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Comment Re:Another year, another video codec... (Score 1) 285

On the contrary, I'm surprised they're only saving 20%. Look at the difference between VP9 or X265 and the VC-1 encoder they used exclusively for their first few years. And given the costs they incur using all this bandwidth they could definitely throw a good number of top quality engineers at figuring out a rate control algorithm that's more suited to their rather unusual use case.

Comment Re:Seems to me a trade would be in order (Score 1) 177

Perhaps you're just poking fun at their sensibilities, but the question deserves a serious answer.

If you look at a map, you can see the access road forks at about 13300' - the left spur stays on the plateau and goes to the Caltech observatory and on towards the proposed TMT site, while the right spur, which services the summit observatories, climbs almost all the rest of the way to the summit in the next mile.

When the last of the telescopes on the summit is decommissioned (probably a couple decades away), that right fork could be reverted to a trail.

Yes, many visitors wouldn't want to hike to the top from sea level, but I think people who visit the mountain would be perfectly fine with walking one mile with a few hundred feet of elevation gain to reach one of the world's great summits.

Comment Seems to me a trade would be in order (Score 2) 177

Maunakea isn't like the Matterhorn. The area on the Maunakea plateau that's high enough etc to suit astronomers' needs is actually quite large, and the Thirty Meter Telescope's proposed location is at least a mile away from the summit and at least 500 feet lower.

But about 8 of the existing dozen or so scopes are practically right on the summit. Much more intrusive both to native sensibilities and to tourists. Built before cultural sensitivity was a thing, I guess, and before native Hawaiians had done much to organize politically. I think those opposed to the TMT may well largely be objecting to "one more straw" rather than to this telescope considered in isolation.

If all these scopes were planned for new construction now I think a reasonable compromise would be to disallow putting any of them above about the 13400' contour on the summit. And I imagine that by now many of the scopes on the summit are no longer all that scientifically useful anyways, having been eclipsed by bigger scopes and better technology.

Why not have a trade- go ahead and build the TMT, which will be a big scientific boon, but promise to gradually phase out and demolish the scopes on the summit and try to restore the summit area to a relatively pristine condition?

Comment Re:"of making many books there is no end" (Score 1) 42

No, they don't sell one at Ikea, but you might be able to find one at Borges' Library Furniture and Supplies.

Please be advised that if you put your current (finite) book collection on the shelf, or if you acquire an infinite collection and put it on the shelf in a way that leaves some space unoccupied, your books may topple. You need to acquire an infinite collection and fill all the space on the shelf. But don't worry - even if your shelf is full it can always accommodate an infinite number of additional books.

Comment Re:"of making many books there is no end" (Score 1) 42

That's easy: book n leans against book n+1. If you had only a finite number m of books on a straight shelf, then that last book, having nothing to lean against, would topple, and then book m-1 would have nothing to lean on either and thus topple, and so on down the chain back to the first book. With an infinite shelf you don't have that problem.

Comment Re:Not wasted (Score 0) 178

Sure you can, by holding your phone at a viewing distance WAAAY closer than would be comfortable for a 17" monitor. The real question is not pixels per inch but pixels per degree (or per radian) at normal viewing distance. And there is no way on earth 500 ppi makes any sense at the >2ft viewing distances normal for a monitor.

If you view your phone, your monitor, and a movie screen from distances that allow them all to occupy similar viewing angles, then it makes sense for them all to have similar resolutions, not similar PPI.

Just as a matter of basic freshman physics (Rayleigh criterion) humans do not have the optical hardware to see sub-arcminute sized detail. 4K pixels are arcminute-sized at IMAX viewing angles. So there is little or point to display resolutions or content-delivery video formats beyond 4K.

Comment Re:Progressivism (Score 1) 258

It does sound too conveniently and obviously obtuse, doesn't it? I think that's why he got the funny mods, is that people thought he was trying to ironically mimic the hashtag activist mindset.

Unfortunately if you look at it shows he wasn't being sarcastic at all. Just arrogant and shortsighted enough to be blind to the irony of it.

Comment Re:Progressivism (Score 5, Insightful) 258

That's total bullcrap, motivated only by your partisan arrogance. The attitudes of the left towards e.g. food production and the entire field of economics are just as totally anti-science and devoid of consideration for facts as the attitudes of the right towards e.g. global warming. There is no party or movement that can claim the high ground here and there is not a single single member of congress who can be said to be on the side of data driven politics.

And your assumption "my party is always right and we just need to work to get it a stronger following" is exactly the bullcrap herd activist mentality he's talking about here.

Even using the term "progressivism" to some extent involves the same kind of problematic hasty and violent arrogance. As Chesterton said,

Every one of the popular modern phrases and ideals is a dodge in order to shirk the problem of what is good. We are fond of talking about "liberty"; that, as we talk of it, is a dodge to avoid discussing what is good. We are fond of talking about "progress"; that is a dodge to avoid discussing what is good. We are fond of talking about "education"; that is a dodge to avoid discussing what is good. The modern man says, "Let us leave all these arbitrary standards and embrace liberty." This is, logically rendered, "Let us not decide what is good, but let it be considered good not to decide it." He says, "Away with your old moral formulae; I am for progress." This, logically stated, means, "Let us not settle what is good; but let us settle whether we are getting more of it." He says, "Neither in religion nor morality, my friend, lie the hopes of the race, but in education." This, clearly expressed, means, "We cannot decide what is good, but let us give it to our children."

The case of the general talk of "progress" is, indeed, an extreme one. As enunciated today, "progress" is simply a comparative of which we have not settled the superlative. We meet every ideal of religion, patriotism, beauty, or brute pleasure with the alternative ideal of progress--that is to say, we meet every proposal of getting something that we know about, with an alternative proposal of getting a great deal more of nobody knows what. Progress, properly understood, has, indeed, a most dignified and legitimate meaning. But as used in opposition to precise moral ideals, it is ludicrous. So far from it being the truth that the ideal of progress is to be set against that of ethical or religious finality, the reverse is the truth. Nobody has any business to use the word "progress" unless he has a definite creed and a cast-iron code of morals. Nobody can be progressive without being doctrinal; I might almost say that nobody can be progressive without being infallible --at any rate, without believing in some infallibility. For progress by its very name indicates a direction; and the moment we are in the least doubtful about the direction, we become in the same degree doubtful about the progress. Never perhaps since the beginning of the world has there been an age that had less right to use the word "progress" than we.

Reaching solutions requires

  • a sincere realization of our own ignorance and the sincerity and rationality of our opponents
  • the willingness to engage in real and reasonable discourse with those we disagree with, working to find goals we can pursue with enough common cause that our pursuit will not require tyrannical coercion
  • consistent attention to the data and the best science in choosing means of pursuing those goals

(Science does not prescribe goals, but describes possible courses of action and their likely consequences; many problems, from failed social programs to environmental disasters, could have been avoided had people listened to scientists from economists to ecologists about the unintended consequences of policies.)

Unfortunately, I doubt any party in any Western nation is presently capable of any of these three things.

Comment Shoot them down (Score 1) 124

There have been two wildfires within 60 miles of me in the past week. In each fire there was a point when firefighters had to ground helicopter operations because of interfering private drones. The helicopters can't safely land with all the fire retardant they take off with, so they had to waste 500 gallons of fire retardant, just dumping it in the middle of nowhere. In one case the delay allowed the fire to make major progress and probably delayed containment by a couple days.

I'm all for declaring a permanent open season on unmanned aerial vehicles. Jamming, shotguns, surface-to-air missiles, whatever. I'm sick and tired of the crap that drone operators pull.

Comment Re:Hooray! (Score 1) 676

Hillary is 67. That's three years older than Romney was four years ago and only three years younger than McCain was in the election cycle before that.

The only candidates the Republicans have ever run (going back to 1856) who were older than Hillary were McCain, Bob Dole, and Reagan (for his re-election, not his first term).

The people who complained about Republican candidates being old white people are proclaiming Hillary is just the perfect age now. It was all just hypocritical grousing.

Comment Re:gtk2 deprecated? (Score 2) 193

Because the people behind gtk3 are actively hostile to everyone but the GNOME project. Not only breaking functionality that non-GNOME projects need, but seeking out GTK applications and pressuring them to remove functionality just because GNOME Shell no longer uses it.

Details and further criticisms are all over the web; a couple starting points are here or here .

GTK is generally seen as a dead end these days. Many if not most of the folks who develop GTK apps that aren't part of the core GNOME project are scrambling to port to QT or something else. And GNOME itself is a struggling project and has been bleeding market share for 4 years now.

Comment Hurrah for performance improvements! (Score 2) 192

With all the work that has been poured into MoarVM, MoarVM Perl 6 is now painfully slow.

This is a tremendous improvement. The best they'd ever managed with Parrot was "abysmally slow." Before that, perl 6 implementations ranged from "diabolically slow" to "the madness-inducing manifestation of the visage of Gn'oguracha, Elder Slug-God of Unspeed."

A typical statement from a recent presentation: "2013.08 was about 3,600x slower than Perl 5. 2014.08 is 34x slower. Better. But still sucks."

If they keep pouring in the effort, eventually they may reach parity with Perl 5, which was simply very slow. It is unlikely they will ever approach the performance of modern javascript engines, which are just plain slow.

Comment Finally (Score 1) 134

I'd been thinking this would never see the light of day.

The Cairo backend stuff was a focus in 2010 and 2011 and everyone thought 0.49, the first version with the new renderer, was going to be released in 2012.

Whatever happened in those three years, I'm glad they've turned the corner and hopefully future development can be release early release often again.

Comment you're missing the point, GP is right (Score 1) 230

The article is about GPUs.

ATI was fabless, and though AMD did still own their own fabs for three years after the ATI acquisition, that was completely irrelevant since TSMC still fabbed all the chips anyways. There were rumblings about doing some chips on AMD's own fabs but it never came to pass.

So the grandparent is right. ATI / AMD Graphics and Visual Solutions and nVidia have both always been fabless.

People who think owning your own fabs is always fabulous are disconnected from the realities of the semiconductor industry. It just isn't feasible for most companies to duplicate all the huge material and R&D investments that have to be continually at full throttle just to have any chance to compete in the fab space. Gamers, who care disproportionately about retail add-in graphics cards, routinely overestimate the size of the graphics card industry; Intel's revenue is over 10x either nVidia's or AMD's. Only a fab that gets a lot more business than just nVidia's can possibly hope to compete. TSMC fits that bill.

Comment Re:Egg subst battery farm "free range" (Score 1) 47

I'm not saying "let's stop calling free range meat 'free range' and start applying that label to plants." If you seriously thought I was then your reading comprehension skills need a lot of work.

Most people who buy "free range" or "organic" food feel a moral passion about it because they think they're doing something positive for the environment, animal welfare, or both. They are dead wrong. The organic and free range food craze is not an environmental benefit but an environmental menace. That's what I was saying.

If your purchases of free range or organic food are only motivated by taste, then my earlier post doesn't really address you at all. But "tastes more like I think it's supposed to" is a lousy gluttonous excuse for taking actions that lead to ecological disaster.

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