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Comment Re:Only in the States (Score 1) 935

Do you have a citation for the 90% figure? I'm genuinely curious, because the stats I could find suggest more of an even split of public opinion. In any case, if public opinion was more decisively in favor of restricting ownership, the most effective way to effect change with that kind of groundswell of support would be a constitutional amendment repealing the 2nd rather than work-arounds or creative interpretation which set dangerous precedent for disregard of other rights.

Comment From the bill... (Score 1) 379

I was reading the text of the actual bill, and stumbled upon this section:

Sec 302. Restriction on conduct of intelligence activities

The authorization of appropriations by this Act shall not be deemed to constitute authority for the conduct of any intelligence activity which is not otherwise authorized by the Constitution or the laws of the United States.

...which I think means the bill cannot have the effect of making any intelligence activities legal. It can only restrict, if I'm reading it right.

Comment Re:Empowers us at exterminating each other (Score 1) 417

Yeah I think people are worried about AI developing its own goals incompatible with ours, but even if it has just goals we've given it, it's not hard to imagine those goals being evil. Or even if well-intended, having dubious consequences. Imagine we give it a goal of maximizing human happiness, so it extracts our brains and keeps them alive in jars on an endorphine drip. Happy happy!

Comment Re:Evolution random elements. (Score 1) 29

Some traits have multiple effects, only some of which are beneficial. Like your acne example is possibly a side effect of oily skin which may have other evolutionary benefits. Large head size is a good example, giving capacity for greater intelligence at the cost of infants needing more care because they have to exit the womb earlier.

Comment Re: How many of you are still using Gnome? (Score 1) 403

I'm a die-hard fluxbox user. Every once in awhile I try the others to see if they've gotten any better, but so far I've always gone back. What I need is simply a customizable menu when you right-click on the desktop, a simple way to map keystrokes to actions like launching apps, changing brightness etc., and a system tray with icons for power, network, and volume. Fluxbox doesn't come with applets for the system tray, but you can use the XFCE, Gnome or other stand-alone applets, and pick and choose the ones you want. Fluxbox is less likely to be suitable for you "out of the box" but I'd say if you spend some time with it, it's more likely you can get it working exactly how you want and eliminate all sources of irritation. And once you're done tweaking it, keep your configs forever and it's not going to change out from under you, so it's time well spent in my opinion. It surprises me how much of GUI design is spent making sure a user's first hour using it is easy, not much on making sure it's efficient for long-term use.

I don't use the panel so can't comment on that, but Fluxbox is also very modular, so you can use the panel that comes with it or use Tint2 or Cairo or whatever else you like in its place. I like that modular approach that the big desktops have gotten away from.

I suspect a tiling wm like awm would be more efficient for me after some getting used to, but for now flux just works and I love it.

Comment Just a bad news article. (Score 1) 914

Dr. Roache is a philosopher, not a scientist or medical doctor. As far as I can tell, the story came from this blog post she made, which is a short, speculative piece.

The article makes it sound like she's the head of some team of scientists actually working on how to make this happen. Maybe philosophy journalism is actually worse than science journalism.

If you look at her other posts she doesn't seem to be a complete nutter.

Submission + - Best Idea for a Universal Translator (FreeSpeech tm) (

gurps_npc writes: An Indian company developed an all picture based software to help speech impaired (autistic, mute, etc.) children communicate fully formed ideas. Then he developed translator engines to convert the all picture based system into English — and other verbal languages. The interesting part is that his system consists of 2-dimensional pictures, not 1-dimensional sound. This makes it much simpler and intuitive grammatically and therefore be much simpler to translate into any language. It is just as easy to convert his pictures into English as it is to convert it into Chinese, Arabic, Swahili, whatever. It gets rid of most of the problems that plague Google and similar computer based translation programs. Note the solution is one way, from his pictures to all other languages, because other languages do not have the exactness offered by the 2-dimensional advantage of his software (FreeSpeech)

In effect, he has created a far superior core translation engine for a Universal Translator. Their web site includes a link to his TED talk.

Comment Re: fake premise (Score 1) 742

This. A terrible product, and a business model geared around eliminating my choices, rather than making a better product to improve my experience. Now I should like MS because Auschwitz or Chewbacca or something?

Okay, they did spend a little effort to try to improve my experience, but unfortunately they spent it on Clippy, The Ribbon, and Metro.

Comment Re: The UK border staff are wildly incompetent. (Score 1) 261

I'm American and I lived in London for 2 years on a work visa, and travelled quite a bit. Never had any issues whatsoever at Heathrow or Gatwick. I found the border guard polite and professional. And going through security leaving from Heathrow was also much better than in the US, the main difference being the attitude and professionalism of the staff rather than policy differences (though it's nice not to have to take off your shoes). Maybe I've been lucky in the UK and unlucky in the US.

Comment Re:Hey, Fuck you Slashdotters (Score 1) 509

I think his argument is that it will be possible in the future for a few people to cause a lot more damage than they can today, therefore we must gradually transform ourselves into a police state so that we will be able protect ourselves, because we won't be able to turn on a dime from a free society to a totalitarian one once those threats become real. This is perhaps the most reasonable argument that can be made in favor of gathering this sort of data because, as others have pointed out, the current danger of terrorism is very slight relative to taking a shower or driving a car. I'm in favor of taking our chances and resuming the experiment of a free society.

Comment Re:They didn't think this through (Score 1) 444

Gore was never any kind of scientist:

"Although he was an avid reader who fell in love with scientific and mathematical theories,[22] he did not do well in science classes in college, and avoided taking math.[21] His grades during his first two years put him in the lower one-fifth of the class." --Wikipedia

He actually studied government.

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