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Comment these are not the shopping droids ... (Score 2) 567

Lost in all of this is that people who run software ad blockers probably also run mental ad blockers (in my case, this can not be uninstalled), so our response to the advertising—even if they manage to shove it down our throats—is not going to generate any significant net cash outflow.

For a while, Wired can monetize the increasing number of eyeballs, but then the advertisers will normalize to the newly deflated advertising conversion rate (down 20%? who would have guessed?) and Wired will eventually end up getting exactly the same money as before.

Nice business model you've got there. Shame if anyone connected all the dots.

Barker: Hey, I'd like to interest you in a new business model!

Banker: How does it work?

Barker: You plant a suggestion, then people buy your shit.

Banker: A suggestion?

Barker: A Loud, Noisy, Flashy, Wheezy, Spinning, Popping, Sliding suggestion.

Banker: I think you missed a dwarf. Somebody steal your March?

Barker: Him, too.

Banker: But—the suggestion isn't actually binding on the bumpkin, and surely you must give them something in return just to get their attention in the first place?

Barker: Cheaper than you think.

Banker: But—I'm still having trouble with the fundamentally non-binding nature of the transaction.

Barker: A new day, a new dawn! We'll make this Silverado shitstorm so ubiquitous, it'll soon become regarded as a moral crime to respond to our everlasting fusillade of suggestive schlock as anything less than simply irresistible.

Banker: You certainly have big plans.

Barker: And you certainly have big bucks.

Banker: I won't have to actually drive a Silverado, will I?

Barker: Oh, no. You can drive a Bentley.

Banker: Funny you say that. I was looking at one just the other day.

Barker: A red one?

Banker: Just how would you know that?

Short, conspiratorial silence.

Barker: [whispers] Pull up a chair, here's where it gets real interesting ...

Comment Journey to the Center of Dearth (Score 3, Interesting) 199

My father taught me binary in the early seventies when I was still in elementary school, with black marbles and a grey egg carton. I got it right away. Numbers were one thing, representations of numbers was another thing, and these could be whatever you found convenient, so long as you obeyed certain rules (I wasn't so accelerated that I immediately started banging out Euclid's Elements on the piano).

Then I thought really hard one Saturday afternoon about fractions (on the unit interval, which I thought of as positive integers with the numerator greater than the denominator), and discovered that even though there are a lot of them, it is possible to enumerate them exhaustively, though not by the traditional "counting up" procedure, which got me hooked into the problem of the common divisor thing.

The next project I recall was to exhaustive write out the Tic Tac Toe game tree. Since I was a lazy bastard (always have been) this involving thinking very hard about something somewhat like symmetry groups.

Over the annual summer visit to my grandparents—small town prairie Badlands without the cool geography, though often we managed a trip to see the hoodoos—I played a lot of solitaire on the golden-green shag carpet which Puss Puss—the duodecarian house cat who lived in the shadows under my grandparent's bed (the short duration of our visits was probably for her sake)—sometimes preferred in her dotage over asking out into the Canadian winter. Quite undeterred by the sticky and/or stinky patches, I managed to clearly formulate the concept of a "decision procedure" and that such a thing could be unambiguously specified; furthermore, I worked out (at first empirically) that the greedy algorithm was provably not optimal for Klondike (for me at that time, all Solitaire was just "Solitaire", though I knew several).

At age ten, the boundary between empiricism and proof is still a fuzzy one.

In grade five, I spent a lot of time (by myself) trying to puzzle out the rate-limiting step in long-hand square root. I had by then also discovered E=IR and P=IE. Pretty soon I had determined that this generates 4 choose 1 times 4 choose 2 simple algebraic forms. But for an entire painful week, some kind of thick cloud entered my brain and I couldn't reliably write all the forms down without a lot of mucking around; this I knew to be completely bogus, and a permanent blot on my record. By the time the cloud passed, I was pretty good at substitution and gathering. Later, when I first encountered a matrix (don't recall), I immediately went to myself "oh, that's just algebra, better organized". At least something stuck.

Now, during this entire period of my life, I was in a constant state of deeply repressed rage about this thing called "school", with all the inherent stimulation of Puss Puss waiting out the daily bedtime / ultimate final departure of the grandchildren (geriatric cat yay!) from the furthest dark remove under the master bed.

