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Comment: Re:Happy President (Score 1) 569

I'm sort of with you... And I am all for election reform, maybe 'ranking' your choices or something of that nature that has been described. But you are negelecting that many people in many states/voting districts really don't have a choice.

For example, in Oklahoma (I lived there for a time), they only have two candidates for president on the ballot. One democrat, one republican. No write-ins. You simply MUST pick, or leave it blank. There are literally no third-party options (there is a law on how a third party candidate can get on the ballot, but it is so onerous that nobody has done it since maybe Ross Perot). So what is someone supposed to do in this case? Not vote at all? Cede the last remnant of puny power that they have?

I have always thought that the primary process and local elections are where the real power is. Voting for people at that level that are amenable to changing these broken processes. And yet, these are precisely the elections that usually don't generate much interest.

I don't live in Oklahoma anymore, and typically I have a few more options. But tell me exactly why I should vote for someone who is only even on the ballot in 36 states?? I may as well write in Mickey Mouse in that case. It's just not going to happen without changing the way that elections are held. I really don't think it's worthwhile to blame voters for doing the most logical thing by voting for their favorite of the two candidates who are 100% guaranteed to win, rather than who they would like to have in some fantasy world...

Comment: Re:IT'S NOT FAKE! (Score 1) 218

by clong83 (#44373021) Attached to: Fake "Speed Enforced By Drones" Signs On California Freeways
Me too. I see cops all the time by abandoned roadside gas stations in the desert. Do they really think they are incospicuous there? I don't intentionally speed, but I know if I see a car a mile up the road at the deserted gas station that it is a cop, and I double-check my speedometer.

On the article... I've always thought these aircraft enforcement signs were usually baloney anyways. There's one of these signs on Interstate 8 outside of San Diego up in the mountains. The road is windy, in a deep canyon, and has a heck of a grade on it for an interstate. I always thought that the idea of an aircraft flying around up there reliably tracking cars past markers and getting plate numbers was kind of fishy.

Comment: Re:half the Gflops, 64 cores, 80% lower cost, 5 wa (Score 1) 98

by clong83 (#44367925) Attached to: Adapteva Parallella Supercomputing Boards Start Shipping
Faster than serial ?! Of course! I only meant to compare it to a traditional parallel procssing environment. And you can definitely write a simple parallel algorithm for any O/PDE that will work on GPUs. What I meant was that there are an awful lot of claims about how wicked fast GPU processing can be. Some people tout it as much faster than traditional computing. This can be true, but to get a GPU to actually perform at that level, it requires particular structure to your data. Unstructured meshes are known to be particularly nasty. Doesn't mean you can't compute anyway. It just may or may not be any better than traditional methods.

I don't mean to poo-poo GPU computing in general. I admittedly haven't followed this field closely in a year or two, so it's possible there have been some newer agorithms for unstructured meshes that have improved the situation. And without knowing more about your particular problem, I won't speculate and tell you how it should or shouldn't work. Maybe you figured out a decent implementation on your own. In which case, publish it already!

Comment: Re:half the Gflops, 64 cores, 80% lower cost, 5 wa (Score 1) 98

by clong83 (#44366929) Attached to: Adapteva Parallella Supercomputing Boards Start Shipping
"There is almost no chance that a $100 board can be designed to have a memory interface that can keep 64 cores well fed at this point in time. "

I agree with you 100% on that. If the cache isn't terrible, it might be okay if you have a problem amenable to openMP. But mainly I view these low-end things as kind of fun toys.

That said, there is a market for something reasonably compact and affordable in between a 4-8 core desktop and a large scale cluster. I occasionally test and debug problems on my desktop that seem to work fine, but when I scale it to 200 processors and put it on the cluster, all hell breaks loose and it can be hard to debug. A cheapo 64 core board, even if slow, could help bridge that gap, assuming I can use mpich/openMP on this thing.

Otherwise it is for hobbyists or as a learning tool.

Comment: Re:Tiny but useful? (Score 1) 98

by clong83 (#44366807) Attached to: Adapteva Parallella Supercomputing Boards Start Shipping
There is a high barrier to entry for piddling around with graphic cards. Fortunately, most home computers are already parallel (2-8 cores). I do extensive parallel programming, and I do most of the testing (for small problems, anyhow) on my desktop or laptop, which each have 8 cores.

There is simply a set of "parallel" function calls which can be built directly into your code. You then just need to compile your code with the proper libraries, usually either mpich or OpenMP. I believe both are available in the ubuntu repository. Pick the one that is most promising for your problem. They are fundamentally two distinct approaches to parallelism, each useful at times. Lawrence Livermore has a great tutorial site, including loads of example fortran and C codes of both openMP and mpich. THey are ready to compile and run on your home computer. Happy computing!

Tutorial: https://computing.llnl.gov/tutorials/mpi/
Example codes: https://computing.llnl.gov/tutorials/mpi/exercise.html#Exercise1

Comment: Re:half the Gflops, 64 cores, 80% lower cost, 5 wa (Score 1) 98

by clong83 (#44366641) Attached to: Adapteva Parallella Supercomputing Boards Start Shipping
That, and GPU computing really only gives that kind of performance for a few types of problems. Namely, if you are able to structure your data arrays in memory in such a way that a GPU can operate on it efficiently. If you are solving nasty PDEs on an unstructured mesh, it's very difficult to do this. In that case, a GPU is pretty worthless. I don't know how these parallella boards work, but hopefully they would be a bit more versatile.

