore.” says Alan Robock.“Astronomers wouldn’t be happy, because you’d have a cloud up there permanently. It’d be hard to see the Milky Way anymore.”

According to Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at the University of California, losing the night sky would have big consequences. “When you go outside, and you walk in a beautiful setting, and you just feel not only uplifted but you just feel stronger. There’s clearly a neurophysiological basis for that," says Keltner adding that looking up at a starry sky provides “almost a prototypical awe experience,” an opportunity to feel “that you are small and modest and part of something vast.” If we lose the night sky “we lose something precious and sacred.” “We’re finding in our lab that the experience of awe gets you to feel connected to something larger than yourself, see the humanity in other people,” says Paul K. Piff. “In many ways it’s kind of an antidote to narcissism.” And the sky is one of the few sources of that experience that’s available to almost everybody: “Not everyone has access to the ocean or giant trees, or the Grand Canyon, but we certainly all live beneath the night sky.”

Alan Robock says one possible upside of adding aerosols could be beautiful red and yellow sunsets as “the yellow and red colors reflect off the bottom of this cloud.” Robock recommends more research into albedo modification: “If people ever are tempted to do this, I want them to have a lot of information about what the potential benefits and risks would be so they can make an informed decision. Dr. Abdalati says that deploying something like albedo modification is a last-ditch effort adding that “we’ve gotten ourselves into a climate mess. The fact that we’re even talking about these kinds of things is indicative of that.”"
Earth

Bill Nye Disses "Regular" Software Writers' Science Knowledge 672

Posted by timothy
from the line-in-the-sand dept.
conoviator writes Bill Nye, one of the foremost science educators in the United States states that only the upper crust members of American science and technology (with degrees from top tier schools) understand science, particularly climate change. He opines that "regular software writers" dwell in the realm of the semi-science-literate. Nye rates science education in the U.S. an F. ("But if it makes you feel any better, you can say a B-minus.")

+ - Fake Komodia root SSL certs in use by over +100 companies->

Submitted by Billly Gates
Billly Gates (198444) writes "Lenovo and Superfish are not the only companies who used the fake root SSL certificates by Komodia to spy and decrypt network traffic. Komodia advertises its products including a SSL-digestor to rid the obtrusive thing we call encryption and security. So far game accelerators are mentioned as some have seen these certs installed with Asus lan accelerator drivers."
Link to Original Source

+ - What Do Old Techies Do After They Retire?

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Peter T. Kilborn writes in the NYT about the generation of the baby boomer programmers, engineers, and technical people who are now leaving the bosses, bureaucracies, commutes and time clocks of their workaday careers to tackle something consuming and new, whether for material reward or none at all. “Retirement gives them the opportunity to flex their experience,” says Dr. William Winn speaking of a postchildhood, postfamily-rearing, “third age” of “productive aging” and “positive aging.” Nancy K. Schlossberg calls men and women who exploit the skills of their old jobs “continuers" and those who take up something new “adventurers.” Continuers and adventurers make up the vigorous end of Dr. Schlossberg’s retirement spectrum, opposite those she calls “retreaters” who disengage from life and “spectators” who just watch.

For example, 75-year-old Seth R. Goldstein, with four degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering from MIT and retired for thirteen years, still calls himself an engineer. But where he was previously a biomedical engineer with the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda with 12 patents, he now makes kinetic sculptures in his basement workshop that lack any commercial or functional utility. But his work, some of which is on display at the Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore, has purpose. Goldstein is pushing the envelope of engineering and hoping to stir the imaginations of young engineers to push their own envelopes. For example "Why Knot?” a sculpture Goldstein constructed, uses 10 electric motors to drive 10 mechanisms to construct a four-in-hand knot on a necktie that it wraps around its own neck. Grasping, pulling, aligning and winding the lengths of the tie, Mr. Knot can detect the occasional misstep or tear, untie the knot and get it right. Unlike Rube Goldberg’s whimsical contraptions, Mr. Goldstein’s is no mere cartoon. It works, if only for Mr. Knot.

According to Kilborn, people like Goldstein don't fit the traditional definition of retirement, which according to Webster's Dictionary means the "withdrawal from one's position or occupation or from active working life. Retirement implies that you're just leaving something; it doesn't reflect that you're going to something," says Schlossberg. "But it is really a career change. You are leaving something that has been your primary involvement, and you are moving to something else.""
AI

Breakthrough In Face Recognition Software 142

Posted by Soulskill
from the anonymity-takes-another-hit dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Face recognition software underwent a revolution in 2001 with the creation of the Viola-Jones algorithm. Now, the field looks set to dramatically improve once again: computer scientists from Stanford and Yahoo Labs have published a new, simple approach that can find faces turned at an angle and those that are partially blocked by something else. The researchers "capitalize on the advances made in recent years on a type of machine learning known as a deep convolutional neural network. The idea is to train a many-layered neural network using a vast database of annotated examples, in this case pictures of faces from many angles. To that end, Farfade and co created a database of 200,000 images that included faces at various angles and orientations and a further 20 million images without faces. They then trained their neural net in batches of 128 images over 50,000 iterations. ... What's more, their algorithm is significantly better at spotting faces when upside down, something other approaches haven't perfected."

Comment: Re:Why plea deal? (Score 1) 102

by davecb (#49070103) Attached to: Kim Dotcom's Lawyer Plays Down Megaupload Worker's Guilty Plea

Plea deals are a bug-fix for wasted efforts in the courts, but like many bug-fixes, they contain their own bugs.

If the court process is expensive enough, any organization with money can can almost always bankrupt someone with less money, and thereby force them into accepting a plea deal. If it's officers of the court (prosecutors) it's particularly heinous: they're using the defendant's money against them..

The bug-fix needs a bug-fix, one that isn't subject to being gamed. In Canada we used to have supported programmes for fighting unjust laws, and even unfair convictions. We still have them, but they're done almost completely pro-bono. IMHO, the government of the day seems quite unwilling to pay for anything that advances the cause of justice...

--dave
No, IANAL, I'm just grumpy about at political attacks on and perversion of natural justice.

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux

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