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Comment: Re:Yup - the story is doing its job (Score 1) 354

by mjwx (#47797769) Attached to: Islamic State "Laptop of Doom" Hints At Plots Including Bubonic Plague

I remain conflicted; as a moderately competent STEM educated person, I am aware of any number of ways of reducing Western cities to chaos without a lot of effort and no risk. Yet our jihadi brethren never succeed in pulling it off. 7/7 in London and the Boston bombing seem to have been independent efforts, not carried out by people in the jihadi chain of command. Which leads me to suspect a lot of the hype is FUD by our government, or at least its security agencies, to milk the situation for as much as possible. OTOH it is totally clear that IS and HAMAS are committed to doing very nasty things to anyone who gets in their way. Something weird is going on; I look forward to discovering the truth, but I have nasty suspicion we won't.


Our governments are gunning for war and this seems like a very convenient intelligence coup. Besides, it's not like they weren't wrong about Saddam having weapons of mass destruction, right, guys, right?

Comment: Re:Baby steps (Score 1) 264

by mjwx (#47797625) Attached to: Hidden Obstacles For Google's Self-Driving Cars

It will be decades before these vehicles can handle real life situations. You will need AI that can improvise as well as a human. Good luck with that.

I'm sure that there will always be a few situations where a skilled human driver will make better decisions, and produce better outcomes, than standard automation.

I'm equally sure that there will be exponentially more situations where standard automation will make better decisions, and produce better outcomes, than average (or even well above-average) human drivers.

I'm sorry, but "there will always be situations where a human performs better than AI" sounds an awful lot like "I won't wear a seat belt because it might trap me in a burning car". It's not wrong, but it is foolish, and it's a poor decision.

You could have just said "I dont actually understand the issue or how your statement relates to it", it would have been faster.

An AI at the moment is nowhere near as good as a terrible driver because the AI cannot deal with situations that have not already been programmed into is where as the worst of our drivers can. Sure it can handle common issues better, ones that have been predicted but it's the scenarios that haven't been programmed into it that it will fail horribly at. Sure you can set a default of "stop" if it doesn't know what to do but that is as dangerous as "set throttle to 100%". The thing is, uncommon situations on the road are not that uncommon.

What is worse, if you take 100 bad meat-based drivers they will all fail in different ways, if you take 100 autonomous cars, they will all fail in the same way.

Finally, and this was the GP's point, even a terribad driver will learn on their own. Google's car is not capable of this yet (and probably wont be for some time), for a problem with the autonomous cars AI to be corrected, the data will need to be taken back to Google and an update issued (I suppose it makes the term "crash dump" a little more literal). For this reason alone, 100% autonomous cars are a long, long way off.

Comment: Re:can it get me home from the bar? (Score 1) 264

by mjwx (#47797473) Attached to: Hidden Obstacles For Google's Self-Driving Cars

In any case, most cyclists have cars too, so are paying the "road tax" anyway. Having said that, I would be quite happy to pay road tax on my bike - it might shut up people like you.

Having a large "highlight reel" of cyclists antics from my dash cam, I dont give a flying fuck if cyclists pay for roads (cycle paths also some from tax money, but again I'm not fazed) I simply want them to be licensed so that they know the rules regarding riding on the road and road going cycles to be registered so when they're caught doing the wrong thing they can have their road going privileges taken off them.

Basically, I want them held to the same minimum standards as other road users (read: car drivers and motorcyclists).

However cyclists absolutely hate this idea because it will shatter the frail illusion that cyclists are perfect and everything that goes wrong is someone else's fault. The mere mention that cyclist need to follow the same road rules as other road users get the Lycra warriors up in arms. Simple things like keeping left, not trying to undertake parked vehicles, abiding by red lights (cyclists running reds in Australia is endemic... and the same people want to make it that any accident between a bike and a car is automatically the cars fault) and staying in the cycle lane (in Australia is is illegal for a cyclists to ride in any other lane if there is a cycle lane present).

