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Comment Agreed (Score -1) 5

I complete agree. I had been a long-time lurker on and decided to make a new account. I had a number of positively modded posts under my belt before a single comment which is explained in my own journal was modded down by anti-Mac zealots, then every comment i would make elsewhere was modded down. now i have what is likely a permanent -1 rating for this account, just because of a single post that, any arguments aside, was on-topic and completely non-inflammatory (in fact was modded +3 at one point before being buried). which brings up another point - why -1? what's the use when i can post with 0 by making a new account or posting anonymously? the whole thing is borked.

Journal Journal: woot pt 2

Now apparently I have a "Foe." I also think that either he or someone else is now looking at my posts to mod them down intentionally. What's the point of having a "Foe?" Why would I want to say specifically that I don't like someone? Why would someone add me as a "foe" for a comment that, at the absolute worst and barring any common sense, could only be taken as a lack of research or miswording? It wasn't inflammatory, it wasn't reactionary, and if this pathetic excuse for a comment/forum system

Journal Journal: woot

I posted a single comment that, while not exactly accurate, was taken above and beyond out of context by a bunch of anti-Apple zealots.

(It turns out the problem was I didn't read TFA closely enough, NOT that I don't understand Apple's GCD. Ironic since in my comment I was pointing out something everyone else missed from the article - something for which I received several positive mod points before being drown by RMS's clerics of goon justice.)

Comment Grand Central Dispatch? (Score 0, Flamebait) 366

So MS has a whole prototype OS for something Apple threw into their $30 maintenance update almost as an after-thought? Great. Wake me up when they do something interesting. Also if you RTFA it looks like its basically just a MS-funded research project for a few peoples' master thesis. Even more yawn. Get this story out of here.

Comment Re:Singularity summit? (Score 1) 482

Oh I'm positive that the singularity will blow right over most people's heads just like everything else. Inevitable unfortunately. Then again, by that time "people" may be irrelevant of course. There's really no telling how we - as smart as we are, still being basically animals - will react to the coming changes.

I can agree with or at least empathize with with your take on Sterling. Perhaps I'm thinking too negatively and he's not in fact refuting anything. However if he's not trying to refute anything, I have to wonder about the wisdom of spending time on this subject in the first place other than just fanciful (being nice here - fantasy is fun sometimes) speculation. And I'm not sure that Kurzweil discounts the "utility fog" or collective consciousness ideas. At this point of clarification though, we would probably just have to ask Sterling himself to revise or extend his remarks. Regardless, thanks for your response. The most essential message is that it's up to us to steer toward that more interesting future, as opposed to a lazy or boring one. I'm certain that Sterling, Kurzweil, Vinge, you, and myself can all agree on that.

Comment Re:Singularity summit? (Score 2, Insightful) 482

Sterling is a funny guy and good speaker, but I'm afraid his arguments don't stand up to scrutiny. For instance, he says that you "might see Apple IIs everywhere, then vanish like the morning dew. Achieve nothing that lasts," referring to fast-paced technology sort of disappearing. Like Hurricane78's argument above that the singularity is limited by resources, these are nice logical "If A then B, so B" arguments but the premises simply aren't based in reality. Is Sterling really saying that the Apple II improved nothing, counted for nothing, simply "disappeared"? Is he really saying that the Dot Com bubble simply vanished after it happened, with no consequences or changes in the game? To answer Hurricane78, yes the singularity would have a limit but that limit is so far beyond our current level of understanding that we can't reliably predict it - that's the point of "singularitarian thinking." It's primarily the next order of technological revolution - from textiles, to electricity, to the assembly line, to atomic physics, to networked information, all of these revolutionary changes have taken scarcity and turned it into plenty. Like Sterling when he (essentially) argues that there has never been any historical basis for singularity, you misunderstand the timeline and take what you have today for granted. Even on a human timescale - let alone for a moment the sort of change we see on an evolutionary timescale, something else Sterling anthropocentrically fails to factor in - something like the invention of the automobile was indeed a "blink-of-the-eye" change. One day you had horses and buggies, the next you had the interstate highway system. Of course its not this simple, but neither is the argument for the singularity.

