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Comment: Old Shite (Score 2) 556

by fyngyrz (#47791649) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

I really, *really* liked my late 1970's-era 6809 system. 64k of RAM, custom graphics and sound cards of my design, timers, serial port, multiple floppies. I thought it was getting old in the tooth (it wasn't, it still works, should have had more faith I suppose), so I wrote an emulator for it -- the entire system, hardware, software, a front panel (which the original didn't even have) everything. Still works great, but due to the increase in CPU power over the years, the emulator is one heck of a lot faster than the original hardware. You can use it too, if you're so inclined and you're running some version of Windows, XP or later (might still work under Windows 95 and/or 98 for that matter.) Includes various compilers (Dugger's c compiler, for instance), forth, assembler, cross-assemblers, linkers, basics, some arcade video games that used the graphics hardware, and probably the vast majority of the commands that were available for the DOS, which was FLEX09. Percom PSYMON monitor. If you ever wanted to play in a nice, safe assembler sandbox, it doesn't get any better than the 6809. It just gets faster and wider.

For linux, the answer is Midnight Commander. Between the very nice editor and the dual-pane do-lots-of-things text mode interface, it's still my go-to under linux, I even use it on the Mac. Thankfully, they've kept it reasonably up to date, although making a native mac version without inflicting a much broader *nix ports package on the system is a real pain in the butt.

For the Mac, I use both of the above, MC natively and my emulator under a VM running a network-isolated XP, and I still run a PPC version of my HP-48G, which, I'm afraid, has made any other calculator use not only pointless, but nearly impossible. I also have two of these calculators in hardware, both of which still work fine. Because Apple dropped PPC support at OSX 10.7, my daily driver machine still runs OSX 10.6 and is likely to continue to do so unless I can find a native version of the HP emulator for Mavericks. When I decided to move past OSX 10.6 (Mavericks is actually quite nice, finally), I bought a new machine and plopped it down in my ham shack.

Ham radio: Easy. My Palomar loop antenna. This tiny (about a cubic foot) antenna system has pluggable loops for 150-500 khz, 500-1700 khz, 1700-4000 khz, and 4000-15000 khz. I like to drag it out into the unimproved areas a few tens of miles from here where there are zero power lines, telephone cables carrying data, neon and other signage, plasma TVs, buildings and so on, and enjoy amazingly good, noise-free SW and amateur radio reception on the radio in my truck without having to set up a physically large and cumbersome antenna. I also have a Panasonic RF-2200 portable analog radio that I take on trips. Both of these are pretty old, tech-wise, but both remain in regular use and have stood the test of time very well indeed.

Music: A Marantz 2325 stereo receiver and a pair of Marantz HD-880 speakers. Not only does this setup sound nothing less than awesome, it eliminates the tedious menu surfing that more modern gear forces upon us. Everything's on a front panel knob. Everything. I have (very) modern gear in the home theater, but in my office, the old Marantz blue face remains king.

Lastly, I still have, and continue to play, a 1950's Fender Stratocaster guitar. I have a fair collection of more modern guitars, but the strat's neck is still the best of all of them. Luckily, for most of my life I've been a casual enough musician, and have spent enough time on other guitars, that I've not had to have the thing re-fretted. I don't look forward to that. I can't imagine it'll be the same. Of all the old stuff I have, this is the thing that has not only kept its value, but appreciated far beyond any dollar figure I could ever have anticipated. Not selling it, though. Ever. :)

Comment: Image processing (Score 3, Interesting) 155

by fyngyrz (#47787737) Attached to: Intel's Haswell-E Desktop CPU Debuts With Eight Cores, DDR4 Memory

I use -- and write -- image processing software. Correct use of multiple cores results in *significant* increases in performance, far more than single digits. I have a dual 4-core, 3 GHz mac pro, and I can control the threading of my algorithms on a per-core basis, and every core adds more speed when the algorithms are designed such that a region stays with one core and so remains in-cache for the duration of the hard work.

The key there is to keep main memory from becoming the bottleneck, which it immediately will do if you just sweep along through your data top to bottom (presuming your data is bigger than the cache, which is typoically the case with DSLRs today.) Now, if they ever get main memory to us that runs as fast as the actual CPU, that'll be a different matter, but we're not even close at this point in time.

So it really depends on what you're doing, and how *well* you're doing it. Understanding the limitations of memory and cache is critical to effective use of multicore resources. You're not going to find a lot of code that does that sort of thing outside of very large data processing, and many individuals don't do that kind of data processing at all, or only do it so rarely that speed is not the key issue, only results matter. But there are certainly common use cases where keeping a machine for ten years would use up valuable time in an unacceptable manner. As a user, I am constantly editing my own images with global effects, and so multiple fast cores make a real difference for me. A single core machine is crippled by comparison.

Comment: Sources of water (Score 1) 513

by fyngyrz (#47787677) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

The moisture source for lakes and rivers is -- inevitably -- precipitation over lands upstream. Either as direct runoff, or as recurring eruptions from underground aquifers. If the prevailing winds don't bring the more humid air over the cooler, higher landscape, sure, you'll see drought. But you'd see it anyway, more heat or not. When the prevailing winds are bringing more moisture over those same types of terrain, you're going to see more precipitation, not less.

The historical record bears this out. When the earth is warmer, we get (a lot) more plant growth. That's simply not going to happen if the precipitation is reduced for any reason. And, at least as far as I am aware at this time, there is no mechanism that would cause reduction in precipitation. Warmer air holds more moisture, yes, and that effect is in full view in the tropics -- with deluge level rainfall when that moist air hits colder atmosphere and the moisture inevitably precipitates as rain. 400 inches / year as opposed to about 100 inches / year in otherwise similar temperate regions.

I would certainly agree that if the wind patterns change, then the rainfall will too. In both directions. But it seems a little farfetched to say that such changes will result in a consistent decrease in winds traveling onshore. What would such a claim be based upon?

Comment: Re: Impacts (Score 1) 513

by fyngyrz (#47787631) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

Is this year actually a warmer year? Didn't I just read that we're in a 20-year hiatus in the warming trend?

Yes, warmer air holds more moisture -- anyone who has worked the steam tables to convert between relative and absolute humidity knows that (and I have done so for my auroral photo opportunity prediction freeware), but it's also susceptible to precipitating more moisture when convection brings that moist air up into the colder altitudes. That's why tropical rainfall tends to be in deluges as compared to, for instance, the typical rain shower in Pennsylvania. We know for a fact that the tropics are warmer and wetter in terms of rainfall amounts per year -- and that since they are warmer, their air can hold more moisture. But that's not stopped them from having much more rainfall than anywhere else. While there certainly may be outlier statistics, the general case seems clearly to be: warmer = wetter = more rainfall.

Temperate rainforests get as much 100 inches / year. Tropical rainforests get up to 400 inches / year. If it's not the heat that's doing it, what do you propose is the mechanism?

If it *is* the heat that's doing it, then what is the mechanism where more heat, heat that corresponds with previous tropical climates in the earth's past, won't repeat the same effect here? Looking at the past CO2 level graphs as correlated with plant growth and temperature, there's a very strong correlation with CO2 and plant growth, and with temperature. Plants love CO2, but they still need moisture to survive, and where there's more plant growth, it's pretty much a certainty that there's a significant water supply.

So far, anyway, the idea of warming in the tropics -- or anywhere there's basically unlimited water and related prevailing winds -- leading to drought seems to be a non-starter.

It's not that I can't accept it, it's just that to accept it, I need a sound scientific reason to do so. Just saying that one expects drought in the tropics seems like hand-waving at this point. There are plenty of legitimate concerns - a slight, very, very slow rise in sea level, movement of crop-appropriate bands in cultivated areas, that sort of thing, but tropical drought doesn't appear to be one of them.

Also, recent news shows increased plant growth worldwide... something to think about in a situation where CO2 is known to be increasing at an accelerated rate.

Comment: Re:Biased (Score 1) 208

by ShakaUVM (#47787239) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

>Long discredited?

