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Comment Encryption = freedom (Score 1) 583

As tools improve, anyone will be able to manufacture a rogue super intelligence quickly. The universe favors the person who complicates things over the person who is trying to figure out how they complicated the thing (encryption). We should assume that rogue intelligence agents (of varying levels of human-machine hybrid) are trolling the internet on a regular basis and protect our systems accordingly. The alternative is to reduce personal freedom and try to stop the development of systems or ideas before they become a threat. That is a fool's errand. Instead, keep legitimate systems sufficiently advanced in encryption that online society may continue to flourish. People keep saying we need more encryption. I agree. One of the milestones of the growth in any public system is the level of encryption (think locks on doors) present. A good indicator of a free system is the presence of malware. Be it the press, government or software.

Comment We don't need no thought control (Score 1) 331

For a given quality, malware can be a good indication that your system is open and free.. Be it the press, government or software. To paraphrase a great quote, Those who would give up essential freedom in their software for "security" deserve neither. What can prepare a person for freedom? The ability to be responsible leads to a rich and diverse education.

Comment The missing factor? (Score 3) 1037

It appears some people have rushed to assume that the primary causation in the drop of religious activity is knowledge. However, the researcher says that the internet accounts for about 25% of the drop and theorizes that of that 25%, knowledge could be a large factor. But there is a another factor that was not mentioned that is common on the Internet and I suspect also in the larger but still unknown region of 50% causation. Entertainment. I suspect that entertainment correlates not only to a drop in religious activity (particularly among the more easily distracted) but the measured drop in friendship depth, increase in loneliness, violence, etc. I think we need to figure out our mental health in the same way we are figuring out our physical health. Then we can measure the effect of certain types of recreation in a similar way to how we measure the effect of eating unhealthy or not exercising.

Comment peace with the unknown (Score 1) 529

As a researcher, I spend most of my time at work being wrong. I don't have the luxury of proving a past insight/thesis or always trying random combinations. It can wear on you after awhile. It is hope in what is currently unproven (the goal) that keeps me at it. Hope with as much help from reason as possible. Spending each day operating in reason alone is not enough to handle the big questions. When we operate so far out from the known, how do we know we are moving away or towards our goal? Hope is a muscle. The more you exercise it, the more you can sustain operating even further out on the edge of what is known. Those who belittle hope and claim only reason is needed, have no framework to deal with the unknown. And the hope that does operate in secret in their mind is treated as a skinny stowaway. If you rely solely on reason you are just another customer of the known, buying the latest toy. To be original, you have to have experience with the unknown. There are a lot of people trying to handle the unknown. Some have abandoned reason. Some fight the engine of their hope and wonder why they are depressed. Hope is a muscle.

Comment malware can be a good indicator of an open system (Score 1) 748

...be it your government, press or even computer. I don't understand people who think we can achieve a utopian future where there is no malware in our public spaces and yet we are still open and free. It takes the community, working together in constant vigilence, to keep the streets clean and the law respected. Look at the human body, it is an amazing information system and yet it spends upwards of 10% of its resources fighting malware. If manmade system x is not doing the same it is either not as adaptable or the malware it faces is pretty pathetic compared to what nature can design. Walled gardens are the end of free and open systems that are essential to creativity. MS expanding the defenses of their operating system is not anti-trust. And it won't solve the problem of course.

Submission + - Low latency satellite internet via entangled 1

kbaud writes: Ask Slashdot: I understand that entangled photons cannot transmit information faster than the speed of light, LEO satellites are not non-ideal for internet because of their high latency (among other things) and that there are issues with free space transmission of photons over large distances that would have to be resolved. Accepting that, would a system that uses a ground laser to bounce off a mirror in geo orbit to another ground station be able to communicate between the ground stations with latencies similiar to the speed of light distance between the ground stations (say ~500 miles) and not the ground to satellite link (which is ~40k miles)?

