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Comment: Re:quelle surprise (Score 1) 725

by lenski (#47395453) Attached to: When Beliefs and Facts Collide

I'm with others upthread whose expectation is not that "nuclear is impossible to do properly", but rather "Nuclear is impossible to responsibly here". Executives with authority over large projects have an essentially perfect record of focusing on finances and schedule to the exclusion of all other factors, most notably the safety of the many people who are likely affected by the executives' decisions long after the executives have deployed their golden parachutes.

It's also worth noting that the executives involved have an essentially perfect record of focusing (there's that word again) on the difficulty of proving that increased frequency of negative health effects are due to the facilities that they manage.

So in the context of applying "scientific principles" to policy debates whether the debate is over nuclear safety or AGW, it's my opinion that people with well-financed megaphones argue that "science cannot prove anything" while simultaneously arguing that "scientific proof is required" before taking any action. Works for them, not so much for everyone else.

Some specific examples

  • Dangers of smoking
  • Nicotine addiction
  • Effects of polychlorinated bisphenols
  • Groundwater pollution due to nuclear technology

Finally, I'm old enough to remember that the only way to get industrialists off their lazy asses in the 60's and 70's was by "government action". "Self-regulation" wasn't worth a good GodDamn.

Comment: market force: Let customers decide. (Score 1) 208

by lenski (#47053567) Attached to: Congress Unhappy With FCC's Proposed Changes To Net Neutrality

I tend to favor light regulation to ensure a level playing field, or alternatively a way to ensure a large enough pool of providers that customers have choices.

I really HATE the idea of reducing the market power of the end customer. It is my opinion that the current stream-of-consciousness rulemaking from the current FCC chair has that goal in mind. As things are progressing, with large content-providers being stuck with paying priority upcharge fees for the bandwidth and connectivity that THEY ALREADY PAY FOR, the ISPs (Comcast, TW, etc.) have another set of partners to collude with, without the need to satisfy the paying customers.

A plan that gives local ISPs a revenue stream other than their end customers is yet another erosion of the power of the customers in the marketplace, which is already so weak that we pay double or more for equivalent access than our international counterparts. Our market power is already severely limited by the lack of ISP choice in most communities, linked to the fact that there are only a few large providers nationwide.

I propose a rule requiring that an ISP's only source of income must be its customers. Is this "government regulation"? Or would it pass muster for the free market fundamentalists out there?

Comment: Re:Zero info in article (Score 0) 198

by lenski (#46595885) Attached to: Russian Officials Dump iPads For Samsung Tablets Over Spy Fears

Just one developer's observation... I have not yet seen Google fuck over developers and customers with the naked contempt shown by Microsoft or impenetrable garden wall of Apple.

Being operated by humans, I am sure Google will come over to the dark side and mis-use their market power eventually. Hopefully I'll be retired before then, as I am getting bloody tired of having to change infrastructure every time a formerly functional organization's mis-use of its market power becomes an unbearable burden.

Comment: Apple: a Perfect example of Network Effects (Score 1) 198

by lenski (#46595833) Attached to: Russian Officials Dump iPads For Samsung Tablets Over Spy Fears

No, "network effects" is the right term.

Apple had a very well-designed, well-built and convenient product with iPod. They followed up with the well-designed and convenient software product, iTunes. iTunes is so profitable and flawlessly exemplifies vendor lock-in, that they followed up with the same model for the iPhone and iPad.

One ecosystem, which just happens to not work very well with other vendors' products, and essentially never with open-platform systems.

That model is even sweeter than Microsoft's lock-in model, which was an improvement over IBM's lock-in model.

The company I work for has implemented some infrastructure with iXxx and they basically regret the decision; Apple's control is *very* effective at many levels, much to our disappointment.

Comment: Re:not on die (Score 5, Informative) 110

by lenski (#45500783) Attached to: Intel's 128MB L4 Cache May Be Coming To Broadwell and Other Future CPUs

what this means is the memory is not on the same piece of silicon as the CPU, just stuffed in the same chip package.

Which allows the designers to count on carefully controlled impedances, timings, seriously optimized bus widths and state machines, and all the other goodies that come with access to internal structures not otherwise available.

Such a resource could, if used properly, be a significant contributor to performance competitiveness.

Comment: Re:Life's tough all over (Score 1) 461

by lenski (#43447757) Attached to: How much I care about GMO food labeling:

Huge bucks spent to prevent states from requiring labeling. A great example is the coalition of the unwilling against California prop 37:

As I've written upthread, I would be fine with GMO if a) I were able to be aware of which products feature it so I can study the literature, b) Decide whether to do business with the dickheads indirectly and most importantly, c) Balance the legal power of the patent holders versus everyone else.

I don't suggest punishing Monsanto or anyone else for designing, building and selling a product. Unlike nearly every other business in the marketplace, Monsanto executives are uniquely interested in *preventing* people from knowing whether their product is part of the consumer end product. My only interest merely to be informed. The idea that fully informing purchasers of food products is "punishment" is very instructive.

I flatly disagree with the assertion that it is "punishment" to require that the marketplace be fully informed, and assert that it's a genuine privilege to block the flow of information that would otherwise be used to fully inform consumer decisionmaking.

