Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:More than PR (Score 1) 384

by khallow (#49787291) Attached to: What Was the Effect of Rand Paul's 10-Hour "Filibuster"?
The real question is did you learn anything from it? I read about Russian nobility decades before I read Atlas Shrugged too.

Just because she lauded a certain, relatively elitist view, a view which is echoed to some degree in actual human endeavor, doesn't mean that she advocated some sort of nobility. Her heroes weren't people who were noble by birth or because they belonged to the right families. They were people who made things or ran enterprises (which incidentally is not a thing the Russian nobility was notable for!). In the end, the protagonists of her book had largely abandoned society and lost the fruits of the labors they had in greater society (gone on "strike").

Further, I find it odd that all you can seem to find in the book is some lame argument for Russian nobility. The most important takeaway is that this novel is about a dystopian future created by people who take from others and society supposedly for the purpose of saving society. The language she uses to describe them, particularly, "looter" indicates why she abhors the foes of the book. It's not because they aren't nobility.

She actually has some good writing in there particularly the story of the end of "20th Century Motors", a business which happened to employ John Galt as an inventor. The only people who could be considered nobility were the ones who inherited and then destroyed the company, causing a great deal of suffering in the process.

My entire point is Rand is pushing a view that the USA finally rejected in 1777 - so both ancient and silly.

Do you really think she would be so popular today, if you were even remotely right? The US is going through the early stages of the Atlas Shrugged nightmare right now. It's a country where higher education costs have tripled over a few short decades (adjusted for inflation) and this increase in cost is due solely to attempts to make college allegedly more affordable (subsidized and government guaranteed student loans). The same has happened for health care and home ownership.

It's a place where one can justify government spending by claiming that they will create one temporary job per few hundred thousand dollars spent. Where economic activity (GDP) is more important than future wealth. Where people can bitterly complain about the lack of jobs while simultaneously advocate for various policies that make it harder and more costly to employ people. Where moving enterprises to the more productive and vigorous societies of the world becomes synonymous with derogatory terms like "race to the bottom".

It's a place where various robin hood and social improvement policies have been in place for generations, yet things are getting worse and more corrupt with chilling signs of tyranny on the horizon. Where governments get creative with interpretation of laws in ways that suit them or their cronies.

Here's the thing. Rand nailed that 50 years ago: the language, the actions, the outcomes. I simply don't care if she actually had unpopular opinions on nobility or whatever. I think she should get considerable credit for calling our present society.

Comment: Re:More than PR (Score 1) 384

by khallow (#49779217) Attached to: What Was the Effect of Rand Paul's 10-Hour "Filibuster"?

I think it's the other way around. Rand probably based her antagonists on people against her or she is against philosophically (i.e people like GP). So it's not that GP sounds like a Rand antagonist, but Rand antagonists sound like people like GP.

If A is like B, then B is like A.

Dagney meanwhile is Rand's author insert. Atlas Shrugged is basically Rand's fantasy of defeating her ideological opponents.

I quite agree. But I think the book serves a purpose past just expressing Ayn Rand's fantasies. For example, notice dbiii's obsessive focus on nobility despite obvious problems with the assertion. Ayn Rand caricatures such beliefs intentionally and unintentionally in Atlas Shrugged.

It's not the French Revolution any more. If your beliefs are so immature, silly, and ancient that a hack writer like Rand can accurately portray them 50 years ago, then maybe you need to up your game.

Comment: Re:Eventually - but the lies do real damage meanwh (Score 4, Insightful) 417

by khallow (#49775089) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?

Measles vaccine effectiveness is one that is specifically in doubt.

Having looked at this problem, I note that before and after the measles vaccine was introduced, we saw a three order of magnitude drop in US measles cases with similar declines in other countries, correlating with the introduction of measles vaccines in those countries. There's just too much of an effect to hand wave away with the assertion that the world no longer practices measles parties as much as it used to or with the other assertions you make.

Also, lab tests were developed and began being introduced at the same time as the vaccines that only verify 100/25,0000 of suspected cases. A suspect case of measles is not a case of measles. It is not even a diagnosis of measles. It is a case where doctor is covering their ass for a measles-like illness by ordering the test. There is no reason today to expect a "suspected case of measles" in the developed world to have a high likelihood of being a case of measles, especially with the extremely rare incidence of measles. There is no actual evidence here that doctors have a high likelihood of misdiagnosing measles.

You know, this stuff has been explained to you before and yet you continue with your erroneous assertions. When are you going to listen to reason?

Comment: Re:Yes to Brexit (Score 1) 396

By the sound of it you had a hard time meeting a particular standard, that's most certainly not a reason to go without standards!

Actually it is. You have to do a cost/benefits analysis to see if the standard is worth following. But a standard which is hard to meet combined with low value from following the standard is something you shouldn't be entertaining.

Comment: Re:More than PR (Score 1) 384

by khallow (#49774863) Attached to: What Was the Effect of Rand Paul's 10-Hour "Filibuster"?

When a minor is thrust into a position of power due to their ancestry and not their own efforts what else do you call it?


Little Jailbait Princess Dagney is nothing but a symbol of how wonderful the aristocracy is and how common losers like Franklin, Washington and Jefferson got it all wrong.

Dagney's brother was pretty big on class warfare too and how elites like him were necessary to fight for the common man. I find it interesting how quickly you descend into the language of the antagonists of the story.

And as it turned out, Little Jailbait Princess Dagney was really good at running trains which is a thing Ayn Rand cared about more than her supposed nobility.

Comment: Re:One way street (Score 1) 416

by khallow (#49772635) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

Self-preservation is a stupid one to put in a computer.

Because you have no problems replacing an expensive robotics system every few days because it's unable to take care of itself? It'll be interesting to see what self-preservation has been programmed into sophisticated robots now. I believe the various Mars rovers have a variety of protections programmed in precisely because no one involved wants to lose a robotics system that would take a decade to replace.

We're not gonna make the first AI on Monday, and give it control over the power grid, the nuclear arsenal and the internet on Tuesday.

Elimination of liability will be a huge driver of this sort of thing. The computer was running the power grid so it's not my fault.

Comment: Re:Anthropomorphizing (Score 1) 416

by khallow (#49772619) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

Critically, the structure is spatiotemporally contiguous throughout these changes - which is totally unlike the transfer hypotheticals.

Ok, so we make the transformation slow enough that the brain remains spatiotemporally continguous - a phrase which should be used more often. For example, we could replace neurons a few at a time with silicon analogues of the same general physical characteristics (eg, density, flexibility, etc) and functional behavior.

Again, this is just asserting the conclusion that the physical structure of the brain is unimportant, and then reasoning backwards from that conclusion.

The physical structure isn't dependent on the composition of the molecules that make it up, aside from requiring just enough functionality (and maybe some timing tweaking here and there) so that the new structure works like the old one did.

I think what you're saying is akin to claiming that something without wheels, differentials or a steering column is still a "car" which "drives." It may be a highly efficient vehicle, but it's not going to "feel the same."

Unless you took great care to do so. I must admit that wood tires isn't really taking great care.

That's the point here - the mind isn't a homunculus inhabiting your head, which can simply get a new job managing a different theater.

What makes you think that? I think it is, it just is something we haven't figured out how to do yet. I see here the same abstraction division as we have in computer systems between hardware and software. The human mind is the software. If we make the hardware sufficiently compatible, it'll run on that just fine.

All evidence to date supports the materialist proposition that to radically alter the physical structure of the mind/brain would be to radically alter its subjective character as well.

Which, let us note, is just not that much in the way of evidence. And we're entering a era where far more aggressive technology changes can be made to the human brain.

Comment: Re:Who cares if it kills companies? (Score 1) 107

by khallow (#49772485) Attached to: Tech Bubble? What Tech Bubble?

Eliminating risks come at a cost.

If this is true (which I agree it is) then anyone introducing extra risks into the system (without an equal amount of upside) is creating a negative effect for everyone else. This is basically my entire point.

The upside is that people who routinely make bad decisions in the stock market lose their money to people who don't. There is a net transfer of wealth to the more competent.

Volatility is simply not that big a deal.

Comment: Re:More than PR (Score 1) 384

by khallow (#49771727) Attached to: What Was the Effect of Rand Paul's 10-Hour "Filibuster"?

Since they were long dead, most definitely not.

Except, of course, for the ones who were still alive. The US had quite an interesting mix of immigrants from Russia when the Wall came down. I recall that meeting some of the brilliant mathematician immigrants of that time from Russia and the Eastern Bloc helped solidify my resolve to get an advanced degree in math, but not to become an academician.

If I have not seen so far it is because I stood in giant's footsteps.