Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment: Fraud (Score 2) 518

by Baldrson (#48678413) Attached to: Paul Graham: Let the Other 95% of Great Programmers In

Graham pretends that there hasn't been massive fraud in guest worker visas.

Why should anyone pay any attention to him on the issue of immigration at all?

The abuses of immigration statutes mean one thing and one thing only: Shut down immigration and repatriate those that were let in during the period of systemic fraud -- then after we've put our own house in order to a level of prudence commensurate with the history of fraud in this area, reconsider.

+ - Bill Gates Sponsoring Palladium-Based LENR Technology-> 1

Submitted by Baldrson
Baldrson (78598) writes " reports that: "Low energy nuclear reactor (LENR) technology, and by extension palladium, is attracting the attention of one of the richest men in the world and a pioneer inventor of new technology... In a recent visit to Italy, billionaire business man, investor and inventor Bill Gates said that for several years he has been a believer in the idea of LENR, and is a sponsor of companies developing the technology... During his trip to Italy he visited the national agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable economic development (ENEA) where scientists have made significant progress towards a working design for low energy nuclear fusion. The centerpiece of their design is the same as in Mitsubishi’s: palladium. Creating palladium foil with just the right parameters, and managing stress levels in the material was a key issue, one that the researchers at EMEA were able to resolve several years ago." This is controversial to say the least. For example one of the first (1994) Idea Futures claims was that a palladium cold fusion device could produce even a small fraction of that claimed by many researchers over the last quarter century. That claim is presently selling at 2% odds and the judgement deadline is next week."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Computer history rambles and what might have be (Score 1) 623

by Baldrson (#48654475) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Thanks for the links to Norris's papers. I had attempted to gain access to those when I visited the Twin Cities a few years back -- as they were part of the UMN Norris archives -- but they kept worse than bankers' hours so I wasn't able to gain access to them during that visit.

In particular the long-lost paper "Back to the Countryside Via Technology" by William C. Norris, then CEO of Control Data Corporation, January 1978, was what I recalled. It delves into some of his vision for the PLATO network as a way of preserving the Nation of Settlers against the onslaughts of urbanization (and what has turned out to be a resulting demographic catastrophy in loss of total fertility rates among the baby boom generation).

Norris was one of my inspirations for county currency, as well as my early promotion of mass market computer networks. Sadly, perhaps even tragically, I did not get through his middle management at CDC to Norris about the mass market version of PLATO a group of us young engineers had demonstrated right under his nose at CDC circa 1980. The world might have been a very different place. It is my greatest professional regret that I didn't just barge into his office and chain myself to a door to get his attention.

Comment: Re:Basic Income vs. Copyrights & Patents (Score 1) 623

by Baldrson (#48649607) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

The approach of replacing net asset taxation with what amounts to property insurance is a good one and indeed one I've suggested as part of an anarcho-capitalist model for government as mutual insurance company (ala Lysander Spooner). The basic income then becomes, literally, a dividend to the shareholders in the mutual insurance company -- which maintains defense of national territory as the foundation for all other property.

As for intellectual property, there are genuinely heroic inventions that need to be rewarded because technology development is damn expensive and money needs to be placed in the hands of proven inventors. The problem is patents are the _only_ asset that is de facto taxed by the Federal government -- when it should be the only asset that is _exempt_, if any. Moreover, the legal fees of maintaining filings world-wide should be picked up as a natural security measure -- as well as defending intellectual property as though it were sovereign territory. Finally, the standard of "non-obviousness" needs to be much more strictly enforced to prohibit patent trolls. For instance, I don't consider my invention of the massively multiplayer first person shooter 3D game to be particularly heroic or "non-obvious", which is why I've never made a big deal about not receiving much in the way of royalties from the follow-on industry. It was something that was bound to happen one way or another as more people got their hands on computers with graphics and networking capability.

On the other hand, probably the most pathological example of intellectual property in history is MS-DOS, so you cite it at length for good reason. However, if the property value assessment is, as I have often suggested, a market-based liquidation value, from virtually the moment that IBM made the decision to distribute MS-DOS with their 4.77MHz 8088 PC, the tax rate on Bill Gates would have been so great that he would have had to very quickly sold MS-DOS to some legal person that had at least as great a vision for the future of operating systems as DRI.

There were a number of operating systems around at that time but few that would run on the 8086/8088 hardware. One with multitasking was the iRMX86 OSsupplied by Intel with its 8086/8088 chips for real time development. I don't know how or why they overlooked that. My suspicion is that the real reason they chose MS-DOS was that Bill Gates's mother had direct contacts with the IBM board of directors.

