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Comment: Re:Okay... (Score 1) 187

by AthanasiusKircher (#49769941) Attached to: D.C. Police Detonate Man's 'Suspicious' Pressure Cooker

Cooking is subject to trends, if you haven't noticed. Clunky 70s housewife equipment is out of fashion, to say the least.

Umm, while you may call it "clunky," pressure cookers are decidedly in fashion as an appropriate tool used for the right purposes. The cool, hip tech-savvy cooks use them along side their sous-vide machines and blowtorches for a number of important kitchen tasks.

Need examples? Nathan Myrhvold's Modernist Cuisine (2011), one of the recent "bibles" of molecular gastronomy, lauds the pressure cooker, in a list of "invaluable modernist tools" called it "a must-have; essential for stocks, tendering tough grains and seeds," and also noted its usefulness for sterilizing in various kitchen tasks. (For some specific home applications, see, for example, here.) Harold Blumenthal at The Fat Duck restaurant found that stocks made with pressure cookers were both faster and better-tasting once they understood the effects of diffusion laws on stock making. And here's a whole blog on Slate about their comeback.

I could go on. Pressure cookers may have been "out" a decade ago, but now they're back "in" again... best time to update your kitchen fashion files.

Comment: Re:Okay... (Score 1) 187

by AthanasiusKircher (#49769563) Attached to: D.C. Police Detonate Man's 'Suspicious' Pressure Cooker

I realize parent was probably meant to be "funny," but since the post was modded "insightful" by some idiot mods...

Sure, but a pressure cooker? What is this, the 70s? Does anyone use them in 2015 for anything _except_ bomb construction and cooking meth?

Have the laws of physics or chemistry changed since the 1970s?

Pressure cookers cook many things faster, mostly because they are able to achieve higher temperatures. You want to cook dry beans, a pot roast, chicken or beef stock, braised ribs, oxtail soup, whatever.... in 1/3 or 1/4 of the time as usual, pressure cookers still work. And for dishes that usually take 3 or 4 hours minimum to get tender, pressure cookers are still extremely useful when time is short.

Comment: Re:I'll believe it when I see it... (Score 1) 114

by Rei (#49767671) Attached to: India Ends Russian Space Partnership and Will Land On the Moon Alone

Its not that simple. You can't just recover it from nuclear reactor waste because it's mixed in with other isotopes of plutonium, and isn't in that great of quantities to begin with. So first off you have to reprocess nuclear waste to extract the neptunium - which again, itself isn't in very great quantities, it takes a lot of waste, and most places don't want to do waste reprocessing to begin with due to cost and liability issues. You then have to make neptunium targets and expose them to a neutron flux - that is, using neutronicity that could otherwise be used for power generation or other valuable purposes (it takes a lot of neutrons to make a tiny bit of Pu238). Pu238 should be more thought of as a manufactured product than as a byproduct of particular types of nuclear reactors.

There are a few other candidates for use as space power sources that actually are waste products, but they're all significantly worse performers. There are two other alternatives. One is to make a Sterling RTG, which was in development, but funding has been cut off (it's also kind of tricky because you have to ensure that something with moving parts will operate for decades in the harsh environment of space). The other is to make an actual nuclear reactor. This means almost limitless power, but it comes at the expense of not only massive development costs and public opposition, but a large minimum size and massive radiator requirements, as well as the same reliability challenges of sterling generators.

There's no easy solutions. Except, of course, to stop bloody wasting plutonium once we have it.

Comment: Re:Funny, that spin... (Score 1) 350

by AthanasiusKircher (#49767599) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

Spin? When for every two or three members of a profession who consider their job a net positive, there's one who considers their job an existential threat to all humanity, you're complaining that the 52% who think it will be overall good are being called a slight majority instead of just a majority.

Precisely. "Spin" is just a word thrown around when data is interpreted in a way you don't like.

But there are no perfectly "objective" ways to collect, report, or interpret data. We only look for and report the numbers that are the most interesting to us. In this case, GP complains that the emphasis is on the minority rather than the majority, but there's no reason why we always have to care about the bigger number. For example, it would rarely be useful for anyone to report that "99.9+% of humans were NOT infected by Ebola in the past year." Yeah! The majority of humans are Ebola-free! Woo!

But usually when reporting a disease, we're interested in the incidence, not the non-incidence. This story is interested in a small but not insignificant faction of AI researchers who think their job could produce something that's a severe threat to humanity. Other people may be interested in the majority of AI people who don't think this to be the case. There's always going to be "spin" the moment anyone collects and reports data... if you don't like what they're saying, of course.

Comment: Define "expert" (Score 1) 350

by TapeCutter (#49767339) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI
Speculation yes, blind no. It's true that neither Musk nor Gates are AI academics/engineers, but they are both deeply involved in setting up and funding AI research, but the clincher is that they have huge wallets and have a long held personally interested in the subject. As such they almost certainly have a better grasp on AI and it's potential usest than the proverbial Joe Sixpack.

It follows that, with or without fame, they are both "experts" relative to the general population. As such their opinion ranks as an "educated guess" and is preferable to that of the majority of "Joe Sixpack's" who base their concerns on Terminator, Bender or an obscure passage from an ancient religious text. In other words, those with knowledge of what is possible today are more informed about what that may lead to tomorrow. In the same vein I have an (old fashioned 1990-ish) degree in computer science which included an AI component, I have written numerous AI toys over the last 30yrs, and recently sat through the 2010 online MIT course* for AI (just for fun). None of this means that Joe is a moron, Joe is quite likely to be an "expert" in other fields compared to you or I.

Here's the rub with "AI" (or any complex and controversial issue). Due to a messy divorce I hadn't really been paying attention to what had been going on in AI during the 2000's, it blew me away, I showed my 'wife' who happens to be a (sought after) business 'expert' who's lectures attract large audiences. She shrugged and said "The voice thing is neat, but what's the big deal, it's just looking up the answers on the internet, right?". To this day she simply does not have sufficient knowledge to recognize the problem. Just about everyone I have shown (other than fellow AI geeks) has a similar reaction. Not only don't they "get it", they don't even recognize "it" when "it" is talking to them. There's no offense intended when such an opinion is deemed "uninformed", it's actually a plea for Joe to familiarise himself with the problem before offering an opinion.

Personally, I'm not afraid of AI suddenly turning hostile, but "knowledge is power" so I am definitely concerned about what the "known behavior of the only high intelligence we've ever met" may do with such a tool/weapon. Given the track record of our species I don't think that is an unreasonable concern, in fact the last line of your post would seem to agree with it.

Now, if you actually take a few moments to (randomly) listen to what these people are saying about AI in their speeches and interviews, you may find that their concerns are not that different to yours and mine and that the "SkyNet" hype is just the MSM doing their thing to "sex up" conservative (and unoriginal) speculation about the human tendency to use tools in every endeavor, including our inhumane endeavours.

* For anyone wanting to sharpen their existing AI knowledge (and make smarter toys), I highly recommend MIT's online AI course. It took me about a month to watch and absorb all the lectures, I approached it as a "refresher" but also learnt some new tricks that were not available 25yrs ago. The guy running the show has trouble keeping his pants hitched up but he is simultaneously entertaining, intelligent, and down to earth, when I finished the series I wanted to sit down and talk "cabbages and kings" with him...

Comment: Re:Soft bigotry of incomprehensibly low expectatio (Score 1) 134

by TapeCutter (#49766649) Attached to: Al-Qaeda's Job Application Form Revealed

trying to address that overblown ultra-echochamber-progressive concept of poverty being the main driver of religious terrorism.

Hunger drove the "Arab spring" not Facebook. Everybody seemed to forget that there were rolling food riots in cities like Cairo and Aleppo shortly before the outbreak of hostilities. They were brought on by skyrocketing food prices due to record breaking droughts that were occurring in Australia, Russia, and the Fertile Crescent during the 2000's. In Syria alone, 2M people abandoned their farms and moved into the city looking for jobs, in a nation of 20M people it's not surprising that such internal displacement triggered a civil war. In fact it was shown in the diplomatic cables posted by wikileaks that at least one US diplomat predicted the Syrian war and even guessed the city where hostilities first erupted (due to the large influx of internal migrants).

Poverty alone is not enough inspire a terrorist response, but three days without bread will prompt most people to behave like a wounded animal. At that point you just need religion (or FB) to point the finger at someone they can blame for their predicament.

Comment: Re:Great Recession part II? (Score 1) 563

by TapeCutter (#49766287) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

The house of cards is different now. The bulk of the investment market is moving towards private equity, where things are less regulated and more difficult to game.

It's almost universally acknowledged that the GFC was caused by a LACK of regulation in the US mortgage market making it impossible for financial institutions to trust each others financial instruments ( ie: easier to game).

Comment: Re:Funny, that spin... (Score 2) 350

by TapeCutter (#49766181) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI
"Mostly" is the key word in your post. Morality cannot be defined as a list of do's and dont's that are mechanically obeyed precisely because it has a myriad of "edge cases" that require human interpretation. Many situations don't even have a 'right' answer and what is morally correct will depend on the person(s) interpreting the rules.

Also notice that when the zeroth law was added it just made matters worse because more laws allow for more contradictions, loopholes, and paradoxes, exactly like the evolved tax code of any nation you care to name.

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