Grade six came as a shock. For the first time I experienced a math teacher who believed in letting kids learn at their own natural rate. He quickly put four of us a private work program. We could go as fast as we wanted, but the rule was we had to do all of the tedious exercises at the end of every chapter. Many of these exercises were heavy on the pencil work, so I only made it through grades six, seven, eight, and nine. My fingers put in about 90% of the work (this is not actually a bad thing), and my brain put in the other 10% (this being 100 times more than 0.1%). Awesome!

So I was armed, locked, and loaded for bear when I showed up at the beginning of grade seven. I figured I could knock off ten, eleven, twelve by Easter, and still have a month left over for real math at long last.

Problem: my grade seven teacher thought my purpose in life was to sit enthralled by his boring lectures. Shields up! I don't recall a single thing he wrote on the board in math class the entire year, and I just sat there doing stupid pet tricks with numbers—no useful development whatsoever.

So eventually that year we have this weird event day outdoors, and one of the girls has been asked to demonstrate her figure skating. She was jumping! And spinning! And throwing one of her legs around without falling down! (On skates, I was still working my way from three legs to two.) Wow! Some adult somewhere actually gives a shit about her natural abilities, and gives her not only the opportunity, but also coaching, and even a pat on the back. How is this possible?

That was the day I realized I was a tent-camp refugee in the world of math phobia.

By this point, whatever natural ability I had was on a fast track to nowhere. My the miracle of moving from one province (relatively good school system) to another (not so good school system), it turns out that my grade nine school year is spent repeating my grade eight school year. Back in grade six, the grade-nine math book had only challenged my pencil, and this was now my third tour of duty.

My grade nine math teacher surely recognized that I was paying him 1% of my full attention, out of 1% of one corner of one eye. Sometime mid-year, I hear from a classmate that there's this thing called a "math competition". "Oh," I said, waking up from a long coma. "That might almost be interesting." Later that day I go up to my math teacher (this being our longest point of contact for the entire year) and say "I heard there's this math competition thing." He says, "there's no point bothering, you wouldn't be good at it." He wouldn't even tell me the room where it was held. Revenge? Or just a cockroach sucker?

Funny he should think that. Two years after my parents finally wake up and send me to a private school, I was ranked nationally. This after a four year hiatus with my parking brake engaged. So, while this is a story about opportunity wasted, it's not a story about being ruined—you can only be ruined if you let it happen.

But what did happen is that my ability, under my random self-tutelage, folded back in on itself. Lacking a curated challenge, I posed my own quirky challenges, and I spent a lot of time thinking about myself thinking about myself. I became very good at thinking about myself, and I finally matured into an adroit, adept, meta-cognitive gadfly. Substance about substance, not anchored to substance.

No worries. I figure this will all pay off at some point in my seventies, when the world is adrift with cognitive agents. "Somebody ... please! ... is there meta-cognitive specialist in the house? Our pets are running wild!" Well, had my early education gone a little differently (you know, with any structure at all), I could now be the guy building the metacognitive agents, instead of cooling my jets sitting around waiting to fix them.

Whatever. It all works out in the end.

Comment Re:Management structure and meritocracy (Score 1, Insightful) 271

what I read about their diversity and social impact team would certainly be enough to make me run, screaming

It's fundamentally driven by the desire of the VCs to establish a broader and ultimately cheaper labour pool, so they've hired themselves an SJJ (social justice jihadist)—white males not allowed to participate—to advance the backroom bigbucks cause of white-male sticker shock under the false flag of her own sincere yet progressive-at-any-cost value system.

Comment don't look down, coyote (Score 1) 334

At this point power consumption matters a heck of a lot more for ubiquity than pure performance gains.

I'm sure the fire-breathing dragster edition of current silicon technology (with a pin count to match) will continue to exist at an upscale price for those willing to pay for it.

That uncomfortable rush in your stomach? It's from clinging to yesterday.

Comment so self-inflicted it isn't funny (Score 3, Interesting) 48

The stupid thing is that C++ name mangling would already catch this problem at link time, and every modern C/C++ compiler already has code to support this, except that it's only activated for the much loved/unloved function overloading.

