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Comment Re:It's a shame too... (Score 1) 321

Can you ever know PRECISELY where you are going to land? Any URL can dump wherever it wants. Like when WAMU was bought by Chase. For at least 24 hours before the transition was made public the TLD of was dumping me at I thought I was being phished, until the next day when it all made sense. All a domain name can assure you of is that it exists. You can really end up anywhere.

Comment somes it's neccesary (Score 0) 321

I obviously cannot speak to all situations. But for my organization this is kind of required simply for ease of maintenance (on our end) and ease of use (on the client end).

When a user logs into one of our sites, they must select a database to connect to. The actual URLs are something like: "". Each URL is slightly different to allow for different connections. There are hundreds of possible connections. The user then has two choices: memorize that beast URL, or save it as a bookmark. The latter seem to make sense.

But that's where the ease of maintenance comes into play. If a server or database goes down, we steer the traffic to a temp server. When we do, the landing URL changes to reflect the new locations, broker name, and database string. Typically we would have to broadcast the new, temporary URL to the customers' employees (and then broadcast another one when it was available again). So bookmarking the landing URL is not really a good idea for the customers as sometime it will go no where (or worse go to a failing database).

Hence, we have a shorter URL (unique to each customer) redirect to whatever landing URL they should be connected to. It's easy to remember and easy to maintain. Something like: "".

Comment Ergonomic nightmare (Score 1) 177

Are these campuses also distributing physical keyboards? The iPad is neat and all; with its lickable beauty and whatnot.

But when 'typing' on one there are only two choices (natively): hold it in one hand while finger typing with the other, or lay it down flat and attempt to type while looking at the screen at a 90 degree angle. Either way, a person will eventually develop pain and/or numbness from such awkward movements or positions.

It would work for quick notes, but trying to write a thesis or take detailed notes during a lecture would be problematic. Perhaps these institutions will also provide a keyboard solution. If not (which would be more likely IMO), I wonder if/when colleges that have compulsory iPad usage policies will start getting RTI injury claims and the inevitable litigation proceedings.

Comment Re:Yeah it's crap. (Score 1) 408

Exploits indeed. NoScript protects me from them...which is kind of the entire point. It not the intended use of JS, is the intended misuse that gets people (like you, I assume) to unknowingly open the door. On some of your particular points:

JavaScript local files access 'interfaces'

Of course there's not. You have to make it happen. It takes about 2 minutes.


Just because you "...wouldn't be surprised if there has been some exploit.." doesn't mean it's ever happened, or even if it's possible. Find some facts and then make a point.


Really? A 5 y/o issue is the best you can do? The JS exploits I listed earlier were only a month out. What's more, any non-administrator (or non-Windows computer) was not harmed by WMF files (unlike like JS that can be a universal killer).

And I think any fantasy that it was harmless to allow JS (or any script) to auto-run was dispelled yesterday. No clicks required, no particular OS required, no admin rights required. Of course, NoScript users were immune from this.

Comment Re:A few things.... (Score 1) 239

I agree that both human intelligence and AI are excellent at optimization. The difference is improvisation. Any AI that optimizes must be programmed to optimize. A robot could be designed with all the same strength and articulation as a human adult. It could be programmed to walk across a room; even avoiding obstacles to find the most efficient path (optimizing). But you then take the same robot to a moderately steep hill (like a wheelchair ramp) and tell it to climb the hill, it would immediately fail. Not because it lacks the mechanics to do so, but because it has never been specifically programmed to make optimizations that account for such an obstacle.

However one could take a young child who had yet to learn to walk and incite him/her to climb the same hill (with candy or whatever) and it will crawl to the top. Even if the child had never before experienced a similar obstacle. Even newborns have basic, uniform reactions to stimuli that they, of course, have never experienced before. It's the basic want/get, need/get, hurt/avoid type of functionality. No programming, no calculation, just naked, primal, reactionary behavior. The ineffable nature of the human animal. The instincts, that all humans are born with, are something that AI can never have. It can be programmed to imitate them, but it can never grow beyond its programming.

The poor understanding of the brain is not due to it's inaccessibility. One could even say that human brains are easier to examine, in any meaningful way, than an animals. A human can engage in a completely fluid and lucid conversation while their skull is cut open and their brain physically manipulated. Electrodes can be inserted and the patient can tell the examiner what his perceptions are. Does he suddenly smell cookies? Does he hear music? Can he speak French? The same physical procedure can be done on an animal, but feedback would be minimal at best.

The idea of the brain being 'mystical' (as in mysterious) is not that far fetched. But I think a better word could be chosen. Perhaps 'metaphysical' would be more appropriate. The nature of human sapience is currently beyond any definable boundaries. Often experts will attempt to weave common human actions or reactions (e.g. kissing, finding beauty, laughter) into other ideas that are themselves only partially understood. I think that even that action, the overwhelming lust to understand and not merely know a thing, is evidence of the human condition.

I think situations like that are where the instinctual nature of biological beings trumps programmatic nature of mechanical ones.

Comment Re:A few things.... (Score 1) 239

Getting back to the root of this thread, I think that an AI can calculate, perhaps even the seemingly infinate universe. But it could never imagine something beyond its current knowledge base. Something that exceeds the fluidity of its programming. A programmed 'mind' would never understand some of the terms you just used like 'appears to be' or 'pretty sure'. Especially with the current limitations of binary systems. Some can give things like a probability, but those that is just programmed output based and human guesses. Perhaps quantum computing will open new doors, should it ever mature beyond its current state of fanciful experimentation.

In my experience and research, every generation of scientists or mathematicians think they have the 'new best truth' about the definition of various aspects of the universe. Then said truth is discarded and redefined by the next generation. And those changes are not always progressive (i.e. taking the next logical step). Often old truths are found to be laughably incorrect and entirely new concepts of codified; only to have those limits discarded and on and on ad infintum. The current generation is no different.

The human brain is the least understood of all human organs. I think that there is far more about it (and our universe in general) that is beyond human comprehension than can be understood. The programmed brain of a machine also has its limits. However, unlike these machines, the human brain can imagine worlds of truth far beyond the known. There is nothing beyond human imagination.

Comment Re:Yeah it's crap. (Score 1) 408

You do not understand how Javascript works. It's not as if JavaScript has some hard-coded limitations on what it can be used for. If scripts are allowed to run unchecked they can do anything to your PC the coder wants them to do. From reading the entire file system of your system, to launching full-screen video that cannot be terminated without unplugging your box, to more technical things like using the "Function.toString()" or launch those darling (and numerous) Facebook nasties. Unfettered script execution is exactly how so-called 'drive-by downloads' work. It's the scripting language I am afraid of, it what the coder does with it.

It appears you also do not understand HTML, CSS, or web images. There is zero possibility of HTML doing anything to you. It's a markup language, not a coding language. The only way HTML could hurt you was if was launching scripts (or showing a link to a site that did). Same goes for CSS. Nothing be executed with CSS, unless it invokes a script. And images? Are you kidding? The best they do is prompt someone to do something to themselves (like this one does).

Just spend a hour or so strolling through some sites (like those ending with .ru) and see how it goes. Have fun with that.

Comment Re:A few things.... (Score 1) 239

Fair enough. So how would one define the idea of infinity (i.e. how high numbers can go)? Or what if, say, humans could live for an infinite number of years. Would their brains eventually 'fill up', so to speak? Would a human, after perhaps millions of years of life, learn something new and *poof!* permanently lose a previous memory? For that matter, are their definable limits to what one can learn? Even if we limit human existence to Earth, could a person, given enough time, learn every fact, every concept, every nuance about all things?

I don't want to come off as contrarian or argumentative. I am actually enjoying this conversation and I think you are making some excellent points that I have never thought of before. I know very few people that can make rational and reasonable counterpoints about this type of thing.

Comment Re:No Primary Key (Score 1) 128

My rarely get a second look at my signature either. But then again, I am not withdrawing more a hundred bucks or so. Nor am I closing the money out of the account, getting a loan, applying for a new debit card, etc. What's more, all modern banks will scan all signed withdraw slips (and checks) and the computer does a quick probability determination on your signature against the one on file. I have noticed this whenever I am withdrawing large amounts of cash in person (seems like anything over $500) and totally screw up my signature. Only then will the teller will ask to see alternative ID.

Comment Re:A few things.... (Score 1) 239

That is certainly intriguing. But remember that the mathematical and neurological/philosophical definitions of 'abstract' are much, much different. The former is a process leading to naked principle; having no real-world ties whatsoever. And then taking those naked principles and applying them in other heretofore unimagined ways (the book Freakonomics is a very good example of the concept of mathematical abstraction).

But the latter is entirely different. It deals with things like intuition (correctly guessing how 1000's of dice rolls will land with results far beyond the range of random chance)or the natural avoidance of cognitive dissonance (people that, in spite of known facts, mentally manufacture abstract, non-existent realities to balance their want/need conflict).

And regarding the idea that "everything real has boundaries", how would, say, a Möbius Strip or a Klein Bottle fit into that principle? They have no definable boundaries, yet are quite 'real' - theoretically, mathematically, and physically.

Comment Re:No Primary Key (Score 1) 128

...your birth registration, which is public.

How exactly would they get my birth registration? Would they send a request form (and required fee) to every municipality in the my country asking for a copy? Without my birth city, it's really hard to get a copy of that in the US.

With the passport number, it's enough to produce a fake passport...

I don't think so. In addition to my passport number, the forger would also have to know my signature (which is not stored when the RFID is read), and once they knew it, they would need to be able to make a wet-copy recreation on it when demanded by an official. And the forgers would have to be able to, somehow, hack my legitimate RFID chip (which they wouldn't physically have) and be able to recreate its checksum/hash so as to fool any computer verification that might be done. All of this is many thieves choose to steal passports, rather than forge them.

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