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Comment: Re:Not much different than the fire starting laser (Score 1) 138

by swillden (#47911993) Attached to: How Governments Are Getting Around the UN's Ban On Blinding Laser Weapons

How is blinding someone with a laser worse than killing or maiming them with a bullet?

Welcome to international rules of war. They're chock full of semi-absurdities like this. One of my favorite is the fact that the M2 .50 caliber machine gun is not classified as an anti-personnel weapon. That means you are not allowed to shoot people with it. You can, however, shoot it at any sort of military equipment, including any that may be carried or worn by an enemy soldier.

I say "semi-absurdities" because with all of these rules you can construct situations where they do make a difference and make war more "humane" (to the degree that makes sense). But you can also always construct common scenarios where they're absurd.

Comment: Re:define (Score 1) 287

by swillden (#47911899) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

I addressed it squarely. Advertisers don't get information from Google, but don't complain (much) because Google is so effective at targeting. Apple, apparently, isn't, and so advertisers feel like they're not able to get adequate value.

You also completely ignored my point that if you want to know what advertisers see you can go look for yourself.

Comment: Re:Great idea! Let's alienate Science even more! (Score 1) 852

by swillden (#47909223) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

And here is where the pot stats calling the kettle black. You're projecting your particular approach across others.

Completely different situation. Had the other poster said there existed people who believed what he was saying, I'd have had to agree. But he didn't, he imputed those beliefs to me, specifically.

Where is this clear human need to believe in something? Because every culture has had it's God or Gods?

Among other things.

I'm not an anthropologist or a psychologist, so I'm not really equipped to explain it in detail, but ask one. Or do some searches. My first search got this top hit: http://www.apa.org/monitor/201.... I'm sure with a little more effort you could find the studies that appear to demonstrate that the need to believe is pretty deeply wired into our basic cognitive structure.

Give it a couple hundred more years and religion will be a thing of past.

If cognitive psychologists have it right, that's not true. Unless we find something else to replace it. I offered (at length) a possible option in another post on this story: http://slashdot.org/comments.p...

Comment: Re:intel atom systems keep 32 bit systems around (Score 1) 127

by swillden (#47908669) Attached to: Chrome For Mac Drops 32-bit Build

I would have laughed at you in 1994 if you told me most things are still 32 bit 20 years from now.

So... do you expect CPUs to be 128-bit in 2024?

Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if we stuck with 64-bit for a very long time. At least with respect to address space, it seems unlikely that we're going to have devices with tens of exbibytes of RAM. Or even addressable persistent storage which is touched enough that it's worthwhile having a flat address space.

2^64 is a really big number. 16 EiB = 16,384 PiB = 16,777,216 TiB = 17,179,869,184 GiB. I mean, yeah, Moore's Law and all, but even in a world where high-resolution holographic video records of entire lifetimes are common it's hard to see what machines would do with 18 billion GB, much less storage so much larger that bank-switching is inconvenient. 640,000 TiB should be enough for anyone.

And if we do make the jump to 128-bit, there will clearly never be any point in moving beyond that. Not for addressing, anyway. Not unless our computers are "made of something other than matter, and occupy something other than space", as Schneier put it.

I'd love to hear cogent counterarguments, though.

Comment: Re:BTW, this proves piracy is irrelevant for artis (Score 1) 556

Many years ago Courtney Love wrote on Salon.com ("Courtney Love does the math") that she was not bothered with P2P distribution of her music, as in fact CD sales were not a source of income for artists

Keep in mind that the percentage of revenue artists get from album sales has historically been heavily genre-dependent. Rockers in general, and heavy metal and alternative rock in particular, have long derived most of their income from touring and merchandise. They treat album sales primarily as PR for their live performances. In contrast, with pop and top 40 groups, it's the reverse. Most of them use touring as PR to generate album sales.

U2 is actually one of the latter, even though they're rockers, BTW. They put on such extravagant live performances that their financial goal on tour is to avoid losing money (and they often fail). They do make some money on merchandise, but most of U2's income is from album sales, or at least used to be. Perhaps that's changed; my information is 10+ years old. The source of my information, BTW, is a gentleman (and I use the word deliberately, he was, unlike many of the people I encountered in the music biz) I worked with at Universal a few years back. He had been the manager of U2's account for several years, responsible for the financial aspects of the label's U2 business including royalties and their advances and recoupment.

Comment: Re: Great idea! Let's alienate Science even more! (Score 1) 852

by swillden (#47903165) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

You accept that all moral philosophies are inherently constructed by people, which means you yourself are capable of constructing one. You also get for free the ability to ignore any part of someone else's morality you don't like.

Deutsch argues that morality is not relativist, nor arbitrary, but instead there are objectively correct values which are derivable (via conjecture and criticism) from the nature of reality. This is essentially Kant's major insight as well, though he phrased it differently. Both of them make pretty compelling arguments, which I, at least, can't refute. And in that view no one gets to ignore any part of morality, any more than they get to ignore gravity or orbital mechanics.

Comment: Re:Great idea! Let's alienate Science even more! (Score 1) 852

by swillden (#47899711) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

Rofl ... Because they're human, and that need is quite clearly a nearly-universal human trait No it is not, clearly disprooved by the people who don't believe, like me.

I addressed that already and, no, individual variation does not provide a counterexample to an easily demonstrable broad tendency.

Such people are pretty comfortable not believing in anything, but they find themselves unable to convince their fellows who do feel the need That is nonsense. If one has the urge to convince others to some 'believes', he is not an atheist.

This is a "no true Scotsman" argument. There are plenty of atheists who do think religion is bad and wish to stamp it out. You need only read /. regularly to encounter plenty of them.

For anti-religionists, finding something to fulfill that human need is pretty important, because if they can't, then they'll never be able to convince the majority of humans to abandon religion Atheists don't believe in gods, that does not make them 'anti religious', we simlly don't care about your religion. Many of us simply take up the 'religion' of our husbands and wifes because the environment demands it, but that does not mean we believe. No one of us wants you to abandone anything ... that is something for religious zealots ... nothing for an atheist. As an atheist we are more amused silent observers about attitudes like yours and atrocities the believers perform.

You're projecting your particular approach across a broad group of people. Further, you're also projecting some sort of opinions on me, opinions which I don't hold.

Comment: Re:define (Score 1) 287

by swillden (#47899443) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

They are paying with their personal data, which Google hoards and then sells to third parties.

Google doesn't sell or otherwise share data with third parties. Google uses it to decide who to show third-party ads to.

Let's put it this way: advertisers have complained that Apple doesn't share enough private data with them. They never had the same complaints about Google.

Advertisers absolutely have complained that Google doesn't provide them with information about users. Google won't even give advertisers much control over the demographic targeting of their ads, which annoys them even more. The reason advertisers are willing to put up with it is, quite simple, because Google is better at targeting than the advertisers themselves, and can prove it. Google provides advertisers with extensive tools to analyze the impact and effectiveness of their ads, and to verify that they are in fact achieving positive ROI.

If you want to see how this stuff works you can do it for yourself. Create an account and go look at the tools Google offers. For that matter, you can even spend a few dollars and run an ad campaign of your own for whatever is of interest to you, and you can look at the data Google provides in return.

You might be tempted to argue "But, yeah, that's because that's the system Google gives to pissants like me... *big* advertisers get more." That's also untrue. I can't tell you a way to test that for yourself, except to find a person at a major company or advertising agency and get them to show you, but I'll tell you as someone who worked on some of the underpinnings of those systems that big or small, advertisers get the same UIs and the same data regardless of size. The only variation I'm aware of is that advertising agencies, who manage campaigns on behalf of large numbers of advertisers, get better tools for aggregating and separating the sets of campaigns they're managing.

Comment: Re:Great idea! Let's alienate Science even more! (Score 0) 852

by swillden (#47899409) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

Why should atheists feel the need to believe in something?

Because they're human, and that need is quite clearly a nearly-universal human trait, as evidenced by the fact that every human society everywhere has believed in some form of gods, or powers.

Oh, some people feel the need less acutely than others. Such people are pretty comfortable not believing in anything, but they find themselves unable to convince their fellows who do feel the need. For anti-religionists, finding something to fulfill that human need is pretty important, because if they can't, then they'll never be able to convince the majority of humans to abandon religion.

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