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Comment: By 75 does he mean 750? (Score 1) 477

by melchoir55 (#47967153) Attached to: Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75"

I feel kind of frustrated when I see humans say things like "75 is a pretty good age to go". Really? Why not 60? Or 50? Or 40? We shouldn't be aiming to die when at some arbitrary count of how many times the earth has spun around the sun. We should be aiming to make life worth living for people at any age, and we should be aiming to eliminate this pointless "aging" business entirely.

My great grandmother is 104. She plays board games with her friends, takes walks with them, and is a sharp-witted lady (pretty sure she has tried to cheat while playing cards with me). She her life have ended 30 years ago? No way! Our society has the resources for people of every age to live a fulfilling life. Yeah, most people deteriorate before 104... but so what? Some people deteriorate before they turn 20.

Get over being afraid of old people. They are people, they're just different from you.

Comment: Re:So they'll suffer from TMI (Score 2) 267

TMI isn't a thing if everything is digital. Machine learning classification techniques (go look up something as simple as maximum entropy) can do a great job of identifying classifications with high accuracy. What is being classified? Well, presumably whatever "they" think are threats to the nation, or at least to whoever has control of the system. One can analyze the behavior of targets deemed a threat and find common features shared between those targets. Even stuff a human would never, ever think to correlate could matter (the humidity, time of day, day of year, AND whether they are a certain religion). The beauty is that a human doesn't need to work out what correlates with a threat. The machine does it. You give it features, it gives you statistical probabilities that the entities in your data are a threat. It would take an enormous amount of computing power to do this with the amount of data the NSA apparently has. Something like this for example:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Data_Center

Then it is just a matter of drawing the line for the threshold of what constitutes a threat. I just described something someone could have done 10 years ago. Machine learning has come along pretty well since.

The state of affairs is so disturbing because all technical hurdles to a dystopia have been overcome. Someone with these resources won't suffer from information overload. There DO exist learning algorithms which can deal with this much data and they clearly have invested in the necessary hardware. Laws and morality don't appear to be slowing them down. What safeguards are left...?

Comment: Thanks Marx (Score 1) 249

by melchoir55 (#47673809) Attached to: Apple's App Store Needs a Radical Revamp; How Would You Go About It?

This approach fails for the same reason communism cannot work (yet). A small group of humans lacks the understanding, wisdom, foresight, and a whole host of other epistemic terms to decide how to organize and prioritize within such a vast system. What they do will work for some people. It will utterly fail for others. The only way to deal with something like this is to have a computer to it (same with communism, btw). I won't defend Apple's algorithms. They probably need a lot of work. Maybe the organization scheme needs to be changed. Whatever. The fix won't be having some humans do it.

Comment: Re:Simple (Score 5, Insightful) 509

by melchoir55 (#47460373) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Future-Proof Jobs?

Tell her to study home economics.

Never own a credit card. They are all scams and are far more likely to ruin your credit than help it. .

This is terrible advice. Credit cards are the easiest way to build credit. The advice should actually be: Pay off your credit card in full every month. If you won't be able to pay it off, don't buy things with it.

The rebuttal: "This is too hard for some people" is not a reasonable response to this. This is a trivially easy behavior pattern to adopt. If you can't do this, I don't believe it is possible to be financially secure. This is the smallest, easiest, step in playing the game of our society's financial system.

Comment: Re:Actually makes good sense (Score 1) 702

by melchoir55 (#47400885) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

The situation is only weird if you accept the ostensible reason for the existence of the TSA as the actual reason of those with decision making power. The TSA does not exist to add security. The TSA exists as a money pit for people in power to transfer public money to others. It has the added benefit of eroding civil liberties, and of acting as a distraction for the population from actual problems.

By actual problems I mean the elimination of the middle class, the power grab on information via the NSA, the insistence of every US president to engage in at least one war just for luls and entirely without the consent of Congress, the atrocious state of our education system, the fact our healthcare system only works for the wealthy, etc. etc. blah blah I could go on.

Comment: It's a show (Score 4, Interesting) 272

by melchoir55 (#47371037) Attached to: Amazon Sues After Ex-Worker Takes Google Job

Amazon's suit will obviously fail here as CA will never allow this kind of restriction on a regular employee. Tech industry giants are in trouble for agreeing not to compete with each other. What better way to make it seem like they are competing than to toss a few hundred thousand away on a meaningless but high profile court case which is decided before it began?

They gain billions by not competing for employees. They've been doing it for a long time, and they can continue to do it as long as people don't put a stop to it. This case is a marketing ploy.

