Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: F-35 (Score 2) 193

by the eric conspiracy (#47419933) Attached to: The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane To Nowhere

The F-35 is a classic example of what is wrong with the military-industrial-political complex.

It's bloated. To an extreme nearly unimaginable. Layer on layer of bureaucracy and self interest slathered immeasurably deep. It's not possible for this to be efficient or effective.

The problem is NOT the concept of the plane or its implementation. Nor is it with the inevitable startup issues. Any design no matter how brilliantly conceived would have similar problems when constructed by the set of institutions that are in play here.

What I am afraid is that the only thing that will change this is a real existential threat to the United States. Only then will we see focus on what is really important. The sort of focus that led the United States to an economic output greater than the rest of world combined during WWII.

Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 4, Insightful) 485

by causality (#47415533) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

But the real problem is this impression that you have to be born 80% as smart as Einstein to get into this field, and that the learning curve is impossible for regular people. That's totally wrong. Average intelligence plus persistence is all you need.

What you really need is to deal with this anti-intellectualism that's so popular in the culture today, and replace it with genuine curiosity, a joy of discovery, and a delight at learning new things.

Do that, and the rest will naturally follow, and not just in software development.

Comment: Re:Reminds me of The Wonderful Burt Wonderstone (Score 3, Insightful) 85

by jd (#47413427) Attached to: The Billionaire Mathematician

Humans nearly died out entirely from hunger and thirst, it was visionaries that led them out of a dying region of Africa into Asia, by a route that appeared to defy reason to any non-visionary of the time.

Pre-humans nearly had their brains the size of a grapefruit and wired backwards. It was visionaries who developed fire, 2.5 million years ago, providing the much-needed nutrition that allowed us to avoid the same fate as every other lineage of hominid.

Visionaries allowed the Norse to split quartz in a way that permitted them to track the sun even in cloudy skies and well into twilight, giving them greater access to the seas, trade and food than any other society of that time.

Visionaries developed cities to handle the logistics of the brewing and baking industries, again counter to any "obvious" logic that farming and hunting were how you got food.

Visionaries are the reason you can post stuff on the Internet, and why persecuted minorities around the world can have a voice and education.

So don't tell a visionary that he is defying your common sense. His work may have implications for society that you cannot imagine simply because he has the imagination and you don't. That does not mean that it will have such an implication or that he does have that extra imagination. It simply means that visionaries have a track record of saving people from starvation.

What about normal people? Those are usually the ones who manufacture conditions suitable for mass starvation. They're the ones who create nothing but buy the rights to sue to oblivion those who do. They're the ones who have allowed security holes to develop in critical infrastructure, like nuclear power stations, and then place said infrastructure on the public Internet where anybody can play with it. They're the ones who deny Global Warming and have endangered all life on this planet.

At this point in history, we'd be better off if the normal people were rounded up, put on some nowhere continent, and left to rot at their own hands. This would also solve much of the operpopulation crisis, as they're also the ones that breed morons like rabbits. If they choose to become civilized, they're free to do so. That would be helpful, in fact. But as long as they remain normal (read: proto-human), their fate is their lookout but they've no business making it everyone else's fate too.

Comment: Yup (Score 1) 24

by the eric conspiracy (#47411243) Attached to: Another Dementia Test Oversold

This is a generic problem with media reports of medical results. No understanding of the statistics.

Add in the lack of repeatability of many studies (for example just about anything claiming bad effects from low doses of bisphenol-A has proven to not be repeatable) and outright fraud (Wakefield) or attempts to push the data using questionable statistics (Séralini) and you have a giant problem with media and medical research results.

Comment: They don't care about the cards (Score 1) 341

by Sycraft-fu (#47409003) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

They track you using your credit card. The cards are because people want them these days. Albertsons finally knuckled under and started offering them. Not because they needed them for tracking, like I said they already did that, but because customers whined they weren't getting a "good deal". So they raised their prices, and introduced a card.

Comment: Also (Score 1) 110

by Sycraft-fu (#47408593) Attached to: YouTube Issuing "Report Cards" On Carriers' Streaming Speeds

It doesn't take in to account the net speeds that people have. So you might well have a provider who has no problem doing HD video from Youtube all day every day, on lines that can handle it. However they sell slower lines and some customers have that, so that skews things.

Like say a phone company offers ADSL and IDSL for customers who are way out in the boonies, but VDSL for people in the city. Well those slow connections will bring down their stats, even if their network is quite fast and makes them look bad, despite them actually being the only option for some people.

A somewhat similar deal with cable companies can be people using old hardware. DOCSIS 2 cable modems only use one channel per segment, and those can get saturated these days. Well cable providers tend to be DOCSIS 3 to deal with that... but not everyone has a new modem. The cable company can recommend they get one, but if it is your equipment they can't make you (I guess other than cutting you off but they don't wanna do that).

Comment: Re:In a watch, batteries should last a year or mor (Score 1) 129

by IamTheRealMike (#47400139) Attached to: Android Wear Is Here

I remember people said the same about smartphones. Waah, the battery only lasts a day, I'll never use one of those. Somehow smartphones still took over the world. People do go to sleep every night - a nice cordless charging stand seems like a relatively small issue if the devices are genuinely useful.

Comment: Re:It's here already? (Score 1) 159

by IamTheRealMike (#47400125) Attached to: The AI Boss That Deploys Hong Kong's Subway Engineers

That's not quite how I remember Manna.

The reason the American economy is trashed in the world Manna envisions is not because it's run by an AI but because America failed to adjust to a post-work society. Everyone is on social security/benefits, because hardly anyone has a job as it was all automated away or pirated. So people have a kind of futuristic subsistence lifestyle in which robots attend to their basic needs but they can never get anything more.

The Australia project, on the other hand, is not meant to be communist. It's meant to be a society where your having a job was disconnected from you having social value. It's a society that prioritises leisure time and finds other ways to allocate the few scarce resources that are left in ways that aren't money. Communism as a term is too heavily linked with the real-world implementations in the Soviet union to be useful for describing this state of affairs.

IIRC at the end the story goes off on a bit of a tangent and all the Australians just end up having VR sex all day or something. Not a great ending. But I remember Manna kind of blew my mind when I first read it, and its prediction that robots/computers would replace middle management before the toilet cleaners was (to me) very new and obviously correct. Indeed that's what this story is about.

Comment: Re:You have to feel sorry for Edward.. (Score 2) 201

I think you massively overestimate how bad Russia is, especially compared to the USA.

Snowden is 30 and newly single. Russia is a large country that is notorious for its abundance of highly educated and attractive women. It has quite a few famous and sophisticated software companies, especially in the security realm that Snowden likes. 143 million people manage to live there without going crazy.

Of all the places in the world to have landed, Russia is definitely not the worst. Heck it's probably the best place he could have landed. I guess he was trying to get to Ecuador but they don't have the stones Putin does, nor is it a large country, nor does it have any noted IT firms.

Comment: Re:What haven't they lied about? (Score 1) 201

Probably nothing can be done to stop it in the short to medium term. I suspect that many years from now historians will look back and see this as just a phase humanity had to go through, kind of like the evolution from monarchy to democracy.

It's clear that the power to know everything about everyone has gone to the heads of the political class so badly that they'll never give it up. They'll always find a justification and any "reasonable compromise" that is arrived at won't be what we had 40-50 years ago (i.e. no total surveillance) even though that seemed to work OK, it'll be "slightly less than totalitarian surveillance, sorta, unless there's a good reason for it".

So for now we're stuck with it. The geek in me wants to believe that what starts with Snowden is an epic and very long struggle to design technology to make it surveillance-proof, which will inevitably result in some kind of (hopefully mostly non-violent) quasi civil war a la the monarchists vs parliamentarians. Governments will fight back hard and eventually the fact that technology needs to be government-proof will become as widely accepted a principle as the free press being government-proof. But it will take a loooooong time. Probably longer than any of us will be alive.

The cynic in me says we're all boned and 1984 has arrived.

Comment: No shit (Score 5, Insightful) 201

Slashdot needs to knock it off with these "Child genius is going to totally upstage all those stupid companies and make something amazing!" stories they run some time. The thing is, they are essentially never true and we as geeks should know better.

Smart kids often have the problem of thinking they know everything. They have the brains to be well above their peers at pretty much everything, and so have a confidence in their knowledge and intelligence, but lack the experience to understand the limitations of both in the larger world. Hence they'll think that they have found an "obvious" solution to a problem in the world that nobody else has managed to think of. I'm sure most of us felt like that at one time or another as children.

However, it turns out that smart kids become smart adults, and those smart adults get job making the thing we use, solving the problems we have, and so on. So, usually if there's something that hasn't been solved, the reason is that there is NOT a simple solution. There isn't something that a kid will just say "Oh look, here's a better way to do it." Rather it is a complex problem and thus the solutions are complex.

So Slashdot needs to quit with stories on shit like this unless there' something to back it up. A printer actually gets released based on this kids design? Ok that's a story. Some kid says he can do way better than anyone else? That's not a story. That is, to quote the Reapers, "A confidence borne of ignorance." It's not news.

Not only is UNIX dead, it's starting to smell really bad. -- Rob Pike

Working...