Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Not quite sure (Score 1) 199

by Psychotria (#49046599) Attached to: Torvalds Polls Desire for Linux's Next Major Version Bump

Related to the above, I'm not even 100% sure if Torvalds' mantra of "WE DO NOT BREAK USERSPACE!" is the best course of action. If userspace needs breaking, then break it and bump the major version number, otherwise things could potentially end up as horrible as MS operating systems and their attempt at preserving that over time.

Comment: Not quite sure (Score 4, Insightful) 199

by Psychotria (#49046543) Attached to: Torvalds Polls Desire for Linux's Next Major Version Bump

I'm not really sure because I don't know if Linux adheres to Semantic Versioning or not (previous bumps in the major version number might suggest not). Semantic versioning doesn't work for every project but I am pretty sure that (if Linux used semantic versioning) that the next release would not introduce any incompatible changes to the API/ABI.

Comment: Re:Does not make sense (Score 1) 76

by Psychotria (#48989793) Attached to: The Algorithm That 'Sees' Beauty In Photographic Portraits

Serves me right for reading only the summary before commenting. I knew /. summaries were bad but this is just dumb. The article does not say that the algorithm "Curiously, ignores personal details such as age, sex, race, eye colour and so on" at all and nor does the paper synopsis. This study says nothing about "beauty" at all... it's basically a study about photographic or artistic composition and what compositions are pleasing to the eye.

Comment: Does not make sense (Score 1) 76

by Psychotria (#48989683) Attached to: The Algorithm That 'Sees' Beauty In Photographic Portraits

[...] then allowed the algorithm to "learn" the difference by taking into account personal factors such as the age, sex and race of the subject as well as technical factors such as the sharpness of the image, the exposure and the contrast between the face and the background and so on

Curiously, the algorithm does this by ignoring personal details such as age, sex, race, eye colour and so on and instead focuses only on technical details such as sharpness, exposure and contrast.

Something does not compute

Comment: Child Autonomy (Score 5, Interesting) 784

by Psychotria (#48828697) Attached to: Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

From Jared Diamond's book The World Until Yesterday

How much freedom or encouragement do children have to explore their environment? Are children permitted to do dangerous things, with the expectation that they must learn from their mistakes? Or are parents protective of their children’s safety, and do parents curtail exploration and pull kids away if they start to do something that could be dangerous?

The answer to this question varies among societies. However, a tentative generalization is that individual autonomy, even of children, is a more cherished ideal in hunter-gatherer bands than in state societies, where the state considers that it has an interest in its children, does not want children to get hurt by doing as they please, and forbids parents to let a child harm itself.

That theme of autonomy has been emphasized by observers of many hunter-gatherer societies. For example, Aka Pygmy children have access to the same resources as do adults, whereas in the U.S. there are many adults-only resources that are off-limits to kids, such as weapons, alcohol, and breakable objects. Among the Martu people of the Western Australian desert, the worst offense is to impose on a child’s will, even if the child is only 3 years old. The Piraha Indians consider children just as human beings, not in need of coddling or special protection. In Everett’s words, “They [Piraha children] are treated fairly and allowance is made for their size and relative physical weakness, but by and large they are not considered qualitatively different from adults ... This style of parenting has the result of producing very tough and resilient adults who do not believe that anyone owes them anything. Citizens of the Piraha nation know that each day’s survival depends on their individual skills and hardiness ... Eventually they learn that it is in their best interests to listen to their parents a bit.”

Some hunter-gatherer and small-scale farming societies don’t intervene when children or even infants are doing dangerous things that may in fact harm them, and that could expose a Western parent to criminal prosecution. I mentioned earlier my surprise, in the New Guinea Highlands, to learn that the fire scars borne by so many adults of Enu’s adoptive tribe were often acquired in infancy, when an infant was playing next to a fire, and its parents considered that child autonomy extended to a baby’s having the right to touch or get close to the fire and to suffer the consequences. Hadza infants are permitted to grasp and suck on sharp knives. Nevertheless, not all small-scale societies permit children to explore freely and do dangerous things.

On the American frontier, where population was sparse, the one-room schoolhouse was a common phenomenon. With so few children living within daily travel distance, schools could afford only a single room and a single teacher, and all children of different ages had to be educated together in that one room. But the one-room schoolhouse in the U.S. today is a romantic memory of the past, except in rural areas of low population density. Instead, in all cities, and in rural areas of moderate population density, children learn and play in age cohorts.

School classrooms are age-graded, such that most classmates are within a year of each other in age. While neighborhood playgroups are not so strictly age-segregated, in densely populated areas of large societies there are enough children living within walking distance of each other that 12-year-olds don’t routinely play with 3-year-olds.

But demographic realities produce a different result in small-scale societies, which resemble one-room schoolhouses. A typical hunter-gatherer band numbering around 30 people will on the average contain only about a dozen preadolescent kids, of both sexes and various ages. Hence it is impossible to assemble separate age-cohort playgroups, each with many children, as is characteristic of large societies. Instead, all children in the band form a single multi-age playgroup of both sexes. That observation applies to all small-scale hunter-gatherer societies that have been studied. In such multi-age playgroups, both the older and the younger children gain from being together. The young children gain from being socialized not only by adults but also by older children, while the older children acquire experience in caring for younger children. That experience gained by older children contributes to explaining how hunter-gatherers can become confident parents already as teenagers. While Western societies have plenty of teenage parents, especially unwed teenagers, Western teenagers are suboptimal parents because of inexperience. However, in a small-scale society, the teenagers who become parents will already have been taking care of children for many years.

Another phenomenon affected by multi-age playgroups is premarital sex, which is reported from all well-studied small hunter-gatherer societies. Most large societies consider some activities as suitable for boys, and other activities as suitable for girls. They encourage boys and girls to play separately, and there are enough boys and girls to form single-sex playgroups. But that’s impossible in a band where there are only a dozen children of all ages. Because hunter-gatherer children sleep with their parents, either in the same bed or in the same hut, there is no privacy. Children see their parents having sex. In the Trobriand Islands, one researcher was told that parents took no special precautions to prevent their children from watching them having sex: they just scolded the child and told it to cover its head with a mat. Once children are old enough to join playgroups of other children, they make up games imitating the various adult activities that they see, so of course they have sex games, simulating intercourse.

Comment: Re:Cool, but why? (Score 5, Insightful) 114

by Psychotria (#48765301) Attached to: Text Editor Created In Minecraft

I meant to add...

When I am laying on my death bed and someone says "you did all these useless things -- you could have directed your talent towards really useful stuff and made lots of money", I will honestly be able to say "They were not useless; they made me happy. And that is what gave my life meaning."

Comment: Re:Cool, but why? (Score 5, Insightful) 114

by Psychotria (#48765217) Attached to: Text Editor Created In Minecraft

Obviously a talented individual, think of that useful software could have been written with the same amount of time and effort.

I've been asked this question all my life.

When I decided I'd like to fly to the moon everyone asked why. "You could have spent your time and effort making a ship to fly to Australia," they said.

The time that I decided I'd like to write a series of novels that spanned generations of characters and several hundred years they said asked why as well. "Your time is better spent writing non-fiction and and historic account of something that really happened."

I remember one time when I decided to ride my bike to the other side of town. My grandfather said "Why? The bus is faster and you'll be less tired."

Sometimes I take a break from work. My co-workers ask me why when work is so rewarding anyway.

The other day I spent a crazy amount of money buying ingredients to make a very tasty meal (well, I thought it was). I was asked why. It provided my body the same energy as something I could have made using much cheaper ingredients.

Related to the above item, many of my friends ask me why I cook my own meals at all. If you look hard enough you can get someone else to cook something kind of similar for about the same cost.

I once decided to make my own analogue clock. I made all the gears and built it from scratch. Took ages. Cost a lot more than an analogue clock I could have purchased (and certainly a lot more than a digital clock).

Sometimes I do crosswords or solve other puzzles.

Even more occasionally I listen to music.

I go bushwalking (I am not sure of the American term -- walking in National Parks along trails?) and camping.

I could go on forever and for ever.

I don't need to do any of these things. I enjoy doing these things. I want to do these things. Most of them serve no practical purpose at all, apart from making me happy. That's not entirely true, though. If I set myself a goal that has no practical or useful purpose and achieve it I do get a reward. I even get a reward if I fail.

There is no purpose to life apart from being happy (IMO). And if doing something meaningless makes you happy then... then, well it's not meaningless is it?

Comment: Re:Plant Recognition (Score 1) 421

by Psychotria (#48734791) Attached to: What Isn't There an App For?

I imagine this sort of identification software would just output a list of possible identifications ordered by probability. I think the shortcomings you've identified could be mitigated by making the user go through a decision tree answering illustrated questions about the plant's size, leaf branching, seeds/berries, etc. and by comparing the user's GPS location to plants' known distributions. If the list linked to descriptions and pictures of the potential IDs it'd become a pretty useful tool even if its single best guess wasn't reliable.

Yes, this is what existing applications (essentially) do. If one of these "interactive keys" (see DELTA and Lucid) combined image recognition to get key characters then that would bring things closer reality.

Comment: Re:Plant Recognition (Score 4, Interesting) 421

by Psychotria (#48729829) Attached to: What Isn't There an App For?

I'd like to be able to take a picture of a plant or mushroom and have it identified for me. Bonus points if it tells me if it is edible. Bonus Bonus points for preparation instructions and recipes.

That's a long way off in my opinion. Positive plant identification relies on having reproductive material for the plant (e.g. flowers and/or fruit/seed/drupe/spore/etc) and a way of looking at those structures closely (often under a microscope). The identification of some plants will also take into account the root system.

Some plants are able to be identified (but not 100%) using vegetative characters only: e.g. phylotaxy, leaf complexity, growth habit, stipules (and their position), bark, pubesence on the stem or leaves, shape of those hairs if they are present (probably need a microscope), etc, etc, etc. But the positive identification is elusive -- mainly because of the taxonomy of species classification in the first place which necessarily takes into account non-vegetative characters and morphology.

That said, identification to the level of family might be a more realistic goal. Even then there are problems because not all genera (and certainly not all species) need not share common characters.

Grasses (Poaceae)? Good luck.

Identifying fungi using an app? Even more difficult unfortunately.

Comment: Re:oh for fucks sake (Score 1) 210

by Psychotria (#48729371) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Linux Distro For Hybrid Laptop?

its linux make it fucking work or deal with windows you lazy shit for brains retard who bought something before you even knew if it would work for you


Such eloquence! The way you've constucted that sentence is absolute perfection and I doubt it can be improved upon. Maybe correcting some spelling mistakes and grammar would help. Possibly adding punctuation would help. But these are minor points and in no way detract from your masterful prose.

I'm altering my Slashdot relationship with you (to friend) so that I can keep up with your posts. Hopefully if I keep studying your writing one day I will also be able to craft solid messages with comparable clarity.

To the landlord belongs the doorknobs.