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Comment: Re:The Republicans are right (Score 1) 216

by iluvcapra (#49186377) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

If it ain't publicly known and reproducible then it ain't science. No public policy or regulation should be based in reasons that are not subject to examination and validation. This is pretty simple.

This is ridiculous. Real after me: It is impossible to scientifically prove that environmental damage is bad, or should be illegal. It is impossible to scientifically prove that killing innocent people is wrong. It is impossible to scientifically prove that theft is wrong. It is impossible to scientifically prove that the risk of particulate pollution above level X creates an intolerable hazard, but below the level does not, and lacking that level of predication, rule making becomes impossible.

If you create the standard that a law must be justified by science, no law could be sufficiently justified. The EPA makes regulations based on science, but also on things like risk assessments, ethics, moral attitudes on the value of human life, and popular democratic demands. Risk assessments and ethics aren't science and never can be, making them into science is scientism. If the people vote for clean air or dirty air, or their legislators demand it, they should get clean or dirty air, science be damned.

Comment: Re:It's not just the fragmentation (Score 2) 136

by iluvcapra (#49144819) Attached to: Who's Afraid of Android Fragmentation?

Meanwhile, there is this PC platform that wiped out all of it's other bespoke competitors probably before you even touched your first computer.

An open platform running a bespoke OS stack. It also helped that the original PC clone makers were just that, cloning down to the schematic level the IBM PC.

Android smartphones are bespoke hardware, the average Samsung or Nokia smartphone might as well be Kaypro or a Commodore PET. iPhones are relatively generic by comparison.

In the end this isn't really a technological problem, the business dynamics of the smartphone business just aren't the same as PCs. Development man-hours are very cheap now compared to the 1980s, it's very practical to port an app back and forth. But this means that there is the Network Effect for the OSs quite diminished, so the platform that offers the best business case to developers is going to get the most developers.

And Google doesn't care about third party developers. Google just isn't MS in the 1980s, it doesn't approach app devs as if they were clients, or their core constituency. It doesn't hate them, it doesn't like them, doesn't lock them out, doesn't lock them in, it's just indifferent. They make a big show when it comes to cool libraries and features, but they have minimal commitment to seeing app dev paid. Fragmentation is what iOS fanboys point to when they want to see Android fail, and it's what Android devs point to when they want to talk about something other than revenue.

But Android will continue to be the dominant cellphone platform for the foreseeable future worldwide, because it's cheap and it's "enough." App devs will continue to be losers who need to sell to iOS to make money, smartphone manufacturers will continue to get piss-poor margins as they grind each other into the ground, and actual smartphone users won't really get anything more out of their phone than they ever did, but Google will get its a impressions and user metrics. Which was the whole reason they started this cockamamie thing in the first place.

This is just NOT the PC business in 1980 -- you've got a billion-dollar behemoth basically giving away the keys to the castle so it can make money on the ads and front-running web searches. This completely disrupts the model that MS and the PC manufacturers exploited.

Comment: Re:common man (Score 3) 194

by iluvcapra (#49107805) Attached to: The Imitation Game Fails Test of Inspiring the Next Turings

Indeed. I'm not as smart as Turing was, so he must have been a fuckin' genius. No living human could ever hope to match him. Basically a god.

You know he made some really important contributions to discrete mathematics, logic and what would eventually be called computer science. But a lot of people were able to make really important contributions to computer science and the war. What exactly makes Alan Turing a god, and not, say, Claude Shannon? Or Richard Feynman? Or Enrico Fermi?

Genius is a wondrous thing but its counterproductive to turn it into a cult.

Comment: Re:common man (Score 1) 194

by iluvcapra (#49107787) Attached to: The Imitation Game Fails Test of Inspiring the Next Turings

Humans are genuinely an amazing animal... but to claim that all humans are above average is to demonstrate a fundamental lack of awareness of both math, and humanity.

See, I didn't say everyone was above average. Tagging something as "mediocre" implies not just that it's average, but that it's inadequate or redundant.

Turing was very intelligent, but so was Reinhardt Heydrich. Intelligence doesn't itself guarantee virtue or necessity. By a lot of standards the US is overrun by redundant, overeducated people whose intelligence far exceeds its utility.

So, it's best to practice reticence whenever you're tempted to assign some kind of relative value to people. It's dangerous, and, I think, really stupid, to say this or that person is "better" than any other; some people are definitely better at some things, but everybody plays their role, we need everyone, there's no group of useless people "holding us back," the dumbest janitor is just as much "us" as our greatest inventor, artist, or athlete.

I mean, think of all those "amazing animals" whose corpses sit at the bottom of the Atlantic. Just because all they had was a deck gun and their courage, they are mediocrities? Britain wouldn't have won the war if all it had was a bunch of super geniuses sitting in a hut in Bletchley Park.

Comment: Re:The problem (Score 0) 194

by iluvcapra (#49107217) Attached to: The Imitation Game Fails Test of Inspiring the Next Turings

The problem with people like Turing, Einstein etc. is that nobody understands them nor the way they think (or thought)

This is a trope. We have a lot of first-hand accounts of Turing and Einstein, and Einstein's mental process is basically an open book. The problem is people fall into the trap of believing that genius is inscrutable and fundamentally "beyond" or transcendent of normal intelligence, and that it simply cannot be understood. What people have done, to an extent, is they've simply taken the myth of angelic or divine revelation, and interpolated onto a naturalistic framework and then applied it to great scientists.

Turing was a man, Einstein was a man, their brains were, genetically and in essence, probably identical to yours. They were special for what they did, what they wrote, what they accomplished; not what they were.

Also, "genius" is generally a label that gets stuck on people after they die, and it becomes part of the myth-making that goes along with the historiography of science.

Comment: Re:Be realistic (Score 1) 194

by iluvcapra (#49107045) Attached to: The Imitation Game Fails Test of Inspiring the Next Turings

I felt like the drama in Particle Fever was really manufactured, these people really didn't have much on each other and they sorta made it in editing. Also to be honest I thought the technical treatment of the material was really glib.

Also it's a documentary that was released directly to on-demand and probably didn't cost a million bucks.

Comment: Be realistic (Score 4, Informative) 194

by iluvcapra (#49106875) Attached to: The Imitation Game Fails Test of Inspiring the Next Turings

Yeah, move audiences are really chomping at the bit for a probing discussion of the Halting Problem and the Turing-Church correspondence.

The Imitation Game changed aspects of the real Alan Turing's personality to conform more closely to our idea of the solitary nerd. It falls in line with the tired idea that only outcasts could love computers...As for explaining the science behind Turing's code-breaking machine, the movie doesn't bother.

It's a complicated topic, mainly because his work for GCHQ was only tangentially related to his work on universal computing machines or his theoretical mathematics, they never actually built a Turing-complete computing system to defeat Enigma (with bombes) or the Fish cipher (Colossi) -- and even this distinction between the two fundamentally different problems is lost to the film.

The movie isn't about computers, it's not even really about codebreaking. The movie is about a recluse with a dark secret, who, despite not fitting in and being generally weird, finds a purpose for himself and a way to make a contribution to the war, only to see his greatest accomplishments hidden from view and perverted by the security state. The movie is basically a retelling of A Man for All Seasons.

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley