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Comment: Re:Taxi licenses are crazy expensive (Score 1) 323 323

You miss the point, the state is the one guaranteeing the limited monopoly.

When did the State ever guarantee that they would maintain the medallion program and/or refrain from issuing new medallions? Scarcity of medallions is hardly a natural right, and laws instituting artificial scarcity are subject to change. If anyone over-payed for a medallion under the false assumption that the current state of artificial scarcity was guaranteed to last they have no one but themselves to blame. The only compensation owed here is to those who were unjustly prohibited from operating taxis due to the State's medallion requirements.

Comment: Re:Renewable versus fossil - where is nuclear? (Score 1) 281 281

The USA built a working molten-salt reactor, which Nixon ordered abandoned because it wasn't useful for plutonium production.

the temperatures, pressures and the levels of radiation that occur in those designs.

It sounds like you're not at all familiar with the design that Sorensen is talking about. It operates at one atmosphere.


Comment: It takes a lot of work (Score 1) 124 124

Being a manager - a *good* manager - requires just as much training and work and learning as it does to be a good programmer. If you are considering making that move, be prepared to take some courses and read management journals and blogs just like you read programmer stuff today. It's a skill and an art, too.

Also, don't give up programming. Keep your fingers in the pie, give yourself some of the project tasks (make sure they're not critical-path jobs!), keep up with languages and trends. You'll get more respect and support from your team, you'll make better management decisions, and you'll be more effective at communicating the issues with upper management.

In the end, it can be just as rewarding as being a straight programmer, but your rewards will come from seeing your team members achieving great things and knowing that you helped them be great.

Comment: Re:Um.. we don't see it as advancing our career (Score 1) 124 124

It would be nice if knowing the language and job were all that is required to get hired today. The truth is that 50+ people don't get hired as programmers, period. It doesn't matter what you know, as you won't even get an interview, and your resume ends up in the trash as soon as they figure out your age.

Comment: Re:Efficient allocation of capital (Score 1) 226 226

If the amount of labor needed to produce one person's worth of goods and services is less than one person's worth of effort, then you are going to have people sitting around doing nothing.

Fortunately, there is no upper bound on "one person's worth of goods and services". If nothing else, leisure time (i.e. sitting around doing nothing, or at least nothing "productive") is a perfectly legitimate good and can expand to absorb any excess. Every time this has happened in the past, however, people managed to find other things to strive for—goods and services which were previously out of their reach, as well as new goods and services which they now have the leisure time to invent.

Comment: Re:There are ideas. Here's one. (Score 3, Informative) 209 209

by "some ideas" you mean "some theory".

Yes, of course. What else did you think I meant? It's an idea. It's not a certainty. I'm not sure what your point is. Care to elaborate?

When I say "no idea" I mean literally we have no demonstrable understanding of any one single cognitive function of the brain. Any brain

You might have meant that, but writing "no idea" didn't (and still doesn't) actually say that. The statement was made that we have no ideas. We do, in fact, have ideas.That was the assertion, and that is my answer.

Human brains? We've got nothing.

Human brains are not what are at issue here, but even so, that statement is incorrect. We have made progress at the small scale (see Numenta's work) and there are multiple ideas out there that presently have significant merit. Personally, as someone working in the field and conversant with a lot of what's going on in the technical sense, I have a fairly high level of confidence that we're much closer than the popular narrative would have us believe. Am I right? We will see. :)

Comment: Human visual processing... not so great. (Score 2) 209 209

Understanding how humans store and recognize images primarily is not a barrier to AI. It's not memory or image recognition that's the hill to climb; The fundamental algorithmic/methodological challenges are thinking, along with conceptual storage, development and manipulation (these things incorporate memory use, but aren't a storage problem per se.) Hardware needs to be able to handle amounts of ram and long term, high speed storage that can serve as a practical basis for the rest as well. Right now, we're getting close, but it'll be a few more years yet before anything really smart can be instantiated. That's even if we were to figure out precisely how to do it right now.

It is possible -- though I consider it doubtful -- that we would implement human style vision neurology in hardware for an AI, but frankly our abilities are so poor compared to what can be accomplished I really don't see why we'd cripple an AI that way. It'd be abusive. "We could have made your visual recall incredibly acute, but... instead you're like us, and really don't have much more than a general idea what was in a scene after you have seen it." [AI nukes silicon valley] (Mods: that's humor. HUMOR.]

Also, check out Numenta's work.

Of course, understanding how humans store and recognize images is (very) important to our understanding of human physiology and disease, and it's wonderful that we're working on it.

Comment: Re: Coral dies all the time (Score 3, Interesting) 121 121

"Adds heat" is a woefully inadequate simplification of whether or not it's an issue to be concerned with. When temperature goes up, other things change as a result of the relevant phsyics. For instance, the evap/precip cycle accelerates, carrying more warm air and moisture up, and more cool air and moisture down. CO2 in the upper atmosphere reduces radiation by a factor, but more heat up there, more often, increases radiation. More CO2 almost universally implies conditions better for plants. More and healthier plants means more of all sorts of things and less of others.

Dire predictions: Warming moves the zone(s) within which plants and animals flourish north. There's plenty of room to go, a great deal of northern area is frozen wasteland at this point. More CO2 is good for plants. People might have to move. They do that all the tiime. Coastlines may change and infrastructure may need to maintained, adapted, moved or replaced. That happens all the time. Currently estimated timescale for sea level changes: inches per year. Totally yawn-worthy.

In short, the issue is complex beyond any possible "on noes, warming" assessment -- hysteria is entirely uncalled for.

Science is a method. When facing something new, it involves formulating a hypothesis, testing that to validate or disprove it, and then drawing conclusions. We have not seen and do not know what happens when CO2 increases by large amounts due to our production of it. In the historical record, CO2 increases trail warming, not lead it -- which is another way of saying that historically speaking, CO2 increases herald cooling, so that is not any kind of adequate confirmation of the idea that human-caused CO2 increases will lead to significant climactic warming. Doesn't mean it won't -- it just means that this is a new thing and that drawing conclusions either requires flawless modeling that takes everything significant to the process into account (which we don't have... not only in re natural processes, but in re unanticipated technology), or actually seeing what happens. Without one of those - which again, we don't have -- it's not settled science. It is unvalidated hypothesis.

o Yes, we should be trying to figure this out.
o No, we have not figured it out.

When will we know when we have figured this out? When we have a model that accurately predicts climate change as known to have occurred in the historical record.

PS: coral does not "die when you touch it." I have multiple coral reef tanks. I touch my corals (hard ones and soft ones) all the time to move them around, frag (subdivide and transplant) them, brush them when I'm reaching for something else. I cut colonies of soft corals with a razor in order to divide them into more than one instance and place them in multiple places and/or share them with other coral reef owners. Certainly doesn't kill them (doesn't even seem to hurt them.) For hard corals, you break them into separate instances (frag them) with tools that are basically smallish hammers and chisels. You even do this out of the water. Again, doesn't kill them. They don't die because they were bothered or touched. I've never, ever seen that happen. Some of them don't react at all or very much, but the most I've ever seen them do is pull away or retract, dependably to return to their original extension and condition within minutes of the disturbance that caused it ending. Fish touch them all the time as well. Doesn't hurt a thing.

The things that I have seen be directly and immediately detrimental to corals are Ph changes, temperature changes, salinity changes, very large and sudden changes in lighting, and the actions they engage WRT each other (chemical warfare among corals has to be seen to be believed. They are nasty to each other at times.)

Climate change panic bores me. Climate change dismissal bores me. But, like a lot of other induced hysteria, it's a major component of pop culture and the media's slavish devotion to fanning same, so I have to actually work to avoid both. :)

Comment: Re:The Majority Still Has Follow the Constitution (Score 5, Insightful) 1078 1078

If they [rights] do not come from God, then they are simply a social construct...

This is where you are wrong. There are formulations of rights which are neither mere social constructs nor based on religion—which is, in the end, just another variety of social construct. My preference is the one based on the legal concept of estoppel, which can be summarized as the logical principle that one cannot rely on incompatible claims within the same argument. For example, one cannot consistently argue that one has the right to act in a certain way toward others while simultaneously claiming that those affected lack the right to reciprocate. Either everyone has the right or no one does. If the right exists then the first party infringed on it and deserves the punishment; if not, then neither the original action nor the response infringes on anyone's rights.

In this case there is the additional complication that "the right to marry" is really referring to a number of different aspects of the law, not simply the right to hold a marriage ceremony and consider oneself married but also power of attorney, visitation rights, joint taxation, common ownership of property, etc. However, the gender of the two parties is irrelevant to all of these legal considerations; there is no reason whatsoever that the law should permit e.g. visitation rights to a couple composed of a male and a female, but deny them to a couple composed of two males or two females.

If certain individuals of a religious persuasion wish to consider homosexuality a sin, fine. They don't have to practice it themselves, or even associate with those who do. But there is certainly nothing in the Bible which would require anyone to deny that the relationship exists, or to refuse such couples equal rights under the law. This ruling is about the law, not religion.

"Intelligence without character is a dangerous thing." -- G. Steinem