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Comment Re: pointless (Score 1) 101

Just because you have a "smart" TV doesn't mean you're stuck using the "smart" bits. Plug in an HDMI cable or three to the video source of your choosing, and you never have to touch the smart OS stuff unless you want to.

Just because it has a network connection doesn't mean you have to connect it to a network.

Comment Re:War: the robots win (Score 1) 312

That's the exact opposite of a battlefield, which is not a known environment (act like it is and the enemy will use that assumption against you), there are a very large number of possible actions, and being predictable can quickly turn into being dead.

You're delusional. The poker robots already exceed expert human players in precisely calibrating their lack of predictability.

Beyond video games: New artificial intelligence beats tactical experts in combat simulation

Fighter jet AI consistently beats "Top Gun" tactical experts

The AI 'Top Gun' that can beat the military's best: Pilots hail 'aggresive and dynamic' software after losing to it repeatedly

In early iterations, ALPHA easily beat other AI opponents. Lee repeatedly attempted to score a kill against more mature versions of ALPHA. However, the artificial intelligence combat simulator shot Lee out of the air every time during protracted engagements. ALPHA has bested Lee and other field experts.

"I was surprised at how aware and reactive it was," said Lee. "It seemed to be aware of my intentions and reacting instantly to my changes in flight and my missile deployment. It knew how to defeat the shot I was taking. It moved instantly between defensive and offensive actions as needed."

Lee has trained with thousands of U.S. Air Force pilots, flown in several fighter aircraft and graduated from the U.S. Fighter Weapons School, yet when Lee flies against ALPHA in hours-long sessions that mimic real missions, "I go home feeling washed out. I'm tired, drained and mentally exhausted. This may be artificial intelligence, but it represents a real challenge."

Presently, combat AI is a saber-toothed tribble-tigger confined to a small box. That box is heading for puberty real darn soon.

Comment Re:Obsolete (Score 1) 94

Bots creating GoFundMe pages have replaced bums, no need to stand on the street holding a tin cup when you can create a bot to create an online story of distress and have it beg money for you.

That's what this article is about. There are two bots standing on the street corner holding their tin cups, jostling each other for position, and spilling half their money in the process. The AI is converging on a solution using cooperation, where each bot assesses the traffic, and parcels out the begging duty to the robot more likely to succeed with that particular potential donor.

In other words, "two bots one cup".

Comment Re:Fake science/sloppy science (Score 1) 313

If you can't reproduce it, it's either fake or you were just being sloppy. Either way, it's no wonder ordinary civilians have doubts.

As I type, that remark is presently moderated +5. Huston, we have an insightfulness crisis.

Materials

  • Willing undergraduates, fished at random (more or less) from the local time and place and cultural zeitgeist.
  • Neutral time and place (try to avoid scheduling tests around 9/11 or 11/9, as these dates have strong emotionally charged associations).

"Just" sloppy, you say? Because any group of 50 undergraduates is as close to the Platonic ideal as any group of 50 trillion electrons?

I've monitoring carefully for the past year. I'm pretty sure there's no word in the English language that precedes a sloppy thought more reliably than that potent little trigger word "just".

Good night, sleep tight, loony dimsight.

Comment Re:Not so fast... (Score 1) 187

Especially when it would literally cost them nothing to get a lawyer to take this on contingency.

Your shallow grasp of the cost function of suing a big, madhouse employer (while you're quietly vesting, among other things) leaves pretty much the whole of human history unexplored.

Of course, if you have no supportive social network within your professional niche worth two nickles to rub together, this is an easy trap to fall into.

"Oh, the gap in my resume circa 2017? That's when I took off an entire year to sue my former employer for a HUGE punitive settlement over a toxic, offhand comment by a testosterone-fuelled, bottom-line-driven corporate executive during a late-night outing at some drunken corporate retreat."

But then, you're probably much better at explaining things than I am. After you explain it, the response would probably be, "well, son, that's exactly how we roll around here: zero tolerance. We like your spunk. Welcome on board. You start tomorrow."

Just guessing, there. IANALC, I could be wrong.

[*] I Am Not A Life Coach

Submission + - Google has demonstrated a successful practical attack against SHA-1 (googleblog.com)

Artem Tashkinov writes: Ten years after of SHA-1 was first introduced, Google has announced the first practical technique for generating an SHA-1 collision. It required two years of research between the CWI Institute in Amsterdam and Google. As a proof of the attack, Google has released two PDF files that have identical SHA-1 hashes but different content. The amount of computations required to carry out the attack is staggering: nine quintillion (9,223,372,036,854,775,808) SHA1 computations in total which took 6,500 years of CPU computation to complete the attack first phase and 110 years of GPU computation to complete the second phase.

Google says that people should migrate to newer hashing algorithms like SHA-256 and SHA-3, however it's worth noting that there are currently no ways of finding a collision for both MD5 and SHA-1 hashes simultaneously which means that we still can use old proven hardware accelerated hash functions to be on the safe side.

Comment Re:Rose tinted glasses (Score 1) 477

This is all very natural and good

Nice frame jump. What's natural and good in human culture (exodus from Eden being at the outset nasty, brutish, and short) is to get as far away as humanly possible from what's natural and good in nature (red in tooth and claw).

So I call SB.

[*] strange bedfellows

Comment Re:Umm (Score 1) 388

What you need are citations to trustworthy sources and to be reviewed by trustworthy peers.

You've already lost the fight: no human system outperforms its incentive structure.

Peer review is hopelessly ensnared by academic advancement culture. Entire disciplines can end up publishing bunk, if that becomes the tenure-track fashion of the decade. Tulip bubbles are not restricted to the business cycle. Even hard sciences have been hit pretty bad. Et tu, string theory?

The fundamental theorem of peer review is due to Max Planck:

Science advances one funeral at a time.

The zone of convergence of peer review involves the passing of interested parties. In most of the hard sciences, fifty years pretty much weeds out the crap.

However, if you take a field such as nutrition science, I dare say it's still inadvisable to take fresh "peer review" at face value. John Yudkin was on the right track in 1958. Fifty years downstream, the truth is out there, but it's still far from evenly distributed in the public imagination.

Nutrition science was subverted by a white coat army of industry apparatchiks. These studies are expensive and, oh yeah, replication crisis.

Most human systems can be trusted some of the time. The real art of bullshit detection is figuring which times are those times. Even the best human systems are bullshit on the margin.

Faster-than-light neutrino anomaly

What you need to understand here is that the journalist impulse to publish is directly proportional to the tenuousness of the result in question.

Well, if the speed of light falls derp derp wormholes derp derp Stargate derp derp dusty von Daniken booster spice derp derp human immorality derp derp Omni Magazine alternate-reality cum shot. Well, you got your $4 worth, didn't you?

There's an enormous term in the human condition centered around escape from reality. This makes sense to some degree, because human reality usually contains a giant heal spur of oppression of the downtrodden masses (success has a habit of being highly asymmetric).

Trump's monosyllabic barrage becomes tremendously more convincing if you want to believe the underlying message.

Somehow, one supposes, being suckers for false hope must be evolutionarily adaptive (who, after all, is qualified to challenge the modern evolutionary synthesis?)

And then you get right down to it, the anchor tenants of modern bullshit culture are the major religions (being largely incompatible, at most 1 of N could anywhere close to broadly correct). Because, you know, life without bullshit would be empty and meaningless.

Deep down, most of us don't really want to drain the bullshit pond. And it's not just one pond. It's pond after pond. Never get comfortable.

The fundamental theorem of bullshit busting is due to Richard Feynman:

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.

Evolution took a long look at Hamlet, and came up with satisficing.

Make happy assumptions that are compatible with medium-term survival (generally best obtained from proven survivors—aka your parents and select community), then behave with the efficiency of assuming their truth, until the shit really hits the fan; then sit back, renounce, regroup, and repeat.

Dawkins pretty much feels about religion the way Einstein felt about cosmic inflation and quantum indeterminacy. Right model, wrong hope, long painful row to hoe. Even when our best minds get something right, they're often left wishing they hadn't.

So there's this unhappy observation about the human condition, meanwhile the creationists are still stuck on our too-close-for-comfort family resemblance to the other apes (none of whom are paragons of family values).

For some reason that I'm still striving to properly elucidate, bullshit is a prized lubricant of human culture.

For forty years I've lived a Mertonesque credo that "godlessness is next to cleanliness" and so I've managed to winnow the standard-issue pint ("but trailing clouds of gesta do we come") down to about a teaspoon of personal bullshit lubricant.

[*] our heritage of gesta (deeds) soon turns to egesta (bodily waste), which completely explains e-gesta (deeds on the internet)

Not long ago, I was reading Amos Tversky on the perils of metaphor, and now suddenly the scales fall from my eyes.

For 99% of the population, bullshit is sugar sweet. And even among the recalcitrant 1%, no-one ever sheds their very last sweet tooth.

Comment DLMO (Score 5, Informative) 118

The article has a poor to false understanding of how blue light interacts with DLMO (dim light melatonin onset).

I'm pretty sure the entrainment effect of blue light is via direct neuronal connection to the SCN, and I doubt it involves melatonin, except indirectly.

The homeostatic sleep pressure signal builds up (more or less linearly) for as long as you're awake. On its own, this would mean that you taper into drowsiness all day long. So the sleep system has another mechanism that suppresses response to the sleep pressure signal. I vaguely recall that what happens with DLMO is that melatonin onset signals the body to turn off the suppression switch, so that the body begins to notice the homeostatic sleep pressure signal.

DLMO, however, is easily inhibited by exposure to blue light at a point in time approximately an hour before bedtime. If you're outdoors hunting moose in the bright light of late-evening arctic summer, this is a useful adaptation.

You'll get to bed later, which means you'll sleep a bit later (but not much) and then you will get less blue light early the next morning, which will affect your entrainment, gradually, on the slow-drip program.

As a rough, empirical ratio, for every extra hour you stay up, you'll sleep about twenty minutes later the next morning. It's not uncommon to stay up for an extra two hours, then barely sleep in for an extra half hour. (We need to ignore here that modern society tends to run a massive, permanent sleep deficit, which can suddenly turn into sleeping four to six hours late at the first opportunity that allows this to happen. That's a different beast entirely.)

I have a circadian rhythm disorder, and I know from decades of sleep tracking that morning wake-up time is about three times more reliable in estimating my sleep phase than time of retirement.

This is a worthwhile paper from the top of my notes, but it's hard to wade through:

Estimating Dim Light Melatonin Onset (DLMO) Phase in Adolescents Using Summer or School-Year Sleep/Wake Schedules — 2006

I like this paper because it shows how social convention (adolescent schooling) also influences DLMO phase.

The sleep pressure signal eventually overwhelms the suppression of this signal, regardless of the DLMO mechanism.

James Maas is a good representative of the modern sleep science orthodoxy:

Surefire Strategies to Sleep for Success!

I just love the page break at the end of page 6. But then I'm really into microscopic moments of small page-formatting humour. (It's probably not unrelated to all those long, lonely nights, before I found a viable treatment.)

Here's a good summary, I just found for the first time.

Phase Response Curve

The reason I only vaguely remember this mechanism is that all the phase response curves in the literature are dose dependent.

There is no PRC I've ever seen that computes the phase response differential to endogenous melatonin levels. No, what you do is administer some dose/formulation (which can include sustained-release components) at staggered times over several weeks, and then you plot the graph averaged over your test population (which thus includes all the metabolic uptake and clearance variability).

There was a time I desperately wanted to consult one of these curves and then to declare "I am here", but it never happened. These are, in effect, better regarded as qualitative curves than quantitative curves.

The model was never predictive enough to be worth memorizing exactly. And thus I remain slightly dim on DLMO when I really shouldn't be after all these years.

Comment Re:I'm not surprised. (Score 3, Interesting) 904

Really? Then why was it OK when Bill Clinton had sex with an intern?

The price of shame — March 2015

At the age of 22, I fell in love with my boss, and at the age of 24, I learned the devastating consequences.

The Republican weaponization of Clinton's misdeed was to claim that this behaviour made Bill unfit to govern. (If powerful men having extramarital affairs with young women was incompatible with leadership, well, the vast sweep of history does not so record.)

Family values aside, the power imbalance creates the risk that Bill would abuse his immense power to cover up the vastly exaggerated blot on his record. The Republicans actually knew that anyone with an accurate base rate of human history / human culture would not regard his behaviour as incompatible with leadership—though a common and damning blot nevertheless, so the tactic was to escalate the stakes until Bill felt compelled to lie about it—which, unfortunately, was extremely easy to anticipate.

Lying to formal body of review is considered incompatible with leadership, sort of, incrementally, since not all that long ago. For example, it barely extends as far back as the Reagan's Iran–Contra affair. (Some people roll with family values and view Clinton's offense as the worse offense. I happen to roll with geopolitical transparency, and so I view Reagan's offense as the worse offense—he appointed those clucks, and it was his ultimate responsibility to know all the big shit).

Bill was plenty smart enough to figure out that the public perception battle would play out exactly as it did, leaving him boxed into a corner where he could—according to his established character—only choose to lie (perhaps he overestimated his power to blow off the investigation, but even there, had he succeeded, he would have mortgaged a sizeable fraction of his presidential energy in ruthlessly defending his momentary gratification).

Clearly, his judgment in this matter fell short of the mark by any standard.

However, I rate it not quite as bald as boasting about sexual harassment with a camera rolling. Whatever Bill purportedly said to Donald on the golf course (that was "far worse" in Donald's personal judgement), there was no film at eleven after the fact.

The modern world contains a lot of cameras and microphones. Trump's world has contained many cameras and microphones since way back. A prudent man in his position wouldn't be openly bragging about his magical power to get away with sexual harassment just to impress Billy Bush. And it's not like Donald didn't have a front row vantage point on Bill sinking his own boat through which to consider and amend his own standard of personal conduct. Donald had every opportunity to know better, and the penny never dropped.

So in summary, a whole lot of things are "not okay" but still the world largely spins as it has always done for thousands of years.

Comment Re:That's why I pay to recycle monitors (Score 0, Troll) 274

I know that's no guarantee but you do the best you can.

Considering how much you originally paid for your deoxygenated speaker wire, I would say $40 is the least you can do.

Were you to model the price signal with quaternion rotation instead, you would discover that the price signal really can spin around to a perfect 180-degree inversion of "the best you can do", given but a sparse free-energy input of mindless optimism, and a scant few months to capture abandoned area under the curve (and that's not even including the machine learning revolution).

Perhaps capitalism eventually does the right thing, but not until after imbibing all the loose sugar.

First Law of Mice and Men: If something can go wrong, it will go wrong.

Corollary: If something can lead to an easy buck, it will lead to an easy buck.

Unfortunately, all the quaternions in this picture belong to the increasingly neutered EPA.

Comment Re:These two may have been least at risk (Score 1) 54

There are plenty of people I know who would fall for this, because they simply don't know. They were issued a laptop for work and were told it was secured through a VPN, but don't understand how networks or routing actually works. They think they're secure only because an expert told them that VPNs are secure.

And not all VPNs are secure. Corporate VPN solutions are increasingly looking to split tunnelling to cut costs: internal corporate IP addresses are correctly routed to the VPN tunnel interface, so things like internal email and corporate web sites are all secured, but the external IP addresses (Google, Microsoft, Slashdot, etc.,) are left to route through the local gateway, reducing bandwidth through the corporate network. So if your wireless adapter connects to a WiFi Pineapple using one of those corporate laptops (thinking it's connecting to a conference AP or something), the rogue AP will faithfully route the still-secure VPN traffic to the proper corporate headquarters servers, but it will just as happily MiTM the rest of the regular unsecured traffic, scanning for credentials, cookies, API keys, or whatever other external sites the computer may happen to access. They could expose personal email account credentials, various web apps, DNS requests, discovery packets, or other loud network traffic. And this allows scenarios where the browser gets cache poisoned while browsing the unsecured web, then used to connect to an internal corporate web site where the malicious cached javascript echoes all the booty back to the attacker.

Of course, you expect the tech folks at the RSA conference would know how it all works, but a significant fraction of the attendees are not tech employees. There are no doubt many finance people; executives with expense accounts and instructions to "come back with a security contract"; salespeople; politicians; and the press in attendance.

I just hope the guys with the rogue access points are no worse than gray hats who are posting them on a Wall of Sheep somewhere at the conference, and not actually hacking the attendees.

Comment another fish in the sea (Score 1) 159

In a dozen lifetimes I could hardly scratch all the great content on the internet that's available for free, or with barely any strings attached.

The best defense against the dark arts of advertising is a curiosity streak that's a mile wide.

Two words: substitute good.

At the first sign of trouble, I open alternate tabs like a cowboy after a bar brawl.

Comment Re:Won't work everywhere, or really anywhere else (Score 1) 181

So you've replaced a single CEO with the results of a vote between a few "senior staff". That leaves the rest of the company "not in charge".

Why stop your argument there? With another sentence or two, we can rewind western civilization all the way back to the Taliban's conception of marriage.

Because in any human collective, only one party can ultimately wear the pants.

How the truth stings. Resistance is futile. Sauron does not share power. Those poor, deluded Swedes. Yada yada yada.

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