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Comment Re:Total Waste of Funding (Score 1) 91

Let's say that the humans involved, and their shits, are of a regular size. What you have described is a macroscopic process. Some things work differently at different scales. If you scale your humans down to the size of CO2 molecules then you are describing a microscopic process. It is known more commonly as Maxwell's demon, and it does not work. What you are describing is an attempt to fight entropy directly. The shit would not only win, it would probably hit the fan in the process.

On the macroscopic scale the loss would not be visible in terms of the placement of the shit, but a careful observer would notice changes in the temperature of this shit, and the humans tasked with its shovelling. The heat displaced due to the recognition and rearrangement of the shits would be insignificant. The number of shits given by the shovellers at any point in time would be large. But scale is a fickle mistress and the ratio of useful work (shits given) to heat displaced would drop to zero as we approach the state described before you used your analogy: the net result of your attempt to blow this off as simple is a large amount of hot (carbon-rich) air, but no shits-given at all.

It is not every analogy that works: sometimes the detail removed are critical.

Comment Re:An unreadable sentence (Score 1) 86

The complexity classes are bounded by equations (well, they are the upper bounds of families of equations). There is a nice description in the comments on Scott's blog of how there is a gap in those equations (a region with no closed forms) that lies between the polynomial equatuons and the exponential ones. This result would be in the "polynomial greater metropolitan area" as he phrases it.

Comment Re:Basic income (Score 1) 674

Pointing out that AmiMoJo's arguments for majoritarianism are fascist in nature isn't an "ad hominem",

Misquoting him to make him appear facist is intellectually dishonest: arguing about whether that dishonesty is ad hominem or not is simply ducking the issue. The part of his post that you cropped from your response said:

Work to change it (good luck) or leave.

Taken together with his other line of argument this shows a basic respect for the democratic process. Hardly the stuff of facism unless you pull one part of what he said out of context. What do you think this is, Journalism 101?

Comment Re: You Are Always the Product (Score 1) 125

You seem to be under the illusion that changing the phone-number will change the profile. The profile is a mixture of location and interested based information mined from the way in the which the phone is used. If another phone is used the same way then it will generate the same profile. Switching burners is not a fix.

Comment Re: You Are Always the Product (Score 1) 125

Well... Perhaps your estimate of how much information is required to uniquely identify an individual is a little off. Consider this or any of the similar studies. Far less weakly identifying data is required than your estimate. Address (to within 30ft by tower triangulation), employer, typical shopping habits and a peak at somebodies browser history is more than enough. Traffic analysis of their frequent contacts pins down a lot of tricky cases.

And that is if you are just trying this on a single person. It gets easier if you do it to a whole population, and as a bonus you can start to identify the gaps in your model...

Comment Re: You Are Always the Product (Score 1) 125

Ok, so say you buy an anonymous phone just once. How long will it remain anonymous? Everyone has a particular set of interests that could be mined from their traffic. That adds up to a signature over time. Physical location patterns refine that signature. Common overnight locations predict address. Common daytime patterns predict employment. Just because you did not explicitly register real contact info does not mean that it is not implied by usage.

Comment Re: You Are Always the Product (Score 1) 125

There are two problems with what you suggest:
1. Privacy is not most people's number one priority - using the communication device / data consumption device to do those things is the number one priority. Privacy is a nice benefit on top. This does not describe everybody obviously, but it is the mainstream. I prefer to use my phone to look at things that I'm interested in, and I don't care too much about privacy.
2. It wouldn't work. Every month you would have to exchange new contact information with your social network. Everybody in your social network would have to do the same. At the end of that process they would have mapped their local part of the social network from the old identification scheme to the new one. This is an isomorphism that can be identified and tracked.

Neutrinos have bad breadth.