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Comment Is this fake news? (Score 1) 267


Bitcoin as a financial system is made impractical in the long term by the fact that it is limited in the total number that can be issued. After the last one is issued, the intent is for the value of them to simply go up.

A Bitcoin is the solution to a hashing problem for which the ease in calculating a solution goes up with the size of the search space. In a very large search space it's easy to generate a solution, but as the search space becomes smaller you have to spend more time hunting around for a correct solution.

As more solutions are found, the people behind bitcoin validate that 'coin and then shorten the length in bits needed for a valid solution. They have a fixed number in mind that they want to base the currency on, and as the number of solutions found approach that number, they have been shortening the length so that they will eventually have exactly the number they want, and finding new solutions will take an astronomically long time.

There's nothing preventing them from increasing the valid length of solutions and letting people find more. They have explained countless times that this is how they can have actual inflation in their currency.

Countless times of explaining this to the public, and yet people continue to repeat bullshit they've heard "somewhere on the internet" that matches their woldview.

It's no wonder they're having trouble - they're concentrating on their project, but losing the war against propaganda.

Comment Low priority (Score 3, Interesting) 151

As much as I'm a fan of law and order, clamping down on sex trafficking is way down on my priority list.

By and large - not all cases, certainly, but mostly - it's adults making consensual decisions about their own bodies.

That the article explicitly mentions an "underage girl" is an appeal to emotion by highlighting a specific case. This alone implies that there is *no* scientific evidence that cracking down on sex trafficking is useful or even cost effective. If there was (scientific evidence), the article would lead with it and it would be highly cited. The fact that the article is written with such an appeal implies that the scientific evidence is *against* legal enforcement, saying in effect "we know it's ineffective and harmful, but we want you to support it anyway. Think of the children!"

How unusual is this specific case? Would the law enforcement resources be better spent in education rather than enforcement? Is this effort easily made useless (by photographing against a sheet, for instance)?

We don't actually regulate sex trafficking very well, perhaps not at all. It only serves as a wedge that the police can use against the citizens. In the places where it's been legalized (Nevada), the criminal and health disadvantages have been eliminated - and if that situation would hold across the country, it implies that there is no sociological reason to criminalize that behaviour.

As a country, we waste a lot of time, effort, and money on useless endeavours, trying to regulate sex trafficking is one of these.

I have no interest in helping the police with any of them, especially if it's based on an emotional appeal without strong scientific reasoning.

Comment Quick question (Score 1) 77

Just like Dick Cheney, we'll never be free from assholes like Peter Thiel.

Quick question: what makes Peter Thiel an asshole?

AFAICT, the only controversial thing he's done is come out in favour of Trump.

He's not personally known as an asshole (as Mark Zuckerberg), he doesn't do a lot of sketchy things with his charitable foundation (like Bill and Hillary Clinton), he doesn't finance riots and protests here in the US (like George Soros), and he certainly hasn't led us into war under false pretences or authorized torture like Dick Chaney has.

I'm just wondering... what makes him comparable to Dick Cheney?

It's the Trump thing, isn't it?

You're complaining about his support of Trump, right?

Comment Harrison Bergeron (Score 1, Insightful) 151

"At 12:04:03, every screen in the building strobed for eighteen seconds in a frequency that produced seizures in a susceptible segment of Sense/Net employees."

I think you've got the wrong novel.

In Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron", everyone was required to be "equal" in all ways. People who were smarter than average were required to wear headphones with distracting noises, people who were stronger or faster than average were required to wear extra weights or confining clothing, and so on.

We've just had a case where a couple of deaf people got 20,000 videos taken offline because the videos were not closed captioned for the deaf.

Now we've got a legal precedent which means that no one will be able to send a specially crafted image because it hurt a special-needs person.

Once this legal precedent is extended, can it be extended to other areas of harm? Would the same legal theory apply if:

1) The text content triggers someone into vividly reliving a past assault or rape?
2) The video of a war encounter triggers someone's PTSD?
3) The sudden audio content startles someone into spilling acetone or MEC or coffee in their lap?
4) Some religious person finds the imagery insulting to their religion?

I'm not against people with special needs, but this thing about "everyone must abide by the lowest denominator" is utter crap.

I once knew an epileptic who would get seizures by looking at a checkerboard floor pattern. I was throwing a party, had built some games in the basement, and she asked before coming what type of flooring was used in the games.

Must we to ban checkerboard patterns on the entire internet because of this one person?

Kurt Eichenwald is obviously a person with special needs, and that's fine, but he should deal with his special needs at his end, rather than forcing everyone to conform to his needs. His computer should be set to not flash animated gifs, to require a keypress to go to the next frame. He needs installed software that overlays a neutral diffuse background on online web pages and images.

The deaf people who wanted access to the online courses should also deal with their special needs at their end, by arranging to get captioning(*) for the courses they actually want to take, instead of making the university take down 20,000 course videos.

If this lawsuit has any merit, we're bound to see a serious erosion of the immense value we've built up in this internet thing.

Eventually we'll all be in the "Harrison Bergerac" world.

(*) And how they do that, by government assistance for the handicapped, or automated captioning, or perhaps by requiring the university do it in specific instances on request, is a separate issue. The point is that the changes happen at the special-needs endpoint, and not the entire rest of the internet.

Comment Out of ideas? (Score 4, Interesting) 542

NOW you perceive the film industry has run out of ideas? In 2017?

Well, let's see here.

They started making a movies of video games, such as "Doom", which had very thin plots.

Then they started making movies of video games that had no discernable plot, such as "PacMan".

Then they started making movies of *board* games, such as "Battleship".

(Monopoly (the movie) is apparently in production.)

Battleship? Really?

I'm sure the studios still have a lot of ground to cover. I anxiously look forward to "solitaire, the movie" in the next year or two.

Comment Science versus politics (Score 4, Interesting) 279

I think you mean arguing against facts, because that's all that xkcd comic was. Which sounds exactly like something an anonymous coward would do.

As much as people like to insult and deride the other side, there are valid concerns there. The concerns are so large and looming that the "correct" side has lost a lot of credibility. I think a lot of the public is noticing the elephant in the room, and this is giving the deniers leverage in the minds of the people.

Rather than continue to insult and deride, perhaps it's time to address the credibility gaps.

Point 1: Scott Adams pointed out that when asked the question "how much of global warming is caused by humans, and how much is natural" in debates and televised interviews, no scientist had an answer. Specifically, Bill Nye, who is the global warming champion, didn't have an answer to that question.

Point 2: Another Scott Adams observation is about the models. Why is there more than 1 model? Shouldn't scientists agree on the best model and just use it? Shouldn't scientists agree on the best *data* and just use it?

Point 3: Also from Scott Adams is the observation that NO other complex model has ever had predictive value, and why should we believe that this one does?

Point4: From my view, climate change is closely tied with the actions that "we must do to save ourselves!", and those actions are always a) part of the liberal agenda, b) involve reducing our standard of living, and c) negatively impact most people while further lining the pockets of the rich and powerful.

Nowhere do we see proposals that make more electricity available to more people, nowhere does anyone point out that 85% of all resources are used by industry (therefore reducing home electricity consumption is less effective), no one proposes solutions for a decentralized grid, or reducing consumption by giving everyone fast internet access (doing things online generally uses much fewer resources than in person), or changing tax rules to promote telecommuting, or any of a hundred other easy changes that would make our lives better while being more efficient. It's always about enduring more hardship.

Point5: From my view, the "correct side" has lost a lot of credibility simply by their actions over the last 3 months.

If "that side" will riot over the outcome of a fair election, headline unsubstantiated lies, leak secret information for political assassination, call for literal assassination, how is it that they have any credibility over other issues?

Leonardo DiCaprio flies an eyebrow artist 7,000 miles to do his eyebrows, and we're supposed to believe him about global warming?

It's not that I don't believe in the science behind global warming, I do.

I just don't believe in the politics of global warming, that's all.

Comment Logis, Ethos, Pathos (Score 5, Insightful) 135

This idiot is one of the people that has made the internet so unpleasant.

One of the perennial problems with on Slashdot is that arguments can simply attack the person making them.

The greeks noted that arguments are made from "logos", "ethos", and "pathos". "Logos" is the logical basis of your argument, "Pathos" is the emotional appeal of your argument, and "Ethos" is the character of the person making the argument.

Thus, here on slashdot we can't discuss constitutional abuse of Kim Dotcom because he's an asshole, we can't discuss wikileaks because Assange is an attention whore, and we can't discuss CIA snooping because Snowden is a traitor.

It's so easy to dismiss an argument out of hand just by pointing out that the person making an argument is somehow inferior.

Nick Denton is such a completely rotten individual that this is not a valid issue that nerds should discuss or post views and opinions about.

Comment Pay the bills (Score 4, Insightful) 135

The problem comes directly from the "pay the bills" mentality

"Pay the bills" means clicks on advertizing, which translates to grabbing eyeballs and attention using any means possible.

"Any means" has descended into outrageous and unsupportable claims intended to promote outrage or interest in the reader. Anything and everything that can make the reader outraged is fair came in the advertizing war.

It's become so obvious that there are specific memes and word phrases which are now *avoided* because of their fake usage. "...using this one weird trick", "top ten some-trivia-thing", "such-and-so you need to know", and so on.

Newspapers have always slanted the truth towards outrage and reader engagement a little, but with the feeding frenzy of internet it's now become a completely unhinged cage fight for reader attention.

Complete and total lies are now allowed, rumor and innuendo can be published without vetting for accuracy, reversal of meaning and impact is commonplace.

Many MSM articles simply report tweets that people make; and no, I'm not referring to Trump either. Some random headlines:

Many in this county are poor and sick, and they voted for Trump. What will happen to their health care?

It's way too soon to panic about Fed rate hikes

Rep. Steve King warns that 'our civilization' can't be restored with 'somebody else's babies'

Is any of this news? Which of these tells us what is happening?

Nothing about the MSM is authentic any more, and neither is twitter or facebook. Journalistic integrity and important freedoms (speech, assembly, and press) have been swept aside in the race for readership, political correctness, and promotion of one partisan side.

It's no wonder people are flocking to other sites.

Current events are far less controversial than the internet makes them out to be.

Comment And further (Score 1, Insightful) 519

Trump shoots off mouth about topic with no justification in fact. News at 11.

Which is exactly the point. When he doesn't like the way the news is talking about he changes it by saying something outrageous.

Donald Trump isn't crazy. And he isn't really careless -- not about the things that matter to him. He's manipulative. His supporters understand this, and don't mind when he is factually wrong because they understand he is a bullshit artist. They just think he's their bullshit artist.

The difference between bullshit and a conventional lie is that the bullshitter doesn't lie to deceive, he lies to produce an effect. Bullshitting is often safer and more effective than lying because a lie disproven is neutralized, but disproving bullshit is a waste of time because nobody is meant to believe it.

And here's the specifics about this particular lie:

The MSM has been reporting on Trump's ties to Russia for the past 4 months, mentioning "recorded conversations" and "an ongoing investigation". All of these have mentioned that there is "no conclusive evidence yet" in the investigation. The overall spin has been that Trump is a lackey of the Russian government, we have him under surveillance, and we are slowly gathering evidence which will be conclusive.

Here's an example quote from the NYT before Trump's tweet:

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, current and former senior American officials said.

The continuing counterintelligence investigation means that Mr. Trump will take the oath of office on Friday with his associates under investigation and after the intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government had worked to help elect him. As president, Mr. Trump will oversee those agencies and have the authority to redirect or stop at least some of these efforts.

Suddenly Trump says that he was wiretapped, and all the MSM outlets have been in complete freakout mode disavowing their previous statements.

It was glorious! The alt-right has been laughing at the lefties for the past week or so.

Comment Different word (Score 1) 300

Nope, you lost all credibility when you started shilling for Trump.

I think the word you're looking for is "advocating".

I'm under the impression that a shill is paid by the house. I advocate for free.

Life isn't so easy when you don't find people willing to lie about your naked shame.

Um... OK. I'll have to take your word on that.

Comment Liberal bias in the media (Score 2) 300

The Democrats are just as bad as the Republicans.

Based on everything I've seen, I'd have to disagree. Neither Democrats or Republicans walk on water, but Republicans seem intent on rolling back a lot of stuff that favors the people as opposed to corporations. For example, the bill mentioned in this very article.

You're probably swayed by mainstream media bias. They're quick to point out bad conservative actions, and tend to sweep liberal problems under the rug.

For example, Trump withdrew the US from TPP. Slashdot has had several articles about the TPP, everyone was moaning about how bad it was, it was created and promoted by Obama's administration...

...but when the problem was solved by a conservative we didn't hear a peep. Despite there being at least 3 firehose submissions about it.

For another example, Obama ordered the drone-killing of a US citizen, and then drone-killed the son some weeks later. Outside the theatre of war, with no trial, and in a cafe killing 8 others as collateral damage.

Obama then classified the legal justification for why he had the power to do that, so that no one could question it.

That's the sort of thing we don't hear from the mainstream media, it's called the liberal bias and it's well known.

That's why you probably think Democrats are better.

They're still running under the "lesser of 2 evils" model.

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