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Comment: Re:Ross Perot is awesome! (Score 1) 122

by jandersen (#48465231) Attached to: How the World's First Computer Was Rescued From the Scrap Heap

At first I read your comment as a clever, sarcastic comment, but now I'm not so sure.

Ross Perot has always struck me as complete tosser, if you'll excuse the expression. This story only confirms my view. What really sets me off is the scale of stupid luxury - the kind of stuff you spend money on, despite the fact that you don't actually like it or have any use for it, but simply because you want to show others that you are rich enough to throw money around stupidly. If he had bought the whole computer, had it set up in working order and displayed it to the public for free in a museum, that would have been admirable, but as I read it from idly skimming the summary, he just got some parts of it. Idiot.

Comment: The question is (Score 1) 100

by jandersen (#48465193) Attached to: Firefox Will Soon Offer One-Click Buttons For Your Search Engines

Can I turn this feature off? I absolutely hate it when applications try to second guess me, especially when it disrupts what I am in the middle of doing. Right at the top of my feature hate list are:

1) Autocomplete, because the suggestions that come up are generally not what I wan't any way, and they can easily become distractions that lead your thought processes astray.

2) Spellchecking as you type, because a) it doesn't prevent the stupid 'there/their' type errors, and b) minor spelling mistakes don't actually matter that much in an age where people tend to write SMS style lingo.

3) Search-as-you-type, because I actually hardly ever want simple, linear, single-term search functionality, and it only adds noise and distraction and costs performance. I want to be able to type in my search terms, revise them and then send off the query.

Comment: Re:Also ban cars (Score 1) 178

by jandersen (#48465133) Attached to: Cameron Accuses Internet Companies Of Giving Terrorists Safe Haven

Slippery slope is not automatically a fallacy

No, of course not, but I think we all need to keep our cool about these issues, which are unfortunately real. Not addressing them because of 'freedom ...' or 'privacy' is just another slippery slope; so we need to strike a balance between the measures we put into place, so we don't slide down either slope.

There are many, serious issues the threaten us today - terrorism and organised pedofiles are just two of them; other, current issues are things like people traficking and police corruption - one could go on at great length. We really must do something about solving these problems - what would you suggest? I'm not sure there is any solution that is right in every way, only solutions that are not too bad, if we are lucky.

Take the ebola crisis; if we had a vaccine, should we not go and inoculate everybody in West Africa, or something similar? But what if it turned out that a large proportion of people don't want it? Should we force them or should we respect their freedom and risk an epidemic spreading to Europe and America? The example may not be perfect, but the point is that our options may be limited to a choice of 'least bad'.

Comment: Re:Time for the H1-B program to die (Score 1) 323

by jandersen (#48456169) Attached to: LinkedIn Study: US Attracting Fewer Educated, Highly Skilled Migrants

I personally know one American who works in China. Not for a Chinese company, though; he set up a software development business in the Midwest, bought something like a Skype call-in number (not Skype, but same thing), so his customers can call a local number and he can receive it anywhere in the world. Then he moved to Beijing, bought an apartment just before the prices sky-rocketed, and works nights. Makes a lot of sense to me.

Comment: Re:The "Protesters" (Score 1, Insightful) 1085

by jandersen (#48456093) Attached to: Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

They're not interested in any kind of justice. They're only interested in revenge.

And you are surprised? Isn't this the kind of society you have chosen to build? Isn't revenge a very central theme in the American idea of 'justice'? I mean, you have not just the death penalty, but you make sure that people sit for decades on death row, going crazy, and you finish it off by putting them through a ritual sacrifice that is designed to cause suffering. And so on - is that not about revenge, simply?

I can't comment on whether that is 'justice', but when society is so focused on revenge, how can it NOT teach everybody that revenge is the right thing to do, whenever you feel you have been treated unjustly? And on top of that, you have also set yourselves up with a situation where firearms are everywhere - how can that avoid escalating out of control? Widespread mistrust, revenge as the first resort and lots of guns - what could possibly go wrong?

Comment: Depends on what kind of world we live in (Score 1) 143

by jandersen (#48456047) Attached to: Here's What Your Car Could Look Like In 2030

Self-driving vehicles? Well, they are almost here, so that's not too hard to imagine, but I think changes in society are going to drive us away from the amount of traffic we see today. One of the major factors in car ownership has been the fact that owning a car was the only way to easily get from your home to your workplace; we've have seen a trend towards working from home, which, although not ideal, still seems a better alternative to many people, and I think we will see an increase in variations over this theme. Perhaps we will see more something like small, local, shared offices, where people go to work near to home, but not necessarily with colleagues from your own company.

Comment: Re:"Random" (Score 1) 78

by jandersen (#48455605) Attached to: Study: Space Rock Impacts Not Random

But aren't we now finding ways around the Fourier uncertainty? I believe there was a recent Nobel price for advances in microscopy.

... it's about whether QM is correct.

That one is easy: QM is not correct. It is a model - ie. a best approximation etc, but there is almost certainly going to be something, somewhere that is not entirely covered by the model. Isn't that what we all hope for: that we discover something new and amazing?

... if spacetime is quantized (there's a minimum possible distance and a minimum possible time, and all times/distances are integer multiples of these minima) then the wavefunctions wouldn't be continuous...

Ah, but continuity is a matter of topology. If space itself is quantized, the topology would have to be restricted to fit space, and wavefunctions may well be not only continuous, but also smooth, if a suitable geometry can be constructed. This, in a way, illustrates the gripes I have with QM; there is almost a culture of mysticism surrounding it (or its interpretation), that stops you from reaching a deeper understanding, because you expect it to be fundamentally impossible - so you tend to lapse back into a classical mode of consideration. Thus, the typical line of thought becomes something like "1) What would the classical scenario look like?, 2) Construct the Hamiltonian 3) Apply The Magical Transformation and get a differential equation, 4) Solve to get the wavefunction". Nowhere in this process is an understanding deeper than classical mechanics required, and that, I suspect, is why people keep talking about space being discontinuous. Einstein's genius, IMO, was that he understood that physics must be intrinsic to space, and that the resulting geometry plays a dominant role in how the laws of physics work. So, even if space turns out to be a finely minced subspace of an embedding, Cartesian space, that is not actually relevant, since all the physics - the 'reality' if you like - is confined to the geometry of that subspace, and the geometry is the only interaction there is between physical space and the embedding space.

Comment: Re:"Random" (Score 1) 78

by jandersen (#48448687) Attached to: Study: Space Rock Impacts Not Random

The Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that you are not allowed by the laws of physics to simultaneously know all the initial conditions with arbitrarily high precision.

Perhaps - although this is actually not uncontroversial. There are many things surrounding the interpretation of QM that are not entirely certain - I am aware that every so often somebody comes up with a 'proof' that Heisenberg is more fundamental than simply an effect of our mode of observation. We measure properties of microscopic matter by bombarding it with particles and measuring the statistical outcome of a large number of events; the observation that particles are waves and waves have a minimum 'resolution' led to Heisenberg's original proposal, and many arguments have been put forward to the effect that this is a fundamental property of nature and impossible to get around, but there are works going on trying to achieve exactly that: a better resolution than Heisenberg's uncertainty allows us.

Comment: Re:Three Letter Agencies? (Score 1) 141

by jandersen (#48447847) Attached to: Highly Advanced Backdoor Trojan Cased High-Profile Targets For Years

Hello, China...

OTOH, when this kind of news come out, people are usually not shy about mentioning China by name. In fact, a number of 'wealthy nation-states' in Europe as well as Israel have been mentioned on occasion when it comes to spy-ware. I don't remember the US coming up very often, so by exclusion, America does seem like a likely candidate here. And why not? it isn't as if Americans, American companies or the American state departments are particularly prudish compared to others, when it comes to this sort of thing.

Comment: Re:"Random" (Score 1) 78

by jandersen (#48447787) Attached to: Study: Space Rock Impacts Not Random

Is, or is not, physics at a macro scale deterministic or not?

Yes and no. Chaos theory concerns itself with problems that are, for all (or most) practical purposes, unpredictable. IOW, these problems are, in principle, deterministic, but in practice, very difficult to solve with any degree of precision. The weather, for example - if we know the starting conditions exactly for every point on the planet (and our models were perfect), we should be able to predict the temperature, wind speed etc exactly for any point in and time, ever, and for any spot on the planet. Unfortunately, small variations in start parameters result in huge variations in end results, which is why weather forecasting is so hit and miss.

One has to accept that, in common usage, the word 'random' simply means 'chaotic' in the above sense.

Comment: Rock star? (Score 1) 215

by jandersen (#48409683) Attached to: Do Good Programmers Need Agents?

Rock star programmers? Seriously? When I was a teenager, some 40 years ago, computer programming was considered incredibly awesome, something on par with Einstein, but nowadays programmers are seen more like accountants, and rightly so: You have to know the sometimes very intricate rules, and you have to be the sort of person who likes to keep prodding at a problem until you get it right - and accountant, IOW. How many Rock Star Accountants do we know of?

Comment: Re:Blocked on proxies (Score 1) 91

by jandersen (#48401619) Attached to: Facebook Planning Office Version To Rival LinkedIn, Google

Yea sure, business will want to unblock Facebook on their proxies just because you have a "For Work" version. It will not happen.

Who knows? Who cares? I currently work for a large company, where they actively encourage staff to use Linkedin and also have an internal, social thingie. I have been there once; all I saw was sales account managers and similar - the ones who enjoy grazing on their own navel fluff, basically.

Comment: Re:Huh (Score 1) 223

by jandersen (#48400679) Attached to: Comet Probe Philae To Deploy Drill As Battery Life Wanes

Why do all the comparisons involve a non-powered ballistic object like a bullet or in this case a hammer.

Because it is a rather good comparison. Although the Rosetta has thrusters, for most of the 10 years it has taken to get to the comet, it was not moving under power, and in fact, unlike throwing a hammer from London to New Delhi, its trajectory was nothing as simple as a ballistic curve; apparently it passed by the Earth twice, and the 'nail' it was supposed to hit, was moving rather fast. Perhaps a better comaprison would have been playing billiars on an enormous table that wasn't flat, where all the bumps and valleys moved around and the target roaring across at the far end. The chances of ending up a million miles away from the target were significant.

Comment: Re:Huh (Score 1) 223

by jandersen (#48400649) Attached to: Comet Probe Philae To Deploy Drill As Battery Life Wanes

Do you have a source for that claim?

Nothing more precise than the news broadcasts on BBC4 on the morning when the probe actually landed. Lots of talk about how many of the scientists involved had been involved from the very beginning, 30 years ago. You should be able to get more precise answers if you email BBC4's newsteam, there are quite good at responding.

Let's organize this thing and take all the fun out of it.

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