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Comment: Re:they really are talking, we just can't hear (Score 1) 377

Even if aliens are using radio waves, even we generally aren't broadcasting unencrypted analog signals. Most of our communication now is directed, encrypted, and digitally encoded, to the point that you'd only pick it up if you were lucky enough to pass directly between sender and intended receiver, and even if you did get it you'd have great difficulty discerning it from noise, and even if you knew already that it wasn't noise, you'd have a hell of a time making any sense of it would knowing the encoding and encryption.

For all we know, a lot of "random" gamma ray bursts and things we pick up are the Earth just happening to pass across some kind of interstellar communication channel, but we can't discern the message from noise and so have no idea there's even a message there.

Comment: Re:Life form? (Score 1) 377

Life is self-productive machinery: physical systems that transform flows of energy through them in a way that reduces their own internal entropy.

Everything traditionally considered life meets this formal definition, and essentially nothing else doesexcept computers, because the storage and processing of information constitutes a reduction of their internal entropy.

Robots, computers with fancy peripherals, are therefore alive.

(Doesn't mean we have to worry about the ethical treatment of computers though, because the bacteria all over your kitchen countertop that you happily exterminate every time you clean house are also alive, and we don't have to worry about ethical treatment of them. TFA is talking about sapient and therefore sapient robots though, and we would have to care about them.)

Comment: Re:The Future is Surreal (Score 2) 178

by Pfhorrest (#48629851) Attached to: At 40, a person is ...

People like her often develop a problem with the world after the world repeatedly demonstrates that it has a problem with them.

Someone who transitioned over two or three decades ago like she did, back when the world was even less accepting and understanding than it is now, probably even more so than someone just starting the process today.

Comment: No judgement-free options? (Score 1) 178

by Pfhorrest (#48629823) Attached to: At 40, a person is ...

At 40 a person is statistically close to the middle of their probable lifespan, and that's neither inherently good nor inherently bad. I'm disappointed that there is no option for that. You're neither a younger nor elderly, you're middle-aged, but that's neither "in a good way" or derogatory, it just is. Anything good or derogatory there might be to say about you would have nothing to do with your age.

Comment: Re:Ok, looks good (Score 1) 377

by Pfhorrest (#48578293) Attached to: Bellard Creates New Image Format To Replace JPEG

GP (not sure if that's you or not, both ACs) mentioned both 2 megabyte images from his current (7.2 megapixel) camera and a 2.1 megapixel old camera, and was apparently surprised that the 2 megabyte (presumably JPEG) files from his current camera have fewer artifacts than the 5872 byte JPEGs on the example site. I suspect he thought the 5872 number was kilobytes, i.e. a 5-6 megabyte file, which would explain why he would seemingly expect that to have better quality than the 2 megabyte files.

And bits per pixel times pixels only gives you a higher number of uncompressed bytes for the resultant files; compression should more than compensate for that, such as how his 7.2 megapixel camera which is presumably 32 bits per pixel doesn't therefore produce 28.8 megabyte files, but rather only around 2 megabytes files. If his old 2.1 megapixel camera was generating files that looked as crappy as the 5872 byte JPEG on the example site, they were probably (or at least hopefully) only a few kilobytes large each themselves.

Comment: Re:You guys should give it up (Score 1) 251

by Pfhorrest (#48566595) Attached to: Peter Sunde: the Pirate Bay Should Stay Down

Offshoring and immigration are completely irrelevant to the "information wants to be free" debate. One is about labor relations, and asking the government not to enable (though immigration and tax policy) greedy corporations to force down the price of wages for local people just to stuff the pockets of corporate shareholders and executives. The other is about communication and not prohibiting any forms of it. They have nothing to do with each other.

Comment: Re:First Do No Harm (Score 1) 127

by Pfhorrest (#48557543) Attached to: Civil Rights Groups Divided On Net Neutrality

There's no reason one approach has to block the other.

If there is a monopoly, it should be regulated as a common carrier.

If they don't want to be regulated as a common carrier, they have to let the competition in.

Let the ISPs themselves choose. Would you rather be a regulated common carrier monopoly or free to do as you like in a highly competitive market?

Either way, the users win.

Comment: Re: Isn't that click fraud? (Score 1) 285

by Pfhorrest (#48557351) Attached to: AdNauseam Browser Extension Quietly Clicks On Blocked Ads

Hosting is absurdly cheap though. I have a Dreamhost "unlimited" (for purposes of hosting a website, not being your personal backup, etc) plan that costs me less than $10/mo. The labor required to build and maintain a hobbyist site for a large community would be worth more than cost of hosting. So if you've got hobbyists who are enthusiastic enough to actually do the community-maintenance stuff to keep their online community running, gathering a measly 33 cents a day on average across all of them can't be that hard. If just one person in that community makes a decent enough living that a $10/mo donation to their favorite online community is trivial, then bam, hosting costs handled. Or ten fans who can each spare a buck a month?

Comment: Re:5th Admendment? (Score 1) 446

by Pfhorrest (#48518561) Attached to: 18th Century Law Dredged Up To Force Decryption of Devices

It doesn't assign a heapiness value, though: it assigns odds of something being a heap. That still treats heaps as a crisp set. Compare: a probability function will tell me the odds of a die rolling a six, but it still either the die does or doesn't land on six; there is no "slightly six" in dice, there are just the odds of being either completely six or not. That's not the case with heaps: a collection of grains can be only slightly heapish, or very heapish, which is something different than being slightly or very likely to be (completely and unambiguously) a heap.

Comment: Re:5th Admendment? (Score 1) 446

by Pfhorrest (#48512923) Attached to: 18th Century Law Dredged Up To Force Decryption of Devices

The formalism of use here is not probability, but fuzzy sets. The Problem of the Heap basically highlights that "heapishness" is not a crisp property; there is not a clear-cut line between heaps and non-heaps, rather the demarcation between heaps and non-heaps is fuzzy. A collection of grains of rice can be more heapish or less heapish, and sufficiently non-heapish (for a given purpose, context, etc) collections can be called simply "non-heaps", of sufficiently heapish collections likewise simply called "heaps", but there is never a sudden switch from heap to non-heap.

Probability doesn't express that properly, because it still speaks as though a given collection either is or isn't a heap, and adds the further complication that two different collections of the same number of grains may be a heap and not a heap respectively, though their odds of being a heap are the same.

Going back to chickens: it's not that over time, successive organisms got more and more likely to be chickens. It's that over time, successive organisms got more and more chickenish. Chickens are not a crisp set. Chickenishness if a fuzzy property.

But stillsufficiently chickenish birds came before sufficiently-chickenish-bird eggs, because a chicken egg is an egg laid by a chicken, not necessarily an egg containing a chicken embryo. (Consider: when you buy unfertilized eggs at the store, are those chicken eggs or not?)

Comment: Re:Choose better. (Score 1) 574

by Pfhorrest (#48511501) Attached to: Hawking Warns Strong AI Could Threaten Humanity

This is tangential but I just have to comment that there is so much presumption in your suggestions. That he has retirement savings that he could live off of. That he has a house he could sell. Especially that the alternative to owning a house would cost LESS than owning one — why would anyone ever buy if not to escape the infinite debt that is a life of renting until you die?

In my 20s I wanted to spend my life doing things to enrich the world, art and writing and philosophy, but got sidetracked from those things by the need to get a stable enough life that I could do those things without ending up homeless or starving again —after that happened or nearly happened too many times for comfort. Now as I'm approaching middle age myself, it's becoming clear that it's going to take my entire productive life, if I'm lucky and things continue going as well as they recently have started to, to get to a point where I don't have to work doing pointless things that contribute nothing of value to the world just to have a place to sleep, and can actually start doing something worth doing with my life when I retire — if I'm lucky enough to ever actually retire, since it'll likely be by retirement age that housing is secured and I can start saving up food money to live off of for the few years I'll have left, and that's ignoring the probability that by then I will likely have medical expenses destroying any ability to save like that anymore.

So the alternative to "toil[ing] away the rest of my life working for The Man doing trivial things" as the GP put it isn't "sell my house" or "live off my retirement savings", it's "sleep in my car and beg for food money". In either case I lose out on actually doing anything worth living for, but in the former case at least I'm living a comfortable pointless existence.

Comment: Re:Genetic defect? (Score 1) 89

by Pfhorrest (#48511331) Attached to: Ability To Consume Alcohol May Have Shaped Human Evolution

The mold dies once it reaches my stomach anyway, and it's already there by the time the wine gets anywhere near it, so I don't know what you're talking about with "kill the fungus". But seriously, bread and water with a roquefort? That leaves a meal of the strongest savory-flavored food in the world, paired with no other flavors of note (depending on the bread you're thinking of). Gotta add some variety in there, and the sweet and sour notes of a rich fruity wine contrast the savory cheese beautifully.

Be careful when a loop exits to the same place from side and bottom.