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Comment Re:Advertisers, worry about security? Get real (Score 4, Insightful) 259

Now web browsers need to work on improving security even more to avoid cross-site content and block suspicious sources even better. This is not only the ordinary cookies or injected ads that are to be considered but also "super-cookies" and cookies/caching of plugin data. Virtualization by default may also be useful - so that each program runs in its own sandbox.

A lot of the stuff isn't even hacking, its abuse of permissions. The other day I had a third party tracker request permissions to turn on my mic, and my understanding is if I said yes, the permission would remain across all sites with their tracker on Chrome. So they could listen to me across the Internet. Similar are browser extensions which request the power to read and change data on all pages.These need to come with clear privacy policies, and some kind of audit process to make sure it works.

The main thing to me is advertising has stopped being advertising: connecting people with products and services they might want - and started being about something else. Since when was "Mad Men" about a wiretap that listens to people in their homes?

Comment Re:Old Programmers Vs Young Programmers (Score 2) 242

You forgot one, the one that's really at play with a lot of the lionization of not just young programmers, but a culture of childish hipster naivety that is actively celebrated by many large modern corporations:

If you want an unethical product that exploits users more than helping them, without the programmers really knowing what they're doing, hire a (naive) young programmer.
If you want an ethical product that helps users, created by a wiser person that see how it fits into society, hire an old programmer (or a wise young programmer).

The culture that used to be called "spyware" has now infiltrated many of the highest IT companies, and become mainstream culture. The broader picture of how software effects society, and what you're really doing collecting all that info on people to sell out the backdoor, is something that comes with some cynicism and wisdom as to how the world actually works. Not knowing what you're really doing when you're being unethical takes youthful naivety, which is why its in such high demand.

Comment Re:of course. (Score 1) 291

Dude, your problem is that your looking at it as a profession for everyone. The reality is, the world already has been transformed for decades by logic machines that everyone uses, calculators. Basic coding for most will be the same sort of thing, a more powerful calculator they use from time to time, mostly calling functions written by professional devs to get something done, just as they call functions they don't understand on calculators to figure things out.

Comment Trained dependency is the danger. (Score 5, Interesting) 169

Learning computer programs to solve math problems (for instance) can be empowering for the kids, unless they end up dependent on those proprietary programs. I think the best solution for that threat, along with some of the other issues raised in the OP is a tool set which gets kids developing software, even at really simple levels, early in their educational careers. That may sound crazy, but the world is changing, and many of the educational ideas we take for granted today sounded crazy in their times as well.

Comment Its one of them 'Nash Equilibrium' thingies. (Score 2) 760

The influence of the US is bound to the strength of its economy, the strength of its economy is bound (currently) to its use of fossil fuels. So if the US acts preemptively, it loses its power to influence others to do the same, it drives up costs for itself while driving down fossil fuel costs for others, so their economy and thus influence increases. Yet, if (in the terms of A Beautiful Mind) "If everybody goes for the blond, nobody gets laid", which is to say if consumption can't be curbed, everybody is doomed.

But the problem, when you said: "tells EVERY NATION that they must partake" You have to ask "who does that?" The bottom line is the US doesn't have an enforcement capability in China, Russia or the rest. They are sovereign nations. In fact there is no world power which can make FORCE every country to do things, especially when their is so much benefit in them defecting.

So the politics actually look incredibly grim. The best hope here is something that can fundamentally alter the equation above, so that there is positive rewards for nations going green. That something would necessarily come from the best and brightest of science and business. An example would be an efficient fossil fuel combustion process that turns an engine while sequestering carbon into a valuable industrial product like carbon fiber... Something like that is more profitable to use than not use, making the transition natural.

I guess my point is, I think its a really good time for techies to start thinking way outside the box on this problem...

Comment Re:Telepathy? (Score 1) 287

Though they say the natural fields are too short range for this, I suppose you could amplify them, and interfere with other brains.

All I know is that all throughout the history of science, the true theories have been laughed at before they were accepted. I guess its time to pay the piper for all the laughing people at "tinfoil hat" (worn to block the mind influencing beams) conspiracy theorists! :)

Comment Re:Uh oh... (Score 4, Interesting) 148

The quality of the teachers is important when learning.

That's seriously kind of interesting, actually: It makes me wonder if decades from now software developers will be few and far between, designing the AI algorithms for modern programs while the rest of us find work as software tutors, training those programs to do their business function.

Comment Re:Not stereoscopic (Score 1) 103

But the stereoscopic googles are out there. http://www.i-glassesstore.com/ig-hrvpro.html This would be cool with a couple of small cameras outside the goggles, so you can overlay your view with data. I could see a whole new kind of video game, where you play out in the real world with things nobody else can see (except fellow players) of course you'd look schizophrenic, buy hey, that'd be half the fun.

Comment Re:Another solution (Score 1) 942

Lol! You may as well...I mean I feel like the article is missing some fundamental things: "eco-pawprint" equivalent to SUVs? Dogs are natural creatures, part of the environment. If they have a big impact its from the fuel burned to produce and move their artificial food around. Don't blame the dogs for that...

Comment Re:Cheap energy is social justice (Score 1) 404

I agree. The core issue is living sustainably. You can buy time with more energy or food, but if the core ideas of living within our means isn't addressed, there will be problems with that too.

I personally think its just a matter of time though. In the big scheme of things the industrial revolution is still a new thing, and it takes cultures a long time to adjust. But in time they do, in fact with time all living things tend toward an equilibrium with their environment, us humans included. The real question is what that eventual equilibrium will look like, and the advent of cheap fusion would dramatically change that outcome. Its really the difference between a large scale return to more agrarian living and the Jetsons. So it really is exciting news if somebody pulls it off.

Comment Re:OpenBSD vs Linux (Score 2, Interesting) 98

That's a really great post. It reminds me that any OS which grants their users freedom for their apps to do what they like also grants the freedom for some app running on them to do bad things, whether it effects the OS or not. It will always be like that.

The only solutions I can think of are to 1) create programming languages that result in really secure code through lots of input restrains etc. 2) create a lot of transparency to see what's going on. And even those don't do enough: A language with too much checking will be slow (Java has a much better security name in this department than C for instance) and while seeing if my machine is sending mystery emails out to my friends would be good, what kind of transparency lets me "see" a buffer overflow caused by a Flash movie writing arbitrary code???

Comment Re:Jealousy (Score 1) 344

but I am doubtful that they'll do much else besides foster Microsoft-centric development of tools and programs

I think you hit the nail on the head there. I honestly think its more of a cultural thing that a strategic one though: whenever Microsoft tries to reach out and diversify, the lower level Microsoft culture makes the whole thing collapse back in on itself. A perfect example is Silverlight. Here is a project where Microsoft had every reason to create universal plugin, a Flash killer, which they alone held the development tools to, as Adobe controls Flash development tools. So they handed it on a platter to the Mono project, who rushed to make the moonlight plugin. But then you install moonlight, and go to the sample sites, only to see that the web devs actually block moonlight because its not Microsoft Silverlight, they won't even let Moonlight try and render it. So Silverlight is yet another thing you can't really install on a site for the world wide web, where you can have an expectation of all viewers accessing the content as you can with Flash.

The relevance of the entire project is diminished by the "Microsoft only" culture of the lower level devs even at the expense of Microsoft. To be honest, I think a dose of open culture may be just what the doctor ordered for these guys, and it may be that the higher ups know it, thus this Foundation. Just a guess. :)

Machines take me by surprise with great frequency. - Alan Turing