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Comment Sigh (Score 3, Insightful) 640

They're over the limit?

Sorry, whatever the ultimate cause of the accident, they were unfit to drive, thus pontificating over what they "would have" done in another is absolutely pointless. This driver got into a car and drove off when there was even a RISK of being near or over the limit and never questioned it.

They are, therefore, a BAD DRIVER. The cause of their death - whether that's a guy on the wrong side of the road, unintended acceleration, a fire, etc. is incidental to their decision to drive. That's why we make brakes and steering wheels and train people to pass a test to ensure they're fit to drive, so you can avoid obstacles, stop the car, press the right pedal and not lose control if you're being a driver of even satisfactory driving skill.

Yeah, it's sad. Yeah that kind of acceleration is unnecessary. Yeah, maybe there was a guy on your side of the road - it happens, there are idiots everywhere and people use the other side for overtaking, manoeuvres, etc. all the time. But the driver drove a car without knowing its capabilities, or feeling discomfort at it themselves enough to NOT drive it, or without taking "due care" (a phrase that will come up a lot) to ensure they didn't accelerate unintentionally no matter the situation. And they chose to do so while their judgement was impaired beyond legal limits.

Contributing factors are the least of your problems, compared to telling your OTHER sons and daughters, and their friends and family to NEVER DRIVE DRUNK if they don't want to kill themselves and others.

That you have to state that to an adult is really a sad state of affairs.

If it had been on a Harley (there are electric Harley's now too!), and they'd done the same, would you be calling for motorbikes to be outlawed where you weren't saying that before? The device is not the problem - someone pressing the throttle when they mean the brake is never going to end well, even for a fraction of a second. The problem is that you have allowed yourself to bring up your children to think that drink-driving is fine and acceptable, even if you know it's illegal, and then blame others when your KILLER of a child takes someone else out too by driving drunk.

Fuck, I don't even let work colleagues do that. I have literally removed people's keys and they've started fights with me over doing so. If your own child did it, fix that problem before you look at ANYTHING else.

Comment Re:Follow Proper Procedure: Call Company's Legal D (Score 2) 626

"but then it's also the border agent's right to detain you till you do"

Or get a warrant to say it's necessary.
Which would probably be refused.

The fear of "we'll just hold you until you co-operate" is not due process.

You object.
You wait.
Then you call in the lawyers (in this case JPL's, I imagine).
Because - as stated - they have no right to demand the passcode.
Hell, I'd be making them sign an NDA. As in YOU PERSONALLY sign the NDA to tell me what you'll do with the information in the phone. They'll refuse, of course they will, but it's not like I'm being uncooperative, I'm asking you to document, receipt and provide data security for that thing you're trying to access, which is a core part of evidence preservation anyway.

But there is a reason that I a) wouldn't enter the US, b) wouldn't try to take any electronic devices even if I did.

This guy worked for JPL. Imagine what that's doing to your foreign workers and people on business trips from other countries. They just aren't going to want to do business with you if their secret patents are being shared willy-nilly around the TSA offices without some kind of guarantee.

Hell, if they asked for my social media, I'd refuse beyond showing them my (locked-down) public Facebook page. If that gets me detained, even theoretically, then I'm not risking going at all.

The US is so anti-foreigner nowadays that they are basically going to cut themselves further off from the world than their own ignorance takes them anyway.

Comment Re:So? (Score 5, Insightful) 145

Red Hat gave us RPMs,systemd and NetworkManager. If I was drawing up a kill-list for a Linux distro, those would be at the top.

Outside of their high-end enterprise stuff and the kernel itself, they don't really touch that much. I'm a network manager and have deployed and managed Linux systems, and still do (VMs make this much easier nowadays, alongside the traditional MS setup). I've never once touched Red Hat as a distro for that purpose.

But I've bought any number of Slackware DVDs. Just the fact that Slackware is clean upstream code and simple patches for the most part, rather than highly customised stuff to make it work for The One True Distro gets my money.

I'm sure they do invest and they have a lot of code spread around, but they clearly aren't after my money. They just want huge businesses and not smaller shops at all. The pricing alone tells you that.

But Slackware? I've bought CD's almost every year (that are basically useless as soon as they've published because they are out-of-date and I never use physical media anyway), and the amount of work that goes into making it *my* OS is what I'm rewarding.

Red Hat don't have a penny of my money, in comparison.

Comment Re:Anti-theft device (Score 1) 142

Better than "software only" suicide, yes, it removes the value in the device.

But blowing a difficult-to-replace electronic fuse after zapping the memory would be simply and easier for such a purpose, and also be a device that would be allowed on the plane.

We're trying to STOP phones being dangerous, not make them more so.

And properly controlled and encrypted devices have an automatic protection against theft of data - it's called the encryption. Remove the encryption key or store it on a TPM chip if you have to. Better - put it on a TPM chip where the self-destruct features just clears the chip. Cheaper, simpler, safer, and can be done with existing devices.

Comment Re:Confusion (Score 1) 651

I'll give you my login to anything, even Facebook. Hell, my Slashdot login is above this very message.

What use is that to use unless it's so open that it's showing everything you said (e.g. my Slashdot). My social media logins get you almost nothing that you wouldn't already have by that point.

Are you suggesting they've stopped at that point, when there are no posts visible because "Homeland Security" isn't in your friend list on Facebook? I don't think so. I think, at minimum, they're asking you to reveal a login and if they're suspicious (which could include "Gosh, he doesn't let us see ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING"), then it will go for passwords too.

And, technically, the email on this account of mine is completely different to the email of other accounts. Hell, I have about 20+ domains all with unlimited aliases I could use on them. There's no help there at all.

No, this is about volunteering information, and then if there's any suspicion (you didn't volunteer) forcing it out of you.

The US has been dead to me since just before 9/11 when all this nonsense started. I literally CANNOT take a laptop or phone which may have any work logins, emails or anything else at all on it into the US. EU law says that's breaking the law.

That ruins a whole load of stuff you might want to do on holiday, and kills business trips stone dead.

And if you demand logins to unrelated things, I'm likely to refuse. It's that likely to get me into trouble, I'm likely not to bother trying to go.

As such, not been to the US in years and have no current intention to go there.

Comment Re:And? (Score 1) 122

And life expectancy - and overall deaths - nearly halved in most developed countries at the same time.

Cancer is what happens to you when nothing else kills you - it's quite literally a lottery on every cell replication as to whether it mutates badly or not. And over time, you WILL get and die of cancer if nothing else does.

Blaming increasing lifespan, which means more people die of cancer, on the presence or invention of plastic is actually good evidence FOR plastic. Such as - how do you sterilise or clean paper, cloth, etc. to food standards? Much harder than doing the same for plastic.

Additionally, almost every substance known to man is carcinogenic or has carcinogenic variants or cousins. What you're basically saying is "The only thing now left to kill us if the extremely low risk of cancer from an otherwise pretty harmless substance, that up until we started using it had even worse alternatives".

There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. And statistics mean nothing if you don't interpret them in context.

Comment Re:Fast food (Score 5, Interesting) 122

You're confusing fast food with meat.

Meat isn't bad for you, in any way shape or form. There are no conclusive, unchallenged papers saying so.

In fact, very nearly the opposite:


United Kingdom-based vegetarians and comparable nonvegetarians have similar all-cause mortality. Differences found for specific causes of death merit further investigation.

60,310 people studied. That's a LOT.

But don't confuse "meat-eating" with "fast-food junky". And don't think that a vegan or vegetarian diet does ANYTHING for you. It doesn't. It's just the same, but you can't eat meat. If you're used to eating meat, that can make you miserable.

And if you go too strict, you can do more damage to your body and have to take an artificial supplement to restore what's missing from your diet (i.e. the stuff normally found in meat!).

And what you think wild-caught salmon is going to do differently to you than a farmed salmon, we can argue about until the cows come home but basically the stats say the same again: It makes NO difference.

Rather than try to argue on the basis of "this sounds good, and I think I'm helping", find some proper, serious, researched literature and narrow down what you're recommending.

Is it a) meat or lack of it, b) fish instead of meat, c) "free-range" fish over farmed fish, d) vegetarian over meat-eating, e) anything over fast-food?

Because confusing the issue in ONE SENTENCE between five different things, and getting most of those wrong in terms of actual science, is not the way to convince people.

You might as well tell me to only use organic pencils as they "draw better".

Comment And? (Score 4, Informative) 122

What's inside the plastic wrapping is going to kill you quicker than whatever the wrapping is made of.

Or, otherwise, we'd pretty much all be dead by now.

Sure, start phasing it out, like thousands of things before it, but it's not an end-of-the-world, evil-fast-food-chain, profiteering-bastards kind of story at all.

Hell, I remember when McDonald's burgers came in a polystyrene box. They changed that and it's now a card-thing with shiny outside. I'm sure those things were always marked as "food-safe" or they'd have been in court a million times by now because of it.

But our idea of food-safe changes as knowledge increases. I wouldn't be surprised if we ended up going back to polystyrene boxes at some point, we're bound to find out that something older and abandoned actually wasn't all that bad or we can now make it without it being bad.

But the tone of the summary/story is quite heavily in the "OH MY GOD WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE" section. When actually the story is more like "Huh, there's a tiny chance this could very slightly statistically be worse for you that paper. Oh well, let's change that, but it's not worth panicking and trying to do that overnight. Let's just phase it out for something slightly better."

Hell, they banned fish and chip shops in the UK from using newspaper for wrapping the food in, which they always did in my father's day, because of the ink in the paper being not ideal to wrap a greasy load of fried fish and potato into. But try and point to someone who died or was taken ill as a result and you'd be hard pressed to come up with anything at all.

And then, ironically, they all started using polystyrene and plastics, which we're now telling them are bad for the environment and they should go back to paper, and recycled paper at that...

Comment Re:And in other news (Score 1) 191

No, it's not.

Poker is an easy game to describe. You can get perfect statistics for chances and what remains in the deck (if applicable).

What you couldn't do up until now was the BETTING on poker. When you have $64k of chips in front of you, the optimal amount to bet is not obvious or easily iterated by brute force. Just sheer size of the potential "game-tree" in that betting was the only obstacle.

Go was the same - the game tree is huge, and we now have heuristics that can cull it earlier and better than before, but it's still uniterable in any reasonable time. However, we now do it well enough to beat top human players.

However, NONE of this is related to image recognition or translation, which are still as flaky as they ever were. Game-theory is almost entirely tree based on a limited set of options. When we conquer the amount of options available, the game-tree is parseable and you win enough of the time that you can't be beat, and you can reproduce the results consistently. Game-theory is a science and a mathematic.

But the other "AI" stuff is still in the realm of guess-and-train, plugging heuristics and millions of examples into an algorithm that tries to categorise and find a limited set of patterns. They are not reliable, reproducible, or even very scientific at all, and most of the AI field is software-engineering and heuristical analysis. Do not trust your car to recognising an image of a child running across the road because it WILL NEVER see any of the training images ever again, even if you perfectly reproduce the circumstances, and so it's always guesswork.

Computers - and "AI" as the movies would let you think it - are not good at that kind of thing. It's why CAPTCHAs exist (yes, you can target and beat a CAPTCHA but by having humans tune heuristics or feeding millions of example images into a simple algorithm and so it becomes non-reliable again, though it may be reliable "enough" to get you into a website, you don't want to be using it in anything important whatsoever).

And translation is still just as laughable as ever. Ask any foreigner to run something through Google Translate, you still end up with completely obvious transcription and understanding errors and get only literal translations or nonsense.

We're nowhere near a point that AI is a risk to humans unless - and this is important - we start thinking that the AI we have now is anything more than it is and start relying on it. Self-driving cars are a prime example.

We do NOT have AI. We have heuristics (human-created and tweaked rules) plugged into statistical systems, trained on a set of data that they will never encounter in real life. Something that's OBVIOUS to a human how it should be categorised is in no way guaranteed to be categorised in the same way by even the best-trained AI on the planet. It's literally never seen it before and it's answer is no better than a guess. And at any point, while it's acting on unseen-before data (which is all the time in such systems) it's actions are unpredictable and - worse - undiagnosable and unfixable. When it makes a mistake, you can't correct it, or even necessarily work out WHY it made that mistake, even with the complete source code and training data. And you can "request" but not instruct that it might want to categorise such things differently next time. And it might still just not understand no matter how many times you do that.

Think of it this way. Are you training the AI on the SHAPE of, say, a cat and an understanding of 3D space and how it transforms with movement and different viewing angles? No. You're training it on a bunch of pictures of a cat (or translated texts, or game positions or whatever) and hoping that it finds some correlation.

But you have ZERO idea what correlation it's finding. It's basically totally unanalysable in that respect. For all you know, it's adding up the number of blue-ish pixels and saying it's a cat if there aren't many. And though you might realise that and then train that trait out, it will then move on to ANY OTHER correlation it can find. The point at which it "understands" what a cat is, in terms of a 2D image of a 3D moving animal, is THOUSANDS OF YEARS later in its training. By humans. If they can tell what it's doing.

Such systems are not AI. And certainly not maintainable, predictable or reliable.

But we can win and Poker and Go because we can brute-force the game tree through some clever pruning of it. It's an entirely different kind of system.

Comment Re:Accounting (Score 1) 92

Gigabit to entire towns is a loss-maker not just in terms of decades.

In the UK, the only non-former-government-monopoly provider was NTL. Who, after 20 years of putting in cable, went bust. Literally, they were bought up after being near bankruptcy (by Virgin Media), including all their assets for a cut-down price, and since then any new VM rollouts have had to be built-in to the cost of building a housing estate. The number of places served by VM is pretty pathetic, it's FTTC only, and they've had to re-sell DSL services provided by British Telecom like everyone else to get anywhere near full-reach in the rest of the country.

The only other near-competitor was a project run in the town of Hull that pretty much flopped and never left the town.

Bear in mind that the UK is about HALF the size of California, and has TWICE as many people.

Any infrastructure like that is basically loss-making for DECADES, if it ever recoups its investment. FTTP is even more expensive.

There's a reason that sewage, electricity, gas, water, etc. supplies are utilities often run by government or obliged to provide services to all and paid for at least partly from your taxes.

That kind of infrastructure is a dead investment and we've known about that for centuries.

Comment Re:Obviously (Score 0) 171

Cannibalism is quite literally survival of the fittest.

And, not to pour water, but has anyone considered that a cannibalism response is actually sensible and protective? With a nutrient deficiency, the animals change their behaviour to find another source of said nutrient.

How does this differ from pregnancy cravings? Some animals eat their OWN young. Cannibalism may well be what's keeping the few that are left alive.

Comment Re:Movies. (Score 0) 113

1) What you propose is a legal grey area.
2) How does it solve the problem or portability? I would have to spend MONTHS of time converting my collection, defeating DRM, and storing it, and then carry around a several-Tb drive everywhere I go.
3) I have the DVD's. I continue to watch them, as normal. What I'm NOT doing it giving the movie industry a penny by doing so - most of those DVDs were second-hand and it won't be long before DVDs don't exist, like VHS before it.

When I'm quite happy - and trying - to pay a sensible price for the convenience of just clicking "watch" on a film I want to watch.

The generation below me - working in schools, and boarding schools, I'm almost uniquely placed to tell you how they operate - they don't care. They YouTube it. They stream it from dozens of free sites. If it's not there when they press the button, they have no interest. On top of that, THEY DO NOT PAY. And it's seen as the norm, to break the rules in preference.

