Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:Why is he worried (Score 1) 583

by ppanon (#48248687) Attached to: Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"

Yep, and sadly with an increasing amount of citizens in the USA who believe that government is becoming too secular and want more religious involvement in politics, it's pretty easy to see what segment of the population he's appealing to. But why would he do this when he needs a certain amount of AI for achieving some of his goals? Maybe he wants to hobble his competition to give himself a chance to get a headstart, build up a good patent war chest and corner the market for a couple of decades. Or maybe he's been talking to Bill Joy too much.

The thing is that over the past 8 years, while we've still been doubling semiconductor density, we haven't been seeing the same level of power and speed increase from feature shrinks that we were benefiting from previously. That has significant implications for past projections of computing capacity used to predict the cross-over point for human-level AI.

Comment: Re:The language in the old west (Score 1) 387

by ppanon (#48166731) Attached to: Torvalds: I Made Community-Building Mistakes With Linux

If someone in the old West walked up to your face and says hes going to rape your wife and kill you, why WOULDN'T you shoot them?

Well, just at a wild guess, if he's not a complete moron then he's probably already got you covered with a gun and will shoot you as soon as you look like you're reaching for a weapon.

Comment: Re:So what you're telling me (Score 1) 146

by ppanon (#48087569) Attached to: Details of iOS and Android Device Encryption

Reset questions - how to turn a semi-effective security system into something that can be hacked by anybody (even Matthew Broderick :-) ) willing to do simple research into your background using publicly-available information. Usually added by systems where the owner doesn't want to hire enough trusted staff to help with password reset.

Most of the time you're better off putting random noise in there that can't be guessed to disable the functionality. It gets really annoying when 2 or 3 typo'd attempts force you to answer those questions, rather than using an exponentially increasing delay timer.

Comment: Re: Yeah ... but ... it's true. (Score 1) 267

by ppanon (#48025373) Attached to: Former GM Product Czar: Tesla a "Fringe Brand"

Yeah, I misread his post. Never mind my parent post as it's inanely wrong.

It could be that they are deliberately depreciating their assets faster, but it's more likely that the increased SG&A costs are due to costs in ramping up their sales network beyond California. There will be significant startup costs in building out all those Tesla sales centers (not to mention fighting court battles and lobbying over their legality due to laws favouring dealerships). If they rent the sales locations (and if the Vancouver location on Robson is a typical location, then they must be renting) then many of the setup costs are going to be SG&A or CAPEX with a very short depreciation lifetime compared to property or production line equipment (which means large but short-term depreciation expenses in SG&A). The recurring rental costs will be SG&A too. However those costs can still be substantial to project the luxury image they want for the Model S, and they can opt to move to less pricey locations after a few years, once they've established mind-share through road presence thanks to early adopters.

Tesla don't have the benefit that Toyota had with its pre-existing network of dealerships when it launched the Prius. The Sales Centers are an attempt to establish a national sales presence on the cheap, but building even that is expensive. They say that it normally takes over a year for a restaurant to build up a clientele and become profitable. It shouldn't be surprising that car companies take an even longer investment, because people tend to be pretty conservative when it comes to buying durable goods like cars. Targetting for the niche upscale luxury market, where image is a major factor and can be obtained through some high-profile early adopters, is an interesting strategy for keeping their costs low during the slow process of gaining widespread mindshare. It's still an incredibly long and expensive process but we should be seeing the SG&A expenses plateau as their NA and European sales networks get established. It looks like they've got pretty good coverage now for the large city markets where the Model S can be sold, but they will need to add another bunch of locations in smaller markets as they ramp up to sell the more affordable model 3.

Comment: Re: Yeah ... but ... it's true. (Score 1) 267

by ppanon (#48025269) Attached to: Former GM Product Czar: Tesla a "Fringe Brand"

Maybe he can read income statements just fine.

Depreciation is the devaluing of Assets (usually to represent wear and tear, obsolescence, and so on). What the GP is talking about are Capital Expenditures. Now as you add to your asset base, your depreciation will increase, but only by the same percentage increase that your capex adds to the assets of the company.

From wikipedia: "An ongoing question for the accounting of any company is whether certain expenses should be capitalized or expensed. Costs which are expensed in a particular month simply appear on the financial statement as a cost incurred that month. Costs that are capitalized, however, are amortized or depreciated over multiple years. Capitalized expenditures show up on the balance sheet."

Maybe you should learn how to read balance sheets?

Comment: Re:Competition is good. (Score 1) 211

by ppanon (#47860083) Attached to: Battle of the Heavy Lift Rockets

I went through a couple of iterations of that post and hemmed and hawed about which way to go on the efficiency front, because there are pros and cons. As 0123456 points out, if you're trying to put things into orbit cheaply, a simpler and less efficient design can bring about big cost savings. On the other hand, as you point out, efficiency is really important if you want more delta-v to reach higher orbits.

Nasa was probably very focused on engine efficiency for two reasons 1) if you want to reach escape velocity for planetary missions, heck even geo-synch, then you need more efficient engines or more stages [with more chances one will fail] and 2) the US Armed Forces had a big hand in the design envelope of NASA launch equipment - most notably in the winged design of the shuttle to allow for high speed re-entry maneuvers - and the military wants efficiency because high delta-v is necessary to outrun/outfight hostiles.

Use of the shuttle for U.S. launches was mandated because the military wanted the private sector to help subsidize the super-expensive shuttle launch infrastructure. As competition from Ariane and Russia made that less viable to the point that the policy had to be abandoned, then US competition opened up for providing vehicles that better matched commercial needs, rather than military ones. It had nothing to do with public vs. private sector efficiency and everything to do with military requirements being imposed on all launches (including the majority of launches that had no need for those "requirements") and established players playing politics for legislative capture under the guise of national security.

Which is yet another reason why you should always be really suspicious whenever someone uses national security as rationale for black budgets and secrecy. It's really easy to abuse national security as a pretext for covering nefarious activities.

Comment: Re:No miracles (Score 1) 211

by ppanon (#47804181) Attached to: Battle of the Heavy Lift Rockets

When you're throwing engines away every time, and they make up a large fraction of the cost of a launch, a low-cost engine that burns 10% more fuel can be a massive win.

That depends on what orbit you're trying to reach and how much delta-V it requires. If you're trying to launch commercial satellites into low earth orbit or replenish the ISS (also in LEO), then you can throw fuel at the problem. When you try to reach geo-synch or past it, then efficiency is a must.

What SpaceX have done so far is pick the low to medium-height hanging fruit. Good for them. What's their capability for launching good sized comm-satellites into geo-synch? or Voyager/Galileo type interplanetary probes?

Comment: Re:Competition is good. (Score 4, Insightful) 211

by ppanon (#47795751) Attached to: Battle of the Heavy Lift Rockets

As someone pointed out, the physics of building rocket engines hasn't significantly changed in the last 60 years. That's why the F1 engine is still the most powerful rocket we've ever designed. What has changed are manufacturing techniques like sintering laser 3D printing techniques and computer modeling to allow us to build F1 engines that are slightly more powerful and a lot cheaper than what was built for Apollo. And yet somehow we don't build them. Why? Because there's no demand for it.

There has been a lot of demand for faster, more agile, and more fuel efficient aviation - from combat aircraft for wars to civil aviation in the face of rising fuel prices. That pressure isn't as significant for the launch market because: a) there are only so many safe, useful orbits for satellites where they aren't going to interfere with eachother (in terms of signal transmission - which is what many are used for) and a lot of them are already in use; b) fuel costs are a small portion of launch costs.

So the moral of the story is a) development happens according to demand and changing requirements/conditions and b) supply-side economics is BS - consumption is limited by demand.

Comment: Re:If anyone actually cared... (Score 1) 710

by ppanon (#47454715) Attached to: People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use
Yeah but with laser sintering 3D printing, it becomes much easier to build parts on demand. So I think it will take some time, but the parts distribution problem will be solved soon. Not only that but you could buy the planned-obsolescence object take it apart and scan the parts, and replace them with longer-lasting parts as they break down from wear-and-tear. The only question is, if you've bought a patent-protected part and it breaks down because it was made cheaply, can you manufacture your own replacement because you have purchased the original (poorly-made) part, implying a patent licence for that part (and potential replacements) in that machine. What you need is a legislative change to allow that, which is likely to be the tough part because everybody with entrenched interests will fight it.

Comment: Re:Or, we could just be playing a game (Score 1) 212

by ppanon (#47184803) Attached to: Games That Make Players Act Like Psychopaths

Exactly. Note that there is a scientific study that indicates this appears to be the case with trolls in Internet commenting systems. So it's not exactly a big leap of faith to expect that PvP adherents, displaying similar aggressive behaviour for the "fun" of being aggressive and controlling, have similar tendencies. The big question, as the AC above indicates, is whether trolling, PvP, and violent video games act as an outlet for those urges and help control them or whether they feed and exacerbate them.

A decade ago, I had fun playing Quake III Arena death matches with other members of the development team, and I'm anti-sadistic, not at all Machiavellian, and pretty average when it comes to psychopathic behaviour. It was pretty easy to discern between the game and real life and treat it as an entertaining sport. So I think that even with the more realistic graphics in contemporary games, it's quite possible for normal people to make that distinction. The real question is whether psychopaths would prefer not to make that distinction, pretend the game is real, and in doing so aggravate their condition?

Mass and serial killers often have a history of serious animal abuse, which later escalates into even more serious human-oriented behaviour. So while enjoying bullying through virtualized violence in video games likely isn't a sufficient condition for the escalation of psychopathic behaviour to physical violence, it may prove to be a useful warning sign or even a catalyst in conjunction with other factors. Another significant factor for instance maybe whether the community of enthusiasts tends to and reinforces a distancing, demeaning, psychopathic attitude towards other players and "newbs", or maintains a more sportive approach. The recent Isla Vista shooting by the former PUA and PUAhate adherent Elliot Rodger seems to indicate this is a good candidate for a co-factor.

Comment: Re:Russia (Score 1) 417

by ppanon (#47184519) Attached to: Canada Poised To Buy 65 Lockheed Martin F-35 JSFs

That's already the case in summer and it's only going to get worse with Climate Change. Having to switch between water, ice, water, land for your supply lines for 1/3 of the year isn't really good for transporting large quantities of supplies (or you can run ships from port to port around what's left of the shrinking ice cap during those months). As you pointed out, the "permafrost" now thaws during the summer, and that is going to cause an issue for heavy transports in supply lines once they hit the mainland. I suppose the oil companies may build a service road if they wind up needing to build a pipeline North because they don't get permission to go in any of the other populated directions. If that existed then the Russians could use it.

For all the issues with Siberian permafrost, there is still a railway that goes across it (the Trans-Siberian), and you can move a lot of materiel on that. It was, after all, a major supply line for allied hardware being sent to Russia to help take on the Germans in WWII. There's no reason why that couldn't be used to send a lot of stuff in the other direction. The major issue is that it would be pretty easy to bomb with modern airplanes and cruise missiles, however I would think that would go double for any supply route and depots on the Arctic ice cap.

If Russia invaded Canada, then the NATO defence pact would come into effect, so they may as well go through Alaska and take control of the oil fields there while they're at it. But as someone else pointed out there isn't much road infrastructure across Alaska so it would be easier to just go around it and debark in Hyder.

Comment: Re:Or, we could just be playing a game (Score 5, Insightful) 212

by ppanon (#47092807) Attached to: Games That Make Players Act Like Psychopaths
Neuro plasticity indicates that what you repeatedly perform becomes a more entrenched behaviour as those neural paths become strengthened. That would seem to indicate that it would exacrebate natural tendencies. If you naturally are repelled by psychopathic behaviour, then performing it could strengthen that revulsion. If on the other hand you have psychopathic tendencies....

Comment: Re:Bullet, meet foot (Score 1) 575

by ppanon (#46759457) Attached to: Microsoft Confirms It Is Dropping Windows 8.1 Support

It's Microsoft trying to get a 30% cut of every software purchase for the Windows 8.1 platform. Now I'll grant you that Apple and Google do the same thing on their mobile platforms, but they didn't have established sales ecosystems to trample on. It's questionable what service they provide to users and developers for that 30% cut.

Anyways Microsoft tax now has a new meaning (although you're free to also talk about Apple tax and Google tax too). The interesting thing is that there are competing App Stores such as Amazon and Samsung for the Android platform but they all take the same cut - 30%. That vaguely smells like oligopolistic collusion to me.

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.

Working...