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Comment Re:Massive failure from all involved (Score 5, Insightful) 159

The point of the argument is to challenge the implicit assumption that current neuroscience methods work as well as people think they do. If you just assume your research methods work, you are resting on blind faith in your methods. One step in showing the need to challenge those foundational assumptions is to use this example to //illustrate// how then can fail. Using microprocessors allows is the luxury of total knowledge as to what we are investigating, at the expense of being quite different to the brain. The quoted bit needs fixing:

"If we can't even properly reverse engineer an extremely simple deterministic computer chip using fault modeling, it's extremely unlikely that the same fault modelling will work reliably with something extremely complex like the brain."

It does not show whether or not 'fault modelling' works or not for the brain, but gives good justification for the claim that we cannot take the efficacy of 'fault modelling' for granted when studying the brain.

Comment Re:Does the US government want him? (Score 2) 540

He wanted to avoid being handed over to Sweden because, once in Sweden, he feared the US requesting extradition, and then treating him like they did Chelsea Manning. Now Trump is coming in, who the fuck is going to grant him any clemency?

Comment Re:Linux OS tuned for Intel hardware on emulated h (Score 1) 24

They're not emulated. They are confined by hardware virtualisation (which is in many ways like another tier of process memory protection). Virtualised apps run on the bare metal processor, just as userland processes do. The only difference is that the kernel the userland processes on a virtualised host sees is also like a userland process, so far as the bare-metal processor is concerned.

Comment Re:Blockchain != trustless p2p (Score 1) 109

Importantly, Bitcoin is vulnerable to one party gaining control of over 50% of all hashing. With banks trusting each other, and nobody else allowed to produce hashes, this problem is essentially no longer there. I'd quietly commented to friends it was only a matter of time before banks start doing something like this.

Comment Connecting common wishes (Score 1) 221

The 'make a request and be served for free' thing is what people need to understand doesn't happen. But if multiple people who have the same wish can know about each other, that can enable them to co-ordinate efforts where they could contribute something but not all of it. Connecting people's wishes and efforts is what matters not demanding stuff for free.

Comment Re:False premise (Score 2) 487

I have a number of refurb Thinkpad 410s, 420s, and X201s etc. Stick them in docks, and for many things, it is a nice, quiet desktop, with enough oomph for most things, runs both Windows and Linux well, all cost under £150 each, some had smashed screens, and were got off ebay for under £30. Give them new HDDs (or hybrids) or SSDs, and you're happy. To get something that runs Windows 10 well, you need to spend close to £1000. To get Windows 10 without all the rubbish MS has baked into it, you're stuffed. Market stupidity is why the PC is declining: in part due to MS, in part to Intel and others. There is just no compelling PC product on the market at the moment.

Comment A sad tale of corporate capitalism... (Score 1) 228

Like others lamenting here, between 2005 and 2010 I was essentially Apple only, having switched from Windows and Linux. In 2011 I tried Linux again, putting Ubuntu on a Sony Vaio laptop (dual booting with Windows), and then an Acer laptop. The improvements in Linux re-ignited my inner penguin, and it is what I use most often. My macs are a 2008 iMac, and a 2009 macbook. There is no point in upgrading the hardware, nothing more recent, first- or second-hand is a sensible option, and Snow Leopard is the most sensible OS for this hardware. The iMac's graphics chipset is going, so its only real role is ripping CDs in iTunes. The optical drive in the iMac has a CD stuck in which it cannot eject, and any kind of maintenance means a 1hr ordeal of taking the thing apart. If that happens, my plan is to build a new case for the parts (not pretty, but maintainable) so as to allow things like HD changes without having to do a task as fiddly as a 5x5 rubiks cube. Apple used to make hardware into an art form, now they make unmaintainability into an artform.

Jokingly, I refer to Apple as the US front of the FoxConnShinyElectricToyCompany.

They are a wonderful example of the longer-term problems of proprietary hardware/OS combinations: you cannot do anything about the fact that Apple only sells shiny toys to run OS X, and you can do nothing to prevent Apple turning macOS into an overgrown iOS. In an ideal world, companies like Apple would make high quality hardware and software that just worked.

Comment Re: Keep it original... (Score 1) 304

The defense is simple: the unmodified original, warts and all, is the Star Wars I grew up with, the 'improved' versions are not. The 'improved' versions are not that good as movies in their own right, had they been originally released in, say, 2000, and with no previous history. But in 1977 (the year I was born) it was magical, and growing up with it, seeing it on SD analogue TVs, or VHS, was a magical experience. The 'improved' versions have the feel of taking away a child's favourite teddybear, and adding some improvements and giving it back. The child's usual response is that it isn't his (or her) favourite teddybear any more. So it is with the original Star Wars. The 'improved' versions may have technical improvements, but they don't excite those of us with memories of the original they way the original ones did. Many fans want an option to relive the originals, and are being denied it.

If you've ever seen the original Godzilla, you could make many 'how can you defend' arguments vs the CGI disasters of recent years. Many of us just want the best that can be possibly done with the original footage, not a FrankenMovie.

Comment Re:Uh... (Score 1) 343

Why one of the other? Personally I tend to recommend Lisp, Smalltalk and Haskell as languages to train how you think about programming. A basic grasp of these three does wonders for how you think about programming, at least for high level stuff. Understanding how a forth works, and why Moore wrote it as he did tells you much about low level stuff, as does exploring basic demo coding on emulations of old 90s machines (where clever machine level stuff was necessary, and things were significantly less complex).

There is a big difference between languages which help train your brain, and languages which help you get stuff done. There is considerable overlap, of course, but by sticking only to languages which get stuff done you limit your capacity to think about your programming.

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