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Comment Re:Linux updates need a restart too (Score 1) 417

Windows has to be rebooted every single time any patch at all is applied to any part of Windows and every single time a program is installed or uninstalled. Linux only has to be rebooted when the kernel is replaced, and it's been a while since I've seen that. Almost all Linux patches require a single click, no reboots, no nagging.

Comment Re:*sigh* (Score 1) 417

I don't know, Pepsi and Coke are almost the same, especially from a fountain. I'd say it's the difference between a Pinto and a... excuse me, this win7 notebook wants me to restart it to apply patches... a Pinto and a Lincoln Continental.

Windows is the Pinto. I haven't tried Xubuntu, but Mandriva and kubuntu both have all the features of Windows while Windows lacks features, but Windows does have annoying traits (like having to reboot to apply patches) that Linux doesn't.

Comment Re:Music... (Score 1) 240

You seem to be arguing in favor of the Chinese room.

You can open the door to the Chinese Room and discover the guy who can't speak Chinese; you can never truly "open" a computational oracle, or a mind. If something quacks like an intelligence it is, insofar as we don't know how it works -- the only useful definition of "intelligence: is "that which behaves rationally but we don't know how."

But I do know how a computer works. I wrote a fake AI program in 1982 in a 1 mHz Z-80 16K RAM computer that did fool people who didn't know how computers work into thinking it was sentient.

There is no such thing as a "computational oracle". You cannot build a thing that nobody understands. Without knowledge of how a radio works you can't build a radio without detailed instructions from someone who does know.

The moment we discover how something works, it ceases to be conscious.

I don't buy that. When we discover all the brain's secrets we stop being conscious? It makes no sense to me.

clearly the intelligence is in the guy who wrote him the rules.

Bingo. The machine possesses no intelligence, the illusion of intelligence is simply the programmer's cleverness.

Comment Re:Music... (Score 1) 240

A person isn't a neuron and a billion people are not a billion neurons any more than a billion mechanical calculators are neurons. Two or a billion, if they don't know Chinese the symbols are manipulated mechanically; there is no thought.

Comment Re:Blue screen of death (Score 0) 87

Cars? Depending on the resolution (and they are using nanoparticles, while film used grains of silver) we're looking towards having holographic computer displays in the near (?) future.

The way a hologram (that uses film) works is, you take a laser and a dark room and unexposed film. IIRC (and it's been almost four decades since I took that class) you split the beam, and illuminate the film with one half of the beam (focused IIRC) and the subject with the other.

When you develop the film there's nothing recognizable on it at all, just refraction patterns. Shine a laser at it and it changes to a grainy 3D, but a true 3d. Focus your eye at the foreground and the background gets fuzzy, move from side to side and see different views.

A holographic computer display would need a freakishly high resolution LCD panel backlit by three lasers, each tuned to a primary color. Maybe these silver nanoparticles are the ticket?

Crap, I could have saved a lot of writing with a link to wikipedia, which is most likely more accurate and surely more detailed. Hell, google if you're interested.

Comment Re:*sigh* (Score 1) 417

Yes, I agree that every distro of Linux I've tried was incredibly easy to install (and every version of Windows a PITA), but my point is that Joe is ignorant. You can't install something you've never heard of, and Joe's never heard of Linux or has a clue what an "operating system" or a "botnet" is. If he's heard of Linux he probably sees it as "some kind of hacker thing, my buddy reset my XP admin password for me with it."

Submission + - Water Plume 'Unequivocally' Detected at Dwarf Planet Ceres (discovery.com)

astroengine writes: Astronomers analyzing data from the now defunct Herschel infrared space observatory have made a huge discovery deep inside the asteroid belt. Dwarf planet Ceres, the largest body in the region, is generating plumes of water vapor. “This is the first time water vapor has been unequivocally detected on Ceres or any other object in the asteroid belt and provides proof that Ceres has an icy surface and an atmosphere,” said Michael Küppers of the European Space Agency in Spain and lead author of a paper published today (Jan. 22) in the journal Nature.

Comment Re:Music... (Score 1) 240

Right, but decoding is just the translation from one symbology into another, it doesn't create a semantic relationship

When I read a novel I don't hear the words in my head or even notice them on the paper. I see, hear, and feel the characters and what they do and say. The abstract symbols on the paper are decoded to concrete events and ideas.

only humans will be able to give the effect of the loop final meaning. All the program can do is keep juggling symbols back and forth according to what can be reduced to automatic production rules.

That's because humans can read and computers can't. Even a text to speech program can't read, it can only juggle the written symbols and the auditory symbols. A human can not only read the code, a human can understand out what that code does when it runs. A computer can't.

Kurzweil is a damned fine engineer, but he doesn't have a clue about the brain. He's obviously never heard of the Chinese Room (it appears you in fact have).

People like him who think computers will be sentient are dangerous.

It was a movie, written by two guys who learned everything they know about computers from AKIRA and 2001 A Space Odyssey

True, it was only an illustration. But think of an incredibly simple program, like an analog clock on your computer screen. Depending on the language and your expertise you could little more than glance at it and imagine the clock it would draw. When you write a program you certainly have to envision what the output will be.

And HAL is bothersome because HAL isn't, in fact, any more sentient than Watson. It's just a Chinese room that does a good job of fooling a sentient being that it is, when it isn't. People are going to push for equal rights for computers... Frank Herbert touched on this in Dune, when "intelligent machines" were used by unscrupulous men to enslave others (leading to the jihad and outlawing of intelligent machines).

They were calling computers "electronic brains" when a building-sized machine was less powerful than a musical Hallmark card. It worries me, because they're not brains. They're tools and toys.

Submission + - CmdrTaco Launches Trove, a Curated News Startup (theverge.com)

jigamo writes: The Verge reports:

A long list of startups have put forth a Herculean effort to find the best way to suggest new things for people to read, and former Slashdot editor-in-chief Rob Malda, also known as CmdrTaco, just unveiled his: Trove, a people-powered app initially available on the web and for iPhone and iPad.

Trove basically lets users opt in to feeds of stories that align with their interests. Users are encouraged to curate "troves," collections of stories that relate to a particular theme. You could create a trove for "Ukrainian Politics," "Dog Heroes," or "Best of The Verge," for example, to which other Trove users can subscribe.

"The core of the product is that people have many interests and rather than just giving them information through pure algorithms and picking particular publications, we want to connect them with people who share those interests, who can pick the best content in those topical areas," says Vijay Ravindran, CEO of Trove.


Comment Drug Dogs (Score 1) 3

From the Illinois Times:

Flip a coin and pick a side. Repeat 50 times. Chances are, youâ(TM)ll guess the coin toss more often than drug-sniffing police dogs in Springfield found contraband during traffic stops in 2012.
        Traffic stop data reported by the Springfield Police Department shows the police found contraband in 25 percent of searches prompted by a drug dogâ(TM)s alert. By comparison, guessing a coin toss has a theoretical 50 percent chance of being correct. Despite a 2011 state law that mandated training for drug-sniffing police dogs, Springfieldâ(TM)s canines continue to come up empty in most searches. One Springfield defense attorney believes the dogs represent an erosion of freedom, but the police who work with the dogs say the numbers donâ(TM)t tell the whole story.
        According to data collected from the Springfield Police Department by the Illinois Department of Transportation, Springfield police searched 51 vehicles following alerts from drug-sniffing dogs in 2012. The officers found contraband in only 13 of those searches, a hit rate of just 25 percent. Before 2012, state law didnâ(TM)t mandate IDOT to collect statistics on drug-sniff searches from police agencies, so data from prior years may be inconsistent and may not contain every use of drug-sniffing dogs in traffic stops. Still, the searches that were reported by the Springfield Police Department for past years show the hit rate has never reached 40 percent, and is often much lower.

Comment Rority fucked up (Score 1) 1

But these guys missed it.

Unfortunately, it seems to be down right now. Neil told me last night that the internet was messed up all over England. It seems to be a world-wide thing, since some Canadian sites were down yesterday as well.
                I suspect it's Yello's Granny's fault- I think she got him the wrong tube for that starvatron and it's overloading the CIA's big pukatron machine over here in the U.S. 1/29/1999

Comment Re:Music... (Score 2) 240

What you guys are missing is that you're decoding the words on the screen right now. Reading just doesn't feel like decoding, especially if you're any good at it at all.

My daughter is like that with sheet music. Give her a clarinet and sheet music for a song she never heard and she'll just play it. I decode musical notation like a five year old decodes Dr. Suess, she reads music like I read books.

I use to write software, first as a hobby and later compiled PC databases and NOMAD mainframe coding at work (actually, they gave me training then changed my job, I never wrote any production NOMAD). Now I write books in my spare time (which I'll have more of as I'm retiring soon). Even though dBase and NOMAD are very, very similar in the way they operate (think C and C+), I don't think I read NOMAD code like I did dBase or assembly or BASIC, because reading is different than writing.

I keep thinking of the Matrix programmers. "I only see blondes, brunettes, redheads..."

Comment Re:Which shows that people don't understand (Score 2) 846

D - its irrelevant because we should learn to adapt and get over ourselves.

It isn't us that is going extinct in our present day extinction level event. We'll live, just not as well. Elephants and blue whales are nearly extinct now; elephants are the biggest animals walking, and blue whales are the biggest animals this planet has ever seen. We've destroyed the elephants' habitats and hunted the blues to their embarrassingly low numbers.

Not since the anaerobic bacteria killed themselves by poisoning the atmosphere with oxygen has any species had a bigger impact on the Earth than modern man.

Rather than "getting over ourselves" we need to start acting like responsible adults rather selfish children.

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