I hear executives and PR flacks endlessly bleating about "the free market" but spend big money preventing exactly the information flow that makes the market "free". This is true for Monsanto, it's true for bankers and for many other industries that tend to externalize costs (environmental, health, systemic financial risk, etc.). My wife and I live conservatively to minimize our contribution to the power of these people.

Comment: Re:People getting their issues mixed up (Score 1) 461

by lenski (#43444361) Attached to: How much I care about GMO food labeling:

GMO is probably OK despite some unexpected ecological and personal risk. But the people who collectively "own" the "intellectual property" contained in GM organisms are far more interested in their stock value than the delivered value of their products. Executives have a nearly perfect record of hiding dangers and weaknesses of their products, until shitloads of people are hurt or killed and the effects can no longer be swept under the rug. Then when caught with their pants down, they bleat about "freedom".

I want the freedom to find out who is trying to fuck me over.

Comment: Life's tough all over (Score 1) 461

by lenski (#43444343) Attached to: How much I care about GMO food labeling:

So people think that industrial food might give them headaches? Tough shit. The fuckers with all the money and all of the control are welcome to show the safety and effectiveness of their product just like everyone else.

Monsanto gets ZERO special privileges. They have spent fuckloads of money on manipulating public discourse without showing any proper evidence of the long-term effects of the genetic manipulation and much worse, this society has allowed them near monopoly power over important parts of our food supply.

Damn hippies? Who the FUCK do you think controls the discussion? Sure as hell not the greenies or hippies or anyone else not in the club.

FYI, I would not have a problem with GMO food as long as it was not managed as some shithead's private "intellectual property" being used to push around too many farmers.

Comment: Re:Teensy 3.0 maybe? (Score 1) 273

Teensy would be tempting to anyone who has already done embedded development in the ARM microcontroller world. Insufficient memory to run any Linux, but plenty of flash and RAM to run any of many deeply embedded RTOS. Looking over the reference manual shows that the chip's peripheral blocks are powerful, including what appears at first read to be a pretty snazzy DMA controller.

I've been seriously considering it as a target for developing a communication front-end for a project at work. Previous experience is with a Cortex-M3 (Atmel AT91SAM3U) which was a great MCU to work with. GCC is available and I've been able to do all development on Linux workstations.

The price at PJRC, $19.00 can't be beat.

Comment: Requiring communication among stakeholders? (Score 1) 292

by lenski (#42366589) Attached to: Real World Code Sucks


At least from the point of view of the executive manglement team.

The last time I saw a mid level manager require written documentation from more than one stakeholder (marketing, business analysts, etc.) at a time, he was FIRED, for "being inflexible". This after he offered *many times* to help shepherd the process including discussing the effort of various options that might be chosen for implementing the ideas under discussion. Also after >3 years of trying to implement under-specified, over-promised features whose priority was always greater than refactoring and cleanup as the application experienced shifts in functional emphasis to match changing market conditions.

I've been doing this stuff since 1977 and the most consistent statement that could be made about top management people was "he or she has never felt the pain of an ink pen in hand". Fear of commitment. Frequently we who had to keep things going just did as much work as possible, hoping for the best. Unfortunately, even with the willingness to get into the work, our vision was necessarily limited, and consequently so was our success rate.

Beyond a certain point, high level managers become extremely risk-averse. It's explainable: The challenges of getting details right are many, and the likelihood of success is small due to the vicissitudes of most business marketplaces. I believe this is why there's lots of talk about "taking risks" but truth be told, risk taking is such a fear-inducing process that it's never used.

With that complaint out of the way, I agree with your premise. I merely observe that I've seen it carried through about once or twice in 35 years.

Comment: Re:ARM Servers: FP performance (Score 3, Interesting) 81

by lenski (#41788945) Attached to: AMD Rumored To Announce Layoffs, New Hardware, ARM Servers On Monday

Your comment is on target given that ARM systems have a history being both lightweight and worse yet, inconsistently equipped with floating point hardware. The consequence has been that application and package developers face a choice between being able to run on lots of hardware by avoiding dependency on FP, or to provide good performance by limiting their applicability to systems with that hardware. I do not know whether ARM can overcome that history in a bid for a place in the server marketplace.

I expect that ARM architects recognize the need for consistency, with the result that the ARMv8 64-bit spec is way more specific about what developers can count on, so they can use high performance compiler settings consistently, while still being sure their applications can run on all servers.

This is a very important place where the Intel IA32 and AMD's x86-64, won. Beginning with the i486 (not SX), developers had a consistent set of compiler optimization choices providing "really good" performance. Anyone wanting really kick-ass, custom-optimized performance is welcome to go with tightly customized, processor-specific compilation, as one might be able to justify in HPC.

So the question is whether ARM's history of support for giving silicon implementers major freedom in selecting from among many options, will leave a legacy of inconsistency or whether they can get past that to enter the marketplace where consistency is required for success.

BTW, as an embedded developer, I've found the flexibility of choosing silicon that's well-tuned to my device-specific needs to be very important.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein