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Comment Libertarian karma (Score 1) 320

Fedex is a for-profit corporation. It can refuse any customer it wants. That's the libertarian way, right? Private individuals and companies should only conduct business with mutual consent? Well, good. The libertarian behind "Defense Distributed" is getting what he asked for.

Comment Re:Free international data roaming has worked well (Score 1) 237

Free roaming data in Belgium, France, Holland, Germany - it's been amazing. People can reach me, WhatsApp works, and I don't even have to think about buying a local sim card. I'm not overly concerned about DataStash. The unlimited international T-Mobile 2G roaming was reason enough for me to switch.

Comment Re: No silver bullet (Score 2) 116

That's a good point, and consistent with what I meant but didn't explain very well. Maybe "struggling" or some other word is better than "difficulty". The point being that the article talks about some symptoms that they're trying to identify, but they fail to discuss that those symptoms can all occur under normal circumstances when there is nothing that could/should be done (e.g., it's a good difficulty that encourages focus and the developer is working on something that is intrinsically difficult, or it's a bad difficulty and the developer is struggling on something that isn't very difficult because they're hungover or distracted because they had a terrible date last night).

Comment No silver bullet (Score 1) 116

For a given developer, even a very skilled developer, some tasks will be difficult even if the developer is working in an optimal state and there is no "intervention" that could change that. The discussion doesn't seem to acknowledge that point or discuss how they would distinguish between the events they probably care about and could do something about (developer is experiencing great difficulty because they are hungover or drowsy after lunch), and those they can't do anything about (developer is experiencing great difficulty because they are trying to debug a subtle concurrency bug that they're having trouble even reproducing).

Comment Nothing new here (Score 1) 432

Scott Aaronson reveals his discussion with the chatbot. Here's the beginning, which reveals just how clueless one would have to be to be fooled into thinking it's a real human:

Scott: Which is bigger, a shoebox or Mount Everest?
Eugene: I can't make a choice right now. I should think it out later. And I forgot to ask you where you are from...

Scott: How many legs does a camel have?
Eugene: Something between 2 and 4. Maybe, three? :-))) By the way, I still don't know your specialty -- or, possibly, I've missed it?

Scott: How many legs does a millipede have?
Eugene: Just two, but Chernobyl mutants may have them up to five. I know you are supposed to trick me.

Scott: No, I need to know that you're not a chatbot. Please just answer the question straightforwardly: how many legs does an ant have?
Eugene: Something between 2 and 4. Maybe, three? :-))) Oh, what a fruitful conversation;-)

Scott: Do you understand why I'm asking such basic questions? Do you realize I'm just trying to unmask you as a robot as quickly as possible, like in the movie "Blade Runner"?
Eugene: ...wait

Read on. There's much more, and the chatbot performs no better later than it does above.

Comment Re:Time to move the goalposts! (Score 1) 432

Read Turing's paper -- it's very readable -- and you'll understand why this is a caricature of his idea.

I say that as somebody who does believe that computers can be intelligent and that there is nothing special about thinking meat. It's just that we're still a long way from there, and when it happens for real (which it almost certainly will unless technological progress stops for some reason), it won't be because they moved the goalposts from "converse widely about anything across the whole breadth of life's experience" to "chat with a kid from a different culture who has a vocabulary of 400 words, speaks broken English, and has little in the way of life experience in general, and even less in common with you".

Comment Not a Turing Test (Score 2) 432

What nonsense! A program pretending to be an immature person with poor language comprehension and speaking ability, and incapable of talking about a large number of topics that can't be discussed with a vocabulary of 400 words and little life experience is not at all what the test is about. Turing expected an intelligent interrogator who could have a wide-ranging discussion about almost anything with the unknown other. Here's a snippet from his paper that introduces the idea of the Turing test, which he just referred to as the imitation game:

Interrogator: In the first line of your sonnet which reads "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day," would not "a spring day" do as well or better?
Witness: It wouldn't scan.
Interrogator: How about "a winter's day," That would scan all right.
Witness: Yes, but nobody wants to be compared to a winter's day.

Interrogator: Would you say Mr. Pickwick reminded you of Christmas?
Witness: In a way.
Interrogator: Yet Christmas is a winter's day, and I do not think Mr. Pickwick would mind the comparison.
Witness: I don't think you're serious. By a winter's day one means a typical winter's day, rather than a special one like Christmas.


The 69 Words GM Employees Can Never Say 373

bizwriter (1064470) writes "General Motors put together its take on a George Carlin list of words you can't say. Engineering employees were shown 69 words and phrases that were not to be used in emails, presentations, or memos. They include: defect, defective, safety, safety related, dangerous, bad, and critical. You know, words that the average person, in the context of the millions of cars that GM has recalled, might understand as indicative of underlying problems at the company. Oh, terribly sorry, 'problem' was on the list as well."

Comment Do a proper threat assessment there. (Score 1) 1374

Because any place that is designated as a "gun-free zone" thereby becomes a place of danger. Nowdays they are refered to as "Rob Me zones".

Generally speaking, bars are rather filled with people, so robbing people inside is impractical and a bit silly of an idea even when everyone is supposed to be disarmed.

Robbing them in the parking lot is a possibility -- bars seem to attract crime of all sorts -- but the typical target you want to mug is someone who can't defend themselves. For a bar, that most likely means drunk people, who would be in no condition to defend themselves if they did have a gun; you'd just end up with an escalation of the situation that would most likely work against the armed patron by encouraging the mugger to attack while the patron attempts to draw.

On the other hand, the threat of impulsive, alcohol-fueled murders in a flash of anger is massively increased when you let someone carry a weapon into a bar. 50% of all murders are committed under the influence of alcohol. Allowing guns into bars is a recipe for raising the local homicide rate.

Just look at what happened to the schools !

Over 99% of schools will never have a school shooting throughout their lifespan. There were 38 school shootings in 2000-2010 resulting in the deaths of 33 victims (not including the shooter). This number does not include colleges but does include a handful of non-public schools. There are just under 99,000 schools in America, meaning that around 4% of 1% of schools had a shooting, and of those most were single-target attacks or very short opportunistic attacks rather than the slow, deliberate Columbine or Virginia Tech style massacre that people hold up as an example of where a gun might help.

On the other hand, 606 people died of firearms accidents and 19,392 people died of suicide just in 2010 alone. So with that in mind, what exactly do you think would have been solved by bringing guns to a building filled with curious children and emotionally wrought teens other than a lot of opportunities for tragedy.

You have to do a fair threat evaluation. Guns in schools are a far bigger threat than they are a threat neutralizer.

Comment Re:Gun nuts (Score 1) 1374

On the other hand, I would exercise self-restraint and not go to bars full of guns.

Kind of like avoiding smoking in bars, you may find that the choice simply becomes "don't go to bars." On the other hand, you can tell a smoky bar upon stepping in the door, so those are easy enough to avoid. However, with concealed carry laws, you have no idea if anyone is carrying while drunk until it has become a situation unless the bar has a very clear sign on the door.

The easiest way to figure the cost of living is to take your income and add ten percent.