Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Leave then (Score 2) 794

by tnk1 (#49340103) Attached to: Gen Con Threatens To Leave Indianapolis Over Religious Freedom Bill

The reality is that you *don't* have a right to run a business naturally. Natural "laws" like natural "rights" are a figment of our imaginations.

You operate a business at the sufferance of the community. Which no one likes to hear because it tells the truth that our liberties are limited.

Mostly the government operates to keep people from killing one another in the streets. Pissing off some segment of the population because you don't like them will cause that sort of fighting and the government needs to step in and enforce order. That's the reality of things.

Liberties are there because we found that having our overlords tell us what to do wasn't really cutting it. However, we're still not actually "free" and actual freedom of the sort that some espouse makes for a very, very chaotic place that this population is not at all able to comprehend nor is it prepared for it.

I'm not a big fan of government bureaucracy or overreach, and I'd like to split things up more, but ultimately we're doing many of these things so we don't end up with another Civil War. Ignoring that result is blinding yourself to reality. We can only have the freedoms that most of us can handle.

Comment: Re:Leave then (Score 1) 794

by tnk1 (#49339965) Attached to: Gen Con Threatens To Leave Indianapolis Over Religious Freedom Bill

Having government health care fixes some issues and opens other cans of worms. If we went to public health care, the churches would not have to worry about abortion or birth control coverage mostly because if their tax exempt status. Which is to say, they're not required to pay for those services that they don't agree with.

However, then you find that individuals are now forced to pay for those benefits that they disagree with due to tax money being collected and used to pay for those services. That makes heath care super political.

Comment: Re:Leave then (Score 1) 794

by tnk1 (#49339915) Attached to: Gen Con Threatens To Leave Indianapolis Over Religious Freedom Bill

If Red Dawn happened, we wouldn't have conscription. Actual conscription takes a lot of planning to make happen. It wouldn't work in an immediate invasion scenario.

What would happen is some some people would form militias/resistance groups, some people might be forcibly enlisted, but most would either become refugees or hope the new boss is not too much worse than the old boss.

The full-on "almost zero" government libertarians are not necessarily wrong, but they are certainly arguing for the end of coercive government. Obviously, that's a lot to swallow and would need a lot of study and would garner a lot of resistance.

For the purposes of this debate, I don't think you need to be that sort of libertarian, however. The question is whether you have to do business with people who you don't like, for whatever reason.

Ideally, I think you should have the right to not serve someone for any reason.

Realistically, it means that a few store/service owners could freeze a segment of the population out of goods and services. And that doesn't really fly, because we saw how that worked with segregation. Being able to own a store and operate it does depend, to some degree, on the sufferance of the community.

I think we should define certain types of businesses as "public interest" or "critical infrastructure" businesses who must sell to anyone who is not breaking the law, for posted prices.

Perhaps we could then exempt businesses where the owner needs to be up close and personal with those they don't care for, or for businesses where serving that person might imply some sort of approval of the people who they need to serve. Those business owners need to state their rules publicly and at the beginning of any business relationship so that the people who are turned away are not too far into the process to be able to recover from their vendor pulling out.

Comment: Re:Heisenberg compensator ... (Score 3, Informative) 76

by tnk1 (#49337599) Attached to: Researchers Identify 'Tipping Point' Between Quantum and Classical Worlds

11 dimensions is M-Theory, but if you go by Loop Quantum Gravity, you can formulate it in 3 or 4 dimensions.

There's really no theory that has "won" yet, so it is far too early to say there is a minimum number of dimensions.

Like you suggest, I believe that the "magic" of quantum effects would be a lot less "magical" if the objects in question could be described in at least one more dimension. The uncertainty principle is likely uncertain because you can have almost identical looking 4-D slices in a 5-D space. It only breaks down when you realize that certain objects or processes are prone to change much more extremely in higher-numbered dimensional space. So, if you fail to take 5-D into account, you can come up with a formula which seems to have two equally probable states, but in the end, of course, there was never any doubt.

