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User Journal

Journal Journal: Holy Cow Apple are Total Fucks 6

So I'm playing with this antique iMac because whee shit and I'm trying to download the 1GB developer tools DMG and Apple sure makes it a gigantic pain in the arsehole, don't they? You can't just download the URL with wget without rigamarole which I haven't gone through yet. I can't actually load the site in Safari at all because of some kind of https error. And my download just failed somehow in the last seconds, which means I get to download it all over again. And then it may fail again. Other downloads are working fine, it's just Apple that's incompetent here somehow.

This is the kind of thing that convinces me that anyone who gives Apple money is either a moron or a masochist. Luckily, I got this machine for free, so all I'm wasting is time.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Best simple SID to USB connection? 3

That may not be a good way to describe it but... I have a C64 I never use and I think I shall desolder its SID before consigning it to recycling since they are now officially hard to come by. What can I put it on that will let me use it efficiently?

User Journal

Journal Journal: The lameness filter is broken (again) 13

Your comments "spectacularly brain-damaged suggestion" and "drug-fueled" are why I consider your post troll like.

The above quote rendered one of my comments unpostable...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Best Foakleys? 5

Surely someone around here knows where's the best slightly-reputable site to buy some knockoffs of the Oakley M2 XLs. I want to try them out for a while and see how they feel on my head. The sites I've found so far are registered straight outta China. Oakley has successfully driven the fakes off eBay and Amazon... the problem is, I'm not going to drop two hundred bucks on some glasses that might give me a headache, like most glasses do.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Apple ID being used for harassment and ID theft 9

Apple is now actively, willingly, and deliberately aiding in online harassment and identity theft against me. They refuse to destroy an Apple ID which has been created with my email address, to which I do not have the answers to the "secret questions". They will not permit me to proceed any further without having an attorney.

What do I do now? Who do I call for relief? I can't afford a legal battle with Apple. I don't have an attorney on retainer.ï

User Journal

Journal Journal: Vroom.

Finally, I got my A8 Quattro up to the point where I could get it smogged. Registration and rubber to follow imminently. Crap, this thing is quick.

User Journal

Journal Journal: KIC 8462852 -- Comets In Vogue But ET Not Out Of The Running Yet

Response to Washington Post Article: âAlien megastructureâ(TM) continues to not be aliens in latest study

I responded to the WP directly, but here is the original composition which is a little longer than the 2000 character limit on WP submissions.

It is hard to put odds on whether Aliens are responsible for the odd light occlusions of KIC 8462852. The failure of the ATA to detect radio signals was a small blow as is this more recent LASER pulse detection failure. However, both pretty much have to rely on enormously strong signals being transmitted directly at us continuously (or at least with reasonably short rapidity) for us to detect anything.

Since Earth had no technological footprint 2800 years ago (the minimum turnaround time for the aliens to notice and respond) it is doubtful they would spend much effort to communicate with us.

If they are building truly gigantic structures it does seem likely there would be a lot of stray emissions, but 1400 light years is a vast distance to detect leakage radiation â" maybe they donâ(TM)t leak much (as time goes on technologies tend to become more efficient).

We really havenâ(TM)t trained our big guns on this system yet. China will be completing a 500 meter radio dish in 2016, I suspect this would be an excellent target for it to study. Sometime in the early 2020â(TM)s the SKA will be coming on line. If this behemoth detects nothing from KIC 8462852 I might be ready to throw in the towel.

As to the cometary theory currently in vogue, nothing really supports it strongly, it is just that the other natural hypothesis of planetary collisions was ruled out, leaving it the only natural theory standing. Most comets have enormous elliptical orbits or parabolic trajectories. The comet theory supposes a pass by an enormous comet in 2011 and then a swarm in 2013 (we missed opportunities in 2015 for detection due to one of Keplerâ(TM)s reactions wheel being out of service). If in 2017 we see another large occlusion event, then this will be the end of the comet theory. Also we will know if the occlusion is dust or gas. If not dust or gas â" then Aliens it will be.

As to this structure being a Dyson sphere â" this I doubt. Generating energy directly by fusion is probably trivial for any society even a few decades more than ours. Likely they would fuse hydrogen directly rather than create enormous structures to harvest it. If this is an alien structure I think it far more likely it is an enormous telescope of some sort. In any event Who knows what artifacts intellects thousands or millions of years older than us would construct or why.