And that's really what bothers me most about Sterling's talk - despite the sincerity in his practiced voice and his history as a sci-fi novelist, he seems to fail to take talk of the singularity seriously enough to effectively argue against it. Even the facetious title of the talk, "Your Future as a Black Hole," belies his inferred motive of seeking truth. He chooses Verner Vinge - a radical and eccentric even among singularitarians - as his straw man and proceeds to deconstruct Vinge's vision with many memorized quotes and quips. He fundamentally fails to grasp the real argument here that the singularity isn't some sort of magical apocalypse (which is ironic since that's where Sterling is trying to head with his arguments). Vinge never claims to have any of Sterling's "fairy dust." My suggestions to Sterling? First, try refuting a scientist like Kurzweil instead of a sci-fi writer like Vinge. Second, realize that humans are not the only form of intelligent life, nor did we used to be as smart as we are today. Lastly and relately, recognize that by many standards we already have some fairly advanced AI, and all that research into AI in the 70s and onward didn't turn out to just "vanish" or "come to nothing." Where do you think we got instant credit transactions? Targeted advertising? UPS/Fedex and the mobile warehouse? It seems to me that sometimes people are so caught up disproving the sensationalized and fantastic versions of things that they can't see the forest for the tree. Yeah there's nutters out there that think the world is going to end and we'll all ascend to geek nirvana, but like any other facinating vision you're going to have insane people following it. That's no reason to dismiss the premise out-of-hand.

The one part I did agree on was when Sterling talks about how his scarecrow singularitarians never realize that technology will simply be in the hands of the rich and powerful like it always has and they can't just sit around. But this is, as "Chapter80" puts it above, another "well duh" moment. I've thought about this since the first time I ever considered the singularity. I think lazy people are going to be lazy and rich people are going to be rich. Thanks to Sterling for pointing that out. Here let me do it: If a science fiction writer hasn't worked a day in their life, then they are worthless. Therefore science fiction writers are worthless. Very logical but untrue.

Comment Re:OOh (Score 3, Informative) 803

EXACTLY. You'd have to be seriously dumb to "upgrade" a Windows box. I have never once seen this go well. Between Vista and 7 maybe it will be better because they're so alike, but I doubt it. I don't see the big deal with upgrading anyway. What's the point? So you can save 5 minutes backing up your stuff? (assuming that like much of the general buffoonery you don't have it already backed up) It takes about 10-15 minutes to install Vista from start to finish on a blank, modern machine. Judging from the totally inexplicable timetables involved in Microsoft's Windows Update, it probably takes ten times as long to perform an "upgrade." Even on a Linux system like Debian with a good package manager you will have some slight inconsistencies between releases that can foul things up if you perform a straight dist-upgrade. I can only imagine the things that go on behind the scenes in a Windows upgrade.

Submission + - YouTube Censors Bad Language

sympathy3k21 writes: I just noticed that YouTube has begun to censor anything that Google deems inappropriate language. Google certainly has every right to do what they will with their site, but seeing as how YouTube is the 3rd largest site on the internet, according to Alexa, I was wondering what Slashdot thought about this. After a minute or two of looking, I can see no option to "opt-out" of the bad language filter, meaning everyone who views YouTube must subscribe to this censorship. Is this the kind of model we should be embracing on the internet? Maybe Google should disallow the searching of bad words as well? What if I find advertisements offensive, would Google pull those too? And just who is making such a fuss over cuss words that this should ever be necessary? (If you want to test this for yourself, go to any video and type in an obviously bad word, then reload the page. It will show up as asterisks.)

Comment No war means no motive (Score 1) 599

In order to get all the Taxpayer Joes out there to not shit their pants because you want to "cure cancer" or, god forbid, "develop alternative energy sources," you have to have a reason. A fake reason or a very important reason. The Apollo mission and Manhattan project weren't started in the spirit of scientific exploration, they were started first to destroy the Nazis, then to fight the Commies. US science has always relied on our conflicts. Do you think the King of Spain would have bankrolled exploration to America if he didn't think he could gain by it strategically? Same with Britain and France. Why do you think US combat robotics has advanced so rapidly in the last decade? It's not because DARPA thought that it would be cute to have a bunch of dog robots for us to pet. Nor did they think the internet was going to be the massive consumer and cultural revolution it was - merely meant to be a DoD network for further weapons research and emergencies.

There are exceptions of course but the bottom line is that if you want to get something done, you have to give people some kind of dire reason for doing so. The International Joint Commission was formed in 1909 and warned of heavy pollution and potentially catastrophic wildlife destruction in the Great Lakes region as early as 1920. It wasn't until 1970, when Lake Erie literally died due to eutrophication, that anything was done about it. Nothing like a good catastrophe or threat to national security to get the science gears moving - one of the reasons I'm hopeful the media takes off with this whole "China cyberthreat" thing.

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