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Comment Re:Make Tax Rates Scale With Size (Score 1) 187

When you check the traffic congestion, they get probabilistic information about where you are, where you're going, and which route you'll take. It's not 100% accurate, because they don't know if you actually took that trip, but it's a good first approximation. They can then use this information both to target ads at you, to provide better traffic information to others to make them use the service, and to sell demographic information to businesses in your to and from locations.

Comment Re:Paradox of intelligence (Score 1) 665

I've never seen an online IQ test that was actually an IQ test and not some random set of questions with none of the relevant background analysis. I believe that the tests are distributed only in book form. If you really care, the books are quite cheap - they probably cost less than the value of your time sitting the test, at least.

Comment Re:I Wouldn't. (Score 1) 290

Or maybe it would mean that you were as smart as Einstein. Or, at least, able to plagiarise Einstein, who did explain special relativity to his children and wrote down the explanation that he used. My father told me the same explanation when I was 11. There's a lot of maths, and the moment when you can work out the mass-energy equivalence formula from first principles requires a lot more maths than a typical child has, but that isn't needed to get an understanding of what Einstein showed any more than you need to understand Newton's laws to understand that he worked out how to calculate where a thrown object will land and the relationship between the mass of an object and how fast two things will fall together.

Einstein used a model of two trains moving towards each other, each with headlights on the front, and asked his children what would happen to the light. If you start with the speed of sound on a train, then you get to the answer that sound goes faster because the air is moving, so for the light to move faster you'd need some substrate to be moving. The rest falls fairly naturally out of there.

General relativity, in contrast, is horribly complex.

Comment Re:Paradox of intelligence (Score 2) 665

It's worth noting that the standard IQ tests have very low discrimination above 120 (for example, successive attempts at different IQ tests will give high variation for the same test taker). I'm therefore very suspicious of anything that attempts to correlate 120+ scores with anything if they only did one test. There are specially designed IQ tests that have high discrimination over 130 and very low discrimination below that (i.e. most people with an IQ under that are expected to get 0-1 questions right), but unless they did a sequence of tests with increasing discrimination for their range, any number above about 120 should be taken as suspicious and anything above 130 is noise.

Comment Re:Router, printer, NAS, and other FQDNless device (Score 1) 243

Have you actually bought any consumer network equipment in the past decade? Most of the things I've bought handle https already. Even a cheap (under £10) TP-Link WiFi router does (via a fairly complex dance involving public DNS records). My ISP-provided router does with a self-signed cert that I have to explicitly mark as trusted (but which is then pinned). The manual config is only an issue if you're manually configuring your own intranet server, and if you're doing that then you should know what you're doing.

Comment Re:Title sounds like a breakfast cereal (Score 5, Informative) 140

Slack is a bloated monstrosity that provides IRC and a few other things, using a combination of Node.js and Chromium to produce one of the largest and most memory-hungry desktop applications that you might ever need to run. Snap is Ubuntu's version of the old PC-BSD PBI installer, where each application comes with all of its dependencies and installs them in a directory so that the package maintainers don't have to worry about incompatible upgrades. The combination of the two allows Slack to consume even more resources, by not even sharing memory mappings for common libraries.

The goal of Slack is to minimise productivity, by consuming all available computing resources and all available attention. This combination allows it to consume even more resources, but unfortunately does nothing to increase the amount of time that people waste on Slack.

Comment Re:Another step (Score 1) 73

Neither? Really? You'd honestly prefer to have a 50% chance of having to wait longer to get your information?

Load times for web sites are now under a second - over 100ms is considered slow. I honestly couldn't care less if two sites that are otherwise equally ranked end up sending me to the one that loads in 500ms instead of 50ms.

What about other characteristics of bad sites? They can be slow, ugly, spammy, malware-laden.

A site that is spammy or malware-laden shouldn't make it into the search index at all. A site that is ugly may still have useful information - and often ugliness correlates quite strongly with utility for technical web pages, so I'd be very unhappy if a search engine decided that I wanted to look at pretty and information-light sites instead.

Comment Re:They want the crowd to train their machine (Score 3, Interesting) 42

I wonder if that's actually true. On the one hand, they get a lot of training data for free. On the other hand, how well are the protected against adversarial training? If a botnet signs up for a million accounts, submits 20 photos with correct descriptions for 19 and incorrect ones for the remaining one, is it possible for the attacker to teach the Google algorithm some nonsense things? What if I'm more subtle and upload 100 pictures of dogs and tag them as dogs, but the pictures are carefully crafted to share more characteristics with other pictures of cars than of dogs? Can I train it to recognise all cars as dogs (last year researchers were able to alter a picture of a dog or a car by one pixel and have this system recognise it as the other). A system like this is only as good as its training set - remember that this is the same system that decided that all black people were gorillas because the only black face in its original training set of photos from Google employees was a gorilla at a zoo.

Comment Re:Loyal Firefox user for over a decade now. (Score 1) 243

20-year-old, I might give you. Just. As long as it was a cheap and crappy machine from 20 years ago. 10 years? No chance. A 10-year-old machine is going to be at least a Core 2 Solo, which can handle line-rate TLS on a 100Mbit connection without consuming more than a fairly small amount of CPU. The RAM usage per TLS connection is tiny. It was an issue on machines with 4MB of RAM servicing a few hundred connections, but on your low-end VPS with 256MB of RAM it's trivial.

Most modern IoT devices have hardware AES, so aren't even doing most of the hard work in software, but even doing it entirely in software on something like a Cortex-M3 is very feasible at the kinds of network speeds that these devices can handle.

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 243

It's due to apple's instance of posting characters like ' as unicode even if the site is not using unicode

Apple doesn't do this on sites not using unicode. Take a look at the HTML for this page and you will see a meta tag telling you that the encoding is UTF-8. The problem is that Slashdot explicitly advertises that it is unicode, but isn't.

The fact that it doesn't support unicode in 2017, when even my terminal does, is a secondary incompetence.

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I cannot conceive that anybody will require multiplications at the rate of 40,000 or even 4,000 per hour ... -- F. H. Wales (1936)