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Comment Poverty level (Score 0) 696

The news report quantifies the US poverty level as a pair of statistics:

The 2010 poverty level was $22,314 for a family of four, and $11,139 for an individual, based on an official government calculation that includes only cash income, before tax deductions.

But it doesn't go on to describe the lifestyle of a person in that income group. I mean, suppose a person chooses to live without a car, a yearly vacation abroad, or the latest iDevice. Surely that person's poverty level would be different from a person who chooses to have a car, take yearly vacations abroad, and buy the latest iPhone?

Comment Re:It is wonderful, but it's only in mice (Score 2) 104

The difference here is the buzz word nano. If the new treatment is a true nano cure, then the difference between this and the old "magical cures" would be the difference between using a drone strike to target the headquarters of a terrorist group versus bombing the village where the headquarters happen to be found.

Comment Will AI's become too smart for us? (Score 1) 82

The security implications aside, one problem I see is a possible arms race between the poisoners and the AI designers. The only way for the designers to win is to build tests that are less tolerant of the poisoned data. This is good if AI systems are built to interact only with other AI systems. But what if humans are the end users?

At some point, the increase in data precision will come up against the natural imprecision of human users. Fewer humans will be smart enough to pass the Turing test. A practical example: I've noticed how Google's recaptcha puzzles have become more difficult. I now need to magnify the page view in order to make out some of the letters.

Comment Anime fansubs (Score 1) 252

If the news is true, then it should end all doubt that the Japanese authorities are somehow tolerant of the unlicensed distribution of media, including Japan's number one entertainment export, anime. Even if it might be argued that Japanese copyright law doesn't apply outside Japan (or that Japan wouldn't dare to conduct a Megaupload-style enforcement action), this does raise the question of how anime can be fansubbed at all if the episodes can't be recorded and shared with the "outside world."

Comment Look better (Score 0) 277

As usual it was Apple coming in doing something people have done before, only much better.

Apple's implementations "look" better than the competition. It's kind of like having a beauty contest where the winner isn't the brainiest but the cutest kid on the ramp. Example: the lack of a built-in hardware keyboard on the iPhone.

Comment Re:But what about the kids of dead parents? (Score 1) 429

Some may call drone strikes terrorism but I do not. In my mind the difference is intent.

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

I can hear an al-Qaeda leader having the same debate in his head. Okay, he's more radical with what he thinks is the solution to the damage inflicted on Islam by the US (e.g. "corrupting" the minds of the Islamic youth). But that's why he's a radical. To his own twisted mind, his intentions are "good".

Other posters have already mentioned the way the founders of al-Qaeda (or maybe al-Qaeda itself in an earlier incarnation) received assistance from the US military. The intentions at the time were arguably "good", stopping the spread of Soviet influence in countries like Afghanistan.

Ultimately, it's the consequences that matter. When drone strikes or nuclear bombs kill far too many civilians, then maybe it's time to change the means, the tools used to carry out your intent.

Comment Re:Wasn't that the whole idea? (Score 1) 104

It makes it an absolute pain to figure any settings out for someone else unless you have the exact same phone.

If that's true, then smartphones have become the new PCs. Only smart people can (con)figure them (out). But really what's so hard about a smartphone once you know that the World icon obviously means World Wide Web, while the thing that looks like a window means, rather less obviously, Applications?

Comment Re:USB as RAM? (Score 1) 93

With speeds now comparable to DDR memory, what's to stop blank USB sticks being used as a temporary RAM boost?

As soon as they get (at least) SSD-class wear levelling? Having noticed that my longest lived thumb drives tend to be the ones I don't use that often, I'm assuming that such drives aren't as durable as SSDs when it comes to rewrite operations. An SSD in a USB 3 thumb drive form factor, now that would be something for an ultimate Linux Live Distro.

Comment Wrong title (Score 1) 347

Right. The title of the summary and article should instead read "Google says some Apple inventions are so obvious they should be shared". Apple's insistence that designs should differ vastly goes against the long tradition of artistic emulation and imitation. How many can really tell the difference beween Raphael and Michelangelo?

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