Yep. There's no inherent conflict, and the conflicts that did take place, are usually portrayed in a way that would make historians cry.

For example -

Galileo was opposed by other scientists (if we can use the term), who basically took Aristotle to be an indisputable authority. Galileo's model of the world required there to be only one tide a day, and when he measured two tides a day, he forged the data so that there'd only be one. It was what Einstein called his "greatest mistake" - forging data to match a mathematical model, instead of matching a model to the data.

But he wasn't prohibited from researching or teaching his model at first. The result of his first trial was simply to rule that he couldn't hold it out as indisputable fact, since the evidence was in appearance and reality against his model.

It was only when he deliberately flaunted that ruling and called the Pope an idiot that he really got into trouble. Good luck saying that to any ruler in Europe at the time - it had nothing to do with the science, and everything to do with Galileo being an asshole to a (former) friend of his who happened to also be the temporal authority in the area he was in.

But when this gets spun by Conflict Thesisers to be "The Church hates science! They threw him in jail and tortured him because he disagreed with the Bible!" (He wasn't thrown in jail, or tortured, incidentally.)

>Finally most religions require one to accept truths on faith, that is without objective reproducible proof. That's the anti-thesis of the scientific method.

That's not a proper definition of faith, which means trust, but in any event, no it is not the antithesis of the scientific method. The opposite of science is pseudoscience, or believing in things despite empirical evidence to the contrary (which no mainstream Christian church I'm aware of does). Science is simply one method of finding truth. (For a definition of truth that doesn't actually mean truth.) It does not have a monopoly on it. To claim such is the case would make you guilty of the fallacy of Scientism.

Comment: Re:Biased (Score 2) 208

by ShakaUVM (#47787179) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

Does the sun go around the earth or does the earth go around the sun?

I'm guessing you're Canadian by your name.

The fact that neither you nor the authors of the study know that in a relativistic framework this question is meaningless, makes their conclusion not just meaningless but paradoxical.

I strongly suspect the science museum "scientist" who wrote the study never got past Newtonian physics.

It's like giving all the OECD a math test, and then only marking right the students who define Pi to be exactly 3. And then announcing that fundamentalist Christians "Rank #1 in mathematical literacy!"

Comment: Re:Biased (Score 1) 208

by ShakaUVM (#47787137) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

>Is when he misrepresented a stastic favorable to the authors point by not providing context, then following it with a fully qualified negative statistic in context.

I didn't misrepresent any statistic. 58% of people not being able to understand science out of a fucking newspaper (which is written for 5th graders) does not make Canada a, quote, "Nation of Science Geeks".

The fact that this terrible number is not more terrible than other countries still doesn't let you claim it's a country of geeks when the stats show the majority of the population are scientifically illiterate.

The fact that the authors of the study don't even understand relativity - when they ask the question of which object rotates around the other as if there was a right answer - in conjunction with a highly biased study with terrible methodology tells us all we need to know about them.

Comment: Re:Biased (Score 1) 208

by ShakaUVM (#47787115) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

>>For the purposes of the study, science-literate is a new term which means tops in those criteria studied.

Actually I work in education. Scientific literacy is a concept that has been around for a long time, and is generally defined to mean scientific concepts that everyone should understand.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_literacy

>For the matter of however it correlates to whatever way you define literacy is not the author's problem. They collected the data and Canada is at the top in the data they collected. Science-literacy is not laid out, well defined term so you go

It is, actually.

So now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

Comment: Re:Biased (Score 1) 208

by ShakaUVM (#47787091) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

The report says nothing of the kind. Did you read it? GMOs and nuclear power are mentioned as divisive issues, but there is no data on the ranking of people against them.

Did you read the PDF? They're ranked #1.

but they have far less influence than you might think despite the vast amounts of noise (and I do mean "noise" in the information theoretic sense) they generate.

It's not what *I* think. It's their data. I'm just criticizing the report for being sloppy and biased.

Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 1) 809

by gstoddart (#47781029) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

"Because, the yellow cake thing was a lie,"

Those gullible Canadians, buying 550 metric tons of non-existant yellow cake.

You should learn to fact check a little better:

Tuwaitha and an adjacent research facility were well known for decades as the centerpiece of Saddam's nuclear efforts.

Israeli warplanes bombed a reactor project at the site in 1981. Later, U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said.

Or, as the New York Times stated more plainly:

The yellowcake removed from Iraq was not the same yellowcake that President Bush claimed, in a now discredited section of his 2003 State of the Union address, that Mr. Hussein was trying to purchase in Africa.

The U.S. did manage to ameliorate a substantial security concern by secretly shipping stored yellowcake out of Iraq in mid-2008, but that act was not, as claimed above, proof that Iraq had been purchasing uranium and attempting to restart its nuclear program prior to the U.S. invasion.

Because you're full of shit.

Comment: Biased (Score 4, Insightful) 208

by ShakaUVM (#47780237) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

"[O]nly 25% of Canadians surveyed agreed with the statement "We depend too much on science and not enough on faith", as opposed to 55% in the U.S. and 38% in the E.U."

Seriously? I was expecting a survey of scientific literacy to be about, you know, scientific literacy, not asking people the relative merits, as it were, between science and religion.

I'm not sure how this proves, quote, "Canada is a nation of science geeks." It's a complete non-sequitor. It doesn't even match the data, in which 58% of Canadians couldn't understand basic science concepts from newspaper stories, and in which Canada ranks 19th out of 29th in science degrees (by percentage).

Contrawise, Americans, sure, value religion probably more highly than other countries, and might even think that we could use more religion, but that is not a question of scientific literacy or attitudes towards science in and of itself. It seems to presuppose the long-discredited Conflict Thesis, which states that religion and science are inherently always in conflict.

The clincher for me - which indisputably shows the authors' bias - is that Canada ranks #1 in people protesting GMOs and nuclear power, and the authors consider this a good sign that their population is scientifically literate!

The authors should get back to euphorically sniffing their own armpits, and stop pretending to be scientists. Or whatever you call the people that work at science museums.

Comment: Re:Just proves the point (Score 1) 1192

>In my opinion, her videos are, in places, poorly researched with many leaps of logic mixed with heavy opinions. But, they still contain very valid points and can be civilly debated.

Yeah. I've watched a couple of her videos. I can see why people could be enraged by them - she says pretty provocative things with lousy justifications. For example, video games that show violence against women, and deplore violence against women and encourage the main character to take a stand against violence against women, according to her, *encourage* violence against women by normalizing it. Except, when, I guess, it's in an indie game. In which case it becomes a "naunced critique".

I do agree with her than the "violence against prostitutes" trope is overused, and certainly agree that women tend to be sexualized a lot more in video games than men (my lord, Ivy from Soulcalibur gets more ridiculous with every release), but her videos struck me as being borderline trollish. Trollish, defined here, as deliberately sculpted to provoke controversy.

That said, I find it unconscionable that people would actually threaten a journalist with her life for criticizing video game tropes. For fuck's sake, we don't live in Pakistan. If her videos irritate you, just don't watch them.

Comment: Re:They won't (Score 1) 125

by gstoddart (#47777833) Attached to: Microsoft Dumps 1,500 Apps From Its Windows Store

Aka "I pulled my initial claim out of my ass".

No, I pulled it from the Linux Mint VM I have which didn't give me any obvious mechanism to do something as trivial as setting my search provider to Google.

If it isn't in the drop down list, and I have to play hunt the wumpus to figure out WTF I need to be doing to add it, I'll stand by my initial assertion ... that, for whatever reason, they've made setting Google as a search provider less than easy or obvious.

Google is not in the default list, after spending a small amount of time trying to figure out how to do it, I gave up on the Distro entirely.

Comment: Bah ... (Score 4, Interesting) 146

by gstoddart (#47777563) Attached to: The American Workday, By Profession

The hookers come out at night to screw their clients, the stock market guys get up early to screw all of us.

Everything in the middle depends on who your clients are, and type of industry you're in.

Educated people see daylight (or get paid a premium), less educated get shift work.

I don't even need to read TFA to know these things. ;-)

And, yes, I'm mostly kidding.

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