Comment: Re:Why is there an assumption of privacy? (Score 1) 262

by clong83 (#44321941) Attached to: "Smart Plates" Could Betray California Drivers' Privacy
The post office isn't anonymous? I put stuff in mail boxes all the time without a return address.

I agree in principle with you. I think an easy method of remaining anonymous in communications can only help a democracy. I have two issues though:

1) I don't see anonymity as being legitimately threatened. Pre-paid phones exist. Mailboxes don't ask for ID. Newspapers can print an editorial under a psuedonym. You can pay for things in cash. For home internet, there are legal and effective tools like TOR which can effectively anonymize your internet traffic. I could go on. You can do pretty much anything you want to anonymously, except perhaps use Facebook. It's certainly not automatic, but then again, it was never assumed by default anyhow.

2) While I agree it is a nice feature, I still don't see why it is necessary, which is what the GP claimed. You use state-imposed censorship/repercussions as an argument for its necessity, but that is exactly what the First Amendment guarantees against. The use of anonymity to evade state harassment is only necessary in a society without a guarantee like the first amendment.

Going one step further, I have gotten into discussions with people who argue that I should be afraid of what the government might do if they one day decide they don't like my opinions, and that's why anonymity is still necessary. But I think this type of fear is exactly the type of fear that the first amendment frees us from having to experience. If you have to worry about being targetted for your views, and fear reprisal, what the heck is the point of the first amendment? Freedom means freedom from that fear. Period.

A last thought: Supposing the government suddenly starts throwing people in jail or otherwise harassing people for their political opinions, and the courts are somehow silenced. What good does a "right" to anonymity give you? Do you really think they wouldn't be listening to phone calls in any case? It's not worth anything more than the "right" to free speech which is being ignored.

Comment: Re:Why is there an assumption of privacy? (Score 1) 262

by clong83 (#44321349) Attached to: "Smart Plates" Could Betray California Drivers' Privacy
Ad hominem much?

The GP discussed the Bill of Rights. The last time I checked, this is an American document. It was claimed that the Bill of Rights protects anonymity in speech. I refuted that claim, and asked him why he thought that. If he were to cite a court decision where this concept is upheld, I would absolutely change my mind. If he presented a cogent argument about why it is necessary or otherwise implied, I would certainly consider it.

You could have presented such an argument as well, but instead chose to go with the nationalistic attack. I'm sure whatever country you're from is full of very enlightened people.

Comment: Re:Why is there an assumption of privacy? (Score 1) 262

by clong83 (#44321227) Attached to: "Smart Plates" Could Betray California Drivers' Privacy
There's a difference between expressing an opinion or idea (protected speech), and reneging on a contract you voluntarily signed that forbids you from disseminating particular information (not protected speech). Snowden was completely free to rail against the idea of the government collecting phone records. He instead disseminated information about the government's activities. There is an important difference.

You can feel about Snowden however you want, and I don't care. Traitor or hero, it's your opinion, and it's perfectly valid. All I will say is that he knowingly violated the law because he thought it was the right thing to do. Sometimes it is the right thing, and it's open for discussion. But arguing that what he did was covered by free speech is factually wrong. Unless you equally think that someone at a government lab should be able to post blueprints for nuclear weapons without any consequences, because you know, free speech and government transparency.

Comment: Re:+5 Insightful for (Score 1) 424

by clong83 (#44320791) Attached to: Jimmy Carter Calls Snowden Leak Ultimately "Beneficial"
Maybe you're right. I have thought for awhile now that the Republican party is regrettably in a civil war, and is becoming unviable. I was once a registered (R), but no longer. And with every major election cycle, the average Republican candidate seems to get worse. To be fair, there will always be loonies in both parties so long as loonies continue to exist. The thing is, I think an intellectually healthy party controls such members effectively. You don't see some hippy named Moonbeam that wants to entirely ban guns and force non-gluten diets on everyone win very many primaries within the democratic party. Especially for major office. But the cartoonish, knee-jerk, pseudo-anarchist that wants to privatize highways seem to be gaining traction on the right. They haven't totally gotten control of the party, but they are definitely on a major upswing, and it's destabilizing the whole party.

And yet, the party persists. They may very well have a majority in both chambers in 2015. They have a solid base that will continue to keep them competitive for the forseeable future. They seem to be defying gravity, and I'm at a loss to explain how.

Comment: Re:Why is there an assumption of privacy? (Score 1) 262

by clong83 (#44320219) Attached to: "Smart Plates" Could Betray California Drivers' Privacy
I'm curious why anonymity is necessary for free speech? Serious question.

The Constitution guarantees I can fundamentally express any idea I want to without fear of reprisals from the state, no matter how controversial or unpopular it might be. It does not guarantee, at least to my understanding, that I can express those ideas anonymously or without repercussions from my fellow citizens... If you feel anonymity is important (they wore hoods in the Klan, after all) you can do that. Take the bus, train, ride a bike, walk, etc, to your protest and don a white hood like they did in the old days. Don't bring your cellphone while your at it. Protecting your anonymity is on YOU, it's not a guaranteed right...

Anyway, it's a bit tangent to the main thread. I generally feel I have no expectation of privacy in a public area, and have no problem wih the idea of a "chip" that has the sole purpose of updating my registration automatically (some concerns about cost - what happens if it breaks?), but I'm also wary of implementing a system that could potentially be used or abused by a future administration.

A penny saved is a penny to squander. -- Ambrose Bierce

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