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Comment Model omits authoritativeness, reach of source (Score 2) 303

His model is way too weak.

We further assume that a leak of information from any conspirator is sufficient to expose the conspiracy and render it redundant

So any single person acting alone, of any stature in society, can bust open a conspiracy and get it on CNN?

The problems with this model are many:

1. It ignores authority and credibility of the leaker

2. It ignores the reach of the leaker

3. It does not define when a conspiracy theory has been proven (e.g. a reasonable definition is whether a specified percentage of the population understand the conspiracy to be true)

For example, to use one of the examples of a true conspiracy the author used, the NSA:

The National Security Agency (NSA) PRISM affair—The staggering extent of spying by the NSA and its allies on civilian internet users was exposed by contractor Edward Snowden in 2013.

That's just factually wrong. It was substantially exposed on PBS in 2007. Why am I quoting PBS? Because I know it is perceived as an authoritative source. Why do most people not know about this? Because PBS lacks the reach.

Both authoratativeness and reach are required to expose a conspiracy. And once these two elements are added into the model, then one is forced to accept a non-trivial definition of conspiracy-proven-true by setting a threshold of population who believes (and not simply saying one leaker implies the whole world instantaneously and fully believes).

Comment Red Herring; real threat is detainment (Score 2) 235

The Trolley Problem is a red herring that distracts from the real danger: government remote-controlled detainment of political opponents, as depicted in Minority Report. Plus, any number of variations: script-kiddies hacking, drug cartel kidnapping, kidnapping/trafficking of women/children, murder-for-hire (drive off cliff), nation-state espionage and assassination. When major crimes, and not just credit card scams, become available to the push of a button, the risk threshold to the criminal is lowered for heinous crimes.

Comment Compute + Storage (Score 2) 82

As any computer systems engineer knows, it's all about compute and storage. This article is about compute. But storage has been vastly improved for all of us. We now store or keep knowledge on the Internet instead of keeping it in our heads. The access time of this storage is very fast, too, compared to paper files and libraries. This access time is also of low variability, as it is in our pockets now.

Only trouble is that in terms of competitive advantage, the Internet is available to all. The best you can do is to learn how to use it slightly more effectively.

But in terms of the Slashdot headline, "You Can't Get Smarter," I disagree -- we've all gotten a lot smarter.

(That's right, I don't agree with those who say the Internet has made us dumber. I think the opposite.)

Comment Already does succeed (Score 1) 563

We already have societies where money isn't used or at least isn't that useful, such as a submarine on a long deployment, which just happens to be the model upon which Star Trek starships was founded.

Outside of starships, the Federation still had to deal in gold-pressed latinum with Quark's establishment. (Whether that was a "site license" or a per-person allowance was never made clear, but we can conclude from the in-story characterizations that Quark wasn't donating out of the goodness of his heart.)

So Star Trek really isn't too far off from today's military environment.

Comment Obnoxious terminology (Score 3, Insightful) 66

Here is the original MPEG-LA press release. They really did entitle it "call for patents", which is obnoxious because it plays off of "call for papers", which is a call to share technology information, not restrict it. This type of turning a phrase to be the opposite and evil intention of its original reminds me of Braveheart's jus primae noctis.

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