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Comment: Tucows - good and bad (Score 1) 64

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) 431

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.

Comment: Uber should be stopped (Score 4, Informative) 273

Uber is abusing its drivers. It advertises "1 million dollars!" of insurance. But that insurance only covers your passengers and victims, and only if you're at fault. It doesn't cover you, or our vehicle, or anyone at all if you got struck by another vehicle, perhaps one without insurance. And your private insurance on your car will not cover a thing if you're driving the car for hire.

There are perfectly good reasons for regulating taxis. As well, there are good reasons for building solid mass transit options so taxis won't be so needed. Allowing Uber to operate puts the public, and its drivers, at risk for no reason beyond the desire to drive down pay below the already barely-subsistence rates that taxi drivers earn. If you don't have a commercial drivers license, and you're not driving a licensed commercial vehicle, and you don't have full commercial insurance, you shouldn't be taking fares. If you are, that's criminal in many places, as it should be. Uber's executives should be arrested for criminal conspiracy.

Comment: Re:Not sure what the "secrecy" fuss is (Score 1) 222

by wytcld (#47298417) Attached to: WikiLeaks Publishes Secret International Trade Agreement

a diplomat can say "we don't need the unions to have disproportionate control over production costs"

Good example. Let's posit a world where we do need the unions to have a large say in production costs. This is a world which is rapidly sliding to political and social instability because the gains in GDP over the last 40 years have not been shared with the working and middle classes, due in large part to concerted, successful efforts to undermine the unions. Let's further posit that the results of prior transnational treaties have led to the political destabilization of many nations, and the rise of neofascist populist parties there.

Where are the union representatives at these treaty negotiations? Where are the consumer advocates? If they're not there, this whole process isn't just bogus, it's a threat to future political and economic stability. Heavy-handed, opaque rule always leads to either collapse or revolution, or both.

Comment: Re:Not sure what the "secrecy" fuss is (Score 1) 222

by wytcld (#47298313) Attached to: WikiLeaks Publishes Secret International Trade Agreement

Why not? It would only create additional, unnecessary public anxiety about stuff that might never even see the paper.

As long as the final version (release candidate would be a better expression here) is properly publically analysed (and, if needed, rewritten), there's no problem.

Stuff that "will never see the paper" can be implicit in the terms which end up in the public release. A lot of negotiation is in the form of, first, defining the goals (removing laws in various nations that limit the power and profits of transnational corporations), and then finding terms which enable those goals while presenting a veneer of respectability for the public. The consequences of the treaty language, if put into effect, are implicit, not stated plainly on the surface of the treaty. Of those in the US Senate who can follow through on the implications, most are complicit in the goals, effectively paid off. The rest are either too lazy or stupid to work it out, or will find their only route to a wider public audience through being interviewed on prime oulets like Russia Today.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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