Comment Same wavelength as blue-ray but shorter pulses (Score 1) 260

Yes, the spot diameter(405nm) is the same as blu-ray but the length of the pit is shorter due to the faster switching speeds. This the real breakthrough and where the increased storage density is coming from. Also, 100w peak power at these speeds is not that much actually. Even at 1ghz, the average power is so low I doubt these can barely warm a piece of paper. I have seen IR laser diodes in 5mm plastic cases that are rated at 100w peak. Trust me, the average power is actually well below 100mw. The higher peak power doesn't increase recording density but does increase recording speed (which is a desired trait as density goes up).

Comment Re:big difference between plumage colors and an ey (Score 1) 153

Prigogine's belief that determinism is no longer a viable scientific belief is at odds with quite a few other scientists - including Darwin. But more interesting... You or someone you know now has proof that isolated simple systems can produce complex systems in universe time scales? Do tell.

Comment big difference between plumage colors and an eye (Score 2, Interesting) 153

Animals have been shown in the past to be able to exhibit various adaptions (beaks, spots, hair color, eye color, etc) by turning on a particular gene in their set. What this study adds is some information on how likely the adapted animal will mate with the non-adapted form. But this isn't all that new either, some guys prefer blondes (look at its effect on Iceland). Now an animal without an eye producing an eye and not by activating existing genes would be a neat trick. Basically you would have spontaneous generaiton of complexity (complexity here being different than mere information). Information theory has no problem with adaption but it does have a problem with spontaneous generation of complexity out of a less complex system.

Comment Re:Why are we launching DVDs into orbit? (Score 1) 464

You would think.. The rate for the shuttle is about $10k a pound last I checked. This has not stopped them from carrying aboard big heavy outdated Maglites weighing several pounds when smaller, brighter LED flashlights can easily be found. From pictures I have seen, the shuttle crew uses 3D cell size mags (along with 2AA size). I estimated how much the tax payers where paying to carrying those things in orbit with all their spare batteries (since they have such a poor runtime). I came up with over 20lbs of flashlights and batteries costing the taxpayer over $200k a launch. I suspect they have to use them since mag has a bunch of lobbyists. But I am sure this is not the only example.

Comment Speed cameras were originally tried in 69 (Score 1) 898

Speed cameras were originally tried in 1969 in Texas but they were taken down when people started shooting the cameras. The system was called Orbis. See pg 20 of the January 2008 Popular Mechanics. The systems eventually came back and stayed, maybe because people are now more tolerant of surveillance.

Comment Re:Not everyone believes that (Score 1) 346

To be really picky for the math lovers, I actually don't think pi or the Mandelbrot plots are as complex (in the true meaning of complex) as some people think. They might appear complex because they unpack into a very large system with a lot of points. But a good test of complexity is to apply data compression. When you compress a string of data to it smallest size, you can more clearly see true complexity (measured in size). Compressing a set doesn't change its complexity otherwise it would be 'lossy'. If we train a system to apply various formulas to a very long string of numbers and one of the formulas produces the same result, then the formula is interchangeable with the long string. Of course you need time to parse and enough memory to keep notes but eventually you find that the true complexity of pi is the smallest script that can produce it.

The alternative is to accept an incongruity: we say that both sides of the equation are equal while also saying that one side is more complex.

You were saying that you found proof that a simple system can produce a complex system. This means less complexity is producing more complexity without any donations of complexity from outside systems. Not only does the Mandelbrot not help you, I don't see any other example that does.

You mentioned a "window" that allows a fraction of the whole to be viewed. I think you were possibly referring to imaginary perspective and not mathematics. In math, you either work with all the data or a fraction of it. If you work with fractions of it and unless you fudge the numbers, you cannot produce the same exact result as a formula that works with the whole.

Therefore, we reach another incongruity. Either your window is equal in complexity to the system it is viewing and your claim that a simple system produced a complex system still wants for proof or you are saying the window only represents a fraction of the entire system and therefore the window is not equal to the whole complex system. For one system that is not equal to another system to somehow then become equal to that system, it must gain the information it is missing either from the other system or from somewhere else. Either way, the simple system must borrow from other systems and therefore can't be said to solely, "produce" the complex system. Next, we have a shell game or a simple admission of spontaneous creation of information.

"I have five dollars for each of you." -- Bernhard Goetz