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Comment Remember Michael Hastings? (Score 1) 343

Oh wait, Hastings was locked inside a Mercedes as it crashed. Obviously no relation to this BMW story.

Then again, I'm a bit surprised that they revealed the capability so publicly. It's not like any dictators or powerful authorities would ever abuse such a capability.

(Don't look at me. I've gone completely paranoid now. I even think Snowden is just a sincere pawn and he was never allowed near any of the really dark stuff.)

Comment Why not a survey? (Score 1) 359

As surveys go, it would be as good as most of the recent ones.

Anyway, I've never read even one volume of the series, though I'm pretty sure I consulted it at various times. It was certainly available in the university libraries where I was teaching or studying. Also I remember seeing it in the research library when I was supporting the researchers. However, I can't really remember any details after all these years. The place I should have been introduced to it was when I was earning my CS degree, but I don't think I even knew about it until afterwards... At that time I think I primarily associated Knuth with TeX.

According to my records, the only Knuth book I've read in it's entirety was Surreal Numbers , but I'm suspicious of my memories of that book... Did he construct an entire number system starting from the empty set? Was it based on a lunchtime conversation he had with a pure mathematician, and he basically reconstructed the discussion at book length?

Comment Re: More about eliminating WrongThink (Score 1) 355

I think we are deluded to think freedom is a good thing. Per my sig, you have to work at being free. You have to collect the information for meaningful decisions, which includes filtering out the fake data, and you have to resist the persuasion and even coercion by advertisers and propagandists pushing their toothpaste, latest pop songs, and political candidates. Too much bother.

Many Trump voters took the shortcut. Trump promised "Vote for me and I'll solve ALL your problems." If they wanted to be free, then they would have to consider that his proposed solutions are nonsensical, contradictory, or impossible. Sometimes all three at once.

Reality is going to prevail. It always does. Unfortunately, that appears to be the reality of the Fermi Paradox. So-called intelligent species don't survive long and so-called intelligence is not a survival trait. If we human beings have any survivors, they will probably be the most evil corporations we have created. Human beings will be extinct, but the corporate machines will continue generating ever larger "profits".

Comment Ever heard of disinformation? (Score 0) 36

What makes you believe this story isn't fake news? At this point do you really expect the government to tell you the truth about how they are shredding the Bill of Rights?

I'm not saying it's impossible. Maybe this particular surveillance system didn't work well. In that case, you should be asking about the other ones.

Don't look at me that way. I was getting paranoid even before Putin's puppet snuck into the big white house. I also think Snowden is a sincere pawn and Hastings was snuffed by a hacked car. I'm going to play the insanity defense over the flying elephant.

Comment Re:!Revolution (Score 5, Funny) 263

The word revolution also contains the word evolution, and you might have noticed that we've evolved past the point of calling a paper printer a necessary component of computing today.

And the word "internet" contains the word "tern", so clearly it is built upon angry arctic birds with sharp beaks that dive bomb anyone who gets too close to their nesting grounds.

Comment Re:because (Score 2) 263

Indeed. I've ordered 3d prints online several times and as things stand there is no reason I'd ever do otherwise. The choice is, "have something produced using top notch hardware and finished by professionals", or "have something produced by crappy hardware, by you". The marginal cost may be lower if you do it yourself, but you have to plop down $1k first, so unless you 3d print a lot, you don't win even on that comparison. It's just not worth it.

If you run a business where you're 3d printing prototypes every day, that would be different. But regular for home users, I just can't see an argument for it.

Comment Re:It's always cost (Score 4, Interesting) 263

That's really a key issue. Most "standalone" things people want are not made of plastics, except for toys. There are a some things - for example, parts for a small homemade drone or whatnot, where strength is not important but lightness is. But most often, if you want something "standalone", you want it out of metal.

Being able to print replacement plastic parts for other things could be nice, mind you. For example, I've twice had to replace a plastic part on my refrigerator and it cost something like $50 each time with a nearly month delay, due to customs fees, shipping to where I am, etc. Having been able to print one out would have been great. Except, having a 3d printer alone wouldn't have been enough, because there's no "universal spare part database" that manufacturers upload to. A 3d scanner as well might have been able to enable reproducing the part from scanning its broken pieces, except that not only do you have to have one, the part was transparent, and many 3d scanners don't like transparent objects.

A "3d printing revolution" may come some day. But things are a lot more complicated than just making it possible to print something out of some material.

Comment Re:They only show gorgeous women (Score 2) 242

Please ignore the correlation between "looks" and genetic indicators of reproductive health

That would be a nice argument if there was some universal agreement on what is attractive. In some cultures, thin is attractive. In others, fat. Some places like women who stretch their necks out. Others like their feet bound to the point that they can hardly walk. In Meiji era Japan, it was seen as attractive for women to paint their teeth black. Do you find that hot? There is no single standard of beauty. You cannot just declare yours to be universally applicable.

The majority of "beauty" traits have nothing to do with genetic indicators of reproductive health. That said, there are some. For example, for both sexes, "clear skin" is usually desirable, as that is an indicator of immune system fitness. And of course standard secondary sex characteristics, including having typical voice ranges appropriate to their sex, muscle mass in men, in women breasts and wide hips, etc. But the majority of the specific details that make up the "look" of an attractive man or woman versus other men and women in their society are simply cultural.

Submission + - Cyber-Security: Prelude to cyber-war? (

shanen writes: Trump can't wait, can he? Now he's decided he needs to piss of the Chinese, world leaders in cyber-warfare defenses. A few days ago he tried to make nice with Pakistan, which is liable to piss off the Indians (as if he isn't doing enough to offend them with his America-first India-last trade policies). India certainly has the potential to participate in cyber-warfare, though they don't have or even need much in the way of cyber-defenses right now. It's actually the good old USA that has the most to lose in a serious cyber-war.

Crazy prediction time: An alliance of China and India using Nigerian mercenaries to do the dirty work. Can't let the Russians, Ukrainians, and Macedonians have all the fun.

Already a bit dated, but there's a good book called "Cyber War" by Richard Clarke. He rates America as having high offensive capabilities for cyber-warfare (along with Russia), but with the greatest economic vulnerability to cyber attack and with almost no defenses. Trump needs to learn about "the cyber", eh?

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