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Comment: Re:ROTFL! (Score 3, Insightful) 128

by popo (#49553943) Attached to: Random Generator Parodies Vapid Startup Websites

At least now perhaps we can put to rest some of these awful trends in web design:

- Oversized graphics that require excessive scrolling.

- Parallax silliness (Because we can)

- Round bio photos (Because Apple, that's why)

- Giant "flat design" icons that add zero value

- The full-screen expanded "hero" div which is basically this decade's "title screen". (Seriously, title screens suck. Why is one that requires slowly 'scrolling' past -

- better than one that one clicks past?)

- The giant quote. Does this need to fill up 1/3 of my screen? Why?

Comment: Re:A short, speculative cautionary tale... (Score 1) 393

by jeffb (2.718) (#49527053) Attached to: Using Adderall In the Office To Get Ahead


I started to edit the penultimate paragraph, but it messed with the flow too much. I have "mellowed" quite a bit in the intervening eight years -- I've gotten older and a bit more comfortable with my mind as it is. Being the smartest guy, or at least feeling like the smartest guy, doesn't seem quite as urgent any more. I'd love to have more selective attention, better memory, or savant skills, but not if it ruins my sleep, or makes me hot-tempered or cruel.

In more detail, I'm not sure exactly what's changed. I feel like the whole concept of "intelligence" isn't as clear to me any more as it used to be -- it still seems like certain people are smarter and certain people aren't, but I've seen so many smart people believing and doing stupid things that it's sometimes hard to put much stock in the concept. I'd hate to see performance-enhancers just enabling people to do stupid or misguided things more quickly and effectively.

Comment: Re:A short, speculative cautionary tale... (Score 4, Insightful) 393

by jeffb (2.718) (#49525143) Attached to: Using Adderall In the Office To Get Ahead

They can't, which is why it won't happen. People at the top are there because they're very good at hamstringing competition. So the only legal performance enhancers will be those that are either inefficient, like coffee, or too expensive for you to afford.

And if people are willing to risk their lives and freedom to get an illegal drug that just makes them high, what makes you think laws will prevent them from getting a drug that makes them more money?

Comment: A short, speculative cautionary tale... (Score 5, Interesting) 393

by jeffb (2.718) (#49525033) Attached to: Using Adderall In the Office To Get Ahead

When this came up a number of years ago on another forum, someone wrote:

[...] if the scientist working on a cure for cancer is doing this um what's the problem? Even if it were to have some negative side effects, and he knowingly chooses to risk it b/c he feels it will help him.

And I wrote this (slightly edited here):

Let's walk a few years down this road. It's 2025, and ehancers are legal, or at least their use is tolerated.

Your son has just joined a law firm. The other new arrivals are using Modafinil, or its successor, to let them work 100+ billable hours per week. While his employment agreement explicitly states that he's not required to use any enhancers, it's also clear that he'll never make partner without them. Is there an element of compulsion here?

Your daughter is getting ready to take her SATs; she's smart and ambitious, and wants to get into a top-tier school, eventually going into med school. Recent anonymous surveys indicate that 20% or more of students taking the test are using enhancers. Nobody's been able to do a formal study, but there are indications that these students are seeing boosts of 200-300 points in their scores. What advice do you give your daughter?

Fast-forward another ten years. Your kids have been using enhancers for the entire time. Originally, they were just a way to get a little extra "edge" -- but, having established a performance baseline while using them, who wants to become "dumber", slower, or sleepier by giving them up?

The problem is, the drugs aren't working quite as well as they used to. It's not surprising, really, at least not to a cognitively-enhanced neurochemist; enhancers, particularly the primitive second- and third-generation varieties, lead to short-term habituation and long-term neurological adaptation. New drugs are better, and with their help, new researchers are smarter. But they still can't do much to help those who scarred their brains with the older drugs.

Your son is fairly secure in his position as a full partner, but the firm's newest hires are scary. Most of them simply don't sleep, ever; they're at the office for days at a time without rest, and when they do take "time off", they're out skydiving, or rock-climbing, or just partying. Partners have always had the power in law firms -- but how long can they maintain power when their underlings are so much smarter and more ambitious?

Your daughter... your daughter isn't doing so well. She's landed a great residency, but the early-21st-century movement to limit the length of residents' shifts faltered and died in the face of enhancement drugs. She doesn't really need sleep, but she misses it, and she misses the companionship that was once associated with it. (Who wants to be involved with a surgical resident, who's almost never home?) When she does try to sleep, her dreams are invaded by the brain-burn victims she sees at work, and she wakes up screaming.

And sometimes the dreams intrude while she's nominally "awake". It's an increasingly common syndrome in long-term gen-3 enhancement users. The neurochemists are hoping that the new gen-5 products will help reduce this symptom.

I think we will go down this road. There's a very good chance I'll go down this road -- I've never felt like there was any such thing as being "smart enough". I think people in general, and researchers in particular, will be able to become "more intelligent", and once they do, they'll be able to figure out ways to accelerate the process.

But I think it's going to hurt. A lot.

Comment: The point is that life is bad, dummy (Score 5, Funny) 63

by popo (#49507533) Attached to: If Earth Never Had Life, Continents Would Be Smaller

Obviously: Since without Life our oceans would be larger, it doesn't take a genius to see that life is negatively impacting the size of our oceans.

As a conservationist I am deeply concerned about this.

Also, by the same token -- it disturbs me that all this out-of-control biology has clearly had an effect on the chemical composition of our atmosphere. Why is no one more freaked out by this? Historic records clearly show that our atmosphere has become tainted with oxygen as a result of all this "life".

Are you okay with chemical changes to the atmosphere, and smaller oceans? Well? Are you?!

Comment: Re:What is wrong with SCTP and DCCP? (Score 5, Interesting) 84

by epiphani (#49503599) Attached to: Google To Propose QUIC As IETF Standard

I have yet to hear a coherent architectural justification for QUIC that makes sense... The reason Google pushes it is entirely *POLITICAL* this is the path of least resistance granting them full access to the TCP stack and congestion algorithms without having to work to build consensus with any other stakeholder.

Many years ago, in an earlier life, I tried to make changes through the IETF to an existing protocol. I was responsible for one of the major IRC servers, and still am though IRC is effectively in maintenance only. IRC is a shit protocol - really, embarrassingly bad. So I set up a conversation - grabbed the developers of all of the major clients and servers, and got us all on a mailing list to try to do something about it. We ALL knew it was bad, and we all knew it needed serious overhaul - if not a complete scrapping. We'd even fantasized about a non-tcp multipathing protocol that would be more appropriate for IRC. But like hell that was gonna happen.

This was a group of people that, for the most part, didn't make money from IRC. It was a hobby. We had no corporate agendas, no major impacts to our livelihoods, and the only constraint to implementation was our own time. In the six months we spent, we managed to publish one draft to the IETF. It expired and we effectively gave up. Building consensus is hard, time consuming, and quite honestly not worth the effort when you're talking about this kind of thing.

Google is in a position to just do it, and honestly, I'm fine with that. Otherwise everyone would pop up with an opinion, and nobody would get anywhere. That's why we haven't seen anything come up to rival TCP, even though TCP is pretty bad for a lot of applications.

The only point at which I'd have a problem is if their QUIC protocol isn't completely open and free, and totally unencumbered by intellectual property constraints (patents, etc). Otherwise, go for it - and give me a protocol api/sdk in C so I can give it a shot.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein