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Comment Re:Tor? (Score 1) 186

Fact - people are lazy animals, and if you put obstacles in front of them, the vast majority of them look for the path of least resistance, even if it yields an inferior result.

Yes. And that's why people "pirate": the copyright cartels have made it so inconvenient to get usable content that even if you throw a bunch of caltrops in the road to TPB, it's still better than a DVD with unskippable warnings and ads, or stuttering streaming video.

Comment "private innovation"? (Score 1) 101

According to the wik, "The development of the laser enabled the first practical optical holograms that recorded 3D objects to be made in 1962 by Yuri Denisyuk in the Soviet Unionand by Emmett Leith and Juris Upatnieks at the University of Michigan, USA." Commies and socialized public universities gave us the hologram.

Comment Re:Meaningless (Score 1) 745

A global nuclear exchange ends civilization as we know it in minutes while climatic changes are something that we can adapt to

Climate change makes wars and conflicts more likely. (That's a Pentagon assessment.) More wars make escalation into a nuclear exchange more likely.

I do love how the denialist positions has evolved from "There is no warming!" to "Ok, there's warming, but it's not human caused!" to "Ok, there's warming and we're causing it, but we'll just adapt!"

Comment Re:Well, if they sold it... (Score 1) 69

I really got the feeling that Hololens was just being used to create excitement around Windows 10, rather than being a serious product in itself. In their demos they just show you a composite video image rather than what is seen optically through the device, which is a highly misleading thing to do. The actual field of view is apparently terrible.

Comment Re: I call BS (Score 1) 167

If the vote was about not taking any kind of economic risk whatsoever, then yes, Brexiter's have been stupid. However, the issues went far beyond economics. You mention the "Iron boot heel of EU tyranny", and while you may feel that comically exaggerating people's concerns may make then look stupid, sovereignty has long been an issue. It was the issue of sovereignty that largely factored into Labour's policy of leaving the EEC (Precursor to the EU) in the early 80s. They were concerned that the EU might impose corporatist policies on the UK amongst other things. Jacques Delors managed to convince them that the EU would only impose socialist policies on the UK and they were soundly fooled by this and dropped their EEC objections. Some prominent Labour MP's like Tony Benn never believed him and never dropped their objections.

I personally have objections to the EU over it's neo-liberal policies (they approved CETA for one!), it's destructive austerity-pushing and anti-democratic activities. Many people in the UK feel we should never have had a referendum, although that is mainly because they lost. Referendums are an important part of any democracy and are in fact an act of true democracy, rather than the representative democracy we are usually lumbered with. The EU has a history of bullying countries into refraining from holding referendums, ignoring the results (e.g. the EU constitution becomes the Lisbon Treaty) and even harassing countries into holding them again when the "wrong" result occurs (Ireland and the Lisbon Treaty).

The other issue with the EU is that it is not content to simply remain a loose coalition of countries engaging in economic cooperation. There is an inexorable march towards something much more like a superstate, and the UK is far from the only member to have concerns about it. This process has only accelerated under Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. For example, there are moves toward having an EU army and countries like Sweden have strong objections to this. In 1975 the people of the UK voted to approve membership of the ECC, a fairly loose nine member organisation. They did not vote for a 28 member EU with far tighter integration. Whether you like the EU or not, this clearly demonstrates that it is an organisation than can change quite dramatically over time, and it's not always for the better. Many people are unhappy with that level of change and the associated unpredictability. Furthermore, you cannot rely on national democratic forces to bring a halt to superstate ambitions. The EU has demonstrated time and time again that it is willing to ignore, subvert and do end runs around national objections to its future plans. We've seen this most clearly over the EU Constitution and Lisbon treaties.

Before the referendum, I talked at length with other socialist friends about the EU, and they agreed there were serious issues over democracy, neo-liberalism, austerity etc . Yet as soon as the result came out, they became completely polarized. Suddenly the EU never did anything wrong, everyone was racist (because of course, that is the only possible reason anyone would want to leave the EU) and they even seemed to want Britain to fail as a result, presumably to teach Brexiters some kind of lesson. Both sides have acted reprehensibly since the referendum with childish attempts at marginalizing each other, name calling etc. We've had older people calling the younger generation "snowflakes" and the younger generation even calling for the disenfranchisement of the elderly because they are old and won't have to live with their decision (presumably this would also have to apply to young people who are terminally ill or have chronic life-threatening conditions).

People need to take a step back, calm down and accept that there were both good and bad sides to the EU and move on. There will certainly be economic challenges ahead, but outside of the EU we will be able to make international deals more quickly, so there certainly is a chance of success. Regardless of the way people voted, they should be hoping that we make a success of it.

Comment Re: No. (Score 1) 449

My only fear: letting people get controlled by the advertisers and the government, each of whom are power hungry and relentless.

That's the real problem. Today, a computer user with any sophistication spends a great deal of time fighting their device and operating system to make it be the owner's servant rather than a spy and advertising delivery device. Rather than coding apps for my phone, I spent a lot of time this week finding hacks to fake location services for an intrusive app I wanted to use. (Just fake GPS doesn't do it anymore when apps use Google Play services and check your location via networks. The answer, BTW, turned out to be an Xposed module.)


US Congressional Committee Concludes Encryption Backdoors Won't Work ( 98

"Any measure that weakens encryption works against the national interest," reports a bipartisan committee in the U.S. Congress. Mark Wilson quotes Beta News: The Congressional Encryption Working Group (EWG) was set up in the wake of the Apple vs FBI case in which the FBI wanted to gain access to the encrypted contents of a shooter's iPhone. The group has just published its end-of-year report summarizing months of meetings, analysis and debate. The report makes four key observations, starting off with: "Any measure that weakens encryption works against the national interest".

This is certainly not a new argument against encryption backdoors for the likes of the FBI, but it is an important one... The group says: "Congress should not weaken this vital technology... Cryptography experts and information security professionals believe that it is exceedingly difficult and impractical, if not impossible, to devise and implement a system that gives law enforcement exceptional access to encrypted data without also compromising security against hackers, industrial spies, and other malicious actors...

The report recommends that instead, Congress "should foster cooperation between the law enforcement community and technology companies," adding "there is already substantial cooperation between the private sector and law enforcement." [PDF] It also suggests that analyzing the metadata from "our digital 'footprints'...could play a role in filling in the gap. The technology community leverages this information every day to improve services and target advertisements. There appears to be an opportunity for law enforcement to better leverage this information in criminal investigations."

Comment Re:Almost seems destiny (Score 1) 406

It has the largest population...

As AI and automation improve, a large population is going to be a burden, not an asset. China is largely rich because they have become the world's manufacturing hub and this is largely because of low labour costs. Increasing automation will negate that advantage and manufacturing will start moving closer to the market. Their never-ending rise may come to an abrupt halt and even start reversing.

Comment Hololens also uses fake demos (Score 1) 114

Magic Leap's mixed reality technology has long since been overtaken by other products already on the market such as Microsoft's HoloLens

HoloLens has almost exclusively used fake demos from the very beginning. People who have actually used HoloLens report poor field of view and semi-transparent graphics, yet the demos all show perfect wide-angle non-transparent graphics that have clearly just been composited over the video signal. Magic leap tried a similar trick for their first demo (with the steam punk ray guns) but all the subsequent videos did appear to be shot directly through their device. Of course, we never actually saw the device, so it could have just been their unwieldy and unwearable prototype. The only new information here seems to be that Magic Leap are struggling with miniaturising their scanned fibre display, but that is quite a serious issue.

Comment selection bias and general quackery (Score 5, Informative) 560

The usual Reefer Madness bad science of prohibitionists:

All data were obtained for analysis from a large multisite database, involving 26,268 patients who came for evaluation of complex, treatment resistant issues to one of nine outpatient neuropsychiatric clinics across the United States

But "people with serious neuropsychiatric people who used cannabis have low blood flow to the brain" is both less clickworthy and less politically useful than "OMG pot rots yr brain!"

And I love this: "As a physician who routinely sees marijuana users..." Yeah, that's called "a physician". Cannabis use is common, every physician has seen patients who has used it.

Both Amen and this methodology are poorly regarded. He's in the addiction treatment industry -- look at this is an old marketing pitch of his quoted in a Quackwatch article:

How your brain and soul work together determines how happy you feel, how successful you become, and how well you connect with others. The brain-soul connection is vastly more powerful than your conscious will. Will power falters when the physical functioning of the brain and the health of your soul fail to support your desires, as seen by illogical behaviors like overeating, smoking, drug and alcohol abuse, and compulsive spending.

OHOH, Officials at major psychiatric and neuroscience associations and research centers say his SPECT claims are no more than myth and poppycock, buffaloing an unsuspecting public.

Comment Re:Time to create a distinction? (Score 1) 80

There are already AI programs that can create using Deep Learning Though. For example, they are some that can create paintings in the style of famous artists. It's true that there are more pattern recognition programs than creation programs, but they are there.

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