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Comment Re:And it all comes down to greed (Score 5, Insightful) 568

Yes, well funny you should mention that. Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland all have mixed socialist/capitalist models using whatever works to solve actual problems.

For instance, UBER is a great capitalist solution to the problem of transportation, requiring no new infrastructure. Eventually some regulation will be required to make it safer, but it's a great working solution.

Health care would benefit from this approach too. If health care providers were legally required to post all prices up front (regulation) and the import of foreign drugs and insurance was legal (deregulation), you'd have a combination of government action and market forces that would go a long way to solving the health care mess and keeping a lid on prices.

A simplistic, "Rah, rah, free market capitalism" approach eventually leads to Somalia. An all regulation approach takes you to North Korea. Take your pick. In both cases, evil lives at the extremes.

Comment What Security Experts Can Learn From Non Experts (Score 4, Insightful) 112

Any system that depends on users doing the right thing has ALREADY failed.

1) If it's difficult or complicated, users won't do it.

2) If your security organization's working strategy is, "break stuff, walk away and tell the user it's their problem," your strategies will be subverted from within so users can get actual productive work done, for which *they* get *their* bonuses.

In short, users need productivity to get their extra money. Security people need a lower number of intrusions to get theirs. These two goals are always at odds, mostly because current security strategies burden nontechnical, uninterested users.

The solution, which security people hate to hear, is to get better at installing and maintaining multiple levels of firewall, application sandboxing and/or streaming applications for all office applications, improving intrusion detection and dynamic virus removal in real time. NOT training users not to download suspicious executables or engage in fantastic feats of memory regarding passwords.

Comment The radiocentric view of intelligence... (Score 1) 208

is going to miss a lot. A planet full of tool using dolphins would be invisible to us. Jovian civilizations without metals to direct radio would have the same issues. A radio using civilization that had taken all of their radio digital, complete with compression and encryption would be invisible as well since all the entropy would be distributed in such a way as to make all radio traffic appear as noise. Even a zipf analysis would probably fail.

A more interesting approach would be to attempt to train current AI to distinguish natural objects from man-made objects and then point it at the universe. Mega-engineering might be quite visible, but look to us like another bright, bright, fuzzy, oddly shaped stellar thing. Ditto for the electrical "noise" of planets like Jupiter. some of Jupiter's "whistler" and other interesting radio noises might be something other than lightning. We simply can't know at this point.

Comment Not just cures, but inventions too. (Score 5, Interesting) 204

Story: New energy source based on [insert some form of unicorn fart here] may one day solve energy crisis!

Story: New memory storage based on [insert excited hand waving] may one day replace current RAM!

Story: New computing method based on [something, something, carbon, something] may one day re-instate Moore's law!

Story: New AI algorithm based on [GAs, deep multi-layer neural nets, connecting organic brains together, a little man in a box that answers the questions and pretends to be a machine] may one day give us true artificial intelligence (whatever the fuck that means).

At 57, I've been hearing this crap since I was 6. There's no magic energy source. Moore's law has been stopped by physics. HAL has yet to enter the building. There's no cure for cancer or alzheimers, and so on.

Editors and writers with liberal arts or journalism degrees who can't evaluate the research anyway *love* this kind of filler shit because it attracts the eyeballs of the sort that read popular science magazine and take it seriously. It's the science literature equivalent of Reece's Pieces (meaning no disrespect for that fine candy).

Comment Economic and doom sites mostly (Score 1) 203 (Sensationalist but the true bits are quite interesting and after about a year or two, whatever crazy thing they're going on about shows up on "The Economist.") (It doesn't SHOUT at you the way ZeroHedge does, but it's informative). (A sane news aggregation site with occasional realistic commentary. As usual, reality puts people off). (Interesting guy. Grew up in Russia during the collapse. Comments on our ongoing slo mo collapse). (A happy little blog about resource depletion and its implications. Packed with facts and numbers. Do not approach without a working calculator). Don't expect to be happy at what you finally figure out for yourself either.

Comment Focusing on AI would have solved this... (Score 1) 292

And a few million other problems that are in the domain of solvable problems within acceptable time and resource constraints. Solve the BIG problem (useful, scalable, humanlike AI) and you solve the energy problem as a side effect.

Instead, Gates is chasing after problems in a random piecemeal way by simply throwing money at them. I hope it works, but the approach is not worth of someone of his intellect.

Comment Why again is state govt in the marriage business? (Score 1) 1083

Seriously. If you want a religious pledge, you can do that in the dark under a full moon with friends and family present. I still don't understand in any way why any state government should approve/disapprove of my relationship, or why I should care?

I understand that there are legal issues and there's the usual insurance scams that don't let you designate anyone you wish as a dependent. Anything aside from that? Is this just an insurance and inheritance issue resulting from a bunch of dumb, archaic laws?

Comment Re:A small part of me (Score 3, Insightful) 591

No, they didn't vote for it. They employed it as a political tool to get votes. They were happy to benefit from the Koch's astroturf money to do this. Nor did they propose some perfectly workable combination of regulation (force medical care provider price transparency) and deregulation (allow the import of foreign drugs, products and medical services) which would have nipped this abomination in the bud.

So instead of accepting a national health care system of the sort that every other European country and Canada has (and pays for), we got this..... thing.

No, the Republicans didn't write or vote for this, but they sure as shit *caused* this.

Comment Here's how the disparity happens (Score 1) 473

Teenage male sees computer for first time and asks, "What can I make the magic box do?"

Teenage female sees computer for first time and asks, "What can the magic box do FOR ME?"

Most males are goofballs. They like to play, without a goal in mind, just for their own amusement.

This happens to be an excellent way to learn computers.

In contrast, most women want that immediate payoff. They don't seem to like to solve difficult puzzles without getting some kind of sensory/emotional cupcake.

This isn't a good way to learn computers. There is nothing emotionally gratifying about them. No cupcakes.

These traits are not universal, but as many here who've tried to teach women software development and computers have noted, there's a strong statistical tendency in this direction.

Comment Re:Economic suicide (Score 1) 308

No, it would be actual suicide. You can't feed 7 billion people in the world without fossil fuels and you never will. It would be prohibitively difficult even if it was confined to the USA. Food is not grown and transported by magic fairies. It gets from ground to plate, refrigerated because hydrocarbon fuel exists.

Given more time, and less population, this could change. Starvation would take care of the problem, and *boy* would we be green. Well, the dead folks would be, anyway.

To iterate is human, to recurse, divine. -- Robert Heller