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Comment: Re:I won't notice (Score 1) 325

by dark_requiem (#48896559) Attached to: UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?
To quote the article you linked,

What the chart shows is that, for a 50-inch screen, the benefits of 720p vs. 480p start to become apparent at viewing distances closer than 14.6 feet and become fully apparent at 9.8 feet

So, if we are to accept the conclusions of this article, we shouldn't really be able to tell the difference between 480p and 720p until we get to roughly 10-12 feet. That's ridiculous, I could tell a 720p from a 480p image from twice that distance. If you can't, double-check that 20/20 of yours, may be time for a new prescription.

Comment: Re:I won't notice (Score 2) 325

by dark_requiem (#48894801) Attached to: UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?
Permit me to disagree. I have not so hot vision (contacts, -4.50), and, unlike many people I know, I can clearly distinguish between, say, 720p and 1080p. I just moments ago installed my new 55" 4k Vizio (P series ftw!), and the difference is remarkable. It's fairly noticeable on upscaled 1080p content, but plug in a computer and push some real 4k (read: games), and the difference is remarkable. At a viewing distance of about 10 feet, the difference in clarity is readily apparent. And I'm not alone in this regard. The friends who helped me install this beast are fellow videophiles, and we were all blown away by the difference. I'm about to hop on to netflix to start up my subscription again (haven't had an active netfilx account in years) just so I can stream their 4k content (already have amazon prime), and I'm eagerly awaiting 4k blu ray (not that I'll spend much time swapping discs, as with current blu ray, they'll go in the drive just once, to be ripped, and then get carefully filed away).

Also, I heard many of your arguments years ago when HD was first rearing its head in the market. "There's no content, no one will buy it", "no one will buy it due to lack of content, so no one will make content", "current resolutions are completely sufficient, and no one will see a difference anyway". All wrong. Give it a year or two. Even if 4k blu ray doesn't take off particularly well, expect to see more and more streaming/downloadable 4k content. And, a quick perusal of 4k video on torrent sites show that 4k is already being pushed by the same people who have pushed every other major advance in home video for the last few decades: the porn industry. I couldn't find any 4k movies to download, but if you want to watch people screw in 4k, the future is now.

I'll go ahead and get off your lawn now.

Comment: Re:Hang on WTF? (Score 1) 190

by ThosLives (#48855283) Attached to: Japanese Nobel Laureate Blasts His Country's Treatment of Inventors

That someone provided him with all the equipment and capabilities to do the research why the hell should he be awarded the patent?

And herein lies the great virtue and vice of capitalism: the assignment of profits to the owner of capital, rather than the one who made the capital useful.

It doesn't have anything to do with fairness - it's just the way capitalism is set up. There are many good and bad things with this setup; most of the good came about during the time of physical wealth; most of the bad is showing up with the "intangible" wealth.

Let's say you own the lab in which the guy who invented LEDs (original, not just blue). Should (economically? morally? how do you avoid rent-seeking?) the guy who invented LEDs get income from every single LED ever produced, or every device inspired by the LED? Should the lab? How do you fairly allocate possibly infinite income to any individual or corporation? When does an inventor's or capital-owner's interest (and share) get exhausted? Should this interest be exhausted in the first place?

It's sadly not as simple as "without patents there would be no incentive to invent" or "all patents should be abolished."

Comment: Re:Sounds suspiciously like welfare. (Score 1) 109

by ThosLives (#48781955) Attached to: Cryptocurrency Based Basic Income Program Started In Finland

I had a slight error - I shouldn't have said "supply and demand for currency" but rather "supply and demand for things purchased by currency".

That is - as long as currency is separate from actual goods and services, if you don't balance the demand for those goods and services, a "basic income" is almost futile because the value of goods and services relative to that currency is always going to be a moving target.

If all you do is give people currency, but don't actually give people more of the things that are useful to buy with that currency, it's only an accounting exercise.

It doesn't help that it's a very multi-variable problem. Sometimes there is incentive to increase supply when prices increase, thus helping mitigate price increases - but only in instances with low barriers to entry to increase supply. Sometimes - especially in situations where there is a physical or legal constraint on supply (such as housing, or professional sports say) - there is incentive to keep supply low and simply extract higher rent. Basic income alone cannot ameliorate that type of situation.

Comment: Re:Sounds suspiciously like welfare. (Score 1) 109

by ThosLives (#48781561) Attached to: Cryptocurrency Based Basic Income Program Started In Finland

I think I generally agree with what you're saying, but let me paraphrase to make sure: Basic income would work, so long as there wasn't such a thing as supply and demand for currency.

The only way I can see "basic income" working is if we also mandate that prices cannot be raised; to make (more) profit this would mean production must be increased, rather than just make profit based on increased demand for a scarce good.

Something tells me the problem thus isn't a technical one related to the existence of basic income or welfare, but rather a social one.

Comment: Re:Fedora (Score 1) 210

by griffjon (#48733469) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Linux Distro For Hybrid Laptop?

I have a Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga (similar form factor) and after some tweaking I'm pretty happy with Ubuntu 14.10 on it, but you're going to have to get comfy with the command line. Some immediately useful tips: Chromium has much better touch support than chrome or firefox. If you're a chrome user, chromium is the open source core of it. The OnBoard screen keyboard is a lifesaver. There are a ton of scripts you can find to help with screen rotation, which you can then map to any custom keys you have. Good luck!

Comment: Re:Time to end it (Score 1) 232

by ThosLives (#48720215) Attached to: Aircraft Responsible For 2.5% of Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Shipping as well as cruise ships also are major polluters

Yup. Something like 4.5% of all direct CO2 emissions, give or take. So about twice as bad as air travel, but probably 10 times simpler to fix than for aircraft because of easier constraints on weight and much less stringent safety requirements, etc.

Of course, aircraft are basically going to be switching to carbon-neutral* bio-kerosene in the next two decades or so anyway, so the argument against air travel is kind of moot.

*Assuming the energy used to make it is not carbon-combustion based.

Comment: Re:noooo (Score 4, Insightful) 560

by ThosLives (#48717309) Attached to: 2014: Hottest Year On Record

But the net is hugely negative. 1/3 of the world's people are close enough to a coast that they will have to do something when sea levels rise.

So why don't people move now before they're underwater? Put another way - have all the people who are proclaiming coming disaster started moving their assets away from the coasts? Why are we focusing on emissions rather than moving people now? Surely moving people is cheaper (and more direct - that is, localized) than trying to control emissions. Such a thing would avoid depending on other people to fix their behaviors - it would also guarantee an outcome, rather than a probabilistic estimate of what happens if we curb emission X.

People must really place a huge time preference on things to delay moving in spite of the proposed huge future costs. Or, they just don't believe it... or the "speed" of things isn't really as fast enough for people to care.

Climate Change is happening too fast for much life to cope. The speed of the change is all negative.

This is both defeatist and probably more political than technical. If political will is high enough, humans can do crazy things in short (e.g., decade-span) timeframes, especially when we don't have to invent anything but just have to move people inland or build hydroponics or desalination plants etc. It's all political, not technical. If we want to reduce the cost of sea level rise, why not tax people closer to the coast, and reduce tax away from the coast? Rhetoric talks, but money walks. And hitting the individual harder (rather than corporations) will motivate people much faster than not. Hell if you think the future disaster is high enough, you should ask your governments to build everyone living within X of a coast a brand new house inland and giving it to them (and personally be willing to be taxed for it), because that will cost less than the future cost of disaster mitigation later.

I guess, at the end of the day, the focus is too one-sided on emissions, rather than on relocation or adaptability. I know if I lived close to a coast, I would move inland rather than rely on some disparate group of companies and nations to reduce their emissions which will maybe prevent my land from eroding away or getting hit with bad weather in my or my child's lifetime.

I would rather put in policies to avoid turning inland (midwest US for instance) farmland into subdivisions - I hate to see our local farmland turning into cookie-cutter homes; reducing farmland seems to make us more sensitive, not more robust.

So that's what I mean by too narrow focus, in tech, in media, etc - everyone is focused on emissions, not on adaptation. If we don't adapt, we die - trying to refuse to adapt is actually worse in my mind.

Comment: Re:noooo (Score 5, Insightful) 560

by ThosLives (#48716605) Attached to: 2014: Hottest Year On Record

And, at the same time, it was the coldest year in Chicago's recorded history. Who knew?

Well, yes, because "global" warming isn't really global - a global average is kind of meaningless for determining the local effects in any given region.

The problem I have with global climate change "debate" is not that climate is changing, but that there is an assumption that the net effect will be negative. Some regions will surely become less hospitable, and some will become more hospitable. I'm disappointed that more studies haven't shown which will prevail (or if there will be a net neutral effect). Instead we just get fear mongering about famine and war.

Also, I still believe the focus is on the wrong thing: rather than try and stop climate change (after all, if it doesn't change because of CO2, it may change due to something else) we should try and work on technologies so we can survive - no, thrive - regardless of the climate. (Isn't that what humanity has done for most of its existence anyway?)

+ - Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering on 2012 Election 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Gerrymandering is the practice of establishing a political advantage for a political party by manipulating district boundaries to concentrate all your opponents votes in a few districts while keeping your party's supporters as a majority in the remaining districts. For example, in North Carolina in 2012 Republicans ended up winning nine out of 13 congressional seats even though more North Carolinians voted for Democrats than Republicans statewide. Now Jessica Jones reports that researchers at Duke are studying the mathematical explanation for the discrepancy. Mathematicians Jonathan Mattingly and Christy Vaughn created a series of district maps using the same vote totals from 2012, but with different borders. Their work was governed by two principles of redistricting: a federal rule requires each district have roughly the same population and a state rule requires congressional districts to be compact. Using those principles as a guide, they created a mathematical algorithm to randomly redraw the boundaries of the state’s 13 congressional districts. "We just used the actual vote counts from 2012 and just retabulated them under the different districtings," says Vaughn. "”If someone voted for a particular candidate in the 2012 election and one of our redrawn maps assigned where they live to a new congressional district, we assumed that they would still vote for the same political party."

The results were startling. After re-running the election 100 times with a randomly drawn nonpartisan map each time, the average simulated election result was 7 or 8 U.S. House seats for the Democrats and 5 or 6 for Republicans. The maximum number of Republican seats that emerged from any of the simulations was eight. The actual outcome of the election — four Democratic representatives and nine Republicans – did not occur in any of the simulations. "If we really want our elections to reflect the will of the people, then I think we have to put in safeguards to protect our democracy so redistrictings don't end up so biased that they essentially fix the elections before they get started," says Mattingly. But North Carolina State Senator Bob Rucho is unimpressed. "I'm saying these maps aren't gerrymandered," says Rucho. "It was a matter of what the candidates actually was able to tell the voters and if the voters agreed with them. Why would you call that uncompetitive?""

Comment: Re:Externalities (Score 1) 222

by ThosLives (#48434515) Attached to: Lessons Learned From Google's Green Energy Bust

If A and B have to decide whether to make a transaction, while C will be harmed if the transaction happens but has no say in whether it happens, that's an externality and market forces do not account for it under any economic model I've ever heard of.

Except with the environment, it's a little murky, because A, B, and C are all affected (perhaps not equally or at the same time, I'll admit). So it's not a "pure" externality at least.

...pretty much all economists agree that a carbon price is the most market-efficient way of doing that...

But what price do you pick? There's no "free market" way to do this. Cap-and-trade will result in a free market price for the available credits or whatever, except the amount of credits is arbitrary. If there was a way for the "market" to determine the available credits, that would be one thing - but there isn't; it's all done by decree. (Kind of a reverse externality if you will - groups A and B decide that this is the level of emissions that's allowed, C's opinion or needs be damned.)

That said, yes, an artificial price on emissions may result in people reducing consumption of those things that emit, depending on the elasticity of demand for those things.

Comment: Re:That was 3 years ago (Score 1) 222

by ThosLives (#48426367) Attached to: Lessons Learned From Google's Green Energy Bust

This is one place I wish market purists would get on board--put a price on carbon, and solutions will come out of the woodwork and plummet in price.

Except market purists balk at this because "putting a price on carbon" is an artificial thing - it's screwing around with the markets. The markets have already spoken: the externalities of climate change (relocation costs, war, health costs) have a lower cost than trying to develop alternatives. These costs are already really accounted for, even though they aren't necessarily applied at the source of "carbon" emission.

Comment: Re:"Perfectly timed"? (Score 0) 252

by Coryoth (#48177543) Attached to: Apple's Next Hit Could Be a Microsoft Surface Pro Clone

Seems to me that Apple is playing catch-up in the phablet arena. Apple was late to the party and lost the toehold because of its tardiness.

No, no, you're looking at this all wrong. Apple stayed out of the Phablet market until they were "cool/hip/trendy". The vast sales Samsung had were merely to unimportant people. Apple, on the other hand, entered the market exactly when phablets became cool, because, by definition, phablets became cool only once Apple had entered the market.

Comment: Re:Don't collect information you don't need (Score 1) 39

by griffjon (#48173845) Attached to: How Whisper Tracks Users Who Don't Share Their Location

1000 times this. I have a general problem with centralized, for-profit services based in countries with known surveillance offering "anonymous" services to begin with, but for the love of all things sane in this world, if you're gonna try that, at least be hyper-aware of every shred of data you incidentally collect or cause to go across the wire.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie