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Comment: Re:6,000 only (Score 1) 85

by TapeCutter (#48208477) Attached to: 6,000 Year Old Temple Unearthed In Ukraine
Had a lady friend like that, it was a good long distance relationship with a friend of a friend, she had wanted to come live in Melbourne for work so I invited her to move in with me (we both had 2 teenage kids each who got on well with each other). Religion didn't come up until she moved in and spotted Darwin's biography and Dawkins "selfish gene" on my bookshelf, took me 3 weeks to decide the way her brain worked was just too fucking annoying to live with, took me 3 months to get her out.

It's an endless source of humour looking back at it, at the time I thought she was joking when she saw the logo on a NASA web page I was reading and started asking me about how to find aliens in NASA's basement via the internet. Looking back at it now, I'm sure she wasn't joking.

Comment: Re:I call shanananagan's (Score 1) 85

by TapeCutter (#48208247) Attached to: 6,000 Year Old Temple Unearthed In Ukraine

So they bilt this not only in one day but the very day after the earth was craterd? I don't think.

Haven't read TFA but I do know Roman battalions advanced by marching for a few days, stopping at a strategic point, and proceed to turn a nearby forest into a 3 storey fort in a single day. The forts were all of the same design and required ~5,000 trees to build, each man was an expert at a specific task. Reinforcements moved from fort to fort and signal towers were set up in between so that there was a visual link along the entire path. Today, we call this strategy a "supply line".

The Romans did a similar thing building up their Navy with spectacular speed when circumstances required, it was a classic "assembly line production" that existed 2000yrs before Henry Ford "invented" it. They also stole the boat design from the Carthaginians who had kindly numbered all the individual planks for them (no IP lawyers back then).

For a modern army or even a well organised militia, erecting a fake ruin in a day is definitely doable, so it boils down to motivation, which both sides have in spades.

Comment: Re:Also in the news (Score 1) 85

by TapeCutter (#48208033) Attached to: 6,000 Year Old Temple Unearthed In Ukraine
Yep, the French and the British are still arguing about who shot the nose off the Sphinx during the Napoleonic wars. Military types don't generally blow up iconic buildings for fun, they do it for propaganda purposes, eg Shi'a mosques in Northern Iraq are currently getting pounded into dust by the Sunni extremists. Irregular forces are more inclined to go for iconic building to demonstrate their power, eg: twin towers, UK parliament, etc.

The worst case of heritage destruction I can recall recently was on the 3rd day of the Iraq war when the US sacked the entire public service and then sat on their hands while the locals went on a looting spree. It was an extremely foolish decision that backfired badly, no cops, no ambulance, no garbage collection, no school, etc. After the looting rampage was over the US had well and truly lost the "hearts and minds" battle with ordinary Iraqi's.

Comment: Re:Challenge accepted (Score 1) 85

by TapeCutter (#48207751) Attached to: 6,000 Year Old Temple Unearthed In Ukraine

To reach the hall, you could navigate the roof and descend from the awnings

Coincidentally, the earliest known stone villages appeared in Turkey ~12,000 years ago, they had no streets and the houses had no doors, they were all squashed together as one big flat building, people entered individual homes by navigating the roof and descending through a hole into their "cubicle". They also had a habit of burying dead relatives in the living room. Similar architecture and burial practices were common across the N. Hemisphere for the next 10,000yrs.

Comment: Re:Government Dictionary (Score 1) 227

by TapeCutter (#48199997) Attached to: Facebook To DEA: Stop Using Phony Profiles To Nab Criminals
Words have multiple definitions in dictionaries and in ordinary speech, which definition is assigned depends entirely on context. For example "feet smell and noses run". Scientists and lawyers have one thing in common, they are very careful about definitions, they tell others which definition they are using upfront, it doesn't have to be interpreted through context. It's an exacting and fully transparent tradition in Science and Law. Clinton's lawyer debating the definition of "is" for 15min is a fine example. The quantum property of "colour" is another one from the Scientific world.

Using the same rules for a state and a person ignores the basic nature of political power and leaves brute force as the only method of arbitration. The existing state would lose any and all authority and instantaneously collapse (re: looting of Iraq after US sacked entire public service), the power vacuum left behind would very likely be filled by the kind of people you fear most, heavily armed 18-25yo males who have just one rule for everyone - "might is right". Like Humpty Dumpty, they have no use for dictionaries, to them a word means whatever they say it means, and they will execute and torture as many people as it takes to demonstrate their point.

Aside from that the very thing you suggest happened on a smaller scale when I was at HS. The largest internal migration in US history was in the early 70's when hippies left cities in droves and started up communes on shared private land, a similar social phenomena occurred here in Oz. They had the same "no one is in charge" ideology, rules were simply "discussed" by the group rather than defined and enforced by the group. Very few of these communes survived more that 2yrs.

The most common cause of commune collapse was not financial woes or lack of soap, in almost every case the commune collapsed when the "natural leader" in the group filled the power vacuum and basically bullied everyone else out of their legal share of the land. By the mid seventies the migration had gone full circle and the hippies were mostly back in the cities, albeit older, poorer, but a lot wiser about human nature.

Comment: If it works, leave it alone. (Score 5, Insightful) 241

by TapeCutter (#48190441) Attached to: Help ESR Stamp Out CVS and SVN In Our Lifetime
Like the so called "death of the mainframe", the death of CVS is still a long way off. From a business POV moving a large well managed CVS repository to something else is simply not worth the effort in most cases. I look after CVS repository for ~25 devs, some of the (active) code has been there for well over a decade. We looked long and hard at git, the benefits are not enough to justify turning the whole shop upside down for a few months. Physically converting the repository is just part of problem, there's also the automated build and tracking scripts that depend on CVS. You can also add to that the down time for at least half the devs to learn the new system - it's quite disturbing how many experienced devs only have a marginal understanding of source control in the first place.

Of course if you're starting a new repository then use the shinny new hammer with the rubber grip.

Comment: Re:Sexy job (Score 4, Interesting) 204

by TapeCutter (#48177705) Attached to: The One App You Need On Your Resume If You Want a Job At Google
Statistics and Logistics were a major part of my CS degree way back in the late 80's, more so than writing programs. If you think the only place statistics are used in tech companies is in marketing material then I have to conclude you have never worked as a corporate plumber and have no idea what they do. The core reason developers have always attracted good salaries at large corporations is that they can sift through mountains of data and tell the managers something about their business that they didn't know.

I'm not that far from retirement but that job will disappear in the near future, the technology in IBM's Watson will "democratise" data analysis in the same way the PC has "democratised" programming. Experts will have a "conversation" with the computer in which man and machine will both "learn" something, Google style search engines will look as quaint as a "ready reckoner" book of maths tables. And yes, Watson relies heavily on statistics, it doesn't actually give you an "answer" it gives a range of answers with an associated probability. Sounds kinda flakey but the fact that it can beat the world's top trivia buffs in an open ended problem domain is old news.

When it won the Jeopardy championship a few years ago it needed 2 tons of air-conditioning alone and was an exclusive toy for IBM devs. Today it fits on a "pizza box" server and IBM have recently opened the API to the public.

Disclaimer: Worked for IBM in the 90's, not shilling, just my personal opinion that "cognitive computing" may turn out to be more significant to human history than anything else that's happened since WW2.

Comment: Re:Why Cold Fusion (or something like it) Is Real (Score 1) 345

by TapeCutter (#48175341) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real
Earth sciences such as climate science are what is known as a "systems science", the aim is to model the behaviour of a system using accepted physics, chemistry, economic behaviour, etc. That's why technically a climate model produces a "forecast" not a "prediction". Also although we don't have a replica Earth, we do have Venus and Mars, planetary science has taught us a lot about our own planet. Some people complain that it's "just statistics" but they don't seem to mind that temperature and pressure are also "just statistics".

Some people carve careers, others chisel them.