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Comment Misleading title (Score 1) 1

Reading the link, it appears that they're not identifying criminals qua criminals—this isn't a Minority Report method, which the blurb suggested.

It seems they're identifying individuals by their gait, so that they can extract that info from CCTV recordings of crimes, and looking for that person elsewhere. The gait info appears to be easier to extract from fuzzy videos than, say, faces.

Unfortunately, they throw around a “99% accuracy” statistic without giving enough info for it to be meaningful. Is that 1% false positive? false negative? For all they say, it could mean in a crowd of 1000, 10 will be flagged.

Of course, some bright person will now suggest we analyze all public camera recordings to find putative criminals. There's no problem if you've done nothing wrong....

Comment Massively useless article (Score 3, Interesting) 53

I read TFA, and nowhere does it mention the subjects of the patents in question. What are they claiming? What's the prior art? Without that info this is just a “The trolls are coming! The trolls are coming!” piece of hysteria. Anyone know what it's about? I'm certainly not going to try to figure it out from the patents themselves. My sanity's worth more than that.

Submission + - Code is not literature (

An anonymous reader writes: Hacker and author Peter Seibel has done a lot of work to adopt one of the most widely-accepted practices toward becoming a better programmer: reading high quality code. He's set up code reading groups and interviewed other programmers to see what code they read. But he's come to learn that that overwhelming majority of programmers don't practice what they preach. Why? He says, 'We don’t read code, we decode it. We examine it. A piece of code is not literature; it is a specimen.' He relates an anecdote from Donald Knuth about figuring out a Fortran compiler, and indeed, it reads more like a 'scientific investigation' than the process we refer to as 'reading.' Seibel is now changing his code reading group to account for this: 'So instead of trying to pick out a piece of code and reading it and then discussing it like a bunch of Comp Lit. grad students, I think a better model is for one of us to play the role of a 19th century naturalist returning from a trip to some exotic island to present to the local scientific society a discussion of the crazy beetles they found.'

Submission + - Voynich Manuscript may have originated in New World

bmearns writes: The Voynich Manuscript is every geek's favorite "indecipherable" illuminated manuscript. It's bizarre depictions of strange plants and animals, astrological diagrams, and hordes of tiny naked women bathing in a system of interconnected tubs that bare an uneasy resemblance to the human digestive system, have inspired numerous essays and doctoral theses', plus one XKCD comic. Now a team of botanists (yes, botanists) may have uncovered an important clue as to its origin and content, by identifying several of the plants and animals depicted, and linking them to the Spanish territories in Central America.

Submission + - Government Scooping Up Verizon Phone Records (

clm1970 writes: The National Security Agency is vacuuming up records of millions of phone calls made inside the United States, a top secret court order reveals.

A top secret order that was released this afternoon requires Verizon to hand over to the NSA "on an ongoing daily basis" information about all domestic and overseas calls — "including local telephone calls."

Comment Re:I tell them I feel the same way! (Score 1) 597

So by the time that you've spent months writing a spec, 50% of what you specified will not be what is actually required.

It's worse than that. In all too many cases, users don't know what they want (though they'll describe it in detail). During the time spent in specification, the users will continue to agree with what they've already said. It's only when they get their hands on the widget that the shoe starts to pinch, and they start changing their tune. Therefore, in those cases it makes a lot of sense to get a dummy UI out fast for them to dirty their hands on: only then will the truth come out.

Submission + - NASA teams with Lego to offer coolest, most realistic model competition (

coondoggie writes: Seems like a natural fit: NASA today said it would team up with Lego to offer a competition to see who can build the coolest models of future airplanes and spacecraft. The "NASA's Missions: Imagine and Build" competition is open now with an entry deadline of July 31. Winners in each category will be selected by a panel of NASA and LEGO officials and announced Sept. 1.

Submission + - Feds Drop Two of Three Charges Against "Hacker" Gambler ( 1

FuzzNugget writes: According to Wired, the two CFAA charges that were laid against the man who exploited a software bug on a video poker machine have been officially dismissed.

Says Wired: "[U.S. District Judge Miranda] Du had asked prosecutors to defend their use of the federal anti-hacking law by Wednesday, in light of a recent 9th Circuit ruling that reigned in the scope of the CFAA. The dismissal leaves John Kane, 54, and Andre Nestor, 41, facing a single remaining charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud"

Kane's lawyer agreed, stating, "The case never should have been filed under the CFAA, it should have been just a straight wire fraud case. And I’m not sure its even a wire fraud. I guess we’ll find out when we go to trial.”

Comment Read-once literature (Score 1) 1365

I, too, came here to mention IHNMaIMS. It's one of two works I've read only once because I'm too scared to go back.

The other is Dracula. I started it one evening and finished early the next morning because I was literally too scared to put it down unfinished. I'm thinking that after ~40 years, maybe it's worth a re-read. I Have No Mouth..., never.

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