Blog

Everyone is talking about Net Neutrality today, because the Trump administration wants to eliminate this Title II stuff that was apparently added during the Obama administration in 2014. My personal thoughts are these: 

(and these are the comments i was posting on the FCC website, but then couldn't, cuz the Submit button simply wouldn't work) 

I fully support Net Neutrality and the current designation of Internet Service Providers under Title II. The Net Neutrality Act has been in place for only a few years and i was not able to find any data or scientific evidence that this has caused a disadvantage to the American people to the point where the Net Neutrality Act/Title II removal/amendment should be taken into consideration.

So if we need to remove this thing, OK, but let's see some evidence first! I mean we've just had it in place for a few years... Is it really that problematic that we need to address this today? I say we keep it for now. Sounds like a nice thing to have, despite the possible drawbacks.

See Also

Links against Net Neutrality

Links in favor of Net Neutrality

 

 

Global IDs are on their way!

Check out this Ethereum project: so imagine a future where instead of having username and passwords for every single service we use, we only use one. "That already exists!" you might think. Indeed today you can log into many sites using Google or Facebook credentials. But that's Google or Facebook! It's not something "of the people". Here we are talking about an ID which is of the people, by the people for the people completely decentralized. Open to anyone. Anyone can create their own unique ID and have their own rights to it on this system. It's called uPort. Yeah, i know, it's still in alpha, you can't really create your ID yet.

While this might not become the ultimate ID system used by government agencies (even though technically it could) and all the rest, it's certainly a first step in the right direction.

 

 

So just the other day a friend in the USA asked me what Italians thought of Trump being the new POTUS. And i realized i didn't really have a clear picture, so i decided to ask a bunch of friends. And here's a collection of what i got back.

Me: Hey, so what thoughts or opinions do you have regarding the new president of the United States? People are asking me what Italians think about him, and i'm not quite sure how to answer that. So i decided to ask a bunch of friends in Italy.
The common belief here is that he is kind of like the US version of Berlusconi, except a lot less controllable... Personally i'm a little biased by what my friend is experiencing: she's been living in the US for 15 years and has started working on getting her american husband the necessary paperwork to move back to Europe with her.
Well, it's not really something that touched me too much. I would say that initially every body was shocked that we won. And they believed him to be a crazy, stupid and not reliable person. They were comparing him with the "Berlusca". However right now his firmness and decisiveness and his intransigence are also turning into positive traits for the right side of the boot. Generally i would say he's not that popular, but he's gained some more positive popularity since the elections.
To be honest with you, i'm not really following Italian politics. Even less so international politics. And that's why i told my self not to form an opinion based on my ignorance. As far as i'm concerned, i can tell you about my consternation during the elections: to tell you the truth, considering how little i knew about the campaign, i was convinced that if he would have won, it would have been for some some strategic reason, rather than for what the actual people wanted. What happened show how little in know about the Americans.
I get the impression that he's not adequate for that job. And also dangerous as far as international relations go.
A crazy horse, one that will give a nice shock to the system, unless they kill him...
That he's crazy, physically week and also a jerk.
I think he's a great smart ass, boor and rude. He understood the belly of the US and takes advantage of it. Surely solely for his own economical purposes. Clearly a good working country favors this.
I think it's pretty safe to say that for us Italians, talking about politics is kind of like talking about soccer: we express opinions and judgements as if we were experts in the subject. In this case, we Italians put ourselves into the two categories pro-Trump and against-Trump not because we know about the USA and their problematics, but just by comparing Trump and what he does to Italian politics and its representatives . So if the neo-president makes a statement saying that he wants to build a wall to sop immigration from Mexico, he becomes the hero of the Lega Nord followers. If he decides to implement protection measures for the economy, he becomes the hero of the Berlusconi followers. If he says he doesn't want to be sponsoring NATO any longer, he becomes the hero of the Beppe Grillo followers, and so on. Basically he is liked and not liked just like a soccer referee, depending on whether a foul is assigned against or in favor of ones team (wink). Personally, i feel myself closer to the utopic vision of Francesco Bergoglio.
There's a lot of fear. He seems like an incompetent leader and extremely aggressive. Even though i realize how ridiculous Italian politicians are, having a person like that as president of the most powerful country of the world is a massacre, a disaster for the planet (ecological, cultural and humanitarian). Many other Italians and myself fear that he will make wicked political decisions!! I have zero confidence and 100% bitterness for the outcome of this election. PS: personally i wasn't a great Clinton fan either, but i would have preferred her as the lesser of the two evils.
I'm not left-wing. Nor am i an extreme right-wing. I like patriotic feelings, because they make the nation richer, but i'm in favor of racial equality, equality between sexes, gay weddings, adoption, abortions, etc. Trump looks like the American version of Berlusconi, but bigger, richer, more extreme and with a much hotter wife. I would have to live in America to have a clearer idea. But he is not wrong on everything he says, and that's why so many voted for him. Just like Salvini, who like be voted even from southern Italians! (big grin) (big grin) He makes me laugh and he scares me, because he wants to do everything with an iron fist, but he certainly isn't stupid. If i would have been in the US, i wouldn't have voted for him... I think.
I personally don't like him as a person: he looks too "scenographic", not very political and also a little racist. However, I'm not really following what he's doing, so I can't say any more.
KeyBank: Trust Lost
  • In October i went to a KeyBank branch, i wanted to move some money out of the savings account.
  • I remembered i might have had a limit as to how much money had to be in the account before it got charged, so i asked the clerk to verify before i transferred money out of the account.
  • The clerk confirmed that there would be no service charge or fee for any lower limit in the account, so i proceeded with the transfer.
  • After a few months i happen to check my account, and notice a $12 service charged applied every month. Gee thanks!
  • I remembered this simple concept: how do banks convince people to give them money? They establish a trust relationship. The convince the people that they (the banks) will take good care of their customers money. So a trust relationship constitutes the fundamentals of banking.
  • This trust is why i didn't ask the person for their clerk number, their name and why i didn't record the conversation and didn't double check the next month. We trust each other, right?
  • I gave KeyBank money, and they failed to take good care of it. They have actually stolen money from me. This is unacceptable. However, i decided to give them the benefit of the doubt, and i would call them to see if they would reverse the charges.
  • I called KeyBank, and they were only able to reverse one charge, so they effectively told me "We are sorry for stealing 60 USD from you. We will give you 12 USD back, but we will keep the 48 we've stolen from you".
  • Not acceptable. I'm closing all accounts and further relationships with KeyBank.

