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Comment: Re:Farm4.staticflickr.com? (Score 3, Interesting) 96

by Aluvus (#44409257) Attached to: Microsoft's Math-Challenged STEM Education Contest

While I am sympathetic to your point in general, I am not clear on how it applies to this particular submission. staticflickr.com is the domain that Flickr serves images from; presumably the submitter uploaded the images to Flickr so they would be on a solid host, and then used them in the submission. I doubt Flickr cares if he is increasing their traffic numbers.

http://www.flickr.com/services/api/misc.urls.html

Comment: Re:"Genetic Handicap" (Score 1) 246

by Aluvus (#41738353) Attached to: Apple, ARM, and Intel

In reality, the implementation of a modern x86 CPU does not (and has not for years now) look anything like a 386. The chips have a chunk of decoder logic that translates x86 instructions into the processor's own internal instructions ("micro-ops"). I believe it was AMD that made the point a few years ago: that decoder logic doesn't get much more complex over time, and therefore (by the magic of process shrinks and increasing transistor counts) actually gets cheaper over time. At this point it's basically a trivial cost, other than the design work to make sure the decoder works. IIRC Intel has made similar statements.

So basically this statement makes me wonder how much the author actually knows about the CPU business.

Comment: Re:The other half of HFT (Score 1) 443

by Aluvus (#40914923) Attached to: This Is What Wall Street's Terrifying Robot Invasion Looks Like

Or do you'll believe that if they achieve another few order of magnitude of frequency, suddenly they'll drain the entire market of all it's value in a single day?

In the 2010 "flash crash", the Dow Jones Industrial Average temporarily lost over 9% of its valuation in minutes. This was essentially due to high-frequency trading algorithms driving down the valuation of Proctor & Gamble. The behavior of the automated systems was so rapid and so poorly-designed that they were able to cause the price of the stock to plunge dramatically before anyone could react. When people did react, it was with panic and confusion. And all because of a basically trivial trigger event. If you make the systems even faster, that sure won't serve to make them any smarter.

Let's not pretend that the HFT systems are some benign force. They can, have, and will cause significant damage to the market. It is madness that we have not yet tamed them with meaningful regulations.

Comment: Re:Not a language problem (Score 1) 145

by Aluvus (#38900169) Attached to: Wikipedia Chooses Lua As Its New Template Language

They are sticking to PHP. What they are changing is the language used by templates (the system that allows reuse of text, but has grown to provide all programmatic features available to editors). The current templating system is at least part of what you accurately describe as "obscure server-side behaviour".

As it stands right now, "plain" templates that just insert some text or whatever are not too bad. But templates that do anything more complex, especially if they require the use of ParserFunctions, quickly become a nightmare to write and matinain. Hopefully Lua will be better. I can't imagine it being much worse.

Comment: Have you ever handled a rifle? (Score 2, Insightful) 368

by jamrock (#31299984) Attached to: Defending Against Drones

It would seem to me if every citizen knew how to properly shoot a rifle, odds are pretty good one of those things could be knocked out of the sky with a barrett.

You really put a lot of thought into this didn't you? No, the odds are far from "pretty good". There's a reason why people hunt flying birds with shotguns: the spray of pellets is much more likely to hit a fast-moving target than a single projectile, and while there are any number of people in the U.S. who are quite proficient with shotguns, only a very, very few have the requisite skill necessary to hit a bird with a rifle, much less a drone, which would probably be flying MUCH faster than a bird, and if flying low, would be in sight for only a fraction of a second.

As to your suggestion that citizens be armed with Barrett sniper rifles, it takes months of intensive training to become a proficient sniper, and they start off with expert marksmen. Even then, the very best snipers would probably be ineffecive against a target such as a drone, which, given the the advances in small off-the-shelf turbine engines that are readily available to R/C hobbyists, would be travelling at a couple hundred mph, and if flying at low altitude, would only be visible for a split second. Add to that the mass of the Barrett, which makes it difficult to maneuver quickly enough to track a fast-moving target. Plus there is the wholly unanswered question of readiness: how to alert this civilian air defense artillery corps and give them useful targeting data IN TIME to be effective. What are they going to do? Lug a large heavy weapon plus ammunition with them to work, the beach, on dates etc, on the off chance that they might be alerted to incoming drones? The idea of training large numbers of ordinary citizens to the level of proficiency required is not a tenable one, to put it charitably, and would be FAR from cost-effective.

There is also the danger of falling bullets, as another poster pointed out. And if you don't think the danger is real, tell that to my friend Cathy, whose uncle was killed about four years ago in Miami by a falling bullet. He was sitting on his back patio with his wife watching the New Year's fireworks and having a glass of champagne when he slumped to the ground dead. The first thought was that he had suffered a massive heart attack, but the medical examiner noticed a small hole near his collarbone, and the autopsy revealed that he had been killed by a small caliber handgun bullet falling from a steep angle, fired into the sky by some unknown, and unknowing, person celebrating the fireworks. The thought of masses of people firing enormous volumes of .50 caliber rounds into the sky over populated areas is a terrifying one to me personally.

Comment: Re:Will it really matter? (Score 1) 276

by Aluvus (#28616419) Attached to: Sunspots Return

Suppose that such a cooling trend were to occur mainly because of Cap and Trade and friends, but sunspot activity coincidentally changed over the same period. How loudly do you think certain individuals would declare that it was all sunspots all along?

Or perhaps it is only the people that disagree with you that can be irrational fools.

Comment: Re:does an iphone.... (Score 1) 582

by Aluvus (#28301379) Attached to: Does the Wii Provide A "Watered-Down" Game Experience?

He didn't say that the Wii was as capable as its peers, he said that it was as capable as the best gaming systems around several years ago when we were getting games like Unreal Tournament 2004. Don't mis-quote and then dispute - That's cheating (i.e. strawman).

TFA is about the Wii being less capable than its peers, so it sounds like your complaint should be with the great-grandparent. Nobody was misquoted, the grandparent just directly challenged the great-grandparent's attempt to minimize the importance of what TFA is about (and blaim the publishers instead).

...when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. - Fred Brooks, Jr.

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