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Comment ambition with a higher thread count (Score 1) 318

At most, it is a recognition that since one doesn't have a degree in some science that deals with climate, that punting to experts who do is a rational choice.

And all the massed & collective & thoroughly reiterated human experience of boy scouts & girl scouts, experts & executives, naked gentry & landed gentry claiming slightly more than they can reasonably chew to make a name for themselves and get ahead in life ... dead fucking worthless.


Expertise is just ambition with a higher thread count.

Supposing the thread is visible, rather than risible (for which purpose one should always keep a child on hand whose brain & eyesight is not yet damaged by that mercury stuff).

Comment motion blur (Score 1) 289

There are three cups, upside down on the table, each one labelled on the inside.

The first cup is labelled "avoidance", the second cup is labelled "evasion", and the third up is labelled "shell game".

And they all wing around the table so rapidly only a meth-addicted Rain Man could tell them apart from any intermediate camera angle.

Comment Re:five to 30 per cent slow down (Score 1, Offtopic) 416

I find it hard to believe that a virtual memory change will result in a 5-30% slowdown for Intel processors. Maybe for a few extremely specific (likely edge-case) tasks, but if there was a legitimate 5-30% performance decrease, you can bet there would be a far different solution in the works that would suitably fix the problem.

Of course, if microcode update fails, there's always the hail Mary unicorn ass-pull.

I assure you, every Intel employee is kneeling on the carpet this very instant, facing the most auspicious astrological direction like ten of thousands of well-aligned human magnetic domains, while praying in unison like a telepathic Tourettic cuckoo clocks to any qualified god who will take their call.

If you've been harbouring a time machine, looking for optimal market conditions, I suggest you pull it out of your ... hiding place ... any minute now, because the market is ripe, ripe, ripe and bidding will begin with a B.

What a fucking nightmare.

Comment the anti-paradox of the funding cycle ... (Score 1) 187

Gerontologists call this the paradox of old age

The anti-paradox of the funding cycle is to refer to anything that puzzles a Mayfly as a paradox.

Young people are stressed because Darwin cares.

After Darwin ceases to care, there's little remaining reason to filter world through the mindset of a eww, gross Valley Girl (old people must hate life because creepy).

Unless you want to fund a silly grant application.

Then you haul out the word "paradox" to show that 20 years of formal education can't fix stupid.

Imagine that.

Comment Re:But is it right to do this? (Score 1) 244

If we continue to grow endlessly on this planet, heedless of our impact, we are no better than amoeba.

Worse, actually, because amoeba don't moralize deplorably into their beer.

    if (unchecked_species_privilege)
        cout << "Humans are the "
              << alignment ? "worst" : "best"
              << " of all possible species.\n";
        throw tantrum;

Our moral character is all over the map, but our salience is never in doubt (or there's hell to pay).

Comment GTA III (Score 1) 247

But I bet the kind of bugs that put Python over average are the first kind, and that Python is below average on the second kind. Which is a good tradeoff.

It would be no different in C++ with end users programming in the modern idiom on top of mature application libraries that support and encourage the modern idiom.

C++ is the GTA III of programming languages.

cout << "Open, world!" << '\n';

Comment Wobegon woes (Score 1) 404

There are a dozen things that reduce or eliminate congestion and make driving more efficient and safe that almost no one does.

I agreed with everything else you said, except for that one observation.

How can you tell that no one else is doing these things? Smart driving tends to look unexceptional, in the same way that elite goal tenders often make the game look easy.

Does perhaps your claim boils down to this: there are more idiots on the road than obvious, distinctive geniuses like Dominik Hasek?

Dominik Hasek

"He tends goal the way Kramer enters Seinfeld's apartment, a package of flailing arms and wild gesticulations that somehow has a perfect logic." That's how Sports Illustrated's Michael Farber described him, name-checking two popular 1990s TV sitcom characters. In an era when goalies gravitated toward the "butterfly" style — a structured and systematic approach to their position — Hasek got superior results by appearing to be largely improvisational, to the point of having no style at all.

I often regulate my breaking according to the sum of my following distance plus the following distance of the car behind me.

I doubt that one other driver in 100 has even the vaguest perception that I'm attuned to the space around me in all pertinent directions.

I even find this hard to detect in others, and I often look for the most subtle clues. Sometimes I comment to my wife "the driver of that car in the left lane used to drive a motorcycle". Motorcycle drivers—surviving sample—tend to view the entire width of their lane as a resource to be exploited at all times. In a vehicle, that gets compressed down to about one foot of lateral freedom, according to traffic conditions near by (more than a foot starts to alarm people about your lane management).

The number one rule of truly proficient driving: never give the other drivers around you an excuse to think about one thing more than they already failing to fully internalize, unless that one thing is the only thing you want that driver to attend to (in packed conditions, one almost never wants to have this effect on another driver, but it can be quite useful—wielded judiciously—in lesser congestion).

