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Comment Re:Prayer can help your code life. (Score 1) 248

I know God is real, and I've come to discover prayer does help too.

Interesting; I found just the opposite. When I was a programming n00b working on my C assignments in college, and it was the night before it was due and I couldn't figure out why it was crashing, I tried praying, hoping, wishing, random changes to the code, furrowing my brow at the screen, loud cursing, exhaustive special-case-logic, and a dozen other increasingly desperate non-methods to "make the code work" without actually understanding it.

Just before the 4 AM deadline for submissions, the code would still be crashing, so I'd give up, email in the non-working code, and get a poor grade.

Eventually I realized that the only way to get the code to work was to understand what I was doing, and that if I didn't understand something I needed to learn about it (through experimentation, or reading the man pages, or asking a fellow programmer for help, or simplifying the program to make it more manageable, or etc) until I did understand it. Once I understood what was really going on under the hood, the nature of the problem (and therefore its solution) usually became obvious and trivial.

I think it was this more than anything else that cemented my atheism -- the repeated experience of prayer not making a bit of difference, followed by the realization that only the application of logic and observation would lead me to the correct solution.

Comment Re:Oh boy, here we go... (Score 1) 345

with the costs going up across the board as it is, we dont need any new taxes. especially here in NY

You misunderstand how a carbon tax would work.

It would be revenue-neutral, which is to say the money collected by the tax on carbon would be used to reduce the tax load of the population as a whole. All the money collected would be given back to the taxpayers.

As such, costs would actually go down for everyone except people/businesses who emit a lot of CO2.

Heavy CO2-emitters would pay more, of course, which would give them a clear economic incentive to find less CO2-intensive ways of doing business, which is the point of the exercise.

It's a great example of the sort of "market-based reform" that Republicans used to champion as an alternative to command-and-control strategies, back before they went batshit.

Comment Re:Oh Great! More Central Planning! Just what we n (Score 2) 345

It would do more than completely eliminating coal burning plants. Transportation generates a similar amount of CO2 to coal burning power plants.

CO2 emissions in transportation are being reduced as well, via higher fuel economy standards, development of electric cars, etc.

This isn't a scenario where any one improvement will "solve" the problem. The problem has to be attacked on many fronts simultaneously, and all of the partial reductions will start to add up over time.

It's a massive restructuring of our society and economy on shaky grounds.

Hardly. The proposal merely sets targets and leaves it up to the individual states how to reach them. The states don't even have to submit a proposal until 2016, and don't have to start making any actual changes until 2020. The administration is bending over backwards to make this as easy as possible, and still conservatives are crying like they're being waterboarded.

What happens when the next imaginary ecothreat comes through?

There's your problem -- you think global warming is imaginary, and therefore the amount of resources that can justifiably be allocated to fighting it is zero. There's no point in discussing mitigation strategies with when you haven't even accepted that there actually is a problem that needs to be solved. Most likely at some point in the next 5, 10, 15 years the evidence will become obvious enough to overcome your ideological blinders; but in the meantime the rest of us need to start working on a fix now, rather than waiting for you to be convinced.

Comment Re:Won't somebody think of the miners? (Score 1) 345

Legislature? Obama doesn't need any stinking legislature. He's Emperor Lameduck! He rules by executive order!

Interesting fact: In 2014 the Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Air Act gives the EPA not only the authority to regulate CO2 emissions, but the responsibility to do so.

So you're right, Obama doesn't need the legislature to do this, because the legislature already gave him (or more precisely, gave the EPA) the power to do this back in 1970.

If the legislature doesn't like what the EPA is doing, they can of course pass new legislation limiting what the EPA can do. Assuming the legislature is still capable of passing anything, of course.

Comment Re:Meaningless (Score 5, Insightful) 345

The US power industry puts out 5% of the worlds carbon and this plan will cut it by 1.5% over how many years? China on average is bringing on a new power plant every 10 days. Please explain how this insignificant but costly plan is going to affect climate change?

