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Comment: (R)evolutional progress & what people make of (Score 1) 101

by Alwin Henseler (#49474713) Attached to: Fifty Years of Moore's Law

From the summary:

But the doubling time for transistor density is no guide to technical progress generally. Modern life depends on many processes that improve rather slowly, not least the production of food and energy and the transportation of people and goods.

A lot of progress depends on information technology, though. For example our understanding of biochemical processes. Or the capability of satellites that monitor what's going on with our planet. Or our understanding of quantum effects in semiconductor materials, in turn the basis for IC's, LED lighting, and a whole slew of other applications. Our use of smartphones & related communication technology. Or even something as "low-tech" as logistics.

Make computation cheaper, and progress that hinges on compute power, can steam ahead faster.

Another thing: as people in general get used to faster technological progress, chances are they'll be ready earlier to welcome what's coming next. When you've lived in the steam age for 50 years, electric lighting is a big thing. But when you've witnessed 10, 100, 1000, 10,000x increases in storage capacity over a few decades, a leap to 100,000x or 1000,000x is just the next step on the scale.

So the term "self-fulfilling prophecy" is very appropriate here.

Comment: Expensive? NOT (Score 1) 181

by Alwin Henseler (#49455011) Attached to: Autonomous Cars and the Centralization of Driving

I will never own a self driving car.

1. Too expensive

If you consider your time worthless, then yes a self-driving car might be seen as a car + expensive (?, to be determined) self-driving capability.

But suppose you're using that car to drive between workplaces, you can do real work on the way (a la work from home), and your hourly rate is considered $10 worth (or whatever arbitrary number). That's a choice between:

  • * Not do that $10/hr work you could have done, and 'waste' it on driving.
  • * Do $10/hr worth of work, while your 'robot driver' does the driving.

I'm willing to bet that as the technology matures, the latter option will be preferred by many people, real fast.

Note that the added cost of your 'robot driver' can be spread out over the car's lifetime, or at least over the time you spend in the car, driving around. Given the amount of time some people spend in their car every f***ing day, that buys you a lot of robot / electronics / software / whatever. So don't be surprised if that cost dives under your hourly rate - that happens all the time with other jobs that people used to do. Heck, maybe they'll build a robot that'll drive your car the old fashioned way, then doubles to help you with household chores @ the end of the day.

Of course, paid work is just one of useful / valueable / worthwhile things you can do in a car, while getting from A to B.

Comment: Re:Why the bad rap? (Score 1) 111

Methane is neither the principal part of a fart nor the smelly part.

Methane is known as a powerful greenhouse gas. Thus, it's generally assumed that releasing it into the atmosphere contributes to global warming, and all the negative effects that go with it.

So when someone farts, it's considered "socially undesirable" not because it smells, but because it's bad for the planet. Got it?

Now you may ask: why do people make such a big deal out of it when someone farts in an elevator, but not when it happens in the open air? Ultimately the methane makes it into the atmosphere anyway! Tbh, haven't figured that out yet. People are weird.

Comment: Re:Buggy Whip (Score 3, Insightful) 119

by Alwin Henseler (#49333287) Attached to: GNU Nano Gets New Stable Release

Even modern, GUI based systems have tools that work outside the GUI, or in a text-mode terminal of some kind.

Maintaining such tools is just as needed as maintaining other parts of a system. Or creating new bits, for that matter. If not done, it would only be a matter of time before you'd have (badly) broken bits of software all over the place. To the point where a system becomes unusable to do real work. Text mode editors are just one of many components of modern systems (and imho, not in the "buggy whip" department anyway).

Besides: many people use it. Among other reasons, probably because it saves them time, or does some jobs better than other editors. As long as there are enough users, that alone makes developer's time well spent.

Comment: Progress can't be stopped (Score 1) 366

by Alwin Henseler (#49289487) Attached to: Uber Shut Down In Multiple Countries Following Raids

I wonder if this will backfire and people will want to support the underdog.

Somehow I doubt that... But the mere existence of services like Uber will open the public's eyes, to the fact that (beside public transport & taxis) there are other ways to get from A to B.

The free market & modern communication technology has enabled services that -from passenger's point of view- is more efficient, and/or preferable over what the establishment provides. Of course that establishment will fight to protect the old ways of doing things, but at some point they'll either have to adapt, or be left behind. Which is how it should be.

Questionable business practices aside, if Uber helps make that progress happen: power to them! (and f*** the establishment).

Comment: No "Yes" option? (Score 1) 192

by Alwin Henseler (#49220455) Attached to: Will you buy the new $10,000 Apple Watch?

Hell YES!

If for some unforeseen stroke of luck I'd become a biljionaire overnight, then SURE! I'd buy one, and toss it into a drawer until some friends come over that I could show it to.

Meanwhile, in the Real World, fat chance I'll spend money on Apple hardware when products with better price/performance ratio are out there. Especially products with questionable utility where customers serve as beta testers.

Comment: Re:Only 3G? (Score 3, Informative) 112

The summary says 3G only on the x3 and x5 models. You only get LTE on the x7 model.

Reading fail...

The summary says:
x3-C3130: integrated 3G (HSPA+) modem
x3-C3230RK: integrated 3G (HSPA+) modem
x3-C3440: integrated LTE modem
x5 and x7: no integrated modem, but support for Intel's next generation XMM 726x and 7360 LTE modems

Comment: Re:He will only act alone (Score 3, Interesting) 87

by Alwin Henseler (#49154001) Attached to: NSA Spying Wins Another Rubber Stamp

But when he's using the NSA to spy on you, he blames Congress.

"using the NSA" ?!?

I doubt anyone is "using" the NSA @ this point. Other than as a source of info - for those who have access.

More like the NSA is an 'entity' that operates on its own. With money flowing in from a variety of sources, some government, some non-government, some legit, some non-legit. Doing whatever it's doing without much oversight, possibly continuing to do some things even if declared illegal by a court of law.

I assume there's some people in that organisation that take orders from the US president directly, other employees may get note of what the US president wants & to some degree try to make that happen. But overall? A big-ass train that keeps on steaming ahead in whatever direction(s) it's going.

Of course the proper response would be to cut funding, bring people doing illegal things to justice, and strengthen oversight until the NSA does answer to those authorities it's supposed to take orders from. Fat chance that's going to happen in a climate where the "War on terrorists! War on drugs! Think of the children!" fire is burning strong. :-(

Comment: Politics, science & religion (Score 3, Insightful) 394

by Alwin Henseler (#49137739) Attached to: Lawmakers Seek Information On Funding For Climate Change Critics

If only there was some way of detaching politics from science.... Hm....

Easy: make sure to elect only religious people as politicians. So they won't need to bother with science, and can base laws & regulations on holy books alone. While in the meantime, the rest of society can use actual science to discover how the world around us works (and improve our lives in the process).

Oh wait...

Comment: Re: Not sufficient (Score 1) 95

by Alwin Henseler (#49104203) Attached to: Humans' Big Brains Linked To a Small Stretch of DNA

Not necessarily... you see, there's a relation between brain size, the occurrence of dupes, and how much they're read:

Reads = 2 ^ (X + 1)

With "Reads" being the number of permutations for "read the story" vs. "too many dupes, didn't read", and X being the number of [original story + dupes].

Any original story may be read by a /. reader, or not. Hence the power-of-2 in above equation. With original story + 2 dupes, you have 8 permutations: some who read the original story, not the 1st dupe, but then read the 2nd dupe. Some who missed the original, read the 1st dupe, and then missed the 2nd dupe. Some who missed the original story, but then read all dupes. And so on and so forth.

What these researchers uncovered, refers to the "+1" in above equation: for each permutation, there's readers with an enhanced size brain that read the story. And some with an enhanced brain that didn't read the story. Some with a smaller brain that read the story, and some with a smaller brain that didn't read the story. So 2x the number of possibilities we had before.

Causes are (as of yet) undetermined. It may be that increased brain size enhanced readers' ability to skip dupes. It may be that smarter readers enjoy some dupes, but not all. It may be that readers are too dumb to recognise a dupe, or too dumb to skip it. Or smart readers who actually enjoy complex dupe / no dupe / many dupes / etc patterns. It may even be that smart or dumb readers just enjoy whatever comments are posted to each story or dupe, and thus /. readership happiness (or brain size, for that matter) bears no relation to # of dupes. All this will surely be the subject of further studies.

You'll see, as the number of dupes increases, the number of possibilities for which /. readers read which dupe or not, grows exponentially. Only the number of /. effects observed, scales linear with the number of dupes.

Note that there is a feedback effect here, between readers of each story/dupe, and /. editors. Some may complain to editors that a story was duped. Some may not complain. Some may complain there's too many dupes, some may complain there wasn't a dupe when they expected one. Some may complain about the many dupes, but somehow be very happy with the last dupe (and thus, not complain!). Some may complain there wasn't a dupe, when in fact there was. Or complain there were 3 dupes, when in fact there were 5. Some may complain about the original story, because they prefer dupes-only.

Each complaint may cause the editors to change the number of dupes they produce. Which in turn affects # of complaints, which dupe each complaint refers to, etc. Some complaints may be about a 3rd dupe, but actually refer to the 1st dupe, confusing /. editors even further. So let's just give the editors some slack here, okay? They're only human, and it's extremely difficult to determine the optimal # of dupes for each story, or when to post them. It's not like the /. crowd is the easiest crowd to please...

Hope this clears things up for you all...!

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