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Comment IQ test in a bottle (Score 1) 500

In regions where electricity comes from wind, solar, or hydroelectric, the EV would clearly win the argument, but that's not the case for many customers today.

That's practically an IQ test in a bottle.

The smallest value of "region" sufficiently decoupled in economic decision making for this to be obviously true is no less than the size of a planet—in any solar system where any moon has been visited by any number of feet.

Even the isolationist Hermit Kingdom here on earth is hanging off a warm Chinese tit in energy balance.

Comment the _other_ pants-down eusocial mole-rats (Score 1) 320

I tend to be a big fan of Wikipedia, largely ignoring the social friction (no worse than any other system—except for less suppression), but I do have my own complaints.

The mole-rat article is a prime example. It's well written and well sourced, but on a closer inspection has Pablum for brains.

* no mention of how new colonies are created
* no mention of mortality cause at the lifespan boundary

On the text given, you'd have to assume that their main predator (snakes) can only manage to catch the geriatric rats, who for some reason show little signs of cancer, but do lose a step in their third decade.

Or perhaps, they are even more eusocial than previously reported, and the senior mole-rats practically jump at the opportunity to be eaten by the snake to protect the larger colony—an extra virgin for every year of age at time of demise! The females sprout a penis at age 25 so as not to miss out on all the fun (this hasn't been noticed yet by researchers in a frothy footrace to first decode the fountain of youth).

In Wikipedia, it's impossible to cite "scientists do not yet know how colonies reproduce" because this kind of formal admission in the science world is largely confined to grant applications, and never makes it into the cite-worthy literature.

Come to think of it, opponents of global warming would do well to FOI rejected NSF grant applications. Therein would lie many pointed admissions about just how incomplete our present knowledge actually is.

Such an initiative (backed by a sizeable FOI war chest) would finally get the information into Wikipedia through the back door, in an article devoted to the giant NFS FOI PhD pan-handle papers data dump.

Yet it still wouldn't make the page on climate science, grant applications not being peer reviewed.

Comment Re:Defamation??? (Score 0) 123

I get how certain emoticons might feel offensive to some people in certain circumstances, but how can what someone *FEELS* be defamatory?

Says someone whose comments are so universally brilliant he (or she) has never felt justifiably humiliated, or excluded from the cool table.

Sometimes our feelings track reality (by some wholly unexpected miracle of evolution), which you might have noticed had you been paying more attention.

The feelings themselves aren't the defamation, they're the awareness of the defamation, which is subjective to a degree, but not so much so that anyone (normal) needs to ask why Charlie Brown is upset when Lucy snatches the football away, yet again (hint: it doesn't have much to do with back pain).

Comment Re:This should lead to Fines for Intel (Score 1) 134

China is an economic competitor to the US. Being roughly the same geographic size, but a population 10x the amount of the United States.

Of which 8x are liabilities, rather than assets.

You can't even send China's bottom billion into battle without somehow having to feed them. If China declared war on Russia, the general M.O. would be to launch an invasion of Moscow in the early spring, while providing the troops with no warm clothing should the invasion fail to conclude promptly. That would be the Chinese army's only logistical answer.

I'd think twice before conflating subsistence-farming diaspora with industrial strength in numbers. Yes, I exaggerate a bit (these are educated people), but not a lot. Wake me up in another generation (or two).

Comment a minor degree (Score 1) 202

I consider myself slow to identify people by faces alone, but quick to realize by gait alone that a person in a coffee shop was also there the previous day.

I recognize facial mannerisms quite quickly, as well. First, there's the "oh, I've seen that look before". That maps onto a psychological profile. And finally (most of the time) the psychological profile finally indexes onto identity. I also find that gait is more psychological than facial features. How people amble about expresses a lot about their personality and presentation style. Even speech rhythm strikes me as more informative and specific.

At the same time, given an old year book, I recognize all my own schoolmates without any difficulty. I just think my circuit is relatively slow compared to the general population, and I'm not able to rely on it in fluid social situations, where other factors control the pace.

I have a non-genetic sibling who will recognize and identify everyone assembled in a crowded environment in one glance, then move through the room resuming her last conversation with each person wherever it broke off (could be months ago), while also commenting on any physical change or added bling.

And she thinks of herself as not very smart, because both of her brothers were academic eggheads.

The other thing about my ability to pick up mannerisms is that I'm always the first to interpret an oddity. After a weird interaction, someone will go "what was that expression?" about some participant and I'll go "it was nothing; that person momentarily starting to think about something else unrelated to the conversation, and it leaked out".

How do I know this? I have no idea. Somehow I'm extremely alert to cognitive task switching.

The human face is basically just a front panel, one where I recognize the patterns in the blinking lights faster than I recognize the layout of the LEDs.

A little bit weird, but it has its pros and cons.

Comment Re:how do you figure out who's hot or not? (Score 3, Insightful) 202

Well, the summary mentions Brad Pitt - he's been with Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie, so he sees to be picking quite pretty gray blurs.

The obvious retort here is that Brad wasn't the one doing the choosing.

If you knew anything about women, you'd have guessed that the literature reports that women do far more of the choosing than men do.

Men desire, women decide.

Comment Re:Yes it has been disputed, since the very start (Score 1) 358

We know Podesta got phished because there's a damned phishing email in the dump.

That isn't how you know this. Your argument depends upon a chain of competent IT administration all the way back to Hillary's private DKIM key, which must also be of sufficient strength to resist being cracked by nation-state actors.

But, hey, don't let the nitty gritty details sully your glib narrative arc.

I just spend ten minutes checking out the reams of unstated assumptions involved here, and on balance, these DKIM signatures should probably be regarded as valid.

Who administrates hillaryclinton.com to ensure the secrecy of the private DKIM key? Some 400-lb guy in Hillary's basement? Or a competent cloud provider?

It sure would have made my day if your implicitly vaunted admin authority had turned out to be the fat guy in Hillary's basement.

(Even with a competent host, any party competent enough to crack the server can then make the fruits of that crack widely available. Amazing what you can procure for a Bitcoin these days at the fake-Mennonite farmer's market.)

Comment Re: Their society is elitist liberal not facscist (Score 1) 589

Moreover, IIRC, you didn't get your franchise until after releasing from the service [...] It takes an incredibly thoughtless person to read "fascism" into that.

Not if you've studied the revolving door on Wall St, where yesterday's swing-from-the-rafters bare-knuckle trader becomes today's sober, no-blame Free Market Vizier (a government post in name only) becomes tomorrow's cushy, corner office Senior Vice Potentate.

Picture the post-government regulator SVP seated at a giant mahogany desk complete a giant jar of loose contact lens to bungle onto the plush pile as the need arises.

"Yoohoo, jailbait, I seem to have lost another lens!"

"Hold your horses, Honcho, I'm still adjusting my skirt from our last fumble."

"Don't you mean my last fumble."

"Yes, of course, that, too."

And good times were had by all, Wall to Wall.

Footnote: Charlie Wilson was a saint compared to these retreats.

Also, if you noticed the Nazi symbolism in Starship Troopers (my roommate at the time nailed it in under three minutes), you probably also identified this post as one of the most deliberately least-assed Lord of the Flies analogies ever composed, in homage to Paul Verhoeven's brilliant masterwork.

Comment all the barnacles in Byzantium (Score 1) 237

I think you'll find that your approach will produce legal chicanery the likes of which you have never before imagined.

To a certain degree, this doesn't matter. Especially where banks are concerned, because each corporation, no matter how byzantine, files for bankruptcy independently.

It such a world, when the stock market tanks, and the wizards of Wall St say "we the profits coming, but the losses caught us off guard, help Obi Wan Greenspan, you're our only hope" we can sit back and let the micro-container corporations die on the vine one by one, until enough blood is let to finally get the f-f-f-financial message across that profits and losses are joined at the hips.

This is a simple property of corporations as legal failure boundaries. All the barnacles in Byzantium don't change that one, simple, elementary, essential, free-market fact.

Bankruptcy law makes capitalism fundamentally anti-symmetric (failure has a fixed absorbing boundary, but success does not). The power of mitigating this enormous systemic artefact, even in relatively small ways, should not be flipped the bird.

Comment cause of death impacts carcass disposal (Score 2) 93

Some previous discussion: Without their needed displays Pebble was doomed — December 2016

The thesis in this thread was that Pebble fell victim to a single-sourced display technology, which was contested a few posts later. But supply issues can be complex, and available replacements unsuited in form factor, process, or price.

If it really was death by supply chain, that explains a lot about Fitbit consuming the carcass rather than resuming the company.

Pebble Teardown — March 2013

At this point, the display is a Sharp Microelectronics memory LCD.

Did some critical vendor actually go tits up?

In any case, my old Pebble is still on my wrist, functioning as a vibrating pill timer and I'm not presently in the market for something less open, but with more bling.

Comment adulthood considered optional (Score 1) 41

I would expect that anybody acting in a professional manner would know not to shit talk their employer.

Laszlo Bock's book about Google's HR practices said that Google permits a fair amount of shit-talk on public forums, but not so much on internal forums, if the subject matter becomes heated or divisive.

There are professional ways to shit talk your employer. Calm language with "I" at the front of the sentence is a good start.

If my employer were to publish op-eds in major news outlets about how net neutrality is bad for business, I would certainly pipe up in public with my personal view that this corporate policy was misguided, short-sighted, and lamentable.

Adults can choose to disagree.

We should not have to park our adulthood to profitably engage in our professional sphere.

Up to a point—as recounted by their own former SVP of People Operations—Google itself shares this view.

BTW, Damore did more than just write a heated memo. He also engaged in some misguided external interviews after the fact with parties whose motives he did not properly assess (this by his own admission). We don't really know where he crossed the line on Google's internal policy, and there's a good chance that the whole story will never out.

Comment New Guild Order (Score 2) 392

I originally started this post by asking when did Google ever innovate as I would argue that from a product/solution perspective Google has never produced anything before anybody else or entered an under-serviced market with a truly game changing product.

Microsoft spent decades queering the word "innovation" until the conversation degenerated to this level.

Look up every time a Microsoft executive spouted the word "innovation" as one of their first-paragraph talking points. (Try not to break Google while doing so.) Every damn time "innovation" was used in the context of product innovation, as if that's the only (or main) kind of innovation worth paying attention to.

They did this because Microsoft was a spectacularly innovative company, but their preferred field of invention was "business methods (unethical)". They didn't really want people asking how they became worth hundreds of billions of dollars with very little product-side innovation under their belts. (The other explanation conveys a bitter whiff of anti-trust.)

There was at least a decade where Google was easily one of the most innovative companies ever founded.

The core innovation was figuring out that they could only monetize each search result to a fraction of a cent. Hence they had to deliver each search result for far less than a fraction of cent. Their innovations in algorithmic efficiency, parallel computing, computing at scale, data center management, hardware efficiency, and internal network efficiency are legendary, and with just cause.

On the revenue side, Google innovated running a sponsorship auction on every search result (I don't know this side very well myself, but Laszlo Bock talks about it in his recent book).

It's hard to say how this all rolls out internally, but Google remains formidable in the machine learning space. AlphaZero is one of the most jaw-dropping results of my lifetime, and I still remember 1972 with a fair degree of clarity. My family was so insular, I barely understood that hockey was part of the Canadian zeitgeist until the Canada–Russia series. Somehow that culture shock woke up my internal PVR, and I've been archiving my impressions of the greater world around me ever since.

Frankly, at this point, I'm not actually sure that Google should be in the business of innovating whole new product categories. When Yegge signed up, that was probably part of the mission that attracted him, but the world changes, and not every company grinds away in the same groove forever and ever.

Google's manta is "organize the world's knowledge" and the various product categories they developed were a means to an end. ML is far more instrumental to their long-term vision. Page understood from the beginning that ML is highly dependant on big data, so they innovated preferentially in product categories with an accrued data payoff (geography, the social graph, speech recognition, machine translation).

The problem for Google at this point is that they have become king of Passive Advertising Mountain. I'm using the word 'passive' here to mean that their advertising approach is largely based on influencing the lizard brain.

'Active' advertising (for which the word 'advertising' might not even be appropriate) is finding out where your users want to go in life, their deep goals and aspirations, and then helping to filter out everything that does contribute to this.

Filter bubbles are great, so long as the bubble is a mentorship cocoon with your own best interests at heart, rather than sculpted out of libidinous landfill.

99% of silicon valley is presently suffering from VC lock-in to libidinous-landfill business models.

The opposing business model hasn't been figured out, yet, so far as I can see.

One could envision a Guild system, rehashing MOOC technology, where a person signs a contract with a Guild, which acts as personal player agent, probably starting in early high school. Perhaps you assign a 10% cut of your entire future life earnings to your chosen Guild (your choice of Guild would put your present choice of U in the shade).

Then your Guild acts as an algorithmic filter on the internet (and all it contains) so as to bring to your attention what best helps you accomplish your life goals.

Of course, the VCs behind the curtain of the New Guild Order would go batshit insane if star earners started to drop out of the workforce at age 40 to devote five years to an Indian ashram. Sentiment detection algorithms would rapidly be developed and deployed to keep people centered and productive in their chosen material quest.

These inherent tensions make this business model more than a little hard to get off the ground.

If it worked, however, the social-media enhanced Gifted Guilders would soon possess or control half the world's total economy.

Even Google seems to know this, already, because they tend to hire people who are least captive to the distracting, demoralizing crap that presently funds their colossal business empire.

Huxley's Alpha-Plus elite are today's engineers with the best ad-blocking technology / personal discipline.

According to Boch, inside Google, every engineer has his or her Objectives and Key Results (OKR) prominently listed beside their name in the company director.

Their sustaining eyeballs at large have no such thing. I click on one video on YouTube where the thumbnail shows a little cleavage, and for the next week YouTube suggest is like a pesky Border Collie obsessed with frisbee in the park: huh, huh, huh, see more cleavage? huh, huh, huh ...

There's actually a little ... control beside each suggestion which allows the user to specify "not interesting". I've been slowly training YouTube that the sight of exposed breasts gives me the moral (or physical) heaves. I've so far had to click "not-interested" a few hundred times. Amazingly, YouTube now suggests fewer videos with cleavage thumbnails.

Google probably thinks I don't like cleavage (I suspect that's the level of sophistication it still has about its end users). From what I can tell, Google understanding that what I want is sharp boundaries between my different cognitive hats presently surpasses their most sophisticated ML algorithm. (If I want a second eye-full of some hot chick who floats past at random in my internet travels, Google image search serves my purpose admirably. Every so often, I let my tongue hang out for five minutes, and then back to business again. I'm at an age now where this is more about coming to terms with my own Jungian shadow than short-term gratification, but us old goats tend not to discuss this reality in the presence if callow, red-blooded lady killers. Your day will also arrive, modulo cocaine, alcohol, and potent painkillers.)

Innovation. Start with a problem that looks like it has no solution at all, and see where that takes you. (More will fail than succeed. May a deserving Johnny on the Spot finally win.)

Comment once every rumour is true, no rumour is true (Score 1) 222

This is a big deal, in the longer term, but not because it stirs up a hornet's nest of kompromat as usual.

When every rumour is true, no rumour is true.

Slowly, but surely, this will ultimately devalue prurience.

Still, it will be pretty embarrassing to be caught doing your homework, not with Natalie Portman 2.0 (hey, dude, bump my phone), but the sweet young thing who sits beside you in English class baring her soul implausibly, while perfecting her special calligraphy.

The other directions this could go is society bans possession of prurient imagery of actual human beings altogether.

Facebook already has a pretty good algorithm for sniffing out actual human likeness.

Besides, you can just upload all the IRL chicks that hit your buttons, have an advanced ML algorithm map out your dark side, then synthesize your ultimate dark fantasy, which/who pushes all your buttons simultaneously.

Recently, I had to brush up on all this Jungian crap because Jordan Peterson. It's both interesting and creepy.

How to Contact, Get to Know, and Integrate Your Dark Side

If you're paying close attention, you can train yourself to notice your shadow when you witness strong negative emotional responses to others.

As Jung is often quoted saying:

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

But we rarely have time to work with those emotions on the spot.

Never fear, soon there will be a handy app for our budding Andy Capp.

Comment special math of drug-addiction epidemiology (Score 1) 58

The Internet used to be a metaphor for the great profusion of the world's knowledge instantly at your fingertips.

These days, "on the Internet"—in the context of a hapless, hang-wringing headline—can only mean one thing: disregulated, dopaminic discursion loops, aka social media, YouTube "fail" videos, and "whatever happened to that slutty celebrity one-shot-wonder from the 1970s with the fat ass" click bait (news flash: you'll never believe).

On the Internet as in on drugs.

Nevertheless, if one spends twenty-hours-per-week consuming DNN machine-learning lectures on YouTube as delivered by world-famous practitioners, no harm done in averaging those hours into the mix, too, using the special math of drug-addiction epidemiology.

Because, you know, those two shots of coffee I drink every morning have me "on drugs" about 80 hours per week, not even counting alcohol.

What used to be at your fingertips is now under your nose.

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