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Comment Re:Breaking News (Score 1) 271

First of all, a deregulated telecommunications means you have choices in which ISP to use. Second it creates competition between them to provide superior services for lower costs.

Complete rubbish.

A lack of regulation gave us Standard Oil.
A lack of regulation gave us US Steel.
A lack of regulation gave us the Bell Telephone Company.

No regulation in an industry with a high barrier to entry leads to less competition, an uneven playing field, and monopolies. AT&T, Charter, and Time-Warner are all pursuing mergers even as we speak.

Do you know how much money these companies spend marketing bigger, better, faster and cheaper messages to you as a consumer?

And do you know how many tax payer dollars they've received via government subsidy to install that infrastructure?

You're business means everything to them. These aren't heartless big business entities that have a monopoly on your money.

Poe's Law strikes again.

Comment Full article (Score -1, Troll) 120

Ok, so neither of those links were included in the summary when this was posted, but here is the full article:

Elon Musk Launches Neuralink to Connect Brains With Computers
Startup from CEO of Tesla and SpaceX aims to implant tiny electrodes in human brains
Neuralink is pursuing what Elon Musk calls 'neural lace' technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts.
by ROLFE WINKLER
March 27, 2017 3:24 p.m. ET

Building a mass-market electric vehicle and colonizing Mars aren't ambitious enough for Elon Musk. The billionaire entrepreneur now wants to merge computers with human brains to help people keep up with machines.

The founder and chief executive of Tesla Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has launched another company called Neuralink Corp., according to people familiar with the matter. Neuralink is pursuing what Mr. Musk calls "neural lace" technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts.

Mr. Musk has taken an active role setting up the California-based company and may play a significant leadership role, according to people briefed on Neuralink's plans, a bold step for a father of five who already runs two technologically complex businesses.

Mr. Musk didn't respond to a request for comment. Max Hodak, who said he is a "member of the founding team," confirmed the company's existence and Mr. Musk's involvement. He described the company as "embryonic" and said plans are still in flux but declined to provide additional details. Mr. Hodak previously founded Transcriptic, a startup that provides robotic lab services accessible over the internet.

Mr. Musk, 45 years old, is part businessman, part futurist. He splits his time between Tesla, which is under pressure to deliver its $35,000 sedan on time, and SpaceX, which aims to launch a satellite-internet business and a rocket that can bring humans to Mars. He is also pushing development of a super high-speed train called Hyperloop.

Somewhere in his packed schedule, he has found time to start a neuroscience company that plans to develop cranial computers, most likely to treat intractable brain diseases first, but later to help humanity avoid subjugation at the hands of intelligent machines.

"If you assume any rate of advancement in [artificial intelligence], we will be left behind by a lot," he said at a conference last June.

The solution he proposed was a "direct cortical interface"--essentially a layer of artificial intelligence inside the brain--that could enable humans to reach higher levels of function.

Mr. Musk has teased that he is developing the technology himself. "Making progress [on neural lace]," he tweeted last August, "maybe something to announce in a few months." In January he tweeted that an announcement might be coming shortly.

He hasn't made an official announcement, but Neuralink registered in California as a "medical research" company last July.

Mr. Musk has discussed financing Neuralink primarily himself, including with capital borrowed against equity in his other companies, according to a person briefed on the plans.

Neuralink has also discussed a possible investment from Founders Fund, the venture firm started by Peter Thiel, with whom Mr. Musk co-founded payments company PayPal, according to people familiar with the matter.

In recent weeks, Neuralink hired leading academics in the field, according to another person familiar with the matter. They include Vanessa Tolosa, an engineer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and an expert in flexible electrodes; Philip Sabes, a professor at the University of California in San Francisco, who studies how the brain controls movement; and Timothy Gardner, a professor at Boston University who is known for implanting tiny electrodes in the brains of finches to study how the birds sing.

Reached by phone, Dr. Gardner confirmed he is working for Neuralink, but declined to elaborate on its plans. Dr. Sabes declined to comment. Dr. Tolosa didn't respond to a request for comment.

It is unclear what sorts of products Neuralink might create, but people who have had discussions with the company describe a strategy similar to SpaceX and Tesla, where Mr. Musk developed new rocket and electric-car technologies, proved they work, and is now using them to pursue more ambitious projects.

These people say the first products could be advanced implants to treat intractable brain disorders like epilepsy or major depression, a market worth billions of dollars. Such implants would build on simpler electrodes already used to treat brain disorders like Parkinson's disease.

If Neuralink can prove the safety and efficacy of its technology and receive government approval, perhaps it then could move on to cosmetic brain surgeries to enhance cognitive function, these people say. Mr. Musk alluded to this possibility in his comments last June, describing how humans struggle to process and generate information as quickly as they absorb it.

"Your output level is so low, particularly on a phone, your two thumbs just tapping away," he said. "This is ridiculously slow. Our input is much better because we have a high bandwidth visual interface into the brain. Our eyes take in a lot of data."

Others pursuing the idea include Bryan Johnson, the founder of online payments company Braintree, who plans to pump $100 million into a startup called Kernel, which has 20 people and is pursuing a similar mission.

Mr. Johnson said he has spoken to Mr. Musk and that both companies want to build better neural interfaces, first to attack big diseases, and then to expand human potential.

Facebook Inc. has posted job ads for "brain-computer interface engineers" and other neuroscientists at its new secret projects division. And the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is investing $60 million over four years to develop implantable neural interface technology.

The technology faces several barriers. Scientists must find a safe, minimally invasive way to implant the electrodes, and a way to keep them stable in the brain. It also isn't yet possible to record the activity of millions of the brain's neurons to decode complex decisions, or distinguish when someone wants to eat a bowl of spaghetti or go to the bathroom.

Then there is persuading people to get elective brain surgery.

In comments published by Vanity Fair on Sunday, Mr. Musk said "for a meaningful partial-brain interface, I think we're roughly four or five years away."

If Mr. Musk indeed takes an active leadership role at Neuralink, that would raise more questions about his own personal bandwidth.

Tesla is building the largest battery factory on the planet to supply its forthcoming Model 3 electric vehicle, and it will need to produce hundreds of thousands of cars to meet its goal and justify its lofty market capitalization, which is approaching that of Ford Motor Co.
SpaceX has struggled to launch rockets fast enough to send satellites into orbit for its customers. Ultimately it wants to launch an internet-access business powered by more than 4,000 low-earth orbiting satellites, ferry space tourists to the moon and then bring astronauts to Mars.

Even so, Mr. Musk has proved many naysayers wrong. Traditional auto makers said he could never sell a popular electric car. Military-industrial graybeards scoffed at the idea he could even launch a rocket.

Write to Rolfe Winkler at rolfe.winkler@wsj.com

Comment Re:Umm, yes, it is an ad. (Score 1) 124

Like how NPR doesn't have ads, they have 30 second messages from "contributors".

I used to tolerate NPR's ads because they were short, all read by the same woman (with a nice soft radio voice), and infrequent. However I'd swear that in the last year they've increased the frequency and duration of them by at least 50% and changed voices to an unpleasant man's voice. I now mute the audio or switch stations when they come on.

I abhor advertising and refuse to partake in it, so I usually pay for services. However if something like NPR is going to run ads anyway, why should I continue to donate to them? If Google is going to shove ads at us, why should I pay for their Home device?

It used to be "free" or "ad-supported". Now companies want to double dip and make you pay to hear ads. Fuck that noise.

Comment Re:Good or not? (Score 1) 301

Without having commercials to teach you that companies consider you a never-ending open wallet, and that they WILL lie to you to get your money, will these Netflix-only kids grow up to be or more less naive about the honesty of other people and companies?

This may be true, but the flipside is that without growing up inundated with asinine commercials, they may also tend to be less tolerant of them overall. One could hope this would lead to trending away from commercials as a valid way of paying for entertainment. I've avoided TV and radio commercials for a decade and now find them utterly abhorrent.

Personally, I'd love it if we moved away from all advertising subsidization. It would lead to fair market prices for entertainment and services, as well as bringing back some sanity in the salaries for actors. With some luck we might even end up back where the user the customer instead of the product.

Comment Re:Microsoft is good once again (Score 1) 195

I don't see what people find interesting or exciting about .NET Core -- it's just a rebranding of the compact framework with some additional supported platforms. Honestly, the entire point of it seems to be to try and entice people to use Azure for hosted stuff and only use small parts of the framework for desktop apps (pushing them towards the "Universal" appy-store apps and away from full Win32 style desktop).

Comment Re:bit rot (Score 4, Insightful) 475

(there's a undetectable fault error rate, something along the lines of 1 in 10^20 bytes read or so will have an undetected error)

I just want to call this out because it's so important. That number, 10^20, sounds big, but considering the size of modern drives it's really not.

Randomly picking the WD 8TB Red NAS drive (WD60EFRX), which is designed for consume RAID as an example:

The spec sheet says the URE (unrecoverable read error) rate is at worst 1 x 10^14 per bits read. However, that drive holds 8 x 10^12 bytes! If you were to read every single byte there is about a 64% chance that at least 1 bit is read incorrectly.

