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Comment: Re:Cellphones and laptops will save us all. (Score 1) 289

by gurps_npc (#47418987) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis
First of all, I am not talking about blackouts, I am discussing other issues.

Second of all, the only reason so little storage is needed is because we use fossil fuels to store the energy. Among other things. In places where they use hydroelectric, they have a choice - set their water usage to prevent blackouts, or routinely raise it and lower it creating water flows that are incredibly bad for wildlife.

Comment: Re:Seems appropriate (Score 2) 219

by gurps_npc (#47418471) Attached to: UK Computing Student Jailed After Failing To Hand Over Crypto Keys
The 5th amendment has certain loopholes.

One of them is it only applies in the United States, not in the United Kingdom. duh.

Another is that if you agree to give up your right (i.e. offer a password), then you can be punished for lying about it (i.e. offering a false password).

Comment: Cellphones and laptops will save us all. (Score 3, Informative) 289

by gurps_npc (#47417835) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis
The real problem is not energy generation, but energy storage. So research into better batteries (mainly fuels by laptops and cellphones) can save us.

Because the real benefit of the fossil fuels is the high density of the stored energy.

Give me the technology to build a battery that can power an electric car for 500 miles, and ...

Electric cars can now work for 99% of the population - all running on power they store overnight/while at work.

Solar can now store enough to last not only through the night but also through a cloudy day.

Wind based energies can now store enough to get through some calm days

Comment: De river, she is deep (Score 1) 479

by fyngyrz (#47417253) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

"Complex" is not for laymen. There is only so much that you can do with any "appliance". Beyond that, you actually have to know what you are doing. This "problem" has nothing to do with programming.

This. Thinking about the web apps I've written, most of them required fairly deep knowledge in the area of the app -- auroras, photography, specialized group management, history, genealogy, measuring instruments, Chinese, retail procedure -- all areas an interested party could potentially bring to the table.

But the tools to instantiate, manipulate and present those ideas? Those simply don't exist in "amateur" form -- I had to create them. And in doing so, I used knowledge starting with HTML and CGI and CSS, but which extended well into Python, (replaced Perl), C, SQL, a fair bit about the underlying structure of the host OS(s), knowledge of how to structure an application in the first place, and to wrap it all together, a fairly deep knowledge of what's efficient and what isn't.

Now I will admit that I am particularly resistant to Other People's Code, partially because I am unwilling to be subject to other people's bug fix schedules (or lack thereof), and permissions (or lack thereof) and functinonal choices (or lack thereof); and partially because the more stuff I write, the more handy tools of my own I have to bring to bear on the next problem that depend on no one but myself and the host language(s) -- which frankly is quite enough dependency for me anyway. Plus it's been writing all this stuff that's made me a decent programmer in the first place. So even if there *were* a library out there to generate general purpose readout dials, I wouldn't have used it; the result would have been the same. All my own code. Not the least bit reluctant to reinvent the wheel.

Still, the idea of making all that stuff both available and trivially usable (and that's what we're talking about here, because a non-programmer will have to hit this at a trivial level) seems to me to have been tried multiple times in multiple venues, and to have failed every time. Personally, I think it's because as programmers, we underestimate the complexity because we've internalized so much; we can't see the actual level of difficulty very well, because it starts out relative to our own skills. This has resulted in quite a few attempts to "make it easy", and none of them have hit any serious stride. The best any of these can boast is a small following making very limited applications, if you really want to stretch what "application" means.

I don't think the idea is ready to fly. The only context I can visualize this actually working is where you have some *very* smart software that can take an abstract description and write code *for* you. That software would have to be (a) very damned smart and (b) conversant with an enormous range of general human knowledge. Right now, as far as I know, that's the precise description of a competent applications programmer. And nothing else.

Comment: Re:Normal? (Score 1) 479

by fyngyrz (#47416991) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

Ideas don't arrive in convenient order. Interruptions occur. The world is not a smooth surface, it's full of bumps, pits and detours. Sometimes (as here) there are even reasons to top post. Such as, so someone will actually see it. So get over it. Notably, the AC comment you're objecting to contributed more to the conversation than yours (or mine) does. There's a lesson there.

Comment: Download vs indexing (Score 4, Insightful) 76

by gurps_npc (#47416965) Attached to: A Brain Implant For Synthetic Memory
It is very quick and easy for someone to load a bunch of crap onto a computer. It takes a lot longer to index all that information so that it can be found multiple ways (i.e. to find the word "peanut butter" in a book you can either read the entire book, looking for that word, of if someone has compiled an index at the back, just look there and find it instantly).

All of the schemes to 'download' information to a human brain ignore indexing. That means if you were to say download a german dictionary to someone's human mind, they could NOT just speak german - nor could they understand it.

Instead, they would have to laboriously spend hours thinking about every single german word, and eventually teach themselves german, from the memories they had installed.

Indexing is the creation of relationships. Furthermore memories are not indexed just one way. The word dollar for example is indexed as a currency, as an example of words that begin with the letter d, as a kind of store, as pronunciation, and as rhyming with the word Holler. etc etc. etc.

Memory is not a simple thing, but a very complex web of connections.

Comment: I doubt the dna stuff will come true (Score 1) 341

by gurps_npc (#47408807) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies
That looks a bit too invasive to me - there is no way it could be compulsory in the current USA constitution and I bet there are far more 'bad' genetic tendencies than 'good' ones.

But the fitbit stuff, I could see occurring - 10% reduction if you wear one 24/day and qualify. Not that different from what we do with cars today. Most importantly, unlike the DNA stuff, a fitbit monitor would theoretically encourage better behavior, which makes political sense, while dna mapping has tons of political issues.

The real problem we are having is not the loss of privacy per se, it's the abuse of private information. Most people are fine letting Onstar know their current location. We are not fine with Onstar telling anyone that information - not the police, not our wife, not our boss.

What we really need are a bunch of punitive laws that punish people/corporations for 'accidental' release of information. It doesn't have to be severe, but monetary compensation seems reasonable. They make X dollars selling the stuff, so we should have the right to get Y if they sell it or give it away without our permission (and Y should be far in excess of X).

Comment: Re:Consciousness (Score 1) 283

by fyngyrz (#47396559) Attached to: Consciousness On-Off Switch Discovered Deep In Brain

They will probably always remain inherently beyond the reach of scientific evidence.

Yes. that's because they are 100% made-up. Just as Santa Claus is inherently beyond the reach of scientific evidence.

You will never find evidence, that is, anything manifesting as objective reality, for a wholly illusory concept. You can, of course, drown yourself in delusion. We appear to be well designed for exactly that exercise, we even practice it most nights during REM sleep. And it's perfectly acceptable, socially speaking. Imagine away.

To be awake is to be alive. -- Henry David Thoreau, in "Walden"