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Comment: Re:Changing attitudes, i.e. brainwashing (Score 2) 143

by bzipitidoo (#47507649) Attached to: For Now, UK Online Pirates Will Get 4 Warnings -- And That's It

Sharing is more than easy and natural, it's good. Sharing is so important to civilzations that early ones developed writing systems to facilitate it, and later ones have been improving it ever since. Reading and writing used to be only for the nobility, for the practical reason that educating everyone was more expense than was thought worthwhile, though this was also correctly seen as an excuse not to educate the masses. Words were terribly subversive, best if the people can't read them. The pen is not mightier than the sword if no one can read. Democracies changed that, deciding that 100% literacy was a desirable and nearly obtainable goal.

Now here we are today, and what are our supposedly democratic governments doing? Siding with those who think they have a right to lock away knowledge, those who think the worthy desire to compensate artists justifies all kinds of monstrosities and public expense, and that fair compensation can only be done through Holy Copyright.

Sharing should be encouraged. By everyone.

Comment: Re:user error (Score 1) 710

Er, pegged to the right, I mean. That fridge may have been the least efificient model available in 1995.

I hypermile too. But here again, you'll do better with a better car, rather than sweating to make a bad car do a little better. If we took energy savings seriously, we'd smooth the undersides of our cars for starters. No more of this having the car's guts exposed to the world.

Comment: Re:user error (Score 1) 710

I can't quite match you, but I have our house just under 300kwh in the months with the most pleasant temperatures. There are 3 of us, and it sounds like only 1 of you. You live in a place with a friendlier climate, while I am stuck in north Texas. Last year, we used about 5200kwh. Was hovering around 10000kwh in the 1990s. Improvements in lighting, displays, and A/Cs have made more difference than being an activist about turning things off all the time. However, the biggest saver is being willing to live with greater temperature differences, setting the thermostat to 83 in the summer and 70 in the winter.

I'm looking forward to about a 10% improvement now that we have finally ditched our old fridge. It was made in 1995, and the efficiency of refrigerators was greatly improved starting in 1996. It wasn't even efficient for a 1995 model, being pegged all the way to the left on the energy usage label.

Comment: Re:We know it's a Goddamned planet (Score 1) 128

<dramatic music>New Horizons set out on an epic journey of <Carl Sagan voice>millions and millions</Carl Sagan voice> of miles to the most distant, coldest parts of the solar system. Its 5, er, 8 year mission, to explore the last unexplored and most difficult to reach Planet of them all, Pluto, and whatever planets may be discovered beyond Pluto.</dramatic music>

Suddenly, in 2006 Pluto was downgraded to dwarf planet status, and all the Planets were now explored.

Fight? What for? <glorious fanfare>Mission Accomplished!</glorious fanfare> It's over. Get a life!

Comment: what should be off the table (Score 5, Interesting) 204

by bzipitidoo (#47438593) Attached to: New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture

Nothing is off the table? Does the table include lying, doublespeak, file format lock in, using proxies to sue Linux users, bribing and strongarming standardization committee members, the whole embrace, extend, and exterminate strategy that they tried with Java and IE, Windows Genuine Advantage, staying in bed with the copyright extremists of the entertainment industry, continued support of organizations like the Business Software Alliance? Is any of that off the table?

If MS's new CEO isn't acknowledging that they went too far with that stuff, and that the company will go in a new direction, stop being anti-social, stop being evil, then the new CEO represents no real change, just some minor adjustments.

Comment: Re:AI is always "right around the corner". (Score 1) 564

One quibble with your reply. The rules of chess are not complicated. Yes, the pawn has several special cases, and castling is unlike all the other moves in chess, but these do not complicate the game that much. It's more complicated than checkers, but not by a lot. A complicated game is something like Star Fleet Battles or Squad Leader. Those games have hundreds of rules.

The complexity of chess is in how to play well, not how to play by the rules. That was another factor that made chess so attractive to the AI community.

Some people seemed to feel that we could take a good chess playing program and just apply it to any old problem. The techniques can be applicable to other problems, but it sure isn't as easy as some hoped.

Comment: Re:AI is always "right around the corner". (Score 5, Interesting) 564

Researchers once thought chess made a good proxy for intelligence. Not every smart person is good at chess, but it seemed every good chess player was also smart. They worked for decades to make chess programs that could beat good chess players. When that started happening, it was obvious that the programs had no general intelligence at all. They were good for chess, but had to be reprogrammed even for very similar games like checkers. When the ultimate triumph of beating the world chess champ happened, it was more of the same. No real intelligence, just faster hardware and refinements to the search algorithm.

The conclusion is that chess is not a good measure of intelligence after all. We don't have a good grasp of what intelligence really is, let alone how exactly to measure it. IQ tests have all kinds of problems, not least that the typical IQ test is very narrow. Maybe wealth or number of children or friends could correlate with intelligence, but there are lots of problems with that too. Is it smart to have wealth beyond one's present and future needs?

Comment: Re:Okay, so this has what to do with fracking then (Score 2) 154

by bzipitidoo (#47389865) Attached to: Oklahoma's Earthquakes Linked To Fracking

Is peer-reviewed data with a peer-reviewed statistical correlation really that unfair of a requirement?

Maybe. If that's demanded for proof that the sky is blue, water flows downhill, the sun rises in the east, 2+2=4, or God exists, then it is an unfair requirement. Don't ask for proof for simple conclusions that anyone can reach with Occam's Razor. Don't demand proof for the unprovable. Raising those aren't expressing honest doubts, it's playing politics, using doubt to block further inquiry, delay remedial action that might impact someone negatively.

Rather, ask for proof of the counterintuitive. It makes sense that messing with the underground will cause changes in the underground that manifest as earthquakes, and also contamination of underground waters. Prove that fracking does not cause earthquakes. Peer review the proof. I suspect it can't be done, because fracking can and does cause earthquakes.

Comment: Re:Okay, so this has what to do with fracking then (Score 4, Insightful) 154

by bzipitidoo (#47389035) Attached to: Oklahoma's Earthquakes Linked To Fracking

Standard denialist garbage. What amount of fact is enough to convince you? Think about that for a moment. What data would you have to see, to be convinced that fracking is causing earthquakes?

As to proof, how do you know anything is real? We might be living on a roughly spherical shaped object lit by a much larger nearby roughly spherical object, or we might not. We could be living in a giant simulator that is so good, supernaturally good, that we can't tell it apart from reality. God could have created the universe in 7 days. How can we tell? We can't! We understand that we can make good conclusions from observable reality, no matter whether it is real or not. To the best of our knowledge, what we observe is real, but we understand there could be a deeper reality. Whether there is or not does not affect our work.

Comment: Re:Yeah, right. (Score 1) 361

You didn't go far enough. Many of the people in control at these agencies are of average stupidity and somewhat greater than average paranoia, and they fear and distrust smart people just for being smart. They are political hacks who kissed up to the right politicians in the right ways. One of their qualities is blind loyalty to their masters. This problem was at its worst during the Bush administration. Remember how it was nearly treasonous merely to argue against going to war in Iraq? We had little choice but to watch the idiots charge into the War of Choice.

They want smart people on their side, but constantly fear that those same people might turn traitor according to a very broad definition of treason. They want those smart people thinking only about the technical details and not any larger implications. They reserve for themselves the right to think about larger pictures as long as they aren't too large, and seem to really believe that's acceptable. They and their masters do the thinking and smart people are supposed to do nothing else other than make it happen. They are blindly loyal to their masters, and expect their underlings to show the same blind loyalty to them. A smart person just thinking about larger pictures is potentially treasonous. They also want contradictory things, and will suspect inability to accomplish two opposing goals could be treachery. You could do it if you really wanted to, and you're just giving them bull, is what they're wont to think. Why don't you want to do it? They think smart people can do almost anything, particularly black hat stuff. But at the same time they constantly suspect incompetence, especially when hearing protests that something is impossible. They actually want to see smart people humbled on occasion and when they think they've seen a mistake, they jump all over it, indulge in a bit of bashing just to enjoy bringing a smart person down to their level. Sometimes they resort to threats, think that can make things happen. They totally fail to see their own double standards and hypocrisies, and that their thinking is irrational, stupid, and vicious, and drives smart people away.

Comment: Re:Longevity (Score 1) 196

by bzipitidoo (#47371681) Attached to: The lightbulb I've most recently acquired ...

There are often good reasons to go cheap. If better technology is waiting in the wings, it doesn't make sense to invest a lot of money in high quality, long lasting implementations of inferior tech. Look at the homes of the rich of the early 20th century and earlier. They have high quality obsolete tech all over the place.

For fluorescent lighting, I replaced magnetic ballasts with electronic ballasts. They are more efficient. I also experimented and replaced a 2x40W fixture with a 2x32W. 32 watt fluorescent bulbs are smaller diameter but emit as much or more light. Trouble was, it was going to take 10 years for the switch from 80 watts to 64 watts to pay itself back, and that's only if the lights are on at least 8 hours of the day. When the LED night lights arrived, we started leaving those fluorescents off at night. Now it looks like they will never be paid back. Cheaper to toss the 32w bulbs and electronic ballasts, and switch to LED.

LEDs aren't the final word. Even more efficient to just use a skylight, and go to bed when it gets dark. We as a society are hurting ourselves with far too liberal use of artificial lighting. Messes up our circadian rhythms, causing hormone imbalances and obesity.

Comment: Re:Longevity (Score 1) 196

by bzipitidoo (#47371373) Attached to: The lightbulb I've most recently acquired ...

I have noticed a high failure rate for LED night lights. I don't recall the exact numbers, but out of some 20 purchased, 4 or 5 failed after only a few months.

Another problem is high variability. Even in a package of 4 supposedly identical models, some LED night lights will be much brighter than others.

Perhaps another place to get data is traffic lights. How often do you see LED traffic lights with dead pixels, so to speak? I see that all the time.

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.

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