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Comment: Re:Wow... (Score 3, Interesting) 273

by swillden (#48481403) Attached to: Debian Forked Over Systemd

I think it's fair to say that this fork is far more significant.

I think this fork will be fairly insignificant, and, further, that it will increasingly run into problems as desktops and other packages depend more and more on systemd components (that trend was one of the major factors in the Debian decision to adopt it).

I actually wish the Devuan guys all the best; I'd love to see another solid server-focused distro (server focus may help them avoid the issues with DEs). But I'm really glad to hear about this fork because the systemd debate has been a huge distraction to Debian. Hopefully this will finally put it to bed as all of the systemd opponents leave Debian for Devuan. I think that will be a net win for Debian because most of the vocal opponents don't contribute much code anyway.

Personally, the more I learn about systemd, the more I like the ideas behind it, and both code and documentation seem to be of high quality (documentation in particular is much better than is typical of open source projects). I'll be sticking with Debian.

Comment: Re:This is clearly futile... (Score 1) 182

by swillden (#48481297) Attached to: Google Told To Expand Right To Be Forgotten

I may not have been clear enough.

The news websites in question may all have put up all the information, including - in my example - your acquittal.

But due to the way Google page rank works, only the "arrest for child porn" headlines show up on the first 20 pages for your name.

That is a problem of Google's making, not of the news sites.

Nonsense. The reason Google ranks the arrest headlines higher is because there are a lot more of them, and they're more heavily linked. The news sites find the acquittal boring and either don't report it or bury it, so it shows up lower in the search rankings. Google certainly doesn't have heuristics that try to pick out negative stories and highlight them.

Comment: Re:This is clearly futile... (Score 1) 182

by swillden (#48475045) Attached to: Google Told To Expand Right To Be Forgotten

The Internet is full of half-truths and outright lies. Search engines do not deliver results based on the truth value of sites, but on popularity, page ranking and such.

That has nothing to do with this. If someone has put lies about you up on a news site, you can and should be able to get that information taken down at the source. In fact, dealing with defamatory writing is something we figured out how to do long ago. It's called "libel" and there are all sorts of laws around it.

The "right to be forgotten" isn't about taking down false or misleading information. It's about suppressing accurate but unpleasant truth.

Comment: Re:BLUE ray (Score 1) 188

by swillden (#48470725) Attached to: Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency

removed the top plastic layer, exposing the recording medium beneath; cast a mold of the quasi-random pattern; and then used the mold to create a photovoltaic cell with the same pattern

So you use your expensive photo lithography equipment to create a master, make as many molds from that as you like, and then create the photovoltaic cells from those. The mass production of BD-ROM discs is irrelevant, it just makes your master cheap, but when you're making 10,000s of cells the cost of the master is unimportant.

Sure, but the cost is very relevant when you're doing research. This Blu-Ray disc experiment demonstrates that the theoretical work done previously will probably work as well as the theory predicts.

Comment: What's amazing... (Score 1) 107

by swillden (#48452681) Attached to: Google Chrome Will Block All NPAPI Plugins By Default In January

What's amazing is that this 1996-era hack for extending the functionality of the Netscape browser, in a rather kludgy and unsafe way, still exists at all in 2014. I took a class at the Netscape office in Mountain View in 1997 to learn how to write NPAPI plugins and thought then that it was an ugly hack that deserved to go way soon, though I was glad it existed to solve my immediate problems. Not only did it not go away (though MS removed NPAPI support for IE a long time ago), nearly all major browsers today still support it.

Good for Google for deprecating this crap. Firefox (which is to some degree a descendant of Netscape) has also been reducing its support, per the WP article.

Comment: Re:I don't think hydrogen makes sense (Score 1) 281

But don't ignore other advantages of hydrocarbon fuels simply because you don't like the idea of spewing carbon into the atmosphere.

FWIW, I don't worry over much about carbon. My EV purchase was based on purely economic analysis. Having driven an EV for a while, what I really dislike about gas burners is the noise and the smell. This isn't an environmental concern, or not a global environmental concern, anyway. It's about the environment of my garage.

Comment: Re:132 stations is not "blanketing the US" (Score 2) 281

When they get the number of stations into the tens of thousands then I'll concede the point.

I don't think the number needs to be anywhere near that high. Not remotely.

Don't make the mistake of thinking of supercharger stations as analogous to your average neighborhood gas station. They're nothing like that. Supercharger stations are only needed for long-distance travel. They're analogous to the big travel centers you find along the interstates and other highways which carry significant amounts of long-distance traffic, and the numbers required are similar to those of travel centers. If there's one every hundred miles or so along every long-distance travel corridor (which in the US is mostly just the interstates, though there are a few areas with long-distance highways) then coverage will be complete.

With electric vehicles, 95+% of charging is done at places where vehicles spend lots of time parked, primarily homes and workplaces. Such charging doesn't need to be particularly fast. Fast charging only matters when you're driving distances beyond the range of your battery.

You mention North Dakota, for example. Move the slider on that map to 2015 and you'll see they plan to put three superchargers there. That will cover the long-distance travel across ND, and most long-distance travel within ND. Add another supercharger on highway 2, midway between Grand Forks and Minot and you'll have covered nearly all of the rest. Add four of five more and you'll be able to get to any destination in the state without worry.

Comment: Re:Corn Subsidies (Score 1) 185

by swillden (#48449665) Attached to: How the World's Agricultural Boom Has Changed CO2 Cycles

Throw away Malthus - you have to give up the theory of evolution.

Darwin cites Malthus repeatedly in his books and for very good reason: without Malthus, there can't BE evolution.

Randomly-driven evolution, no. But we aren't very far from being able to deliberately evolve ourselves, to achieve specific purposes.

There's a good argument, though, that deliberate, directed evolution is also evolution by variation and selection... it's just that the variation and selection is carried out in brains and in computers rather than in genotypes and phenotypes. In fact, there's a good argument that all knowledge creation is via variation and selection, including all knowledge created by humans, though there we call the process speculation and criticism and much of it happens internally so that truly bad ideas never get uttered or written.

So, no need to abandon the theory of evolution.

Comment: Re:Corn Subsidies (Score 2) 185

by swillden (#48449601) Attached to: How the World's Agricultural Boom Has Changed CO2 Cycles

No convincing needed, its happening naturally and just a question of when the peak is Total fertility rate 1950–1955 : 4.95 2010–2015 : 2.36 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T...

Yes and no. What you say is true, and further it appears we've already reached and passed the maximum number of children born per year, in absolute terms. But the population is still growing because the world population is youth-heavy. Assuming we stay on the current trend of gradually declining births and assuming we don't start living longer than 100 years in large numbers, this means the world population will stop growing at about 10B, then start a very slow decline, but that will be far above the levels Spy Hunter thinks we should reach.

I don't think I'd want to live in Spy Hunter's world, though. I certainly wouldn't want to live the "hunter-gatherer lifestyle", which was fully Hobbesian (nasty, brutish and short). In some senses perhaps those people were "healthier" than we are today, but they experienced a lot more pain and died a lot sooner. I suppose Spy Hunter is theorizing some world in which we eat like hunter-gatherers but live in a technological civilization, but that seems like a silly approach when we can, instead, continue our research into human biochemistry to understand exactly what humans need (with much more precision than "eat like hunter-gatherers", who almost certainly never got an ideal diet) and into food production, until we can create food that is healthy (ideally so), safe and flavorful.

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal

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