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Comment: Re:Breaking news (Score 1) 610

capitalism != democracy. The two often appear together (see "bourgeois-democratic revolution") but either can exist in the absence of the other. This may seem a trivial point, particularly when you were just trying to make a joke, but it's a serious issue that most people don't thing enough about - they bundle a large number of ideological and practical philosophies together and claim they're one thing.

The classic example would be religion and morality. The unthinking religious person sees morality as being an inseparable component of his religion, with the consequence that anyone not of his religion must be immoral, or at the very least amoral. This leads to interreligion conflicts, and atheist vs religious conflicts, and everyone ends up worse off.

Comment: Re:Marx' definition is anachronistic and irrelevan (Score 1) 610

Socialism is governance for the good of society. Communism is governance for the good of the commune. These are established definitions. You can decide to let people who abuse the terms redefine them to their own ends, but in doing so, you grant them the power they seek. There are many in the world today who claim their atrocities are right, and done in the name of their god - and this includes right-wing Christians and Jews, not only radical Muslims. Should we allow them to do this, or should we point out that that they are breaking the fundamental tenets of Abrahamic law? If we attack all Muslims for the actions of fundamentalist crackpots, we alienate moderate Muslims. If we attack anyone who believes in the concept of a welfare state as being supports of Stalinist gulags, we alienate them.

Comment: Re:Classic game theory ? (Score 1) 610

Ludditism and Communist thought often co-occur, but the majority of serious Communists saw automation as a way to free the proletariat. The goal was to use automation to spread the wealth and reduce working hours, rather than using it as a way to reduce employment and further concentrate wealth in the hands of the few.
Adam Smith is generally credited with being the founder of capitalism, with his book The Wealth of Nations. However, the book reads more easily as a communist tract, as he proposes the collectivisation of labour -- workers' coops, essentially -- and industrialisation as a means to increase efficiency and therefore individual wealth. Smith's argument that a conscientious pinmaker could make enough pins and save enough money to automate failed to consider the effects of automation elsewhere, which meant that the unautomated pinmaker was likely to be forced out of business by falling prices.
He glossed right over the rise of the industrialist capitalist - the man who had enough money to set up a factory, therefore making enough money to set up another, and so on ad infinitum. It continues to this day that those who start with money can squeeze the new players out.
Remember also that the industrialists had people working twelve-hour shifts, seven days a week. They invented he night shift for their own profit, not for the quality of the product, nor in order to provide employment. In the industrial revolution, workers were less valuable than manure.
So it's not surprising that many people associated automation with slavery, but it's a shame. As I said, communist thought says automation should serve the commune (NB: not "the state") and free everyone to have more leisure time.
But leisure time is dangerous in a totalitarian regime, so the nominally-communist dictator will play up the "machinery is capitalism" myth in order to aid him in maintaining control.

Comment: Re:I, in turn, disagree (Score 1) 241

by Half-pint HAL (#47489803) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning

Man, I haven't even mentioned the numerical computing. ...

As an exception, it is simply obscures the subject of the discussion.

I didn't mention it either. I'm talking about data transforms in general, and the fact that most people can't see the wide applicability of computational transforms to data manipulation tasks that are not strictly numeric is precisely the problem I'm referring to. I'm currently applying the concepts of transformations to manipulating abstract data types and tree structures, because my first attempt at doing it algorithmically resulted in a codebase that was growing exponentially in size with every new case included.

In abstracting all my data manipulations as computational transformations, I can combine them in arbitrary ways, just as can be done with matrix transforms, thus eliminating the need to write explicit code for every individual case.

Comment: Re: Your Results Will Vary (Score 1) 241

by Half-pint HAL (#47488863) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning
I did Computer Science at Edinburgh University as my first degree, and it was very academic and non-vocational. Employers often criticised our syllabus as being irrelevant, but if I'd spent my university years learning Java, I wouldn't be doing what I am today. (Private enterprise development work on a hopefully-revolutionary natural language processing application.) University should teach you as much as possible to open your potential. The US system may be broken, but that is not a direct consequence of having an academic focus, more on politics and economics.

Comment: I, in turn, disagree (Score 2) 241

by Half-pint HAL (#47488637) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning
The big thing holding back computing is that computer programmers tend to think only in terms of algorithmics, and not in terms of (mathematical) computation. Computation in mathematics allows all sorts of funky stuff, and the only area where it is commonly applied is in vector manipulation. Applying matrices to matrices to matrices allows us to create infinite combinations of reusable transforms, which can then be applied to all the vertices in a 3D model at a low cost. Applying a series of algorithmic procedures to manipulate the same data would be unworkably slow. Algothmic programming results in lots of unintended interactions, and hard-to-track phantom bugs in the code. Computation is harder to start with, but it scales so much better and results in much more stable projects.

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