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Comment napkin AI (Score 1) 135

AI is the dumbest term, and always has been.

"Artificial cognition" would have been better, but here's the rub: it biases the conversation towards the perceptual foundations of intelligence: the auditory and visual systems. And there was no way back in the 1950s to build either. Not enough tubes. Not enough aircraft hangers. Not enough Hoover dams.

But you could build a very primitive chess computer, and then pretend that from the top of this skinny beanstalk, one could directly assault the penthouse suite of adaptive intelligence, or its supreme overlord, AGI.

So the cart was placed way before the broomstick pony on day one. This term has done untold damage to the profession ever since.

10 Games That Take Minutes to Learn and a Lifetime to Master — clickbait exhibit 1

Ah yes, your grandfather's tube-compatible "napkin AI" writ large.

Comment false dichotomy as business model (Score 1) 507

Few sane individuals would turn off security updates at the critical security level concerning defects offering networked remote execution with escalation.

These little reason for this relatively small group of patches to disrupt normal operations, if Microsoft were to take a conservative stance.

But somehow Microsoft manages to bundle in weird instability bycatch, and you're either left with your pants down, or your pants on fire. For which the only viable solution is an OS-upgrade cycle with a new-and-improved EULA, which somehow never fails to be ever more Orwellian.

Pants or privacy. Choose one.

Nice business model, should your customers willingly board the train.

Comment Re:TI has coasted for long enough. (Score 1) 281

I understand that innovation for innovation's sake is not necessarily what this specific market calls for, but there's no way that the hardware they are selling should cost what they're charging.

You don't understand as well as you think you do.

Maintaining this tired, obsolete technology in long-term stasis is a feature not a bug, and it's priced accordingly.

Whether this remains the right testing methodology is another question entirely.

Malcolm Gladwell on Why We Shouldn't Value Speed Over Power — 13 April 2017

Adam Grant interviews Malcolm Gladwell on why we shouldn't value speed over power — 1 May 2017

Malcolm Gladwell interviews Adam Grant on how nonconformists move the world — 2 March 2016

Barry Schwartz: Lotteries for College Admissions — July 2012

I'm not the biggest Gladwell, but I thought he was fine in these clips. It was high-flyer Adam Grant who quivered like a little girl when probed about his personal life (this becomes less annoying further in).

Comment ring erosion (Score 1) 486

Explaining the rules of professional interaction is not an act of condescension; it's the first step in treating students like adults, as formerly known.

Adulthood (as formerly known) used to involve kissing stone-encrusted rings. I, for one, do not miss these goober encrusted overlords.

Note that this summary doesn't defend formality as a useful custom (what does it accomplish, exactly?), but rather defends formality as a valued human tradition among fuddy-duddies known as The Gainfully Employed (soon hereafter known as The Recently Outsourced).

Comment Darkness at Noon (Score 1) 44

... any attempt to even understand how the process works is illegal or is believed to be illegal by law enforcement ...

Way to go, Chicken Little. I always figured you for a feathery, thoughtcrime propaganda stooge.

Data extraction methods

Most of these techniques are more akin to screen scraping than decompiling or reverse engineering.

Comment Re:I normally like Krebs, but... (Score 1) 222

I agree that the wording could have been better.

Yes, and at the same time, it could hardly have been worse.

I find it depressing to indulge in my darkest projected nightmare that those involved blow through the entire $26,000 on a sleep-deprived cocaine and hooker binge, and are right back at it a week later.

That would be the honest thing to write after a weekend movie binge including The Wolf of Wall Street, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Brewster's Millions, 21, The Starbucks scene in Austin Powers, and the opening train scene of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in which Steve Martin crows over pocketing an ill-gotten $20.

The problem here with that this sad-sack lament is that it depends upon his movie-binge–infused paranoia that those involved regard $26,000 as an insanely large sum of money and that they have a unlimited supply of in-roads to lather, rinse, and repeat their way into A) more cocaine and hookers, or B) more cocaine and hookers, a nice house in the suburbs, plus a tidy 401k.

Comment Re:Great show, but its core joke is impossible tec (Score 1) 115

Like warp drives and lightsabers, it is tech which cannot work as described because [it] conflicts with well-established theory. (Google "Shannon information" for details.)

You'd have better served your reader by directing him or her to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

That's an in-joke for the information theory cognoscenti.

Comment the doomed and the domed (Score 1) 171

When battery energy density reaches about 3-5x of current commercially deployed tech, we can finally have our VTOL flying cars, then we'll have a whole new set of problems,

Let me guess, the new "set" of problems includes really hot, well-ventilated fires in skyrise towers everywhere.

Then there will be an immediate mass return to brutalist architecture, only all that concrete and brick will function as really tall security bollards, and we'll all stop talking about gated neighbourhoods, and start talking about domed neighbourhoods.

"Shuttered", prepare thyself for gentrification.

