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Comment Re:He emphasized (Score 4, Insightful) 359

I'm unsure whether you meant to claim that the numbers you gave supported him, but no, they really don't. Saying he's right on "principles" while being horribly wrong on the actual facts is the whole point. He claims the number X will happen REALLY SOON NOW - BE SCARED!, and X doesn't happen. ... and that's been the case throughout his whole career.

1) He did not mean soot from wood burning stoves in India/Africa with "smog" btw, that's where the millions of deaths due to pollution comes from. Electrify now! Doesn't matter if it's coal plants or solar for this.

2) Food supply has outstripped demand. Vitamin A deficiency is a real threat though, so make sure to hit the nearest anti-GMO protestor on his/her head since they're blocking golden rice.

3) DDT hadn't reduced life expectancy to 42 years. Neither has anything else. You can't be right "on principles" when you're so horribly wrong on the facts.

Comment Re:He emphasized (Score 4, Informative) 359

Quotes from Paul Ehrlich:


“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

“Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”

Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in 1970 that “air pollutionis certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.

Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945.” Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out. (Note: According to the most recent CDC report, life expectancy in the US is 78.8 years).

In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it.”


He's awesome. Please give him more grant money for the comical art value alone.

Comment Re:Maybe... (Score 1) 165

This may be true, but the evidence for coffee's statistical association with liver health and plausible mechanisms of action have been well-established for years now. You can even measure the dose-related effects of coffee consumption on markers of liver function in small-scale experiments. What's unclear is the clinical significance of those effects; but any attempt to determine that is bound to run afoul of some counfounding factors, but in context those factors aren't all that likely to be significant.

Evidence has to be interpreted in the context of other evidence; evidence forms a kind of network -- specifically a Bayesian network. A priori probabilities always inform the interpretation of any study.

Comment Re:It is your job (Score 4, Insightful) 287

I agree that making employees feel good isn't an end in itself -- particularly making them feel good all the time. There are times when you,as boss, have to make certain employees feel bad. "Leadership" is just another word for "emotional manipulation".

That said, working under competent and effective leadership tends to lead to success and that tends to be rewarding for people. If everyone around you is worthless, the problem is almost certainly you.

After decades in business, I am heartily sick of put-upon managers. It's almost like bragging: despite my good-for-nothing employees, look at how I'm muddling through! And I always think, "why not hire better employees?" It's not that hard: pay a little more, choose a little more carefully, treat the good performers with respect and regularly clear out the deadwood. And yet, while I've met countless put-upon managers in my career, I can count on one hand the ones who made any kind of concerted, systematic effort to hire and retain the best people, and all of them were very successful.

The only conclusion I can make is that those armies of put-upon managers are actually more comfortable with dysfunction and mediocrity. Most bosses are their own worst enemies; which means as a group they're exactly like most other people, just in a better position to force their personal emotional drama on others.

Comment Re:Why is this a dumb idea really?? (Score 1) 389

Why would it not be a good idea for both countries to share information as to potential ongoing attacks, and even have a similar kind of hotline akin to the Red Phone to have a dedicated 24x7 contact to ask if one country was really under attack from another, as it might appear...

Sure, but that's not what was being proposed. You've rationalized the President's notion into something a lot more reasonable sounding. The president was talking about enlisting Russian aid in developing an impenetrable barrier (I laughed out loud when I heard that) to foreign election meddling. Making the Russians an equal partner to that would be be like making the Mafia a partner in your anti-organized crime effort. In fact the FBI did something very much like that in Boston with Whitey Bulger.

It's not that we Americans are innocent of meddling in other peoples' elections; but if we want to secure our own making the Russians our partner in that is just plain stupid. They are the number one meddler in their own elections. There is no mutual interest here to be secured. At least not between Americans as a whole and the Russian regime.

Comment Re:promises (Score 1) 223

I don't think people were paying enough attention to details to be hoping he was lying.

Take Trump's Obamacare repeal promises. He promised he'd have a plan where everyone would have insurance, regardless of their ability to pay. There would be no cuts to Medicaid. Nobody would lose coverage. Nobody would be worse off financially. Everybody would get much better care than they do now. The government would pay for health care for the uninsured, but save money overall while at the same time being less involved with health care than it is now. Above all the plan would be simple, so simple, and ready to go shortly after he took office.

Now persons of a critical frame of mind would look at these promises and conclude that these promises would be quite challenging to keep, given that US health care spending rose faster than inflation every single year from around 1960 to 2015, and that under a private health care system with the federal government only stepping in to take the least insurable people of all -- the elderly and the poor. Yet at the same time, any attempt to address this long-developing crisis necessarily is going to have to sound ambitious in its goals. The devil is in the details.

The thing is, I don't think the details ever entered into most peoples' minds. In an age where we have unprecedented access to information, there's so much of the stuff people have become hostile to the stuff, preferring to fall back on their gut: does this guy sound sincere? Does he speak with conviction?

Donald Trump speaks with more genuine conviction than any politician of our time, excepting perhaps Bernie Sanders. There is no doubting the genuineness of Sanders' hatred for the billionaire class, or Trump's conviction that immigrants are ruining the country. Yet the sincerity of those feelings have no bearings on the wisdom of the policies that come out of those feelings. In fact sincerity has no bearing on the truthfulness of the candidate. People lie all the time about things they care about strongly; in a way a more emotionally detached candidate would likely be more reliable.

Comment Re:Not just no. (Score 2) 263

Well, I think it's a bit of a stretch to put all "windows users" into a single group, but I do go on a week long Windows jag every couple of months, just to keep up with what the rest of the world is experiencing. And every time I do I'm astonished that people still put up with it.

Leaving aside the inevitable and clunky upgrade I go through; the whole system is clunky. It's not that it's slow, exactly; that would show up in benchmarks. It's just inconsistent enough you can't really get into a good working rhythm -- and this is on a relatively recent i7 processor with 16GB of RAM doing plain old office and web stuff.

But most of all the fundamental concept of Windows is hopelessly antiquated: it wants to be the switchboard for your digital life. It wants you to use it for the things nearly everyone in the civilized world is using their phone for.

To be fair, the heavier-weight Unix desktops have this problem too. Their whole concept is just wrong: the desktop is a place for getting tasks done, not juggling your life. It's not a place where you want to be interrupted or distracted, and it's especially not something you want to spend a lot of time screwing around with. Windows makes this inherent misconception worse with its relentlessly intrusive paternalism. It's constantly trying to get your attention, to redirect you to Microsoft (or partners') services and products.

Windows (and KDE and Gnome) would be much better if they simply tried to do less; if it just managed the hardware, the screen, and interprocess communication, rather than trying to manage the user. But of course, that's the whole point for Microsoft; its a vantage point from which it can sell to nearly everyone in the world who uses a computer -- or sell those people to other vendors. Google does the same thing, but the architecture of their sales effort is so much slicker it feels less intrusive (although it gets creepy when you start to notice it).

When I set up computers for other people I usually I set them up with XFCE, and not one person has ever asked for news stories or valuable offers to pop up in their start menu, or any of the other Windows 10 bells and whistles. I myself find even XFCE overkill; I use the i3 tiling window manager, which is admittedly clunky, but it a bounded, finite, very small amount of clunkiness. Learning to deal with that modest dose of clunkiness is a small price to pay for a desktop environment that starts instantly, consumes almost no resources, including my attention.

Comment Re: So... (Score 2) 140

Just because the manual is written as if you had a human typing commands into a shell doesn't necessarily mean that's how it was expected to be used. I imagine that when you're writing the manual for a piece of secret software you're supposed to be discreet about describing the exact capabilities other pieces of secret software have. At least I would be.

  In any case the precise vector used probably changes over time

Comment Don't think I like this (Score 3, Insightful) 162

If I understand this correctly, the kernel is being relinked and rewritten to the boot partition. That's instant fail in my book.... at least for us, the boot partition is sacrosanct. We do *NOT* write to it except when specifically upgrading a system. We do not do ad-hoc or automated writes to it because years of experience has shown that most corrupted boots (aka machine -> non-working) are due to unexpected events occurring while a filesystem is being written to.

The rename trick is not a solution (there's the 'ideal' atomic, and then there is the reality. That storage devices can fail in many different ways even while writing a particular sector, that are unrelated to that sector).

So, honestly, I think OpenBSD is making a huge mistake here. I can see randomization at load-time, but relinking and rewriting the kernel binary on every boot? No. Bad bad bad idea.

ASLR or equivalent is close to useless anyway. Malware has found ways around it, it makes debugging and bug reproducability difficult (which arguably is more important... that bugs get found and fixed, not simply detected). It also tends to fragment memory which can cause serious problems for long-running systems. And the vast majority of systems will simply restart the service anyway. They might log the seg-fault from the malware, but maybe 0.001% of system owners actually look at those logs.


Comment Re:Core Competency (Score 1) 107

No, more than half of the machines this year were using Infiniband. I get the impression (note: not hard data) that IB is pushing out 10G Ethernet on the lower end of the HPC field. The latency wins are worth it for a lot of applications.

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