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Comment: Re:Simulations are limited by imagination (Score 1) 143

by martin-boundary (#47735337) Attached to: Google Wants To Test Driverless Cars In a Simulation

Sure, but the article isn't taking about simulations vs real life. It's talking about simulations vs contrived but legally required tests on manufacturer test tracks. Both are limited by imagination but simulations are more thorough, at least according to Google

Google wants to replace expensive, real testing with inexpensive, fake (aka "simulations") testing. The two aren't comparable, and the danger is that Google can lobby to change the laws to allow simulations to replace real life testing. Which is great for them, but bad for us.

Why aren't the two comparable? A simulated software environment is a development tool. It's great for working out the kinks in algorithms, but it is hopeless at working out the real manufacturing kinks in real life. In a simulation, the car performs correctly 100% of the time, repeatably. In real life, there's a screw that happens to touches one of the leads causing a short circuit in damp conditions, and the car screams to a halt in the middle of traffic.

Here's a software analogy (since we're talking about cars, we can't use a car analogy here...): simulation testing is like when you're tracing some code paths on paper, just to see if you're on the right track on the logic. It's a simulation, because you assume that the implementation has no bugs, the compiler has no bugs, the OS has no bugs, and there are no cosmic rays or DDOS attacks or the disk isn't making clicking noises. Real life testing is when your compiled code passes actual test cases in a full production environment, and has to cope with real inputs and outputs.

Comment: Re:Patent Trolls arent just little companies (Score 0) 96

by martin-boundary (#47711015) Attached to: How Patent Trolls Destroy Innovation

If I get the idea for a new valve design that uses some obscure property of gasoline to make direct injection engines five percent more efficient then I deserve to be rewarded for that.

If I get the idea for a new valve design that uses some obscure property of gasoline to make direct injection engines five percent more efficient then I should pay you for the privilege? No. No, I should not.

Just say no.

Patents are evil. There's no reason that inventors who pay for a little piece of paper 5 minutes before everyone else should receive money from other inventors for the same idea. That's what patent licensing is.

Comment: Re:How the Patent System Destroys Innovation (Score 3, Funny) 96

by martin-boundary (#47710673) Attached to: How Patent Trolls Destroy Innovation
Extra! Extra! This just in! New research proves that patent "trolls" actively reduce wasted "R&D" attempts by sad deluded companies aiming to reinvent by themselves and worsen already existing ideas! WIPO economic policies vindicated! Simplification within reach! Coming soon: the Golden Age of the One, Single And Perfect Idea Of Everything (a.k.a. "the Wheel") ! Thanks "trolls", your country owes you a debt of gratitude!

Comment: Re:Bottom line... (Score 1) 170

On balance, that is a GOOD THING. Exactly 100 years ago, the German Army was marching through Belgium, the Russians were preparing to invade East Prussia, and millions of men were being mobilized all over Europe. World War One was a result of a series of diplomatic blunders, secret treaties, and severe misjudgements by many leaders of the intentions of both enemies and allies. It is quite likely that it could have been avoided if better intelligence had been available. Voluntary mutual transparency would be best, but spying is still better than secrecy.

No it's not a good thing. You're making an elementary mistake of confusing the means to an end with the end itself. While it's on balance a good thing to know more about what is going on in the world rather than less (that's the end), the means to achieve this (secretly spying) is not a good thing.

Because spying is a secret way of obtaining information, the use of that information by decision makers is necessarily also secret (otherwise the secrecy would be broken and the spying activity would be undermined). But decision makers making decisions using secret information means that their decisions cannot be audited, and cannot be directly argued against in the open, by anyone who isn't privy to the secret information, eg the public. Therefore, such decision makers are all powerful, and unaccountable, ie undemocratic.

So if you think spying is a good thing, then you implicitly believe that unaccountable government is a good thing. In truth, voluntary mutual transparency would be best, but spying is equivalent to secrecy.

Comment: Re:Is there a need for all these PC things ? (Score 0) 75

by martin-boundary (#47661543) Attached to: Maryam Mirzakhani Is the First Woman Fields Medalist

You could dismiss these concerns as activism, but that's terribly tunnel-visioned.

Only for some values of terribly.

Every African and every women who for some reason or another has missed out on the opportunity to study STEM is another mind that could potentially have been another Euler or Gauss but was denied the chance. Unless women are intrinsically less adept at math (which I personally do not believe is the case), we've been missing out on half the world's great mathematicians.

Well I'm glad you're willing to bet the future of the human race on a personal belief. I on the other hand want to see proof of what you claim.

Could you imagine how different the earth would be today if we had two Fermats, two Euclids, two Poincares?

Hell, why stop there? I'd aim a bit higher: two hundred Einsteins! Imagine what the world would be like if it wasn't how it is!

How much knowledge have we lost for the lack of women in math and science? This isn't about "leaving math and science alone" from activism. This is about untapping all the math and science talent that has been hidden away for hundreds of years.

No, it's activism. It's you putting some naive notion of equality together with a linear extrapolation on the number of geniuses to claim a justification for messing with a system of knowledge that's been evolving for nigh on two thousand years.

Personally, I want my mathematicians to be socially awkward, highly pedantic, focused individuals who would be happy to live three quarters of their adult lives in a darkened room full of books (aka a library), have people to cook for them and tidy their bedrooms. And to be honest, those qualities probably select for white, male, and privileged in our current world, but I don't care.

Comment: Re:It's easy to fix (Score 1) 557

by martin-boundary (#47661445) Attached to: Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White

Just break down all the employees into the smallest groups possible. Instead of "White" or "African", break it down to German, Swiss, Dutch, South African, Tanzanian, and so on. With everything down to a few dozen members per group, you'll have a nice flat diversity line. :P

Oh. Err, yeah, that works too, I guess. I was thinking castrate a few of the males and distribute some afro wigs to equalize the employee counts. But yeah, I guess we can do your thing.

Comment: Re:here we go again... (Score 1) 75

by martin-boundary (#47660155) Attached to: Maryam Mirzakhani Is the First Woman Fields Medalist

She commented on the "gender inequality thing" herself.

I'm going to guess you've never given an interview in your life? Some guy (or girl) chats with you, asks 20 questions of you about lots of different things, then excuses himself (herself). You don't hear anything more for a couple of weeks, then you get to read a writeup containing 4 or 5 of those questions, with bits and pieces of your full answers cut and pasted into a shortened "narrative".

There's no way to know why she brought up the "gender inequality thing", if it was a short comment or a major theme for her. All we can say for sure is that journalists decide what they want to write about, and they make it look like it all came from the interviewee.

In the end, it's about selling magazine stories, and writing what the readers will like to see so that they are willing to give away some of their hard earned cash.

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