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Comment: Monitors for publishing (Score 1) 149

by billstewart (#48441593) Attached to: Eizo Debuts Monitor With 1:1 Aspect Ratio

I did some work with the publishing industry back in the 80s, and one of the projects had some portrait-mode 200dpi monitors for editing. Absolutely wonderful things; we're only now starting to get that kind of resolution again.

As it was, I found it annoying enough to go from 1152x900 in 1992 down to 640x400 in 1993, and didn't get as good a monitor on my main work machine until maybe 2009 or 2010. (There were laptops with 1280 or more pixels before then, but we didn't have them; our Corporate IT department always preferred to get hardware with more color depth instead of more pixels, thinking for instance that 640x480 with 16-bit color was better than 800x600 with 8-bit color. Nope.)

Comment: Reading portrait-mode paper-shaped documents, duh (Score 1) 149

by billstewart (#48441551) Attached to: Eizo Debuts Monitor With 1:1 Aspect Ratio

Yes, it's much nicer to read portrait-mode documents on a portrait-mode or at least square display, not on landscape. It's especially the case for PDF files in multi-column formats where you otherwise have to scroll up and down and up and down to read the things.

But that's not a friendly shape for a laptop, unfortunately. I'd probably be ok with a tiltable display to get 4x3 or 16x9-10 portrait mode, though it seems manufacturers assume you're going to be using displays to watch movies on so the default position is landscape.

Comment: Mod parent up. (Score 1) 60

by khasim (#48441521) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?

Isn't the most common scenario for these enterprises where the programmer's customers grow beyond his ability to support just by himself?

So he starts adding people to handle the portions that he cannot, efficiently, handle himself.

If you're going into this wondering what the "ratio of senior programmers to intermediate and junior programmers" should be then I think you've skipped too many steps.

The same with "different tools and/or languages". The 2nd programmer uses exactly what the 1st programmer uses. The idea is to provide support for the founder so he can focus on what he is good at.

Comment: Re:Turing test is fine (Score 2) 41

by ultranova (#48441209) Attached to: Upgrading the Turing Test: Lovelace 2.0

Why should an AI have to think about all the things us meatbags have to think about that aren't relevant to it?

Because if it can't model a meatbag, why would it be able to model an electron (so can't do physics), an industrial robot (so can't program them), a car (can't control vehicles), abstract entities (can't do logic or math) or anything else for that matter?

Imagination is not optional for intelligence. Intelligence is the ability to build mental models and manipulate them.

AIs don't have parents (well, not in the traditional sense anyway) and so won't have a human-like childhood experience to reflect upon,

Any entity that comes to a new setting will require a period of acclimatization. Whether you call this "childhood" or not is irrelevant.

nor should they have to worry about whether that lump is cancerous, or whether they have to go into work tomorrow, or if that dish had too much salt in it.

Computers break down and require resources - more than human bodies, in fact - thus work enters the picture.

Comment: Re:In Reverse (Score 1) 47

by ultranova (#48441073) Attached to: Extreme Shrimp May Hold Clues To Alien Life On Europa

The book also presents a very interesting hypothesis that resolves the Fermi Paradox.

A hypothesis that falls apart when you start wondering how beings who embrace such logic ever built a society to begin with, and then avoided wiping each other out with nuclear weapons. Also, I can't help but think what happens if any set of species forms an alliance or even casual contact - attacking any warns all the others. So while we can't rule out a psychotic species causing havoc, it would be a weird aberration at worst.

Frankly, I find it much more likely that we simply happen to be amongst the first civilizations to develop. Universe is not that old, elements took time to manufacture, life took time to get from first whatever-they-were to us, and Earth has a lot of things going for it specifically.

Comment: Re:neat tricks (Score 1) 61

by ultranova (#48440615) Attached to: People Trained To Experience an Overlap In Senses Also Receive IQ Boost

In truth, the retarded are just punted back a few dozen meters. Provided they're educable in the most basic sense, they can be trained to be normal; and, once normal, they can use the training to become hyper-intelligent.

This seems highly unlikely. You are in essence claiming physical deficiencies in brain structure will simply disappear with enough training. This in turn implies that anyone who has such a handicap is merely too lazy to overcome it. Do you have any evidence?

Comment: Re:It's a combination of problems (Score 1) 154

Hey, we're all right with making a distinct discrimination between two near identical problems, demonizing one while accepting the other. From various diseases (just think about the insane difference made between swine flu and common flu, despite not really being THAT different in impact... ok, actually your chance to die of the former was by some margin lower than the latter despite the general panic).

We're great at making mountains out of molehills that we don't really know that well while we're quite ok with volcanos in our garden as long as they grew slowly enough that we could watch them get large.

Comment: Re:Google doesn't have a monopoly on ANYTHING. (Score 1) 272

by ultranova (#48438809) Attached to: The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

What is happening here is that a bunch of politicians are interfering in the legitimate business of a private enterprise.

Yes. And it's nice to know they have the balls to. This motion may or may not be a good idea, but simply bringing it up serves to remind everyone who is in charge here: voters rather than shareholders.

Comment: Re:Global warming is bunk anyway. (Score 2) 303

Its ironic that one of the potential benefits of geoengineering research is that it will force many climate change deniers to admit that its possible for human activity to have major deleterious effects on Earth's climate.

Probably not. Consider the thoroughly-documented example of the evolutionary process at work in the modern world. This doesn't affect the belief systems of the religious folks, who still insist that evolution is bogus, and has nothing to do with our modern world. One of the major cases is with the over-use of antibiotics, especially in agriculture. This is forcing the evolution of resistance in most of our disease organisms, destroying the value of many of our medicines. The evidence of all this has no effect at all on the religious believers. They also put pressure on the school systems (especially here in the US) to eliminate evolution from the textbooks, so the people responsible for this evolutionary pressure (mostly in agriculture, but also in medicine) don't understand the issues, and continue to make frivolous or incorrect use of the antibiotics.

Historians have documented many such cases in which our ancestors had knowledge that their actions were leading to disasters, but they continued anyway. These are typically cases where short-term actions were profitable to the people doing them, but bad for society in the long run. History says that we humans don't respond logically to such situations. We continue to act for short-term profit, and ignore the long-term results. Our "leaders" also tend to take actions that encourage this, by hiding the information or denying the validity of knowledge that can't be hidden.

There's no reason to expect that we can organize on a global scale to fix such problems. Our political systems tend to be controlled by the wealthier people, who are the ones ultimately profiting from the short-term results of the problems. About all we can do is prepare for the predictable long-term results, when possible.

Comment: Re:I bet Infosys and Tata are dancing in the stree (Score 1) 172

I'm thinking that there should be some mechanism for funding X scholarships in STEM for X visas of the H1B1 type.

Corporations receive 100 H1B1 visas this year, then 100 STEM scholarships are also provided this year. Funding via taxes on those corporations.

At least it would make it easier to graduate in a STEM field without the massive debt.

Maternity pay? Now every Tom, Dick and Harry will get pregnant. -- Malcolm Smith

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