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Comment: Get real, my friend (Score 1) 120

by Simonetta (#48648707) Attached to: US Seeks China's Help Against North Korean Cyberattacks

Get real, my friend. Stuxnet was designed to prevent psychotic religious fanatics from developing nuclear bombs. There is no real question as to whether the Iranians would use any nuclear bomb under their control to murder 100,000s of Jews in Israel. They have said that they will do it in so many words over and over again in their internal religious sermons. To the foreigners they're a little more diplomatic.

    The American-Ashkanzim alliance is the most productive alliance between peoples in all of history. We, as Americans, will never just sit back and watch fascist demented assholes like the Iranian mullahs murder thousands of Jewish people as we did in the early 1940s.

    There is no comparison between using hacking to destroy nuclear proliferation and using hacking to suppress an embarrassing Hollywood comedy movie. Anyone who thinks that the two are equal is a fool.

    You're a smart person if you're on Slashdot. Don't be a fool.

Comment: Old Castro fan calls B.S! on Cuban internet (Score 3, Interesting) 91

by Simonetta (#48648657) Attached to: Cuba Says the Internet Now a Priority

I'm an old Castro and Che fan from the 1960s. . After having met and talked with many Cuban exiles of my own age who have arrived in my city over the years, I now realize that the entire Cuban revolution was bullshit Things suck there. They are always getting worse. I call bullshit on Cuban government's proposal to 'allow' internet access to its citizens. That country is run by fascist assholes. They will never all access to the internet to ordinary citizens. Only Cuban 'stasi' goon-squad assholes and their trusted weasels will be allowed to view Huff Post or Slashdot.

Comment: Re:Great observational skills (Score 3, Interesting) 94

by TapeCutter (#48643195) Attached to: Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared

[Animals are] FAR more accurate than any weather forecast I've seen.

You see ants moving eggs, maybe it will rain in the next day or two, but how much rain? How much wind? Any hail, tornados? King tide?

You see humans boarding up windows, sandbagging shops, anchoring boats away from the dock, etc, you know a destructive storm is on it's way.

Weather forecasts are pretty accurate to 5 days out even here in Melbourne which (like NYC) is notoriously fickle, but you don't need doppler radar and a supercomputer to match the forecasting skill of ants. With a bit of practice mentally tracking wind direction, looking at clouds and feeling/smelling the (fresh) air will give you a fair idea of tomorrow's weather.

Natural disasters happen to both species, by all reasonable standards humans are much better at predicting severe weather than animals since (at worst) we have the capacity to simultaneously observe many diverse species to make a statistically combined animal/plant forecast. Having said that, even the humble ants will have buried their dead and rebuilt their city in under a week.

Comment: Re:So the question is... (Score 5, Interesting) 94

by TapeCutter (#48643009) Attached to: Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared

so why don't we start listening for it with our warning systems?

That's what I was thinking, also how can a tornado make any type of noise 2 days before it forms? I can understand animals picking up things we can't, deer may hear the rumble of a quake that causes a tsunami, my dog routinely hears thunder 15-20 minutes before I do and looks for a hiding spot, but how the hell does any animal "hear" something that won't exist for another two days?

Having said that the animal kingdom is full of "mysterious knowledge", for example crocodiles in Northern Australia can somehow "calculate" when a king tide will occur, about an hour before the event they gather at a particular ford across a river where the unusually high tide spills over the ford leaving a bonanza of fish stranded on the rocks. Even Attenborough admits he doesn't have a clue how the crocodiles "know" when to gather at the ford.

Comment: Re:Enforcing pot laws is big business (Score 1) 469

by smellsofbikes (#48636723) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

"Colorado already proved that with the tax revenue they brought in from legalized marijuana"

Colorado probably got significantly increased business from being the first, surrounded by neighbours where it is still illegal. They probably even have increased secondary trade from people travelling in to get marijuana and then buying other stuff. Also, there's probably the effect of the novelty. I'm not saying there isn't a permanent increase, but it will be less if Nebraska and Oklahoma also legalise it.

"Probably even have increased secondary trade" doesn't even begin to cover it. My wife works in ophthalmology and she has four patients who have moved to colorado just because of pot. That's likewise cited as a primary reason that housing prices have increased recently. I find it hard to believe that people would uproot their lives just for weed, but it appears to be happening.
Colorado is making an estimated $1M/day in taxes on pot and that's probably significantly lower than the actual revenue, since because there are virtually no banks (one credit union) that'll deal with marijuana dispensaries, it's a cash-only business so the businesses could in theory only report as much business as they wish, and pocket the rest. If/when more financial institutions start dealing with them, and people feel they can use credit cards to pay for pot, the tax revenues are likely to increase.
It's also not clear that the novelty is outweighed by the convenience. There are a lot of people who didn't use pot previously because it was just a hassle to get and there was a bit of risk involved. The people I know who are long-term smokers have stayed with their black-market dealers because they know it's safe and it's cheaper. But people who want to use it occasionally, or don't know/want to deal with black-market stuff, is apparently a huge market. They may overwhelm the local novelty effect.

Comment: Subtitle Sunglasses (Score 1) 70

by Simonetta (#48630349) Attached to: Ars Reviews Skype Translator

This speech translator is trés cool.

For a while I've been bugging techies with my conception of 'subtitle sunglasses'. These would be 'ordinary' glasses that would have microphones and nano-technology CPUs inside the frame. The microphones would hear the speech of the person that you are looking at (who is speaking a foreign language), translate that speech into English, and display the text of the translation onto the bottom of the user's frame. Like subtitles in a foreign movie for those of you who have ever seen a subtitled foreign movie. Many Germans haven't. The power to operate these 'subtitle sunglasses' would come from the generators creating electricity from the movement's of the user's head.

I challenge teckies to approximate how long in the future it will be before this kind of product is available for purchase in the $500 range.

One unusually aspect of Moore's Law is that we can project when a product like this will be actually available. We take the cost of making any science fiction concept using today's technology and use future-value calculations of accounting to project a future price time-frame given that the price of the technology will fall by half every 18 months.

Another trick is to use this example as a crude intelligence IQ test. Claim that the Japanese have actually developed 'subtitle sunglasses' but they only translate English into Japanese. Claim that you have been able to obtain a secret advanced prototype of such glasses. Give an ordinary pair of reading glasses to a person and claim that these are actual real 'subtitle sunglasses' that have tiny speakers that create synthetic spoken sound inside the ears. Invite them to try them on. When they put on the glasses, start speaking in Japanese (learn a few phrases well beforehand). The time that it takes them to realize that you are completely bulllshitting them is an indication of how intelligent they are. Hope that they don't get violent.

Comment: samsung galaxy gear, maybe? (Score 3, Interesting) 229

by smellsofbikes (#48629651) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Can I Really Do With a Smart Watch?

My wife has one because she can't fit any modern cellphone in her pockets, and her Veer finally died, so the phone lives in her handbag and she uses her watch. She can answer calls, talk, and hang up without (I believe) even having to touch it, and can send texts ("galaxy, send text. next patient has piece of steel stuck in eyeball, will need more lidocane.") which she then previews visually and tells it verbally to send, again without having to touch it. She's pretty thrilled with it. And it tells time. I'm not sure what else I'd want/need in a watch.
(I haven't gotten one because I destroy everything I touch so it'd be a waste. But I'm quite envious.)

Comment: Re:This synopsis (Score 1) 129

by TapeCutter (#48624559) Attached to: Research Highlights How AI Sees and How It Knows What It's Looking At
There are exceptions - Calculus is a good example, That's why everyone knows the name Newton more than three centuries after his death, calculus and his laws of motion enabled the leap called the industrial revolution and inspired the social leap known as the enlightenment.

Comment: Re:This synopsis (Score 1) 129

by TapeCutter (#48624527) Attached to: Research Highlights How AI Sees and How It Knows What It's Looking At

It's like expecting Google search to suddenly gain sentience

Meet Watson, it beat the best humans in the open ended problem domain of "game show trivia" using natural language processing. When it won the Jeopardy championship it had 20 tons of air-conditioning and a room full of servers. Today it runs on a "pizza box" server and you can try it out yourself. After Jeopardy it went back to working with various medical institutes where it was trained and fed on a steady diet of medical journals, it's now well past the point where it became knowledgeable enough to pass the test for a US GP's license.

True Watson is blind, but I suspect the problems with visual input is more about the human teacher's failure to provide the right context and experience than it is about the artificial students ability to learn.

Comment: Re:About Fucking Time (Score 1) 425

by smellsofbikes (#48620179) Attached to: In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

He is not losing that many votes. These Cuban Americans are captive to GOP. High time Democrats stop pursuing the vote they are never going to get.

There are two parts to making big moves: you may lose swing voters (which in this case is pretty unlikely) but just as important you may motivate fringe voters to go vote in greater numbers (which in this case is pretty likely.) If you don't gain voters, but manage to get more people to vote against you, that's a big deal in political calculus. Of course, the opposite also happens -- by doing something big you may motivate fringe voters on your side to come out and vote for you (which is arguably how Obama got elected in the first place, along with running against terrible opponents) but the number of people who feel very positive about restoring relations with Cuba is extremely small compared to the number of people who will be infuriated by this, I suspect. It's a single issue voter thing.

Comment: Re:Duh. (Score 3, Interesting) 219

by TapeCutter (#48604989) Attached to: Linking Drought and Climate Change: Difficult To Do

Isn't this something everyone already knew, radical warmists and evil deniers alike?

Maybe, but statistical thinking doesn't come naturally. People cheat at gambling by loading dice so that they come up snake eyes (say) 1 in 20 throws. They get away with it because even if you know the dice are loaded there is no way to link any particular snake eye event to the hidden weights. The victims simply subscribe it to luck, but the longer you play the more suspicious they will become of your "lucky streak". Same deal with storms, floods, and droughts.

Comment: Re:Duh. (Score 1, Troll) 190

by smellsofbikes (#48602971) Attached to: Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work?

I'm (in a more civil way) with the GP: the distaste for Bennett and the vitriol in the comments feels like people driving across town to picket a porn store, when they could just stay home and not buy porn.
But your post -- "I usually don't notice it is a Bennett piece until I am halfway through reading it and say "Oh man, this is terrible"" -- makes me realize a lot of people read Slashdot differently than I do. I see Bennett's name before anything else, like this big BLINK hashtag, and know what I'm going into when I choose to click on that 'read more' link.
I'd love moderation on articles, but in the same way that groupthink buries unpopular comments with no basis on their actual merit, we might lose some good material.
I'm not saying Bennett's articles are chock-full of merit. He definitely has a higher word-to-concept ratio than I'd use. But I can't help feeling like at least some of the hatred for his stuff is because those of us who are both socially aware individuals and geeks cringe when we hear someone monopolizing a conversation by holding forth on his/her own pet subject of interest.
Maybe Bennett should set up an amazon turk survey for figuring out just how much text on a given subject is too much, and how much is just right.
But in the meantime, the internet is a dynamic array and I'd much prefer someone spend his time vastly expanding one small chunk of it, behind a link, than a lot of other things he could be doing.

Dead? No excuse for laying off work.