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Comment Cyberiad (Score 1) 138

"Very well. Let's have a love poem, lyrical, pastoral, and expressed in the language of pure mathematics. Tensor algebra mainly, with a little topology and higher calculus, if need be. But with feeling, you understand, and in the cybernetic spirit."

"Love and tensor algebra? Have you taken leave of your senses?" Trurl began, but stopped, for his electronic bard was already declaiming:

Come, let us hasten to a higher plane,
Where dyads tread the fairy fields of Venn,
Their indices bedecked from one to n,
Commingled in an endless Markov chain!

Come, every frustum longs to be a cone,
And every vector dreams of matrices.
Hark to the gentle gradient of the breeze:
It whispers of a more ergodic zone.

In Riemann, Hilbert, or in Banach space
Let superscripts and subscripts go their ways.
Our asymptotes no longer out of phase,
We shall encounter, counting, face to face.

I'll grant thee random access to my heart,
Thou'lt tell me all the constants of thy love;
And so we two shall all love's lemmas prove,
And in our bound partition never part.

For what did Cauchy know, or Christoffel,
Or Fourier, or any Boole or Euler,
Wielding their compasses, their pens and rulers,
Of thy supernal sinusoidal spell?

Cancel me not -- for what then shall remain?
Abscissas, some mantissas, modules, modes,
A root or two, a torus and a node:
The inverse of my verse, a null domain.

Ellipse of bliss, converge, O lips divine!
The product of our scalars is defined!
Cyberiad draws nigh, and the skew mind
Cuts capers like a happy haversine.

I see the eigenvalue in thine eye,
I hear the tender tensor in thy sigh.
Bernoulli would have been content to die,
Had he but known such a2 cos 2 phi

(From "Cyberiad", by Stanislaw Lem)

Comment Stories should maximize profits (Score 1) 159

The stories should reflect society as it is today. White men controlling everything is so 1950's.

The stories should maximize profit.

Tangentially, if the stories are riveting and artistically interesting or win awards for things (such as artwork or plot or character development), that will cause greater sales and thus greater profits.

Female Thor and black female Iron Man - those were seemingly *not* chosen to maximize profit.

...and now people are noting that profits due to those choices are down.

This comes as a surprise?

Comment Insurance companies slowing tech (Score 2) 50

I asked my dentist (who's heavily involved in medical/dental research at Tufts) about health research, and he noted that health care has a lot of diagnostic techniques that can't be used.

He explained that the insurance companies are afraid the new diagnostics will turn up problems in people that otherwise wouldn't be found until they're too late to fix and that, actuarially speaking, it's cheaper to let the problems go on and let the patient die. Also, it's possible the patient would die from random chance before the condition is found.

I have no idea if this is correct, but I can remember lots of "promising new" techniques and devices here on slashdot and other places over the years - yet the last new device that we actually got is the MRI.

(And for the longest time your insurance company wouldn't pay for an MRI - even though it was in widespread use - because it was deemed "experimental".)

Comment A fashion industry for words. (Score 5, Interesting) 85

The term of choice used to be "racist", but that's been so overused in the past year and a half that they have to switch to using another word.

I've been following the zeitgeist of this. Until around December of last year, people would flee from the word, conceding the argument to whoever first uses the word to describe the other side. Then in December people started ignoring the word a little, then Jan/Feb people were like "meh" about it, and around March people started (note: started, not widely) embracing the word.

Then "OK, I'm racist" started popping up, but it wasn't really attached to the *person*, it was attached to the position. One could say "OK, I'm racist" for posting an opinion about strong immigration control. Or "OK, I'm racist" for posting an opinion about limiting visas or voter ID.

Through the summer, "racist" started to be applied to just about everything. Tigers are racist. Perfectionism is a form of racism. Two white parents having a white child is racist. I'm not making that last one up, it's "[...] one of the most powerful forces supporting white supremacy" - don't you know?

Now racist has completely lost its meaning. No one online seems to pay any attention to it at all.

Sexual assault is pretty big right now, but it's fading fast. It was a flash in the pan with people like Harvey Weinstein, but quickly got more ridiculous. You can tell it's on it's way out because Fart rape is a thing.

(Side note: "Trump is literally Hitler" is pretty-much dead, the last nail in that coffin was recognizing Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel.)

So now they need a new word, and it's probably going to be nazis for awhile. Expect this to go on for a couple of months and get progressively more ridiculous, probably though the primaries of next year.

Then Ramadan comes up (May 15 to June15), many terrorist actions will make the news cycle(*), and it's likely that "Islamaphobe" will be the word of the day.

It's basically the fashion industry for words.

(*) Just extrapolating from past years, such as last year viz. London. OK, I'm racist.

Comment Fiat cash? (Score 2, Insightful) 85

In the US, real money is defined as gold or silver, as is similar in the Constitutions of several states and the Bretton Woods Agreement.

Historians, economists, and traders use the term 'fiat' all the time, but this may be the first time any of them were accused of being 'leet' rather than 'nerds'.

Why do you have a burr up your ass about a particular economic term?

In addition, he's attacking the author (he sounds pretentious!) and not the substance of the article, or even the reliability of the information given.

Comment How do you mean, exactly? (Score 1) 79

All this means is that, in 5000 years, historians will get a dangerously stilted view of what was posted on twitter - if Trumps tweets are archived, but not the tweets that debunks his claims, then his claims will stand unopposed for future historians to debate about.

How do you mean, exactly?

I'm wondering what danger there could be (5000 years from now), and if we should take steps to avoid it.

Comment English is about 1 bit per character (Score 3, Informative) 79

Shannon's paper "Prediction Entropy of Printed English" tries to measure the amount of information per character in English.

He found that English is about 1 bit per character, and so compressed text can be expected to take up about that much room.

The paper is a pretty interesting read if you have read his 1948 paper that defines entropy (also a good read).

He came up with some interesting experimental methods to measure entropy in English.

Comment Do the Science (Score 4, Insightful) 275

Then again, it might be more important to some people to scare the public with scary factoids than to provide education. That's my observation at least.

Spot on!

Reading the line "tens of thousands of them are soaring through space and slamming into Earth's atmosphere from all directions" my first reaction was:

Divide "tens of thousands" by the surface area of the atmosphere.

My next thought was to divide my own profile surface area (maybe 1 square meter?) by the surface area of the Earth's atmosphere (500 trillion, or thereabouts) and multiply that by "tens of thousands" to come up with the probability of getting hit by a cosmic ray.

Then I realized that the OP stated "at any given moment", and realized that you can't multiply by the number of "moments" in a flight.

The article is complete emotional bullshit.

Comment Why not add it to your party's position? (Score 1) 183

if the party in power changes. And yes, this is a partisan issue.[...] Gun Control and Abortion are both powerful wedge issues that drive people to the polls. I don't see NN being one of those. Maybe if we could get this framed as a small business concern we'd have a chance, but I've yet to see anyone even mention that angle.

Then why don't you add "right to own firearms" and "abortion is regulated at the state level" to your party's platform?

Not every position your party takes needs to be the opposite from the other side.

Comment More concerning (Score 5, Interesting) 175

The US used to (still does, I bet) tap Russian cables. Turnabout is fair play?

Read "Blind Man's Bluff" for stories of us playing all sorts of crazy sub games against the Russians.

Kinda feels like we've got a new Cold War, don't it? Only now it's an Information / Data / Commerce thing, not a Nukes thing.

A more concerning question is: Have they installed cable severing devices that can be remotely triggered? I suppose a remotely-triggered bomb would be easy enough, but it might be something more sophisticated, such as a method to turn off a repeater and then turn it back on again later.

