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Comment Re:Whadda think, Bruce Perens? (Score 3, Funny) 134

Yeah, Sofia Vergara showing up in my bedroom would be nice, but the likelihood of anything more happening than her channeling the Talking Heads and saying "This is not my beautiful house!" and walking out is less than the above.

Once you've engaged the Improbability Drive, you might as well crank it up to maximum power.

Comment Re:Rockets are too expensive (Score 1) 324

Seems to me that no serious estimate is possible until you know with some degree of certainty what material you're going to be using.

In the best case, you'd use some magic material with an infinite strength-to-weight ratio, and send the whole thing up inside a a 20-pound cubesat for practically no cost.

In the worst case, it wouldn't matter how much you spend, because the material would never be able to support its own weight no matter how big the ribbon was.

The actual case is somewhere between those two extremes, but without knowing where, you can pick any cost estimate you want, and it won't be any more meaningful than any other cost estimate you might choose.

Comment Re:ECC (Score 1) 264

Your ECC RAM won't matter much if the cosmic ray hits the CPU registers. Or a cell in a block of your flash storage.

Also, your ECC RAM won't matter much if you get run over by a truck. So what? ECC RAM will help if there is a bitflip in your ECC RAM, that's what it's for and that's what the benefit is. It's not going to solve world hunger either, and nobody ever suggested that it would.

Comment Re: Ways around this (Score 1) 512

The next step would be to deny entry for people with wiped phones.

Perhaps -- and then the countermeasure would be to modify the procedure so that instead of placing a recognizably "vanilla" OS on your phone, it would replace your OS with an image that contains only some of your favorite innocuous data and apps that you don't mind Customs poking around in.

And the cat-and-mouse game continues...

Comment Re:Bug Bounty (Score 1) 88

It seems they succeeded in their goal and were hoist by their own petard. Of course, had they recovered the funds then ZeroCoin would have failed at its purpose. I wonder who took the loss.

My intuition was that it would have the same effect as any other currency counterfeiting operation has on the "genuine" currency: i.e. all holders of ZeroCoins took the loss, in the form of a certain amount of extra inflation caused by the increase in "supply", which reduced the values of their ZeroCoin holdings. Possibly also they might take a further loss if people start to lose faith in ZeroCoins and start selling them (or stop buying them), causing their value to decrease some more.

Comment Re: Ways around this (Score 1) 512

Seems like one way to deal with the problem would be to wipe your phone before crossing the border, so all Customs ever sees is a (more or less) vanilla OS install. You could then restore your data again once you're on the other side.

Currently doing that is a hit of a hassle, but I think an app could be written to automate the process nicely.

Comment Re:Because Human Nature (Score 3, Interesting) 388

Most normal humans don't want to sit around and do nothing, they want to be productive and make personal goals, balance risk versus security, have control of their destiny, and be able to provide better for their families than they did for themselves.

The above is all very true, but it doesn't follow that humans therefore want to spend their working hours doing tedious manual labor that could be done better by a robot. (I'm not sure you were saying that it did follow, btw)

Ask just about anyone what their dream job would be, and they'll tell you. Ask them why they aren't currently doing their dream job, and they'll tell you that as well -- often it's because there's little or no money to be made as an actor or dance instructor or professional hang glider pilot or artisanal woodworker or etc. Many of these activities can only be hobbies instead of jobs, because people need to feed their children and pay the rent, and so they are forced into doing whatever drudgery the market is willing to pay for, instead of the activities they are really good at and enjoy doing.

But does it have to be that way forever? Without robots and AI, the answer is probably, yes -- there are un-fun tasks that nevertheless need to be done, so those are largely the tasks that society is willing to pay for. The garbage bins aren't going to empty themselves, and all that.

But in a future society where robots can perform most of these everyday tasks effectively "for free"; there is no reason to force a human being to do those tasks. Instead, with the menial labor done by robots, the wage-slaves could then be freed up to pursue whatever "dream job" they want to have, regardless of whether they can find someone willing to pay them much (or anything) to do that job, or not.

How could they afford it? Either because the robot labor has made goods and services so cheap that even a minimal salary is still plenty to meet one's financial needs, or because a system has been set up to tax the robots and use that money to subsidize paying salaries for jobs that would otherwise not be economically possible. Probably a combination of those two things.

Is that happy scenario inevitable? Not on the short term -- the default scenario would be that the owners of the robots keep all their robot-generated wealth to themselves, and become incredibly rich while everyone else becomes unemployed. But what happens then -- when 99% of the population is on welfare? The only difference between that and the "happy scenario" is that the out-of-work majority has no incentive to do anything constructive, and is still viewing their unemployment as a personal failure rather than an inevitable consequence of superhuman AI -- and that stigma will fade rapidly once it becomes apparent that it applies to everyone, not just to the traditional "losers". At that point, people will stop calling it "welfare" and start calling it a "basic living stipend", and if democracy still exists, they will adjust the funding levels provided by it such that the robots' productivity is enjoyed by all and not just by the super-rich.

But that leaves the problem of hopeless couch-potato-ism; so an enhancement to just cash handouts would be encouraging people to pursue their dream activities, and paying them to do so. Then we'd have people living rewarding lives that they chose for themselves, rather than sitting around feeling bad about being on the dole, or slowly dying inside doing tedious make-work.

Comment Re:Ryan and Rand (Score 4, Insightful) 388

I think what you're missing is that those programs are still around despite the efforts of the Republican Party's Libertarian wing, and not for lack of trying, either.

Their main problem (in addition to the occasional opposition from the Democrats) is that many Republicans are retirement-age, or have children or grandchildren, and so when they realize that the "waste" that the Republicans are promising to cut is actually their own benefits, they rebel and put a quick stop to the proposed cuts. The libertarians are still working on a way to convince their Republican constituency that their draconian budget cuts will only hurt "other people", but they're running out of dog-whistles for that.

Comment Re:Idiot (Score 1) 641

No. A "grieving father" doesn't get a free pass to blame others for his daughter's (and his own) responsibilities in the accident.

Certainly not on Slashdot, anyway, because we're all heartless dicks with no empathy for anyone and a 100% commitment to pursue our mindless blinkered pedantry in each and every situation, no matter how crass or inappropriate it may be. I know, let's all send him hate mail now! That'll teach him not to be illogical when he's grieving!

Comment Re:What brand of hammer? (Score 4, Funny) 149

Programming languages do not matter. Any program can be written in any language. Programming languages are as interchangeable as hammers.

Yes, that's why I write all of my software in Brainfuck, except for the performance-critical parts which I implement directly as a Turing Machine specification. My "hello world" app might not ship for another 18 months, but when it's finally done it's gonna be awesome.

Comment Re:Skeptic (Score 1) 399

So we have no one doing any work? Robots perform all jobs from the menial to the complex? Everything is free? [...] This sounds like a good thing to you?

Does it matter whether it sounds like a good thing to me, or not? That appears to be the direction we are headed in, unless we are going to outlaw the development of robotics and AI. The only question is, what how are we going to adapt? If we do nothing and just retain the current system, then we still end up with robots doing all the jobs, but also with all of the humans starving (or perhaps living on welfare, if it's available).

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