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Comment: Re:Petition (Score 1) 386

by nfk (#43170709) Attached to: Google Reader Being Retired

I've been using Tiny Tiny RSS for some time now, and to me it is even better than Google Reader, for one reason: whereas in Google Reader you could share articles with Google+, in Tiny Tiny RSS you can publish articles you like to a public RSS feed.

I'm a linux user, so it's a big bonus that applications like liferea and newsbeuter integrate neatly with Tiny Tiny RSS. Add to that the Android app and I can always have my news in sync, wherever I read them.

Comment: Epiphenomena (Score 5, Interesting) 916

by nfk (#39059293) Attached to: Why People Don't Live Past 114

I haven't read the article (shock), so I'm not arguing with those who say this isn't interesting, but it reminded me of Douglas Hofstadter in GEB:

"I was talking one day with two systems programmers for the computer I was using. They mentioned that the operating system seemed to be able to handle up to about thirty-five users with great comfort, but at about thirty-five users or so, the response time all of a sudden shot up, getting so slow that you might as well log off and go home and wait until later. Jokingly I said, "Well, that's simple to fix -- just find the place in the operating system where the number '35' is stored, and change it to '60'!" Everyone laughed. The point is, of course, that there is no such place. Where, then, does the critical number -- 35 users -- come from? The answer is: It is a visible consequence of the overall system organization -- an "epiphenomenon".

Similarly, you might ask about a sprinter, "Where is the '9.3' stored, that makes him be able to run 100 yards in 9.3 seconds?" Obviously, it is not stored anywhere. His time is a result of how he is built, what his reaction time is, a million factors all interacting when he runs. The time is quite reproducible, but it is not stored in his body anywhere. It is spread around among all the cells of his body and only manifests itself in the act of the sprint itself.

Epiphenomena abound. In the game of "Go", there is the feature that "two eyes live". It is not built into the rules, but it is a consequence of the rules. In the human brain, there is gullibility. How gullible are you? Is your gullibility located in some "gullibility center" in your brain? Could a neurosurgeon reach in and perform some delicate operation to lower your gullibility, otherwise leaving you alone? If you believe this, you are pretty gullible, and should perhaps consider such an operation".

Comment: Re:Shortcuts (Score 1) 394

by nfk (#34014992) Attached to: Bees Beat Machines At 'Traveling Salesman' Problem

I don't think it would be more difficult, because If you are flying, a straight line is always the minimum path. It doesn't add a whole lot (if it adds anything at all) to the complexity of the problem. You're right though, it also wouldn't be less difficult. And of course, if some expert bees can collect nectar as they fly by, the baseball paths from a previous story could apply.

Comment: Re:America forced Japan's hand (Score 1) 131

by nfk (#30371858) Attached to: Data-Sifting For Timely Intelligence Still an Elusive Goal

Fortunately for the U.S., only the battleships were in port. I don't think that the U.S. could have been as successful in the Pacific if it had lost carriers during this attack.

That doesn't seem to be the case, unless the carriers were of vital importance immediately. Quoting Churchill in The Second World War:

In the autumn of 1942, only three American aircraft-carriers were afloat; a year later there were fifty; by the end of the war there were more than a hundred.

Comment: Re:Simple solution (Score 1) 206

by nfk (#30346184) Attached to: Personalized Search From Google Now Opt-Out

I'm using Firefox and I simply reject all cookies. For the sites that need it (for login purposes, in my case), I add exceptions. You can even add exceptions forever or just for the session. This method may be too restrictive for some, but if, like me, you only absolutely need cookies in a handful of sites that very seldom change, it works well.

"Mr. Watson, come here, I want you." -- Alexander Graham Bell