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Comment Re:Translation ... (Score 1) 92

From the fine article:

Dzurak noted that that the team had recently "patented a design for a full-scale quantum computer chip that would allow for millions of our qubits, all doing the types of calculations that we've just experimentally demonstrated."

He said that a key next step for the project is to identify the right industry partners to work with to manufacture the full-scale quantum processor chip.

ISTM that if you want to find the right industry partners and avoid a lot of "it can't be done" BS, there are worse ways than first publishing a paper in a prestigious journal.

Comment Translation ... (Score 4, Interesting) 92

The real problem with quantum computers is noise and decoherence. To make a practical quantum computer you need three things:

1) Qubits thare are very loosely coupled with the environment so they have a long decoherence time
2) A way of coupling these qubits to each other without destroying (1).
3) A way of reading from and writing to qubits without destroying (1) or (2).

I *think* this paper claims to have solved (2) and (3). I believe (1) had previously been solved by the use of electron spin with atoms of Silicon-28 which this paper uses as well. Do a search for "qubit silicon 28". I think a saw a measured decoherence time of 200 microseconds. This would mean that a calcuation would need to be completed in well under this time in order to not get swamped out by noise from the environment.

Comment A clash of cultures -- The LKML is not Intel (Score 3, Insightful) 920

A clash of cultures -- The LKML is not Intel

This is an interesting conflict. A group of people find the LKML culture to be toxic to such an extent that they decide to stop participating in it. The question is: should the LKML culture change to accommodate them?

I don't see any easy answers. Many people agree that Casablanca was a great film. At the time it was being made, the people involved thought it was just another film. We don't know what magic ingredients caused that film to be great. There is no known recipe to reproduce that greatness.

The Intel culture has produced some fabulous things. It has been at the forefront of exponential growth in digital electronics for decades. But there are many things that culture is not good at creating. Operating systems that run on their hardware, for example. Likewise, Google bought Motorola Mobility in 2011 but ended up selling it at a loss three years later. The Google culture was really good at many things but making smartphones was not one of them.

The Linux kernel is unique and like the movie Casablanca we just don't know what combination of elements caused it to be so great. We have no recipe for making another OS like Linux. This is not from lack of trying. The question is: should we try to change the culture on LKML in order to make it appear less toxic to a group of people? Are the parts of the culture that seem toxic to some people part of the magic that has made Linux so successful? We just don't know.

If I was king of the world and everyone ultimately answered to me then I would let Linus decide if he wants to change the LKML or not. I don't think anyone knows why the LKML consistently make good kernels the same way Intel consistently makes good hardware. The person who knows it best is Linus. I would trust his gut instinct of what to do about changing the culture he has created. If I was forced to decide then I would tell him to keep doing what he has been doing because, for me, the quality of the kernel is far more important than a group of people finding the LKML culture toxic.

Of course there has to be a line drawn somewhere. For example if the LKML required ritual human sacrifices, that would be totally unacceptable. Any forms of physical violence would be unacceptable, even forms of hate speech would be unacceptable. For me, a group of people who can't work with the kernel because they find the environment toxic does not cross the line. If it was a large fraction of the developers then it would be a problem. If I saw instances that were particularly egregious then that would be a problem too.

There are many work environments that people would find much more toxic than the LKML. Commercial fishing is one obvious example. I think the vast majority of people (at least from the first world) would find working as a commercial fisherman to be toxic, intolerable, and probably impossible. This does not necessarily mean commercial fishing needs to change in order have a less toxic work environment. The obvious solution has already been implemented: if you don't want to be a commercial fisherman then don't be one.

Perhaps the same obvious solution has been found here was well. I think it is good that this issue is brought up every now and then. It gives Linus a chance to see if he thinks the LKML culture needs to change. But I don't see any reason for the LKML to be all inclusive. I think it would be fine if it were a mostly all whiteboys club (I don't know if it is) as long as there is no discrimination based on gender or race instead of actions. If it works and you don't know how or why it works then don't fix it.

Comment Re:How is this paid for? (Score 2) 1291

GP said:

You want paid work because you want more than whatever plain rice you'd be able to afford surviving on a basic income.

Parent responded:

[...] what if the basic income was just enough to keep me comfortable with a plot of land and a small home?

So the question seems to boil down to: what happens if the basic income level allows you to live very comfortably so there is no monetary incentive to work?

1) In most places in the US, even in the rural southwest, a plot of land and a small home are not cheap. Unless you already owned them, you could probably not afford them on a basic income.

2) Prices will get set by supply and demand. Even if the price for a comfortable small home and plot of land starts out in range of those with a basic income, it will soon move out of that range.

3) Few people are content with having just enough to get by. We currently live in a very materialistic and consumerist society. Unless our society changes drastically, very few people will be content with just getting by. If you can pare down your material desires and live a very simple life then more power to you!

4) The question seems to be founded on one of the most basic premises of capitalism: that acquisition and monetization are almost the sole forms of motivation. IOW, if people don't have to work to stay alive and comfortable then they won't work.

I've known many people who have not been forced to work for a living. Some of them have been independently wealthy. Some of them have been living off of pensions or disability payments. NOT A SINGLE ONE of them has been content to sit back and do nothing useful for society. Every one of them has tried to contribute back to society. If a basic income frees up people so they can choose how they want to give back to society then the world will be a much better place than if people were forced to do demeaning, menial labor to survive.

