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Comment: Re:It's that time... (Score 1) 283 283

Why? Just make it so that as far as the machines are concerned Gorillas are a subset of humans. And then keep the actual gorillas away from them.

You've got a reasonable point for more advanced machines, but for now I'd just as soon that they also avoid squashing dogs and cats...or, pretty much anything protoplasmic over, say, 5 pounds. Or 4. Slaugher house machines don't need to be intelligent, and shouldn't be. Not until things are FAR more developed.

And, really, wouldn't you just as soon that your car avoided running over that skunk? So if you adopt a variant of the precautionary principle, you can get most of the advantages without waiting for perfection.

Comment: Re:Really ? (Score 1) 236 236

You need to plate it with teflon.

What bothers me is the idea of that being a colony rather than just an outpost. Where to you get metals? Can you split the CO2 into C + O2 and than use the C for bulk fabrication? It seems as if graphene can be either conductive or insulating, and nanotubes are pretty strong, but now we're talking about a rather extensive fabrication facility just in the initial set-up.

I consider asteroids a much more reasonable habitat. (I'm not sure that Mars is a good choice, but it sure sounds better than Venus.)

Comment: Re:Why live there then? (Score 1) 80 80

Depends. How safe a neighborhood do you want? I believe that the normal asking rent for an apartment in Oakland was around $1500/month a few years ago...but I haven't actually been looking in the last 30 years, so I don't know what neighborhood is implied by that price.

12 * 1,500 = 18,000, so it depends on your other expenses...and whether you want to live that cheaply. OTOH, neighborhood is *VERY* important. And I also don't know what size apartment I'm talking about.

My suspicion, however, is that there was no intention of living in a downtown area, and that commute was as important as cost. Of course, for enough money you can find a sufficiently desireable location in a city, so saying money is the basis isn't incorrect.

Comment: Re:Why live there then? (Score 0) 80 80

Units should be of the appropriate size to what you're measuring. Farenheit is more appropriate for judging room temperature and even cooking temperature when you don't need to be precise enough to get down to fractions of a degree.

The metric system has a lot of value, especially when doing precise measurements. When doing rough measurements at human scale it runs into problems. The meter is about the right size, but centimeter, or even decimeter, isn't a good replacement for foot. And for many purposes centimeter is too small to replace an inch. (When you start using fractions of an inch this advantage disappears.)

One can argue whether a Kilogram or a pound is the more useful general weight, it seems pretty much a draw to me. Ditto for Kilometer and mile. And when being precise metric is the clear winner.

OTOH, for outside temperature, a rough measue (Farenheit) is not only better suited in size, but also in accuracy. You don't get an accurate outside temperature, because it varies too much from place to place. So it's best not to pretend that you do. Which means avoid fractional degrees, whether Farenheit or Centigrade (okay, Celsius, but Centigrade is a better name).

Comment: Re:Fucking Lawyers (Score 3, Interesting) 180 180

That would be sufficient to make the APIs stop working. Perhaps you should think again about what information is required and copyrightable.

I think that this decision may mean that Google will need to do something like alphabetize the API. (Customized organization can be copyrighted, but alphabetical order can't.)

Comment: Re:Open source isn't enough (Score 1) 246 246

The last time I looked into using Objective C on a Linux system the documentation of both Objective C and GnuStep were lamentable. So bad I picked up something else.

I'll agree it's a difficult problem, but Python, Ruby, D, and even Smalltalk (well Squeak, anyway) and Scheme (Racket anyway) have addressed it reasonably. Objective C documentation seems to only work if you're on an Apple, and GnuStep documentation doesn't seem to work anywhere. It's great if you just want something to remind you of how to do something that you already basicly know how to do, otherwise not.

Comment: Re:Linux Support (Score 2) 246 246

I'm sorry, but I don't get the reasoning behind your evaluation. I'm not greatly familiar with Objective C, but the only reason that I didn't pick it up in the past was that other languages had better documentation. (I'm not using an Apple).

Even GnuStep wasn't that bad. It was better at handling unicode than C libraries were. But too many pieces assumed that you had someone at hand to explain basics to you.

So I used Python and D and Java. I looked at Vala, but it seems too tightly bound up with gtk, and when the maniacs began pushing gnome3 I gave up on it. I avoid C because of excessive use of pointers. That's also a problem with C++, but it's really a matter of excessive ambiguity (and poor handling of unicode) that cause me to avoid it. (The unicode problem also affects C and Java, and possibly objective-C, though I never really checked. Java doesn't even HAVE a unicode aware ispunct() function. I needed to fake one up using the general character classification, which Java made numeric for some stupid reason. The unicode version would have made things a lot easier as I could just have checked the first character of the classification.)

So, objective-C has problems with documentation (if you aren't on a Mac), and I'm not thrilled with the GnuStep choice of 16-bit unicode (unless they've changed that since I looked), but what's wrong with the language?

Comment: Re:And counting... (Score 2) 236 236

The question is, how could they possibly restore trust?

They had trust, the secretly betrayed it, using techniques that were not evident. So if they reform, how do you know that they've actually reformed rather than just changed their techniques?

And for that matter, there is plain evidence of shipments being intercepted and altered without the manufacturers knowledge. So you also need to verifiably reform the methods of shipping. How do you verify their security? The only thing I can think of is something analogous to key signing for hardware, but I can see no way to implement that.

So you say "they need to resolve this issue", and I agree that the need is present, but I don't see a possible mechanism.

Comment: Re:The NSA fallout here is astonishing (Score 2) 236 236

No. Read your history. Actually the US has been remarkably peaceful for a dominant world power. Compare it to Imperial Rome or Alexandrian Greece or the Persian Empire. I suspect that this is because wars are no longer profitable. Trade driven empires were rare in ancient times, Egypt is the only one I can think of. (Sorry, I don't know enough Chinese or Indian history to include them in this summary.) But this US "empire" is more similar the the Egyptian empire than even the the British Empire. And the British Empire was peaceful compared to it's predecessors (though wars were still slightly profitable up until around WWI).

My hope is that the sucessor to the US will be even more trade driven that is the US "empire". But that *is* only a hope, and would be quite unusual historically. OTOH, wars are now much more costly and less rewarding that they have ever before been.

Comment: Re:Alternative? (Score 1) 236 236

Depends. If you are a company doing business with your government, you buy locally. If you want to be secure from your government, you buy as foreign as possible, i.e. from a company in an area controlled by a government that has as little interaction locally (to you) as possible. And you still can't trust it, because the shipment could have been intercepted during importation.

Comment: Re:Disagree with stupid wording (Score 1) 236 236

I'm not sure you're right, though it's certainly possible. It's also possible that the current owner of the site has some default opinions that are automatically emplaced. Certainly, though, there are plenty of astroturfers on various topics. There's little evidence that it's even often the government. This, of course, doesn't mean that it isn't. It merely means that it's an unnecessary hypothesis.

The rule on staying alive as a forecaster is to give 'em a number or give 'em a date, but never give 'em both at once. -- Jane Bryant Quinn