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Comment: Re:The Universe is a simulation (Score 1) 183

by wytcld (#49082221) Attached to: Theory of Information Could Resolve One of the Great Paradoxes of Cosmology

The concept of "simulation" still requires a reality in which simulation occurs. If nothing exists outside the simulation it's not, in any meaningful sense, a simulation. It's just reality. Also, those who experience a simulation exist outside of it. There is no experiencing of the weather going on within your computer simulation of the weather - although you could do some sort of immersive VR and experience it. But that's because you're in the world it's being simulated from, and do not owe your own existence to the simulation.

Comment: Re:Been there, done that (Score 1) 214

by wytcld (#49006159) Attached to: Verizon Sells Off Wireline Operations, Blames Net Neutrality Plans

Verizon sold their New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine landlines to FairPoint in a way that had huge tax advantages for Verizon. FairPoint took on so much debt that it went into bankruptcy within a year, as Verizon and FairPoint knew was likely. It's come out of that, but there's currently a strike against it going on several months now which it has been refusing to even negotiate on, preferring to bring in scabs from outside the region. The cause of the strike is that FairPoint wants to lower wages and drastically cut benefits. The union has said it will accept some cuts, but no so much. FairPoint was severly short staffed and months behind in basic line maintenance even before the strike.

There was nothing said about net neutrality when Verizon set up this scam.

Comment: Re:New law. (Score 2) 391

by wytcld (#48637199) Attached to: The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

Robots are mechanistic, deterministic machines. As such they have no consciousness, however complex their programs. Complexity of programs is a sort of "intelligence," especially if they are well-programmed. But that intelligence is an extension of their conscious makers, for instance, us.

Now, your idea of limiting "IQ" of robots is interesting. Clearly low IQ is no bar to gaining political power in our world. But any political power gained by robots would be on behalf of those who had programmed them. A person with the resources and intelligence to deploy a robot army would be powerful, the same as a CEO or general deploying a corporation or human army is. In a sense, the robots might all be avatars of the person behind them. And their sheer calculating ability might be many times his or hers, just as is true of the computers we all use today.

Robots as dangerous machines, yet powerful ones: yes. Robots as able to conduct their own civilization: no. Not until someone has the capability of endowing them with consciousness. We're no where close to that. We hardly know what direction to go to do it. It may not even be an available direction to go in. In this universe, there is some class of imaginable prospects which is nonetheless truly impossible.

Comment: Tucows - good and bad (Score 1) 65

by wytcld (#48617923) Attached to: A Domain Registrar Is Starting a Fiber ISP To Compete With Comcast

Tucows has Ting cell service - which if you don't mind being on Sprint's network is quite a bargain, and the staff is friendly. They also have the Hover retail registrar - which refused to support DNSSEC for domains registered there, even if you run your own DNS, unless you pay them $500 per domain for their help with it. Management at Hover is hostile to users.

Comment: Both sides (Score 1) 433

by wytcld (#48593887) Attached to: Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

First, how good your digital sounds depends a lot on the digital-to-analog circuitry. Your speakers are still analog, as are your ears.

Second, all reproduction loses information. The question, as those who developed MP3 and other psycho-acoustic compression models realized, is which losses are more noticeable to human listeners. Also, our brains process information at far higher resolution than we can consciously report. As philosophers say, phenomenal consciousness is broader than access consciousness.

Third, I just got a new turntable after my 35-year-old model quit. It turns out that $250 today buys more turntable than $150 did then. I've got a high-end receiver and decent speakers, and have been spinning the old vinyl collection after ignoring it for years. Some of it - not all but some - has more presence than anything I've got on CD (and I have a very good CD deck). The instruments sound more like they're in the room; it's easier to visualize the performers there. I'm sure someone could devise a proper psychological test for this effect: Have people listen to music, test how effectively they're envisioning the performers, and don't tell them whether the source is analog or digital.

Comment: Re:The problem is much bigger than energy (Score 1) 652

by wytcld (#48460167) Attached to: Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Are you suggesting that the intelligent response to complexity is surrender to doom?

A dollar here, a dollar there, and soon enough you have a million. An LED here, and LED there, and soon enough you've saved a mountain of coal from burning. Also, you've saved money on the bulb + electricity cost. But if you'd rather waste your money and surrender to doom....

Comment: Re:Well if two google engineers say so (Score 1) 652

by wytcld (#48460101) Attached to: Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Funny thing, wind is already cheaper than coal, and solar is close. Also, even if the article wasn't a gross distortion of the report, being a Standford-degreed Google engineer isn't all that. I've known idiots with similar degrees and positions, and geniuses with neither.

Comment: Re:How (Score 1) 555

by wytcld (#48189969) Attached to: Debian's Systemd Adoption Inspires Threat of Fork

As far as the init system goes, the vast majority of packages are not daemons. Only daemons require init support. Writing sysv init files is an art, but it's well-refined. It won't give you the fastest possible laptop boot. Laptop users who don't just hibernate or suspend, but do fresh boots frequently, should definitely go systemd. Of course systemd D is a Borg, assimilating far more than init scripts. But the task of maintaining a couple hundred init scripts wouldn't be hard for a small committee of volunteers. For init stuff outside that, if you can't start a daemon from rc.local you shouldn't be a sysadmin. For the non-init stuff, the trick is to convince upstream developers to support diversity, which can be done by continuing to embrace open standards and APIs.

Comment: Re:AGW (Score 5, Insightful) 795

by wytcld (#47964667) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

Yep, coorelation != causation.