Comment: Re:No, they're replacing. (Score 5, Insightful) 341

by melchoir55 (#47336585) Attached to: If Immigration Reform Is Dead, So Is Raising the H-1B Cap

But there are shortages in many areas. For instance, there is a big shortage of non-immigrant farm labor. Do you really believe that an unemployed white guy is going to pick lettuce?

If the wages available to him weren't un-livably low because he would compete with people who don't pay taxes while taking advantages of social programs...? Yes. The unemployed white guy would pick lettuce. A similar effect is strongly depressing wages in the tech sector.

Being white has nothing to do with willingness to work. Economic realities do, though.

Comment: Re:Translation (Score 1) 250

by melchoir55 (#47295661) Attached to: TrueCrypt Author Claims That Forking Is Impossible

The legal requirement for insecurity exists in the ability of the US govt to dictate to a company that the company must install a backdoor or otherwise compromise their own security. The US govt does this at will, with no oversight, and in secret. They have been shown to have done this to some of the most trusted software on the planet (Such as RSA) and the lack of recourse is proven in the shuttering of companies like LavaBit and, arguably, TrueCrypt. The situation cannot be challenged legally because those served with such orders are under *personal* threat if they do anything to even suggest that such an order has been received. There is no law which stipulates "all hardware and software must have a backdoor or otherwise be subject to the whims of the US govt". However, all software and hardware must be assumed compromised based on the legal environment I describe above.

The US govt also has been shown to follow the policy of "gather all information possible no matter how legally or ethically questionable".

In this environment you would have to be either blind to the situation or a complete idiot to trust anything built in the USA (hardware or software) for storing or transmitting information you don't want in the hands of a US three letter agency.

Comment: Re:The elephants are stomping on us again (Score 1) 222

by melchoir55 (#47294879) Attached to: WikiLeaks Publishes Secret International Trade Agreement

Our society has finite resources. When some individuals are allocated over 300 times the resources of other individuals then we are seeing the symptom of a significant societal problem. Governments exist in part to intervene in order to solve societal problems in non violent ways. Problems need to be solved. So, if we don't do it nonviolently through an authority in which we all agree has authority, the problem gets solved "the old fashioned way".

When someone makes 2x as much as you and your buddy, the two of you might be incentivized to eliminate that person and take their resources. Twice as much isn't a lot, though, and in fact it isn't exactly safe to try stripping resources from someone when you only outnumber them 2 to 1. There is still a good chance that you could lose more than you could gain. How about when you ramp that ratio up to 300 to 1? That means 300 people could each double their resources by getting together and stripping the resources from a single other member of their society. Alternatively, 10 people could increase their resources by a factor of 30x by doing the same. I don't know how deep you understand human nature, or history, but this is a very bad situation for our society to be in for both the poor and the wealthy.

The amount of guns and ammo sold over the past 5 years is another symptom resulting from what I'm describing. I'll let you connect the dots of where it will end if we stay on the oligarchy road. This is a cycle that has repeated since time immemorial in every oligarchy that has ever existed.

Here are links for my numbers:
http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/15/news/economy/ceo-pay-worker/
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/04/19/467516/ceo-pay-gap-2011/

Comparing all this to whether two bros who love each other can have a practically meaningless (but symbolically meaningful) title applied to their relationship is ridiculous.

Comment: Re:Translation (Score 4, Informative) 250

by melchoir55 (#47273307) Attached to: TrueCrypt Author Claims That Forking Is Impossible

Foreign software isn't immune. No one thinks it is. The point is that US software is vulnerable *by law*. It is legally impossible to create secure software if you are a US entity. At least if the software is created in another country it is possible that it is secure. Even if the chance is 1/100, that chance is greater than 0.

Comment: Re:You keep using that word... (Score 2) 250

by melchoir55 (#47273273) Attached to: TrueCrypt Author Claims That Forking Is Impossible

Let's toss a few axioms:
1.In order to fork TrueCrypt it must be practically possible to create a fork which is secure (free of backdoors etc.).
2.A fork of TrueCypt must take less time to create and certify than writing an entirely new product from scratch. Otherwise, there is no point.
3. The algorithms used by TrueCrypt must be fundamentally sound. If you change them you are no longer forking TrueCrypt, you are really just writing a new product.

And a totally reasonable assumption:
The authors of TrueCrypt believe the project is compromised in a manner so subtle that the effort required to detect it would be as great or greater than creating a new project from scratch and/or the algorithms TrueCrypt is using are not secure against attacks known to TLAs (or whoever).

In this case the term "impossible" is reasonably applied, if maybe a bit looser than you might like.

Comment: Re:Equal Rights Equal Results (Score 1) 593

No one said there are not personality differences. The assertion was that women are neither "on average" better team players, nor better employees in general, in the context of tech jobs. Pointing out there are "personality differences on average" does not counter the argument.

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