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Comment: Total number of websites (Score 1) 611

by physicsphairy (#47720191) Attached to: Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year

I don't actually browse the entire internet and have no interest in guaranteeing equivalent revenue to everyone selling penis enlargements. My share of the burden is only a dozen or so websites visited regular. But since many of those are content aggregators let's go ahead and say I visit 100 x that many websites, and consider these casual visits as equal to supporting the website for an entire year.

This makes $230 / 1,036,878,123 websites ( * 1200 = 2.7*e-4 dollars to cover my website burden. And I feel I probably deserve some credit for subscribing to Netflix and Amazon prime. Obviously bandwidth is a better measure of the 'cost' I need to cover for these websites to remain hosted, but averaging over all websites does (in a difficult to quantify way) account for the fact that many of the websites out there even now are not profit-motivated.

I hope the authors of this study were also sure to deduct the cost users already pay due to web advertisements in the form of malware infections, including the compromise of bank accounts, identity, etc.

Comment: Re:If they really want to help the situation... (Score 1) 44

by physicsphairy (#47650545) Attached to: Memo to Users: SpamCop Winding Down Webmail Service

You also cannot solve the problem by exposing, jailing, or murdering spammers (regardless of whether or not it makes you feel better) as it does not resolve the profit motive.

Increasing the expected cost reduces the expected profit.

Filtering only encourages spammers to craft ever-more-obfuscated spam to drive down the signal-to-noise ratio and improve the chances of their spam getting through.

Which takes resources, thus increasing costs, thus reducing the expected profit.

Spamcop and others, if they actually want to perform a valuable service, need to put their profits elsewhere. Namely, they need to start working on disrupting the flow of money to the spammers themselves.

While we're discussing profit as the be all and end all, I'm curious how Spamcop is supposed to monetize this? And does preventing people from seeing spam not "disrupt the flow of money"?

It's great to say there are other ways to go about fighting spam, but anything which makes the spammers' efforts a little bit more difficult or a little bit less effective contributes toward minimizing the industry.

Comment: Deadlines. . . whoosh! (Score 4, Interesting) 327

They are experts in their fields, often with master's and doctoral degrees

As a product of academia I am professionally trained to get things done on the cusp of deadlines. I'm not joking. Both on the student and instructor side there is simply a great deal of latitude. There's no time management enforced in any form except for "deadlines," so that's when you learn to get things done.

As lovely of a thought as it is that entering the workforce will automatically instill a newfound sense of responsiblity and dedication to all a graduates (and I'm sure it does for at least a few weeks or so), I for one am not surprised that working unsupervised at home at a government job with quarterly deadlines results in people observing the same habits they have for the past 6-10 years.

Admittedly, I wouldn't want to rush a result such that it is inadequately reviewed either, and I don't know if patent clerks have projects which would actually take an entire quarter to investigate, but the first thing I would do is have them sync all of their edits/notes/research in a way to make them reviewable. It's amazing how a little bit of transparency encourages people to make regular progress.

Comment: Re:Don't ask me (Score 5, Funny) 225

by physicsphairy (#47641063) Attached to: Do Dark Matter and Dark Energy Cast Doubt On the Big Bang?

The physicists are the ones asking. We better take this one to the Big Guy Himself.

"So, uh, we were wondering if you could explain why our orbital and rotational predictions for galaxies are not matching our astronomical measurements?"

"They aren't? Are you sure? Let me check the source code. Oh, that's not good. Should have caught that a few billion years ago. This is going to be a real pain to patch. Unless. . . ."

"Unless, what?"

*lightning bolt strikes questioner*

Comment: Scaling usage (Score 4, Interesting) 502

It's quite believable that technology will develop toward helping people reduce their energy costs. What's not quite so believable is that it will be enough to reduce demand.

If energy was cheap enough, maybe you would use your excess electricity to get free water instead, extracting it and/or producing it from air and hydrocarbons, or otherwise recycle your waste. Maybe you will have some of the latest computer modules chugging away simulating your entire antatomy to anticipate future medical problems. If I had free electricity right now I would be using as much of it as possible to mine bitcoins. Who would have anticipated that 20 years ago?

I don't see the end to domestic energy demand until we see the end of people wanting wealth, because technology is increasingly a way of translating energy into things of value.

Comment: Re:Why are they all space dimensions? (Score 1) 259

by physicsphairy (#47609203) Attached to: The Man Who Invented the 26th Dimension

So the whole second half of your post was not about how we can't see and measure in temporal dimensions but we can in spatial dimensions?

Light does travel easily through the temporal dimension. It does so constantly. (In the sense of how we experience it.)

If you want to know why we can't visit the Jurassic, then also ask yourself why we can't visit Alpha Centauri. We occupy a small slither of space just as much as we do a small slither of time. If you talk on the scale of the earth or the solar system or the galaxy, we travel space in a set direction as well. Time is the same way -- we're caught up in such a current of increasing entropy that any motions made in the reverse are fairly futile. With enough energy, however, it could be done (in either case).

My point is that your distinctions between space and time are largely a matter of how you choose to interpret your experiences. We certainly can probe another temporal dimension as well as another spatial dimension. (Although we could imagine features for both which make that difficult.)

