OldMugwump’s Techdirt Profile

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About OldMugwump

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  • Mar 16th, 2021 @ 11:34am

    Re: I'm probably naive

    • If the prosecution really paid for testimony, somebody should be going to jail for that alone, whether they told the jury about it or not (of course, yes they should)

    • Many companies (esp. larger ones) have "data retention policies" that make them erase/destroy all data older than X years - mostly so if they get sued (a) discovery will be less costly and (b) the data can't be used to prove they did something wrong. I'm kind of amazed Hertz still had 7 year old records at all.

    But this case will be fun to watch. I hope everyone gets what they deserve.

  • Feb 19th, 2021 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Likely being mistaken for license plate

    Maybe. Or, perhaps the areas you're looking in were simply processed with more recent (smarter) software.

  • Feb 17th, 2021 @ 6:34pm

    Re: illegal to film anyone or anything in public

    In most countries this is settled law - if you can see it from a public place (street, sidewalk) - you can take and publish a photo of it.

    As it should be.

    (Don't like it? Build a fence.)

  • Feb 17th, 2021 @ 6:33pm

    Re: Likely being mistaken for license plate

    Maybe. I notice they blur A LOT of commercial signs, names of shops, etc.

    A lot - maybe 80%. But not all.

    Strange. I wonder if it's some silly worry about "using" somebody else's trademark.

    And I know their software today is smart enough to tell the difference between those and license plates. (But maybe not 10 years ago when they started doing this, and maybe they're still using the old software).

  • Feb 12th, 2021 @ 6:59am

    Re: Re: Fact check please

    He is at the top.

    The fact that his business (primarily Tesla) has been wildly successful, leading to a high market value, does not change Musk's moral status.

    As if being the 20th wealthiest person of the world is fine, but moving to the #1 spot somehow makes him evil.

    Way too many people assume that wealth comes from theft. This is obviously false - the world is filled with wealth, yet 1000 generations ago it was not. Somehow that wealth got CREATED, not simply moved around.

    People create wealth. Billionaires are especially good at it. Without that wealth, we'd still be living in caves. People shouldn't let envy cloud their view.

  • Feb 12th, 2021 @ 6:51am

    Re: Re: Annoyance at Musk is misdirected

    The food kitchen analogy is inappropriate here.

    SpaceX (which owns Starlink) is a corporation with many owners, of which Musk is merely the largest.

    For the investors to forego picking up money on the table to which they are legally entitled merely because the largest investor happens to be very wealthy, would be kind of crazy.

    These subsidies are offered for the purpose of influencing business decisions - to get firms to make investments the government would like them to make. Not because the firms that will receive the subsides are "needy".

    As such, SpaceX is as entitled as anyone to receive the subsidy, if they follow the rules as set out by the government.

    If you think those rules are stupid (they often are, IMHO), your beef is with those who made the rules, not those who play the game.

    As I said, annoyance at Musk is misdirected.

  • Feb 11th, 2021 @ 4:02pm

    Annoyance at Musk is misdirected

    It's perfectly reasonable for people to be upset that our broadband subsidy schemes aren't working and are poorly designed.

    But I don't think it's reasonable to be annoyed at Musk, or anybody else, who follows the rules-as-written and picks up the money we the public, thru our elected representatives, foolishly left on the table.

    Esp. if those picking up the money didn't lobby for the rules to be written that way in the first place.

    FWIW, Starlink is in fact solving much of the problem with rural broadband access - not just in the US, but worldwide.

    The "digital divide" is a separate problem - for the most part, the problem is that there are lots of people who can't afford broadband. And if you think subsidy is justified to fix that, then give them money - not subsidized broadband.

    (If people choose to spend that money on things other than broadband, well maybe they need those other things more than they need broadband.)

  • Jan 27th, 2021 @ 5:47pm

    I don't think "a basic privacy law" is going to help here...

    I'm pretty sure the tech has been fired, and is likely being sued.

    And what he did is probably already illegal.

    Simply passing a law doesn't make the prohibited behavior disappear.

    See how well the War on Drugs is working? The streets of America have been drug-free since the Nixon administration!

    I remember Al Gore trying to settle concerns about abuse of the Clipper chip by promising to make such abuse...illegal.

    Come on, Karl. You're old enough to know better.

  • Jan 13th, 2021 @ 10:22am

    Re: Demanding

    Ya, it's worrisome.

    We're seeing a reaction of the elites - to suppress the mob.

    Which will only enrage the mob further.

    I may have said this before somewhere, but everybody needs to calm down a little.

  • Jan 13th, 2021 @ 9:35am

    Thoughtcrime

    Thank you, Tim.

    I've no sympathy for the idiots who stormed the Capitol, but we're getting uncomfortably close to a clampdown on thoughtcrime.

  • Jan 7th, 2021 @ 11:10am

    Re: A Sad day in America for sure.

    Radicals for any cause "truly" believe.

    If you don't understand that much, you have no idea what your opponents are like.

  • Jan 6th, 2021 @ 2:40pm

    I'm starting to think nothing can unite us...

    ...except a common enemy.

    Who'd think I'd miss the Soviet Union?

  • Dec 4th, 2020 @ 8:46pm

    Re: 'Should we test this on non-whites?' '... nah.'

    Test what, exactly?

    The only way they'd find this out before rolling it out is to search on "gorilla" and discover the result.

    Testing it on non-white faces probably worked fine, same as on white faces.

    Unless they anticipated the racist "gorilla" result in advance, and went looking for it.

    Even for racists, that's an unlikely thing to try. All the more so for a non-racist person who never would have thought of testing for that outcome in the first place.

  • Dec 4th, 2020 @ 8:42pm

    I'm not even sure it's a "fuckup"

    I have a lot of sympathy for Google here (or anybody else who tries this).

    This is machine learning, where the machine learns what things are called based on already-tagged photos created by humans. The machine doesn't decide for itself what a "gorilla" is; it learns based on the tags it sees.

    Using that approach and scanning the Internet for tagged photos, a search on "idiot" is going to pull up photos of politicians, because lots of people tag politicians they don't agree with as "idiots". That doesn't mean those politicians ARE idiots, it just means that some people call them that. (That is, some significant number more than a few random noise tags that show no pattern.)

    Same for "gorilla". As we all know there are lots of racists online who tag photos of black people with names of various apes. The machine is ultimately going to learn that, and that association is going to show up in the machine's search results.

    It's not the machine's fault, it's not Google's fault, it's the fault of the racists who post such tags.

    It's not practically feasible to filter out such common, but racist, tags. The only reason this kind of machine learning works at all is because the machine can learn from (literally) millions of pre-existing examples online without manual intervention. If humans have to filter the training set to remove racist (or any other kind of biased) tags, the whole thing becomes impractical.

    To the extent we're going to use this technology at all, we have to accept that biases in the training set are going to show up in the outputs.

    Or just choose not to use the tech.

  • Nov 11th, 2020 @ 4:26pm

    Fact-checker baiting

    This is a great example of somebody successfully baiting "fact-checkers". I'm tempted to sympathize with the troll who posted it.

    The larger problem is that "fact checkers" can't really check most facts in any meaningful, objective way.

    Just to use this image as an example, how is "women are funny" even a "fact" that can be true or false? Obviously some women are more "funny" than others (even for the many different meanings of the word "funny"). I don't think it's possible to rule such a statement as clearly true or false in the first place, nor should anyone try.

    Are women, as a class, "funny"? Whatever answer you give, it's an opinion, not a fact. And an opinion on a awfully vague and ill-defined question.

    I've little patience with "fact checking" in general, except perhaps in the original context of internal checking within a publication, before printing a story. Most statements aren't clearly even "facts" in the first place.

  • Oct 9th, 2020 @ 9:02am

    Re: Not the answer you'd like

    "some North Korean defectors still believe that the Kim family is the best thing that happened to Korea"

    I'm not sure that proves anything other than North Korea has it's share of complete morons, same as every other country.

  • Oct 9th, 2020 @ 8:59am

    Unsubtle censorship

    ...is surely better than subtle censorship.

    At least people know exactly what the government's doing.

    China is running an interesting experiment. So far (since Mao died in 1976) it's been going really well - 1/3 of the population of the planet has been lifted out of absolute poverty in a single generation.

    Whether the system is stable in the long run, I have no idea. I'm glad I'm not part of the experiment. But I'm very interested in the result.

  • Oct 9th, 2020 @ 8:49am

    Re: Marrying animals.

    So it's OK to kill and eat a pig, but not to marry it?

    So it's OK to have sex with a pig, but not to marry it?

    I think "marrying animals" is illegal because most people (incl. me, BTW) think the idea is disgusting, not because we care about the animals. (PETA excepted, of course).

    But there are lots of things I think are disgusting (guacamole, for example) that I don't think should be illegal. The only legitimate reason to make something illegal is to protect innocent people.

  • Oct 8th, 2020 @ 3:26pm

    Re: Re: ...also, they indicted a ham sandwich

    What's wrong with people marrying animals?

  • Oct 7th, 2020 @ 11:14am

    ...also, they indicted a ham sandwich

    I saw the film. It's not porno, not prurient, not sexy. At all.

    It's about foolish children pretending to be older than they are, for all the wrong reasons.

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