(8 x 8 (bits per byte) x 10^12) / (1 x 10^14) = 64,000,000,000,000 / 100,000,000,000,000 = 0.64

Correct my math if I'm wrong, but this should make anyone think twice about using any kind of RAID as a "backup" solution. If you have a disk fail you have a better than 50/50 chance of introducing corrupt data during the rebuild process!

Frankly, ZFS-style checksumming is the future of files systems. It has to be for any data you care about.

Comment Re:Companies doing fine; not comsumers (Score 1) 319

When did Google, Facebook, and Twitter become ISPs?

This is the current excuse the right is parroting in talking points.

"Google can censor and sell customer data, therefore isn't not fair if Comcast can't!"

It's just another giant non-sequitur man being used to muddy the waters and disguise the real issues. Content providers are completely different than ISPs, especially when said ISPs get all sorts of special treatment under common carrier law.

Comment Re:I'm still not sure (Score 5, Informative) 82

I'm still not sure how this affects me

Here's a very short version:

Cloudflare provides proxying, caching, and DDoS protection (plus other things) for a huge number of websites. This means that instead of connecting directly to a website's servers, you're instead connecting to a Cloudflare server which inspects and routes the traffic to the real website.

A bug in Cloudflare's system would occasionally result in random memory contents from the Cloudflare server incorrectly getting sent back to clients in the HTTP response stream. This memory could contain anything -- random parts of a webpage, a picture, or a username and password that was recently passed through the system.

Since these memory dumps can be (and were) captured by caching systems such as Google's cached pages, Internet Archive, etc, it's not enough that Cloudflare fix the bug -- all the cached pages must also be deleted or somehow cleared of any memory dump contents. Until this happens (and frankly, it's likely an impossible goal given the size and scope), there is the potential that your username and password for some website could be saved out in a cached copy of a Cloudflare site, there just waiting for someone to find it. Attackers can, and are, scanning all of this cached data looking for such valuable leaked memory contents.

Overall it's a major bug and huge error on Cloudflare's part, but the likelihood of it impacting you seems astronomically small.

What it does do, however, is raise questions about whether or not we should have a single company acting as a back-end gatekeeper to vast swaths of the web. It also raises the question of the responsibility of sites like the Internet Archive. Should they be required to mass-delete archived sites going back years due to this bug? There is no way to recover those past cached sites. Finally, who is responsible if this breach does get exploited? Is it Cloudflare, or the website that chose to use them?

I've never been a fan of Cloudflare from a privacy and security standpoint, and this failure on their part more or less cemented my opinion.

Comment Re:Well.. (Score 5, Interesting) 197

Agreed. This is a sad first turn -- Trump's FCC may as well have sent a letter to the major ISPs saying "Hunting season on American Internet consumers is open! No tag limit!"

I was very skeptical when Wheeler was appointed to chair the FCC, given his corporate background, but he ended up being one of the most consumer-focused and practically progressive people in Obama's government.

And now? May as well say goodbye to net neutrality.

Comment Alexa Rankings (Score 2) 85

found that the number of websites listed in Alexa's top one million websites that have adopted to HTTPS has more than doubled

Why do people still use Alexa? There can't be more than a tiny handful of people who still use their crappy browser toolbar and that measuring metric has always had significant selection bias. Do they have a newer, better data source, or is there just nothing better so people fall back to a name that's familiar?

It would be nice if the major ISPs would aggregate and share all that data they save for the NSA anyway with some nonprofit org for this kind of thing.

Earth

First Human-Pig 'Chimera' Created in Milestone Study (theguardian.com) 158

Scientists have created a human-pig hybrid in a milestone study that raises the prospect of being able to grow human organs inside animals for use in transplants. From a report: It marks the first time that embryos combining two large, distantly-related species have been produced. The creation of this so-called chimera -- named after the cross-species beast of Greek mythology -- has been hailed as a significant first step towards generating human hearts, livers and kidneys from scratch. Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, who led the work on the part-pig, part-human embryos at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, said: "The ultimate goal is to grow functional and transplantable tissue or organs, but we are far away from that. This is an important first step." The study has reignited ethical concerns that have threatened to overshadow the field's clinical promise. The work inevitably raises the spectre of intelligent animals with humanised brains and also the potential for bizarre hybrid creatures to be accidentally released into the wild. The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) placed a moratorium on funding for the controversial experiments last year while these risks were considered.

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