If we ever get into a war with a country that has submarines (or Disney, for that matter), expect intercontinental internet and phone service to be gone for the duration.

This would be a crippling economic tactic, so long as the US would suffer more than the country at war. For most countries it would be a net win for them.

I can't think of any realistic way to protect this asset, either.

Maybe satellite internet (per previous Slashdot article) isn't such a bad idea?

Comment Not weird at all (Score 1) 226

It's truly weird how over a year after President Trump won the election, and nearly a year since he assumed power, the left is still oblivious as to why they lost the election.

It's not weird at all.

They need to justify ever more mechanisms for throttling molding the information that people see. Even though the mainstream media gave her a lopsided boost, even though the DNC sacrificed their down-ballot elections to get her elected *and* cheated in the run up to the election, even though Facebook and Twitter and Google were banning people, deleting accounts, and reading peoples' documents, despite an army of "correct the record" trolls... despite all that, she still lost.

They're putting in place the very mechanisms that will give them more control over the future narrative.

Their propaganda machine wasn't powerful enough, they're fixing it so that it'll be more powerful next time.

Comment A blow against fake news (Score 3, Interesting) 41

From the linked article:

The FCC's Enforcement Bureau found that Sinclair aired stories paid for by the Huntsman Cancer Foundation without disclosing that they were paid programming. The programming was made to look like independent news coverage.

This is a blow against "fake" news.

On a related note, Facebook is dumping it's fake news flagging system (the "disputed" flag), because studies show that flagging something as fake makes people more likely to share it!

(Snicker.... snort... chuckle... BWA HA HA HAH HAH!)

Comment Then it is proved (Score 0, Troll) 177

For those of you who are interested in actual news, Breitbart had an article about the so-called "ban".

I've found that Breitbart, with a conservative slant, is more accurate and has better overall journalism. They provide links and are very cautious about unnamed single-person sources like the one cited in the WaPo article. (Makes perfect sense: they have a lot to lose, and if they made a mistake they'd never hear the end of it.)

Just recently Trump's lawyer complained that the E-mails were "unlawfully" obtained.

That was a direct quote, the actual word used. Watching the news cycle on this was hilarious:

E-mails were "illegally" obtained (ABC News)
E-mails were "improperly" obtained (NBC News)
Trump criticizes how Mueller obtained transition emails (WaPo)
Trump Allies Flip Out After Mueller Lands Tens Of Thousands Of [EMails] (HuffPo)
Image of Cooperation Between White House and Mueller Starts to Fracture (NY Times)
Are Trump's Lawyers Attempting to Discredit Mueller? (

Everyone falling over themselves trying to make the actual quote softer and less significant.

Anyone still wonder why no one trusts the mainstream news?

Comment Trump approval rating (Score -1, Troll) 278

Trump's approval rating is in the gutter and he's taking the GOP with it.

Was just looking at some comments the other day saying, in effect, the following:

Economy is going great, ISIS is defeated, stock market is soaring, China is finally dealing with North Korea, and jobs are coming back. Not bad for "worst president in history"

Don't discount the fuckton of people who are enjoying the positive changes that have happened since he was elected. Those polls are just the bitter people who still dislike Trump for no reason.

Comment Might very well pass (Score 4, Insightful) 278

If it's a simple majority I think Ajit Pai is going to have his ass handed to him by Congress, and rightly so.

Even if the Senate Dems were to vote in lockstep, which is less than clear, this would have to pass in the House as well, then survive a presidential veto. That's not going to happen, and TFA says as much. This is nothing but political posturing on Schumer's part.

It might very well pass, both House and president.

The main problem with the existing legislation was legal, not technical. It was passed in opposition to Congress' explicit instructions.

NN is a good idea, when viewed on its technical merits, and if a law gets passed that's a good thing.

Ajit Pai won't be getting "his ass handed to him", he'll be getting explicit direction from congress which is the correct way to do this.

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The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work. -- Herbert V. Prochnow