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Comment Re:Neurons either fire or don't fire. (Score 2) 49

There's an interesting theory running around Neuroscience (and, let me tell you what a Harvard educated neuroscientist said about virtually all neuroscience and brain studies: "they're great theories, they've got tiny experimental observations to back them up, they're basically pulling all of this out of their asses.") so, anyway, the theory goes that "thoughts" are encoded as repeating firing patterns. As far as I understand the theory and what little I read of OP, the patterns themselves are more nuanced than binary, but one "idea" might be encoded as firing pattern like ..-..- ..-..- while a competing idea might be encoded as a different firing pattern: ...---... ...---... so, there can be thousands of distinct firing patterns (continuing the morse code analogy, even a simple 3 letter code holds over 17000 unique patterns, make those inter-firing intervals analog and a virtual infinity of patterns can be encoded with 8 to 10 intervals) so, groups of neurons start "singing" their songs based on inputs from other areas of the brain/body, usually several different patterns based on competing inputs from different "source" areas. The neurons in a "processing node" sort of fight it out, each repeating their idea of the "right" firing pattern until they reach some form of consensus, then that coherent pattern becomes a "valid" input to the next level of processing, which itself may be getting inputs from a bunch of different areas that it has to hash out until it can reach a coherent pattern to pass along. Eventually, these "ideas" fire off motor control routines and actuate the body to move, speak, etc.

The thing that's most intriguing to me about this theory is that it's somewhat repeated in human society. We get together, repeat ideas among small groups, pass them along to "higher levels" and eventually act as societies to do things. Now, with the internet, we have billions of people acting in some ways like neurons in a brain, reaching consensus about some things and chanting in chaotic disagreement about others.

Comment Re:Neurons either fire or don't fire. (Score 5, Interesting) 49

It starts out obvious, but then factors like conduction speed, receptor sensitivity, calcium channel recharge rates, etc. etc. all factor in to make a "wet" neural network quite a bit more complex and nuanced than an electronic network of NAND gates.

One of the open questions in "brain replication" is: can you get the same end result without the delays, varying sensitivity, numbing from multiple firing, etc.?

OP seems to be saying that they think the hierarchy is using binary structures, but not that the firing/not firing is a simple 0 or 1 condition.

Comment Re:Curing Greed. (Score 1) 439

You've probably heard that it takes money to make money. It's true.The more money you have the more you can make. Loop forever.

More concretely. Lets say you and I both start businesses making widgets. People like widgets. But I have more money than you, so I can get a 10% discount on widget parts by ordering in larger quantities. So I can sell my widgets for less than you can. So I sell my widgets and make money and you get stuck with a stock of widgets.

It could be a number of factors. Perhaps I can afford to sell at a loss long enough to drive your business under (AKA dumping). Perhaps I own my factory building outright and you have to pay rent for yours. Every month, I see ROI on my property and you flush rent down the toilet. Your landlord might make more money on your business than you do.

This will always be true (as Marx suggests) unless government specifically intervenes and makes it a regulated market.

Submission + - Virginia spent over half a million on cell surveillance that mostly doesn't work (

v3rgEz writes: In 2014, the Virginia State Police spent $585,265 on a specially modified Suburban outfitted with the latest and greatest in cell phone surveillance: The DRT 1183C, affectionately known as the DRTbox. But according to logs uncovered by public records website MuckRock, the pricey ride was only used 12 times — and only worked 7 of those times. Read the full DRTbox documents at MuckRock.

Comment Re:Curing Greed. (Score 1) 439

Perhaps we should heed Smith's admonition to hand out corporate charters extremely sparingly. He understood that markets need hundreds of competitors selling to buyers who were more or less on an equal economic footing. Also the part where he said that markets require regulation to remain functional.

That doesn't sound much like the thing we pass off as Capitalism today.

Comment Re:Curing Greed. (Score 1) 439

No. No good has ever come from greed. Enlightened self interest can do great things, but it is greed that removes the enlightened part.

It is technology that raised the peasants of old to a modern standard of living and it is greed that is trying to horde all of the advances for the enjoyment of the rich alone.

Enlightened self interest leads a CEO to build a company that provides decent employment to thousands. Greed leads the corporate raider to make unsustainable cuts, cash in on the stock options, and deploy the golden parachute before his cuts take the company down in flames.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 1) 439

I watched an old Twilight Zone episode on Netflix the other day (1966) which was about a factory where all the workers were being replaced by a computer and robotic system. They have been saying the same thing for 50 years. How many jobs today were not even imagined in 1966?

There are lots of new jobs, most of which are either beyond the capabilities of the people being displaced or which require several (5 or more) years of retraining during which time the displaced worker is starting over, earning nowhere near a sustainable income.

One view says that the intelligent will get their retraining before they lose their old jobs and be rewarded for their foresight. That view probably doesn't take into consideration how difficult it really is to make informed decisions about such things while working 50+ hours a week.

Another view might say that the industries that are automating and displacing all these workers should in some measure bear the burden of retraining... but that would require corporations to actually pay taxes, and we all have heard how that might spell the end of civilization.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 2) 439

How many jobs today are simple "made up work" - little companies that try to innovate, and fail - consuming speculative investment money, big companies that are so heavily regulated that most of their personnel cost is absorbed in generating documentation to C their As, keep the regulators from shutting them down, and prevent successful lawsuits from being brought. Oh, and then we can talk about the entire legal system, and the insurance industry medical industry black hole of man hours.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 1) 439

Anything that gives you enough income to purchase your own home seems to qualify as "middle income" these days.

If your household annual income exceeds 40% of the cost of a basic home in your area, congratulations, you've joined the middle class.

Until your household annual income exceeds 100% of the median home cost in your area, don't even think you're approaching "upper middle class" - like John Lennon (and later David Bowie) sang: "You're all fucking Peasants, as far as I can see."

Comment Re:Not mine. (Score 2) 439

Most of my work lately is writing code that writes code.

Compilers are software that writes software.

Siri/Cortana/ are lowering the bar for input to the point where they can take it from people who don't even know they are interacting with "a computer." When you describe to your phone that you want to go to the theater, and it provides you driving directions based on current traffic conditions, down to the level of detail of lanes to take, turns to make, and guides you to available parking, who will be programming who at that point?

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