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Comment: Re:Foxconn Factories' Future: Fewer Humans, More R (Score 1) 86

by Tablizer (#49157323) Attached to: Foxconn Factories' Future: Fewer Humans, More Robots

It used to be that new technologies created new jobs as it destroyed old ones. But that's merely a historical pattern, not necessarily a law of nature, and it may end.

It's kind of like Moore's Law: it's held so far, but nobody knows if it will keep.

Many conservatives feel that if the gov't doesn't meddle, new jobs will come from somewhere. However, they are slow to name specifics. The few they could name are also ripe for offshoring.

Comment: Re:Can someone explain this? (Score 4, Informative) 58

by hey! (#49156569) Attached to: Oracle Sues 5 Oregon Officials For 'Improper Influence'

What they're alleging is that political staffers interfered with the project to help the governor's election chances.

As much as I believe Oracle is the spawn of Satan, if the governor's aides and staffers did that Oracle would have a reasonable complaint. When you sign a system development contract you agree to deliver a system and the client agrees to pay you. If you someone induces your client not to accept a system that meets the criteria, that's what lawyers call a "tort". It's something you can justifiably sue over.

Likewise there are many ways political operatives could potentially sabotage a project, and that'd be actionable too. Any non-trivial development project is dependent upon the client acting in good faith. They have to act as if they want the system. It's extremely easy for a client to cause a project to fail, by raising an endless stream of trivial complaints or by dragging its feet in its responsibilities like acceptance testing or giving feedback. It'd be all to easy for well-placed political operatives to undermine the bureaucracy's willingness to cooperate.

That said, in *this* particular instance the suit sounds like business as usual for Oracle, in other words acting like bastards.

Comment: Re:Bugs in Win 7 UI (Score 1) 492

by jonadab (#49156083) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10
At least they've improved the performance of using .zip files in Windows Explorer. Back when they first introduced that, it was *awful*. If the zipfile contained more than a couple of dozen files, copying them out took an amazingly long time. (It's still not as fast as some other software that works with .zip files, e.g. info-zip; but it's way more reasonable now than it used to be. It's no longer bad enough to drive me to put the .zip file on a USB 2.0 flash drive and hand-carry it to a Linux box to unzip it and hand-carry the contents back and copy them from the USB 2.0 flash drive to the Windows computer -- at one time, this was actually significantly faster than using Explorer's zipfile support, if the zipfile had a lot of small files in it.)

Comment: Re:Where the economic system breaks down (Score 1) 254

by hey! (#49155959) Attached to: 5 White Collar Jobs Robots Already Have Taken

Here's the thing about technology prognostication. Timing is everything. Take predicting tablets being a big market success. People were making tablets back in the early 90s and people were predicting that it would take off. But the timing was wrong. It's clear to anyone who saw 2001 that tablets would someday be a big deal, but it took more knowledge than most people have to understand the prerequisites that could make that vision come true (display technology, battery weight and volume, processor performance and consumption, memory density).

This caution applies to dystopian predictions as well. People have been predicting that automation would destroy the economy for hundreds of years by now. Instead automation has increased productivity and raised wages. So it seems sensible to dismiss future predictions of an automation apocalypse. Except we can't.

Reasoning from historical experience is for most people reasoning by vague analogy. But each moment in history has to be looked at on its own terms, because sometimes things have to be just right for a certain scenario to unfold. The devil is in the details. So the idea that automation is going to produce mass unemployment is not certain either way. We have to look at conditions in *this* moment of history and reason specifically. That's hard to do.

Comment: Re:just FYI (Score 1) 76

by hey! (#49155893) Attached to: Banned Weight-loss Drug Could Combat Liver Disease, Diabetes

Well, like Paracelsus said, the dose makes the poison. Or in this case the release mechanism.

Blood concentrations of drugs usually peak an hour or two after ingestion and then taper off depending on the mechanisms the body uses to either break the drug down or excrete it directly (when you're an old Geek, you begin to pick up a lot of this stuff). So it's entirely plausible that the same amount of drug which would be dangerous in an ordinary pill would be acceptably safe in a timed release formulation, particularly if it is quickly eliminated from the body. The concentration in the patients' tissues would never reach dangerous levels. You can think of it as a lower "instantaneous" dose.

Comment: Re:Corporation != People (Score 1) 362

by hey! (#49155827) Attached to: Verizon Posts Message In Morse Code To Mock FCC's Net Neutrality Ruling

Corporations are a peaceable assembly of board members and/or shareholders.

This is an interesting, but not quite valid argument. The reason is that corporations are *not* an assemblage of individuals. Associations are. The laws and privileges entailed in being a corporation are different. If associations, partnerships and corporations were the same thing, the rules would be the same. But thery're not. Stockholders aren't financially responsible for the debts of a corporation, nor are they legally responsible for the deeds of the corporation.

I hold stock in a number of companies. Were I a *partner* in the corporations I could walk onto any of the company's properties, because it's *my* property. If I own stock in Target I can't just have a shufti around the back room of the store; it's not my store. It belongs to the corporation.

Also as a stockholder in a number of corporations, when those corporations engage in political activity they are not exercising *my* rights. They don't represent me in any way, nor do I have veto power when I disagree with them. When the Sierra Club speaks out on environmental issues, you can presume they speak for me as a member, because they exist for that purpose, and I joined on that basis. When JP Morgan Chase buys a congressman, they are not speaking for me, even though I hold stock. I'd rather they don't. I bought JP Morgan stock many years ago as an investment. Insofar as they participate in politics they're usually working against my interests.

Comment: Re:White balance and contrast in camera. (Score 1) 336

by hey! (#49155729) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?

I've sat right next to people who see the dress differently than me. It's *the same image* on *the same monitor* at *the same time*. So it's not a case of the monitor calibration or the camera white balance that creates the discrepancy, although obviously manipulating those things will change our individual perceptions of the dress. What's interesting here is the differences between people presented with an identical image.

Color doesn't exist in the external world. "Purple" isn't a wavelength of light, it's a kind of "additional data" tag which our brains add to parts of an image that allows us to extract more information from it. Consider the famous "Rubik's Cube" optical illusion where the same square looks either orange or brown based on whether contextual cues make us think it is in shadow or not. There's an illustration here.

The only difference between the Rubik's Cube illusion and The Dress That Broke The Internet is that practically *everyone* experiences the paradoxical sensations of the Rubik's Cube Illusion; in the case of the dress the paradox is in how sensations *differ between people*. The dress image is a kind of borderline case where our brains can "tag" the "pixels" of the image in one of two possible ways depending on what it thinks the context is. Different brains are trained by different experiences to expect different contexts. If we saw the dress being worn and in person, chances are with all that context there'd be less disagreement.

Comment: &is "teal" blue with greenish tinge or vice-ve (Score 1) 336

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49155217) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?

... blue and brown. Just now, I opened the Washington Post link on my 24" screen in a sunlit room, and it was clearly white and gold.

Though the sensations are vastly different, brown is really dark yellow. The underlying color of that part of this dress seems to be very near the perceptual boundary (probably just on the yellow side of it). This picture seems to have the dress in a non-obvious shadow, so when it is viewed by someone whose visual system doesn't adequately pick up the shadowing and compensate, it crosses the boundary and appears light brown rather than dark yellow.

Another perceptual oddity is that a very slight bluish tinge to white makes it appear "whiter than white", especially in sunlight or other strong lighting. (I suspect this works by mimicing the differential response of the various color sensors in the eye when exposed to very bright light, though blue may also "cancel out" a bit of the yellowing of aging cloth.) Laundry products up through the 1950s or so included "bluing", a mild blue dye for producing the effect. (It fell out of use when it was replaced by a fluorescent dye that reradated energy from ultraviolet as blue, making the cloth literally "brighter than white" {where "white" is defined as diffuse reflection of 100% of the incoming light}, and which, if mixed with detergent products, would stick to the cloth while the surficant was rinsed away.) I suspect some of the "blueish is brighter" effect is going on here.

When I view the picture straight-on on my LCD display, the light cloth on the upper part of the dress appears about white and the image appears somewhat washed out. Meanwhile the lower half has a bluish tinge. So I suspect the cloth is actually nearly-white with a bit of blue. (Viewed off-axis it's very blue, but the other colors are over-saturated and/or otherwise visibly off-color. So off-axis viewing makes it look more blue and this probably adds to the controversy.)

Another color-perception issue is "teal", a color between blue and green. There are paint formulations of this color that give the sensation of "distinctly blue with a greenish tinge" to some people and "distinctly green with a bluish tinge" to others, even under the same lighting and viewed from the same angle. (I'm in the "slightly-bluish-green" camp.)

The first place I encountered this was on the guitar of the filksinger Clif Flint. (On which he played _Unreality Warp_: "... I'm being followed by maroon shadows ..." B-) ) Apparently his fans occasionally had arguments about whether his guitar was blue or green, so he sometimes headed this off (or started it off on a more friendly levl) by commenting on the effect.

Comment: Re:Who did the study? (Score 3, Interesting) 286

by TheRealHocusLocus (#49155019) Attached to: We Stopped At Two Nuclear Bombs; We Can Stop At Two Degrees.

Literally every nuclear plant in construction throughout the entire world is way overbudget, even the ones in China.

You're right... but China aims to change that. China is cool with the delays in AP1000 construction... why? Because Westinghouse is refining the pump design.

China is much more than a happy customer experiencing some delays in delivery and construction. They have a plan in place to build the CAP1400, their own proprietary version of the Westinghouse AP1000.

If you're a flag-waving American who believes that we're still in the race to help develop and industrialize the world, this August 2014 slide show from China's SNPTC (State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation) is worth a look. "China has basically established the 3rd generation nuclear power industrial system, built up the complete equipment supplied chain, completed the standard design of localized AP1000, and prepared for mass construction of the localized AP1000."

And that is merely to ensure its entry into the market as a supplier of AP1000-compatible reactors in the short term. Their CAP1400 project promises to build on the AP1000 concept while scaling up the output by half (to 1530MWe). They are also suggesting an actual four-year construction cycle.

So if Westinghouse (majority owner: Toshiba) wishes to delay construction today in order to improve the design of coolant pumps --- I'm sure China is amenable. They will note the improvements and incorporate them.

While the United States feeds Africa for a day and attempts to impose unworkable energy solutions, Japan and China will build its coal plants today and become its infrastructure partners. Then with the same steadfast determination with which the USA built out railroads, the Chinese will lay high speed rail, energize itself and New Africa with grids and mature PWR nuclear energy tomorrow. And on the third day, Thorium reactors using liquid fuel. Ultimately a quadrillion dollars of infrastructure... financed and built without the US dollar, perhaps.

So if China supplies nuclear reactors to the world --- and ultimately also the United States for a hefty price, when natural gas declines and we shake ourselves awake from this renewables nightmare, what a pity. We could have done it first and we could have done it better.
"Oh dear! We're late!" Down the nuclear rabbit hole we go.

Comment: Re: Who did the study? (Score 1) 286

by TheRealHocusLocus (#49154885) Attached to: We Stopped At Two Nuclear Bombs; We Can Stop At Two Degrees.

The rest was rubbish. To say we can only accomplish a goal via one single method is obviously wrong. Also, care to explain the DC thing? Are you Edison, back to try electrocuting elephants again?

Since you mention DC I guess this is a reply to this message and this one.

Sometimes one can come to the conclusion that we can only accomplish a goal one way when one is presented with a clear winner and a bunch of sorry-ass alternatives, such as... nuclear versus 'solutions' that require imaginary infrastructure and imaginary storage technology that (nevertheless) will shut down in cold or cloudy weather. Despite anything I may have believed once upon a time, or just not thought about, I am now being drawn kicking and screaming to advocate nuclear energy. Because the alternatives suck because extinction sucks. And about the DC thing.

Eh, everything you wrote in your first post.

Eh. Actually my first post was a short essay inspired by the Clock of the Long Now.

Comment: Re:do no evil (Score 1) 164

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49154693) Attached to: Google Taking Over New TLDs

Perhaps they should be asking for a ".google" gTLD, for that purpose, instead of trying to monopolize a generic identifier.

I was about to suggest the same, but with ".goog", to make it shorter. (Can't think of a less-than-three-letter symbol that points to them as strongly.)

(It's also their stock ticker symbol, so maybe it's not such a good idea - it could cause a land rush and litigation from all the other publicly traded companies.)

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead