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Comment comprehensive review of the topic (Score 1) 284


In the early 2000s the University of Oxford named Nick Bostrom as the Director for the newly founded institute: "Future of Humanity Institute".

He thinks about "existential risk". If we are indeed living in a simulation, an existential risk is that it will be turned off.

He has collected and summarised the various aspects ("how would you change your behaviour if you knew you were living in
a simulation?") at the above website.

It is unlikely that any one of us here has more to contribute on the topic than what this guy has already forgotten.



Comment Elon Musk did not invent this, Nick Bostrom did (Score 1) 951

Dear /.

the underlying doubt comes from Descartes' deliberations on how to obtain knowledge (chapter 3, "meditations"):

The re-loaded version for the 21st century can be found here:


The guy who wrote it got his own department at the University of Oxford (to study "existential risk" -- earth and life on it are threatened by the power button on a space-age playstation ...):

Best regards,


Comment History (Score 2) 265

I hate and mistrust Microsoft as much as the next guy, but let me say this:

* Mathematics is powerful because you take two numbers and an operator and as a result you get something that you can re-use in the same fashion

* Unix is powerful because you take text files and an operator and as a result you get something that you can re-use in the same fashion

* Relational DBMSs are powerful because you take two relations and an operator and as a result you get something that you can re-use in the same fashion

* Monad Shell (now called Power Shell) is powerful because you take object streams and an operator and as a result you get something that you can re-use in the same fashion

A Monad really is something where you put (typically) a constant into a function and get out a specialised function (like, you put 5 into your Monad and out comes a function that takes an integer and returns that same thing plus five).

The Unix world has Perl Shell, Python Shell, and something that the Power Shell is a copy of, the Haskell Shell.

Best regards,


Comment Re:It's not him.. (Score 1) 681

Your first sentence is the best characterisation I have read.

People should go and look up "culpable deniability".

I believe that the tweet was meant to first raise warm feelings in the believers and then to deliberately debase this elevation by pointing to an icon for the perceived opposing faction. I find "baiting" a very appropriate word to describe the process.

I also find it witty. Yet, I don't think it is clever to address a public which already supports cutting the science budget with something that further infuriates them.

Comment please be scholars about this (Score 1) 770

I recommend you consult your friendly "history & philosophy of science" major to explain this topic to you. As a second-best option, please read the book "the history of scientific revolutions". As a worst, last resort, please consider this explanation of mine:

--- define the terms:

* bertrand russel said (I paraphrase): "things that can be known are the domain of science, things that cannot be known are the domain of theology and things and the stuff in between is the domain of philosophy"

* the difference between science and engineering is that science tries to explain stuff and that engineering tries to predict future environments and optimise a solution for that expectation

--- describe the process:

* science obtains (repeatable) experimental results, then develops a theory to explain those results, then takes the theory to its extremes (where it breaks) and repeats the cycle

* a fine example of this cycle is kepler-newton-einstein

* do a basic course in logic: deduction is not the same as induction; the scientific process includes a step which amasses a convincing body of evidence and argument to get us to a consensus that something which has a clear correlation is also in a causal relationship; deduction is applicable in areas of causality; any single contradicting (repeatable) experiment is qualified to undo this consensus

* please observe that the more accurate model (in the kepler-newton-einstein cascade) still holds for all previous results and that the observed error is not allowed to grow with the next acceptable model

* when you have multiple theories from different corners of science that finely explain their respective experimental evidence, yet they contradict each other, then we acknowledge the situation and keep looking

* a fine example is relativity vs. quantum

* climate science is where a mix of multiple disciplines have recently come together; they can't even explain what they do themselves, let alone explain what happens at the intersection

* rising sea levels is a fine example: apparently rising sea levels are the least disputed observable phenomenon from "global warming"; and water is a fine energy store and is snarfing up a lot of energy; yet water volume depends on both temperature and pressure; it seems that we don't know where (which layer of water) the absorbed energy ends up in -- yet this affects gravely how much expansion we see

--- conclusion & recommendation

* please keep collecting facts

* please propose ever more outlandish models and check them against the collected data

* talk to each other, discuss and debate

* try to find experiments which break existing theories

best regards,


Comment rule of law (Score 1) 409

Western society claims to be founded on two principles: democracy and "rule of law". I am disillusioned with both these claims. If there are so many laws that you are likely violating something at any point in time and not every violation is prosecuted, then the situation from enforcing laws is turned on its head to hunting people -- which is precisely what "rule of law" is claimed to not do. Having hierarchically structured political parties that the voter is restricted to chosing from extinguishes the benefits claimed of democracy.

Comment helloooo??????? (Score 2) 268

As everyone else, that using a collection of tapes with a single or small number of tape drives is impractical.

Instead, I recommend reading up on hierarchical storage:

Also, if you really want a solution which does what you ask for, SamFS may be for you:



Comment Ubuntu Founder knows about signing ... (Score 5, Interesting) 393

Hi Guys & Gals,

before you all get worked up, please remember that Ubuntu was founded by Mark Shuttleworth. Mark became a billionaire by running Thawte. Thawte is a certificate authority for X.509 certificates.

My take is he knows a thing or two about such infrastructures and I also think he is a positive influence for the free software world.

have a good day!

Comment Technology from 1992 (Score 1) 112

We had tags for people and assets (printers, photocopiers, overhead projectors, computer manuals) that were used for location information, for door access, for having your computer screen follow around (they built an X-proxy and later developed it into VNC). This was 1992-1999 at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory in cooperation with the Olivetti Research labs (was changed to AT&T research labs or the other way around), who manufactured the devices. The tags worked on infrared, so putting them in your pocket would hide them. The people tags had rapid updates (few seconds) and the asset tags seldom updates (minutes). It was a voluntary experiment and I estimate 2/3 of the staff had them. Today I'm a privacy zealot.

Comment homegrown java (Score 1) 421


I have built a java program. You can find it here:

* it is GPL
* it is used for exporting and importing
* it creates a digital certificate for the machine it's run on
* it creates a 1-1 relationship with a machine that it's synching with
* it creates an export file on the source machine & imports it on the target machine (you have to move it)
* the export file is a zip file
* you build a ruleset on the export machine (files, directories, regexes) what you wish to export
* you build a ruleset on the import machine (same) what you wish to import
* these two rulesets give you total control even when you're exchanging with someone else
* you have rules for "soft master", "hard master", "soft slave", "hard slave", "progress", etc.

If you can use "unison", use that. If you wish to automate, use "app_dsync".

Have a good day,


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