Comment Captain Deiter Determinism reaps what he sewed (Score 1) 138

Itanium is a direct result of the hardware people and the software people refusing to rub elbows in the same room.

Itanium's designers basically declared war against their software peers. Our beautiful machine would run fast, if only your crappy software didn't expose so many execution hazards.

Thus Intel set up a grand gauntlet for the compiler writers to finally prove their ultimate hardware manhood: by writing an Itanium compiler that didn't suck.

We all know how that went.

I've always though the made the critical error on the first step after connecting with the baseball: the bundle should have been a collection of highly dependent instructions that only wrote back to the register file once fully executed. A bundle would be dispatched to one execution unit's queue, and sit there until complete.

Because the bundle has internal dependencies, this means that each bundle would have a significant internal latency, so each execution unit queue would need a fairly deep dispatch buffer. "Waste of silicon!" cry Intel's virtuous hardware engineers. "Latency is a thing in the world!" whimper Intel's pussy-whipped compiler writers.

I also think that for compact instruction packing, that not every input argument to a bundle should have been able to name any old register out of the giant register file (256 registers, IIRC). Maybe a few global references, then plenty of 4-bit register selectors, accessed out of register file shards (the base shard could be selected by any number of mechanisms, up to and including the program location from which the instruction bundle was fetched; so maybe the code only ends up relocatable modulo 64 or modulo 256? what a horrible tragedy—plus the compiler writers already had great register colouring algorithms, so we had somewhat of a proof-of-concept in hand for the compiler complexity).

Because you're bypassing the register file for many bundle internal arguments (the result ax in the expression ax + b never hits the register file), fewer register file (and memory) reads satisfy more total instructions. I would have liked to see a bundle of about the same size able to specify up to eight simple instructions, if sufficiently chained together.

To a certain degree, this opposite-George approach kicks determinism to the curb. Well I say better sooner than later. Hey Intel engineers, look at your vaunted determinism now, dead with a bottle on skid row, after a long, loosing battle.

(The other thing Intel liked about determinism was its first five letters. Sometimes stupid ideas present a broader field for patent lock-up land-grabs. Moral of the story: greed carefully.)

It's easy to come up with hundreds of good reasons why my opposite-George approach wouldn't have panned out any better, but a smart group of engineers is paid to find clever solutions to most or all superficial obstacles. Whether any counterfactual designs might have proved viable is permanently lost to history. I'm just relating my own instinct at the time, FWIW.

Another thing: I would have endorsed a big/little design for interrupt handling (of the asynchronous type), with only a small set of agile (aka bundle-free), little cores able to handle interrupts. Then you can really afford to thin out check-point writes back to the register file (which is always a hot point to begin with). The magical, invisible forwarding mesh to support this illusion seamlessly would still be extremely complex, but that's also true on every other modern design.

From my perspective, Itanium was plenty innovative, unfortunately, it was mainly innovative in pure stubbornness and greed.

Comment Anarchy, State, and Utopia on open-kimono DoD (Score 1) 75

Anything developed using tax dollars MUST be made open source and freely available to all. It absolutely should, and *must*, be available on the internet.

Your main contribution to the debate seems to be using TWO entirely different methods of bold (followed by the near synonym "absolutely" and a second helpful repetition, this time of the word "available"—but I don't see these as your main contribution; did I mention your main contribution?)

Also cute is how you managed to conceal the word "government" under the tiny word "tax". Weird assertions about the true and absolute nature of government are one of the principle diagnostic aids for Goldbug's disease (and several other, related conditions).

The definitive diagnostic for Goldbug's disease is when Anarchy, State, and Utopia laughs you out of the room (check out its prescient lack of a chapter on open-kimono DoD).

Comment everyone gets their 15 minutes of John Williams (Score 1) 75

I can't remember the last time—if ever—a Microsoft promotional video warranted a Chariots of Fire musical swell.

"Jesus Christ (speak of the devil) I can't remember the last time we introduced a product that changed the world (for the better). And it's got our name on it. ('Me too', 'me three' echoes a pair of nearby cacti.)"

You have to forgive them, it's been a long 40 years, out in the desert, trafficking in neurotoxic juniper berries.

Comment Re:Nuclear meltdown != Incriminatory emails (Score 1) 286

This troll trifecta actually warrants real attention.

I expect to have a good time. I admit it's a little unorthodox to make a giant vat of hot buttery popcorn to companion rolling up one's sleeves (chopsticks to the rescue), but ritual does have its rewards.

What the US and Israel did in Iran ...

Bill Clinton is forever marked by his distancing language "that woman". Opening a composition with the word "what" is definitely heading down 'that' road. The reader is still trying to resolve the anaphor, while you slide into the equation a joint attribution "the US and Israel". Nicely done.

