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Comment: Re:Similar to choosing an OS (Score 1) 137

This one you really don't have to wait.

Africa's population is projected to double by 2050. that means they'll need either a) lots of great agricultural technology to double their yield per acre, or b) double the acres. If they're also improving their diets, they'll need meat, which means increasing the proportion of acres devoted to cattle, and cattle take up a lot more acres per calorie then wheat does. Every acre devoted to crops cannot be used by elephants/rhinoceri/etc. and has to be protected from elephants/rhinoceri/etc; so hunting those elephants/etc. to local extinction becomes very smart policy...

And the elephants/rhinoceri/etc. are most of the large herbivores this study is talking about.

BTW, I personally am somewhat skeptical of the doubling (recent trends have world-wide have been towards much smaller family sizes, and if Africa can get it's act together on pension systems and health care it's likely that families of six will become rare there, too), but it's not gonna shrink, and they will need lots land for cattle.

Comment: Re:Empty landscape my arse (Score 5, Insightful) 137

That's what happened here.

What was the largest large mammal, that existed in high population densities, in most of the landmass of the lower 48 in 1850?

Probably the Buffalo. There were others of course -- we had a presence everywhere, and high population density East of the Mississippi, there was a scattering of bears and other large carnivores, there are some pretty big herbivores as well -- but the one you'd have to mention is the Buffalo. Now there's very few Buffalo, and very very very many Home Sapiens.

Same with most of the other large mammals. In Ohio or Michigan it's very unusual to see anything larger then a white-tail deer (lighter then us, averaging 100 lb.). Yeah you can find animals like Black Bears, or Moose, or Elk; but you really have to go looking for the damn things. Even in more rural/wild areas if you're just going down the highway the largest mammal you're likely to see is a fat guy whose having car trouble. The Ecosystem only has room for so many large mammals, and we crowd them out.

Now what's the one region of the world where large herds of wild mammals (who are bigger then us) roam free? Africa, particularly Central and Southern Africa. What's the continent with both very low population density (Congo, for example, has a population comparable to Germany and land area comparable to Western Europe, it's northern neighbor has a population comparable to a third of the Paris Metro area and more land then all of France), and extreme population growth? Africa.

So it's quite predictable that the Rhinos, Elephants, and Lions are under pressure. The people who live in Africa need the land for agriculture, and there's no cheap way to solve the problem of feeding said African people except destroying the ecosystem that supports those animals.

Comment: Re:presidents age (Score 3, Interesting) 73

by NicBenjamin (#49606759) Attached to: Microsoft's AI Judges Age From Snapshots, With Mixed Results

I think it's mostly hair.

A Presidential candidate is trying to look like a young man, a virile man, a man with great energy to do great things. He's probably in his late 40s or early 50s. He may have some gray, but if it's a lot he's probably dying it the fuck away (you'll note most of the GOP field has no gray at all, despite the fact they're all in their late 40s at least, back in '08 the Dem field was just as non-gray). If he's a she of course she's dying the gray away (I love you Hillary, but we all know your hair today is not precisely the same shade it was back when you personally murdered Vince Foster and then arranged for the paperwork to say "suicide" back when I was 12).

OTOH, as his term goes on a) non-gray hair becomes less socially acceptable (just imagine what Jon Stewart would have done with the tidbit that Dubya was dying), b) it's harder to claim that you actually aren't dying (Obama will leave office at 55, and he's on the young side), and c) he wants to look like the Alpha Male Silverback Gorilla who has Already Accomplished Great Things. So you remember a 50-year-old from the campaign with no gray, then he gets on HD TV at 57 with the normal level of gray for a 57-year-old, and you think :"Gee the past seven years have really aged our President," when in fact all that's happened is he's stopped using Just For Men.

Comment: Re:Dumb stuff (Score 1) 573

by NicBenjamin (#49606559) Attached to: My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold

So you could have gone down to the plant, gotten a good-paying job, and then earned a very good wage for your hard work; but you're arguing that it was not trivial to get a good-paying job in your generation? Sounds pretty trivial to me. A lot more trivial then this generation has it. Hell, even a minimum wage job in your generation paid more then many full-time jobs do in this generation.

And this generation to get more you can't just show up at the plant with a High School Equivalency Certificate, you either need very good business skills, or you need a degree. Generally the degree is pretty advanced and it costs you a lot of money.

In my experience the correlation between hard work and compensation is non-existant. In many cases the worst-compensated work hardest because you don't give the guy with nothing to offer but his back a good wage. At the top you'll get people who work long hours, but they aren't actually working harder then anyone else. They're working smarter, and they're working longer. But they ain't working harder the guy loading a half-ton of mulch into a van by hand.

Comment: Re:Theft (Score 1) 160

Your literacy leaves something to be desired.

From the link:

Xerox willingly invited Apple representatives to visit its PARC think tank after signing an agreement that invested $1 million into the computer maker in the hopes that Apple could take PARC's raw technologies and make them commercially successful in the consumer market, using mass manufacturing, product development and marketing expertise that the academic computer scientists and engineers at Xerox lacked.

It's kinda hard to "take PARC's raw technologies and make them commercially successful in the consumer market" if you don't have a signed agreement stating that Apple can use PARC's technologies.

Comment: Re:More like to his own parents (Score 1) 160

Kindall was bitter because he screwed up. IBM approached him first and wanted to buy CP/M, but Kindall didn't make the sale. Why that happened is lost in the mists of time, but Gates saw the value in the deal and made it happen.

You could actually buy an IBM PC with CP/M on it from the factory from about six months after IBM PCs were introduced.

But Kindall fucked that up, to. He charged more ($240 according to wikipedia) then Bill Gates ($40) did, not understanding the huge advantage MS-DOS would get from being the dominant OS on an open platform.

Comment: Re:More like to his own parents (Score 3, Informative) 160

Why did IBM sign the contract with Gates?

They were subject of a long, draining, anti-trust investigation from '69-'82; so being in full control of their platform could have caused legal problems.

They also had very little tech that could be quickly turned into a PC, because they'd sat out the Minicomputer revolution of the 70s. It would have taken them five years to make a product from scratch. And by then they'd be five years further behind. Which would have been really bad. They started development of their non-GUI PC in mid-1980, and Apple came out with the GUI Mac in April of '84. They would have hit the market right when the Amiga came out.

So they decided to make a computer from easily available parts (ie: Intel's chips), and already viable software (ie: DOS was a clone of CP/M, which ran on Intel chips already). They offered a variety of OSes (CP/M, PC-DOS/MS-DOS, and p-System). It took them roughly a year to get from plan to market.

PC-DOS/MS-DOS was most popular because it was cheapest and Bill Gates made sure it was branded as "PC." Nobody got fired for buying IBM, and buying the PC-Disk Operating System for an IBM PC made sense. As part of IBM's attempt to ape the then-dominent Apple II, the architecture was supposed to be open, and in the accelerated timeframe of getting the machine out the door agreeing that Bill Gates could sell his own MS-DOS on other machines probably seemed like a) part of the open architecture they were going for, and b) not a battle worth fighting; not to mention c) proof for the Justice Department that we aren;t an evil monopoly bullying poor little Billy Gates and you should stop investigating us.

Comment: Re:More like to his own parents (Score 1) 160

GEM went on. It was doomed more because it's business model was obsolete then the lawsuit. The days in which computer geeks were the main market for an OS were over, and they apparently never bothered to negotiate a licensing deal with XEROX.

MS also got sued, but apparently they had a license agreement from John Sculley which covered most of it, and the rest was either uncopyrightable, XEROX';s copyright, or so trivial nobody cared (ie: codefendent HP had a "trash can" icon) they were able to win. Apple dragged out the case until Steve Jobs came back and negotiated that famous cease-fire with Bill Gates in '97.

Comment: Re:Theft (Score 5, Informative) 160

XEROX actually licensed it's technology to Apple in hopes that Steve Jobs could successfully bring products to market, because XEROX had no ability to turn it's bluesky tech into things people wanted. Their mouse cost hundreds (in 1981 dollars), and was not terribly reliable. Apple had to redesign everything, write their own code, etc.

The licensing deal was basically Apple sold them $1 Million in stock, at $10 a share, prior to IPO, Apple gets everything they want from the PARC portfolio. That stock would have to be worth 9 figures today so (assuming they were smart enough to not sell) they got paid.

So nobody stole code. Apple got extremely annoyed that they'd given XEROX all this money for GUIs and Mouses and things and MS just went in and copied it themselves without paying XEROX anything.

Comment: Re:Dumb stuff (Score 1) 573

by NicBenjamin (#49605925) Attached to: My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold

The connection is that your memory is biased by your economic success. You were not more mature then us, and you cover it by a combination of rationalizations and the fact it was trivial to get a good job in 1970.

Let me put it to you this way: according to your parents you were much less mature then they were, spoiled as children, and failures as adults. According to their parents your parents generation was much less spoiled then their (the grandparent's) generation. And on and on and on. One of two things is going on: either every generation of old people forgets precisely how pathetic they were at 18, or back in 1750 8-year-olds had the emotional maturity of our 60-year-olds.

OTOH, that was the Revolution generation, and you are probably in your 60s, so you may just have proven your case.

Comment: Re:Dumb stuff (Score 1) 573

by NicBenjamin (#49604885) Attached to: My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold

Baby boomers.

Your parents freaked out at things that most people today would think of as just part of High School, like losing your virginity and using any mind-altering substance. Can you imagine what they would have done if you'd said "yes Mom, this picture from Playboy is part of my class's assignment?"

And it's not because she's a stick-in-the-mud-no-fun-prissy-pants, it's because your Mom knows what being a 16-year-old-girl is like, and your Mom doesn't want you to make your classmates cry.

But, through your stoner-haze, you vaguely remember that most of your friends were claiming to do all that shit, and you're quite confident that you would have been fine if you had actually succeeded; and you have no experience whatsoever being a 16-year-old-girl you're whining because you don't want the boys to be denied the dubious pleasure of talking about their playboy-picture-using class.

Comment: Re:Dumb stuff (Score 1) 573

by NicBenjamin (#49604881) Attached to: My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold

WTF has happened?

There's no jobs that pay for high school educated kids. You need at least an Associate's, or you're in retail. If you're in retail you really can't be a parent because the scheduling is so fucked up I work one of these places, and they insist that all their employees should be able to be their, and chipper, with 7.5 hours between shifts, even the poor motherfuckers who have a half-hour commute and happen to be your fucking age).

OTOH, when you were 18 you could get a job that paid the equivalent of $20 an hour (it actually would have been more like $3 or $4, but inflation), with a set schedule, and good benefits, just by being a US Citizen who showed at work every day. With that much money, and no commitments, emotional maturity is a side-issue. As long as you were emotionally mature enough to avoid the legal system and show up at 9 AM you were fine. If weren't quite that mature you got to go to Vietnam.

But today you not only need to be mature enough to avoid the cops, you also have to be good enough academically to get into a real college (a two-year-program that has a track record of getting people jobs counts), if you're working your way through college you have to maintain a job with a terrible schedule plus school, which costs at least $10k a year (in the 70s, even after adjusting for inflation, most schools were under $5k), etc.

Comment: Re:Bernie Sanders (any real shot at winning?) (Score 1) 372

by NicBenjamin (#49603915) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

Countries plural?

Heritage has Denmark as 0.1 points higher then the US. The Norwegians, Swedes, and Icelanders are all about 4 points lower. Finland (which swears it's not Scandinavia) is 2.8 points lower. Cato has us 12th, the Danes 19th, and those Finns (who will really be pissed that I called them Scandinavian twice in one posts) 10th.

As a left-winger I obviously don't think these rankings are very good, and I think that the freedom to quit your job and not go bankrupt is a pretty good economic freedom; but to the Americans who think "economic freedom" is more then a BS talking point Scandinavia is worse then us. Why? higher taxes, used to pay for that welfare state.

These people actually found somebody to sue Obama because he didn't want subsidized health insurance. They are not kidding when they tell you that the number one predictor of whether a President will become Hitler is how much of GDP his budget consumes.

The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work. -- Richard Bach, "Illusions"