As to whether this system is old enough to evolved intelligent life, we only have one example of how fast evolution works to create intelligent, technological capable life. Fast examples could occur far faster (we just have no way of knowing whether we are average, fast, or slow). This also assumes the system engineering would have to be by beings native to this system. If artificial, its creators could have come from virtually anywhere, and chosen this system based on criteria we donâ(TM)t have the intellectual capacity to comprehend (yet).

I for one will be on pins and needles until 2017 comes and goes. Of course there is also the mystery of Fast Radio Bursts to ponder as well. I suspect this will be the decade we finally know we are not alone.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Punitive Between-Comment delay? 4

I have Excellent karma, as usual, but I have a five minute delay between my posts. It seems to have appeared on my account again after the last time I said something mean about a Slashdot "editor". Is this something that Slashdot has done to everyone recently, or is it a punitive action against me specifically by one of the "editors"?

User Journal

Journal Journal: First Contact, FRB 170806, Mark Your Calendar

August 6, 2017 could be a momentous day - this could be the day we have definitive proof of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.

We currently have a list of 11 FRBs (Fast Radio Bursts), two of them are almost certainly from the same source, FRB 110220 and FRB 1401514, as can be seen from their detected locations.

FRB 110220 2011/02/20 01:55:48.957 22h34' -12deg 24'

FRB 140514 2014/05/14 17:14:11.06 22h34' -12deg 18'

We have not been looking for this type of astronomical phenomenon for very long, and have not yet devoted many resources to the search (likely the list of FRBs will rise). There are probably multiple ways in which FRBs can be generated -- most of them quite exotic and rare -- neutron star mergers and Blitzars are candidates. These type of phenomenon would not repeat in the same location. There are certain types of hypothesized stellar flares that could be recurrent, of course they wouldn't be recurrent on a constant time scale. So should there be an FRB on August 6, 2017 (08:29:24 UTC to be precise), then we are looking at the first unequivocal evidence of a extraterrestrial signal of intelligent origin.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Refuting the Chinese Room Argument

Chinese Room

I find the using of the Chinese Room argument to disprove AI is possible to be completely backwards. Most everyone agrees consciousness is the process that arises from the passing of electrical signals between neurons in an organized fashion. Each individual neuron is merely executing/passing along instructions based on reading instructions (receiving incoming nerve impulses) with no understanding of the overall program. Thus our minds ARE a Chinese Room. Consciousness is the byproduct of the process of message passing between neurons which individually have no understanding of what they are doing.

It may seem alien and ethereal, but should you create a Chinese Room large enough to simulate in sufficient detail the message passing of the neurons of someoneâ(TM)s brain, then that Chinese Room would possess a consciousness (albeit one that runs incredibly slowly). Not just a simulation of one.

It shouldnâ(TM)t matter whether the message passing is pieces of paper with a number representing the weight of an action firing potential or a flood of sodium ions in an actual synapse. Both are message passing between discrete elements. In the case of the Chinese Room simulating a human mind, when the person in the Chinese Room shuffling papers gets bored and quits then the Chinese Room mind dies, just like a human mind dies when its brain is starved of oxygen and its neurons decide to quit their jobs.

Now to get our Chinese Room mind up to speed lets do our message passing with electrical signals between transistors in a computer. This is much closer to how our neurons work anyway (though irrelevant as to where consciousness derives from). Whether it is conscious or not will strictly be determined by its degree of self-awareness. Not what components it is made of.

Note: this is a re-posting of a response I made to Android Authorityâ(TM)s Will the emergence of AI mean the end of the world?
User Journal

Journal Journal: Why libressl is stupid 2

I really want to like libressl. But it pretends to be openssl badly. They refused a patch that would have mitigated this whole RAND_egd problem by simply returning that it doesn't work when someone tries to use it, which means that you commonly need a patch to use it at all. If it's not going to work like openssl, then it shouldn't occupy the same space in the filesystem.

User Journal

Journal Journal: OMFG GNOME3 is asstacular

This is not news to most people, but I just tried it for the first time on my first-ever normal Debian Wheezy install (I've always done minimal, netinst etc. and built it up from there for a purpose) and wow, GNOME3 is amazingly horrible. It makes Unity look usable. If that was the idea, mission accomplished, I guess.

User Journal

Journal Journal: I'd forgot they made those things. 1

I dreamed I bought a REALLY big computer monitor, but I didn't notice the brand until I opened the box and saw "Arrivals" printed on the bezel.

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