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Comment: Just y'know... reconnect them spinal nerves (Score 4, Insightful) 209

by popo (#49145997) Attached to: Surgeon: First Human Head Transplant May Be Just Two Years Away

Just reconnect the spinal nerves? This is like saying interstellar spaceships are just two years away. Just connect the warp drive to the antimatter, and there you go.

Perhaps we should start by inventing a warp drive first? Or in this case, connecting severed spinal columns?

Comment: Re:Actually (Score 4, Interesting) 532

by popo (#49096247) Attached to: Stephen Hawking: Biggest Human Failing Is Aggression

Or what if testosterone levels in the developed world were reduced by almost 30% by using an insidious combination of phyto-estrogens, cholesterol-reducing statin drugs, plastic water bottles, ubiquitous soy, and birth control pills polluting recycled water.

Oh wait... We did that already.

Comment: No, But maybe the end of manned combat vehicles. (Score 3, Interesting) 439

by popo (#49058727) Attached to: Will Submarines Soon Become As Obsolete As the Battleship?

The issue isn't "The End of War" or even MAD. The issue is that we are very quickly approaching the technological threshold where unmanned vehicles will outperform all manned vehicles at a fraction of the cost. (And needless to say, reduced risk to our military personnel).

To put a finer point on it: How well will the latest Virginia-class sub fare in a combat scenario against 150 different 2-meter long drone vessels?

Want to bet that the 150 drones can be produced for less than $1.8 billion?

Comment: Re:New research find's water wet (Score 5, Insightful) 411

by popo (#49031809) Attached to: Your Java Code Is Mostly Fluff, New Research Finds

Yes, but the point is silly anyway.

The notion that everything that isn't core functionality is "fluff", gives the impression that it is non-essential.

Let's say I have a weather application that reports meteorological data for a specific zipcode. Let's say that I have a super slick user interface, and I display animated weather graphics in HD.


Not at all. A spartan application which displayed a bunch of plaintext data might have zero downloads. Sexy, eye candy might equate to 20 million downloads.

Which raises the question: What is the actual point of this app? Is it to display weather information?

No. The point of this app is to get downloaded.

So what's "core" again?

Comment: Re:Fuck Google (Score 5, Interesting) 254

The really hilarious implication here is that young boys code because society portrays coding as "cool" for boys.

Really? What society is that?

Take a peek at the adolescent reality of pimply-faced, never-gonna-get-laid young geeks and the truth becomes clear: Young males code *despite* it's complete LACK of coolness ...because they like it.

And therein lies the truth of most gender-heavy careers: The issue was not, and has never been one of innate capacity. It is one if interest. And interest breeds capacity.

Men and women LIKE different things. To argue with this point is to push ideology in front of empiricism.

Young chess aficionados spend thousands and thousands of hours watching chess games. Why? Because they like it. That's why chess grandmasters are men. And it's why there are women's chess championships. To suggest that some patriarchy is at work is laughable. But feminists insist that this is the case.

We are expected to believe that 90 pound, bespectacled chess geeks who spend their days fantasizing about even having a conversation with a female are somehow intimidating women out of the field.

In software the same dynamic exists. But feminists ignore the thousands of hours that geeky teenage boys spent along staring at CRT's, look only at the hiring patterns of large firms, and cry "patriarchy".

Comment: Re:No elaboration? Is it a cubesat? (Score 2) 81

by popo (#48957851) Attached to: State Television Says Iran Launches New Satellite Into Space

You absolutely could.

But keep in mind that the principal expense is actually the "launch" part, not the satellite part. It's difficult to translate prices from what an orbital launch costs to achieve in the US vs. what it would cost for the government to achieve an orbital launch in Iran -- but using CubeSats as a metric, consider that the development cost of a CubeSat can be as low as $10k USD, with the remaining cost going to placing the satellite in orbit.

Comment: No elaboration? Is it a cubesat? (Score 1, Insightful) 81

by popo (#48957715) Attached to: State Television Says Iran Launches New Satellite Into Space

There's nothing particularly impressive anymore about launching a satellite into space.

Cubesats are 10cm x 10cm satellites that can be built using off-the-shelf components and cost as little as $50,000 to produce *and* launch into orbit. (Although launch costs are ramping).

If Iran state media isn't "elaborating" on the nature of the satellite then we have no reason to believe the Iranian government has done anything more impressive than launch a 10cm DIY satellite.

Comment: Isn't freedom itself a potential lawless zone? (Score 5, Insightful) 431

by popo (#48924269) Attached to: Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

The notion that liberties could be misused and potentially give way to lawbreaking behavior is never a justification for the repeal of liberty.

We are always and everywhere free to break the law. That our social contract with government grants government the ability to prosecute law breakers ex post facto, does not equate to a wholesale license to restrict a liberty prior to its potential abuse.

To jump to such a conclusion would equally justify a national curfew. After all, who knows what we might get up to after dark?

Liberty by definition, always carries with it the potential for individual abuse.

Comment: Here's my problem with this (Score 5, Interesting) 178

by popo (#48885681) Attached to: New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed Where Others Have Failed

For one, Nicotine (when smoked) passes the blood-brain barrier within seconds.

The notion that a human antibody can intercept (and neutralize) a foreign substance that quickly is highly questionable. (If not silly).

However, the half-life of nicotine is 1-2 hours, and the metabolites have a half life of up to 20 hours. So let's assume for a minute that the vaccine does have an effect on systemic nicotine 'at some point' over the course of it's metabolization. Okay, fine. But the nicotine still went 'straight upstairs' after that first puff. Which means the only effect I can conceive of here is that the smoker will need another cigarette more quickly.

Is that a good thing?

Of course, IANAD so please correct me if I've got something wrong.

Comment: Re:Google Plus Defined Itself As a Hazard (Score 5, Insightful) 210

by popo (#48872145) Attached to: Tracking Down How Many (Or How Few) People Actively Use Google+


Google+ wasn't ever *just* a social network. It was a real-name, real-identity service tied to the entire universe of Google products.

This made Google+ decidedly dangerous for a vast majority of users who enjoy anonymity as one of the principal "features" of the web.

Google had an opportunity to create a fantastic service but their extremely weird philosophical tirade to bring identity to the web, coupled with an overly aggressive "whoops, you just created a Google+ ID and revealed your identity on 5000 YouTube comments" rightfully turned off millions of users.

They deserve this failure. Pursuing products that nobody wants, by ramming them down the throats of their existing customers, is a bad idea in any business.

Comment: Not expensive for an audiophile device (Score 5, Insightful) 391

by popo (#48744537) Attached to: Sony Thinks You'll Pay $1200 For a Digital Walkman

Audiophile equipment often costs in the tens of thousands of dollars -- and there will always be a market for it.

Regarding your title: SONY clearly does not think *you* will pay $1200 for this device. But they know that *someone* will. This isn't a mass market device. It's a very niche product, well-targeted at its niche.

More importantly: It's great for publicity. After all, it's already being discussed on Slashdot.

Comment: Torvalds is half right (Score 5, Insightful) 449

by popo (#48715249) Attached to: How We'll Program 1000 Cores - and Get Linus Ranting, Again

The problem is that Linus is discussing two different things at once and so it sounds like he's making a more inflammatory point than he is.

The issue is not whether parallelism is uniformly better for all tasks. The question is, is parallelism better for some tasks. And as Torvalds points out, those tasks do exist (Graphics being an obvious one).

The nature of the workload required for most workstations is non-uniform processing of large quantities of discreet, irregular tasks. For this, parallelism (as Torvald's correctly notes) is likely not the most efficient approach. To pretend that in some magical future, our processing needs can be homogenized into tasks for which parallel computing is superior is to make a faith-based prediction on how our use of computers will evolve. I would say that the evidence is quite the opposite: That tasks will become more discrete and unique.

Some fields though: finance, science, statistics, weather, medicine, etc. are rife with computing tasks which ARE well suited to parallel computing. But how much of those tasks happens on workstations. Not much, most likely. So Linus' point is valid.

But I have to take issue of Linus tone in which he downplays "graphics" as being a rather unimportant subset of computing tasks. It's not "graphics". It's "GRAPHICS". That's not a small outlier of a task. Wait until we're all wearing ninth generation Oculus headsets... the trajectory of parallel processing requirements for graphics is already becoming clear -- and it's stratospheric. The issue is this: Our desktop processing requirements are actually slowing and as Linus points out, are probably ill-suited for increased parallelism. But our graphics requirements may be nearly infinite.

Unlike other fields of computing, we know where graphics is going 20 years from now: It's going to the "holodeck".

Keep working on parallel computing guys. Yes, we need it.


UNIX was not designed to stop you from doing stupid things, because that would also stop you from doing clever things. -- Doug Gwyn