* Posts by Filippo

665 posts • joined 24 Nov 2007

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Renewed calls for Tesla to scrap Autopilot after number of crashes

Filippo

98%

Uhm, so 2% of users do NOT understand that they are supposed to maintain control of the vehicle at all times? That's quite a lot of people. No wonder there's a number of crashes.

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Vegans furious as Bank of England admits ‘trace’ of animal fat in £5 notes

Filippo

Re: Fighting your way to the top of the food chain?

All of those things are only "inefficient" in the context of one very specific and arbitrary definition of "efficiency". The truth is indeed far more complicated than that.

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Emulating x86: Microsoft builds granny flat into Windows 10

Filippo

I don't think being able to run legacy x86 code on phones is that important. Those legacy line-of-business applications were designed for desktop PCs; nevermind binary compatibility, they won't work on a phone because they weren't designed for phones. I don't think that many people have *real* use cases for this.

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The sharks of AI will attack expensive and scarce workers faster than they eat drivers

Filippo

Re: But what if the patient moves?

The answer is yes, they can correct for patient movements, faster and more accurately than the human.

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McDonald's sues Italian city for $20m after being burger-blocked

Filippo

Re: *GOOD*

I expected the thumbs down (though I didn't expect someone would think I was quoting the US constitution, wtf?). I'll give honest discussion a shot. So, here's the concept again, more clearly explained:

I don't like McD and I'm not defending it. But there is a principle at stake here that is more important than hamburgers. That principle is that mayors cannot ban businesses just because they don't like them. And, make no mistake, this is exactly the point here. Florence is not banning McD because of the yellow arches, or they would just say "no yellow arches". They are also not banning McD because hamburgers aren't from Tuscany, or they'd have to ban pizzas too. Florence is banning McD because the mayor doesn't like McD for political reasons. Except that he can't do that because we have freedom of enterprise and "I don't like big American corporations" is not a social goal that can override that.

So, he is making up a specious reason to ban McD. That is what I'm railing against. If you let this sort of abuse slide just because you also dislike McD, you're greasing a slippery slope.

And, in fact, that slope IS here, it HAS been greased, and things ARE slipping on it, because there are other cities where the *exact same argument* is being made to ban immigrants from opening businesses, out of sheer xenophoby. I reiterate: this is not a theorical, this is actually happening.

If you do not see now why I hope McD wins the case, even though I hate both their architecture and the things they call food, then there is nothing more I can say. Downvote away.

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Filippo

*GOOD*

"Local products only" regulations are being set up by mayors from xenophobic parties in other cities as a not-so-subtle means of hindering immigrant-run ethnic food outlets.

I feel this practice is against art. 41 of the Constitution, freedom of enterprise, and I'm glad that an entity with money and power is going to fight it. For once, McD might be doing something good, even if unintentionally.

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'Pavement power' - The bad idea that never seems to die

Filippo

We'll be able to ask for the exact figures, at which point the marketing guys will tell us the yearly energy total and word the answer in such a way that it sounds like it's daily. Or they'll say that the pads were wrongly installed. Or they'll give the total energy produced since installation in watts, so that it sounds like a big number, and fail to mention it as a percentage of total streetlight consumption. Or they'll give the numbers from the single busiest square meter and try to pass it as the average. Or a combination of the above. If you criticize them, they can lay down some astroturf claiming you're working for the great petrol conspiracy.

You and me won't be fooled, but the average guy who has trouble doing two-digits products and thinks vaccines cause autism will, easily - and then they just need to find one who's administrating a large city.

If all else fails, they'll obliquely admit it doesn't work, but then they'll say they have "Version 2.0" in the works, and that it will be 120% more efficient (and fail to mention that efficiency isn't the issue when the energy just isn't there).

Cold hard facts are not enough to defeat good marketing.

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Top of the bots: This AI isn't a cold, cruel killing machine – it's a pop music hit machine

Filippo

I think this has more to do with the decline of music than with the advancement of AI.

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A cardboard desk? I won’t stand for it (actually I will)

Filippo

Cardboard furniture?

I admit this is the first time I hear about cardboard furniture. Even after reading the article, I can't fathom why anyone would come up with the notion, or why anyone would buy it, especially at that price.

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Filippo

Re: ?!?!?!?!?!

Blame Brexit!

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Kotkin: Why Trump won

Filippo

Re: It's not "why", it's "how"

That won't happen. Having the electors subvert the vote, while technically legal, would open a can of worms so big and stinky that Trump would look like sunshine and rainbow by comparison. I'm confident that everyone in charge understands that.

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Robot solves Rubik's Cubes in 637 milliseconds

Filippo

I'm more impressed with the construction quality of the cube, if it can be moved that quickly without falling apart.

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Was IoT DDoS attack just a dry run for election day hijinks?

Filippo

Re: What would it really accomplish?

"I suppose having the internet "go down" during election day / election night could feed into the meme some are trying to spread about the election being rigged if they don't get the result they like..."

Do not underestimate this.

There won't be a civil war because of this election, not even if there's a cyber attack providing fuel for the FUD. However, there is currently a trend of distrust in democracy that, in the long run, can become a major problem, and a DDoS on election day would definitely not help.

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We're going to have to start making changes or the adults will do it for us

Filippo

I don't really give a crap about tabs vs spaces; whatever the IDE is set up as will be fine. But languages with significant whitespace need to die in a fire.

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El Paso city bungs $3.2m to email crooks pretending to be bosses

Filippo

One of my clients recently outsourced their accounting to India. So at one point I received an email in somewhat uncertain English asking me for my bank details because they needed to make a payment. Obviously, I trashed it without reading it. I realized what happened only months later when I noticed I wasn't getting paid any more.

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AI boffins turn to StarCraft to train future neural networks

Filippo

Re: Has been done

Technically, every videogame is turn based. In some games, though, the duration of the turn is one clock tick (or one screen refresh, or whatever).

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Web devs want to make the Internet of S**t worse. Much worse

Filippo

Re: Wrong

There is a much higher barrier to installing an application compared to visiting a web page. Most people still wrongly assume that websites are always innocuous. If a moderately competent user installs an application, it will be from a reasonably trusted source - the manufacturer's website, or the CD that comes with the gizmo. Yes, it is possible to get users to install malware; doing so is not nearly as easy as getting them to visit a malicious website.

Also, the fact that data from the device has to go through the Internet rather than just to the app opens up all sorts of additional attacks; MITM, etc. Finally, the fact that even when everything is working as intended, the data has to go to the manufacturer's cloud has awful implications. I really don't see why Google needs to know how I set my thermostat, and I really don't want it to stop working because my Internet connectoin is down.

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I've arrived on Mars. Argggh, my back!

Filippo

Re: A never-ending study on how to mess up humans...

We definitely should work seriously on physics, but there's the distinct chance that an energy supply capable of getting enough stuff up there is simply impossible. We should also work on how to get and use resources that are already out of the gravity well.

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Surveillance by consent: Commissioner launches CCTV strategy for England and Wales

Filippo

Re: Can I have that in plain English

It doesn't.

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What will happen when I'm too old to push? (buttons, that is)

Filippo

Re: TV status light

My TV has a red status light because it literally takes longer to boot than my laptop, so I need to have something to tell me I've actually turned it on. And since we're talking about being old - CRT TVs could have video & audio running from cold in a fraction of a second.

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Kids today are so stupid they fall for security scams more often than greybeards

Filippo

Call for the techpriest

Oh, no, I've offended the machine-spirit!

You know the quote about sufficiently advanced technology? Well, we're nearly there.

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It's finally happened: Hackers are coming for home routers en masse

Filippo

Who's responsible?

Residential users can't be expected to keep clean. It just won't happen.

Malicious traffic on a residential connection needs to be detected and filtered away by the ISP. The user needs to be warned and, if all else fails, disconnected.

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US reactor breaks fusion record – then runs out of cash and shuts down

Filippo

Re: ITER..

Interesting. Nevertheless, the key thing to understand about basic research is that you do not know what comes out of it. Anything that's not patently stupid, and ITER, is worth pursuing; it might be pointless, but it might also be the only way to do something amazing, and you can't know until you try. Even the stuff that's patently stupid is at least worth the effort of debunking. Always remember that there was a time *electricity* was considered a useless novelty.

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Google Pixel: Devices are a dangerous distraction from the new AI interface

Filippo

Do we, really? I mean, people have been making phones that are not Apple and not Google and actually have respectable privacy policies - they don't sell. Because the vast majority of people really don't give half a crap about their privacy. If a new manufacturer, or a dozen, came out with nice phones that respect privacy, their phones would only get bought by a handful of people like you and me, and fail quickly.