Correlation is necessary but not sufficient to scientific proof of causation. To prove causation you need to have a theoretical model allowing you to construct experiements which, with variables controlled for, produce fresh demonstrations of the posited effect. There have been laboratory experiments demonstrating the "greenhouse" effect of CO2 levels since the late 1800s.

Correlation + theory + well-designed experiments + confirming results = causation

Science often starts with observed correlations. But not always. Sometime the theory comes first. It's only on putting all the parts together that science can speak with confidence about causation. If we use the "corelation != causation" slogan as if it refutes all science which follows from observation of correlations, we entirely miss the point.

Comment: What's the legitimate topic here? (Score 2) 795

by wytcld (#47964583) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

religion concerns the ultimate causes of things and, again, by definition, science cannot tell you about them

To whom here is this not obvious nonsense? In systems of geometry we have axioms "by definition." So if you're doing a problem in Euclidian terms, parallel lines don't meet in space. But if you're doing the problem in real, relativistic space rather than an Euclidian idealization, lines that start out parallel locally, and each continue absolutely straight, sometimes do.

Science is not any single geometry, and so has no fundamental set of definitional axioms. There are descriptions of the scientific method, by Popper and others, that generalize about falsifiability and so on. But even those don't exhaust the space of possible science, let alone establish axioms for it. The branch of physics called "cosmology" very properly, and fruitfullly, is concerned with the origin of the universe; and there is a branch of biology concerned with the origin of life. There is no axiom accepted by science that forbids scientific inquiry into origin questions.

Comment: I'm biased but ... (Score 1) 392

by wytcld (#47919323) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

My undergrad work was in English and psychology, my grad work in philosophy, and it's done me fine. There's never been an instance where I wished I'd had a computer "science" class. Nor have my most capable colleagues been from computer science, on the whole. The comp sci grads tend to have very narrow views of how to do things, which doesn't work out so well in the real world. You have to like to learn to be good here. The liberal arts are far more capable of cultivating that attitude. Comp sci folks, in my experience, only want to learn enough to get a job. Once they show up on the job they're remarkably uncurious. So they can't keep up with changes in tech and programming methods and style. Also, they tend to be uninventive.

Anyone working with tech should have a class in basic logic, as well as a good command of written English, and know how to closely read a book. Beyond that, it's all just getting experience, preferably in the real world, not from exercises based on idealized and unworldly environments. Those who deeply understand computers do not, as a rule, become professors of it. The rewards are so much better elsewhere.

Comment: At least enable tuned installations (Score 3, Interesting) 282

by wytcld (#47856235) Attached to: Is It Time To Split Linux Distros In Two?

I'm friggin tired of installing Linux as either server or workstation and finding a bunch of stuff that's oriented to making a laptop work well. I want to be able to do a clean install that by default has no support for Bluetooth or wifi or dhcp client, let alone a propensity to rewrite /etc/hosts or handle any aspect of networking in anything but a hand-configured way. Also, even if systemd's part of the distro, standard text logs should be there by default, as well as cron and a working /etc/rc.local file.

Comment: Re:well... (Score 1) 246

by wytcld (#47846289) Attached to: Protesters Blockade Microsoft's Seattle Headquarters Over Tax Breaks

So tell me, if Microsoft left and took the 40k jobs with them, they would then NOT get tax breaks in Seattle.

Microsoft can't go anywhere. 40,000 employees aren't going to happily relocate to Pittsburg or wherever. Can you imagine the cost of building a new campus for 40,000? Can you imagine where they'd ever find a buyer to pay a fair price for the existing campus?

Comment: Remarkable complacency (Score 1) 369

by wytcld (#47791211) Attached to: Islamic State "Laptop of Doom" Hints At Plots Including Bubonic Plague

Since I saw the Trade Center fall in person (not on screen) I am unable to go "La la la they can't strike us here" and believe myself. Nor do I believe that recent history predicts the future. The main players in Islamic State are far more radical than Osama ever was. Osama was one nasty piece of work who deserved killing, but he wasn't pure evil. His main goal was a "purer" Saudi Arabia without so much US influence. These fucks have as their goal an Earth purified of all who don't share their exact beliefs. Osama was dependent on funding primarily from his friends among the Saudi princes, who insisted on some degree of moderation especailly after 9/11 when they got back-channel messages that we'd come after them next if not; these fucks control their own oil fields, and depend on no other nation as long as they have markets for their oil.

We're can obliterate them now, while they're relatively local, or nuke 'em later, by which time they'll have cells trained and equipped throughout the First World. Our Iraq experience is not what we should be learning from. Iraq needed to be successfully occupied and turned around. We were terrible at that. Islamic State merely needs to be utterly destroyed. That's within our scope. Osama wasn't the threat we thought he was; these fucks are the threat we thought he was. We must abstain from restraint in their obliteration, unless we're ready to tolerate far worse in terms of terrorist attacks than 9/11 ever was.

I say this as a left-wing, pro-Palestinian admirer of Ghandi and MLK. The US might have done well to stay out of WW I, but if we'd stayed out of WW II the world would have been ruined. The US would have done well not to start Iraq War II, but if we hold back from a strategy for full victory over the Islamic State, civilization's odds are not good. If we leave them intact for long enough to attack us here - which they will - say goodbye to what's left of our civil liberties.

Comment: Re:The best diet (Score 1) 281

by wytcld (#47759359) Attached to: The Evolution of Diet

If you're worried about hardening of the arteries, consider supplementing with K2. Typically until recently there was more of it in our diets than we get now, since a major source is from animals that have fed on fresh green grass (and eggs from such), and our livestock and chickens are much more grain fed now. Also, if you're prone to black circles under your eyes, as I am, it might make them disappear, as it did for me.

To err is human -- to blame it on a computer is even more so.