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Comment Re: A brief history of Slashdot tr0lling (Score 1) 315

Oh, thanks, I totally forgot about the Slashdot bitchslap.

And I'm not claiming the tr0lls weren't clever and occasionally hysterical. I'm just saying that the continual repost of "BSD is dying, Netcraft confirms it" on every single story had long degenerated from trolling to nothing more than protoplasmic copypasta spam, right down there in the sewage with the casino links. (And yes, there were many funny on-topic variants of the BSD meme that brightened up lots of different comment threads.)

Comment Re:Thanks to (Score 1) 315

Ars Technica allows 30 minutes, I believe, and it doesn't seem to be abused. People that reply will quote the bit they reply to so it's clear what they refer to anyway.

So how about 30 minutes editing window, and a quick, one-button-press to quote the parent post? Just to encourage people to include the original bits in their replies?

For added protection you could colour the edited text in dark purple, say, just to make it clear to people what has been edited?

Comment A brief history of Slashdot tr0lling (Score 4, Informative) 315

[Apologies for the l33t sp33k, but the lameness filter is actually pretty effective at blocking even the discussion of the older common tr0lls.]

Tr0lling originally started out as posting something on-topic but factually wrong in order to get reactions from people. Tr0lling was elevated by some to become its own art form; the best tr0lls could get pedants to crawl out of the woodwork like termites fleeing a flood. And the resulting posts and reactions were genuinely funny -- anyone who understood what was going on got a good laugh. But that kind of tr0lling peaked over a decade ago.

Other garbage has since cycled through Slashdot like ugly fashions on a New York runway. First came the memes: sites confirming the passing of various operating systems, etc., which at least often tried to stay on topic. They were inoffensive, but showed little real effort; they quickly stopped being amusing. Then came the nonsensical randomness, such as a certain movie starlet known for Star Wars and a lap full of hot breakfast food (I never quite understood that one). They were perhaps attempting to be absurd but mostly came off as stupid; again, they were reasonably inoffensive. But the current rash of copy-paste has become the new nadir, where cud-chewing morons too stupid to create their own original racism have figured out enough of the clipboard to re-vomit someone else's puke in the comments.

( In a huge burst of irony, some of the tr0lls themselves got pedantic, claiming the garbage posts did not qualify as "tr0lling" under their definition. Thus ended the reign of the major tr0lls, whose posts were quickly modded down into the -1 muck along with the rest of the bile. )

Throughout all of this, anonymous cowards and other low-lifes have always posted hate speech, political screeds, and offensive, racist crap. Browsing at -1, however briefly, will expose you to the words of horrible, useless human beings. Don't do it -- just click "no".

Slashdot has fought back, of course. The lameness filter has long kept out garbage like ASCII art, and certain phrases that I couldn't quote in this post. The remarkable bottom line is that Slashdot's moderation system, flawed as it may be, has kept the comments mostly readable for a very long time. Sites that failed to emulate it have come and gone, mostly forgotten by all but the Wayback Machine. Sites that still allow comments have almost nothing usable in them (youtube is a prime example of a site with unusable comments.) Meanwhile, Slashdot's community has managed to keep some semblance of order together. That's quite an achievement, especially over the nearly two decades of its existence.

Comment Re:Great (Score 1) 89

Well, yes and no. You're limited to 100Mbit/s, which is if course a lot slower than gigabit ethernet, But normally a scientific cluster (which is what I'm interested in) isn't really limited by bandwidth as much as by latency. Going through the USB subsystem for all packets is going to give you worse latency than dedicated hardware. But then, I also use a cheap switch that's probably not a speed demon for retransmitting packets either.

And the thing is, the Pi is a fairly slow computer. I suspect that as a ratio of computing speed to transmission delays, the Pi has as effective communication as a "real" cluster of server systems connected with high-end hardware. The CPU is even slower than the network if you will.

Comment Re:Great (Score 1) 89

Any particular reason not to just do it in software, e.g xenserver or virtualbox? Virtual networking is kind of messy, but it leaves less cables around :)

VMs would work well, I agree. But this way I also get real(ish) network latency and delays in the same way a full-size system does. And an actual tiny cluster on my desk is a lot more fun :)

Comment Re:Great (Score 1) 89

It's really easy to set up. Take a few Pi's, add a small switch (get one that takes 5V). Connect them up, and use a single larger power brick that can power all Pis and the switch. Either make some kind of enclosure, or - as I did - rack them up with spacers, drill holes in the switch lid and mount the rack of PI's to it.

One wrinkle is that you probably want to keep the switch only for the internal network. I use a USB-Ethernet dongle on the login node for external communication. it's just as fast as the on-board Ethernet in practice (it's internally treated as a USB device anyhow), and you can set up the login node to act as router and gateway to the other nodes.

Then you can install and play with whatever cluster-related software you like: Slurm, OpenMPI, Ansible, GNU Modules, XscalableMP, ZeroMQ and so on.

Comment Re:Great (Score 1) 89

It's fairly common in complex robotics to have a set of tiny MCUs like the AVR (that Arduino is based on) to control one or two joints, then a larger single-board computer to send commands to those units, and receive status updates about angles and speeds.

The Arduino and Raspberry Pi are well suited to those two roles.

Comment Great (Score 3, Interesting) 89

I just finished a small Raspberry Pi cluster, with two RPi 3 compute nodes and an Rpi 2 front-end node. Not because it has such great computational capabilities - it doesn't - but because it's a low-cost way to get a "training system" that I can abuse without messing up anything on the real cluster I also use.

These new Pi's would be even better; could have a single backplane that the nodes slot into. Ideally you'd be able to route both power and ethernet through the backplane as well, but I don't know how feasible that'd be.

Comment Re:I Know Where The 22,000 Went! (Score 1) 474

Why is it society's responsibility to teach you job skills?

Because long-term unemployment is a societal burden, not just an individual one? And it's a missed economic opportunity for society as well as the individual?

It is a shared responsibility because mismatches between worker skills and opportunities is a shared economic burden.

Comment Re:Science is still vague and unsettled (Score 1) 609

What I love about this is that a sociologist, of all people, a practitioner of a "science" almost as soft (read: inaccurate and trend-driven) as psychology, feels compelled to weigh in on the unreasonable nature of trying for actual correctness.

I think he's very well-positioned to refute this idea. He knows better than most that human nature is not rational, and won't fit neatly into a rational-based society. He likely has the data to back up those assertions.

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