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Comment Re:More US warmongering (Score 1) 755

The problem is that there is never hard evidence for such things. From a philosophical point of view, you can actually proof nothing about the real world. There are only cues, and you take them together to form a belief that lets you be certain to some degree. This degree should never reach total certainty, otherwise you made a mistake.

Now come the Putin guys shouting "Evidence! Evidence!" all the time, just to cast into doubt their rather probable involvement. That's exactly like conspiracy theories work.

MH-17 is really, really probably mostly the fault of Russia. There are tons of cues, like social media posts, radio calls, and more technical stuff, all pointing towards that it had been shot down with a Russian Buk, operated either by Russian soldiers (the more probable explanation), or Ukrainian separatists (improbable, and these also appear to be largely Russian soldiers on "vacation"). All the cues give a very consistent picture of a major Russian involvement, but you cannot prove it. Yes, you'll never be able to do this. Still it is reasonable to belief it was Russia, and not to believe Russia telling you that it was someone else (btw, Russia's story was changing on a weekly basis, while the story of the west was always the same, the consistent one).

Comment NP is the new P (Score 2) 497

Modern SAT solvers are able to solve SAT problems with millions of variables in seconds. Yes, there are hard problems with some hundred variables that are too hard to solve. But as it turned out, most useful problems are easy to solve. So if you have an NP-complete problem, you should just try to put it into minisat. If it can't be solved easily, there's still time left to despair.

Comment No, let's pattent atoms (Score 1) 125

I patent hydrogen. Now it's your turn

But don't you dare to patent elementary particles! This would ruin the fun of patenting atoms, and I can't have my hydrogen.

And don't complain that you wanted to patent molecules before I had the idea of patenting atoms! That's not how the game's supposed to be played

Comment They forgot at least Darktable (Score 4, Informative) 86

Darktable is a primarily a great Raw editor. But over time it has become a decent photo manager, too. Darktable supports lossless edits, so you can store your untouched original files, and all derivations are stored by their edit history in sidecar files.

  I used to use digikam, which has many good features. But digikam simply crashes way too often.

Comment Re:Because it already is (Score 1) 275

If you carefully read my comment, you will notice that it does not contain any appraisal. Certainly, there are intricate trade-offs involved in coming up with a good policy.

What I wanted to state is the following: Exercising the existing laws that prohibit killing and bombing people is of no use if you want to prevent terrorism. Terrorists do not care about the punishment when they blow themselves up in the end anyway. Thus you need prevention, and prevention only works when you have information.

Comment Because it already is (Score 4, Insightful) 275

Because it already is. And killing people with guns and bombs is something you want to prevent instead of penalizing it after it happens. For this you need the ability to predict what will happen. Such ability is gained from observing the current state of the world (because you cannot observe the future), and drawing inferences from these observations. The more you observe, the more predictive power you gain. Large-scale organized activities (like organized crime or organized terrorism) usually require monetary support, thus observation of monetary transfers gives valuable information about the existence of organized structures, which in turn improves prediction about terroristic (or criminal) activity.

Comment Re:Infinity (Score 1) 1067

I've written algorithms for machine learning, where I'm constantly doing things like multiplying 0 and infinity. And, depending on the situation it is totally clear what the correct result must be (either 0 or infinity).

Take for example computation of the entropy of a deterministic Bernoulli distribution: You have 1 * ln 1 + 0 * ln 0. The correct result is 0.

Mostly I am relying on the proper handling of infinity and NaN by the floating-point implementation; but sometimes I have to catch cases and correct the result by hand.

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