Forgot your password?

Comment: Re: No silver bullet (Score 2) 116

by jnana (#47642971) Attached to: Wiring Programmers To Prevent Buggy Code
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

by jnana (#47642791) Attached to: Wiring Programmers To Prevent Buggy Code
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

by jnana (#47200279) Attached to: Turing Test Passed

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

by jnana (#47200163) Attached to: Turing Test Passed

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

by jnana (#47200101) Attached to: Turing Test Passed

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

Posted by timothy
from the ok-and-you-can't-say-that-number-either dept.
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

by Valdrax (#46902519) Attached to: "Smart" Gun Seller Gets the Wrong Kind of Online Attention

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

by Valdrax (#46894827) Attached to: "Smart" Gun Seller Gets the Wrong Kind of Online Attention

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.

Comment: Re:Gun nuts (Score 1) 1374

by Valdrax (#46889967) Attached to: "Smart" Gun Seller Gets the Wrong Kind of Online Attention

If you wish to live in community that heavily regulates firearms, then band together and do so - nothing restricts a locality/city/region from banning the things of their own initiative (see also Chicago, D.C, New York City, etc.) However, please do not try to impose such things across the whole nation. There is no "reasonable" restriction in the eyes of those who wish to promulgate these laws, save for complete abolition.

Due to a number of court challenges, there is no local governments that are allowed to practice such restrictions anymore, because "there is no 'reasonable' restriction in the eyes of those who wish to [oppose] these laws, save for complete [legalization]." See Heller vs. DC, et al.

Okay, maybe that's a bit too far. Most gun-enthusiasts support restrictions on felons and the mentally ill owning guns, but there are a good number of true gun-nuts that don't, and politics over the last decade has pushed further and further to the fringe on the right. Witness the latest law in right-leaning Georgia to allow concealed carry in bars where people will be intoxicated while armed.

I mean, why did anyone think that was a good idea?

United States

"Smart" Gun Seller Gets the Wrong Kind of Online Attention 1374

Posted by timothy
from the or-maybe-that's-exactly-the-right-kind dept.
R3d M3rcury (871886) writes "How's this for a good idea? A gun that won't fire unless it's within 10 inches of a watch? That's the iP1 from Armatrix. Of course, don't try to sell it here in the United States." From the NY Times article linked: "[Armatrix employee] Belinda Padilla does not pick up unknown calls anymore, not since someone posted her cellphone number on an online forum for gun enthusiasts. Then someone snapped pictures of the address where she has a P.O. box and put those online, too. In a crude, cartoonish scrawl, this person drew an arrow to the blurred image of a woman passing through the photo frame. 'Belinda?" the person wrote. "Is that you?" ... "I have no qualms with the idea of personally and professionally leveling the life of someone who has attempted to profit from disarming me and my fellow Americans," one commenter wrote." The article paints a fairly rosy picture of the particular technology that Armatrix is pushing, but their ID-checking gun seems to default to an unfireable state, which might not always be an attractive feature. And given that at least one state — New Jersey — has hinged a gun law on the commercial availability of these ID-linked guns, it's not surprising that some gun owners dislike a company that advertises this kind of system as "the future of the firearm."

Comment: Re:I can't do it; I've tried before. (Score 1) 466

by Valdrax (#46862103) Attached to: Bill Gates & Twitter Founders Put "Meatless" Meat To the Test

Right, the no-meat version is better ;) If its cooked well, which the Chinese can do since they've been cooking this way for 1000's of years, then you get a very good result.

In your opinion, but you've already established that meat wasn't something you really cared for to begin with.

Don't get me wrong, there are a few Chinese vegetarian dishes I like and many more Indian dishes, but any good dish is a celebration of its ingredients. No dish should be able to taste the same if you add or remove any one ingredient, because if done properly, a dish enhances the flavors of all of its components. If it does taste the same, then there's probably just some component smothering the other flavors, and I can't imagine that any such dish treats its vegetables any better.

I think people mostly don't want to enjoy their non-meat meals, they COULD, but they'd feel like maybe they weren't eating well before. Its scary.

I think you should talk to people who have different life experiences from you rather than just imagine motives for them that cast them in a scary light. I've wanted to go lacto-ovo vegetarian for health and environmental reasons, but I've failed three times. It's not that I didn't want to like vegetarian dishes; it's that I just never stopped wanting the meat dishes too. It's far harder to give up something you enjoy than it is to find joy in other things, and when it comes to food, nothing is quite as tempting as the dish you can't have but want.

Just ask anyone on a diet.

Comment: Re:I can't do it; I've tried before. (Score 2) 466

by Valdrax (#46858241) Attached to: Bill Gates & Twitter Founders Put "Meatless" Meat To the Test

I know of a few authentic places, where they have the Chinese-only menu, but that's not the point. Meat has a distinctive flavor. Unless you do something absolutely horrifying to it to suppress it, you are simply never going to make a dish where it tastes the same with or without meat.

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson