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Comment: Re:This will blow your mind. $733,637 coffee (Score 1) 111

by Beeftopia (#48826013) Attached to: Carnivorous Pitcher Plant "Out-Thinks" Insects

The first year, you sock away $2,000 in your low-risk index mutual fund. At the end of the year, the money has earned you $180, so at the end of the first year you have $2,180 from that first year. You add $2,000 more from not buying coffee, which is $4,180. Over the next year, that earns $376 of dividends or interest, for $4556 total. Your money expands exponentially!

Even if you just put away $2,000 ONCE, then never add to it, in 40 years that $2,000 turns into $62,819.10. This is how most millionaires became millionaires - by putting away about $200-$500 per month.

All I can say is, approach these kinds of rosy scenarios with caution. My experience in the market was putting in a healthy chunk of change in a low-risk index fund, letting it sit for a decade, then pulling out a little bit more. The interest rate was commensurate with a bank savings account.

YMMV, but the big thing to remember is that trends do not continue linearly in perpetuity. I personally know smart people who swear by the stock market, and dollar cost averaging into a risking market makes one look like an investment genius. But there is a non-trivial amount of luck involved too, with picking the right fund/stocks and timing the market. There's a lot of market manipulation nowadays too.

Over the past 30 years, we've had an epic bull market. People who started investing in the 80s made out like bandits. However, that past performance is no guarantee of future gains. IMO, understand the 'why' of stocks - what exactly they are, and how they will generate currency for you.

Comment: Re:smarter than many people I know (Score 1) 111

by Beeftopia (#48825793) Attached to: Carnivorous Pitcher Plant "Out-Thinks" Insects

This is more like "conflation" rather than "dog-whistle" racism. You get people agreeing with your speech and then throw in something discordant. They want to agree with the majority of your statement, and it order to do so, it seems like they're agreeing with the discordant note as well.

Comment: Reminded of a quote (Score 1) 249

by Beeftopia (#48798631) Attached to: Education Debate: Which Is More Important - Grit, Or Intelligence?

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

- Calvin Coolidge

Comment: Re:I'm Charlie (Score 2, Insightful) 331

by Beeftopia (#48790243) Attached to: Would You Rent Out Your Unused Drive Space?

Pictures of a long dead prophet and caricatures of top officials and warlords. Versus images of real sexually victimized children.

One image is political speech, the other are sexual scenes with those who cannot give consent.

Both are images of course, but images can capture all manner of human experience, from the banal to the brutal.

Comment: Re:Favorite Pastime for the Islamists (Score 5, Interesting) 509

by Beeftopia (#48782117) Attached to: Anonymous Declares War Over Charlie Hebdo Attack

As with everything in international relations, you have to look at the actions of international actors, and not their words. Because talk is cheap, and action costs money and lives.

It's about power. The fact that Muslims - Sunni Muslims - are slaughtered in great numbers by the jihadis shows it's about something other than defending Islam or Muslims.

Government and religion are ancient and potentially competing power centers. The convenience of Islam to a potential king is that it combines the two power centers into one. So, the wannabe king can rally followers by saying "Fight for God and religion!" instead of "Fight for me, a narcissistic psychopath!" In failed (or decapitated) states, the most effective of these power-hungry actors wins the prize of the throne.

Comment: Re:Dijkstra's rejection of analogies in learning (Score 1) 303

by Beeftopia (#48728849) Attached to: Anthropomorphism and Object Oriented Programming

And this is all good of course, in terms of deep learning. But how does the average person then use that system to do something useful?

It seems to me that trying to come up with interfaces that are easily understood while allowing us to translate our algorithms into instructions that the computer can execute (in the context of the formal system that it is) is the best way to make the device as useful as possible to as many people as possible.

Thinking about new paradigms in computing is great; doing the Big Think is essential for technological progress; but in the meantime, how to maximize the productivity of the typical programmer? Are those "woolly" interfaces then so bad?

Creating the "woolly" interface between the human and the formal system is a quite amazing and useful feat. All hail the compiler / OS writers?

