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Comment: Re:GREAT Interview (article really) (Score 3, Interesting) 145

by Beezlebub33 (#48212377) Attached to: Machine Learning Expert Michael Jordan On the Delusions of Big Data
He is well known in the machine learning community. He was the editor of a popular book (now somewhat dated, 1998) called "Learning in Graphical Models". You can think of graphical models as large scale Bayesian networks, among others. The hard parts are figuring out what the network is and how to train them. Lots of scary math in there. So the guy is very smart, and has been involved deeply in the field for over 20 years.

As someone who was involved in the previous neural network hype cycle (late 80s, early 90s), I'd have to agree with him that we go through these cycles, where a particular approach gain ascendency, then is shown to not work as well as the hype, and then gets rejected. On the inside, however, lots of good work continues to be done. The press (and then in popular opinion) keeps saying 'this is it, we're really close to AI' or somethign similar, and then when it doesn't pan out, then it is considered a bust. But, we are making progress, we know more than we did last year, and a lot more than 10 years ago. It is just that the problem is hard, and we're still trying to figure out some basic principles, so don't expect us to be there yet.

Comment: Re:"Donate" to a Foundation (Score 3, Interesting) 155

by Beezlebub33 (#48202705) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Aging and Orphan Open Source Projects?
Um...I beg to differ.

Apache has a number of vital, rapidly improving projects. The one that I'm using currently is Apache Spark. We use Solr and Nutch, and they are being actively developed. We're excited about Calcite getting to the point that it is fully featured and stable, and that's progressing.

there are plenty of projects that have moved to the Attic, which is where they go for the long, slow retirement and death. And many of the projects are, I would say, lethargic and not frequently updated, because they are large, stable, and feature complete, but likely to be replaced by other projects. Maven is a good example, where I think there is something better, but there is a large, installed userbase that Apache supports.

Based on his (vague) project description, it sounds like apache might be perfect for it.

Comment: Re:Moral Imperialism (Score 1) 475

by Beezlebub33 (#48189153) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK
IANAL, but it's tricky. If you make a fake $20 bill, put it in a frame, and call it 'art', then you're probably ok. If you start printing lots of them, putting them in the dryer, trying to replicate the security features, then you're in trouble. Nobody will believe you when you say you were just making them for the fun of it.

Comment: Re:Citations (Score 2) 390

by Beezlebub33 (#47606045) Attached to: "Secret Serum" Used To Treat Americans With Ebola

What we really need is a human body simulator, down to the molecules.

That would be nice, but rather un-realistic currently. We are currently working on a worm, and you can see progress at: . It's cool, cutting edge, open source, and all that, but 1. the models are really complicated and we don't know all the parameters; and 2. they take a long time to run. In a couple of years, we should (cross fingers) be able to see the effect of chemicals on a nematode, so if it gets sick, we can simulate treating it.

Please note that C. elegans has 959 cells in it. Humans have 100 billion neurons. We're still many, many orders of magnitude off from simulating the effect of drugs on a human body.

Comment: Re:Singularity (Score 1) 39

by Beezlebub33 (#47507407) Attached to: Method Rapidly Reconstructs Animal's Development Cell By Cell

Do you:

1) Slavishly reimplement millions of models in the new medium's physical construction, to emulate the quirks and behaviors of the target system's physical construction, wasting huge amounts of energy and making a system that is actually *MORE* complex than the original....


2) Deconstruct all the mechanisms at work in the physical system that currently performs $BAR to get $FOO, evaluate which of these are hardware dependent, and can be removed/adapted to high efficiency analouges in the new hardware platform-- and produce only the components needed for $BAR to be accomplished, to generate $FOO?

The former will most certainly get you $FOO, but is HORRIBLY INEFFICIENT, and does not really shed light on what is actually needed to get $FOO.

The latter is MUCH HARDER to do, as it requires actually understanding the process, $BAR, through which $FOO is attained. It will however, yeild the higher efficiency synthetic system, AND the means to prove that it is the best possible implementation.

Basically, it's the difference between building a rube-goldberg contraption, VS an efficient machine.

We've been trying, in various ways, to do #2, but can't do it yet. So, we're trying to do #1, analyse it, and then do #2. You say that we should 'produce only the components needed', but really, that's the crux of the matter. We don't know what the components needed are. We can't even simulate a worm yet at either the individual cell OR functional level; see the OpenWorm project ( for an attempt at the former. We can use that sort of model organism to figure out what the important features are, model those, and move forward, but it seems unreasonable to complain that full nervous system modeling is the wrong approach, when the alternatives haven't worked yet.

Comment: Re:more toys... (Score 2) 58

by Beezlebub33 (#47331637) Attached to: The Military Is About To Get New Augmented Reality Spy Glasses

Yeah nice false dilemma there. Just because some good comes of it at times does not mean we should just accept the status quo of rising taxes, rising inflation, and diminishing returns.

Only, we don't have rising taxes. Right now inflation is at or below what the Fed generally goes for. I don't even know what you mean with dimishing returns. And none of these is strongly related with military or intelligence R&D.

On the flip side we have:

1. bio warfare 2. nuclear weapons 3. autonomous robot weapons 4. electronic surveillance 5. speeding fines that have nothing to do with safety 6. e-waste

Now shut up and go reread the bill of rights.

Humans have misused almost every scientific and technological advance. They are short-sighted, greedy, and oppress their fellow humans. None of this is a surprise. However, things like the 'toy' that the OP complained about, and the list of negatives that you give, are not a reason to stop progess. The human race is better off, living healthier, more connected, safer lives, due to the creation of 'toys' paid for by taxes, even taking the negative effects into account.

Comment: Re:In the navy (Score 1) 249

by Beezlebub33 (#46992403) Attached to: US Navy Develops World's Worst E-reader
My problem is not that it can't be updated or transmit in any way.

My problem is that it only has 300 books!!! Seriously, how frigging hard is it to put 3000+ books in there. Put the whole damn gutenberg project on it! there is no reason not to have a huge library of books. Shakespeare has 36 plays all by himself, Twain has over 20, Doyle has over 20, Dickens about 20, and those are just off the top of my head.

Comment: Re:Comparative advantage is BS (Score 1) 522

by Beezlebub33 (#46992211) Attached to: Russia Bans US Use of Its Rocket Engines For Military Launches


Watch the space shuttle program make a dramatic re-appearance. This is a massive national security issue that I bet no one brought up when they decided, "Gee, lets go and outsource our rockets and launches to a foreign power we've had cold relations with since the early 20th century."

The US has a working, currently available space shuttle. it's called X-37B. Works great. You just don't hear much about it; it's not manned. We also have a pretty good and improving disposable launch capability, though we do use russian rockets for the Atlas V. what we don't have is a manned program.

It would make sense to rapidly (well, as rapidly as possible) develop a manned launch capability.

Comment: Re:That's annoying! (Score 1) 427

by Beezlebub33 (#46951345) Attached to: In SF: an App For Auctioning Off Your Public Parking Spot
No, it's not the same at all. Arbitrage is where the trade occurs making money on the difference between the bid and ask prices in open markets, where the person doing the arbitrage does not have private information about the prices. it's potentially risky because of time delays and changing prices. Front running is where the front runner takes a existing order that they have private information about and, rather than filling the order properly, buy the order at one price and fill the order at a higher price.

think about it from the point of view of buying and selling oranges. If I notice that the price of oranges in Orlando is higher than the price of oranges in Miami, I can buy in one place and sell in another. Good for me, that's arbitrage, and (assuming the price evens out before I either have to deliver oranges or take delivery of oranges), I make money. If someone has hired me to buy oranges in Miami where they are X dollars and I buy them for X - y and then sell them for X + y, without telling the person who hired me, then its front running, and it's stealing.