Somebody just wrote that to me, after i had done something they apparently liked, and my mind started thinking again. It brought together experiences from the past and cultural differences between US and EU cultures. I felt very pleasant sensations after reading that, i felt smart, i felt useful and i wanted to be those sensations, i wanted those to never go away (which, as i know, is a natural and harmful tendency of our brains, because i'm setting my self up for suffering. It's inevitable that this sensation will go away, and so i will be sad when it will.) Anyways, here's what i thought:

I reply "Thank you", and that’s yet another thing that amuses me: how pleasant sensations flow through the body when one hears words like these addressed to one self. And then i think about the many differences btw stereotypical North American and European conversations, where in North America, it is more common to choose more “gentle” or soothing words rather than harsher ones, to express ones point. This certainly happens in the EU as well, but that’s besides the point. The point being that while society has leveraged making use of these soothing sensations to one’s favor, it has not created a way to distinguish between those times in which the nice words are used 100% whole heartedly and others where they have a much smaller heart percentage, maybe more like < 50%.

For example, if think what Tom said was “OK”, then i might tell Tom how incredibly awesome what he said was. What i just did was take that tiny positive sensation and riding on it, amplifying it, letting it grow inside of me in such a way that i can easily blow it up without feeling the guilt of having lied: i didn't lie, right? I really did like some parts of what he said. Then, if i write something nice like that, Tom will most likely feel pleasant sensations and associate those with me, which might benefit me in the long run. (Yep, pretty egoistic thoughts. And i believe it to be the norm as most of us move forward mostly for egoistic needs.).

So now i'm faced with a dilemma: living in ignorance, i would have really 100% believed in these words. Now that i know more about society, i have a reason not to let go and indulge whole heartedly in these words. The person expressed that the person's thoughts were to think that i'm pretty awesome. That's it. That's where it ends. So, while on the one hand, the increased knowledge and awareness has reduced the pleasure of the resulting effects of the words, on the other it has helped me maintain a more balanced mind when hearing them, therefore reducing the amount of future suffering, once the pleasant sensation subsides.

The conclusion is that the stereotypical North American style of communication with pleasant sensation inducing words, for yet another reason, does seem to win over the stereotypical European style of communication, where pleasant sensation inducing words are limited only for when the subject feels them whole-heartedly. So let go of the ego, and use these words/expressions more often, Toni! 

Having pondered on this, i certainly have thanked and still thank the person who wrote this to me, and by no means am i asking for him or her not to express herself/himself like this any longer.

Don't follow step 6 or 8 of the instructions for assembling a IKEA Långudden sink. There's a better way to do it. Here's why.

I just finished installing an IKEA kitchen. All went well, except for the sink. I usually always follow the instructions carefully, because i know that other humans have spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to assemble, so chances are, the instructions provide one of the easiest and most successful ways to assemble a product. 

However, even though the entire kitchen assembling project went well, the sink gave me major headaches:

  1. It was not clear to me, even though it is written in the manual, that spreading the silicon on the cut part of the kitchen top as specified on step 6 of the manual, servers only to make the cut part impermeable to water and moisture. It's purpose is NOT to prevent water from leaking down under the kitchentop: for that there is the big black sealing which does a pretty good job. 
  2. Don't smear the silicon with a paintbrush. That just doesn't work. It will just make a mess. Instead:
    1. blow and brush off any sawdust from the cut part. There is lots trapped in there, and it will just make a paste with the silicon.
    2. apply the silicon as depicted in step 6. 
    3. use an old credit card or spatula to spread the still soft silicon evenly, to create a nice uniform and protecting silicon layer. Remember: the silicon doesn't have to close any gap between the sink and the kitchen top!
    4. ideally you would want to let the silicon dry here, so that there is not risk that it will get removed while inserting the sink.
  3. Now for step 8: uniting the top with the sink. The sink i had, came with the 110385 brackets, the ones that look like the figure here:

    The instructions say to clip them on the sink, then lay the top over the sink, then snap them on. However this step doesn't work because some are hard to clip on, and some get trapped under the kitchen top. So here's how it works much much better.
    1. Disassemble each bracket by unscrewing the screw completely off, so that the plastic part is now free of screw and bracket.
    2. Snap the plastic part on to the sink, as shown in the figure (more or less)
    3. Now lower the kitchen top on to the sink, as depicted in the figure. Now there will be no bracket getting stuck under the top.
    4. At this point it will be easier to screw the screw and the bracket back into the plastic part. Start by placing the screw with hands in the plastic snap-on piece.
    5. Make sure the bracket is into it's closed position, as depicted i the figure:
    6. Now you can use an electric screwdriver to tighten the screws, even though the instructions say not to. But make sure the clutch is set to it's softest setting! And stop right when the screw reaches the bottom, then manually tighten. You want this to be as tight as possible, just before stripping the screw, so that the seal on the sink works it's magic.
  4. Voilá! The sink is assembled. Way easier than the suggested way.

 

 

 

Bello SPID, bella idea. Meno male che BancoPosta non ha ancora disabilitato il login normale: ho creato l'account nuovo, ma con SPID non riesco ad entrare. Ho una connessione scarsa, comunque con nome utente e password tradizionali BancoPosta sono riuscito ad entrare, con SPID no. Continuate a lavorarci su.

  • A pretty ambitious goal at Factom: to create software that makes it impossible to change the past and point that software at places where it solves valuable business problems. Basically create software that is impossible to hack. Impossible it a big word, and i like ambitious projects!
  • Factom works with blockchains.
  • Factom has been backed by Gates Foundation for blockchain based medical records.
  • I believe that blockchain based medical records will be the technology behind the first generation of complete fully and internationally integrated medical records.

 

This screenshot says it all: the first line, the header, shows the installed iOS version:

So iTunes would like me to update from 10.1.1 to 10.1.1... hmm.

I had a server with a complex network configuration: 2 network interface cards, with various VLAN configurations. When upgrading, i decided to use Migration Assitant only for the Network Settings. It's nice, so i deselected everything but the Network Settings. It took 16 minutes and a reboot. When the server came back up, guess what? Network Settings were not imported at all! I think it actually imported some other settings, but no Network Settings. Boo.

Se una persona non sa cosa significa CAD e cerca su internet, troverà referenze praticamente solo per Computer Aided Design. Mentre se uno volesse sapere il significato di CAD nella sicurezza software italiana, troverà ben poco. Ed i siti che contengono quell'acronimo, non ne contengono il significato o la definizione. Semplicemente danno per scontato che si sappia cosa abbrevi.

Il sito ufficiale del Codice Amministrazione Digitale (CAD): http://archivio.digitpa.gov.it/amministrazione-digitale/CAD-testo-vigente

il sito specifica all'inizio:

Si pecisa che il testo normativo qui di seguito esposto (così come quello di qualsiasi altra disposizione normativa pubblicata sul sito dell'Agenzia)  non ha alcun carattere di ufficialità.

Il che mi fa pensare: se si tratta di "testo normativo" non ufficiale, allora non dovrebbe essere un "testo informativo"? Quale è il senso di una normativa non ufficiale?

Wait But Hi survey.

Check this out! https://wbw.typeform.com/to/NqEp2V

I just completed the survey for the event. I'm pretty excited. Sounds like it could go really bad, or really good!

I recently heard an interview where Elon Musk was asked about simulation theory, which sparked some more reading and thinking, until i viewed the topic from this angle presented here, so i decided to write a blog post.In other words, if we had computers so powerful, that they were able to simulate our reality 100%, so simulate life, and consciousness as well, do you think we would actually use them to run experiments about ourselves, maybe to predict what will happen with us, or where we originated from? Kind of like: "Hey, let's write a real life simulator, feed it some human consciousness data, and see what happens. Do you think the simulated beings will act like us? And how will they act in the future?" You know, kind of what we do now with the weather: we collect lots of data from the environment/weather, then we write models that can fit that data, then we run simulations, and see what would happen if the initial conditions are x and y. And what would happen in a million years. And what would happen tomorrow, given that today is like this. So, since we do this for the weather, (and many other things) why would we not do it for human beings and consciousness?

And if this is the case, then most likely this very reality we live in is actually a simulation. Because at this rate of technological advance, it will not take much (at an evolutionary scale) to reach a point in which we will have these resources, these computers that could be able to run such simulations. I mean at the current rate, it probably shouldn't take more than a few decades. But even if it took 1000 times more than that, then say 10, 20, 30 thousand years. That's still not much considering the millions of years we have been around, right?

But did Elon really say we are most likely part of a simulation?

Elon Musk was asked to talk about simulation theory at an interview in June at Recode's National Conference. Here are two articles about that.

So the above article feed on an interview that Musk gave early June 2016, and insist that Musk's point of view is that it is almost certain that we live in a simulation. However, the way i see it, that is not quite what Musk said. What Musk did say, is that if his argument is true, than we probably are living in a simulation.

Here's what he did:

  1. First he makes an argument. But he doesn't state he believes that argument. Quite the contrary, he actually asks for it to be challenged: "Tell me what's wrong with that argument. Is there a flaw in that argument?"
  2. The interviewer, however, doesn't challenge the argument. And states there is no flaw with it.
  3. Then he reaches the conclusion that, if there is no flaw in the argument (which he never stated there wasn't any flaw in it), then there is 1 in billions chance that we live in base reality.

Basically what he stated is that if you believe in that argument, then most likely we live in base reality. He didn't directly say he believes most likely we live in base reality. Indeed, there are other outcomes (which have been widely discussed, here's a collection of some) he didn't discuss, for example:

  1. we, as humans, might never reach the point in which we can simulate consciousness.
  2. we might be extinct before we can reach that point;
  3. we can simply not be interested in running simulations, because we might somehow understand how consciousness can be linked to suffering, and therefore why create more suffering by creating more (even if just simulated) individuals?
  4. ...

 

Some of my thoughts

Certainly, one thing i can say. Looking back in time and what we believed in (being at the center of the universe, that eyes emitted beams that allowed us to see, etc) and what we believe in now, it certainly seems like the rate of understanding things increases, and it feels like we are able to model more and more of our perceived reality. Therefore, it feels just logical to infer that at this rate, there should be no reason why we should not be able to simulate consciousness as well. No logical reason, at least. Religious and tradition and fear based reasons, plenty. Logical though? How logical did it feel to believe that the earth was flat, and just not being able to explain what happened at the end of earth? Maybe just as logical as it is to believe that humans have this spearate thing called consciousness, that we will never be able to reproduce.

However, whether we live in a simulation or not, makes absolutely no difference to us... or shouldn't at least. Because simulation or not, we have but the rules of this game to play with. And it feels like there is really just one universal instruction code set universally programmed in all living beings: reduce suffering as much as possible. So if we want to live a life with the least amount of suffering, it makes little difference whether we are part of a simulation or not, unless we could be capable of popping out of it. Dwelling in these thoughts, therefore, feel to me like investing energy and time into something that doesn't ultimately help me reduce my suffering any more than watching a movie.

Quantum uncertainty and simulation theory

So basically we do not know the exact location and momentum of an electron, according the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, until we are actually able to measure it. Or the double slit experiment, where, until we don't actually measure which slit an electron goes through, it behaves as if it goes through both. But when we observe, the wave function collapses and it behaves like a single particle.

But if we were in a simulation, then there certainly would be no need to simulate everything down to the tiniest particle. As long as the humans in the experiment can't infer something "strange" is going on, then the simulation experiment would not be ruined. So one detail of the simulation theory would be, that details are simulated only when required. Kind of like what we do now with our awesome video games: the graphics, the shadows, the details, the resolution and the physics is rendered only where player is looking. There is no need to waste computing power to simulate everything in the entire video game reality at one time. There just has to be enough to ensure consistency. So in the unseen world, it's good enough that say an object stays there where the player put it, unless some other player comes and moves it.

Could this also explain the mysterious consciousness that the electron in the double slit experiment suddenly gains when it "knows" it's observed, and now turns from a wave of probable positions into a single 4 dimensional coordinate?