If that's the case, it would make me feel quite a bit better about my decision to abandon development of an 8086/8088 OS -- a development that started before the first silicon was shipped while I was at the PLATO project where we modified the CDC Cyber COMPASS assembler to produce the instructions documented on the preliminary datasheets, and execute on an emulator running on the Cyber 6500 during off-hours.

The reason I initiated that project, with some of the PLATO system programmers (Ray Ozzie was a system programmer at PLATO but was consumed by his work on the Z80 firmware) was that I foresaw the horror of a bad operating system becoming the network-effect atop Moore's Law, and wanted to head it off. Others, primarily Steve Freyder, agreed and pitched in.

It was obvious to me that whoever got the critical mass OS for that platform would have a natural monopoly and lock out competition -- including superior operating systems.

I abandoned that project only because Mike Pavloff at Control Data HQ offered me a position at the Arden Hills Operations where I could pursue a mass market version of the PLATO network which would have, using Ozzie's Z80 firmware, bypassed the personal computer era entirely with a Mac-like UI and built-in 1200bps modem starting in 1981 with a monthly service charge of $40/month including "terminal" rental. We had that system benchmarked out at a scale that could have deployed nation wide late in 1979, but Wall Street analysts smelled blood and were ripping Bill Norris (the Nebraska farm boy that founded CDC with Seymour Cray) limb from limb due to his billion dollar investment in PLATO. CDC middle management mutinied and reneged on their agreement to let me pursue a mass market
version of PLATO. I fled CDC and tried to revive something similar at Knight-Rider's joint venture with AT&T, but that is another story.

Suffice to say, when I saw MS-DOS I knew a horror had been unleashed and that Gates would become extremely wealthy.

If Freyder and I had been able to, somehow, beat Gates's mother and get our OS distributed by IBM, do I think I would have deserved to be the world's richest man? Hell NO! I consider my foresight to be no more than the ability to identify a bottleneck in the trade routes of Moore's Law that, if one could occupy, one could extract an enormous revenue stream from; and if my position on net asset taxation hasn't made it clear that I would not consider such foresight to be a "creative spark", I don't know what would.

Comment: Re:Communism (Score 1) 623

by Baldrson (#48642735) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

You are correct to point out the similarity between the failure mode of capitalism and communism as being central control by corporation vs central control by government. But this is precisely the argument for why basic income is a solution to both.

You're correct in another way that needs some elaboration, because on the face of it you are dead wrong:

The demographic transitio, in which total fertility rates fall below replacement rate as women are given independence by economic development, is a powerful force for zero population growth, as can be seen in this GapMinder animation of TFR vs per capita income by country through time. If one relies on such data, one can see that overpopulation is not a problem (although race replacement of non-African countries by African countries will obtain due to liberal immigration policies into the future).

However, income as TFR suppression, must be seen for what it is: A kind of antibiotic targeting human fertility.

Viewed in this way, once the world has been Africanized and has a TFR below replacement rate, subpopulations that are immune to the antibiotic will emerge with very high TFRs.

So, yes, fertility controls will eventually become critical, since the biosphere is a two-dimensional surface and exponentiation is hyperdimensional, but this is true regardless of the political economy in place.

Comment: A Transition Policy (Score 4, Interesting) 623

by Baldrson (#48642569) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

My suggestion for a transition policy, which I set forth in a 1992 paper titled "A Net Asset Tax Based On The Net Present Value Calculation and Market Democracy" was to cease taxing economic activity and, instead, tax net assets beyond bankruptcy protection of home and tools of the trade, and use the funds to pay out an unconditional basic income aka "citizen's dividend", thereby doing away with most of the present functions of government including not only the welfare state but also the need for burdensome regulatory agencies (that are subject to capture). Part of the problem here, of course, is the notion of "citizen" vs "non-citizen", but that is a far lesser problem than massive unemployment and hyper-centralization of net assets.

Quoting from that paper:

The government should tax net assets, in excess of levels typically protected under personal bankruptcy, at a rate equal to the rate of interest on the national debt, thereby eliminating other forms of taxation. Creator-owned intellectual property should be exempt.


With the exception of basic functions of government and the pay down of debt, the government budget should be dispersed to citizens as cash, rather than being spent in government programs or even limited in the form of vouchers. This is "market democracy" in which the citizens and their markets, rather than central planning and politics, influence the selection of goods and services to be capitalized and provided.

Comment: Re:Wildly premature question (Score 1) 81

by Bruce Perens (#48620117) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

If we look at jet aircraft, wear depends on the airframe and the engines, and the airframe seems to be the number of pressurize/depressurize cycles as well as the running hours. Engines get swapped out routinely but when the airframe has enough stress it's time to retire the aircraft lest it suffer catastrophic failure. Rockets are different in scale (much greater stresses) but we can expect the failure points due to age to be those two, with the addition of one main rocket-specific failure point: cryogenic tanks.

How long each will be reliable can be established using ground-based environmental testing. Nobody has the numbers for Falcon 9R yet.

Weight vs. reusable life will become a design decision in rocket design.

Comment: Old Fashioned Frequency Following (Score 2) 88

by Baldrson (#48613925) Attached to: Brain Stimulation For Entertainment?

In a college course called "Physics for Artists" at the U of IA back in 1974, I pursued the frequency following effect of strobe lights as an adjunct to art displays to induce the desired state of consciousness. Fortunately the EEG technology was too expensive to complete the project for my college sophomore budget -- fortunately because it is the kind of thing that if shown in a public exhibit could definitely cause seizures. Milder forms are already probably being used in theater with rhythmic light and sound, but attenuated in a studied manner.

Comment: Genocide (Score 1) 398

by Baldrson (#48553045) Attached to: Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

Elizabeth Warren's work on "The Two Income Trap" has shown the government's figures on the cost of living to be genocidally wrong. When I say genocidally wrong I mean the absence of children that contributes to "the labor shortage" is due to income redistribution from the middle classes to the increasing centralization of wealth among the upper 1%. Ricardo's "iron law of wages" was formulated in a time when "subsistence" could not cut into replacement reproduction due to the lack of birth control. The conscientious fraction of the population will respond to a lowering of real family income relative to the cost of replacement child rearing by ceasing to have children. This is what Warren's work shows is exactly what happened to the Baby Boomers when it came time for them to plan their families. To further import foreign workers to fill the "labor shortage" when it is already demonstrably the case that lowered _real_ wages has resulted in quasi-genocide of the populations being replaced is no longer excusable as mere ignorance by policy planners, if, indeed, it ever was excusable.

Comment: Truth vs Civilization (Score 0) 355

by Baldrson (#48510597) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Goes On Auction This Week

It is symptomatic of where civilization is headed that the respondents most highly rated here at "News for Nerds" -- presumably a technically and scientifically literate sampling of civilization -- exhibit almost scientific literacy regarding Watson's statements.

This reinforces my perception of civilization as more of a eusocial organism than anything resembling an enlightened society. Eusocial organisms, like bee or ant colonies, do exchange information between its members but the information is relatively low bandwidth taking the form of pheromones. Most of the words used to describe Watson, such as "racist" and "sexist" are so loaded with connotation that they are virtually worthless as high bandwidth tokens -- serving more the function of pheromone signaling in eusocial insects: "Not of the hive! Attack!"

Comment: Re:TIt-for-tat fallacy (Score 2) 213

by Baldrson (#48499839) Attached to: Game Theory Analysis Shows How Evolution Favors Cooperation's Collapse

You are referring to the climatic memetic demographic prisoner's dilemma. The idea there was to try to have the most primitive form of "meme" imaginable: A speech act which could take one of two states "defect" or "cooperate", in the context of a population which may, or may not, repeat memes and which -- independent of repetition behavior -- may or may not comply with the meme it "hears". Tit for tat during iteration of the PD was simulated by allowing a variation in which the behavior (cooperate or defect) was based on what the organism had last experienced, as opposed to what the organism had last "heard". The "climate" was the degree to which the environment provided "food" to make up for loss of points in the PD score keeping.

The notion that one can _reliably_ "experience" defection _as_ defection is what I claim is an unrealistic assumption -- deception being such a central strategy in evolution -- hence tit for tat is a poor assumption.

Comment: TIt-for-tat fallacy (Score 5, Informative) 213

by Baldrson (#48493663) Attached to: Game Theory Analysis Shows How Evolution Favors Cooperation's Collapse

The notion that "tit for tat" is relevant to evolution in the iterated prisoner's assumes that defection is detected -- an unrealistic assumption. The only reliable evolutionary system in which cooperation is sustainable is one in which the replicators (genetic and memetic) share a common fate aka vertical transmission. This is why the meiotic lottery works in multicellular sexual species and it is how symbiosis between species can evolve in ecologies where migration is restricted -- migration being the origin of the evolution of virulence via horizontal transmission. However, since restricting migration is not practical in much of nature, there is an "optimal virulence" in which a replicator tests the limits of its ability to, in essence, "take the money and run", and exploits to that limit.

Comment: Fluff Piece (Score 0) 143

by Baldrson (#48493617) Attached to: Black Friday '14: E-commerce Pages Far Slower Than They Were in 2013

Due to caching, downloading Javascript pays off with faster response if you hit the same site enough times. Neither the article nor the Catchpoint Systems website say how many times they hit the same site, let alone how many times a customer is expected to hit the same site so essentially this article is fluff piece.

Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly