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Comment: Re:Only Thing needed (Score 1) 345

by WombatDeath (#35601230) Attached to: Gadgets For the Ghosthunter

It's like any other sector of the bullshit business: some are scammers and some are just delusional. Physics, mediums, reiki 'therapists', exorcists, etc - the interesting question to me is the ratio; I'm inclined to suspect that the majority are fraudulent but no doubt there are some who generally believe that they possess mystical talents.

It effectively comes down to a judgement call on whether someone is an unpleasant charlatan or just mentally ill.

Comment: Re:This is gonna be very rant like (Score 5, Insightful) 622

by WombatDeath (#35404802) Attached to: Is Software Driving a Falling Demand For Brains?

Wasn't a shorter working week the promised outcome of technology? "If machines can do 40% of the work, we can all do a three-day week for the same money!"

Which, with hindsight, was naïve to say the least; the actual outcome is "If machines can do 40% of the work, I can lay off 40% of my work force. And then I can pay less to the remaining 60% because there's more competition for jobs!"

I don't know what the solution is, but I assume it involves either a sudden collective burst of altruism in employers (ho ho) or some truly massive government intervention (hee hee). Presumably most /. readers are in jobs which won't be machine-replaceable any time soon, but I do feel sympathy towards those who would have been productively employed on an assembly line had they been born fifty years earlier.

On an entirely different note, why does previewing a comment take the best part of a minute?

Comment: Mail it to the President with a polite note (Score 1) 586

by WombatDeath (#35379524) Attached to: Student Sues FBI For Planting GPS Tracker

That's surely the best option:

1) It's the responsible thing to do - you're returning government property to the head of the government.

2) There will no doubt be some fun and games when the people scanning the president's mail find an electronic device of unknown provenance in the package.

Comment: Backronym abuse (Score 2) 389

by WombatDeath (#35226444) Attached to: Lawmaker Reintroduces WikiLeaks Prosecution Bill

How about a bit of legislation prohibiting the titling of bills in a manner that constitutes blatant propaganda? It's perhaps not as bad as the PATRIOT act, which is the most crotch-punchingly offensive example I've come across, but it's the same fucking ballpark. I'm not sure who should be most insulted: people who don't back the legislation, or the general public whose intelligence is held in such dim regard (and all snark aside, I don't think that most people are really all that stupid).

If simply using sequential numbers is too boring, I propose that the opposing team be allowed free rein to add words to the title of the bill, with no right of appeal or amendment granted to the originator. In this case, for instance, the 'no' camp could insist that the title be amended to Another Nugget of Awful Legislation Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination.

Comment: Re:Oh... (Score 1) 640

by WombatDeath (#34984058) Attached to: The Matrix Re-Reloaded

Yeah, I'd give 4 a shot.

The reason that the original was great, for me, is that the special effects were an awful lot better than anything I'd seen previously (pre-emptive clarification: I'm sure someone will come up with a list of prior films using the same ideas, but I hadn't seen them). The plot was fine but nothing remarkable. The reasons I enjoyed 2 and 3 less were that, yes, the plot was all over the place; but mostly that the visuals were nothing particularly arresting.

It's now been eight or nine years since 3 was made, so perhaps in that time technology and production techniques have moved on to the point that Matrix 4 can blow my socks off anew, hopefully with a vaguely coherent plot to hang it off. Or maybe it will be a lazy cash-in. I'll at least take five minutes to read some reviews.

Comment: Re:Who cheats who (Score 5, Interesting) 684

by WombatDeath (#31112314) Attached to: How Easy Is It To Cheat In CS?

Years ago I worked as a developer for a subsidiary of Fujitsu. One day a colleague asked for my help.

The crux of the problem was that he was unfamiliar with the concept of a 'while' loop. Not the specific implementation in the language he was using, but the actual concept itself. He had some kind of computer science degree and he'd been working in the same team as me, as a developer, for at least two years.

It took me a while to realise what the problem was, as it never occurred to me that he might be unfamiliar with basic control flow. He sheepishly explained that the bulk of his degree was coursework (presumably he got some 'help') and that he'd been hammering square blocks into round holes for the last couple of years. From what I recall, whenever a while loop was appropriate he'd instead use a for loop with an extremely high upper limit and a break condition.

Comment: Re:No way. (Score 1) 979

by WombatDeath (#31093252) Attached to: When Will AI Surpass Human Intelligence?

Neural nets! I know nothing about them, or indeed about anything much of practical value, but my understanding is that you take a neural net, place it in a tupperware container filled with sugared water, leave it near the radiator for six months and you have an artificial intelligence!

Granted, that's a bit vague, but so is most of the stuff I've read written by optimistic types who think that poking a neural net with a pointy stick will accomplish something useful.

Comment: Where's the money? (Score 2, Insightful) 211

by WombatDeath (#28911201) Attached to: CentOS Administrator Reappears

People have been donating money to, presumably wishing to further the goals of the project. Is this money (plus the advertising revenue) still available for its intended purpose?

Not accusing anyone of anything, but this question is quite important and doesn't seem to be addressed in the update.

Where there's a will, there's an Inheritance Tax.