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Comment: Not always about the money... (Score 5, Insightful) 161

by Space cowboy (#48197637) Attached to: Cell Transplant Allows Paralyzed Man To Walk

Nice to see breakthrough research like this coming from a single-payer healthcare system like the UK. When people start saying that the only places that can afford groundbreaking medical research are the ones where the "customers" pay a fortune, it'll be good to be able to point them to things like this.

Simon

Comment: Apple = cash cow for scumbags (Score 4, Insightful) 304

by Space cowboy (#48009555) Attached to: Consumer Reports: New iPhones Not As Bendy As Believed

As is the case a lot (not all) of the time with Apple. They're worth a lot in click-bait, so what you do is try to find something outrageous to say about a popular product, put adverts on the page to generate you cash, and try and profit from the massive public interest in yet another Apple product...

Or maybe I'm getting too cynical in my old age.

Simon

User Journal

Journal: Chances of being killed by police in the USA

Journal by Space cowboy

So 104 people were killed by police in the USA during August, 2014. To my eyes, that's an absolutely enormous figure. As a Brit, I compare it to the 1 person killed over 3 years by the UK police. Yes, they're two different countries, yes there's a lot more people in the US, yes they have different cultures, yadda yadda yadda; people are dying here.

Let's do some maths:

Comment: Re:Everyone loses (Score 5, Interesting) 474

by Space cowboy (#47947433) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

I live in CA too, and pay similar taxes. I don't have a problem with the taxes.

When I came to the USA, I was taken aback by just how money-orientated the churches are. I'm irreligious, but I attended church as a kid, and it was actually about the message, about community, and definitely not about the money. Church officials (rectors and curates) are pretty poor in the UK, at least where I grew up - they have housing provided for them, and they live on a meagre salary. They are expected to work long hours for low pay. I don't get that sense when I drive past a church in San Jose that has acres (literally) of parking space, flashy electronic signs, and is located in prime real-estate area. It's very different, trust me.

I've lived here in CA for almost a decade, as I said, it's been great. There's been a couple of local school-shootings in the last year or so. Understand that from a Brit's point of view *anyone* getting shot *ever* is big news. National, prime-time TV news, possibly for days. For it to be sufficiently commonplace that it doesn't even make it past local headlines is ... disturbing.

Your point about talking to people is a good one: if I talk to people from outside the US, our views tend to resonate, but if I talk to people who are US-born, there's way less agreement. I'm not sure if it's because this is "normal" to those born here, that they just haven't experienced anything else, that they think somehow "it couldn't happen to me", or what (sometimes it's definitely a case of USA! USA! USA!). Definitely there is a difference in outlook between natives and foreigners.

One more thing: I'm not trying to paint the UK as some sort of panacea - it's not, by a long chalk. Neither am I US-bashing for the sake of it - the above is just my observations over time. The UK has it's own issues no doubt, but bottom line: even as a white male living in an affluent area in the USA, I feel safer in the UK. And I definitely feel my son would be safer at school there. This is the fact that's weighing on me more and more.

Simon

Comment: Re:Everyone loses (Score 5, Insightful) 474

by Space cowboy (#47947089) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

Having lived in the US for a decade now, I'm missing the UK more and more.

  - A real non-half-assed health service, that provides long-term care without exception
  - A dearth of mass-murders, especially school-shootings
  - A police service which uses policing-by-consent rather than by-fear
  - A university system that doesn't do its best to keep you in debt for life
  - A foreign policy that doesn't make them hated around the world
  - An attitude that doesn't revolve around "why should my taxes pay for you, just because you desperately need help" ?
  - A church that isn't entirely based around making money for the "reverend" and isn't overwhelmingly politicised.
  - Sensible views on evolution, science in general, abortion, gay marriage, and womens rights.
  - And of course, the marked lack of guns in the general populace. An armed society is a polite society my arse. It's a *fearful* society.

As I said, I've been here for a decade now, and I work for a big company with great perks. It's been good for me, but now that I have a kid, the school-shootings thing is getting more and more worrisome. There's literally nothing I can do to prevent some moron raiding his mother's arsenal and killing my kid if that's how he wants to end his life.

The money is good, the people I meet are friendly, the weather is nice, and that used to be sufficient. But as time goes by, it's seeming more and more like a Faustian bargain.

Simon.

Comment: Crawl, *then* walk (Score 4, Insightful) 122

by Space cowboy (#47934209) Attached to: Scientists Twist Radio Beams To Send Data At 32 Gigabits Per Second

Yeah, I could do with one of those office-space meme's right now.

If all the nay-sayers faux-gasping at the extreme length of 2.5m could shut up, that'd be great.

I'm not sure what people expect these days - this is a major achievement - whether it *can* be extended, or whether it *will* be extended would be different achievements. You could almost apply Jackson's rules of optimisation to this (refresher below) - in that first you *do* it, and only then (if you're an expert) do you try to do it *well*.

Simon

Jackson's rules of optimisation: "The First Rule of Program Optimization: Don't do it. The Second Rule of Program Optimization (for experts only!): Don't do it yet."

Comment: Re:Chess (Score 1) 274

by Space cowboy (#47675743) Attached to: Of the following, I'd rather play ...

When you play a bridge tournament, you play as part of a 4-person team. All the cards are dealt and placed in boards such that once they're played, they're replaced back as the North, South, East, or West hand.

Now your team of 4 is split into two partnerships, one playing all the N/S hands, one playing all the E/W hands. For any given hand of N,S,E,W, what counts isn't what your partnership does on your cards (either N/S or E/W), it's the delta between what your other partnership scored and what you scored. So, if you and X are playing North/South, and your other team members are playing E/W, then for every hand its your score - their score becomes your team score for that deck of cards.

In this way, there is no element of luck. Every team plays the same cards, every team plays both pairings (N/S and E/W), and only the difference matters. It's pure skill, both in bidding what you will make, and then playing the cards to actually make your bid. You can "win" the deck by causing someone who bid a grand-slam to lose a trick, and get the maximum points for that deck to your team.

Bridge is a truly excellent game. Simple rules, but incredibly challenging to execute correctly every time.

Simon

Comment: Re:Legitimate concerns (Score 1) 282

by Space cowboy (#47583661) Attached to: UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity

I think you're proving my point about the black-and-white nature of how people regard free speech in the USA. See, I'm very much in favour of free speech, it's been a fundamental right of UK society now for longer than the USA has existed in its current form, and pretty much any UK citizen would be equally for it.

Where we differ is in nuance. The UK approach is a shades-of-gray one, where the right to speak whatever you want, no matter how hurtful to others, is actually counter-balanced by how much what you say hurts the target of your invective; and this in turn is counter-balanced by the importance of what it is that you're saying to society as a whole. There's a whole spectrum of things to consider when making a judgement, which is why the UK position is that if a free-speech issue comes up, it ought to be decided by a judge rather than a black/white hard-and-fast rule.

Now does this matter, in day-to-day life ? No. People say and do pretty much the same thing on both sides of the pond; but when a big issue comes up and a judgement has to be rendered, the courts take a more reasoned view than "Is this free speech ? Yes ? Ok then, feel free to ".

I'll ignore the idiotic purposeful misreading of the Fire thing...

Comment: Re:Legitimate concerns (Score 1, Informative) 282

by Space cowboy (#47577907) Attached to: UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity

This is a very US-typical way of thinking.

In the UK, it's more of a "where is the harm" approach. If there is more perceived harm in the exercise of said speech than in allowing it, it won't be allowed. This is more difficult to administer (it means someone, usually a judge) has to make a decision about this rather than it just being black and white. It does make life more pleasant for more people.

Having lived in the UK and the US for over a decade each, I have some perspective on this, and personally I think it's worth it, worshipping at the altar of "Free Speech At All Costs[*]" is an absolute, and I tend to distrust absolutes.

Simon.

[*] It's not a real absolute in the USA, you can't shout "Fire!" in a crowded theatre in the US either, for example, but it's a massively more common mindset of US people compared to UK people in my experience.

Comment: Re:Misleading summary (Score 1) 150

Questioning and asking are two completely different things, otherwise one wouldn't "ask a question", one would either ask or question.

To question something is to doubt the premises that lead to a given statement. To ask something is to enquire about something. When one has doubts a conclusion (i.e.: questions), one normally asks to ascertain the veracity of the conclusion. This leads to the construct "to ask a question" as in "to resolve a doubt".

Simon

Comment: Re:ip over tcp exists. see also PPoE (Score 1) 804

Yeah, but you need the lower level frames (link layer) to implement the higher level protocol (TCP) so that you can encapsulate another lower-level protocol within it; you can't implement TCP without any link-layer underneath it, is what I was trying to say. Note the "only" using TCP in the post.

Comment: Re:64 GB ECC 32 consumer, pcie vs. sata. compare H (Score 1) 804

What I'm really saying is that thunderbolt is like a transport layer protocol, and pci-e, Ethernet, video, etc. are all protocols layered on top of this transport protocol. It's very like the OSI stack, in as much as there's a link-level protocol and service-level protocols building on that basic transport.

I have no experience with PC motherboards so I'm not *sure* what they're doing, but I suspect that they are exposing any pci-e level protocol traffic as hot-plug pci-e (as does the Mac), and that the OP is misunderstanding what the author of the HTML page he linked to is saying.

Thunderbolt itself is a lower-level protocol, but one that can be addressed directly which can be useful for particular applications. One example is raw dma, so any thunderbolt device can dma into any other device without the CPU getting involved (modulo the conditions I mention above).

I thought the spec comment was a bit odd as well, but I think he might be referring to the fact that the spec (and the hardware) has changed over time. There are several revisions...

Comment: Re:64 GB ECC 32 consumer, pcie vs. sata. compare H (Score 1) 804

Dude, I'm just describing what I see. I have the docs too, for both protocol and controller chips, and I have the code and measurements to prove it.

There's a clear difference in the time taken to process packets once the kernel gets involved, and (within experimental error), that time difference is nicely quantized.

I can't say it any clearer, when the kernel doesn't need to get involved (see above for criteria), it just doesn't - at least on a Mac. Perhaps the bios's Greg is using are not implemented well, I don't know (I have no experience there) but the Mac does it intelligently.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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