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Comment: Re:Not surprised (Score 4, Insightful) 127 127

by Rei (#50015665) Attached to: Uber France Leaders Arrested For Running Illegal Taxi Company

Uber drivers are subsidized by everybody else. Taxi drivers have to pay high insurance rates because the act of driving a long distance every day for a ton of strangers is a job that inherently leads to a much higher statistical rate of payouts. If they're driving as a taxi on regular car insurance, it's you that's paying the bill for their swindle of the insurance system.

Comment: Re:C# Java; MSFT Oracle (Score 1) 133 133

by MightyMartian (#50015639) Attached to: SCOTUS Denies Google's Request To Appeal Oracle API Case

Because moving from one proprietary language/library ecosystem to another proprietary language/library ecosystem is somehow an improvement.

Fuck them both. We have truly open ecosystems like C++, and I would encourage any sensible developer going forward to move away from the likes of Java and the .NET ecosystems, now that the Supreme Court has essentially turned them into perpetual litigation machines.

Comment: Re:Fucking Lawyers (Score 1) 133 133

by MightyMartian (#50015223) Attached to: SCOTUS Denies Google's Request To Appeal Oracle API Case

But cleanroom implementations are meaningless if copyright can be asserted over the API. Clean room implementations only work because it has been generally understood that an API itself is essentially a directory listing, like a phone book, that in and of itself does not constitute some sort of creative work. Before the Oracle case, it was assumed that it was the code itself that constituted the intellectual property. But that is now apparently no longer true, and thus the Win32 API has gained the same level of protection as the source code.

If this stands, and is not corrected either by a lower court or by Congress, no one will every try a clean room implementation of any non-free library again, because there's a real likelihood that you would find yourself sued into oblivion for breach of copyright.

Wine may be safe because MS is being constrained by future potential anti-competitive suits, and of course Samba is protected because of a deal cut with the EU. But from this day foreward, clean room implementation of proprietary APIs, and I assume any other software spec (document format, communications protocol, etc.) will have absolutely no protection under the law.

Comment: Re:The "glow in the dark" thing (Score 1) 209 209

by serviscope_minor (#50014917) Attached to: Bill Gates Investing $2 Billion In Renewables

BUT people remember the "spikes" of accidents such as 3-Mile-Island.

Which just goes to show that people are beyod terrible at estimating risk. It's something like the third worse nuclear powerplant accident ever and no one died and very little leaked and pretty much all trace of that has gone. In the greater scheme of incidents involved in power generation, that's somewhere approching negative.

We probably have to just live with that fact unless somebody invents breakthrough persuasion technology.

Preach it, brother.

Comment: Re: Oracle is GPLd now, then. (Score 1) 133 133

by MightyMartian (#50014651) Attached to: SCOTUS Denies Google's Request To Appeal Oracle API Case

It certainly is looking that way, but there is the whole notion that what amount to call tables can be copyrighted. What the supreme Court has done here is basically unravel the common understanding of the difference between spec and implementation, and if Java is the most obviously vulnerable, in a very real way it means any number of APIs that have been re-implemented (like the standard *nix set of system calls) could suddenly be plunged into a purgatory-like nether world. I made vulgar jokes about using stdio.h in C programs, but that's the real question. Considering that in many cases header files and libraries whose origins go back decades in many different languages and on many different architectures could become low-hanging fruit, and since copyrights are in most industrialized countries are essentially perpetual now, big software houses now have a far better club to beat competitors with than patents.

Do you think another Samba or Wine project could happen if the lower courts rule for Oracle? Who would be crazy enough to even try?

Comment: Re:Bell Labs (Score 1) 133 133

by MightyMartian (#50014541) Attached to: SCOTUS Denies Google's Request To Appeal Oracle API Case

Fucking hell, I guess I'm utterly fucked, because pretty much every C program I've ever written includes #include <stdio>. Here I thought I was invoking a free and open set of library functions passed on down since the 1970s, and now it turns out I've been stealing someone's hard work in creating a standard set of functional calls. I'm dirty fucking thief.

Comment: Re:Fails to grasp the core concept (Score 1) 194 194

by serviscope_minor (#50014347) Attached to: WSJ Overstates the Case Of the Testy A.I.

It's not tautology. One could come up with flawed definitions which preclude computers. If for example you defined learning in terms of physical neurons or chemical changes, for example.

You don't have to avoid the brain as reference, but if your definition of learning is too specific, then it becomes rather circular.

So anyway, do you have a definition of learning?

Comment: Re:Renewable versus fossil - where is nuclear? (Score 0) 209 209

by mbkennel (#50013927) Attached to: Bill Gates Investing $2 Billion In Renewables
| On the other hand, $2bn in renewables will have a measurable effect.

But only incremental progress, not breakthrough, because you're profoundly limited by laws of thermodynamics & energy/entropy density.

There's no Moore's law for energy. Less is less, not more.

In the 1960's when microelectronic chips started, the state of the technology was many orders of magnitude away from the fundamental limits, i.e. the size of the atoms. There was tremendous unused headroom to grow into. {now those limits are starting to bite}.

In energy that wasn't the case and still isn't.

Comment: Re:you never hear of having USN nuclear problems (Score 1) 209 209

by mbkennel (#50013899) Attached to: Bill Gates Investing $2 Billion In Renewables
| It has never been possible for privately owned terrestrial nuclear power plants to make a profit. NOT EVER. This is an independently verifiable stone cold FACT

Sure, because it's competing against coal and gas which pass their externalities of wrecking the planetary ecosystem at zero cost to everybody else and their descendants.

If coal and gas had to sequester their output as much as nuclear, nuclear would obviously be cheapest because it's much easier to capture a small amount of solid waste instead of immense amounts of gas.

Comment: Re:Kids don't understand sparse arrays (Score 2) 116 116

I think the poster above clearly understood the problem domain, in that the most common uses for "sparse array" is a "sparse matrix" for numerical computations.

And moreover, as is the case, the problem domain of matrix computations is known to be deep and problem-dependent, with a wide variety of representations and solution categories.

| But by all means, go ahead and implement your own formats for each of the various types of sparse matrices you are likely to encounter. Then optimize operations for each. Then implement complex algebra (eigenvalues, svd, QR, the works). In the end, hope that your brand spanking new wheel has no corners and works for enough use cases to justify not employing a standardized wheel. A smarter person than me said something along the lines of premature optimization and evils, but I suppose it does not apply to your brand of genius.

I see an unjustified insult against the previous poster.

The various cases and solvers have already been implemented in many important software packages for different domains, and given the centrality of matrix operations in high performance computing, this is not a premature optimization but rather the essential, core implementation and algorithmic optimization flowing from the proper mathematical treatment of the problem.

And his point was not at all to re-do everything yourself, but to be aware that there are in fact many varieties of sparse matrices in various settings and that this is not just a software-abstraction problem but a key mathematical problem, and there is no simple over-arching software abstraction that works well universally. The post described well-established problem domains with high-quality solutions.

Simply being aware of this not-always obvious fact is an example of scientific maturity.

"It is better for civilization to be going down the drain than to be coming up it." -- Henry Allen