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Comment What to do? Think about it. (Score 1) 514

Ok, gang, listen up! We are smart people. Let's put our heads together and make some plans to respond to this threat. We can do it!

First question: when the expected platoons of powerful, high-speed autonomous killer robots approach, should we maybe, um, throw eggs? Call the mayor's office? Stand still with flowers in our hair and dare them to run us down? Get out our handguns, shotguns, rifles, assault weapons and then shoot, shoot, shoot?

I don't know how to break this to you. But look, there is absolutely nothing any of us can do about this. Countries do not deploy weapons in such a way that others can do something about them. They deploy weapons to intimidate other countries (and, indirectly, their own people) into doing their bidding. It is a plan that works every time. And it is a key part of the plan that no on can say "no" to the country that is deploying the weapons.

Here is my suggestion: relax and try to enjoy the remaining time each of us has. That might be fifty or sixty more years, or it might be a day or two.

And, of course, if you can think of a better response, please let me know.

Comment Amazon's reviews are Good Enough (Score 1) 201

As a practical matter, Amazon's reviews constitute a rich source of information which, taken as directed, usually results in a good or excellent purchase choice. This is especially true when a product has been reviewed hundreds of times.

There is no way to eliminate bias from reviews, but as the numbers increase, it stands to reason that a smaller proportion of the reviews will be corrupt.

A truly standout product will collect many reviews, of which a high proportion will be 4 or 5. That is what to look for.

Products with smaller numbers of reviews are more difficult to judge,

As in most real-life situations, certainty is unachievable, but good information is available for those willing to put some effort into the selection process.

Like our immune system, the Amazon review process usually works well, typically degrades gracefully, and occasionally fails catastrophically.

Comment Chrome is propietary! (Score 1) 336

It's ok for Chrome to be continuously updated without using publicly visible version numbers because it's a single-sourced proprietary service. There is no question about interoperability, because -- aside from the extensions interface -- Chrome only interacts with itself (one body of source code) and with the user. With respect to chrome, there is nothing to standardize.


Submission + - Polynomial Time Code for 3-SAT Released, P==NP (

An anonymous reader writes: Vladimir Romanov has released what he claims is a polynomial-time algorithm for solving 3-SAT. Because 3-SAT is NP-complete, this would imply that P==NP. While there's still good reason to be skeptical that this is, in fact, true, he's made source code available and appears decidedly more serious than most of the people attempting to prove that P==NP or P!=NP. Even though this is probably wrong, just based on the sheer number of prior failures, it seems more likely to lead to new discoveries than most. Note that there are already algorithms to solve 3-SAT, including one that runs in time (4/3)^n and succeeds with high probability. Incidentally, this wouldn't necessarily imply that encryption is worthless: it may still be too slow to be practical.

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