For some value of 'q' the cat is dead and for some value of 'q', the cat is alive. Our current state of science is that we have equations that work very well with objects that are less variant in the 5th dimension than photons or quantum scale objects/processes are. Just like when we assumed that stars and mountains never changed or things didn't evolve because those processes are far less variant in the time dimension than the typical human lifetime.

Comment: Why the surprise? (Score 1) 280

by tnk1 (#49327961) Attached to: Steve Wozniak Now Afraid of AI Too, Just Like Elon Musk

I don't understand why anyone thinks that AI would be impossible. Faster than light travel may be impossible, because no one has ever actually seen it in reality.

However, we already have a sample of intelligence right in front of us: ourselves. If it exists in the physical world, you should be able to replicate it and even adjust it if you understand the principles behind it.

Aside from the obvious comments about human reproduction, if you understand the principles behind human intelligence, you should be able to alter it or use the same principles to scale or specialize that intelligence.

AI isn't impossible, it's the future. Or it is the future if our advancement in science remains unchecked. We need to understand what we are getting into and what will result sooner, rather than later.

That said, it is one thing to fabricate human intelligence from principles, and another entirely to make it "superior" to humans. Creating an intelligence that is focused on certain things associated with "super-intelligence" may not work as well as we think, or have side effects like what an autistic person would experience. At that point, it may be less about worrying about our AI overlords, and more about the ethics of creating an intelligence which may have a difficult existence by nature of how it is designed.

Comment: Re:We should stop using the word renewable (Score 1) 312

by tnk1 (#49320329) Attached to: Costa Rica Goes 75 Days Powering Itself Using Only Renewable Energy

Well, to be honest, if you look at energy sources, they're all non-renewable, if you are looking at the extreme long term. At some point, there is the heat death of the universe. Sooner than that, the sun is going to bloat up into a red giant and engulf the Earth, rendering the energy argument moot for our current habitat.

In the sense that it will be a constant source that we'll have for the next billion or two years, energy sources that rely on current solar radiation are renewable. Not infinite, but renewable.

I suppose you could say oil and coal are renewable as well, actually. It just so happens that calling their renewal rate "glacial" is actually a literal understatement.

You're probably right about the whole carbon emission thing, but renewable resource use actually has a much broader meaning and value. Even if coal and oil wasn't affecting global warming, we'd still want renewables for the simple reason that naturally occurring coal, oil, and gas will eventually be depleted, and well before then we need more forms of energy generation to support growing demand. Bearing that in mind allows you to maintain common cause with people who might still be less than convinced about the threat of warming, but understand the value of energy generation.

Comment: Re:I'm all for this (Score 1) 299

by tnk1 (#49303865) Attached to: Scientists: It's Time To Resolve the Ethics of Editing Human Genome

Which is a valid concern. Some genes may lend themselves to easy understanding of what they do, and thus correcting a specific issue will be fairly straightforward.

However, "fixing" some genes may have unintended consequences. I'm sure most African-descended people in the US could care less about malaria resistance, and would prefer to not have to deal with sickle cell, but it may not be as simple for those people still in Africa. And that's just the obvious case. There may be some genes that are terminal for humans, but are needed to live at the same time.

What's more, we may first find out about that problem when we try it out on someone, if we don't take the appropriate care.

I'm not going to assume that we could never figure it all out. It's basically like debugging a nasty piece of software. It will take a long time, but not an infinite amount of time. The question is what we're willing to do before we know everything there is to know about our genome. And then, what are we willing to do to ourselves or other people when we are able to.

If you develop some notion of human "perfection" and everyone tries to apply it to themselves, we could end up with a species that is maladapted in some way that we didn't think of, or didn't want to accept could happen.

Comment: Re:what are you talking about? (Score 1) 336

by tnk1 (#49303123) Attached to: German Vice Chancellor: the US Threatened Us Over Snowden

Er. Isn't that exactly what he did?

He went to Hong Kong and then Russia. Presumably, now they have those secrets.

And even if they didn't get the secrets handed to them on a silver platter with a bow on top, they can read The Guardian as well as anyone else can, right? Giving the secrets to everyone is not actually any better than giving it just to a couple specific enemies.

So yeah, his plan was to reveal secrets and he did that. He had a reason for doing so, of course. I suppose it is up to you whether that means he's a traitor or not. By some definitions, he totally is. By others, he isn't. Both sides have merit to their arguments.

Comment: Re:This is the cost incurred for outsourcing defen (Score 1) 336

by tnk1 (#49302949) Attached to: German Vice Chancellor: the US Threatened Us Over Snowden

I'm seeing a pattern recognition issue here.

Germany may have been beaten into submission, but most of their stance is due to their ability to maintain a less militaristic demeanor because they know they aren't going to be attacked.

The warmongers may have caused the wars, but they were able to play on regular Germans' pride and fear. Right now, the Germans have nothing to fear militarily so there is no fear goading them into electing militarists. Instead, the US is dealing with the policy issues of having to maintain a large military.

As soon as Germany needs to stand alone again, the same issues will crop up. So, no. I don't think we're necessarily better off with a powerful German military, mostly because its not going to remain as non-threatening as the current Bundeswehr is today. It won't be able to succeed with the additional functions it will need to assume if it doesn't change its size and doctrine.

Comment: Re:Interesting double edge sword there. (Score 2) 336

by tnk1 (#49302607) Attached to: German Vice Chancellor: the US Threatened Us Over Snowden

There is some idea that by default, our allies stand with us as soon as they sign whatever treaty.

The reality is that shifting governments may very well throw allies under the bus by doing things like accepting someone like Snowden, or alternately tapping phone communications.

It sounds like an overreaction and a really bad idea. It may well be, but threat and counter-threat happens all the time between allies, despite common ground against certain threats.

As we have seen played out in the news recently, the leaders of allied countries may hate each other's guts. This is not uncommon, although it is usually kept on the down-low.

Some leaders may actually hate the allied country entirely, but realize that they have to have common cause with them to promote their interests or protect themselves.

Comment: Re:Interesting double edge sword there. (Score 1) 336

by tnk1 (#49302485) Attached to: German Vice Chancellor: the US Threatened Us Over Snowden

It does matter. One assumes it is the intelligence services, because seems most likely, but it could have been a member of the President's staff, or the President himself who ordered it.

Think about it this way. On one hand, it seems like a threat that the intelligence services might make, but if you think about it, shutting off intel to Germany would almost certainly entail a vice-versa. I don't know that the intelligence agencies necessarily think capturing Snowden is worth disrupting their mutual arrangements. That's what could lead one to believe that it was at least at the level of political appointee cluelessness which was responsible for this. It could be an appointee at the intel services, or it could be one of the advisors who are not in the agencies, but who have involvement.

What I don't think happened is a career intel officer considering such a threat to be a good idea.

Comment: Re:It is time to get up one way or the other (Score 1) 1086

by tnk1 (#49297655) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

No one cares enough to go to the trouble of a constitutional amendment to do so. Amendments need either overwhelming government (state and federal) support, or overwhelming popular support. No one care (or understands) the Electoral college enough to do so. They mostly fixed the original plan of letting the electors vote for who they wanted by making faithless elector laws.

Of course, the goal of the Electoral College was not democracy, it was to make sure the people could *not* directly elect the executive. It is unclear to me whether that was a good or bad idea. Either way, it never panned out because it was intentionally non-populist.

Comment: Re:Why make it complicated? (Score 2) 366

by tnk1 (#49291663) Attached to: Uber Shut Down In Multiple Countries Following Raids

I get that they have shitty terms of semi-employment. However, I'm not sure I understand who is being forced to work for them.

It sucks to be a coal miner, so I decided that I really have no interest in being one and consequently, I am not. Presumably, Uber drivers in a place like Germany would have options for better employment terms? So, why do they work for Uber?

A sheet of paper is an ink-lined plane. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"