If GCC/clang in C mode generated mangled names into object files when compiling C programs (as purely informative records), the linker could diagnose this kind of problem as optional linkage errors—mighty darn useful, optional linkage errors.

This is a violation of the type system pure and simple, but one that doesn't compromise any specific compilation unit. That leaves the linker as the next line of defense, but like to keep our C linkers in dark boxes full of trust-me horse shit.

Comment Re:OT Re:legalism is a crap philosophy. (Score 1) 580

the energy of a collision

Yes, but the energy/time (power) goes up closer to the cube, because the delta_t smunch (for a head-on collision, or large solid object) also diminishes with impact velocity (though, like a memristor, you can work up counterexamples).

Like the modern-day paleolithic societies that can only count "one, two, many" it goes "linear, quadratic, exponential" in the vocabulary of most STEM fugitives.

Comment three suggestions (Score 1) 1830

Story title (large font):

CDC: 1 In 10 Adult Deaths In US Caused By Excessive Drinking

The little statistical nodule in my brain that filters credible claims instantly exploded at first glance. Went off to fetch the long-handled mop so I could clean the ceiling, and for that reason I didn't even notice the three half-cap prepositions (does that almost count as shouting?)

First line of story (smaller font):

According to new research from the CDC, 9.8% of deaths in working-age adults (22-64 years old) in the U.S. from 2006 to 2010 were "attributable to excessive drinking." [my emph.]

If you've read anything about the average person's powers of mental discernment, you would know the the patently absurd title does a lot of subconscious damage. It's too freaking late to correct this a sentence later.

Now a few dud stories will probably make it through the firehose no matter what, but we really need some kind of moderation on the stories themselves once posted so that they can be down-voted to "-5 patently absurd" such as this particular submission warranted.

Another thing I would like is to have the subject line character limit increased by another ten characters or so. I've had many perfect subject lines ruined by the current parsimonious limit—and it's always by less than ten characters.

Oh, yes, and the hot pink "cat got your tongue?" dunning should actually show the preview which I might perhaps be using to look over what I've just written to find out whether any subject matter materialized out of my verbal fog, or not.

Comment a bad case of the vbvbs (Score 1, Funny) 315

but the market share numbers are what they are


When words cease to mean what they were intended or traditionally understood to mean, people with working brains find a new lexicon. We have a name for language that continues to circulate at the hands of the disengaged: cliche.

If the minds of the disengaged have any taste (lazy though it be, to be sure) they stock their cliche pantry with Shakespearean cliche. What the hell is a "salad day" anyway? Doesn't matter. The Bard didn't become the Bard by coining phrases that later flip tits up and float to the top of the scum pond, there to rot in the hot afternoon sun.

"Market share" is a phrase created by bean counters, subtype "venal" and is in fact principally circulated by the venal beancounter's venal beancounter: advertising men.

For example, my household is probably numbed among the vbvb as a "cable cutter", this though I have not resided anywhere with a working cable service for nearly thirty years, and that was an entire four month term at university, before which my family used this contraption called an "antenna", the kind you could see from the other side of the valley. A large, rusty pipe wrench lived full time at the bottom of the pole, seeing as, weather permitting, we could sometimes pick up Bellingham, and thereby upgrade in a scandalous moment from The Beachcombers to The Love Boat. David Suzuki on The Nature of Things would soon wrench us back to our senses, such being the paucity of science coverage in those times, good bad or ugly (Suzuki being a uneven trail mix I tended to score as "all of the above").

By this point in my young life I had passed judgement on television as mode of knowing shit about anything, hence the my thirty years in the un-television wilderness (and counting).

Nevertheless, to a moral certainty, I am surely categorized as a "cable cutter" (hey, we didn't say when).

Yes, those fucking vbvbs. We all know the drill.

Microsoft 10's "market share" is a fresh, tender patty of the same basic construction, whose turbid run off is additionally clouded by the chocolate-flavoured Ex-Lax served up by Windows Update.

Secondly, there is a key point to understand about how vbvbs do basic arithmetic.

Those least able to shuffle off the mortal coil of an undesired Windows 10 upgrade are the most important people to count. Your value in this pendant statistic is inversely proportional to your capacity to successfully wipe your own ass. These people are everything you want in a community of unwitting Guinea pigs to beta test suspect patches you are withholding from enterprise (tetchy, uptight people who actually know the difference and who, like Gandalf, only lose their shit precisely when and where they mean to).

Which brings us to "caveat emptor", the original market creed, and durable cliche of the highest Imperial coinage.

Let's suppose in Roman times you buy a pig in a poke. You take it home, release it from the bag—no surprise to you, since you checked carefully, it really is a baby piglet of sound mind & body—and you feed it the many different kinds of root vegetables that were not yet regarded as fit for human consumption, until the bacon is practically hanging in folds from its oversized rump. Then one dark and rainy night, a woman next door with more than the socially acceptable number of facial warts and moles twitches her nose and your domestic pig metamorphs inside your dwelling into a 600-lb toadstool (one with no prominent swollen bulboe labelled "drink me" to reserve the spell).

I am a great deal more than pretty much certain—one does not bet upon the Roman character lightly—that to the Roman mind, this scenario goes a great deal past caveat emptor, and well into lynch mob territory.

A "market" is a human institution where the receiver of the goods makes a dangerous but informed decision and then lives with the consequences. Once the stressful act of consent is drained from the story (replaced by a bagged and flagging Red Queen's eternal vigilance of non-consent, but I digress) so too is the concept of "market" drained from the phrase "market share".

Funny how I've never heard the CDC use the phrase "market share" to describe the latest flu epidemic. So it does seem possible to name phenomena by their inherent nature, to cut the fat cable of cliche and keep it cut over the course of decades.

In that group of cable cutters, count me in.

Comment Re:Well, here's the insight that Orwell missed. (Score 2) 59

Good thing the 0.01% are thinking ahead and managed to unanimously ratify a covert treaty spelling out precisely how to divvy up among themselves the spoils sprout.

Otherwise, the fertile soil could turn into dense, tangled jungle underbrush instead of trusting up a solitary Mallorn tree fruiting at its spire a great, flaming eagle, as this narrative assumes and requires.

Comment there's a new porn in town (Score 1) 250

I just saw "SJW" for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and already I'm seeing it everywhere.

As 1968 began to ebb into 1969, however, and as "anticlimax" began to become a real word in my lexicon, another term began to obtrude itself. People began to intone the words "The Personal Is Political". At the instant that I first heard this deadly expression, I knew as one does from the utterance of any sinister bullshit that it was — cliche is arguably forgiveable here — very bad news. From now on, it would be enough to a member of a sex or gender, or epidermal subdivision, or even erotic "preference", to qualify as a revolutionary. In order to begin a speech or ask a question from the floor, all that would be necessary by way of preface would be the words, "Speaking as a ..." Then could follow any self-loving description.

(I cribbed this passage from "The personal is political" — some thoughts from Christopher Hitchens).

Concerning "SJW", I can't say I've experienced an instantaneous revulsion of this magnitude for a long time. It's the Roundup Ready MRE of smug snivellers. Move over smut, there's a new porn in town.

Comment Re:What's the deal... (Score 1) 262

When's the last time you watched a Hockey, Basketball, or Football game (of either kind) without seeing a penalty? Those guys cheat constantly.

Penalties and cheating in the NHL have a small area of overlap.

Puck over glass is a penalty. No-one thinks of this as cheating. It's more like a fumble under the current rules.

Most obstruction penalties are simply accepted as the defensive measure of last resort.

Using an illegal stick is actual cheating. Maybe a player or two a year gets busted for his.

I personally consider diving or dropping your stick to draw a holding penalty when the opposing player barely touched it as 90% cheating.

The spectrum of offences concerning miscalibrated aggression levels are part of the sport. It simply couldn't be the same sport if this was handled differently.

So, no, they don't cheat constantly. Not even close.

Comment no winners here (Score 2) 104

Lost in all of this is that he might actually have been a strong appointment and done a good job in this role. Capable people with a golden Rolodex who are willing to work for quasi non-profits don't grow on trees.

What I couldn't stomach was his having made no public statement about where he now stands on his past behaviour, and that's how I registered my own opinion in the Wikipedia straw poll. This was for me 90% communication failure. I guess I kind of take it for granted that unethical behaviour among the upper echelons of the minions of the captains of industry goes with the territory.

No doubt there's a good reason the invisible hand won't show its face. Shame, mainly, it seems to me.

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