The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the ranking of UK universities. The REF replaces the older Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), which happened every four years. The last RAE was 4 years ago, and the current REF is just finishing. Established academics have to submit 4 research outputs since the last RAE / REF. These are usually papers, but can be other things (systems you've built and so on).
The REF is a really big deal in UK universities, because it directly impacts the availability of research grants. The CVs of individual researchers are taken into account, but the REF / RAE score of the department is the biggest factor. If you have 4 papers in top-tier publications (conferences or journals, depending on your field), then it's very easy to get hired in the run up to the REF, because a lot of second tier universities are looking to find people who will bump them up the rankings.
Conversely, if you don't have the 4 publications (or other impressive things), then it's very hard to get a tenured position, but if you're not averaging one good paper a year then there's probably something wrong with you as a researcher: part of the point of publicly funded research is that the results are communicated to the public, and if you're not doing this then you're not keeping up your end of the deal.
Ignoring mining, with Bitcoin there is no function within the current universe of things we value. The only cue I have is what others have previously valued it at, and what it is currently valued. I think that's very interesting, especially when you consider the kind of objects that humans have used as currency throughout history (gold, metals, durable objects like shells, etc.)
I don't see what's so novel about that, cash doesn't serve a function either. You might say it's to pay taxes but kings and lords knew how to take payment in real world goods. It's just a value token, there's no intrinsic value to small bits of paper in a post-collapse economy. If the price of something I like doubles, did it get more expensive or did my money become less worth? Potayto, potahto. Your money is only worth what it buys you.
When you want to bash Bitcoin by saying it has no intrinsic value, ask yourself this: "what other system of payment/transfers allows someone to move $10,000,000 worth of value, to or from anywhere in the world, 24/7, nearly instantaneously, without fees, can't be debased or printed, irreverible, and without anyone being able to freeze or seize it (without direct access to your wallet)?" Regardless of its downsides, that's pretty f***ing powerful. There's a reason it's "could be a big deal."
Except that value is entirely independent of the value of bitcoins themselves. It doesn't matter if I need to buy 1 BTC @ $10M or 1 billion BTC @ $0.01 and if you argue there's not actually 1 billion BTC, we could do it $100 at the time. It's a money scheme where it pays to get in early, which usually means it's bloody stupid to get in late. It's just not clear when "late" is just yet.
A book written in Greek and a book written in English using a cipher are both gibberish to me, but understanding one depends on a parser and the other on a decryption key. In short the understanding of "effective technological measure" seem to be that the protocol is trying to use a secret (CSS key, AACS key, HDMI key etc.) to protect the content. So if you took any file format and wrapped it in AES with a static key with no memory protection whatsoever then decrypting it in any other program would be a DMCA violation, geeks all get caught up in "effective" but in context it just means a measure intended to have that effect specifically to exclude all other attempts at interpreting a protocol as "cracking" it.
Used to be you used to have to upgrade every 2 years. Now you really have to upgrade every 5 or 7 years. Once every 10 years sounds pretty good to me. (...) As a consumer, I like it because I no longer have to shell out hundreds of dollars every other year to keep my computers usable.
Really, you like products that are just marginally better than before? You wouldn't like it if next year there was a car that could get you to work at twice the speed and half the price? I love that in 2013 I can buy a much better processor for the same amount of (inflation-adjusted) dollars than I could in 2003 or in 1993 and ideally I'd like to say the same about 2023 as well. You really think you'd be better off with 1993-era level of technology and two rebuys because they wore out?
With real income stagnating, you should at least hope that you get more for your dollar in ways that can't be easily compared. "Communication expenses" might be measured in dollars but it doesn't mean an old landline (when that was the only thing) and a smart phone are the same thing. What you get with computers today couldn't be had for any price 20 years ago, but you can now through the progress of technology. Take that away and your life would be very similar to that of your grandparents.
With that in mind, is it a good idea to get people to continue to engage in futile endeavors? Who says quitting is always a bad thing.
I like this one:
Quitters never win, winners never quit, but those who never win and never quit are idiots.
Persistence is good if it gets you anywhere, but if you're just obsessing over things you can't do, can't change, can't make work, can't achieve then give up and move on. Particularly I hate people who can't ever accept that the team, the project or someone in authority has made a decision they disagree with and continue to reopen the issue, dredge up old discussions and undermine the decision. I've had one extreme case where a person on the project team was trash talking it to the rest of the company during the official presentation, essentially saying this is what we're delivering and it's crap and not what I wanted or how I'd design it.
My impression is that overall people have too much persistence and can't stop flogging the dead horse, if things are that bad or that hopeless stop trying to make it work and get out. If your boss is a total ass hat, find another job don't try to fix it. If your girlfriend is a total fruitcake don't try to reason with crazy. If nobody wants to buy what you're selling, you're probably wrong about what they wanted in the first place. Move on, try again. Except the exceptions of course, where banging your head on the same brick wall many enough times will lead to it cracking. But I wouldn't waste my head on that.
One of my senators, Cornyn, sponsored PIPA. (...) Checking on this, it seems he even tried to rewrite history, suggesting that he opposed PIPA all along.
Sadly you get very little credit for changing your mind as a politician, either you're labeled a flip-flop who can't make up their mind, a populist who'll shift with every breeze in the popular opinion or at worst a turncoat who'll back a proposal until it gets tough and then change sides. At best you backed down because off the potential fallout, not because the initial information you based your position on was misleading or you gained any greater insight in the issue and realized your previous position was wrong. Voters tend to vote for people who pretend they are right, always have been right and continue to be right even if defeated. Having a mindset carved in stone is often mistaken for being principled.
ADSL gradually improved through the 00s first with the providers getting more confident and taking the artificial limits off and then by the providers moving to ADSL2. However while speeds improved so did the gap between the haves and the have nots.
Trust me, it only gets worse not between fiber customers but between the fiber and not-fiber customers. Here in Norway fiber penetration is rather strong (23%) but it's all in the areas that used to have good ADSL2/VDSL/Cable. Those stuck on 1 Mbps ADSL are still stuck on 1 Mbps ADSL.
2: having all that infrastructure spread out like that makes it very difficult to do incremental upgrades. When ADSL was introduced they could start by putting one DSLAM in a phone exchange and patching the subscribers to it, when one DSLAM filled up they could add another. It didn't matter that only a few percent of customers were taking DSL intitially because the phone exchange was large.
Meh, considering how many people I heard who couldn't get DSL because the central was full I really don't think that's accurate.
There's no doubt that the future is FTTH, here in Norway call volume on land lines is down 81% since the top in 2001, last year one in eleven cancelled their subscription and less than half the households even have a land line anymore. The people in the outskirts probably want it to continue, but when all central areas are abandoning it then it won't be enough. I have fiber + cell phone, my parents have cable + cell phone, so do pretty much all my friends and relatives and a few older ones just cell phones. Without the phone traffic the copper network will die, it's definitively the worst current technology to deliver broadband on.
Still, there are many remote houses where they only put down copper because it's a government requirement to deliver phone service, it was never profitable before and it's never going to be profitable to lay fiber or anything else. I hear they plan on scavenging parts from the main shut-down to run these legacy systems for a long time, so they aren't going to get any upgrades. Copper/fiber is going to be the new digital divide in the years to come.
Regarding your last point: South Africa of today is one of the most dangerous and violent places on earth; Mandela did next to nothing to address black on white or even black-on-black violence. There was a huge white-flight out of SA during the 90s. Perhaps you think this is a positive outcome. I don't.
What did you expect? I suspect a lot of "white flight" from certain areas of the US post-1865, it's not easy to have a man you used to have in shackles and call your property now be a free man and your equal - though I doubt most ex-slave owners ever saw it that way. We here in Norway did some very unkind things to children of Nazi soldiers and their mothers (there were 400.000 soldiers = males at the capitulation occupying a country of 3.000.000 and they'd been there for 5 years, contraception was generally not available and the Nazis had their Lebensborn program - shit happens), you don't get a toss-up like that without revenge.
Like you say, a lot of that is black-on-black violence which is more about SA being in the same troubles as many other countries in Africa, they're 15th on the global list of murder rates but only 6th in Africa. The entire continent is so screwed up in more ways than you can count, there are still countries there with <35% literacy rates while South Africa is actually the most literate country in all of Africa, they have the highest GDP south of Sahara and so on. We're all affected by our neighbors and really they got nobody to look up to in a 5000 km radius.
Brakes don't suddenly go from good to bad. They have a very graduate wear and it's easy to detect that they should be replaced in the annual checkup.
The brake pads themselves, generally no. But you can have catastrophic failure in the brake fluid tubes and with no pressure, next to no breaking. Still overall mechanical failure is the reason for very few accidents compared to human error.
6 - We're using subcontractors that are not part of the "intelligence community"
Or as a variation:
11. We're collecting data on everybody except in the US, which we swap with the UK for data they can't collect. This close cooperation with foreign agencies is of course not counted. The only thing you can be sure of from the NSA leaks is that even if your own country doesn't spy on you, all other countries sure do with USA at the head of the class.
int class = 42;
There are numerous other examples. The interesting behaviour of sizeof() when you have a class and a variable of the same name is one of my favourites.
India which is much poorer:
Win 7 & 8: 58%
Win 7 & 8: 43%
Africa, South America, everywhere else that is poor XP is in massive decline. This is basically China being the odd man out, they're the only ones who want to stick to XP. Now I'm guessing most of those copies aren't legitimate, but I don't see why that should be any different in China than the rest of the world. It's just that XP is the de facto standard I guess.