Hell, I have to deal with C&D notices from the school's ISP. Now, what do YOU think I'm doing, trying to do, and where someone could easily get some money from me? And what do you think is wrong if, actually, the alternative is I don't spend any money or bother to watch any movies, at home, on the move, etc.?

Comment Movies. (Score 5, Insightful) 113

Was looking for a film to watch last night.

(Bear in mind that I pay for everything legitimately. I don't own any music. I buy DVD's or LICENCED online content for everything I watch.

I do this so that I'm rewarding the creators of things I like. I've bought shareware. I've paid for donationware. I've bought some things several times over and bought them for friends.

The point is - I'm one of those rare people who pays for EVERYTHING I use. The vast majority of people I speak to are quite happy not to pay if there's no chance of being caught and will happily use Kodi or downloads or streams or tolerate what their child does, etc.)

I went on Amazon Prime. I didn't fancy anything on the Prime offerings, so I flicked through the "Buy" listings for movies. As there was nothing on Prime, I also loaded up the Google Play Store for movies and did the same on there. I have bought 50% of my online movies on each service, and even rented a couple of times.

I looked through all the recommended, the newly released, etc. and went back as far as I could without hitting anything I liked the look of. Fair enough, personal taste. Then I went through all the cheap movies, all dross and most I'd never heard of. Then I went through categories of movies, Action or Sci-Fi is always a good bet.

About 20 pages in, and a lot of scrolling, on both services the only things that I had any interest in were old 80's action / sci-fi movies. Okay, not a problem. I own a lot of them on DVD, though, but I wanted to watch online. I'm not going to pay a fortune again.

But then the problem hits - once I found a category I was willing to buy from and didn't already own, the prices were a piss-take. GBP10 for a movie from the 80's that's had endless re-runs on TV. 25GBP for a TV series that's on constant loop on multiple TV channels, and that's just the first series. Sorry, but I'm not paying that for an Arnie movie from the 80's, Indiana Jones, James Bond or a series of Friends to flick through. And the stuff I already have on DVD? Same prices. No way am I paying that just to "have it online".

The irony was, I'd have happily laid down the 25GBP for a complete boxset of something, or 10GBP for a new movie, or a few GBP for one of the old dross (Indiana Jones, etc.). But I couldn't justify it to myself to pay those kinds of prices.

In the end, after about an hour of scrolling through both stores, I bought nothing. My entertainment time was gone, my funds weren't going to be spent like that, and that's with me LOOKING to buy.

The other annoying part? You can't buy certain things anywhere. I love an old TV series called The Good Life (Good Neighbours in the US). I have it on DVD. I'd quite like it online too, to watch when I'm out on holiday etc. I bought series 1 & 2 online and - despite being from the 70's - series 3 is nowhere to be seen. Literally, nothing. I've been checking almost every month for years now.

Try and get Aliens:Special Edition. Half the online streaming stores just don't carry it at all, or don't mention if it is SE or not.

And then there are the TV series from years ago that still have never made it to DVD or online at all. The most annoying ones are like above - someone converted one series and then said fuck it and left it at that.

I have no surprise at all when I find out that people pirate or stream or whatever. They just want to watch the fucking movie that they like. But you can't. And even when you can, the price is ludicrous.

Because I won't pirate, this gives me one option. Stop watching. Even the old stuff. Stop buying.

The movie and TV industries are killing themselves. I have no sympathy for them.

Also, we TOLD THEM THIS several decades ago when they started on the pointless crusade against piracy. If they'd listened then, maybe they wouldn't have wasted money on stupid DRM schemes, they'd have not lost public favour, and they might have been able to try things like streaming, downloads, etc. quicker rather than wait for the pirates to invent it and then copy it. They might also have been able to afford to bring prices down into the "Oh, yeah, whatever, it's only a couple of quid" bracket and made themselves more money from casual purchases.

Fact is, movies and TV have to be considered purchases. In terms of where you buy from (in case it goes bust), what you buy (in case it's not the version you think), what you can buy (in case they don't have what you want), and what you can afford to buy.

No wonder the next generation has ZERO interest in anything that isn't free and online.

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