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Comment: Agreed: Transactional Currency, not Investment (Score 1) 110

by billstewart (#48628899) Attached to: Will Ripple Eclipse Bitcoin?

Sure, some people will invest in Bitcoins, and other people will invest in racehorses. (I avoid the problem by mining Dogecoins, which are almost totally worthless.) That's missing the point of Bitcoin, which is that it's intended to be a currency for relatively-private transactions.

Unfortunately, the markets that most wanted a currency for relatively-private transactions didn't do as good a job as they should have about being relatively-private on their own end (i.e. Silk Road got busted), but there is still a market for legitimate transactions, as you've pointed out.

Comment: Good Voice-only Interface for Phone (Score 4, Informative) 137

by billstewart (#48628547) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Can I Really Do With a Smart Watch?

What you need is a good voice-only interface for your phone, and if possible in your clean-room environment, some kind of Bluetooth headset. Phone rings, you tell it "answer". If you want to do something, tell Siri or equivalent, and get voice feedback. Not being an iPhone user, I don't know if Siri's good enough. (The Android stuff I've used so far hasn't been, but my car's phone-dialing interface is at least a start.)

Comment: Re:seems a lot like human vision to me (Score 1) 123

by Kjella (#48621113) Attached to: Research Highlights How AI Sees and How It Knows What It's Looking At

I think it was fairly clear what was going on, the neural networks latch on to conditions that are necessary but not sufficient because they found common characteristics of real images but never got any negative feedback. Like in the peacock photo the colors and pattern are similar, but clearly not in the shape of a bird but if it's never seen any non-bird peacock colored items how's the algorithm supposed to know? At any rate, it seems like the neural network is excessively focusing on one thing, maybe it would perform better if you divided up the work so one factor didn't become dominant. For example you send outlines to one network, textures to a second network and colors to a third network then using a fourth network to try learning which of the other three to listen to. After all, the brain has very clear centers too, it's not just one big chunk of goo.

Comment: Re:Oblig ... (Score 2, Insightful) 205

by Kjella (#48620493) Attached to: What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you. Then you lose and kill yourself."
- Hitler (well, not really)

I never understood what that Gandhi quote is so popular, sure that's what a victory looks like out the rear view mirror but most defeats start just the same.

Comment: Re:As with all space missions: (Score 1) 193

by WindBourne (#48617539) Attached to: NASA Study Proposes Airships, Cloud Cities For Venus Exploration
Not likely. One of the large costs with any of these missions is launch. With SpaceX pushing re-usable systems, and about to drop their prices a great deal in about 3 years, it will make missions like this possible.
In addition, keep in mind that Musk is now looking at building a satellite factory. Once he starts that, he will be after all sat manufacturing to make them cheap. While this is an airship, the guts will be satellite based.

Comment: Re:It's required (Score 1) 162

by Kjella (#48615171) Attached to: Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

It was the 1960s. You were lucky to have a 300 baud modem, they wanted to save two bits by chopping the "19" off 1960 and encryption was regulated as munitions. Heck, even in the 1990s they wanted to restrict my browser to 40 bits so I didn't have "export grade" cryptography. I still hear cost for servers and battery life on clients as an argument for why sites don't move to HTTPS, The very idea to build the Internet with strong encryption by default was ridiculous on technical merits and I don't recall anyone even suggesting it so feel free to quote some sources.

Yes, MITM attacks are possible. But unlike wiretapping they're also detectable and I don't just mean in the theoretical sense. You could still use CAs to "boost" the credibility of an IP encryption key fingerprint (The CA signs my cert, I sign a message saying my IP uses fingerprint aa:bb:cc:dd:ee:ff), you can verify by proxy (connect to your server from friends/family/open wifi/proxy or ask a third party to what certificate fingerprint they see) or you can use in-band ad hoc verification. For example you're in a chat and it says at the top "finger print for this session is aa:bb:cc:dd:ee:ff" you might say "reverse it and you get ff:ee:dd:cc:bb:aa" or "third pair is a double c" or "last two are 255 in hex" as part of the conversation. Even better if it's voice communication, think they can MITM a buddy saying the fingerprint?

MITM only works if there's a protocol you can use to automatically block/filter any information about the key. For example imagine you take a photo, overlay the fingerprint semi-transparently and display it on your website. Now they have to create a very custom solution for your site to create an identical photo to replace it with. Transparent MITM in an interactive process - not just your cell phone checking your mail - is going to be really tough to do on a mass scale. It won't have the perfect theoretical characteristics, but it sure will work for most people most of the time.

Comment: Re:A different kind of justice for multinationals (Score 1) 137

by Kjella (#48611663) Attached to: Microsoft Gets Industry Support Against US Search Of Data In Ireland

If so, this boils down to can a court compel a property owner to direct his property to do something (such as forward a document in that properties possession), even if the property happens to be in another country?

That depends. For example many countries have laws regarding historical artifacts, you can own them but you can't take them out of the country. Or you can legally buy cryptography chips in the US that needs an export license. Just because Microsoft Ireland can legally possess the customer data in Ireland, doesn't mean they're free to ship it around the world or provide access to it in violation of Irish law.

Comment: Re:Doesn't seem simple (Score 1) 137

by Kjella (#48611387) Attached to: Microsoft Gets Industry Support Against US Search Of Data In Ireland

The fact here is that the individual(s) are refusing to provide access to the data voluntarily which requires the authorities to obtain it by force. This tells me there's something incriminating in the data which is why they didn't just hand it over.

So either you comply "voluntarily" or your lack of compliance is used as a reason do to if forcefully, either way the cops get to do whatever they want. Maybe they should start at home and repeal the 4th amendment first?

Comment: Re:Sad that the far left screws this up. (Score 1) 383

by WindBourne (#48608019) Attached to: The Shale Boom Won't Stop Climate Change; It Could Make It Worse
First off, B&W already has a reactor that could be up within 5 years. They are nervous about demand. What is needed is a guaranteed number of reactor buys (say 10 ) to get them moving again.

BUT, what is really needed is to focus on gen IV reactors esp. using thorium. They can burn up the old waste.

Now, with the last congress, I would have agreed with you. And IMHO, this coming CONgress is going to be a major fuck-up. HOWEVER, the GOP supports nukes. In addition, so does O. As such, I think that we will see an energy bill that will push new reactors.

Comment: Re: Only 118,746 ... (Score 1) 87

by WindBourne (#48608009) Attached to: California's Hydrogen Highway Adds Another Station
Actually, Audi, GM, Ford, BMW, etc are all going to push FC cars. They are doing the EVs currently because California as well as Tesla forces the issue. But, other than nissan, all of the major car companies have said that the battery is dead and that FC are the way to the future.

That is why Gen 3 is so very important. When it comes out at say 35K and the owners have access to the Super Chargers AND Tesla is building out the new battery exchange mechanism, well, at that point, I think that the FCs makers will look foolish since relatively few cars will be sold while Tesla (and hopefully nissan) will be backed up.

BTW, I have issues with Nissan. The leaf is a POS. In fact, IMHO, all of the EVs are poorly designed except for Tesla. The leaf does not deal with heating/cooling of the batteries. The range SUX.

Comment: Re:Interesting, but ... (Score 1) 142

by Kjella (#48607847) Attached to: Want To Influence the World? Map Reveals the Best Languages To Speak

Any concepts "lost in translation" could be easily appended as a new word to a common tounge, there's an absurd amount of redundancy in that there are hundreds (thousands?) of ways to express simple concepts like "yes". The English say yes, the French oui, the Germans ja, the Spanish si, the Russians da, the Japanese hai, the Portugese sim, the Polish tak... is there a value to this? Language barriers are sand in the machinery for any kind of human endeavour in science, technology, commerce, travel, communities and so on. The Internet has enabled me to reach billions of people but I don't know how to talk to most of them. What they have to contribute to the global village isn't easily available to the rest and they can't access the global resources we're building. I think I read once that more than half the world's science papers are now written in English.

Sure I'd probably keep my own language for all those other reasons but I'd welcome a world where everybody could talk to everybody. Sometimes a particular concept just takes a little longer in English, that's all. For example the word "dumsnill" in Norwegian, it means something like naive but that usually implies that you're simple or gullible while this word in particular means your generosity is being exploited to taken advantage of you. I might need half a sentence to explain it in English, I don't need a whole language for that. I think the idea that some concepts are only expressible in one language is rather silly, I speak three and there's always a way of getting what I want across. Even with a simple vocabulary you can usually explain more advanced concepts without looking it up in a thesaurus.

Comment: Re:I hate funerals for a friend (Score 4, Informative) 69

by billstewart (#48607425) Attached to: Webcast Funerals Growing More Popular

Get used to it, you'll have more of them as you get older.

One thing I hadn't really thought about before my mother-in-law's funeral was that, if you die when you're old, most of the people at your funeral other than your family will also be old - mobility and transportation were difficult for some of her friends, there were more people with wheelchairs than the restaurant we went to afterward really knew how to handle, and there were people who didn't come because it's just too difficult, and this might have helped them some. It's not the same as being there, but sometimes you can't.

Comment: Re:So ... (Score 1) 52

by Kjella (#48607297) Attached to: Telepresence Store Staffed Remotely Using Robots

Remote activated tazer/stun-gun sounds interesting. Tear gas canister would also be possible I suppose... Wonder when the hostage crisis teams of the world will start to send in telepresence robots with active weapons systems...

Why? SWAT teams are already armed and armored to the teeth and will assault with massive force, it's extremely rare that any of them are killed relative to the hostages. Sending in a robot to stir the hornet's nest would only lead to a massacre, either you go in full force or you don't. It could end non-hostage situations sooner but just waiting it out until the nutcase with the gun surrenders (or suicides) seems to be pretty efficient too. I guess you could have a telepresence hostage negotiator, but a smart hostage taker wouldn't give the police a live video stream to plan and time their raid with.

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