Comment: Re:Why are they all space dimensions? (Score 3, Insightful) 259

by physicsphairy (#47607629) Attached to: The Man Who Invented the 26th Dimension

I can look up/down, North/South, and East/West, but I can not look past/future. So it makes sense that I also can not look t2+/t2-.

You can't do anything except for analyze the signals of photons presently impinging on your retina. You have no direct means of experiencing the space ahead of and behind you any more than you do the time directly ahead of and behind you. But assuming those photons travelled in straight lines in space and time and have spectra which depend on the object they last interacted with, you can make some good inferences about what objects were there a short time ago. Just as you can make the inference that those objects may have also been there at an earlier time, or may continue to be there longer than that.

It's only because the speed of light is so fast that we act like we are making direct spatial observations. Slow it down enough and you might not say your eyes were very good for finding the position of things at all -- just for telling you what they were like in the past.

Comment: Re:really? So Hamas is now a tech war machine? (Score 1) 402

by physicsphairy (#47595115) Attached to: The High-Tech Warfare Behind the Israel - Hamas Conflict

You make it sound like Israel's response to the murders was to start randomly bombing people. Israel's response to the kidnapping was to start making arrests and restricting access to Gaza as they searched for the kidnapped teenagers. Hamas started firing rockets. Israel retaliated with air strikes. By the time the bodies were found, the conflict was already in motion.

Comment: Re:Bad idea (Score 1) 180

I generally agree, but some free access computers would have been nice to have. I was interested enough in computers as a child to read all the available books in the library, including books on DOS and C and Larry Wall's Programming Perl, but I never had the chance to compile anything. Needless to say it didn't quite stick in the sense of learning to program, although it did provide a bit of foundation for such things later on.

When we actually did use computers the instructor always seemed like the least knowledgeable person on how to use them, and the class would mostly distract themselves with the internet while the instructor struggled with the projector and offered largely obvious comments.

The most I ever learned about computers was when I managed to put Trinux on a floppy, and then Knoppix on a CD, and commandeer my teachers' computers during lunchtime. But it's impossible to play around in normal circumstances -- the teachers of course find it far simpler to forbid you to do anything interesting rather than be responsible for fixing it if something gets broken.

Are computers a necessary tool for teaching math, science, arithmetic? No, probably they are just a distraction. Are they an interesting study and means to create and explore in their own right? Yes, absolutely.

Comment: Re:partly as a result, work culture is also haphaz (Score 1) 135

by physicsphairy (#47590471) Attached to: If You're Always Working, You're Never Working Well

For example, when I was a kid, we had student councils in school, from age 10, where each class has 1 or 2 representatives, who then report to the rest of the class at the weekly class meetings etc. It was also a good way to teach students about democracy.

I recall this from my elementary school (in America) -- it was structured precisely the same way. We had lots of group work and campus clubs, student senate in middle school and high school, things like mock trial, model UN, and speech and debate where you would learn Robert's Rules of Order, things like boyscouts and Boys and Girls of America to teach leadership skills, etc. And any kind of camp for sports or band would focus on teambuilding. Americans are actually very well-trained on how to work together, and they can do it amazingly well despite huge cultural and personal divides.

But that is part of what lets these pernicious managerial practices persist. Americans can often work around them, so there's not a huge pressure to punish or reform managers who get it wrong. It's also the case that while we're cultivating this cooperative culture, Americans are also cultivating a competitive, get ahead of the other guy, win at any cost culture. People who go into business administrative positions are often the fruit of the latter rather than the former.

Comment: I need a replacement for a different reason (Score 3, Interesting) 85

Perhaps it's now hidden somewhere, but I no longer see the search function, which I wouldn't mind having even for a static archive. My typical first operation in looking for a peace of software was to go to freshmeat, do a search, and sort by popularity/vitality.

Variety in open source is wonderful, but unless I have very specific requirements, I often just want to install one of the 'community approved best' options and not worry about deciphering reviews and forum posts to find out what is featured, active, and stable. In my experience, freshmeat was always the best place for that. and the ubuntu software center do have some decent rankings. I recently used the later to preload Ubuntu for a friend with software I thought would showcase what opensource can do for him.

What would be awfully nice, however, would be some sort of cross-platform aggregation of statistics which includes downloads from package managers.

Comment: Re:Short-Lived? (Score 1) 778

One would kind of hope that the states are doing their own economic analyses. The ones that found a minimum wage hike would be most productive and sustainable for their economies did so; the ones that didn't, didn't. Given how much cost of living and average income vary across the nation, it's hardly surprising that some places would want a different minimum wage than others.

Comment: My favorite test (Score 0, Offtopic) 147

by physicsphairy (#47493089) Attached to: Can the Multiverse Be Tested Scientifically?

Yes, quantum suicide. The idea is if you attempt to kill yourself, your consciousness persists only in the subset of universes where the attempt fails, and can become justifiably suspicious that, in its own experience, every effort prove ineffective.

However, I think it is a bit small minded to use this only to test the muiltiverse hypothesis. Given that it's true, why not build a huge robust death chamber which you activate based on, e.g., whether or not you win the lottery, whether or not you quantum tunnel to an alien world, whether or a friend comes by with free pizza.

I admit that cruising the multiverse in a giant suicide chamber is not quite as romantic as other science fiction. . . .

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982