From Sound Reporting by J. Kern: "You may have heard TV anchors hyping a story by holding back the subject—teasing the viewer for a few seconds to try to generate curiosity ... whatever effectiveness this device may have once had has surely been worn away by decades of overuse." Except—he should have added—on certain hyperbolic forums of talk radio, where the pre-handshake "what" is artfully stretched from minutes into hours. This construction has now become the ultimate penny dog-whistle.

was a crime

And the jurisdiction that can jointly prosecute America and Israel, your identified protagonists, is what, exactly? RMS pretty much thinks the BSD license is a crime. Humanity has been trying to cram morality into an undersized tuxedo since the invention of stone tablets. (They all suspected the chisel later recovered from the top of the mountain belonged to Moses, but he didn't fit the glove—phlogiston hadn't even been invented yet, so it's no wonder they didn't fully grasp accelerated desiccation above the timber line.) "Crime" is one of the most metaphorical words in all of human language, which you've artfully embedded in predicate logic Speedo trunks: "was a".

Our parse now looks like this:

[talk radio distancing-language tease]
[offhand perpetrator lasso]
[predicate-logic Speedo trunks]
[Howl's Moving Castle morality metaphor]

You've really packed a lot in there. Kudos.

and the targeted company

The strategic target wasn't a company, it was an operation. The micro-target wasn't a company, either. It was certain pieces of industrial control machinery. Moreover, the "company" wasn't feeling the pain of this, unless they indemnified their customer against retaliatory actions of nation states (seems unlikely, based on contracts I've read).

was a German company

And that makes this different, how exactly?

They infected German process-control equipment

Echo, echo, echo.

They who? Veiled agents of Zion? Cybersecurity Seal Team Six operating under full democratic oversight? Cybersecurity ST6 operating in thrall to veiled agents of Zion?

which could have

Charles Atlas only had to shoulder the world. "Heh," says Charles. "What?" you say. "You should have seen the other guy," says Charles, at great expense of breath he can hardly afford.

I suspect he means the poor tortoise shouldering the entire meta-physical universe of all possible counterfactual outcomes, but I'm too polite to ask.

led to a nuclear leak

Anyone else in the news using the word "leak" lately? I haven't read the uranium hexafluoride SDS (formerly MSDS). Have you?

Here's how America stores this dangerous chemical: What does a depleted uranium hexafluoride cylinder look like?

This is not even inside a secure facility designed with accident mitigation in mind.

if their code was not perfect

A high bar indeed, that applies to all high-risk endeavours. Not that the ST6 minions of Zion would have assigned above-average talent (and budget) to a project such as this one. Just getting that software installed on those machines in a covert way cleared a bar 99% higher than 99% of all software even attempts to clear. And, I suspect, the ST6 MoZ probably had a few test units in house (the American government not in any way being a major consumer of this kind of equipment in the first place).

What the Russians have done is hack and release emails.

You know, they didn't break in by quietly jimmying the back door. In the last account I read, they social-engineered their way through the front door on false pretences.

If you are not doing shady stuff

Ah, yes, the violent purification of a thousand moral suns.

you are not affected at all

There's this thing in human language called "register", where we try to say something close to what needs to be said in a way that conveys empathy and concern for the feelings and reputations of others. What we say in private is far less guarded (except for certain shit-bags whose public discourse is the same unmodulated ideology that drives away their friends and family in real life). Oh, nuts, did my inner voice just escape out into the wild? So terribly sorry about that.

by the leak of your emails

There's that hot-button word again, now served up with a fresh, hot-button bolt-on. Previously, we were leaking uranium hexafluoride gas (worst case scenario) in a secret, secure bunker. This "leak" is more properly termed a "disclosure". Unlike stray UF6, most of which can be put back in the bottle if you really try hard, information "leaks" are pretty much immune to mitigation.

Clinton was affected because she was a crook.

Also, she was a crook because she was affected. A malprogrammed high-speed centrifuge couldn't wind this narrative together any better.

Macron was not because he wasn't a crook.

I'm guessing we're in the comic book world, now. It's the underwear thing. The heroic panties of virtue grant full immunity to adverse consequence. The anti-heroic panties of shame are electro-karmic styrene Vandergrabs.

Equating the above 2

"Equating" metaphors is the crime for which you already stand charged (see above).

is like

"Is like"? You've already shot your best wad? In under 30 words? So tired, so tired, so tired ... but miles to go before you sleep.


Yes, you said that already.

"Someone who drives drunk"

Car metaphor? What did Cosby serve you? I had no idea it was that fast acting.

"with someone who peeks through a window"

You're right, turns out Dahmer did have a severe alcohol dependency.

In Russia, for a decade under Stalin, vodka was the antidote to kompromat. You staggered blind-stinking-drunk among cars, half of which were piloted by other blind-stinking drunks, and counted yourself among the lucky, and kissed the pavement, and shuddered to go home, to where all those inviting windows awaited.

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