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Comment: Re:Maybe you should have read more than one senten (Score 1) 264

And this is why the "channel" Internet is a horrible, horrible idea, which needs to be nuked from orbit, just to be safe. It'll be the return of corporate-interest TV, with all the propaganda that comes with it - but with the veneer of "it's on the Internet, so people checked it!".

Comment: The Shearing Economy (Score 1) 120

by epine (#49334721) Attached to: Uber To Turn Into a Big Data Company By Selling Location Data

Ugh. All your base R belong to us.

Avec optional appositional phrase:

means that Uber can, and is, on its way to becoming a Big Data company

Sans optional appositional phrase:

means that Uber can on its way to becoming a Big Data company

With proper parallelism:

means that Uber can become, and is on its way to becoming, a Big Data company

With more visual help to pair the distal commas:

means that Uber can become—and is on its way to becoming—a Big Data company

As it happens, I listened to an EconTalk episode last night dating back to July 2014, which is mainly about Uber.

Michael Munger on the Sharing Economy

This happens to be the audience-favourite EconTalk episode from 2014.

I've never been as much of a Mike Munger fan as many listeners of the show, but I actually thought this episode was well done. It's about 59m30s longer than what fits in an SMS message, so that makes it fairly clear that this episode is not preaching to the Uber choir. It's for those of us north of 30, whose lives are so dismal we sit around and listen to other people converse about how old and dismal we've all become.

Comment: Re:How many minutes until this is mandatory? (Score 1) 282

by NeutronCowboy (#49333397) Attached to: Ford's New Car Tech Prevents You From Accidentally Speeding

That's not even the worst offender. CA has lots of freeways that sit right next to frontage roads and on the same level as them. The only thing that separates the two is a bit of chain link fence and about 10 feet of grass. Guess what those frontage roads have? Yep, speed signs. Guess what a car I test drove picked up on as the speed limit for the freeway? Yep, the speed on the frontage road.

This is a terribly thought out idea. I'd rather trust a GPS map that has the speedlimits assigned to it.

Comment: Re:Google wants a monopoly... (Score 2) 133

by swillden (#49332903) Attached to: Chinese CA Issues Certificates To Impersonate Google

Google is completely OK with sharing personal info with all governments

Not true, not in the slightest. Google has fought hard to minimize the information they have to give to governments, and to be as transparent as the law will allow about what they do give. Remember that Google created the transparency report, and was the company that managed to negotiate permission to share aggregated data about National Security Letters. Many other companies have followed suit, but Google led the way.

They have already been caught supplying users' data to the US government.

No, Google has been shown to comply with legal requirements, and to fight questionable requests in court. Snowden also revealed that the NSA was tapping Google's fiber. Google responded by encrypting the data on that fiber.

They make money on that as well because they charge the US government a fee for that service.

Cite? Since Google is a publicly-traded company, it should be easy to point to that line item in their SEC filings.

Stood up and achieved what? Get told by the Chinese government to STFU or GTFO?

No, told by the Chinese government to participate in government-mandated censorship or GFTO. Google participated for a while and then decided it wasn't what they ought to be doing, and so chose to GTFO of the biggest market on the planet (albeit one in which they had a small market share.

Comment: Re:Kill them all. (Score 1) 332

You mean, like how we effectively nuked Saddam's army and occupied Iraq? Your only way to continue is by actually turning all of Iraq into a glass desert. Then all of the Middle East. Then all of North Africa. And when the Russians and Chinese start calling, you'll have to turn the world into a glass desert.

Yeah, no thanks. I'd rather deal with a few crazies killing a few locals by taking a few potshots at them from a distance.

Comment: Re:Kill them all. (Score 1) 332

Let me ask you this: if a country would come into the US and start razing cities and towns, would that break your will to fight? Or would that just inflame your desire to see of the invaders dead?

The problem with your approach is that it defeats the purpose of killing terrorists: it creates more than it kills. The only way you can actually succeed is if you wipe out every opposing person - and in today's connected world, that will very quickly be everybody but you and your buddies. Are you willing to go to war with the entire world? Even if they drop nukes on you?

Carthage worked because it was a city state surrounded by a desert. There were not enough people to take the side of Carthage once it was destroyed. But you won't find that today anymore.

WW1 and WW2 are interesting examples, where a local superpower thought it could win a total war.

Comment: Re:Sooo .. (Score 1) 127

except that polling it continuously will keep the device from going to sleep (have an impact on battery life).

It doesn't seem to have a significant impact, AFAICT. I haven't benchmarked with and without, but at leas on my Nexus 6 I didn't observe any obvious decrease in battery life when I turned it on.

Comment: Re:Sooo .. (Score 1) 127

I've been using this feature for a few months now (I work for Google) and I think on balance it significantly improves my security. It means that I can set my phone to lock instantly on display timeout, with a one-minute timeout, lock instantly on power button press, and use a long, complex password... and not be inconvenienced by having to constantly re-enter a long password. This is a security win, because if I did have to enter a long password two dozen times per day, I wouldn't do it; I'd choose a simpler password and settings that lock my device less aggressively. Even better, I find myself subtly encouraged by the phone to keep it in my pocket, rather than setting it down on tables, desks, etc., because if I put it down somewhere I'll have to re-enter my password.

If I were mugged, I'd just hit the power button as I remove the phone from my pocket. Actually, what I'd really like to do in that case is to power it down, but I'm not sure I could get away with that, since it requires holding the power button for a couple of seconds, then tapping the confirmation dialog. Since my phone is encrypted, getting it into a powered-down state makes my data quite secure. Not that the lockscreen is necessarily easy to bypass, but it's part of a large, complex system, which means there's a lot of attack surface. Once the device is powered down, the risk model is very simple and well-understood: If the attacker can't guess my password, he can't get at my data. Thanks to the hardware-backed encryption used in Lollipop, password guessing is rate-limited by the hardware to a level that would require, on average, about 70 years of continuous trials. Even if the attacker were that patient (a) nothing on my phone would be worth anything after a decade or so and (b) I doubt the device would last that long. Mobile devices aren't built to run flat out for years.

I've also used the bluetooth proximity Smart Lock, paired to a smartwatch, but I've decided I like the "Trusted behavior" feature better, so I've stopped trusting proximity to my watch. The range on bluetooth is large enough that I can set my phone down and be far enough away that someone could use it but still within range for keeping unlocked. Plus, I really like the encouragement to keep the device on my body. In the long run, that user training will, I think, do more for my device security than anything else.

I do still use bluetooth, but paired to my car's bluetooth, so I can put the phone in a cradle or on the center console and have it stay unlocked. I also set the phone to trust proximity to the bluetooth headset I use when cycling, because I put the phone in a cradle mounted on the handlebars and want it to stay unlocked as I use it to track my ride.

The discussion on this thread about phones being snatched from hands, though, makes me think that perhaps I should re-enable trust of my smartwatch. That would address high-speed theft pretty well. I just tested and taking the phone out of range of my smartwatch does lock the phone, even if it's in my pocket. So a thief couldn't just grab it from my hands and drop it in their pocket to keep it unlocked.

However, this means I lose the on-body self-training. I suppose if I turn the smartwatch linkage on only when I'm outside my home or office, I'd get the on-body training most of the time but the smartwatch linkage all of the rest. Hmm... I wonder if I can create a Tasker profile to automate that...

Comment: Re:Sooo .. (Score 1) 127

you do want the screen to turn off and lock from input when you place the phone in your pocket, unless you enjoy random stuff happening.

The proximity sensor (same one that prevents you from hitting buttons with your cheek while talking on the phone) should turn the screen off and disable input without locking the screen when it senses your leg/hip.

Comment: the Lumia mosaic (Score 1) 213

by epine (#49318483) Attached to: Finland's Education System Supersedes "Subjects" With "Topics"

Recently I was reading The Seven Day Weekend by Ricardo Semler on my day off. There's a chapter or so devoted to the Lumiar School he founded, which runs on a Mosaic curriculum—a curriculum which discards the traditional subject orientation for learning experiences. Here's an article written about it shortly after the school opened: Learn what you want.

What we need to change to go along with this (if we keep them) are the standardized tests (by subject). I think there need to be many questions offered, from which the student can choose, and the final score needs to be more like tower diving, where your score on what you attempt is presented alongside with the average difficulty rating. Brownose U. could prefer to admit students with a 100% score at the high-school senior difficulty level, while Speed College could prefer to admit students with an 80% score at the level of a third-year undergraduate (in their chosen major)—tailoring their environment appropriately. Survival of the fittest lacks vitality unless there's real diversity in the methods employed.

Once upon a time, the problem with taking this approach is that having some of your brightest students going deep into difficult sub-topics (such as a bright high school math student who takes a shine to number theory), was that too many students would get too far ahead of the teachers, because few high school math teachers (for example) would be able to ace the entire panoply of twenty offered questions.

With the technology of social networking, it's a solvable problem to hook bright students up with teachers with expertise in the subject area, no matter how deep and narrow. If there are ten high-school math prodigies in all of Brazil who take a shine to number theory, you just need one math teacher (available online) who is good at number theory to help shepherd their studies in a productive direction.

No matter what the child wants to learn, find the teacher who can teach it. In a system as large as Brazil (to continue with my Lumiar example) it can't be that hard to have a least one teacher who can keep up with a bright child no matter how unusual the learning passion (excepting all things Narnia, like astrology and phrenology and intelligent design).

We have far less excuse to funnel every child down the same subject-matter cattle chute than ever before.

Comment: Re:Absolutley (Score 3, Interesting) 572

by epine (#49311411) Attached to: Greenpeace Co-Founder Declares Himself a Climate Change Skeptic

If that strike is destroying monuments thousands of years old and causing irreparable damage to a very fragile desert ecosystem - yes, absolutely I would be strongly against ANY entity that did that, but more importantly didn't even consider it to be a problem.

I take it then that you'll be pretty negative toward the American administration who oversaw the destruction or loss of a substantial slice of cultural artifacts held in trust on behalf of the entire Iraqi civilization.

"The images you are seeing on television you are seeing over and over and over. And it's the same picture of some person walking out of some building with a vase. And you see it 20 times. And you think, my goodness, were there that many vases?" Rumsfeld told reporters. "Is it possible that there were that many vases in the whole country?"

This from the man who likely repeated the phrase "weapons of mass destruction" times beyond measure. My goodness, is it possible that there were any WMD in the whole country?

the true figure was around 15,000 items, including 5,000 extremely valuable cylinder seals

Perhaps Rumsfeld hates all museums with the same uniform, searing passion, but I suspect he might have summarized the matter differently if 15,000 items walked out of the Smithsonian, including personal artifacts brought over to American on the Mayflower that were already so venerable they predated Constantine.

Now to deal with the article at hand:

If this trend continued, the carbon dioxide level would have become too low to support life on Earth.

If he thinks this trend could have continued deep into the extirpation of the chlorophyllosphere, he's badly in need of that new ultrasound treatment used to cure Alzheimer's disease in the mice model.

Epic fail. Crank dismissed.

All the simple programs have been written.

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