by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jun 24th 2011 8:38am
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jun 22nd 2011 5:32am
from the why? dept
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Apr 29th 2011 5:28pm
from the it-was-hard-and-it-took-forever dept
Automating this process means identifying sentences that contain potential euphemisms and follow a particular structure - a "hard natural language understanding problem", say the researchers. Kiddon and Brun began by analysing two different bodies of text - one containing 1.5 million erotic sentences, and another with 57,000 from standard literature.Apparently, the system is about 70% accurate so far, but they believe they can get it up to 99.5% accuracy before too long.
They then evaluated nouns, adjectives and verbs with a "sexiness" function to determine whether a sentence is a potential TWSS. Examples of nouns with a high sexiness function are "rod" and "meat", while raunchy adjectives are "hot" and "wet".
Their automated system, known as Double Entendre via Noun Transfer or DEviaNT, rates sentences for their TWSS potential by looking for particular elements such as nouns that can be interpreted in multiple ways. The researchers trained DEviaNT by gathering jokes from twssstories.com and non-TWSS text from sites such as wikiquote.org.
I'm sorry, Watson, but this may be the biggest computing/artificial intelligence story of the year. And, already, the race is on to come up with the appropriate jokes. My favorite so far was this quote for the researchers on this project: "It was hard and it took forever."
from the what-do-you-think? dept
Once again, this experiment is being sponsored by ASUS Windows Slate, in partnership with Microsoft and SAYMedia.
from the people-have-lives? dept
Once again, this is sponsored by ASUS Windows Slate, in partnership with Microsoft and SAYMedia.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Apr 5th 2011 7:00am
Once Again, Court Says Homeland Security Is Free To Seize & Search Your Computer Without A Warrant At The Border
from the bad-rulings dept
- You mostly store everything on your laptop. So, unlike a suitcase that you're bringing with you, it's the opposite. You might specifically choose what to exclude, but you don't really choose what to include. With a suitcase, you specifically choose what to include.
- The reason you bring the contents on your laptop over the border is because you're bringing your laptop over the border. If you wanted the content of your laptop to go over the border you'd just send it using the internet. There are no "border guards" on the internet itself, so content flows mostly freely across international boundaries. Thus if anyone wants to get certain content into a country via the internet, they're not doing it by entering that country through border control.
And, once again, we have yet another appeals court ruling that says this is fine even if the laptop is taken away from the customs station and brought into the country. We've had similar rulings in the past, and this one involves laptops that were taken away from the border and brought to another location, 170 miles away, where they were searched. The lower court said this evidence could not be used, but the appeals court reinstated the evidence, claiming that tossing out such evidence "would only reward those individuals who, either because of the nature of their contraband or the sophistication of their criminal enterprise, hide their contraband more cleverly or would be inclined to seek entry at more vulnerable points less equipped to discover them."
But that makes no sense. I mean, if you're good at hiding your "contraband" that's already true. Nothing about this ruling changes that. All this ruling does is say that it's okay for border officials from Homeland Security to search through your stuff without reasonable suspicion. It's not about rewarding people who better hide things, it's about the basic requirement of the 4th Amendment that there be probable cause before the government can take your stuff and search it. Only the dissenting judge seemed to recognize this basic issue in the ruling, which is embedded below, noting: "I add my voice to the chorus lamenting the apparent demise of the Fourth Amendment."
The majority ruling claims that it's not setting up an "anything goes" situation at the border, but it's difficult to see how it's placed any limits at all on Homeland Security. It claims that it's fine to search laptops at the border, because Homeland Security and ICE have a compelling reason to keep material out of the US that it doesn't want crossing the border. But, when it comes to digital content, that's just silly. No one is crossing the border with a laptop to "get content into the country." They can do that using the internet just fine. Claiming that searching the contents of a laptop are like searching a suitcase is as if you are technically illiterate.
Of course, since this is a child porn/child abuse claim, it's easy to say that it's a "good thing" that the search caught this guy -- which it did. And I'm happy he was eventually arrested. But I'm still troubled with how the evidence was collected, and anyone who crosses the border with their computers should be equally concerned. Don't let the fact that this case was about child pornography detract from the important issues about your own privacy rights concerning information stored on a laptop.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Mar 2nd 2011 1:44pm
from the bow-down-to-the-superior-mind dept
from the good,-bad-or-in-how-you-use-it? dept
David Pogue, over at the NY Times, had a fascinating post last week about the debate that goes through his head concerning children using iPads and other tablet/smartphone devices. He worries that his son is too engrossed in using it, but the more he works through the issue, he begins to realize that maybe it's not as big a problem as he originally thought, and it's not necessarily the same thing as plopping a kid in front of a TV -- which many people agree is probably not the best idea:
What makes my feelings on this subject even more complicated is that, in general, my 6-year-old isn't playing mindless video games. He's not allowed to play shoot-'em-ups or violent games at all. Instead, he's encouraged to play creative apps -- and most of the time, he does.He goes on to note that we shouldn't just assume that something is "bad" for kids because it's electronic, and that perhaps use in moderation makes plenty of sense. This is something I've been thinking about a lot as well, as a father, in trying to figure out what's appropriate technology-wise for my kid to use.
[...] Come on, how can apps like that be bad for a kid? Is it really that much different from playing with paper cutouts? Or blocks? Or a toy drum set?
When he does play games, he favors thinking games like Cut the Rope (a clever physics-based puzzle game) or Rush Hour (strategy puzzles). Heck, even Angry Birds involves some thinking. You have to plan ahead and calculate and use resources wisely.
In the old days, we used to tut-tut about how much TV kids watched -- but parents usually made an exception for educational shows like "Sesame Street" and "Between the Lions." How is this any different? Shouldn't we make exceptions for creative and problem-solving apps?
So, with that, it seemed like a perfect opportunity when SAYMedia, along with Microsoft, approached us about participating in a new "conversational" campaign they're running, getting people discussing what are the best ways for parents to use tablets with kids. As you may see on the website directly, we have a unit between the first and second story, which is a "conversational" unit, that lets you input your own thoughts on the topic, in order to get some wider ideas. Beyond the general interest in the topic, we were interested in experimenting with this type of campaign, because (as we've stated for years), we like to see what happens when you build "marketing" or "ad" campaigns that aren't one-directional, but which really involve communities, and really involve getting their thoughts on things. We hope some of you will also find it worthwhile to participate in this discussion -- and let us know your own thoughts on the role of such technology in the lives of kids. Thanks for participating.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Feb 23rd 2011 10:42am
from the so-says-the-8th-circuit dept
Now, as the article notes, if there's anyone out there who deserves a longer prison sentence, it's a sex offender who victimizes minors. But that doesn't mean we should condone stretching a computer hacking law in a ridiculous manner. In this case, because the CFAA allows increased sentencing for someone who used a computer in the commission of the crime, the judge decided that a rather standard mobile phone counts as a "computer" under the law. Even though it was a standard mobile phone, and not a smartphone or feature phone, the judge quoted Steve Wozniak in pointing out that "Everything has a computer in it nowadays."
Of course, that should be a reason why we should worry about this kind of sentencing. The idea that anyone deserves more time in prison solely because they used a mobile phone doesn't make much sense. It continues to make a mockery of the law. If the guy deserves to be in prison longer for the actual despicable crime he committed, then the law should allow such longer sentences. But the courts shouldn't twist the CFAA to accomplish that goal.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Feb 10th 2011 6:58pm