If we want better privacy, we should not demand phones with better privacy. We should be educating people, all the people, on why privacy matters. If we can do that, the phones with better privacy will appear very soon.

Of course, that's *hard* to do - but it's also the only way. A handful of people like you and me are just not enough to support an industry that respects privacy, and if such an industry appeared out of nowhere in the current culture, it'd just collapse in short order.

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Without new anti-robot laws, humanity is doomed, MPs told

Filippo

Re: "some obscure board game"

Maybe he meant chess.

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PC sales sinking almost as fast as Donald Trump's poll numbers

Filippo

I don't think the whole Win10 thing is a major factor here. Most people outside IT don't really care what Windows it runs, beyond grumbling a bit when stuff changes.

I think the main reason for the slump is that, back when PC performance was doubling every 18 months, developers made use of the extra oomph either by adding more features or being more lazy, until you would be basically forced to upgrade, because your old machine would collapse under the weight of the new version of something.

Now that PC performance is pretty much stalled, any application that's targeting recent specs will usually also work respectably on fairly old iron. So what's the point of upgrading?

We may see a boost to sales once they get SSD costs down to the point where developers feel they can get away with building stuff that works poorly on HDDs. Then everyone will be forced to get an SSD, and many of those will just buy a new PC.

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Industrial control kit hackable, warn researchers

Filippo

I use similar stuff, from MOXA and from other manufacturers. The quality of their software is roughly the same; MOXA is not particularly bad. Put plainly, this type of device should under NO circumstances be accessible from outside the local network.

IoT is a mess in its own right, but at least it's something that's supposed to be on the Internet. These things are *NOT* IoT. They are replacements for objects that used to sit on a PCI bus, and have the same concern about security as something that sits on a PCI bus.

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Fingerprint tech makes ATMs super secure, say banks. Crims: Bring it on, suckers

Filippo

Oh, yes, let's replace my shared secret with another shared secret, except that I actually leave copies of this one everywhere I go, and cannot change it ever.

How is it possible that people who are supposed to work in security are thinking this is a good idea?

How the fuck is it possible for a person to say "if this is compromised even once, you're screwed forever... so we must try really hard not to have it compromised", and still get called a "security expert"?

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Mark Zuckerberg and the $3bn cash fling: He's not your father's tech kingpin

Filippo

Unless new tools appear that drastically cut the cost of developing new drugs. There are things like nanotech and computational biology that are barely more than lab toys right now, but might end up in fully automated disease cure discovery in 50, 70 years from now. Granted, they might end up like cold fusion too, but the nature of research is that you don't know until you spend a crapload of money.

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Filippo

Re: Check the figures?

I noticed that too. The figures make this extremely confusing.

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Hubble spies on Europa shooting alien juice from its southern pole

Filippo

"But if life is found, it would put Europa off limits for refueling."

Yeah, right. That worked SO well for the Middle East. Face it, ethical concerns have never been a real obstacle to anything.

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UK copyright troll weeps, starts 20-week stretch in the cooler for beating up Uber driver

Filippo

DUI is less reprehensible than assault, and shoplifting is less reprehensible than DUI, and yet they both result in harsher sentences. I don't remember the name of the rhethorical figure here, but it works.

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Autonomous vehicles inquiry set up in the UK

Filippo

We've had driveless vehicles in space for quite a while.

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Apple seeks patent for paper bag - you read that right, a paper bag

Filippo

Does "post-consumer" mean it's made of people?

Also, looking forward to when one breaks, spilling all of its content on the floor, and it turns out it's because the customer was holding it wrong.

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Pluto's emitting X-rays, and NASA doesn't quite know how

Filippo

Mi-go nuclear reactor?

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Ransomware scum infect Comic Relief server: Internal systems taken down

Filippo

@Jemma

Do you really think that by not voting you are absolved of all responsibilities? Inaction is also a choice with consequences. There is no "safe" option in an election, ethically speaking; whatever you do, you get part of the burden.

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Pass the 'Milk' to make code run four times faster, say MIT boffins

Filippo

Re: I have no knowledge...

