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Comment: Communism (Score 1) 622

by michaelmalak (#48642469) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Communism spreads through its seductiveness, and the justified fear of technology-driven joblessness is creating a seductive call for New Communism: The Basic Income.

The results will be the same as we have seen in other communist countries: forced abortions and forced sterilizations. I was pleased to see the linked list of possible solutions/outcomes include mention of abortion, but was disappointed to see lack of mention of forced abortion and forced sterilization. We don't need to turn to sci fi novels as these materials do; we need only look to communist countries of today.

Capitalism is no solution either, for that would lead to increased wealth disparity and a situation not too different than communism (total control by corporation vs. total control by government).

Technology won't be able to be put back into the toothpaste tube. The idea of establishing low-technology enclaves or communes won't work because the wealth and military capability generated by those who kept technology will seek to consume all resources. Land will be too expensive to acquire to establish an enclave, and surely too expensive to defend.

Comment: Dirtier than a hypothetical, not an actual (Score 5, Informative) 176

by michaelmalak (#48575837) Attached to: U.S. Passenger Vehicle Fleet Dirtier After 2008 Recession

From the actual abstract:

Using fleet fractions from previous data sets, we estimated age-adjusted mean emissions increases for the 2013 fleet to be 17–29% higher for carbon monoxide, 9–14% higher for hydrocarbons, 27–30% higher for nitric oxide, and 7–16% higher for ammonia emissions than if historical fleet turnover rates had prevailed.

The article shows that the actual 2013 fleet is dirtier than the hypothetical 2013 fleet where the age distribution matches the 2007 fleet age distribution.

It does not show that the actual 2013 fleet is dirtier than the actual 2007 fleet. It's a question not addressed by this study, but I would be surprised if actual 2013 was dirtier than actual 2007.

Comment: Chronology from TFA (Score 2) 77

by michaelmalak (#48542209) Attached to: Pluto-Bound Spacecraft Ends Hibernation To Start Mission

Rather than try to make sense of the broken English in TFS...

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft awoke from hibernation on Saturday and sent a radio confirmation that it had successfully turned itself back on one and a half hours later.

Here's the quote from TFA:

A pre-set alarm clock roused New Horizons from its electronic slumber at 3 p.m. EST, though ground control teams didn’t receive confirmation until just after 9:30 p.m.

New Horizons is now so far away that radio signals traveling at the speed of light take four hours and 25 minutes to reach Earth.

Doing the math, then, there was a two-hour delay between when New Horizons awoke and when it launched its first message. As opposed into traveling in the future by 1.5 hours.

Comment: Re:C language (Score 1) 277

by michaelmalak (#48517207) Attached to: Which Programming Language Pays the Best? Probably Python
According to, actual (i.e. not reported) inflation over the past 25 years has averaged 8.4% annually. Now, take your current compensation and multiply it by 2.24. Do you expect to be earning that much in 10 years? OK, now take your current compensation and multiple it by 7.51. Do you expect to be earning that much in 25 years? Keep in mind there will be long droughts during recessions where your compensation will stagnate or even decline.

Comment: C language (Score 1) 277

by michaelmalak (#48516973) Attached to: Which Programming Language Pays the Best? Probably Python

Hey, in the 1980's, C was supposed to pay the best. What happened?

A more interesting metric would be how many languages and frameworks one must learn per year in order to maintain compensation in inflation-adjusted dollars, and then chart that over time. I suspect a) it would come out as an exponential and b) that this indicates our acceleration toward the singularity.

Comment: Re:Define "program itself" (Score 1) 455

A FORTRAN compiler does not run continuously and add additional functionality as it goes along.

In the debate that followed the opening remarks (video with very bad audio because the batteries on the lapel microphone ran down), someone suggested that intelligence requires consciousness. I suggested a Linux daemon could be considered conscious: it runs continuously and takes actions based on input and conditions. So my argument is that for the singularity you just need a daemon that continuously adds functionality to itself.

Comment: Don't need amoebae to fly (Score 3, Interesting) 455

As I note in my doom and gloom YouTube, it's a 50-year-old analogy in the quest for AI that artificial flight did not require duplicating a bird. Artificial intelligence may look very different, and in fact in my video, I avoid defining intelligence and merely point out that "a computer that can program itself" is all that is required for the singularity.

Comment: Bill (Score 1) 215

by michaelmalak (#48407897) Attached to: Do Good Programmers Need Agents?

If Bill Murray doesn't need an agent, why do I?

On a serious note, this makes little sense for full-time employment, which usually comes with golden handcuffs. It's not like FTEs are hopping from gig to gig, and with the number of transitions low (as in substantially fewer than one per year), I think rockstar programmers can handle their own agency.

For contractors, it seems like an agent could feed qualified leads to some of them, especially if they're just starting out. But is that really agency? There are already localized medium-sized consulting firms that contractors can associate themselves with.

Comment: Re:Sci Fi Really Ages Quickly (Score 1) 186

by michaelmalak (#48402013) Attached to: Battlestar Galactica Creator Glen A. Larson Dead At 77

I think you're really looking at the show unfairly. When it came on the air (over 36 years ago) there was nothing else like it on television.

Also, I just now Googled "Battlestar Galactica cheesy 2009", "Battlestar Galactica cheesy 2008" etc. on backward, and it seems to have become a meme only when BSG came on in 2004. So it appears to be some revisionist history based upon post-BSG experiences rather than cheesy-at-the-time experiences.

The absent ones are always at fault.