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Comment: Re:What a useless paper (Score 1) 181

by AnyoneEB (#48343225) Attached to: There's No Such Thing As a General-Purpose Processor

A genuinely interesting paper would have specific ideas for architecture capable of solving problems beyond the scope of current CPUs and GPUs.

A couple cool projects I've seen on making good use of dark silicon are GreenDroid and Chlorophyll, both of which are recent research projects on compiling for weird architectures that are specially designed to be energy efficient. If it's specialized for different applications that you want, then Anton is the closest I've seen; it's specialized for running physical simulations so it can do things like protein folding.

Comment: Fresh out of college with 20 years experience (Score 5, Funny) 574

by Cliff Stoll (#48307277) Attached to: The Great IT Hiring He-Said / She-Said

Can't resist tooting my own horn. These are from my Klein bottle website:

    TOPOLOGY CONSULTANT Part-time design of low-dimensional manifolds in glass, wool, plastic, titanium, niobium, pentium, and unobtanium. Ideal candidate is fresh out of college with 20 years experience in applied topology; and can solve Poincare's, Heawood's, and Hodge's conjectures. Pay & benefits are epsilon above unemployment. Compensation package includes trillions in worthless stock options.

    GLASSBLOWER Construct borosilicate manifolds using lampwork. Handy with glass lathe, oxy-hydrogen torch, and bandaids. Must know the usual cuss words to describe breaks & cracks. Experienced in minor burn treatment. Special bonus if you know the difference between inside and outside.

    MANIFOLD OPERATOR. Curvaceous, conformal Riemannian vector field desires normalized Ricci tensor with nice eigenvalues. Will relocate within proper metric space. No polymorphic permutations, please.

    From http://www.kleinbottle.com/job...

Comment: Re:Hmm, says here: (Score 5, Informative) 249

by marcansoft (#48306383) Attached to: New Atomic Clock Reaches the Boundaries of Timekeeping

Moving faster causes time to slow down (special relativity), but so does beeing in a deeper gravitational well (general relativity). As you move away from the Earth, both effects have opposite (but not equal) magnitude. I'm too lazy to do the math right now, but here's a walkthrough (for the case of GPS satellites, but the same equations hold; you just need to know the distance from Earth's center to Death Valley and to Mount Everest, and work out their linear velocity from that).

Comment: Re:Once again proving ARM is awesome (Score 4, Insightful) 97

by marcansoft (#48160329) Attached to: Android On Intel x86 Tablet Performance Explored: Things Are Improving

Um, no, x86 CPUs are nothing like ARM and I'm not aware of any commercial x86 CPU with an ARM backend. Yes, modern x86 cores use a RISC-ish microcode backend with an x86 decoder frontend, but that doesn't say anything in favor of ARM. All it means is that the industry has collectively agreed that CISC as a microarchitecture is a stupid idea - not necessarily as an instruction set.

I'm not a fan of x86 myself, and I think it's a stupid design with a vast amount of baggage causing a significant power/performance impact when designing an x86 CPU (that Intel can get away with because they're a generation or two ahead of everyone else in silicon tech), but then again ARM isn't the pinnacle of RISC either (though I do think it's better than x86).

Me, I'll take whatever microarch gets the best performance per watt at whatever TDP is relevant. If Intel can pull that off with x86-64, by all means. If ARM AArch64 ends up ahead, awesome. If both are about equal, I'll take whatever's more practical based on other factors.

Comment: Re:Anonymity == being a schmuck for a good number. (Score 1) 728

by AnyoneEB (#48117343) Attached to: Why the Trolls Will Always Win

I agree that statistics require careful interpretation, and any claims made based on statistics require critical thought to determine if they are using statistics properly. There is, after all, another study someone else referenced in this thread that concluded the exact opposite by studying the proportion (not absolute number) of harassing tweets sent to a set of 65 celebrity Twitter accounts. I am unsure what your discussion of domestic violence statistics adds to this discussion other than giving an example of another emotional charged area where statistics are complicated.

The link I reference had two parts: (1) the actual study that showed the fake users created by the researchers which were identical except for gendered names resulted in 25 times as much harassment directed at the bots with females names and (2) the references to previous studies showing that reports of harassment are much more common from women. The assertion made by the article is that (1) supports (2). Note that in (1) the same researchers are the ones coding messages as harassing or not, so there is no separate subjectivity of men vs. women on what messages constitute harassment. That's why I cited it: it answers the question of "Do women get harassed equal to men and are just more vocal about it?" In fact, the data suggests women are less vocal about it.

Lastly, as I stated above, this whole argument is a tangent to the real issue which is "Trolling" or "Abuse". While you go pull more made up numbers to back your tangent, nothing gets done to resolve the real issue.

No disagreement there. The article is about abuse/harassment, not trolling, so the title is misleading.

Comment: Re:Anonymity == being a schmuck for a good number. (Score 1) 728

by AnyoneEB (#48114463) Attached to: Why the Trolls Will Always Win

I really wish we could just drop the sexism part of this right now. Both genders get attacked by these people.

Both do, but it *is* sexist. It is far more widespread and vicious towards women. Ignoring that is not helping.

Really now? Proof by assertion is not proof, it's an informal fallacy. Yes, even if you claim that not believing your assertion is "not helping". Prove that women get trolled more, and prove that the trolling is more vicious as you claim. I await your great study of everyone trolled on the Internet with eagerness.

While a complete census of internet trolling has not been conducted, it turns out there are statistics and they do support the GP: here's a study showing women get harassed at a much higher rate than men.

According to a University of Maryland study, online users who appear female are 25 times more likely to receive threats and sexually explicit messages than online users with male names.

and

The disproportionate targeting of women accords with statistics compiled by the organization Working to Halt Online Abuse (WHOA). In 2007, 61 percent of the individuals reporting online abuse to WHOA were female while 21 percent were male. 2006 followed a similar pattern: 70 percent of those reporting online harassment identified themselves as women. Overall, in the years covering 2000 to 2007, 72.5 percent of the 2,285 individuals reporting cyber harassment were female and 22 percent were male.

Comment: Re:Duh! (Score 1) 75

And since this is a camera passthrough, not an optical overlay, that's a glaring implementation flaw. Properly aligning the head tracking framerate, camera framerate, and rendering would let them render the virtual objects in lockstep with the physical ones (at least at speeds where motion blur isn't a significant issue; you can fake that by minimizing motion blur in the real image by using a short shutter time on the cameras).

Comment: Doesn't look unreasoanble (so far) (Score 3) 192

by marcansoft (#48009543) Attached to: NVIDIA Begins Requiring Signed GPU Firmware Images

So, they're locking out things that can brick the card (flash ROM/fuses, screw up thermal sensors) and apparently a hint of OS security (the Falcons that respond to userspace commands can no longer access physical memory, only virtual memory). The latter sounds somewhat bizarre, considering the firmware should be fully under the control of the driver, not userspace (I guess/hope?), but not unreasonable. Maybe there are software security reasons for this.

Nouveau is free to continue using its own free blobs or to switch to nvidia's. If they start adding restrictions that actively cripple useful features or are DRM nonsense, then I would start complaining, but so far it sounds like an attempt at protecting the hardware while maintaining manufacturing flexibility for nvidia. This isn't much different from devices which are fused at the factory with thermal parameters and with some units disabled; the only difference is that here firmware is involved.

NV seem to be turning friendlier towards nouveau, so I'd give them the benefit of the doubt. If they wanted to be evil, they would've just required signed firmware for the card to function at all. The fact that they're bothering to have non-secure modes and are only locking out very specific features suggests they're actively trying to play nicely with open source software.

Operating Systems

Outlining Thin Linux 221

Posted by Soulskill
from the tux-on-a-diet dept.
snydeq writes: Deep End's Paul Venezia follows up his call for splitting Linux distros in two by arguing that the new shape of the Linux server is thin, light, and fine-tuned to a single purpose. "Those of us who build and maintain large-scale Linux infrastructures would be happy to see a highly specific, highly stable mainstream distro that had no desktop package or dependency support whatsoever, so was not beholden to architectural changes made due to desktop package requirements. When you're rolling out a few hundred Linux VMs locally, in the cloud, or both, you won't manually log into them, much less need any type of graphical support. Frankly, you could lose the framebuffer too; it wouldn't matter unless you were running certain tests," Venezia writes. "It's only a matter of time before a Linux distribution that caters solely to these considerations becomes mainstream and is offered alongside more traditional distributions."

Comment: Re:Moderately well prepared - Oakland, California (Score 1) 191

by Cliff Stoll (#47744875) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

Hi gang,

        Thanks for the reports of stale gasoline - I'm convinced. Tonight I'll head out & recycle my old gas. The problem isn't getting things together; it's keeping it all up to date & ready. Your comments hit me in the right place: be prepared.

        I'm associated with a ham radio emergency group; the rule is that the station's equipment must be immediately ready for action. In an emergency, you don't have the luxury of stringing a cable, or figuring out which power supply can work with which rig. If the transceivers aren't wired up, tested, and set to go, they might as well be underwater. Same's true for on-the-air skills. You gotta check into the 2-meter net at least every month, or you'll get rusty and screw up when things get hot.

      And so it is with earthquake readiness. It's not enough to put away a survival stash and let it molder. Gotta keep things fresh - gotta keep my skills sharp.

Best wishes,
-Cliff
        ps to ksmithderm ... sure, I've got Klein bottle hats (and Mobius scarves). They're on m'website.

Comment: Moderately well prepared - Oakland, California (Score 4, Informative) 191

by Cliff Stoll (#47743541) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

Background: I live on North Oakland, next to Berkeley, in the Rockridge section. Urban, detached 2 bedroom house about 100 years old.

We bolted down our house, fully reinforced the stemwalls, and installed shearwalls. For our little 2-bedroom bungalow in Oakland, this set us back around $20,000. Earthquake insurance seemed outrageous (around $2,500/year, with very limited benefits). Along with the earthquake retrofit, we set aside a few cases of food & twenty 5-gallon jugs of water. A 2Kw Honda generator. Radio, flashlights, FRS walkie-talkies, etc. Small amount of medical stuff.

Yes, I have onsite and offsite backups (that's easy); the real problem would be connectivity after a quake. There's probably a hundred telephone poles between my house and the central office.

Some challenges: Keeping food & water fresh is a problem - cans get rusty as water condenses on cold surfaces. Some camping food goes bad. MRI rations taste, well, horrible. We should replace water & food annually, and generally forget to. (We discovered diapers in our earthquake stash, left over from when our college kids were infants)

    Storing gasoline for the generator is a problem. I'm told that gasoline gets stale after a few months (is this true, or an urban legend?). It's a pain to lug a 3 gallon gas can around, and it's not something I want under my house. (I store it in a shed, where it's out of sight & out of mind - so I rarely refresh it. Is there a small, 5 or 10 gallon under-ground gasoline storage tank?). I should start and exercise the generator every month; it's more like every two years or so. Our experience in the 1989 quake was that gas stations can't pump after an earthquake (no power).

  Our neighborhood's quake group (the Oakland - Rockridge Shakers) meets every summer, and the earthquake drills have been quite useful - we've had several fun practice sessions, where we hunt for human dummies hidden around the neighborhood, search for downed wires, and practice using walkie-talkies. Afterwards, it's a block party, and we compare notes while sharing lunch.

    My home business, Acme Klein Bottles, lost two glass Klein bottles in last night's quake. Both fell off a shelf and shattered on the floor. Good lesson: keep my glassware stored down low, with holders to prevent boxes from shifting. Since most of my glass Klein bottles are stored under our house; a major local temblor that destroyed the house would also wipe out the business.

Comment: Important work - gives handle on earth's dynamo (Score 4, Insightful) 80

by Cliff Stoll (#47298935) Attached to: Satellite Swarm Spots North Pole Drift

This is important work, which compliments terrestial geomagnetic measurements and space based observations.

The earth's magnetic field results from a planetary dynamo. Magnetic field lines get frozen into the electrically conductive fluid core. Then, differential motions in the fluid causes the magnetic field to get twisted up -- it's no longer is the simple dipole (like those bar magnets that you played with as a kid). Instead, the earth's magnetic field develops high order moments (sorta like bumps and dips). These shapes evolve as the conductive core moves. Eventually, the magnetic field gets so tangled up, that it unravels. At that time, the earth's field reverses. These magnetic field reversals show up in the geologic record ... every 10,000 to 100,000 years, there's a flipover.

Measurements like the ESA Swarm satellite give us a handle on the evoloution of the Earth's magnetic field, as well as showing how that field interacts with the magnetic and particle environment of the solar wind.

(disclaimer - most of what I just posted is from a terrific graduate class that I took at the Lunar & Planetary Labs way back in 1979, and when I worked with Charles Sonett, who studied the solar wind. Likely, much of this is way out of date!)

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