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Comment Re:Drones (Score 1) 308 308

One of the things that has consistently mystified me about Americans' complacency with drone warfare is the underlying assumption that our current monopoly on drones is going to last forever. If it's ok for the U.S. to use drones to assassinate "terrorist" anti-American agitators in Yemen, what are we going to say when China starts using drones to assassinate "terrorist" Chinese dissidents on American soil, or Europe, or elsewhere? For all intents and purposes, we're already using killbots, and the really important point here is that airborne killbots can be used (for now) with impunity across borders.

"American Exceptionalism" basically means we allow ourselves to commit war crimes with impunity.

What is there to be mystified about? If any other state actor with drone technology does anything like what you are suggesting, they will cease to exist as a state, period. They know what would happen. The Romans used salt to make sure Carthago delenda est; America will use Strontium 90. America's social order may be iffy, but their ability to come together and destroy other nations when provoked is a matter of historical record. They have more than enough nukes left in their arsenal to pave any ten countries if provoked, and I am pretty certain random drone strikes killing Americans in Des Moines would be provocation enough. You are right about American exceptionalism, in the sense that "He who has the ability to destroy the planet, controls the planet." And before you point out that lots of nations have nukes, ask yourself this one question: In the seven decades since our species developed nuclear weapons, what was the nationality of the only human in history to use a nuclear weapon in anger? Here's a hint: He actually did it twice.

Comment Re:I have no fear of AI, but fear AI weapons (Score 1) 308 308

This is one of those "You only hear about the failures" situation. No one hears about the crazy kid that was given psychiatric counseling and decided NOT to use an ak47 to kill everyone.

There have not been 4 attempts to do this (Hitler, Stalin, Saddam, North Korea), but 400. We stopped well over 90% of them, but you don't hear about them

As for those people you mentioned, many of them were hamstrung by ethical people whose refusal to kill slowed down their crazy lessons.


1) False equivalence. Hitler, Stalin, Saddam, and North Korea's dictator are equal to a kid with an assault rifle? Really?

2) Fallacy of the fourth term. You made a pretty interesting argument with your psychopathic tyrant with an army of amoral killers, but now you are suggesting that it was ethics that slowed them down, not morality. I can see why you made the switch -- unlike morality, ethics can be prescriptive -- but you need to revisit your premise since you introduced a new term.

Comment Re:I have no fear of AI, but fear AI weapons (Score 1) 308 308

The problem is not the rise of an AI revolution.

Instead, it is the rise of a human psychopathic tyrant working with a force of soldiers that obediently kill at his command, with no chance of moral rebellion within his own force.

morality is often cited as a reason to control technology when it enables behavior that somebody doesn't like. The same class of arguments was used against file sharing twenty years ago, the Pill fifty years ago, and alcohol a hundred years ago, and we all see how successful those arguments were. the problem with hanging your argument on morality is that morality is not a standard of behavior, it is just a description of a certain kind of behavior. So, indeed the problem is not the rise of an AI revolution, but nor is it the rise of a psychopathic tyrant with AI killers at his/her command. The problem is convincing people that living in a world with autonomous weapons is better than living in a world where autonomous weapons are banned.

Comment Re:Yes (Score 1) 138 138

Um, that's utter crap.

I beg to differ. clock for clock, AMD blows Intel out of the water. Clocks-per-instruction (CPI) is a useful metric when it comes to comparing CPU horsepower across differing architectures, and AMD is the clear winner when you do. In an understandable decision, Intel listened to their marketers, who told them, "we need higher clocks than our competitors, because that's what people want to buy." So Intel chose long instruction pipes so they could get higher clock frequencies, and then focussed on minimizing the inherent penalties (like having to flush said long pipeline on a branch instruction.) Intel's branch prediction algorithms are excellent, but they can't erase the branch penalty caused by those long instruction pipelines. That penalty is why an AMD running at half the clock speed of an Intel processor (and therefore costing 1/2 to 1/3 as much!) does as much or more actual computing (CPI) than the Intel.

Comment I don't think they asked any gamers... (Score 1) 277 277

Doom, but not Quake? Pac-man and Tetris, but not Space Invaders or Defender or Donkey Kong? WoW but not EQ or EVE? And no mention of any of the rogue-likes? Where is Civ, and Halo? I truly hope the curators are not going to commit the same kind of errors around inclusions and exclusions that rendered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame irrelevant. You know what I'm talking about -- The Who, but not Jethro Tull? Kiss, but not Deep Purple? Pink Floyd, but not The Moody Blues, ELP or Yes?

Comment Re:Just wondering (Score 1) 227 227

There is no solution to this problem that involves restricting drones, because that won't stop the bad guys. The only solution is to ensure the Killer Drone can't get to your high-value target.

Yes, but.... To the government's internal security apparatus, there is no useful distinction between a law abiding citizen with access to lethal technology (guns, explosives, drones, etc) and a terrorist --- they must assume the former can and will become the latter under the right circumstances (see T. McVeigh and T. Kaczinsky) -- so restricting public access to terrorist tools is is exactly what is going to happen, in the name of public security.

Comment Re:big news! (Score 4, Informative) 299 299

Distributed storage capacity has the potential to even out the prices over the day and match consumption and production. It also solves a major issue with most renewables. It would be even more interesting if people were allowed to store cheap electricity and sell it back during expensive hours for profit.

true, and in a free market, that is exactly what would happen. sadly, the US energy market is no where near free. In the last three years, Koch Industries has successfully lobbied legislative bodies in 17 states to impede the deployment of alternative energy, and to drastically roll back, if not outrightly abandon existing programs. Case in point: net metering, where the utility company monitors power use and credits a homeowner for power sent back to the grid. In 2014, right here in sunny Az, three Koch-funded candidates were elected to our five person Corporation Commission, which, among other duties, sets utility rates. in february this year, they announced two structural changes that effectively kill net metering. the first change eliminates the ability to bank your credits over the length of a year, meaning that the credits needed to offset months where your PV array doesnt cover your power use are no longer available. the second change reduces the amount of money the utility will pay for your excess production, from full retail to less than half of wholesale. Arizona was seeing fairly strong growth in rooftop solar, until that announcement. in march, new residential solar permits were down 42% over Mar 2014. so far in april, there have been zero new residential permits.

Comment Re:why must human ancestors be involved (Score 1) 89 89

Mostly because Humans are the only ones that love killing each other.

Dont see prides of lions killing the pride next door just for shits and giggles

Sure they do, if you count sex. Male lions will kill rival males in other prides so they can take over mating rights. Both male lions & female lions will kill the cubs of rival prides.

I think you missed GP's point. The behavior you describe is the result of selective reproductive pressure over millions of generations of lions. It is hardwired into the lion's genome, and is quite rational behavior for any organism looking to optimize its reproductive probabilities. . But sometimes humans kill even when it doesn't optimize their reproductive probabilities. As far as we know, humans are the only organisms that kill for sport.

Comment Re:call the library ? (Score 1) 246 246

Wouldn't it be smarter for the police to call back the library, and ask if there's anything going on ?

what, and miss an opportunity to scare the fuck out of^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H demonstrate their readiness and capability to the good citizens of Hopkinton? what Hopkinton obviously needs is a show of force from their police, less the taxpayers get it into their heads that reason and logic is more important than killing terrorists, even fake ones like the idiots responsible for this particular swatting.

Comment If you aren't farming, you are being farmed... (Score 1) 249 249

Evolution can only occur in a non--zero-sum environment -- > energy.out for an organism or collection of organisms, if only by a hair, otherwise you get stasis, and ultimately death, when a more dynamic organism begins to farm you. Cooperation is a strong strategy, and Dawkins' insight that selection operating at the gene level can account for altruistic behavior (altruism being the ultimate cooperative behavior) at more macro scales was nothing short of brilliant. This paper pretty much provides a model that accounts for one player co-opting the successful strategies of other players in the iterated prisoner's dilemma. If you play an MMORPG, you are participating in this model of co-opted cooperative behavior. Take WoW, for example: inferior players are paying Blizz for the privilege of being farmed by superior players for gold, or PvP honor points.

Comment Re:What's the difference between China and EU? (Score 0) 222 222

What kind of vile scum are you to equate free speech for political change with videos of people chopping heads off and incitement to murder?

Because they are both forms of expression, when they are on youtube. One may be considered vile and reprehensible, and the other not so much, though I'd wager you have never seen a Tea Partier rallying the base, if you think speech for political change can't be vile and reprehensible, as well. What kind of dolt are you to not separate the medium from the message?

Comment It is not about science, people... (Score 1) 667 667

This is a political maneuver designed to embarrass the GOP. 98 senators have already affirmed this amendment which was tacked onto the XL pipeline bill. To be clear, the amendment has no real effect on the construction of the Keystone pipeline; it simply forces all senators and representatives to get on the record on climate change. The GOP is up against a wall on the Keystone pipeline -- even if this bill passes, it will be vetoed by the executive branch and the GOP probably does not have the votes to override the veto (hard to vote for something that contributes to global warming after you've acknowledged that global warming is real.) This amendment is the Democrats fucking with the Republicans, pure and simple.

Comment Re:parachute (Score 1) 248 248

Keep in mind that refurbishing the waterlogged shuttle boosters ended up being 3X more costly than original estimates, much of the nozzle apparatus was completely trashed each time, and the whole process took months to turn around a single booster.

"ended up being 3X more costly..." you make it sound like the prime contractor didn't know this all along. When you land a cost-plus contract with the government (or anybody, for that matter) your job suddenly becomes to make the contract as costly as possible while still appearing to be executing due diligence. This is why Lockheed, Raytheon, Boeing, and the other contractors have been able to hoover up hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, with only the lame and inefficient STS to show for it. For the amount of taxpayer dollars diverted to the US space program starting with the boondoggle Apollo program PR stunt (yes it was PR. It was all fuck the Russians and their fucking sputnik, we have to one-up the commie bastards by going to the goddamn moon) we could have fixed our social safety net and cured poverty, and put money into useful areas of research, like medicine and energy production/distribution, and fixed our broken education and healthcare systems. Instead, we created a whole new class of welfare client, the aerospace/defense contractor, and managed to keep the Cold War going for 40 more years. Why do you think Tea Party darling Ted Cruz is now the gatekeeper for the US Government's science and technology funding? It's because Musk proved that you don't need a huge fucking corporate welfare system to support basic research. There is also the added political bonus of Musk's achievement discrediting every dollar the US government spent on "space research." One of Cruz's direct responsibilities is overseeing NASA funding, and it is going to be next to impossible to fight his budget cuts when all Cruz has to do is point to Elon Musk's SpaceX success. The Tea Party wing of the GOP is going to be insufferable for a long, long time....

Comment Bingo fuel means no brakes, no manuevering (Score 1) 248 248

They are using fuel as hydraulic fluid, an old and (apparently) still stupid idea. The SR-71 used JP-6 as fuel and hydraulic fluid -- one Habu pilot told me, "yeah, dumb engineering decision. If you are on bingo fuel, you might as well plan for a ditch, because bingo also means you are out of brakes and maneuvering." That was 35+ years ago. You'd think Elon would have covered that base.

Comment Re:design flaw with placement of antenna (Score 1) 130 130

That introduces its own drawbacks and failure modes. And the reasons why they didn't choose that other system (such as not having access to plutonium 238) still apply.

the failure mode was the "E" in ESA. nukes in orbit are a non-starter in Europe. the people won't stand for it, and since they are paying for it, nukes are off the table for space probes. for ESA missions, that means solar or no mission.

The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.