Comment: Dijkstra's rejection of analogies in learning (Score 1) 303

by Beeftopia (#48728775) Attached to: Anthropomorphism and Object Oriented Programming

This has to do with Dijkstra's rejection of trying to learn new concepts with analogies to existing concepts we already know. I'd read an essay of his on the same subject some years ago. From the linked Dijkstra essay:

"The above tried to capture the most common way in which we seem to cope with novelty: when faced with something new and unfamiliar we try to relate it to what we are familiar with. In the course of the process we invent the analogies that enable us to do so.

It is clear that the above way of trying to understand does not work too well when we are faced with something so radically new, so without precedent, that all analogies we can come up with are too weak and too shallow to be of great help. A radically new technology can create such circumstances and the wide-spread misunderstanding about programming strongly suggests this has happened with the advent of the automatic computer.

There is another way of approaching novelty but it is practised more more rarily. Apparently it does not come "naturally" since its application seems to require a lot of training. In the other way one does not try to relate something new to one's past experience - aware of the fact that that experience, largely collected by accident could well be inadequate. [...] To ease that process of liberation it might be illuminating to identify the most common metaphors and analogies and to see why they are so misleading.

I think anthropomorphism is the worst of all. [...]

I skip the numerous confusions created by calling programming formalisms "languages", except a few examples. [...]

And now we have the fad of making all sorts of systems and their components "intelligent" or "smart". It often boils down to designing a wooly man-machine interface that makes the machine as unlike a computer as possible: the computer's greatest strength - the efficient embodiment of a formal system - has to be disguised at great cost."

Comment: 12,125 PSI pressure at that depth (Score 3, Interesting) 33

by Beeftopia (#48643663) Attached to: New Record Set For Deepest Dwelling Fish

12,125 PSI pressure at that depth. Surface pressure is 14.7 PSI.

1) Source for ocean depth pressure at 8145m.
2) Source for atmospheric pressure at earth's surface

It's totally dark down there. No light except the occasional bioluminescence. It's like an off-world environment. Makes me wonder where else life can exist.

+ - Researchers Find The Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist->

Submitted by Beeftopia
Beeftopia (1846720) writes "From the article: "For a real-life example of an actual worker shortage, Salzman points to the case of petroleum engineers, where the supply of workers has failed to keep up with the growth in oil exploration. The result, says Salzman, was just what economists would have predicted: Employers started offering more money, more people started becoming petroleum engineers, and the shortage was solved. In contrast, Salzman concluded in a paper released last year by the liberal Economic Policy Institute, real IT wages are about the same as they were in 1999. Further, he and his co-authors found, only half of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) college graduates each year get hired into STEM jobs. “We don’t dispute the fact at all that Facebook (FB) and Microsoft (MSFT) would like to have more, cheaper workers,” says Salzman’s co-author Daniel Kuehn, now a research associate at the Urban Institute. “But that doesn’t constitute a shortage.”"
Link to Original Source

Comment: They've made something that mimics C. elegans (Score 2) 200

by Beeftopia (#48399785) Attached to: A Worm's Mind In a Lego Body

It's fascinating but it's not C. elegans. It doesn't reproduce. It doesn't die. It's not alive.

The sensors are implemented in large, electro-mechanical hardware. Not biochemical systems. It has no telomeres. No cells.

Humans have several subsystems: digestive, endocrine, pulmonary (pneumatic and hydraulic), muscular, skeletal, nervous. If they manage to create an electro-mechanical system to mimic the nervous subsystem, it's just that - mimicking the subsystem. It would be an amazing feat, and what's been done here is fascinating, but we're still quite some distance away from stating that a human - or C. elegans - is 2^n nand gates.

Is something that mimics a nervous subsystem via an electro-mechanical system equivalent to the nervous system? Be it the 302 neurons of the C. elegans or the approximately 100 billion of the H. sapiens? It might become very intelligent... more intelligent than us... and then we'd have a problem... Frankenstein didn't appreciate being locked in his form...

Would it really feel emotions? Pain, rage, joy, fear, ennui? Or is it just mimicking them?

Fascinating stuff.

The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.