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Comment Java’s problem is memory usage (Score 2) 375

That’s funny, although unless you’re bumping up against your VM memory limit, it’s not such a problem. When you DO approach your memory limit, performance drops to a crawl. In the 32-bit days, I hated the fact that my colleagues in AI developed in Java instead of C++ for programs that worked on really huge datasets just because of this issue. The programs would be frozen on GC for as much time as they did computation. That doesn’t mean I hate Java; I really like it, but this was the wrong time to use it.

But a bigger problem is that Java VMs are memory-hungry. After a little while, a long-running Java app has grown to its maximum size and stays there tying up system resources that it’s not really using. This can happen in C too, but with Java, you can’t avoid allocating and freeing objects constantly, while you can keep memory allocation well under control in C/C++, keeping your process size small. You can’t keep your Java process size small AND have good performance.

BTW, despite this, I do all kinds of work in Java. Mostly server stuff and some swing. When I need speed, I use C and/or C++. When I want to do something like string processing or just want to hack together a one-off, I use Ruby. When I want to do symbolic math, I am forced to use Python (a language whose syntax I object to on moral grounds) because sympy is the awesomest thing ever.

My FAVORITE language? Probably Verilog. I’m a chip designer, so you can just assume that any piddling arguments you have over programming languages will just make me roll my eyes over how trivial the differences are. That’s like watching a Lutheran and a Methodist try to argue over the infinitessimally trivial differences in their religions. Just to piss people off for fun, I’m going to say that software languages (except maybe Haskell, which is scary for other reasons) are these arbitrary constructions that people argue about like religions. On the other hand, Verilog is grounded in reality and science; it has some rough edges too, but that is the way of science. (Our VHDL bretheren fully recognize that the two languages ultimately have the same semantics.)

Comment Re:Streamed Games = Next Level DRM (Score 1) 54

Some games could work that way. But it cuts out the adrenaline junky twitch FPS games. It also cuts out the modern style Quick-Time-Event games (like Dragon's Lair but dumber). But it could work for exactly the sorts of games you will never see on a dumbed down console: turn based RPG, strategy, adventure, etc.


FBI Director Says Prolific Default Encryption Hurting Government Spying Efforts ( 345

SonicSpike quotes a report from ABC News: FBI Director James Comey warned again Tuesday about the bureau's inability to access digital devices because of encryption and said investigators were collecting information about the challenge in preparation for an "adult conversation" next year. Widespread encryption built into smartphones is "making more and more of the room that we are charged to investigate dark," Comey said in a cybersecurity symposium. The remarks reiterated points that Comey has made repeatedly in the last two years, before Congress and in other settings, about the growing collision between electronic privacy and national security. "The conversation we've been trying to have about this has dipped below public consciousness now, and that's fine," Comey said at a symposium organized by Symantec, a technology company. "Because what we want to do is collect information this year so that next year we can have an adult conversation in this country." The American people, he said, have a reasonable expectation of privacy in private spaces -- including houses, cars and electronic devices. But that right is not absolute when law enforcement has probable cause to believe that there's evidence of a crime in one of those places, including a laptop or smartphone. "With good reason, the people of the United States -- through judges and law enforcement -- can invade our private spaces," Comey said, adding that that "bargain" has been at the center of the country since its inception. He said it's not the role of the FBI or tech companies to tell the American people how to live and govern themselves. "We need to understand in the FBI how is this exactly affecting our work, and then share that with folks," Comey said, conceding the American people might ultimately decide that its privacy was more important than "that portion of the room being dark." Comey made his remarks to the 2016 Symantec Government Symposium. The Daily Dot has another take on Comey's remarks, which you can read here.

Comment Re:Seems about right (Score 1) 186

Defendants did respond in some fashion and also filed a counter-suit. The request for default judgement does not mean the defendants never responded, it could be that some complaints were not responded to or not resonded to in a way that they wished, or it's just a standard legal move used whether or not there is a response, or they could be flat out lying by saying there was no response, which it is why it's up to the judge to decide the merits of the request.

Comment Re:Seems about right (Score 1) 186

Let's say hypothetically that the cat doesn't belong to the so-called owners and they don't have a valid trademark. In such a situation, the coffee company should still not be allowed to market under that brand name without the cat's permission. However the cat does not have the appropriate opportunity to hire a legal team to defend the trademark.

Comment We have stop the race to the bottom. (Score 1) 530

"Profits made in Ireland" "profit due to sales in EU" are all really meaningless. Apple A sells something to Apple B. It can price it such that A makes 100% of the profit or vice versa or any percentage it chooses. We do not want governments to enact laws, regulation about these internal details. Enforcement will be difficult, and compliance will be too onerous to the companies.

What USA says is, "don't care who makes the profit where. Your total tax burden can not be below this threshold. Pay this much tax to any jurisdiction you choose, using whatever law/accounting practice you want. If all the taxes paid to all the foreign governments do not add up to this threshold, you owe the rest to US government".

This is a very logical, clean, simple effort to derail the race to the bottom. But industry spins it as "US government taxes world wide income! Onerous, We don't owe US government for profits made outside USA!" No USA does not really want to tax profits made abroad. USA just wants to make sure you don't play one country against another to reduce your tax burden. We just don't want you to game the system. Pay X% as tax to any government you choose.

Comment Re:It's not aliens (Score 1) 279

I have trouble conceiving of intelligent beings with the ability to imagine things that are not right in front of their faces as being incapable of committing an unethical act. It seems inevitable, as a function of the way intelligence works. At some point, hominids were capable of committing atrocities but didn't have sufficient capability for premeditating these things. Gradually over time, they evolved greater and greater conscious volition, which enabled them to become gradually more "sinful." Something similar would have happened with language AT THE SAME TIME, because to communicate a message about the past requires that one be able to imagine something that is not right in front of them.

If the Bible has anything value at all beyond mythology of primitive peoples, then it only makes sense as an allegory. Sure, it contains history. All myths contain elements of real history, but the (a) the main purpose isn't as a science or history book, and (b) at the time it was written our modern idea of "history" didn't really exist apart from what we would also today call myth or urban legend. And we all know that the Torah was an oral tradition long before it was written down, and we can associate stories in it with stories from other cultures. Also, based on the way many ancient writers described things, they barely distinguished dreams from waking life, seeing random brain activity as being visions from God. I'm not saying there were no visions from God, but I am saying that most dreams surely were not, but ancient peoples tended to not make these distinctions.

So if things like creation, original sin, and the flood have any real meaning, it's within the context of the culture they came from and their limited knowledge of the universe, so if there's a spiritual message implanted in it, we have to be careful to separate that spiritual message from any "factual" content that it completely out of date. Imagine if God had revealed to people things about cosmic distances and quantum mechanics; nobody would have believed it, resulting in a still-born religion.

Comment Re:It's not aliens (Score 1) 279

, they'll just come and do their studies and if they happen to kill humanity with their research techniques, that's just a necessary part of research, no big loss. advanced ET research team wouldn't know that negligently wiping out the dominant life form on the planet they want to study might alter their results?

Comment Re:It's not aliens (Score 1) 279

Those are a lot of assumptions. Does "alive" mean the same thing? Do they have individuals who breed and are born and die? Or are they some kind of hive mind that's essentially immortal, even though parts of it may wear out and have to be replaced? Does a hive mind need to communicate in the same way that we do? Obviously, to have an advanced technological civilization, they would have to understand math and other things we call science, although those things could possibly be much more intuitive to them, if "intuitive" has any meaning here.

An argument I have been trying to use to shake Christian fundamentalists out of their madness is to talk about what Jesus would be like in an alien civilization.

Now may people just think of Jesus as a social genius who was born at a time when the Roman empire had taken over and enabled broader travel and communication, and much of the mysticism around him was filled in later by his followers. Also, Jesus may really be a composite of multiple people of that time.

But let's pretend Jesus was God. Surely aliens would be sinful and need to be saved and all that. (In this scenario, "original sin" is something that evolves naturally in creatures that develop the ability to imagine non-immediate events and can make conscious choices that we would consider unethical.) On earth, death has been a big deal to humans, so martyrdom for Jesus isn't especially necessary for atonement (because God could have chosen any means he wanted). Rather, it's just fabulous marketing. What better way to spread a religion than to teach a bunch of disruptive ideas and then get gruesomely killed by the Romans?

So in an alien society, the "sacrifice" of their incarnation of Jesus would be entirely different. For instance, let's say that we have a hive mind creature that can temporarily split off individuals (or how else would they be able to explore their planet broadly and go into space?), and as a result of that need to do this unnatural splitting off, they have developed communication strategies. But let's say that staying disconnected from the hive for a long time is detrimental to that individual in some horrific ways. So an example of a personal sacrifice here, in a world where death doesn't mean much, might be for an individual to live out a disconnected life and utilize these invented communications methods to teach his message.

I'm not sure if the argument will work, because most fundamentalists just deny that aliens could exist.

Comment Re:It's not aliens (Score 1) 279

We may be more advanced technologically than hunter-gatherers. But we’re the same species, so we have evolutionary common ground and we’re more or less in the same range and style of intelligence. An alien civilization would have nothing in common with us at all. If they came to visit us, there’s no reason why they should necessarily even perceive us as having intelligence.

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