I've got no issue with sharing the roads... I just wish cyclists would extend the same courtesy to other road users.

Comment: Re:can it get me home from the bar? (Score 1) 264

by mjwx (#47797427) Attached to: Hidden Obstacles For Google's Self-Driving Cars

" google cars should never be allowed on the road."
Not: " until they can reliable detect bicycles, driver-less cars shouldn't be sold to the public.

OK, once they reliably detect bicylces, what can they do about them.

I propose Goolge invents a door actuator to knock them down once detected within 0.5 metres to demonstrate the error of their way. If Google does not rise to the challenge, we'll give it to the Top Gear team.

Comment: Re:G'Day Valve, (Score 1) 133

by mjwx (#47790121) Attached to: Australian Consumer Watchdog Takes Valve To Court

And the second you restart steam to update or go online to download a game, your other game is gone.

That's how it went when I got a refund on STALKER.

If you know how steam's folders are organised, there's a very, very easy way to get around that... yep, gone from steam but not from your HDD.

Not that I would ever advocate that kind of activity mind you.

Comment: Re:Bad business practice (Score 1) 133

by mjwx (#47785403) Attached to: Australian Consumer Watchdog Takes Valve To Court

Since the games say what they run on when you buy them, I wouldn't give your blind ass a refund either.

The only reason Steam even shows you titles which won't run on your platform by default is to trick you into buying them. It's intentionally deceptive.

I've seen this before.

Mac User installs Steam on their home PC, then installs it on their work PC. Their home PC is a Mac and their work PC is Windows. They buy stuff on their work PC and wonder why it doesn't work at home.

I work at a university. Glad I dont work in support any more. Those who can reach me are smart enough not to out themselves as Mac Users.

Comment: Re:Welcome to Australia, Ferengi. (Score 1) 133

by mjwx (#47785339) Attached to: Australian Consumer Watchdog Takes Valve To Court

Umm, no. I have clients in Australia. My shit breaks, it's their choice, not mine, to get a refund, repair, or replacement.

The only thing at my discretion is whether I replace it with the exact same item, or I give them an upgraded model in its stead.

Welcome to utter bullshit land.

You dont have clients in Australia, you have at best, people you've ripped off and ignored further contact with as an overseas agent... but in more likelihood you're making the whole thing up.

Yes, an Australian will pursue you for a refund or at the very least ensure that people know not to do business with you again if they cant pursue you through an Australian court.

Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 1) 823

by mjwx (#47780959) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Chairman Mao, Ho Chi Minh and Hitler, not so much with the bluffing.

We fought Hitler and now Germany is a free and prosperous country at peace with its neighbors. China — where we dithered — not so much. Nor is North Korea — in the 60 years since we decided to "give peace a chance" there and not use nukes against the invading Chinese "volunteers", generations of millions lived in dire poverty and suffering, that they deserved even less than the Chinese soldiers.

This is wrong in so many ways.

The US did fight the Viet Minh, then the Viet Cong and the NVA... it was called the "Vietnam war" for fucks sake and you lost it. In the 15+ years of war (first against the French, then against the US) all that it did was drive more and more people to the other side.

The US did fight the Maoists, you supported the Kuomintang and General Chang Kai-Shek and you still lost it. During WWII, the US only provided aid and materials to the Chinese nationalists (the Kuomintang) and after WWII they were still defeated by the Maoists despite having superior equipment.

Minh and Mao both won because the US didn't understand the conflict. The governments of South Vietnam and Nationalist China were corrupt and oppressive. Mao and Minh had the support of the people because they were less brutal, less oppressive and less corrupt than the other government. It's the same story in Iran.

People like you are the "charlatans" proposing that a magic war will fix everything when history shows that it doesn't. Even WWII had a huge downside. It turned Soviet Russia from a backwater tin pot dictatorship collapsing under its own weight into a world power and ironically, its was the Russians who stopped the Nazi's. You're like the WWI generals proposing that one more "big push" will break the enemies back then sending all your men running towards the enemies machine guns hoping some will get through.

Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 1) 823

by mjwx (#47780893) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

You know how you deal with a playground bully? You stand up to his crap, get people behind you, and call his bluff.

Which works really well right up until you discover the schoolyard bully is a little unhinged, and is playing out of his own book because he believes his own story.

And then you discover it's not a bluff, and then things get really hairy.

Chairman Mao, Ho Chi Minh and Hitler, not so much with the bluffing.

And I'm not so sure about Putin either.

Mao and Minh aren't compatible to Hitler. Both were conducting a civil war against an oppressive and corrupt regime (The South Vietnamese and Kuomintang (Chinese nationalists) weren't just and fair governments) and both propped up by foreign powers (and both ended up losing because they weren't popular with the people).

But the definition of a bully is someone who talks tough, but is never willing or able to follow it up. This means Putin isn't a bully (neither was Hitler). The Napoleon complex is more suitable for describing Putin but not complete. Putin's biggest risk isn't the US, NATO, western Europe, BRIC or the Ukraine... It's the Russian people itself. The Russian people have no problem overthrowing a government they dont like when that government appears weak so Putin is trying to focus the people's attention on an external threat to distract people from internal problems, basically diversionary foreign policy to prevent domestic strife.

Meeting Russia with aggression is exactly what Putin wants. His approval will soar, internal dissent will be silenced and people will rally around their government ignoring how bad it is. Putin will appear to be the hero, protecting Russia whilst the US will be the "evil imperialist invaders" and if the Russians are good at something, its propaganda and America will be portrayed at the modern Nazi's. I've said it before, breadlines, not hardlines will break Putin, Ironically, Putin is like the argo (aggressive) drunk at a low rent bar. He keeps telling people that he's going to beat them up, and pushing everyone around him to show how tough he is but wont throw a punch without provocation however he's quite drunk enough to do some damage in a fight if you start it. You stop these people by not serving them any more drinks and ignoring their insults, not by starting a fight with them.

Comment: Re:The federal deficit this year is $550 billion (Score 1) 126

by mjwx (#47780627) Attached to: Indiana University Researchers Get $1 Million Grant To Study Memes

Quite frankly, this sort of stuff is insane when we're continuously running a massive deficit.

No, not even slightly. The reason you're running a massive defecit is because you have dumped trillions into two pointless wars and the military industrial complex. It was such a dumb idea that even previous presidents have warned about such things.

Cutting back on basic research is a sure-fire way to hobble long term future development. The only way to do this successfully and on the scale and longevity required is via government funding.


Yes government spending is out of control. About the worst way of reignin it in is to cut down on basic research.

Pink elephant in the room.

The government gave $1 million dollars for research that sounds silly but may yield results in psychology (leading to developments in teaching, detecting and treating mental illness, advancements in stand up comedy). Meanwhile, the US military spends $1.3 Billion per day (that's $1,300 million)*.

Now I know a lot of advances come from the military, but I highly doubt much of the money is being spent on R&D. The US could reduce it's military spending a little and solve most of it's economic problems. * Based on the 2014 budget of $495.6 billion divided by 365.

Comment: Re:9 to 5 is a myth (Score 1) 146

by mjwx (#47780491) Attached to: The American Workday, By Profession

Your Step 1 is off, you would have to be salaried exempt, in a salaried non-exempt position they can still dock you for lunch.

Step 2 is irrelevant, I have found that it does not matter how hard you work, how much you get done, or how good your results are. The company will always say that there is an unpaid lunch, even when you are salaried exempt. It is just that most people are unaware that in such a position you can ignore them as they can not divide out the half hour or hour for lunch.

Australia got around this by making it legal not to pay for lunch breaks but dropping the work day from 8 hours to 7.5.

In the end it's a win-win scenario. If you take 1/2 an hour for lunch, you work the same hours and get the same pay, if you want to take a longer lunch, you just work a bit later to make up your 7.5.

And we did all this without dropping wages (yep, but unions are evil, right, guys.... right).

We can predict everything, except the future.