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Comment Re: A looping simulation, apparently (Score 0) 745

The "I am" is the main peculiar thing- Consciousness. if you just based it on current known math (and science that I'm aware of), there is no obvious reason why there would be this consciousness phenomenon, which at least I experience (I have faith[1] that many other people experience it but I have no hard evidence that they do). Is it emergent? Why? How? And how do we tell between a genuine one and one that's just simulated - or will consciousness magically emerge in all such simulations?

If you use the "Occam's Razor", why would there be need of this consciousness thing? We could be machines behaving like conscious creatures but not have consciousness. There's no need for it right? Or is there?

As for the simulation thing. It's why I think it's silly for people to be so sure there is no Creator of this universe. It's as silly as entities in a fancy computer game claiming that there is no Creator just because the internal rules of the computer game don't require the existence of one.. But yes you could reasonably claim that based on what you know of this universe's rules and information you _believe_ there is no Creator. But being _sure_ there isn't is a different thing.

Heck for all we know those Creationists might be right in a way and this particular universe instance could really have been created 6000 years ago ;). After all if those astrophysicists start a 13 billion year old universe simulation 5 minutes ago - is their universe simulation 5 minutes old or 13 billion years old?
But what if you run it at a slower/faster subjective time, stop, change things and restart it etc. How old is it then?

[1] Yeah I have faith you have an "imaginary friend" that you call "me", but I don't have hard evidence of it other than I experience the same thing and I don't think I'm that special. Even if one day scientists wire you up and turn stuff on and off it'll still be hard to prove things 100% - since they might just be turning off the ability to write to persistent memory the experience of consciousness and not the consciousness itself. You might actually still be conscious while you are asleep or under anesthesia, it could be just that you can't do much "read" or "write" from/to "main memory" - you might still experience stuff from your senses...
Operating Systems

Plan 9 From Bell Labs Operating System Now Available Under GPLv2 223

TopSpin writes "Alcatel-Lucent has authorized The University of California, Berkeley to 'release all Plan 9 software previously governed by the Lucent Public License, Version 1.02 under the GNU General Public License, Version 2.' Plan 9 was developed primarily for research purposes as the successor to Unix by the Computing Sciences Research Center at Bell Labs between the mid-1980s and 2002. Plan 9 has subsequently emerged as Inferno, a commercially supported derivative, and ports to various platforms, including a recent port to the Raspberry Pi. In Plan 9, all system interfaces, including those required for networking and the user interface, are represented through the file system rather than specialized interfaces. The system provides a generic protocol, 9P, to perform all communication with the system, among processes and with network resources. Applications compose resources using union file systems to form isolated namespaces."

Comment Re:Control vs. Prosperity (Score 2) 119

What I find problematic with that mode of argument is that it tends to turn McCarthyite very quickly. Castro attempted to cut a deal with the US before going to the Soviets, he is rather less committed to communism than either his supporters or his opponents believe. He also gave the CIA the location of Che Guavera when he decided he was a liability. So there has been a basis for cooperation for a long time.

The list of crimes committed by US Presidents panicking about communism is very long. Snuffing out a democracy in Iran to replace it with a bloodthirsty dictator, supporting the Khumer Rouge after Vietnam ejected them, installing Pinochet, a mass murderer in Chile. George W Bush just managed to cause the deaths of a half million Iraqis and wonders why he isn't being praised for his efforts.

The problem isn't capitalism of communism, the problem is authoritarianism and elites who believe that brute force is the solution to every problem. Castro is a thug and a murderer but its the US who set up a torture chamber in Cuba.

Since the US government has been spending a large amount of money to get the Internet into Cuba, giving them a pipe and letting them rip with it seems like the best way forward. They will try to control it but everyone knows that Cuba is going to liberalize in the near future.

The logical way forward would be for the US to lift the blockade and let the commerce flood in. The communist system would collapse pretty quickly when there was money to be made. But the problem is that there is a faction that is less interested in bringing democracy to cuba as returning their assets that were nationalized. Since they stole the assets under the corrupt Batista regime, there aren't going to be many interested in that happening.

Comment Re:Tor (Score 1) 83

The Dutch government is very clear about not being a haven for drug dealers shipping to other countries. Unlike the US police, they don't spend time going after domestic pushers or users. But anyone who is shipping through the Netherlands to another country is in for serious grief.

>Hmm... perhaps their mistake was even dumber than simply believing tor is magic.

Magical thinking is very common in security. Lots of people think BitCoin is anonymous despite the fact the transaction log is public.

Call Tor services 'hidden' and some people think that means the NSA and GCHQ can't find them. Call them the 'dark Web' and they think its protected by Professor Dumbledore himself.

Comment Re:The Surprised Dutch Prosecutor (Score 1) 83

No, Tor is not compromised. Tor isn't really designed to protect the privacy of Web Sites. Tor is designed to protect the privacy of Web Site users.

If you have a server that is visible to any client on the Tor network then either the server IP itself must be visible to an exit node put up by Law Enforcement or an intermediary node that is directly conspiring with the server has to be visible to law enforcement.

That is just a basic limitation of onion routing. A client can hide because it gets to choose the entry node. A server can't hide because anyone can set up an exit node.

This illustrates one of the big problems with computer security, people want to believe that security claims are true so they tend to be very gullible. They often rely on claims being made about a product by people talking about it on Web sites rather than the people who built it. And note I said 'rely'. Taking note of someone saying 'steer clear, this is why' on a Web site is very different to following the advice of people playing the pied piper.

There are lots of people who are convinced that Bitcoin is anonymous. This despite the fact that every transaction is public and every wallet tracks every one of them. The BitCoin people don't like hearing that their scheme might not be the future of currency or that it really isn't very different from e-Gold or GoldAge or Liberty Reserve which the FBI had no trouble rolling up. Take a look at the comments on my Bitcoin podcast, not a single substantive comment from a BitCoin supporter. Just a regurgitation of the ideology as fact:

I think this is coming close to the endgame for BitCoin. The FBI might be nervous about the influence that the Winkelvoss twins and other rich supporters of BitCoin might be able to buy (but Senators probably don't take bribes/campaign contributions in Bitcoin). So the logical tactic to make them radioactive would be to arrest them too.

Funny how an ideology that holds the government is an oppressive freedom destroying force can be self-fulfilling. But Bitcoin can't possibly survive when LE believes that the vast majority of Bitcoin transactions involve drugs or kiddie porn or gambling. And I see no evidence to the contrary.

User Journal

Journal Journal: I Will Return 5

Next week my wife is in Antalya for a conference. The day after she gets back I fly to Manila. I start by going backwards - which I usually try to avoid but it was impossible this time. I go to Amsterdam, then to Tapei and finally I will arrive in Manila. The upside, I guess, is that Schipol is a nice airport. Not as nice as

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Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. - Isaac Asimov