The same way that going to the gym once or twice helps a person lose weight -- not by a whole lot, but you have to start the ball rolling somehow.

Also, it's a lot easier to convince other nations to reduce their emissions when you've started reducing your emissions first. Otherwise they just accuse you of "do as I say, not as I do" hypocrisy.

Comment Re:Not surprising (Score 1) 283

I agree they have no obligation. I was pointing out that hypocrisy of acting like they are green or trying to help the planet when they clearly are not - which it sounds like you agree with me on.

Which is better for the planet, an auto industry that is moving towards renewably-powered electric cars, or one where electric cars remain an insignificant niche market indefinitely?

Because Tesla is the company that is driving the move towards the former by making electric cars that people actually want to buy, and scaling production up so that people can afford them.

Just because you don't like the means they are using to achieve that goal doesn't mean they aren't heading towards that goal.

Comment Re:Bigger Danger: AI to Deliver packages (Score 1) 240

Why? The people who had the foresight, work ethic, and brains to create or own the robot workforce have NO legal, ethical, or moral reason to "share" the fruits of their labors (or laborers) with others

Because in a world where 99% of the people are literally unemployable (because anything they can do, a robot can do better and cheaper), the alternatives are grim -- either mass starvation, or civil war.

If you want a piece of the pie, work your ass off and buy a piece, or go and make a pie of your own.

Yes, I'm familiar with the standard conservative moralizing. But that approach only works in a world where those actions are possible, and in the scenario we are discussing, they won't be.

Comment Re:meh (Score 1) 119

You are right. It's not an open source project. All it does is open its source.

I never said it wasn't open source. My comment was about whether or not it's "locked to a single platform". I assert that without a herculean porting effort, it effectively is.

C'mon. Bridging API frameworks is where "it's at" today.

I'll believe it when I see it. I guess getting it to run under WINE might be doable, but then again that was equally doable (at least in principle) when the source was closed.

Comment Re:Artificial intelligence personified is ... (Score 2) 240

Computers can't be any smarter than their creators and we can't even keep each other from hacking ourselves.

I'm not sure how sound that logic is. You might as well say that cars can't be any faster than their creators.

My computer is already smarter than me in certain ways; for example it can calculate a square root much faster than I can, it can beat me at chess, and it can translate English into Arabic better than I can. Of course we no longer think of those things as necessarily indicating intelligence, but that merely indicates that we did not in the past have a clear definition of what constitutes 'intelligence', and that we probably still don't. Meanwhile, every year our game of "No True Scotsman" whittles away our definition of "true intelligence" a bit more, until one day there's nothing left.

Comment Re:Bigger Danger: AI to Deliver packages (Score 1) 240

In 20-30 years, people will begin looking back at 2015 as "the good ol' days" never to be seen again as unemployment and civil unrest grow.

While your prediction is entirely valid, I'd like to point out that it won't be the robots causing the civil unrest, but rather society's (hopefully temporary) failure to adapt to a new economic model where workers are no longer required for most tasks.

Having menial labor done "for free" is actually a huge advantage for humanity -- the challenge will be coming up with a legal framework so that the fruits of all that free labor get distributed widely, and not just to the few people who own the robot workforce.

Comment Re:Different instruction sets (Score 2) 98

Because what the pessimist in me is seeing, isn't a cherrypicked 11 x increase in one bench but overall core performance stagnation.

Well, you can't say you weren't warned; there have been about a zillion articles along the lines of "everybody better learn how to multithread, because we've hit the wall on single-core performance and the only way to make use of extra transistors now is to add more cores".

Comment Re:It's fine... from the ISO. (Score 1) 484

This scares the shit out of me, a guy with almost 30 years of programming experience. What the hell is Grampa supposed to do?

Same thing he usually does, I suppose... he'll just keep using whatever is currently installed on his PC, until one day he decides to buy a new PC, at which point he'll start using whatever OS was pre-installed on that one.

Unix will self-destruct in five seconds... 4... 3... 2... 1...