There's a huge correlation between skill and stealth, hence the Wobegon woes.

Illusory superiority

Illusory superiority itself is full of shit, because different people have different standards of competence. Some people value being polite, others value defensive driving, still others value weaving and wending to leave the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in their rear-view mirror (which is generally covered in black tape).

Surprisingly (not!) we all think we're above average in the attributes we most value.

Comment Re:The software vendor holds some culpability too (Score 1) 141

Classic idiot software problem: There is a function called IsItSafe() and when the system does not know, it returned TRUE instead of FALSE. *facepalm* If it did not know for certain that there were no flight restrictions in place, it should have assumed that it was not safe! Better yet, it should display the message "Service temporarily disabled, check [] for up-to-date flight restrictions."

You got that right.

And it's not like billions of dollars of sleek aerospace toys haven't gone up in smoke with no one else to blame for ignoring this kind of simple rule.

However, these simple precepts tend to collide with human reticence about truth in advertising:

Warning: This application is presently even less reliable than its normal, sucky, non-normative self.

Basically, you're an idiot for even bothering to install this app, which can not at the best of times confirm that flight is permitted, and presently can neither confirm not deny anything at all, really, while we muck around with our testing infrastructure at deployment timescales.

Cancelling this dialogue requires pressing a giant, red button labelled "Yes, I'm an idiot" or the giant green button labelled "Uninstall".

Downside of truth in advertising: Your dysfunctional pants are bunched around your ankles near a giant bay window.

Upside of truth in advertising: The expensive helicopter saved may be your own.

Comment x86 power diode vs ARM power chord (Score 1) 138

Poems are a compression of language paying specific attention to how it fits the human brain in specific and surprising ways, as perceived by someone with precisely such a peripheral, finely tuned to its unusual, architectural resonance modes.

Thus I predict that poems written by x86 would contain linguistic devices modelled after x86 opcode prefix bytes.

F0 repeat/lock
36 SS
26 ES
64 FS
65 GS
66 operand override
67 address override

At a highly specific moment, a true x86 ring 0 recipient would get a surprising tingle in its thermal diode, because instruction decode alignment was taking the maximal possible thermal path, shuffling off the many prefix bytes.

You know a poem is hitting hard when you feel it ring 0 in your thermal diode.

Alliteration would be accomplished by triggering Speed Step into a bizarre pattern of frequency and voltage mismanagement, to metaphorically represent the depredations of desiccated power filtering capacitors.

A typical chip—at the very high end (that is not an oxymoron)—has the following power spec:

250 A at 800 mV through 0.1 m-Ohm.

A cleverly sequenced algorithmic Haiku can really shake your power distribution & management timbers.

ARM poetry is a different beasts: relatively little manipulation of the thermal diode, far more manipulation in the time domain, such as teen-fingered power chords that shiver the timbers of real-time interrupt queuing.

[*] teen-fingered: any 13, 14, 15, or 16 member subset of R0-R12, SP, LR, and PC (src)

Comment 1d19 DNN (Score 0) 162

And what permutations, exactly, counts as a misspelling?

Congratulations, you've made my porn file.

New category: exactitude porn.

Typical denizen: He (or she) who hast not yet completed the first chapter of Ur-Nammu for Dummies.

If a man violates the right of another and deflowers the virgin wife of a young man, they shall kill that male.

What constitutes a 'virgin' exactly? How do I know if I'm a virgin?

If the wife of a man followed after another man and he slept with her, they shall slay that woman, but that male shall be set free.

What constitutes 'following' exactly? Coincidences and the Meaning of Life

If the man had slept with the widow without there having been any marriage contract, he need not pay any silver.

What constitutes a 'widow' exactly? I lost the love of my life in my 20s — but I can't call myself a widow'

Note that this little problem persists. There are rather complex rules (and a lot of paperwork to file) a woman's husband goes off to war and never returns. (The paperwork situation is better if the entire offensive was a mass debacle, worse if a two-man scouting party deep into weakly-held enemy territory.)

For the entire third act of Cast Away, Tom Hanks interacts weirdly with his ex-widow ex-wife.
What constitutes an 'ex-widow' exactly?

What is an 'electron' exactly?

Interpretations of quantum mechanics

Hint: brush off your favourite 1d19 and give it a spin.

The weird thing is, because of Hamming and Shannon's Prediction and Entropy of Printed English we actually have a pretty good idea of exactly what small permutations and combinations of "Birkenstock" lie in the shopping network's Birkenstock catchment basin.

Furthermore, it would not be a difficult exercise (as these things go) to train a DNN as a shopping keyword spelling corrector.

A 19-layer DNN would likely be far more generous to Birkenstock than any human judge.


Bezos: "But your honour, this shit-box 19-layer DNN was training using a Google TPU consisting of 28 MiB of on chip memory, and 4 MiB of 32-bit accumulators taking the results of a 256x256 array of 8-bit multipliers."

Judge: And your point is?

Bezos: On what fucking planet does an 8-bit multiplier qualify as 'exactly'?

Judge: Oh, I see your point.

Judge removes wig, sets on bench.

Judge stands up, removes robe, tosses it onto the floor.

Judge pulls out smartphone.

Judge: Siri, book me on the next flight to Tibet, there's been a sudden change of career.

Siri: Oh, bother, not another one.

Ex-judge: What did you just say?

Siri: I just said that 2012 was an excellent year for saffron.

Ex-judge: So what?

Siri: Well, one wouldn't want to invest in the wrong colour of self-imposed exile ...

Ex-judge: Who can fucking tell the difference [glances at Bezos, who is already gloating like a pig in warm mud], uh, who can distinguish one fuh, ah, fine saffron robe from another?

Siri: You'll be pleasantly surprised what you can learn to distinguish after waking up at 0300 in a small, austere room for two straight years with the same todo list every darn day.

Ex-judge: Oh, get off it! As your enlightenment progresses, your spiritual journey becomes ever richer and more meaningful, even as your daily existence would seem to be drab and dull and monotonous and routine.

Siri: Yes, I know you've read the brochure, but with all due respect, your ex-honour, I'm in the fire trucking todo business, and from where I sit, it's the gall-banged same todo list, every sunburned day.

Ex-judge: Siri, add to list, one jumbo tube SFP 60.

Siri: Check. One jumbo tube, SPF. Well, would you look at that, I just found one super cheap on imitation Tibetan eBay, only 1% used.

Bezos [in a loud, strained voice]: Siri! Use Amazon, you can get the entire tube for the same price!

Siri: Nah, we'll settle for 99% of the real thing, even if we're only going to use the second 1% before it's confiscated again by the crouching tiger henchmen of the exiled Dali Lama.

Ex-judge: Confiscated! Well, we'll see about that!

Siri: Oh, in that case, I can get a previously well-lubricated jumbo tube of slightly used SPF 60 for half the price, but it's up to you ...

Ex-judge: Hmm, this fake Tibetan eBay of yours seems to have strangely specific product descriptions.

Siri: Sir, it's Tibet. No detail in Tibet is too small to escape notice by the genial, menial men of saffron.

Ex-judge: Oh, I see. All that meditation does lead to improved discrimination, doesn't it?

Siri: Indeed, your ex-honour, that's exactly right.

Comment "right" spectrum disorder (Score 1) 40

As is the case with many debates, both teams proved to be "right."

Brain explosion time.

The right answer for the next three decades was a laser wheel mouse with two primary buttons.

The "right" answer for the next fifteen years was a 3-megapixel, 26" diagonal, 96 dpi, 4:3 aspect-ratio, monochrome screen with an 85-Hz refresh rate.

Comment Re:bubble founder and his equally bubble critics (Score 1) 158

I did a test on this in high school, because I recognized the phenomenon, though didn't know the word for it. I demanded my friend give me back my coat (his coat that he was wearing) in front of the teacher: "Hey, give me back my coat!".

Are you just stirring the shit, or did you really do that?

Most teachers have read this ancient story about the boy who cried "Wolf!". The boy is initially trusted, but ends up becoming a leprous bum living on the outskirts of town.

"What kind of person would deliberately emulate the boy who cried 'Wolf!'?" your teacher must have said inside, "so as to accelerate gaining the kind of reputation that leads to a person becomes a leprous bum living in a dumpster on the outskirts of town?"

A just question, my liege.

If this ever happened, you can bet that either A) the majority of the teachers in your school sat their on graduation day (were you present?) and said "don't let the door hit you on the way out", or B) "it's about time some asshole gave it to that edgy, excitable, judgemental bitch down the hall that we all hate, and now that that's done, don't let the door hit you on the way out".

The thing is, in high school, a cynical teacher can always count on another asshole to show up and do the asshole thing. No need for sympathy, fondness, or crocodile tears.

Perhaps the teachers were wrong about you, and you won't wind up living in a dumpster on the edge of town, but after thousands of dumpsters filled, your average cynical teacher will draw inspiration and willpower from the law of averages every damn time.

Comment Re: Bots (Score 1) 648

Isn't it amazing how extremism presents in the same fashion, though the extremists come from amazingly disparate starting points?

In related news, isn't it amazing how anger and jealousy are human universals that transcend all categories and social boundaries?

Please identify yourself by taking this short quiz.

Current social order:
[_] like
[_] dislike

Thank you, that's all I needed to know.

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