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Comment Wrong Tooth? (Score 1) 224

I think it would be hilarious if they did this, and the baby came out black, or Asian. Or female. (Or Yoko Ono!) In fact, maybe this is just an extreme case of buyer's remorse. The dentist is feeling like an idiot for paying $30k for a tooth that supposedly came from John Lennon. Now instead of feeling like a sucker, he can rationalize that it was an investment. Maybe he can even write it off on his taxes.

Comment Trolls (Score 1) 145

I could see this working in the following way. It's a mini-game that grants some amount of experience or reward for playing, but only if you play it "right." So if they're trying to determine if an area in a photo is in need of assistance, each player will only get the reward if they vote with the majority in a secret ballot type of setup.

Unfortunately my experience in games indicates that there are many socially challenged people who would give the wrong answer just for the lulz of wasting valuable rescuer time in the real world. Either that, or some players would just tell everyone to always vote yes or always vote no, in an attempt to always get the best reward. The level of altruism in a specific gaming community might need to be continually calibrated (using pictures of known good or bad areas), and results thrown out if the community as a whole turns into trolls.

It is a clever idea, putting human intelligence to work on problems that are simple for the human mind but still too complex for computers. Sort of a SETI-at-Home idea, but using the human brain's unused cycles. Implemented in the right way, it could be integrated seamlessly into the gameplay. It will be interesting to see what comes of this. Maybe Ender's Game isn't as far off as we like to think.

Comment Re:Not much to do with parkour (Score 2) 46

Lack of sleep or not, I think you're being a bit unfair. Maybe the headline had us envisioning a humanoid robot performing superhuman, Spider-man parkour moves, but the accomplishment of the engineering team here is not trivial. They took a robot designed for a specific 6-legged gait, and pushed it beyond its original design in creative ways. They came up with several distinct "moves" and showed how those moves might be used to traverse obstacles the robot's designers probably never imagined possible. Sure, it's not a complete, ready-for-market product. But it's still pretty cool.

Comment Documentary (Score 1) 202

It's true! I saw it in a documentary when I was a kid. It was made by Disney, and starred Kurt Russell as a college kid who got shocked by a computer, and became really smart.

Interestingly, they also did documentaries about both invisibility and the use of drugs to develop super-strength. Medfield College was vastly ahead of its time in terms of cutting edge research! (But, strangely, they seem to have only a single test subject: one Dexter Reilly.)

Comment Re:It is Psychology, Science! Fact! (Score 2) 371

Put a proposal on the table that reduces net human carbon emissions to zero. Then we can talk about its costs and benefits and possibly decide to take action.

So until they can come up with a solution that completely solves the problem, we don't have to think about working toward solving the problem?

Are you, by any chance, a mathematician?

Comment Connie Willis (Score 1) 1130

Maybe not "under appreciated" as much as lesser-known, Connie Willis is a reliable source for a good read. I confess I haven't read her most recent 2 tomes (yet), but her earlier stuff is enjoyable. Especially if you don't mind some human emotion and humor with your ray guns and time warps.

Comment Re:Survey? (Score 2) 349

Actually there are some differences. Putting everything in the cloud helps with disaster recovery and continuity of operations (COOP) planning, which was not as big a concern before 9/11, and was not addressed by having your own local server. Security will only become a concern after a big embarrassing breach. Otherwise, the contract you have in place with the cloud provider simply states that they do everything for you, up to whatever standards are required by your agency or industry, which actually saves your company or agency lots of time on documentation. And network speeds and availability in general are higher today than back then. Add in the ubiquity of personal devices and services for phones a pads, and you can see the circumstances are significantly different today.

I'm not saying it's going to succeed this time. Just that it may not be quite as cut-and-dried as you present.

To argue with myself, some of the uniquely cloud-related problems that people may not be thinking about yet are: what happens when your cloud provider suddenly closes their doors, either because of bankruptcy or (Megaupload, anyone?) legal issues? What happens when your cloud provider gets purchased by Google or Apple, and they change your contract? If there is a data breach, who is responsible for reporting? Notifying affected parties? Paying penalties?

Many of these can be addressed in your contract with the provider, but they need to be addressed from the start.

Comment Re:The TSA is correct (Score 1) 1174

I don't mean it as an excuse. Far from it. But what choice do the TSA employees have in a system as screwed up as the TSA is?

We need to fix the system. I hope this (and the countless other similar horror stories) will help wake people up to the fact that the problem isn't that this happens once in a while. The problem is that, in the TSA system, this horrible occurrence is what's supposed to happen. This is what the system is designed to do.

If we don't want this to happen, we need to fix the system. We need to change the rules.

Comment The TSA is correct (Score 4, Insightful) 1174

It's true. The TSA is correct when they say they were following the correct TSA procedures.

So let's not work to get those agents disciplined. Let's take this as a wake-up call that the TSA's procedures, and possibly their very existence, need to be re-thought.

If following the rules leads to this sort of incident, then the rules are bad and need to be changed. Simple as that.

Comment Yeah, but...Google is right (Score 2) 214

There seems to be a lot of discussion about Google's motives and how the MPAA is acting. But at least from my understanding of the law, Google is right. The safe harbor provision to DMCA was made for exactly the reason Google says, and the MPAA is trying to grab more legal power, beyond the vast powers DMCA already grants them.

I'm not a knee-jerk Google fan-boy, and I understand Google has a dog in the fight, but in this case, Google is right.

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