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Comment Re:C is the best (Score 2) 289

C is actually quite portable. But documenting it correctly so that someone else (or you a few years later) can understand what's going on it a beast.

C is more portable than either assembler or C++ (to bracket it with similar languages). It's not the most portable, for that you need either an interpreted language or one that runs on a virtual machine. Like Java, Python, Smalltalk, Ruby, etc., but it's probably the most portable language that compiles to native code.

Comment Re:The fix is in (Score 1) 270

Yes. It didn't work. Hillary was a bit slicker. But since them both parties have been "fixing the vote".

In a sense this is making them both true to their roots. The political ancestors of the Republicans believed that only property owning (white) males should vote. The political ancestors of the Democrats believed that the voting process was too restricted. It's too bad that decision can't be made on it's merits, and that neither party is willing to respect the current laws...laws which they, in combination, were in charge of writing.

Comment Re:The fix is in (Score 1) 270

It was already clear at the time of the Democrat candidate debates that the "fix was in". Anyone who didn't realize it was just not paying attention. It was (and is) less clear that the Democrats have done more to "fix" the election than have the Republicans, though they have both been clearly seen to be doing it.

Comment Re:Ok, so what? (Score 1) 270

It's not clear that "the network effect" is sufficient to cause them to be considered a monopoly. And that's the only grounds that I see for calling them a monopoly. Facebook is more like a "public accommodation". The laws regarding that are different from those regarding monopolies, and I don't understand them, but they *do* exist.

Comment Re:Servants (Score 2) 346

Yes... Unfortunately, not increasing the minimum wage only delays the automation by a year or so, as the cost of automation keeps falling.

Defending the status quo in minimum wages is a losing game, because the other side isn't standing still no matter what you do. Even if you cut the minimum wage automation will continue increasing, because there are some jobs that can already be done for considerably less than a person can live on that haven't yet been automated.

Comment Re:Free time (Score 1) 346

The "cheap community college" has also gone away...or at least become a lot less cheap. When I went to college the community college cost $2/semester, currently the same college costs $31/unit. That means a 12 unit load costs $62. but now the cost is per quarter rather than per semester. So that means it what was $4 is now $186. That's a bit of a steep increase, though it's not as bad as the university increase.

Comment Re:So much for the singularity (Score 1) 128

There are those whose view of the Technological Singularity is as you describe them. Those believe in the "hard take-off Singularity". Most of those who think seriously about it, however, believe in the "soft take-off". To deny that the technological feedback is happening and increasing is to deny (at least) the last five decades of history. But it never goes the way you predict...unless your prediction is just that it's going to increase.

Clearly there must be a limit. It is, however, not at all clear what the limit is. People keep redesigning things to eliminate bottlenecks and streamline processes. And new gadgets keep making increased streamlining possible. Certain areas have already passed the Singularity (my idea of the Singularity) a long time ago. E.g. the last person reputed to know all human knowledge lived in the 1800's. I doubt that he really did, e.g. I doubt that he knew how to take raw materials (iron ore, etc.) and shoe a horse, but he had that reputation. These days there isn't a single field-theory mathematician who knows all there is to know about field-theory. mathematics. Somewhere in there we passed a kind of Singularity boundary. Nobody noticed.

Comment Re: Encryption (Score 1) 318

But your device wouldn't have anything encrypted on it. It would log-on flawlessly, and there wouldn't be anything special on it or about it...whenever you were at the border checkpoint. That's the point of the proposed approach.

It does require that you have a drop-box you can trust to store encrypted data...but the drop-box is out on the internet, probably an ftp server. And it doesn't have the keys to decrypt. It also requires that you actually be able to delete files on your computer...unless you're willing to do a fresh install from a live CD frequently.

Comment Re:Encryption (Score 1) 318

There are many reasons why people put up with unduly invasive governments. A revolution is extremely destructive, and you're likely to get in an even worse gang.

It's also true that the US is, essentially, a "water empire". If the government really dislikes your area they can cut off the water. (This is less true east of the Mississippi.) Cutting off the water is as easy as cutting off the electricity, which they can also do. If they, or anyone, were to do that there would be massive deaths within weeks. It's estimated that the average city contains enough food to feed it's citizens for 48 hours. After that people start getting hungry. The population is largely urban and possibly half of them have never seen even a tomato plant.

What *could* happen is internal terrorism...preferably aimed at the oppressors. One can view the recent sniping at police as an example of this starting up...but it's happened before and not gone anywhere. A violent revolution would be much worse for almost everyone, and the people in power are usually of quite limited access...so it's not likely to happen.

FWIW, I think that if anyone were serious about violent revolution they should start killing the tax collectors. A lot of people who wouldn't sensibly support such an act would cheer. In Van Voght's "The Weapon Shops of Isher" the weapon makers had a rule that they could never act directly against the imperial family. This reflects an awareness of social interactions that many people don't possess. A very large number of people identify with the ruler, so to threaten him (or her) is seen as a threat to themselves. Even police, as representatives of power, are unreasonably protected by this attitude. And it may be one of the foundations of "the blue line".

Comment Re:What about heat dissipation (Score 1) 128

Not really. This is more like the shape of the circulatory system. The difference is that the angle at which veins/arteries split off has to do with surface tension, turbulent flow, and various other things that don't affect the topology of internet links. And affect coolers moving large amounts of air through large tubes less than coolers moving smaller amounts of fluid through smaller tubes. There is, however, a large similarity to the vein branching patterns of leaves, probably because that moves a thick fluid (thin sap) at the lowest possible pressure.

Comment Re:So much for the singularity (Score 1) 128

FWIW, I believe that even our current technology is sufficient to "achieve the singularity". The thing that's lacking is software. The thing that would be changed it how widely spread the "superhuman AIs" are. Possibly also how fast they are. (You could do it with cog-wheels if you didn't worry about speed.)

Also, I haven't seen anything that would cause me to revise my expected date of 2030 plus or minus 5 years. Even that "plus or minus" doesn't really belong there. as there won't be any sudden change at any particular point. In that sense it's like dropping into a black hole. You don't even notice when you pass the Schwarzschild boundary.

That said, don't believe any particular projection about what happens when you "pass into the singularity". There's not only one, and we've already passed through several. The transitions from vacuum tubes to integrated circuits was one "technological singularity". Nobody could predict ahead of time what it meant, or not accurately. E.g. IBM never foresaw the personal computer.

The thing called "the Singularity" these days generally has to do with AI, but if you look back at the original papers that was just seen as one path, and it's not like the other paths haven't been being developed in parallel.

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