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Comment: Re:Its a population crunch (Score 1) 452

by Zombywuf (#30268358) Attached to: Modeling the Economy As a Physics Problem

I think the guy has just got lost in his own model, which tries to liken such a complex thing as the human civbilisation with a simple physical system, employing a constant relationship between global energy use and the civilisation's accumulated economic productivity. This is just naive...

The laws of thermodynamics relate the incredibly complex interactions of unfathomable numbers of resonating particles to a handful of simple laws.

Is it not intuitively correct to assume that no system can grown limitless, that there must be an upper bound for everything?

No, it is not.

Then why does our economy need to grow all the time? Why can't we just be content with a very high output? Does it need to increase all the time? And worse, does the growth need to increase all the time?

Well it passes the time while we wait for the sun to explode. The problem really is that we measure growth by GDP. The easiest way to raise GDP is to open a factory employing half the population to make intricate gold figurines, then employ the other half of the population to smash them.

Comment: Re:So much raw data (Score 1) 309

by Zombywuf (#30227310) Attached to: Wikileaks Publishes 500,000 9/11 Pager Messages

Actually making a much bigger more expensive mistake is a great way of covering up a smaller one. The bigger and more expensive the mistake the more people are likely to be involved, once enough people are involved there's no one left to hold anyone accountable.

It's a fairly common pattern to see in business, it's better to lead a $100 million failure than a $10 thousand dollar success. The latter marks you out as an unimportant small fry, the former marks you a person of great prestige.

Comment: Re:MySQL Sucks (Score 1) 381

by Zombywuf (#30058056) Attached to: The NoSQL Ecosystem

Sequential execution scales perfectly if your batches can be run in parallel :-)

Take a webserver, each CGI script runs sequentially but a load balancer and an array of cheap machines gives you scalability. And that by the way is scalability, the ability to vary resource consumption with regard to desired output capacity, if the former varies linearly with regard to the latter your system is said to be scalable. What you describe is capacity. Performance is what you worry about when you exceed capacity.

Comment: Re:bad design (Score 1) 381

by Zombywuf (#30057890) Attached to: The NoSQL Ecosystem

Er no. Adding spacial data is a completely reasonable addition to the relational calculus, it doesn't even change any of it's properties. One requirement of the relational calculus is the ability to form a subset by a predicate i.e. {x | x in X /\ P(x)}. For spacial data the predicate is just selection over an area. No breaking of the calculus, no changes to it.

Comment: Re:bad design (Score 1) 381

by Zombywuf (#30047468) Attached to: The NoSQL Ecosystem

Rigid schema design is a feature of the relational model + some type checking, not SQL. SQL queries can often fail with run time type errors (in all the SQL systems I've used at least), so SQL is not that rigid in its enforcement.

I'd love to be able to use Datalog with a database (perhaps with some type of dependent type system to enforce constraints at compile time, and a pony...), but there's nothing outside academia that supports it as far as I know.

The idea of RDBMSs being slow seems to stem from people confusing special purpose databases with general purpose key value stores. The former can achieve access times in the sub 10ms range, the latter are more in the 100ms lower bound that RDBMSs are. Also, stored procedures are kind to your query cache people, ad hoc queries are bad for performance.

Comment: Re:MySQL Sucks (Score 1) 381

by Zombywuf (#30045592) Attached to: The NoSQL Ecosystem

If I'm not pedantic my databases fail to scale. The reason being that I pay attention to detail, as such your requirement that they "handle tons of data" - for example - is crap. What are the inputs? what are the outputs? What form of query? What form is the data in on insertion/output? What if I need to do more than a single big flat index into my data?

The word "scale" is my most hated, to use that word on its own without context is to make the claim that all knowledge about building large scale computer systems acquired over the last 40 years can be boiled down to a single attribute that can be simply applied, like a salve, to your software.

Simply applying BigTable to your problems will not make them go away, it will give you a different set of problems to solve. If you chose wisely it will be a simpler set of problems, but it is not "make my website faster" cream.

Comment: Re:MySQL Sucks (Score 1) 381

by Zombywuf (#30045020) Attached to: The NoSQL Ecosystem


NoSQL can not possibly scale, because it is not an implementation (protip: implementations scale/don't scale, concepts don't). Unless you are referring simply to the fact that it is a meme, and as such scales trivially.

BTW, when you say "scale" are you talking about data size, active data size, CPU load, memory bandwidth, latency, concurrent queries or something else?

Comment: Re:bad design (Score 1) 381

by Zombywuf (#30044936) Attached to: The NoSQL Ecosystem

You still fail to understand the points that:

  1. SQL is a language used to query relational databases, by no means the only one, just the most widely supported.
  2. Relational databases are a subset of databases.
  3. Object persistence has nothing to do with databases. You might use a database to store and manage your serialized state, but the point where it becomes an object you can send messages to it stops being data.

Comment: Re:bad design (Score 4, Insightful) 381

by Zombywuf (#30043718) Attached to: The NoSQL Ecosystem

The problem is when people don't think about the solution and apply the cargo cult mentality. Facebook uses Eeeerlaaaang therefore we should. Facebook wrote it's own database, therefore we should. People end up writing their own database engines that do exactly the same thing as modern relational engines, with all the bugs that were fixed in the relational engines 10 years ago (5 for Microsoft). Even MS SQL will split a large group by aggregate operation (which takes 3 lines to specify) across multiple CPUS by turning it into a map reduce problem, and it will do this all without you having to be aware of it. Oracle (and many others, Oracles is supposed to be the best) will maintain multiple concurrent versions of your data in order to allow multiple users to work with a snapshot that doesn't change under them while others are changing the data, and this happens transparently. You can go ahead and implement all this stuff yourself if you want, in C and sockets, call me when your done, in 10-20 years.

The real issue I have with the NoSQL people is they're a bunch of whiny babies, who haven't even taken the time to understand the problem before lashing out at the first thing they see. Just the name tells you this, they call themselves "No SQL" and then lash out at relational databases. SQL is is a terrible language, which really needs replacing, but it is only one possible language for querying relational databases. Relational databases represent several decades of research into how to query data in a fault tolerant scalable way as a standing implementation, re-implementing them is a waste of time.

Comment: Re:bad design (Score 2, Funny) 381

by Zombywuf (#30043676) Attached to: The NoSQL Ecosystem

Sounds like you don't understand sarcasm. I'll spell it out for you: Simply because Facebook are running 5 million processes is neither here nor there. The impressive thing is that it actually works (from what I hear it does any way. If it did it with one process or 5 million it has nothing to do with the relative weight of Erlang and Unix processes.

Next up, tying your own shoelaces...

Comment: Re:Obligatory Bogus First Post ... (Score 1) 754

by Zombywuf (#29452149) Attached to: In Britain, Better Not Call It Bogus Science

The case is not yet completed, everyone has a right to sue for libel, it's up to the court to decide whether it's justified. The key word is justified, a statement can be true and yet still libellous, for example "Simon Singh has not beaten his wife recently." The fact that the judge has ruled that Singh must prove his statement as true to the court in order to defend himself, this should be trivial for him. He just needs to present studies showing there is no benefit, he is lucky he does not have to prove he did not unfairly damage the reputation of the plaintiff. However he is publicising the case from the standpoint of having already lost, if he takes this attitude to court he will lose and set a bad precedent.

In the old days they'd just settle it like men with a duel.

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928