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Comment Re:dallah! (Score 1) 186

Because I know people ripped off from similar scams, now I start asking questions. To be polite, I ask up front, "Do you mind if I ask some questions to confirm your story?"

Most scammers will blow you off with a quick insult and then walk away at that point. They are usually not prepared for that.

If they agree, then I'll try to offer alternatives to handing over cash.

"What's the name of the medication your child needs? Is it prescribed or over the counter?"

If they say over-the-counter, I'll offer to buy it for them myself and bring it to them. That way I don't have to give them cash. If they are scammers, at this point they are finally likely to bail out.

Comment Worse than a bus (Score 2) 44

It will leave from a terminal, not from where you are. It will arrive at a terminal, not your destination. It will go on a schedule, not when you're ready. It will be a lot more expensive than a bus ticket. It won't work in bad weather. There will be TSA (unless we come to our senses before 2026).

It's not an inherently bad idea, but who is it for? Who'll be willing to pay the fare? Who has a 2 hour commute?

Are they going to swap out the battery with a charged one for the return trip? And why are they saying it will be quiet? Are helicopters loud because of combustion, or because the blades disturb the air?

Comment Re:Just like China (Score 1) 424

The meaning of "progressive" is defined by the history of progressivism,

Typically meanings are "defined" by current usage, not (directly) history. You should know that.

And the reason they could get away with that and stay in business is that (1) government has limited competition and (2) government has limited the ability of customers to sue those companies.

For #1, let's take an actual example. How exactly did the gov't allow MS to become an OS near-monopoly for desktops?

Per #2, most of the customers I was paid to screw didn't even know it. You can't sue if you don't know you've been manipulated. Part of the art of manipulation is not letting the manipulated party know they've been had. (I'm not condoning it all. I just ended up in such situations.)

Further, much of it wasn't illegal, just sneaky. Most trickery is not illegal and shouldn't necessarily be illegal.

Comment Re:Buzzword du jour (Score 3, Insightful) 96

There's nothing intelligent about it. It's just fancy pattern-matching

The problem is that there is no clear-cut definition or dividing line. I've seen long online debates about this, and there are no good lines in the sand yet. All attempts failed key tests offered up, or were too subjective to evaluate well.

For one, we still don't know enough about how the human brain works such that we cannot say what distinguishes things called "AI" from something as powerful as the human brain. For all we know, the human brain is merely "fancy pattern matching" at a level of fanciness we don't understand yet.

Some call pattern-matching AI "lossy statistical analysis for the sake of speed/cost".

I suspect human brains also (typically) use abstract modelling of various sorts where symbols or some kind of ID's with attributes/links/factors are stand-in's for actual people and things to simplify certain cognitive processes. Thus, the human brain may merely be "fancy pattern matching" coordinated with "fancy modelling": statistics + modeling.

Various known AI techniques use pattern matching and others use modelling, BUT nobody has found a way to coordinate them together in a general-purpose way to reinforce each other (triangulate). It's as if we got all the key parts, but don't know how to put them together right. We don't know how to build central governors to coordinate AI "organs" for common goals.

Comment Re:Pollution standards good, but untennable (Score 1) 116

What about putting a car into a big closed warehouse/hanger-style building in a rural area away from roads, and for a few hours drive it around with a mix of stop-and-go and cruising, then measure the pollution in the warehouse?

Temperature and humidity may be difficult to control, but this would be more to catch cheating and blatant deviations from more controlled tests. In other words, controlled tests would still be the primary tool, but the warehouse test is to verify things don't differ too much from controlled tests.

It's less precise, but more realistic.

Comment Re:Just like China (Score 1) 424

As a "centrist-progressive", I find you characterization of "progressive" completely off. But that's probably a long and winding debate best for another medium.

However, you need to realize that government is pretty much the only source of "cheating and competition-killing oligopolies"

Hogwash. I've worked for multiple companies, big and small, where I was paid by them to cheat and mislead customers.

Gov't tends to have an incentive to be lazy over cheating, while the private sector is the reverse. That's my observation based on living in the real world, and I ain't young. Sorry, but I'll believe my own eyes over your pet theories.

Comment Fix your 2D first, MS. (Score 1) 87

GIMP is overkill for simple stuff: takes too long to load, its menus are too big/deep, and its defaults are set for giant images, not regular. (GIMP's defaults suck for lots of things, now that I think of it.)

For quicky web prep, often I need basic things like contrast, darken/lighten (alpha), tint, overall blur/sharpen, and spot blur/sharpen. If MS-Paint added those to its existing features, I'd need GIMP less than 5% of the time.

Comment Re:The video is clearly not fake (Score 2) 39

TFA: [NASA says] they don't have anything about a spacewalk on their schedule for today. If the livestreams are showing spacewalks, that's a big hint they're fake.

not fake...just not happening TODAY.

What if an astronaut goes for a rogue walk? Would NASA deny it simply because it's "not on the schedule"?

Can we please be at least a tiny bit accurate in our reporting, Slashdot?

Hell no, 1/3 of my mod-score is from poking fun of them.

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They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.