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Comment: Lockstep by Karl Schroeder (Score 1) 219

by Yoik (#48281841) Attached to: Most Planets In the Universe Are Homeless

The subject novel impressed me with a realistic setting for stories in a relativistic (i.e. sub-light travel only) universe. For how, read the book. One concern I had with its realism was that it assumed many more sunless planets than stars. This article clears that up pending confirmation. Anyone know when this theory started getting serious interest?

Comment: Re: One real prediction in science fiction (Score 1) 139

by Yoik (#47979881) Attached to: Sci-fi Predictions, True and False (Video 1)

In one of his juveniles, I think "Star Beast", the future society's laws have changed. Most reflected his politics (semi-compulsory concealed carry), emancipation of children, etc., but he got wrong the effects of banning smoking in restaurants. So far as I know, high quality scofflaw places allowing smoking never became popular, and he set an important scene in one.

Comment: Cautionary tales (Score 1) 222

by Yoik (#47182437) Attached to: The Sci-Fi Myth of Killer Machines

Asimov addressed both sides of the issue, but he had a simplistic view of programming an AI that allowed an easy solution to the worst potential problems. The anti-robot camp which won on earth was just wrong by his premiss.

The deep problem is that there is no reason to have any expectations of what an AI will do until it is built and tested. We could eventually see Berserkers, R. Daneel Olivaw, and much in between. Murderous machines are good science fiction, as are dystopias, and other potentially avoidable bad things.

Comment: Taleb doesn't live in a normal world (Score 1) 312

by Yoik (#45970611) Attached to: Why Standard Deviation Should Be Retired From Scientific Use

When I was in school, they still taught the central limit theorem which explains why so many error distributions are "normal". Our world provides us with millions of examples in everyday life where the standard deviation of our experiences is the best statistic to estimate the probability of future events.

What you do with a statistic is what counts. It's easy to look at the standard deviation and estimate the probability that the conclusion was reached by chances of the draw, though it takes some practice to develop your intuition. It is imbedded in our language when we talk of "6 sigma" reliability or " 4 sigma" thinkers. Anyone who thinks he is a scientist should understand this!

Mr. Taleb may be working in a field where normal distributions are rare, but the probability is he is either lying or poorly educated.

Comment: Carrot and stick push for IOS7 (Score 1) 336

by Yoik (#45729975) Attached to: Apple Pushes Developers To iOS 7

Apple is really trying hard to get ios7 adoption. I got an ad for free iTunes content (Xmas related), that turned out to require ios7 to load the app to get it. This became really obvious because I was using an old iPad1 that can't load it.

I wonder why they are pushing so hard for the upgrade. I have older iPhones that I haven't upgraded because of performance concerns -- I suspect many do. Are they planning something that requires good adoption, or is there some problem with the old versions? Seems like a bit much just to get rid of some old devices.

Comment: Re: Everquest, the original f2p (Score 1) 555

by Yoik (#45503643) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: MMORPG Recommendations?

Eve was cool, but only while I had RL friends playing. It was too hard to build trust with new peeps. Honesty, reliability, and known competence are really needed if you want to do more than socialize. I was in a corp with folks I knew, at least 2nd hand, that was part of the FREEGE alliance and things were great. But the world changed, and we found ourselves broke (relatively) and without a common cause. We went different ways, the RL friends dropped out, the 2nd handers went to combat heavy corps, and I tried to meet folks with common interests until I gave up.

Then EQ went f2p! My decade old bard was still there with nice perks, and I didn't feel cheated if I didnt play every day with no monthly fee. The changes made it as easy as WOW, I found a friendly guild, and made great progress to 75 where the a5 merc ran out of steam, and progress depended on finding exp groups. I have now trained a couple minions, and am 3 boxing on a 27 in iMac. Works great, and keeps me as busy as playing a bard had in the days before "melody" made twisting easy.

Comment: Re: Remember the pc (Score 1) 307

by Yoik (#44019619) Attached to: Don't Panic, But We've Passed Peak Apple (and Google, and Facebook)

It wasn't the electronic design that was an innovation, but the product was nothing like its competitors. Use of 3rd party components (unusual for IBM then) allowed IBM to trade on its name and reputation to keep a solid profit margin. The flurry of competitors looked like inferior goods, and most were.

Comment: Perception difference, photos irrelevant (Score 1) 35

by Yoik (#43612651) Attached to: New Camera Inspired By Insect Eyes

Compound eyes are different in a deep perceptual sense than mammal eyes, and pictures capture the content of mammal perception. A compound eye's perception would be great for a robot to use for navigation, as it provides info for a 3d model of the environment with rapid identification of any moving features. Mammal eyes are better at resolving details of features. The trade offs can be reconciled with mammal eye movement and processing.

One problem humans have, is easy understanding of what a compound eye "sees" and how to process it. We have good intuition about how to capture the images and process sequences of them. Not so with a compound eye that isn't intended to capture an image. It will take a while to develop that understanding.

Comment: The market for genuine routine maintenance (Score 2) 110

by Yoik (#43562273) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Assess the Status of an Open Source Project?

Most really usefull software needs maintenance, or at least reviews to verify none is needed, on a routine basis. This is usually dull, thankless work. In business, it is often done by old codgers (like me before i retired) that are well paid for very little actual work. It is a vital function, that was supposed to have been covered in open source by users paying for the service.

In many cases this seems to have worked out well with large organizations footing the bill. iBM, HP, AT&T etc, have staff people who kept the components they need working. Their priorities aren't yours.

Do we need a system for keeping codgers comfortable and personal use software working?

+ - Weird NASA research might relate to Boeing battery problem->

Submitted by Yoik
Yoik (955095) writes "NASA is now doing research on a reviewed paper related to the old "cold fusion" experiments. The video in the link shows a few flashes of the paper by Widom and Larsen which include a possible hint about Boeing's problem.

To oversimplify, the paper suggests that protons from H2 absorb an electron to make a slow neutron that can fuse with a nearby nucleus and release energy. The first step is the complicated one — conditions to make it happen are poorly understood.

Included in the flash of the paper is mention of Lithium as the neutron target. Now lithium nuclei have a very high energy reaction with neutrons, and it could be that Boeing had the bad luck to get those conditions just right.

It would be easy to test by running some material through a mass spec looking for Li4."

Link to Original Source

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