Comment: Re:Maybe not extinction... (Score 1) 608

by Beezlebub33 (#46843649) Attached to: Are Habitable Exoplanets Bad News For Humanity?
That's silly. Why would the information about how solar panels work and are made disappear? if you posit that we have lost that information and it is not longer accessible, then we are down to the Morlock / Eloi level.
If that's the case, then the idea that we would start with wood and work our way up is not a bad one. We would evenually 'mine' the trashheaps we have.

Comment: Re:I think this is bullshit (Score 1) 1746

by Beezlebub33 (#46660307) Attached to: Brendan Eich Steps Down As Mozilla CEO

The rules are the same for all — anybody is entitled to marrying one person of the opposite gender. Some people aren't able to use that right, but that's not a reason to redefine the meaning of marriage.

Not long ago, everybody had the same right to marry a person of the same race. Some people didn't want to make use of that right, and it caused a ruckus, and eventually we granted them some crazy new rights. Was Loving v. Virginia decided incorrectly? Was the system fair and equitable as it was before Loving, and were the agitators agitating over nothing?

Based on what I've seen out of some justices (Scalia, I'm looking at you), their arguments make me think that they think Loving was incorrectly decided. Because its not popular, they say that it was correctly decided, but everything else they say and do make me think otherwise. Every decision and dissent Scalia has written on sodomy and race makes me think that he'd go the other way on Loving.

Comment: Re:We do this (Score 2) 119

I'm IT for a company that does this for 95% of dev/test/qa systems. It's worked out pretty well. Most servers are spun up and then chef'ed, used, then deleted after tests/whetever are complete. We do keep our code in house. SVN/GIT/ and Jenkins along with server build farms are all in house. The cloud services are expensive, but since IT has automated the deployment process for the cloud hosts, it works out better than keeping enough hardware in house to meed all test/qa needs. Plus less hardware in house equals less admin time which is a plus for us.

we do something similar. We need a machine up 24/7 to do checkins, builds, automated tests. For that use case, it's better to have your own machine. When we need to spin up multiple machines to do integration testing of our networked app, then it makes sense to use EC2 since we get clean machines, it can get set up, run, and then torn down again.

Comment: Re:We need a PR term for this new kind of experien (Score 1) 535

by Beezlebub33 (#46583585) Attached to: Facebook Buying Oculus VR For $2 Billion

By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures."

We need some PR-friendly slang for this new kind of interaction. I propose that we call it "going outside". There could be entire phone apps devoted to "calling" your friends and arranging to "meet" them somewhere...

1. People are physically distant from each other. My in-laws would love to be able to VR into their grandchildren's world, visit on birthdays, etc. rather than Skype.

2. Have you even watched teenagers interact nowadays? Even when they are physically next to each other, they text each other. They take pictures of each other and send them to each other. It's just weird. Try watching 4 kids, each with a tablet, playing Clash of Clans. They will text each other!! When the person is right next to them!!! With Rifts, they would, literally, sit next to each other and do stuff, either in a shared virtual space, or different spaces, and take pictures and send them to each other.

Comment: Re:No shit (Score 1) 535

by Beezlebub33 (#46583549) Attached to: Facebook Buying Oculus VR For $2 Billion

...I really can't see how there is anywhere near that kind of value to this. It has no market share, no product, it is just a concept in development.

I disagree. They have momentum. They have shipped a cool dev kit to lots of developers. They have a second (improved) dev kit on the way. They have Carmack (hence lots of game devs). They have mind share.

These things are important in the product world and drive who 'wins'. Someone else might have a better technical solution, but they don't win unless they can monitise it, and that requires the sorts of things above. I think that $2B is a lot for Oculus, but it's not completely out to lunch (unlike the WhatsApp deal).

UNIX was not designed to stop you from doing stupid things, because that would also stop you from doing clever things. -- Doug Gwyn