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Comment: Re:Mainframe vs PaaS and SaaS (Score 1) 164

by eric_harris_76 (#48844649) Attached to: The Mainframe Is Dead! Long Live the Mainframe!

An anecdote, possibly true.

Some IBM mainframe guy (Gene Amdahl?) and Seymour Cray were talking shop. Amdahl (or whoever) said to Cray that he'd wished he'd put more smarts into the peripheral side of things on System/360, as Cray did with the CDC 6000 series (and related) machines.

Peripheral Processor Units were so much more flexible. They were actual programmable computers that could run general-purpose code, not just CCW chains. (Or whatever those thinguses were.) In fact, part of the operating system itself -- not just device drivers -- resided in a PPU.

Monday morning I can't remember what I was working before I left for the day on Friday, but I remember stuff like this. (I sure wish a fella could make a living competing in Trivia Nights.)

Comment: Low voter turnout is not a problem, it's a symptom (Score 1) 480

by eric_harris_76 (#48809679) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

There's a reason why people don't vote, and it's not because the choices on the ballot are all so wonderful it hardly matters.

Reasons, actually.

One that doesn't get much attention is the pre-printed ballot, where the government decides who is a "first-class" candidate and who can only be elected as a write-in (where not prohibited by law).

This comes from a series of election "reform" laws enacted in the late 19th century, designed to make it harder for immigrants and their offspring, and other undesirables, to vote.

Voter turnout and election competitiveness declined to our current low levels over the next several decades as engaged voters left the electorate through attrition.

Details in "Why America Stopped Voting", by Mark L. Kornbluh.

Comment: Re:gambling [Re:Uncertainty] (Score 1) 786

by eric_harris_76 (#48799785) Attached to: Michael Mann: Swiftboating Comes To Science

First of all, I'm not random, I'm deterministic.

Second, I'm sure we can come to satisfactory terms, with a little diligence. We could perhaps entrust some mutually-agreed upon third party to hold the money until it was time to pay off the winner, and to decide who that person was, in the event of conflict.

I'd be willing to go with Al Gore.

I'm not sure he's trustworthy (even with people watching), but if he's not, so what? It'd be worth losing a hundred bucks (my $50 and the other guy's) to tell all and sundry what a verifiable weasel Albert Gore, Jr. is.

Comment: Re:Uncertainty (Score 1) 786

by eric_harris_76 (#48788773) Attached to: Michael Mann: Swiftboating Comes To Science

So, how confident are you, personally, in the predictions of your favorite climate model?

Confident enough to put, say, fifty bucks on the line?

I get the impression you're confident enough to put the world economy on the line. If that's so, fifty bucks of your own money would seem like a reasonable thing to do.

Paul Ehrlich was willing to do so with a much larger amount. (The first time.)

Comment: Re:It's a con... (Score 1) 109

by eric_harris_76 (#48788499) Attached to: Cryptocurrency Based Basic Income Program Started In Finland

Not just government central banks.

Ordinary counterfeiters also put money into circulation. And also, extraordinary counterfeiters. Like North Korea.

Perhaps North Korea could update the Fed about its operations, so the Fed could make appropriate adjustments to its own operations.

It would be in NKor's best interest to do this, so the home-made money it spends won't degrade in value on the world market.

(I'm only about 99% joking, here.)

Comment: Re:Predictions have been pretty good, actually (Score 1) 786

by eric_harris_76 (#48788257) Attached to: Michael Mann: Swiftboating Comes To Science

"the measured temperatures are a nice validation that the models are in the right ballpark"

Well, within a factor of two. That's some ballpark.

If someone were trying to base public policy on a set of computer models which predicted changes in, say, IQ scores of black Americans, or academic success of women in STEM fields, and the predictions were off by a factor of two, how seriously would people take those models, or the people who came up with those models?

Their proponents would be laughed at by everyone who wasn't vilifying them.

Comment: Re:I guess that means ... (Score 1) 340

by eric_harris_76 (#48782541) Attached to: Researchers "Solve" Texas Hold'Em, Create Perfect Robotic Player

According to Nat Silver in his book about prediction, it's surprisingly likely that a poker player with a good set of net winnings is mediocre. (I don't recall the numbers, but let's say it was 50-50 on skill, and 30%. Something like that.)

Chess is all skill. Matching pennies is all luck.

Poker is a lot closer to matching pennies than most people think, especially for some versions of the game.

Comment: Military veterans, not military, etc. (Score 1) 254

by eric_harris_76 (#48782387) Attached to: Heinlein's 'All You Zombies' Now a Sci-Fi Movie Head Trip

Nope. Nobody in the military can vote. Only military veterans. (And that's hardly a guarantee of a pro-military attitude.)

Also, nope. "Society" and "Government" are not synonyms, despite what people keep assuming, and sometimes explicitly state. Not even in a republic.

Also, people in general were rather dismissive of the military, and choosing to enlist was considered a bad move in most social circles.

There are some good essays on the subject. James Gifford wrote the best, IMO. Don't recall who else. Searching turned up a few.

Heinlein himself wrote on it, but he apparently at times recalled what he meant to write, or thought he wrote, or wished he wrote. His comments don't always jibe with the book. (Gifford has details.) (search that turned up Gifford's, and more) (Gifford's) (Spider Robinson)

Mausoleum: The final and funniest folly of the rich. -- Ambrose Bierce