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Comment Re:Marissa was likely unprepared for the job (Score 2) 129

Although I am willing to believe that Marissa is talented, she was very unprepared for to lead Yahoo. To me, the first indication of it, was when she was hoodwinked into paying U$30 million for 'Summly', a news aggregation and summarization solution. It was a very relatively simple and rather rudimentary tool designed by a British teenager. They claimed the AI technology used had been vetted by MIT researchers.

We never claimed such thing. All the technology that we had was developed by a core engineering and data science group (Inderjeet Mani for NLP/summarization, me for engineering). There are a lot of misconceptions and rumors about how we put this together. If you bother to search for the patents under our names you'll get a glimpse of what we built, how we built it, and why we kicked the pants out of anyone else doing summarization of breaking news at the time. And Nick, the British teenager in question, helped design some of the algorithms that we plugged to a high volume pipeline; he was a contributor to a larger engineering and science team that I managed.


Comment At least it's good to know FB has priorities (Score 2) 293

They're only permitting the naughty-bits of human bodies in settings "generally recognized as art." It's just so much more dangerous to society to see the image of a female nipple or other male/female naughty-bits than it is to see live-streamed images of graphic violence. (Notwithstanding the fact that we all have those same bits ourselves, simply covered by clothing.)

I'm not advocating anything-goes - I'm not sure what I'm advocating. But I know something is out of balance, here.

Submission + - Android KeyStore Encryption Scheme Broken (

msm1267 writes: The default implementation for KeyStore, the system in Android designed to store user credentials and cryptographic keys, is broken, researchers say.

In a an academic paper published this week, researchers argue that the particular encryption scheme that KeyStore uses fails to protect the integrity of keys and could be exploited to allow an attacker to modify stored keys through a forgery attack.

KeyStore, which performs key-specific actions through the OpenSSL library, allows Android apps to store and generate their own cryptographic keys. By storing keys in a container, KeyStore makes it more difficult to remove them from the device.

Mohamed Sabt and Jacques Traoré, two researchers with the French telecom Orange Labs, claim the scheme associated with the system is "non-provably secure," and could have "severe consequences."

The two point out in their paper "Breaking Into the KeyStore: A Practical Forgery Attack Against Android KeyStore," that it's the hash-then-encrypt (HtE) authenticated encryption (AE) scheme in cipher block chaining mode (CBC) in KeyStore that fails to guarantee the integrity of keys.

Comment Re:Hillary concerned about legitimacy ? (Score 1) 801

I haven't seen anyone who publishes acting as Hillary's lap dog, lately. Perhaps government functionaries seem to be acting that way, but certainly not anyone who puts anything in the press or online. The only good things I've seen printed about her character have been niche liberal postings, but certainly nothing in mainstream press and nothing in the more visible online.

Comment Re:People will get lazier and dumber (Score 1) 440

Remember when I said that? Remember when I got mocked for saying that? Are you going to remember I said that when it turns out I'm right? Of course you won't.

I still mock you. Because nobody arguing for self-driving cars every argued they wouldn't get into an accident. We simply argue they'll get into *less* accidents than human beings. Your irrational and fearful arguments display a profound lack of understanding of statistics and a blind trust in human ability.

Tesla's autopilot isn't there yet. It's not a self-driving system, people who are putting too much trust in the system are being careless. It is, however, an important step toward getting us there. We just had the first accident that was caused by a problem with the software (it was most definitely the fault of the autopilot. The camera didn't get a clear view of the truck because of the sunlight, and the radar signal from the truck was being purposefully ignored by the algorithm designed to ignore overhead signs. It's terrible someone lost their life as a result, but you know what? The engineers just learned of a flaw. This flaw will be fixed. No other car in the Tesla fleet will ever fail in this exact way again. Will other accidents happen? Of course. Will more drivers die? Of course. Will any other driver ever die because the autopilot mistook a radar signal from a truck for an overhead sign? Nope.

I don't know what kind of driver you are, but I'm willing to assume you're a great driver. Most people sharing the road with you are not. Statistically speaking, 3000 other people died on the roads on the same day this person using autopilot died. And yes, that's because there are many more cars on the road, because that statistic includes motorcycles and drunk drivers, etc.; not because autopilot is safer than a human as of yet. However, all the causes for those 3000 other accidents? They've happened before, the exact same mistakes. And they will happen again. You cannot eliminate an entire class of mistakes from the human species when one of us make a mistake. You can when it's a computer algorithm.

So yes, human beings will get more distracted behind the wheel when a computer is doing the driving for them. That's ok, because the goal is that eventually there shouldn't even be a steering wheel in the car. The windshield shouldn't even exist, instead it should be an lcd screen that will show you video of the outside traffic when you want, or a movie for you to watch so you can be entertained while your car takes you to work. In the meantime, while the system is still not designed for that, some of these distracted drivers will pay a heavy price. Some innocent people will also pay the price, when the autopiloted Tesla crashes into a manually driven car, or hits a pedestrian, or otherwise kills a person that wasn't the distracted driver. But that's no different than when a drunk driver hits an innocent. It's no different than when someone texting while driving hits an innocent. It's no different than when someone who didn't get enough sleep ends up shutting their eyes and hits an innocent. The difference is that every time the autopilot does it, it's the last time it will do it, while for as long as there are human drivers, there will always be tired drivers. There will always be alcohol or other drug-impaired drivers. There will always be careless drivers.

Comment Re:If shove came to push... (Score 5, Funny) 412

Far more likely that the NSA would eliminate him.

They'd try, but it's ok. Captain America wouldn't stand for that anymore than he stood for SHIELD's bullshit.

I mean, if we're going to talk about the fictional pop-culture portrayal of the NSA, Captain America is fair game, right?

Look, I don't like what they're doing anymore than you do. They're way exceeding their authority, they shouldn't be allowed to collect any data domestically. But they're not fucking assassinating political candidates or office holders. If we start using that type of hyperbole, we stop getting taken seriously when we complain about the shit they ARE doing.

Submission + - String Theorist Makes Intellectual Property Claim to Suppress Critical Paper (

An anonymous reader writes: Sabine Hossenfelder at the blog Backreaction has this curious story of a new paper which makes an experimental test of the "multiverse" in string theory: "In a recent paper, William Kinney from the University at Buffalo put to test the multiverse-entanglement with the most recent cosmological data. The brief summary is that not only hasn’t he found any evidence for the entanglement-modification, he has ruled out the formerly proposed model for two general types of inflationary potentials... Much to my puzzlement, his analysis also shows that some of the predictions of the original model (such as the modulation of the power spectrum) weren’t predictions to begin with...To add meat to an unfalsifiable idea that made predictions which weren’t, one of the authors who proposed the entanglement model, Laura Mersini-Houghton, is apparently quite unhappy with Kinney’s results and tries to use an intellectual property claim to get his paper removed from the arXiv. I will resist the temptation to comment on the matter and simply direct you to the Wikipedia entry on the Streisand Effect. Dear Internet, please do your job."

Comment Re:Lies from Spies (Score 2) 312

Gee, you've completely missed Russia and China. Of course both of those nations would probably applaud such a move on the part of the US, because it makes pursuing their desires easier.

It's time to remember the classification of encryption as a weapon, and invoke our second amendment rights, "If encryption is outlawed, only outlaws will have encryption."

Comment Re:ALIENS. (Score 1) 220

I was interested in the maximum possible speed, distance between the two points divided by 1.1 ms. Of course speed can be much less; if gravity wave propagation is orthogonal to the line between the two points then the wave should have been detected at the same instant. You might take into account the speed of the Earth and its rotation, but that should be insignificant and it gets complicated. That is why I asked if someone had a more exact (read: better) value :)

Comment Re:All Electric? Cool! (Score 3, Interesting) 130

My impression is that satellites have been using this as part of their attitude control for quite some time. More specifically, they have gyros that they use to change the attitude. Periodically the gyro gets near the limits of what they can do. When that happens, they reset the gyros back to a neutral setting, and offset that with a matching torque against the Earth's magnetic field so the attitude remains constant.

The gyros can move the satellite faster and more easily than the magnetic torquing system, so that's what's used for normal attitude control.

Submission + - LIGO detects another black hole crash, more gravitational waves (

sciencehabit writes: The biggest discovery in science this year—the observation of ripples in space-time called gravitational waves—was no fluke. For a second time, physicists working with the two massive detectors in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) have detected a pulse of such waves, the LIGO team reported on 15 June at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in San Diego, California. Once again the waves emanated from the merger of two black holes, the ultraintense gravitational fields left behind when massive stars collapse into infinitesimal points. The new observation suggests that after fine-tuning, LIGO will spot dozens or even hundreds of the otherwise undetectable events each year.

Submission + - Made in Space company studies making asteroids into spacecraft for NASA (

MarkWhittington writes: It is no secret that asteroid mining has passed from science fiction to something that both NASA and private industry are dreaming about as a killer app to opening up the high frontier of space. According to Space.coma, a company called Made in Space, with a $100,000 study contract from the space agency, is looking for a way to seize asteroids and turn them into spacecraft that would fly to mining stations, say in cis-lunar space or perhaps in Mars orbit. They would be stripped of resources that wo

Comment Re: What's wrong with using COBOL? (Score 5, Insightful) 217

Who cares about webscale, we're talking big-data-scale. COBOL is not the problem. COBOL, DB2 for transactions, CICS to connect from web-land, nightly dump changes to Hadoop to run queries faster and cheaper. Been there, done that, saved millions (in USD). But nobody is even thinking of converting the 40000-and-some COBOL programs off the mainframe, not cost-effective at all.

Comment Re:And then those employees burn down your restaur (Score 1) 1023

If the wage continues to stagnate they will still buy the robots and dump those workers!

Of course, eventually, because as the technology improves, it also gets cheaper. But they're not going to do that for as long as human labor is cheaper, which is the entire point people don't get, you're accelerating the process toward automation. Wages are a result of competition. They're low because you're competing with other people who are willing to take the job for that wage. And the moment that technology improves to where automation can do your job, you're now competing with the cost of the machine.

Personally I think robots are the worst thing they'll ever do...

You might be right, and then those costs will be factored in when companies decide whether to automate or not. That said, all your examples are terrible, because they're solvable with replacing the jobs they're talking about and adding one human security guard. Still comes out cheaper.

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