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Comment: Re:Easy stats to pull (Score 2) 367

by portnoy (#46602003) Attached to: More Than 1 In 4 Car Crashes Involve Cellphone Use

Here's a question: Would the black box tell you how many of these accidents would have happened even if there was no cell phone involved? If so, let's see it. (I honestly don't know.)

Given that driving using a mobile phone seriously inhibits your ability to concentrate on driving and that the main cause of accidents is driver error, its a very good assumption.

Far better than the assumption that they would have had the accident anyway.

Not necessarily. The report in question is an estimate based on previous studies, including one from 2005 which originally suggested the 1 in 4 number. That 2005 paper decided that cell phone usage was "associated" with the accident if the phone was being used up to 10 minutes before the crash. So in other words, an accident was counted if a driver had a brief conversation, hung up the phone, put it away, drove five miles, and then was hit by someone running a red light. It's pretty easy to see that this accident would likely still have happened without the phone usage. What's not clear is what percentage of the accidents are like this.

Comment: Re:Evidence? (Score 1) 102

by portnoy (#46510979) Attached to: Dorian Nakamoto Officially Denies That He Created Bitcoin

Isn't this based on a rather simple assumption that his desire to be the anonymous inventor started before he published the paper on it. What if, he or she had written the paper and begun work under their own name, and later regretted it and decided it would be best to not actually be in the spot light?

A fair point, but the name he goes by isn't Satoshi; it's Dorian. So, if he were starting work and not thinking about anonymity, presumably the work would have been published under Dorian Nakamoto. Instead, then, we have to postulate this weird set of events where he began work, but decided to use a name other than the one he uses everyday (presumably to hide himself a little bit), but which still can be traced back to him laughably easily.

Comment: Re:wikipedia (Score 1) 252

Let me ask you a question: if we'd spent a bit more time polishing the site and then just set it live for 100% of users, do you think that would have gone better?

You do know that that wasn't the only other alternative, right? Looking back, might it not have been better to post a message *before* you started redirecting a sizable section of the traffic that said, "we appreciate the feedback we've been getting on the beta site, and we're working on implementing many of the changes that have been requested. We know that that there are still issues with several components of the site, but in order to get feedback from a larger sample size, we're going to redirect 20% of the users to the beta site as a trial for the next N weeks. After that trial is over, we'll go back to classic Slashdot while we continue improving our new design." It's called managing expectations, and would have had the added benefit of giving people a place to put the Beta protests.

Also, you keep saying that the comment system is being worked on, but your "Beta News" section doesn't list it under "what is not in Beta yet" as one of the "key areas being worked on." So, it's perhaps natural for people to assume that you're not currently as concerned about its problems.

Comment: Re:vBulletin (Score 2) 259

by portnoy (#41955683) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Way To Add Forums To a Website?

Writing a program that solves a Calcudoku is pretty simple, actually. Hell, a 6x6 only has a couple hundred possibilities; that's a piece of cake to brute-force. I think right now you're more relying on security through obscurity -- it's not been broken because it's not yet used often enough to be a tempting target for a spambot creator.

AI

Chatbot Eugene Wins Biggest Turing Test Ever 235

Posted by Soulskill
from the it'd-be-easy-to-win-over-xbox-live dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Eugene Goostman, a chatbot imbued with the personality of a 13-year-old boy, won the biggest Turing test ever staged on 23 June, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing. Held at Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes, UK, where Turing cracked the Nazi Enigma code during World War 2, the test involved over 150 separate conversations, 30 judges, 25 hidden humans and five elite, chattering software programs. 'Thirteen years old is not too old to know everything and not too young to know nothing,' explains Eugene's creator, Vladimir Veselov."

Comment: Re:Seems partly justified (Score 2) 227

by portnoy (#39733843) Attached to: Judge Grudgingly Awards $3.6 Million In DRM Circumvention Case

But the minimum is 200 not 398.98 so the judge could have decreased it again by almost half. As it is, it just seems like the political cop out "I don't like this bill that I am signing and supporting..."

You're confusing two things here. $398.98 is the amount the judge granted as "disgorged profits" -- in other words, money that UMaple directly made off of MapleStory's work. In this case, it's only the amount of money they made from AdSense revenue.

But that's separate from the copyright infringment. The infringement penalties have nothing to do with any money that UMaple made; it's just a statutory penalty with mandatory minimums for each copy. That's where the minimums come in.

Comment: Re:This IS a LiIon failure mode though (Score 1) 362

by portnoy (#39135871) Attached to: Why Tesla Cars Aren't Bricked By Failing Batteries

I thought the same thing, and was thus expecting that the first response from Tesla would have been "$40,000 is a completely ridiculous, inflated number with no basis in reality." But that's not their response. It's not even, "Yeah, earlier versions of our technology could have had this issue, but we've totally fixed it for the upcoming Model S and Model X versions". But no, the response we're getting from Tesla is more along the lines of "well, yeah, you need to keep it plugged in."

Which frankly makes me think that it's not a made up number at all.

Comment: Re:Awh, that is so cute (Score 1) 509

by portnoy (#36710792) Attached to: Facebook Trapped In MySQL a 'Fate Worse Than Death'

A nobody claims that a billion dollar company doesn't know what it is doing.

Michael Stonebreaker is probably the best-known database researcher alive. He invented Ingres, the first relational database, and developed the core of what is now PostgreSQL. Since moving to MIT, he's continued to push some of the bounds of database technology.

Disagreeing with his conclusions here due to the success of Facebook is reasonable. But to call him a nobody exposes your ignorance, not his.

Google

Google Pushes New Chrome Release, Pays $14k Bounty 182

Posted by timothy
from the return-on-investment dept.
Trailrunner7 writes "Google has released version 8.0.552.237 of its Chrome browser, which includes fixes for 16 security vulnerabilities. The company also paid out more than $14,000 in bug bounties for the flaws fixed in this release, including the first maximum reward of $3133.7. The new version of Google Chrome has fixes for 13 high-priority bugs, but the most serious vulnerability the company repaired in the browser is a critical flaw resulting from a stale pointer in the speech handling component of Chrome. That flaw, along with four others, was discovered by researcher Sergey Glazunov, who earned a total of more than $7,000 in rewards for the bugs he reported to Google."

Comment: Re:Probrem! (Score 1) 696

by portnoy (#33639538) Attached to: Stewart and Colbert Plan Competing D.C. Rallies

My point was about the code pinkers and Cyndi Sheehan types who were protesting both wars and now can't be found anywhere.

Since Obama's inauguration, Cindy Sheehan has been arrested twice in front of the White House for protesting. She's demonstrated outside of his vacation home in Martha's Vineyard, and was doing the same on the streets of Oslo when he was getting the Nobel Prize. Code Pink is still protesting; I can easily find a reference to them doing so last Halloween in front of the White House.

Now ask yourself; is the problem with the protesters going away, or is the problem with the news media?

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