Comment Re:One hopes (Score 1) 403

I do believe that many of them are honourable people, but their viewpoint has become so skewed by the corporate culture that they have lost touch with reality ...

Even though Lois McMaster Bujold said:

Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself.

for me it is too big of a stretch to call self-deluded people honorable because if we do then very few people will be dishonorable. Almost all of us are the hero in our own movie. People who do horrible things because they believe ends justifies means would all be honorable. Many psychopaths (including most CEOs) would be honorably. Self-deluded dictators and tyrants would be honorable. Most people suffering from hubris would honorable.

For me, honor is not totally relative based entirely on one's own self-perception. In fact, I think if you start to look closely, hubris and self-deception are the most common causes for people to act dishonorably. I admit there are honorable acts in some culture may be considered to be dishonorable in other cultures. One example of this is ritual suicide.

Please don't use self-deception to excuse vile acts. Pragmatically, the self-deluded are more difficult to deal with than people who have a clear view of reality and are intentionally evil.

Comment antiX Linux is a systemd-free Debian derivative (Score 1) 747

[...] the only way to avoid it [systemd] is to either run old distros or some other OS entirely.

A third option is to use a newer distro that does not use systemd. I run a Gentoo system that does not use systemd. You can also get up-to-date Debian based distros such as antiX Linux which don't use systemd. I imagine these are not the only options.

Comment Re:Startup management subsystem (Score 1) 416

Isn't that an argument that everything should be written in shell script?

I don't think so. There are many many things that are better off *not* written in shell script, even for sysadmins. Compilers and interpreters come to mind.

I think it is more of an argument for using the right tool for the job. And the right tool will depend very heavily on the role you are playing. I think this is partly why there is such strong disagreement over the value of systemd. From a purely user perspective where everything is assumed to be working properly (or it is someone else's problem) then it is great. The same can be said of Microsoft offerings. But if you are coming at it from the sysadmin side then you might want something that is easier to understand and debug and fix. The init system has to have a lot of glue because it has to start up services from a lot of different code bases. There is a lot in favor of having this glue in a simple language that is easier to understand and fix. Systemd makes more sense for commodity, user-oriented devices. It makes very little sense on servers.

IIRC, this is similar to what Linus said about systemd. He said that as a user he liked it and didn't have problems with it but he did run into problems when interacting with the systemd developers.

Comment Re:Startup management subsystem (Score 4, Interesting) 416

I'd rather have a system that does it better without having to resort to scripts all over the place to make up for deficiencies in the system.

You seem to be making the tacit assumption that everything works perfectly. If I am debugging a system then I would much prefer to deal with scripts (usually all in one place or otherwise easily found) than have to try to debug C and C++ code and XML schema. See Theodore Ts'o comments that were linked to above.

It reminds of me dealing with Microsoft systems (many years ago from the NT days, maybe they have changed since then). *IF* everything works pefectly then it is fine but as soon as you are in the mode of tracking down problems then it becomes a nightmare. This is why I made the switch from Windows-NT to Linux when I was doing sysadmin at a university. If I wanted to use a system that was like that then I would use Windows. This tacit assumption that the system was designed perfectly so there is no need for any intervention is one of the reason people don't want to give up init scripts on their Linux systems and replace them with systemd.

Comment Link to whitepaper is broken (Score 4, Informative) 90

In his second to last answer Kim Dotcom says:

I want to win this fight for all of us. To anyone who is interested in this case I recommend that you read this documentto [sic] understand the corruption behind the mercenary law enforcement action that led to the destruction of Megaupload.

That link just brings me back to this Slashdot page. I believe the correct URL for the whitepaper is

Comment Re:The /. title is bullshit (Score 1) 518

Yes, I agree it is highly suspicious that the predictions are down in the noise level in any test conditions that can be reasonably obtainable in an existing laboratory. That is one of the reasons I am so highly skeptical of there being any actual effect. One thing is certain, if there is an effect then it is so small it is very difficult to measure when the device is powered with a 700 watt magnetron. Basically, they produced enough lift to levitate a snowflake. Also, please remember that the first results from China were orders of magnitude greater than what was measured here so we also know that those first results were completely bogus.

The /. title is still BS. Results that warrant further investigation (which is a boiler-plate phrase used in a vast number of research papers) is very different from results that confirm an effect. It is usually very bad from to not include such a phrase because by omitting it you make it more difficult to get further research funding.

Comment The /. title is bullshit (Score 5, Informative) 518

Here is the first page of the actual paper, including the abstract which says:

Our test campaign can not confirm or refute the claims of the EMDrive but intends to independently assess possible side-effects in the measurement methods used so far.

So the /. title says pretty much the exact opposite of what the actual paper says.

I am still extremely skeptical that there is any actual effect. They powered their device with a 700 watt magnatron and measured plus or minus 20 micro-newtons of thrust. To put this in perspective, one Newton is roughly the weight of an apple near the surface of the Earth. If the thrust scales linearally with input power then you would need 50,000 x 700 Watts = 35 Megawatts to levitate a single apple. Of course the inventor claims that the thrust to power ratio is highly non-linear so at these higher power levels you would get a lot more thrust. I have not seen any sensible theoretical model that explains why this would be so.

If you are using hundreds of watts to produce a handful of micro-newtons then it is extremely likely there is no actual effect and what is being measured is just some form of noise. This is especially true when the so-called effect violates a primary law of physics.

"It's like deja vu all over again." -- Yogi Berra