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Comment Devil's Avocado (Score 1) 253

(Ok Devil's advocate here, just for fun.)

Who cares?

Let's look at each of your best attempts at a scary consequence.

"Stores can use information about your Doritos purchases to rearrange their wares" - sounds good to me, helping to make sure the shelf hasn't run out of what I want. Why be so protective of information which is expressed so publicly anyway whenever you shop?

"Google could push coupons via its new Google Offers service" - coupons are an annoying way to create artificial loyalty, but I don't think it started with Google Wallet. What might be new here is how tailored the coupons are to your preferences, but I don't see how that's a problem either.

"your health insurance company might be interested in your sodium intake" - of course their interested. Now consider the two options: (a) they don't get information about your individual health, or (b) they do get information. In (a), the insurance premium has to be the same for everyone, regardless of health. If you happen to unhealthy, you're better off, paying the average instead of above average. BUT if you're healthy you're worse off, effectively subsidizing other people's poor lifestyle. This is unfair on those who are healthy, and bad for the group since it rewards bad health as an individual strategy.

Come on man, let go and be part of the google hive mind. One of us, one of us.

(Not sure whether I was really convincing there ... thoughts?)

Comment You sir, make the logical fallacies (Score 2) 729

The article is a "Straw Man" argument, that is to say based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position.

To my knowledge, no one makes such a statement as "Quantum Theory Explains Consciousness". There are some sceculative attempts to explain consciousness, but none that I know of use Quantum Theory as the be-all and end-all.

What people might be saying is, there are some interesting relationships between Quantum Theory and Consiousness, which merit further exploration. This is hard to dispute, given the seemingly important role of the conscious observer in the act of measurement.

Thus, "Quantum Theory relates to consciousness" has been mistaken for "Quantum Theory explains consiousness". These are two very different ideas, as "relates", and "explains" are two different kinds of relationships. In fact, "explains" is a special case of "relates to", is the meta-relationship, but I digress.

This sounds more like someone wants to work in the field of philosphy of consciousness, but is grizzling about being expected to know the difficult field of Quantum Theory.

What would make you happy? That thinking about Quantum Theory be banned in all discussions about consciousness?

In the middle, there is a clear example of tautology, with the phrase "no apparent causal link", expressed as though it is an observation to use as input. "Consciousness is not explained" because "there is no apparent link", both expressing essentially the same idea, and the latter is just assumed to be true.

Your argument degenerates into terms like "very basic". When you just keep saying how obvious it is, usually it's the result of the argument lacking any real content.

Now I don't expect this will serve any purpose, but I will take this criticism and make it constructive. It would advance the cause if Science better for you to say what you think consiousness *might* be explained by, rather than what you think it "probably isn't" caused by.

Or if you really want to help rule it out as a cause (which *would*, I admit, have some benefit), then MAKE A MORE SOLID CASE.


Monkeys With Syntax 197

jamie writes "The Campbell's monkey has a vocabulary with at least six types of basic call, but new research published in the PNAS claims that they combine them and string them together to communicate new meanings. (Login may be required on the NY Times site.) For example, the word for 'leopard' gets an '-oo' suffix to mean 'unseen predator.' But when that word is repeated after 'come over here,' the combination means 'Timber!' — a warning of falling trees. Scientists have known for some time that vervet monkeys have different warning calls for different predators — eagle, leopard, and snake — but unlike the Campbell's monkeys, vervets don't combine those calls to create new meanings, a key component of syntax. The researchers plan to play back recordings to the monkeys to test their theories for syntax errors."

Over 160 Tutorial Videos Created For Unreal Dev Kit 48

As a follow-up to Epic Games' release of a free version of the Unreal Engine last month, the company has now posted over 160 video tutorials which demonstrate the various uses of the Unreal Development Kit. Roughly 20 hours of footage were created by technical education company 3D Buzz, with topics ranging from user interface to game physics to cinematics.

Ted Dziuba Says, "I Don't Code In My Free Time" 619

theodp writes "When he gets some free time away from his gigs at startup Milo and The Register, you won't catch Ted Dziuba doing any recreational programming. And he wouldn't want to work for a company that doesn't hire those who don't code in their spare time. 'You know what's more awesome than spending my Saturday afternoon learning Haskell by hacking away at a few Project Euler problems?' asks Dziuba. 'F***, ANYTHING.'"

Relativistic Navigation Needed For Solar Sails 185

KentuckyFC writes "Last year, physicists calculated that a solar sail about a kilometer across with a mass of 300 kg (including 150 kg of payload) would have a peak acceleration of roughly 0.6g if released about 0.1AU from the Sun, where the radiation pressure is highest. That kind of acceleration could take it to the heliopause — the boundary between the Solar System and interstellar space — in only 2.5 years; a distance of 200 AU. In 30 years, it could travel 2500AU, far enough to explore the Oort Cloud. But the team has discovered a problem. Ordinary Newtonian physics just doesn't cut it for the kind of navigational calculations needed for this journey. Because the sail has to be released so close to the Sun, it becomes subject to the effects of general relativity. And although the errors these introduce are small, they become magnified over the course of a long journey, sending the sail roughly 1 million kilometers off course by the time it reaches the Oort Cloud. What these guys are saying is that if ever such a sail is launched (and the earliest estimate is 2040), the navigators will have to be proficient in a new discipline of relativistic navigation."

Team Aims To Create Pure Evil AI Screenshot-sm 527

puroresu writes "Scientific American reports on the efforts of Selmer Bringsjord and his team at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, who have been attempting to develop an AI possessed of an interesting character trait: pure evil. From the article, 'He and his research team began developing their computer representation of evil by posing a series of questions beginning with the basics: name, age, sex, etc., and progressing to inquiries about this fictional person's beliefs and motivations. This exercise resulted in "E," a computer character first created in 2005 to meet the criteria of Bringsjord's working definition of evil. Whereas the original E was simply a program designed to respond to questions in a manner consistent with Bringsjord's definition, the researchers have since given E a physical identity: It's a relatively young, white man with short black hair and dark stubble on his face.'"

Comment Re:Oh brother... (Score 4, Insightful) 213

Frankly, the mention of the term "carbon footprint" puts this squarely in the "hype" category.

Why did that get modded 5 insightful? Carbon Footprint is a valid and useful term.

The only reason I can see why some might like the above comment is if they are so conservative on climate change, they reject even the terms used in discussing it.

It would almost qualify as an example of the logical fallacy known as the "Appeal to Ridicule" but it wasn't quite intelligent enough.



BioShock Creator Levine Teases Next Project 34

simoniker writes "In a new interview, BioShock creator Ken Levine has been talking about his studio's philosophy and teasing, at least abstractly, his next project, of which he says 'we had a scope and ambition in mind which is more ambitious than anything we've ever done. Even more, substantially more ambitious than BioShock.' He also commented on 2K Marin, currently working on BioShock 2, wishing them luck but making it clear that he is not majorly involved in the game: 'I'm not working on BioShock 2. I make no claim to anything on BioShock 2, and I think it's important that that's their product, and their culture. Because you can't just clone a studio.'"

Comment So let me get this straight ... (Score 4, Interesting) 261


So, we just cut the budget on this project from $4billion to $0.5billion.

And in the meantime, we also just gave $700billion to a bunch of banks. To save them from bankruptcy that was of their own making.

WTF !?!?!

Give NASA some funding - like maybe a tenth of what is being spent in fixing the financial crisis? At least then we know it will be spent on achieving something great.

In space, no one can hear you fart.