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Comment: Re:Well (Score 1) 160

by TapeCutter (#48945761) Attached to: There Is No "You" In a Parallel Universe

So it's a common thing for people to think they're a universe now?

Some people may interpret Sagan's musings that way, but most are just now coming to appreciate that the "self" is not a ghost that inhabits our bodies, it's actually the universe itself experiencing what it is to be human. Our physical and emotional experience is a tiny subset of the Universe's experience. More simply put, if you want to say the universe is god, then we are god's eyes.

Comment: Humans ask the questions. (Score 1) 86

by TapeCutter (#48945275) Attached to: Cutting Through Data Science Hype
Watson is an automated research department that extracts related facts from unstructured text much faster than any human, like any other research department it does not tell management what to do with those facts. Optimizing business processes like JIT supply chains is a branch of math called "operations research" (logistics if you are american). Much of it is closely related to computer science, which itself is a branch of maths, O/R and AI are only tangentially related to each other.

The problem with optimizing the bottom line of a company the size of IBM is "feedback", ie - optimising a market giant like IBM will induce a change in the market itself, the changed market changes the optimal solution. The other hassle is that the problem space of optimising IBM for profit is so big that any methods use to find the optimal solution will only ever be able to find local maxima. Some humans still do this better than computers, which is why humans are the ones building computers and asking them the questions.

Comment: Re:Simple (Score 1) 227

by TapeCutter (#48928553) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

So, corruption is okay as long as it is culturally acceptable? I see.

In America they call bribes "tips", government workers are not allowed to accept tips, however failing to tip a waiter will get you a spit burger. In India you need to tip every clerk and mail boy in the paper handling chain if you want your government paperwork to move. In Nigeria they put you in an interview room at the airport and wait until you figure out how much they want.

Comment: Technology is a moving target. (Score 1) 124

by TapeCutter (#48914731) Attached to: Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble

.... lead or follow it in EXACTLY the same orbit. That would be a feat of orbital mechanics never before achieved.

The GRACE mission has been doing it for a few years now, tiny fluctuations in gravity can be inferred by the change in distance between the two probes. However it's not a geostationary orbit, just one probe following the other in low orbit. Personally I think it's a genius idea to turn the problem of keeping two probes in sync into a highly accurate gravity probe.

Comment: The early 70's are calling. (Score 1) 308

One of the largest internal migrations in US history was in the early 70's when 20 something hippies started leaving cities in droves and building mud brick utopias. Only a handful of the communes survived more then 2ys. The common cause of downfall was human nature - a bully would arise in the commune and take ownership of the land by pushing people out one by one.

Comment: Re:Urban legend? (Score 1) 308

I grew up during the cold war, the term "plan C" sound vaguely familiar. The military is expected to "plan for every scenario", it's unsurprising they came up with silly plans for a nuclear - most primary school kids knew that fallout made "duck and cover" a sick joke. It's an attempt to make people feel like they can "do something" other than dying.

Comment: OO is not a property of the language. (Score 1) 200

by TapeCutter (#48895439) Attached to: Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

C++ rewards good design but brutally punishes poor designs.

You hit the nail on the head, somewhere in the early 90's, language vendors stopped claiming "Our language supports OO concepts" and started claiming "Our language is OO".

The first C++ compiler I used professionally was Wacom's (circa 1991). Back then the Watcom C++ extensions were not part of the language, they were implemented with a bunch of C macros pulled in with include files, the macros themselves were riddled with goto (another macro) statements. I still have nightmares....

The fact is any general purpose language can be used to implement an OO design because OO is not about language features, it's a design methodology, or at least that's what I was taught when studying for my CS degree in the late 80's. As my smalltalk lecturer pointed out at the time, most of the examples in K&R's "The C language" are also great examples of OO design that were written long before the term OO was invented.

Disclaimer: These days I spend much more time tying spaghetti balls with different flavoured source together than I do trying to untangle the individual gordian knots.

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_