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Comment Re:No need to worry (Score 2) 759

There is no doubt that "everything will correct itself". This isn't up for debate.

What's up for debate is how will the correction happen. The whole point of this is in whose terms will this correction happen: will this be in humanity's good terms, by limiting growth and guaranteeing access to limited resources, will it be in humanity's bad terms, with wars for stuff such as access to food and drinking water and the accompanying indiscriminate killing of very large numbers of people, or will it be in nature's terms, with everyone simply dying off due to lack of subsistence.

It is in everyone's best interests that this adjustment is made on humanity's terms, to preserve quality of living and avoiding large scale deaths. Hence, reports such as the one reported here.

Comment Re:The sky really IS falling! (Score 1) 759

Because people listen to that hyperbole and then find out the population growth isn't "explosive"

I don't know about explosive, but right now it is in fact tigthly correlated with exponential growth. And the thing about exponential growth is that its essentially explosive in nature, as itsdoubling time is constant, and that it only ceases to be exponential to assume a form of a logistic function if either political measures are put in place to stunt growth in our terms, or nature naturally limits the amount of people that can actually live by imposing its own terms.

This is a natural fact which is widely know for over a century and no one in their right mind actually disputes this. So, why would calling a spade a space invalidate the whole message?

Comment Re:Beheadings videos are illegal? (Score 1) 101

So what is the answer? Is a beheading video illegal? Why? What is the law that makes a beheading video illegal? What happens if it's legal in one country, but not in another?

The idiots behind this project explicitly don't care about the legality of censoring the web, or any accountability of their decisions. From the Clean IT project website:

The main objective of this project is to develop a non-legislative framework that consists of general principles and best practices. The general principles will be developed through a bottom up process where the private sector will be in the lead. Through a series of workshops and conferences, the private and public sector will define their problems and try to draw up principles. These principles can be used as a guideline or gentlemen’s agreement, and can be adopted by many partners. They will describe responsibilities and concrete steps public and private partners can take to counter the illegal use of Internet.

Comment Re:Patterns over hyped? (Score 1) 129

This is nice and all - but I find in practice that people who are all gung-ho on patterns spend most of the time up in a sky where what they say is correct, but not terribly relevant to getting things done. To use your example, if you talk about an observer pattern rather than describing the mechanism, you are providing much less information about what you're doing.

Any reference to a specific design pattern is nothing more than a reference to very concise but detailed description of the mechanism. An adequate parallel is referring to specific construction techniques, such as Berlin/king post retaining walls. Instead of wasting time and effort describing how the construction process works, what are the pros and cons, what materials to use, how to phase the construction, how to design them and other necessary but tedious information, we simply refer to it through a proper name.

So, by referring to individual design patterns, we are actually providing much more information in a concise manner, due to the fact that if someone is really interested in more information then that person is free to pick up any reference on the subject and wrap their head around it.

Comment Re:Ask ARM (Score 1) 203

Really 64-bit is what people are after for desktops and laptops today.

That is only relevant if you wish to access more than 2 or 3GB of RAM per process. If you consider that the majority of netbooks being sold only come with about 1GB of RAM, then 64-bit CPUs are essentiallly meaningless. And this even without considering PAE stuff.

Comment Re:Patterns over hyped? (Score 1) 129

This doesn't make sense, and I am lead to believe that you actually don't know what a design pattern is. After all, no matter how complete a programming language or library might be, you still need to put stuff together, and when you put stuff up together you better choose to put them together in the best way possible, that actually solves your problems.

To better explain what design patterns are, we can compare them to a more mundane field: civil engineering/construction. You see, while a programming language and API represents the individual building materials used in construction, such as mortar, concrete, steel rebar and I-beams, design patterns represent a specific way which these buildig materials are put together and made to work, such as reinforced concrete slabs, prefabricated joists, trusses, columns, beams, etc... It is helpful to think of a construction project in terms of individual components, by decomposing the entire structure into structural elements and the construction techniques that are used to implement them, than wasting time thinking about how you will arrange individual pebbles in a concrete mix, or how a rebar will be gripped by the concrete.

So, in essence, design patterns provide you with a very convenient and useful way to think about pre-made solutions to specific problems, while saving you the time and need to reinvent the wheel each time you need to create a new component.

Comment Re:Patterns over hyped? (Score 3, Informative) 129

I am a senior developer at a large publicly traded company. We have some pretty high volume systems, and I have yet to really use any other patterns besides MVC in my daily activities. I have also worked at several smaller consultant firms and never used them much before my current place. Maybe it's just because the type of problems I have been working on aren't complicated enough?

I would guess that you do in fact use other patterns, but you actually do so without knowing. That isn't a bad thing, because ultimately what really counts is getting stuff done, and not write some kind of whitepaper announcing to the world that your company's current work is the result of an academically perfect implementation of a wide variety of design patterns.

Nonetheless, I find design patterns to be very important and extremely helpful, mainly because they can be seen as a set of pre-defined solutions to a set of well-known problems. In other words, they represent building blocks which have been adequately studied and therefore provide important properties that are already known beforehand.

Knowing these properties is extremely helpful when designing an application, because it lets you minimize the amount of work you will need to do to add some features, or even completely avoid it. By knowing design patterns you are able to come up with solutions to potential problems simply by identifying them and adopting the adequate design patterns to side-step it.

As an example, let's imagine we were developing some sort of 3D modelling application. We could start by defining that the application would consist of a database component, which stores all the information regarding the model, and a GUI component.

As you are already familiar with the MVC pattern, we could design the database component with as a model and implement any representation of the 3D model as a different view. But let's go a bit beyond that.

In a 3D modelling application, we can expect that for each database component we might have multiple views. In addition, we might have an indeterminate number of components which might need to be aware of any information stored in the database. A nice way to pull this off is to design the database component as an observer pattern. By doing this, you are free to extend the 3D modelling any time in the future to add a new component without any trouble at all. In addition, you are also able to completely replace other components by simply taking them off and plug in a replacement.

A 3D modelling application also needs to provide the user with a way to operate on the 3D model. Yet, more often than not we don't know everything the user wants to do and how he wants to do it. This means that it is a good idea to implement these operators in a way that you are free to add them in the future without being forced to rummage through half the source code tree. A good way to do this is to implement these modelling operators as a visitor pattern. By doing this, you've just defined a generic interface for every operator you might need, and basically you only need to add a single class to implement any extra feature for the 3D modeller. In addition, if you also make sure you also include the inverse operator for every operator then an undo system will pretty much write itself.

The list goes on and on. You can implement your scene graph by employing a composite pattern, you might implement the components to import models from an assorted list of data formats by writing each component as a strategy pattern, you may implement a series of UI animations and input states around a state pattern, etc etc etc.

And the best thing about this is that, by knowing design patterns, you are able to better express what you are doing and what you want others to do by referring to design patterns. For example, instead of talking about implementing a system of callbacks between a server and a set of clients by setting a common interface used to pass messages around and keep all clients coherent with the current state of the server... Just talk about implementing an observer pattern.

So, do familiarize yourself with design patterns. They may not solve all your problems and some of them may not be simple to wrap our head around them, but I assure you that once you do the amount of problems you will have to deal with will reduce significantly.

Comment Re:UN takeover must be stopped? (Score 1) 454

The UN can't agree on mass murdering dictatorships, Why would they all of a sudden be on the same page wrt the internet?

Oddly enough, this is an argument in favour of UN control. Contrary to what some business interests claim, the internet works perfecly fine and doesn't need any intervention by any state to improve the way it works.

So, if the control over the internet is transfered to the UN, and if the UN essentially stalemates any proposed change to the internet, then we are all in a much better position than we are right now, because it protects the internet at a communication medium which actually works and actually benefits the people, instead of a hand full of corporations.

Comment Re:Good, now... (Score 1) 146

Right. I want to judge the validity of a paper on the Higgs boson, so I rent time on the SSC to reproduce the experiment. Everyone else who wants to judge does the same thing. Seems like a good use of limited resources. Can you find me a funding agency that will pay for this?

Boy, aren't we exaggerating.

Before thinking about purchasing a particle accelerator, you have a considerable number of things which you can and must actually do by yourself in order to test the paper's validity. One of those things is actually reading the paper, understanding the theoretical hypothesis which were laid out, analyse the data which was used as a basis for the results presented in the paper, check if it holds out, evaluate the results... You know, the peer review process.

In this context, the need for a particle accelerator only enters the equation if you suspect that the results presented in the paper aren't up to par, and you wish to replicate them to see if you aren't being duped. Even in that case, you still need to run the series of tests which I pointed out.

So, if you actually intend to judge the validity of a paper on the Higgs boson then it's safe to say that purchasing a particle accelerator is the least of your concerns. In fact, how many of those actually involved in reviewing that sort of papers have access to their own personal particle accelerator? And does that stop them from doing it? Precisely.

Peer review puts this work in the hands of a few people who are allegedly experts in the field, and their job is to judge the validity of the paper, not necessarily the results of the experiment that it may be reporting on. Was the scientific process followed? Were there controls where necessary? Does the data support the conclusion, whatever it may be? Is the data presented in a logical and reasonable manner? Are the assumptions underlying the paper reasonable? Is there some glaring error of omission or execution? Is the material itself publishable? Is it fresh and new, or simply reworked decades old textbook material? Are there proper citations for previous work, or previous work that should have been cited but was not?

Notice that you actually don't need access to a particle accelerator to do any of those things. You actually only need to have an academic interest in the subject. If you are interested in scientific problems such as the validity of the Higgs boson and you are curious enough to be willing to spend your time rummaging through articles on the Higgs boson then odds are to actually know something about it, and you are actually in a position to judge by yourself at least a portion of those details.

So, unless you intend to avoid having to think about the stuff and instead you want an authority to tell you what you must believe in, whether a paper is published in a journal or is distributed directly from the site of a university or research institution is actually irrelevant, because you are quite able and willing to turn on your brain and actually do science.

You forget, the readers may not be experts in the field. They may be expanding their horizons or looking for new research questions, and expecting every one of them to "test the explanations and predictions" for themselves is silly. Expecting them to know that Smith and Wesson in 1975 did a similar experiment and came up with similar results but a different conclusion, and that the paper they are reading is incomplete because it did not discuss that experiment, is outrageous.

You aren't required to be an expert in the field. If you are interested enough on a given field to actually read the papers then you are certainly already knowledgeable about the subject. Moreover, you certainly are already aware that a paper is supposed to be food for thought, not a textbook.

... because organizations such as universities and research institutions are more than willing to put their logo on the cover of their member's papers,

And this serves the function of peer review and validation how, precisely?

It isn't intended to replace the peer review process. If all a person wants in journals is that they serve as an authoritative seal of approval which gives him enough confidence to place blind faith on a paper then the logo of a big name institution actually does the same thing. Let's not pretend that that doesn't happen right now with how the logo of companies such as elsevier is perceived and used.

The fact of the matter is this: if someone actually reads papers of a given field and actually cares about how the peer review process works in that field then that person is already quite able to digest that information. If, instead, someone only wants to have someone tell him what to believe, then that's an entirely different problem which the existence of journals does nothing to mitigate.

Comment Re:Good, now... (Score 1) 146

NO!!!! the whole point of peer review is to judge a paper BEFORE it is published. whatever. I'm sick of this thread. a bunch of egghead wannabees thinking they know what goes into academic work. I'm in academia, and I know

Considering what you've been posting, your claim, that you are in academia, is not believable.

Comment Re:Good, now... (Score 2) 146

Yes, but without journals, how will we per-judge the quality of others' work? This may sound facetious, but it's not. Any fool can write a journal article, and many fools can write compelling article. A journal offers getting and review by members in the field. How else can I judge the validity of a paper, especially if I'm not in the field myself?

We are talking about science.

You know, testable explanations and predictions about everything.

You judge the validity of a paper by testing their explanations and predictions. That's essentially what the scientific community does for a living. Some person finds something odd, some other person comes up with an explanation, others test that explanation to see if its valid, and in the process might find other odd stuff. Rince and repeat.

If you are worried that, without journals, you might not get a conforting authority dictating what you should and should not believe then rest assure, because organizations such as universities and research institutions are more than willing to put their logo on the cover of their member's papers, and also distribute them to the public.

So, it's safe to say that the sky isn't falling.

Comment Re:And 43% of those surveyed... (Score 1) 585

I see what you meant, but I have to point out that certainly you didn't actuallly meant "closed source". You can only freely access a copy of a software package without paying anyone anything if the license explicitly states that you are free to do it.

For that, the right to access the software's source code is irrelevant, as you are granted such a right by using either freeware, which doesn't necessarily provide the source code, or free software, which does.

This is one of those cases where clearly open source software != free software, and the difference between those licensing terms, particularly in this case, are extremelly important.

Comment Re:Simple math, silly! (Score 1) 260

Average people DO have a use for the "supercomputers" under their desks. Otherwise, everyone would still be buying sub-gigahertz semprons. But software continues to get more bloated, and "managed code" imposes even more of an overhead.

For sub-gigahertz semprons? Maybe.

Yet, if we do a realistic comparison and consider, for example, an AMD Athlon X2 (which is the cheapest CPU that was available at a local hardware store) then exactly what do people actually get by purchasing a beefier CPU? Do they get a better user experience exchanging emails, browsing facebook and seeing youtube clips? They don't.

After a certain threshold, it's irrelevant if you get to run your computer games any faster, and you can't possibly justify spending twice as much on a piece of hardware if the only thing that gets you is the ability to run a computer game at 200fps instead of 150fps. Sure, it might look good in a marketing blurb to claim that your product is 33% faster than the competitor's, but the practical result of that is perfectly irrelevant for any user.

Comment Re:Simple math, silly! (Score 4, Insightful) 260

It makes the assumption - always wrong - that people don't want more cpu. People ALWAYS want more cpu.

Your assertion is dissociated from reality. It completely ignores the netbook phenomenon, not to mention the inception of smartphones and tablet computers.

People don't buy these devices because they "want more CPU". After a certain level, the "CPU" amount is irrelevant and its practical effects are completely unnoticeable. There is a good reason why hardware companies rely on artificial benchmarks designed to push the hardware in completely unrealistic, useless and impractical scenarios to be able to compare their hardware against the competitor's offering, and therefore justify a higher asking price.

To drive the point home, I can tell you my personal case. My last two hardware purchases were a netbook and a smartphone, which, by today's standards, are considerably lacking o the "CPU" department. Yet, they are by far the two pieces of hardware which I use the most. I also have a desktop and a laptop which I've purchased a few years ago, and I actually use them for serious stuff which actually require real CPUs to crunch real numbers. I'm talking about structural analysis and CAD work. In spite of actually having to use a computer to actually do some serious number crunching to actually get a meaningful result, unlike calculating pi to the nth digit after the decimal point, the fact is that both my archaic desktop and laptop are more than capable of handling heavy workloads required for practical engineering work.

And this without even relying on OpenCL to take advantage of the hardware which is already present in the system and basically never leaves the idle state.

So, in short, contraty to what you said, people actually "don't want more cpu". People actaully know that they can't notice it after a certain point, which was actually passed about half a dozen years ago, and people are also aware that the inflated price tag associated with having "more cpu" actually doesn't justify the diminishing returns they get with that purchase. What they want is cheaper stuff that is actually good enough to get the job done, and if the job in mind is checking email, facebook and any other mundane tasks then people do know that the price tag of a supercomputer is completely unjustified, when they can easily get away with it by purchasing a glorified cellphone, with or without an embedded keyboard.

Comment Re:They still don't get it. (Score 1, Informative) 663

The thing about Piracy is, the people who pirate are not people who would have paid for it in the first place.

That isn't totally correct.

I've spent about 5 years not listening to any music, but a while ago I decided to check out what the bands I knew and liked have been up to in all these years. Some ended, which made me die a bit inside, others kept going without releasing any new album but others actually put out a couple of them.

So, I've decided to check these new albums.

One of these bands was The Atomic Bitchwax. The band recorded a couple albums since I stopped listening to music, and so I set forth to download them. I did that, and on the .rar file which packed the latest album was a small text file which mentioned that the band's entire discography was being sold via download through the band's site. I've checked them out and lo and behold, they were selling a pack with their first 6 albums for 5 dollars. They were also selling the latest album for 5 dollars as well.

So, I've spent 10 dollars and purchased both of them. Quite nice.

At least in my case, I've only shelved 10 dollars on music, my only music purchase in the last 5 years, because I've downloaded some mp3 albums and stumbled on a good deal. I may not represent a lot of people, but as I happen to exist then it certainly must mean something. At least now, when I see someone claiming that people who download mp3 don't purchase music, or that music downloads hurt business, I know enough to call it like it is: a load of bullshit.

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