That's all true in the general case, however there are particular cases where you have a lot of threads that spend most of their time waiting on data; think massively parallel algorithms where simple operations are done on large data sets that don't fit in neat blocks. In those cases, if you can engineer a situation where some threads have to wait a bit more, but many other threads have to wait a lot less, you are gaining.

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That Public Health study? No, it didn't say 'don't do chemo'

Filippo

Of course people die from chemo. But if you had a 20% chance of dying of chemo or a 90% chance of dying of cancer, which would you get?

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Astronauts sequence DNA in space for the first time

Filippo

It's unlikely that microgravity affects DNA. But it might affect the sequencing method. That's useful information.

Also, it's good to test for unlikely things too; sometimes you get lucky and find something weird.

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Deep inside Nantero's non-volatile carbon nanotube RAM tech

Filippo

Re: It sounds good

It's an extrapolation of observable properties, using a model for how heat affects molecules over time. In a direct sense, it's a useless figure; any given bit of NRAM will probably get lost or destroyed in some random accident on that time scale, unless you are extraordinarily cautious with it - in which case you'll have backups anyway.

In an indirect sense, though, it may be useful as a comparison with other technologies, as everyone is probably using the same model anyway.

Mostly, though, it's a marketing-friendly way of saying "it doesn't spontaneously lose data".

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Net neutrality activists claim victory in Europe

Filippo

If they ban zero-rating (and similar crap) while preserving the ability to do QoS, then good work.

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Microsoft to overhaul Windows 10 UI – with a 3D Holographic Shell

Filippo

I can think of a decent list of useful applications for VR/AR

...but operating systems ain't on it.

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If you use ‘smart’ Bluetooth locks, you're asking to be burgled

Filippo

Seriously? These guys make *locks*. Security is literally their core business! What the hell are they thinking?

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Render crashing PCs back to their component silicon: They deserve it

Filippo

Switching setting

Your cogitator has a temperamental machine-spirit, and your wife probably angered it by not performing the proper technoarcane rituals.

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Tesla's Model S autonomous mode may have saved a life

Filippo

Re: PR stunt

Yeah, the human maybe was driving too fast. That only serves to further prove the point that the autonomous system saved someone in conditions where the human wasn't able to. Whether this was because the human was breaking a rule, or because he was genuinely unlucky, is irrelevant. Attribution of responsibility does not change what happened.

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Filippo

Re: FF22

By that logic, accusing Autopilot of being unreliable because of a few accidents and one fatality is just a PR stunt, because human drivers cause accidents by the tens of thousands and fatalities by the thousands every day.

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Filippo

Re: Did its job

No it doesn't. It only has to do, statistically, a better job than a human. Which is nowhere close to 100%.

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Microbe drives tropical butterfly species to a male-killing frenzy

Filippo

Microbes ARE part of the environment.

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Tesla whacks guardrail in Montana, driver blames autopilot

Filippo

Obviously, one should be paying attention to the road even while autopilot is engaged, in case the car encounters something the autopilot can't manage. The problem is, it's already fairly difficult for a lot of people to pay proper attention to the road when *they're* driving. But just sitting and staring, for hours on end, without losing focus? It's just not going to happen - not reliably, anyway. It's going ot be tricky until autopilots are good enough that we're actually allowed to sleep through the trip.

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Here's how police arrested Lauri Love – and what happened next

Filippo

Re: AC Although the burden of proof lies with Love

"Expecting criminals to remember the passwords they encrypted their most important information with!"

Nope, but I get the confusion. That's what the law is like on Matt Bryant World. On Earth, what that law means is that everybody is required to remember the passwords to everything they encrypt, no matter how irrelevant, forever. Wanted to hide some pr0n from mum back when streaming wasn't a thing? Hope you remember the password to that dust-covered drive in the back of the closet, or you're screwed. Wanted to test an encryption tool, so encrypted some random crap with a random password and then forgot about it? You're screwed. Used to keep an encrypted text file with all your passwords, then switched to using a password manager, but didn't delete the file in case the password manager malfunctioned? Hope you remember the key to that file, or you're screwed. Deleted that file, but it's still recoverable with forensic tools? Guess what, you're screwed.

This without going into the many and varied conditions under which you're screwed even though it's not even your data, you've never known the password at all, or it's just something that looks like encryption, but there's actually no data at all.

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