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Comment: Re:But, but... (Score 1) 66

by hibiki_r (#49358589) Attached to: US Air Force Overstepped In SpaceX Certification

I've seem time factor heavily in some road construction: St Louis: I-64 roadwork was going to cause havoc on many people's commutes, as it required closing go the most traveled highway on the city. The contracts took into consideration how long it was going to take, offered bonuses for finishing early and severe escalating penalties for delays. It was finished early.

Comment: Re:Check their work or check the summary? (Score 1) 481

by hibiki_r (#49337849) Attached to: No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory

It might have helped in this problem, but nowadays, even assembly language is just an abstraction: You might thing you are doing in order operations on 8086, but they are really being translated to out of order operations inside of the processor that will get the same result, but with very different performance. Branch prediction? Nah, we can run the beginning of BOTH branches, and just discard the computation we did not want, because it's actually faster. And don't get me started on the differences between what you tell a video card to do, and what it actually does.

The distance between what we write in practical, end user facing applications and what happens in the hardware is so large nowadays that it's hard to have any real control over what is going on. The best we can do is understand the performance characteristics that we see in the layer right below ours, and hope things don't change too much.

Therefore, the problem with the original paper is that it fails to really explain what we can learn from the experiment. It's not that disk is faster than RAM: That's just ludicrous. But that we really have to have some understanding of the libraries and VMs we use to get anywhere. It'd not be impossible for the JVM to realize the immutable string is being edited in a loop, that there are no references to it that could escape, and then just optimize the whole thing into a string buffer implementation that should be as good as calling the file writer: It just happens to not do said optimization for us. It's happened in Java before: Code that was seen as terrible because it was very slow is not slow anymore, and easier to read than the old school way of optimizing it.

Comment: Re:Downvotes (Score 2) 467

by hibiki_r (#48988669) Attached to: Twitter CEO: "We Suck" At Dealing With Trolls, Vows To Kick Them Out

Downvotes without metamoderation just lead to downvoting mobs. Imagine the whole gamergate fiasco, with large groups of people downvoting each other. It's pretty terrible.

And twitter being so broad, metamoderation is just completely out of the question.

So ultimately, downvoting doesn't scale, and is only something you will like if you are the one with the popular opinions.

Comment: Re:Goodbye college football (Score 3, Interesting) 94

by hibiki_r (#48960233) Attached to: What Happens When the "Sharing Economy" Meets Higher Education

Schools will probably not go away quickly, as there is plenty of value in learning socialization, and kids will not learn that by sitting at home in front of a computer.

Schools are moving towards having some of that kind of learning though. Take, for instance, elementary school math. You have a bunch of kids coming in at K or 1st grade, which have drastically different experience and skill levels. Some kids will barely be able to count to 10, and read small numbers. Others enter K understanding multiplication and division. And yet traditionally, we put them in the same class, and teach them math together.

Now we have computer systems that can throw math exercises and lessons to kids, individualized to their skill level. So when the kindergartener that should be in 4th grade, seems to never miss at counting and number recognition, he just keeps getting more challenging material, until he's quickly doing 4th grade math.

Comment: Re:Radical Left allowed to run a country... (Score 3, Interesting) 328

by hibiki_r (#48917163) Attached to: Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister

That article hits the nail in the head. For Europe, this is not about Greece: Their economy is small, and by itself, if they sank nothing would matter. It's what it says to Spain, a country with a general election coming pretty soon, and who has its own new, populist left wing party that runs against corruption and austerity.

The Eurozone can handle anything that happens to Greece. But if Spain decides to ignore the troika, beware.

Comment: Re:Yeah! (Score 1) 514

by hibiki_r (#48883573) Attached to: Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration

Have you talked to those H1-Bs? Mist do not want to be in the US temporarily: They want to immigrate permanently, but the best way to permanent residency involves years being an H1-B temp worker.

Under the current immigration regime, removing H1-Bs is pretty much the same as closing down the border for tech people altogether. And if you find that a good idea, I am sure you'd also find it to be a good idea to do the same for doctors, right? If America needs more doctors, people just should pay a lot more for healthcare, until any doctor can expect half a million a year right after residency. I am sure that'd be the best thing for America, right?

Comment: Re:No way! (Score 1) 514

by hibiki_r (#48883483) Attached to: Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration

No, what would happen is not that corporations make less money, but that you see actual offshoring grow again.

I am a former H1-B, now permanent resident, soon citizen. Do you really think I'd just not be as good a programmer here and I am back home? The difference is that here I can get paid like Americans do, and back home, I'd be making between half and a quarter of what I make here, probably for a similar corporation.

I had one of those vaunted H1-B transfers, when my first ever employer decided to move all R&D that was being done in the US to Brazil. Some jobs remained in the US, but none of those that a good programmer might want: They hired the cheapest, least experienced American programmers they could get away with for customizations and customer-specific bug fixes, on top of the now Brazilian codebases, and hired all the senior programmers in Brazil. A Brazilian working from Brazil is far cheaper than if he moves to the US and competes with Americans directly, buys in American shops, and pays American taxes.

So instead of getting foreign programmers to compete with Americans in a way that concentrates the talent here, you'd make programming a big growth industry pretty much everywhere else. It might be helpful for a few years, for the experienced American programmers, but like other forms of protectionism, the trend would be negative for programmers in the US.

Comment: Re:Bitcoin (Score 2) 290

by hibiki_r (#48823357) Attached to: Bitcoin Volatility Puts Miners Under Pressure

Speculation, to a point, produces value, as having the prices that best reflect supply and demand is very valuable. We see a lot of that in treasuries: Isn't it incredibly useful to have the best possible guess of what interest rates will look like for the next 10 years? Currency speculation can be just as valuable.

We'd not want an economy that is based on speculation: There's such thing as spending too much on finance. But a world without any currency speculation is a pretty dire one. It's just very hard to imagine it though, as speculation happens naturally.

Comment: Re:Uninterested people aren't worth it (Score 1) 480

by hibiki_r (#48795505) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

It's basic game theory: To be well informed is expensive. The actual utility that we get for voting, and voting for the 'right' guy, is minimal, because most people's votes do not matter, or come even close to mattering. So why spend a lot to get nothing?

Some people that really care about a few issues have little trouble getting informed about said issue cheaply. They just have to forget anything else.

Now, if you have 200 million dollars in net worth, and choosing A vs choosing B will make a sizable difference in said net worth, then not only is voting correctly important enough to be informed, but spending a bunch of money making sure other people vote the same way you do, whether it's best for their interest or not, seems like a very good idea.

So not being well informed at all is an extremely rational decision. It just happens that if everyone does it, equilibrium leads us to a pretty dismal state. To change this, we have to change incentives.

Comment: Re:Secret Ballot? (Score 2) 480

by hibiki_r (#48795409) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

You don't need thugs, you can just purchase votes .Show me that you voted for my candidate, and I will give you $x. You could just hand muffins in exchange for a vote. If it happens in elections for class president, it will happen for elections that actually matter.

You don't even need a big malicious organization to do the vote buying. It can be family members, coworkers, peer pressure. Being unable to prove you voted for someone after the fact is actually a feature. And it's precisely to keep that feature that electronic voting is a terrible idea, as any electronic system that keeps this secrecy is a system that can be easily tampered with.

Comment: Re:Yes, but... (Score 1) 340

by hibiki_r (#48771875) Attached to: Researchers "Solve" Texas Hold'Em, Create Perfect Robotic Player

Whether it ruins the game or not is not relevant: It's just optimal strategy at the very end of a tournament. 2 players, and there are only two outcomes: The tournament only ends when one player runs out of chips.

So you are sitting there, with your cards. At any time, the other player can go all in. He can do that to start, or he can do that after you bet something. In either case, you either match, or fold. If you bet a small amount, then either it doesn't matter (if you call), or it does, negatively to you (as your fold makes you lose more money than if you folded in the first place). Since the chips are not deep, it's not like you can play more conservatively and hope to do better: The game won't last long enough to do that.

So you just remember what the mathematically correct play is, and do it all the time. If your opponent bluffs, you are happy, because you are not even paying attention to him. If he plays conservative, then great, because he is letting you win hands you should not, and he doesn't have the time to do that.

So yes, heads up tournament play might be exciting because of how much is on the line, but it's far simpler than the rest of the tournament was.

Comment: Re:Ergonomic and wireless? (Score 1) 190

by hibiki_r (#48685329) Attached to: Know Your Type: Five Mechanical Keyboards Compared

Kinesis makes a mechanical ergo keyboard with Cherry Brown keys, but its design is really not for everyone. A friend of mine swears by it, but I find it unusable, unlike the MS Natural Keyboard. Every time I tried to use the thing I ended up with elbow pain, as it does not work well unless your wrists are parallel to each other. With that kind of design, if the keyboard width is too big or too small, you'll end up hurting more than with a regular, non ergo keyboard, because those at least are more tolerant to angling your arms as you see fit.

They have a split keyboard design too, which would be great... except it uses crappy keys.

Make it right before you make it faster.