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Comment Re:I can already anticipate the ignorant posts (Score 1) 220

The random order makes sense, and I've seen it used in other similar situations (like the list of domain registrars on the NZ domain name commission site). But I wonder how this randomness (and potentially other aspects of the ballot screen) are verified by the authorities. Is the code turned over to them? Or do they have to black box test it? If the latter, then maybe MS have fudged it so IE *will* appear towards the top more often.

Comment Re:What is going one here? (Score 2, Insightful) 236

Exactly, and I think in this case it makes a lot of sense. I formerly worked for a major newspaper, and due to various complicated contracts with different entities, option [c] had to be chosen. I.e. a lot of stuff we de-listed from google (which we didn't want to do), because we couldn't be seen to be (obviously) giving content away, while others were paying dearly for it.

This is distinctly different to the "Google should pay *us* for the privilege of listing our content", which is clearly insane.

Note, obviously there are always going to be ways around registration/subscription, especially if you have n clicks free, which is probably going to be cookie based... but these require a bit more technical know how, and could be seen as being on less stable ground legally, so are acceptable loop holes. But just going via google and getting anything free is a bigger deal. I don't see why news organisations shouldn't have the right to charge for the content they want to charge for. If that business model is flawed, then the market will sort that out, right?

Comment Re:I hate the word "consensus" (Score 1) 1100

Consensus is really the only way science can move forward on anything. The thing with science, is nothing is (or ever will be) 100% "proven". There's always going to be an element of doubt. All we can do is find a pile of evidence that points us in one direction, and hope that we don't (at a later date) find a bigger pile of evidence that points us in another direction. That might not be comfortable for some people, but it's the only way we have of gaining knowledge, and it's worked pretty well for a couple of hundred years.

When a new theory is proposed, much debate takes place, and various experiments and studies are carried out to attempt to gain evidence for whether it appears to be true or not. Much debate ensues. Eventually, there'll be a consensus amongst most of the scientists in the field (although this doesn't always happen... physics has become hampered with our inability to gain more evidence to support theories, which is why they're trying to build massive and very expensive particle accelerators, telecopes, space probes, etc). The process of reaching consensus often takes a couple of decades, and is not an easy process. Scientists often have a "gut feel" for what they think is the truth, and will persue evidence that supports their point of view. Of course, gut feels are often wrong, but fortunately, this happens on both sides of the debate, and one side eventually wins out. There were several (some notable) scientists who strongly opposed the Big Bang Theory, but later had to concede they were wrong when the evidence became undeniable.

As for the Global Warming debate, this finished some time ago as far as most scientists are concerned (too lazy to find a link to support this, but it's easy enough to google). But it did go on for at least a decade. As with any consensus, not everyone agrees. Mostly these are crackpots or (sadly) shills, altho there are certainly some respected scientists who disagree. But there always will be on virtually any debate in science. That's not a reason to think it's likely to be false. We'd need some evidence (e.g. repeatable experiments) before the debate truly re-opened. If we re-opened the debate whenever someone objected, we'd never make any progress.

The way the consensus for Global Warming was reached was more or less the same as the way consensus has been reached on every scientific theory ever. If we suddenly decide that that process is wrong, we will have to throw out a lot more than just the theory of Global Warming.

Comment Re:Question for the CC pundits (Score 2, Interesting) 1100

It's not about a particular temperature, it's about rate of change, which is much faster than we'd expect a natural cycle to be. If this were happening over thousands of years, there'd be enough time for society to adapt (would probably involve a reduction in population, which is possible to do "gently" over long periods). Massive migation due to rising sea levels, a collapse in available resources, mass extinctions having knock on effects in a century or so is sure to be disasterous (altho probably not the end of the world, or even humans, just the end of our current level of civilisation).

Comment God is a Woman (Score 1) 1146

There's a good book by comedian Ian Coburn called "God is a Woman". It's more about dating (it's kind of like the "PUA" stuff, for people who aren't assholes), but there's one good bit of advice in there relating to marriage, which Coburn got from talking to other comedians who were married (he says you get to know people pretty well on the road).

The advice was: before you get married, make sure you've talked about 3 things: money, sex and kids.

Money is probably fairly obvious, as is sex (according to the book, a lot of woman intend to change things in the bedroom once they're married). Talking about kids is not just talking about whether you'll have them, and how many, but how you'll raise them. These all kind of seem like obvious (and important) things to discuss, but you can bet a lot of people never bring them up.

Comment Re:As Jon Stewart would put it.. (Score 1) 366

People have been predicting accurate voice recognition will be available in 2-5 years for about 30 years now. We've seen some advancement in this area, but not a lot.

Some problems turn out to be a lot harder than we first think. Sometimes many orders of magnitude harder. I would think it's pretty likely that creating anything even close to a sentient AI is pretty damn hard.

I basically agree with your conclusions, I just don't agree it will happen any time soon. I could be wrong, of course, but that's just the point - there's no way we can really know.

Comment Re:Summary of Kurzweil's "ideas" (Score 1) 366

I don't doubt that there's a reasonable chance some of what he talks about will happen one day. But in our lifetimes? Anything's possible, but it seems unlikely to me.

We don't yet have anything even resembling AI. Just because hardware continues to give us more capability, doesn't mean we'll continue to be able to *use* it.

People who follow the singularity seem to be 100% sure that this *will* happen in the next 20 years. That's not science. Scientists aren't even sure about their current theories, even the "proven" ones, like the Big Bang. That's the nature of science - there's always an element of doubt.

Comment Re:The US is quickly devolving into a socialistic. (Score 1) 780

What does socialism have to do with authoritarianism? Just because the communists operated under a banner of socialism, doesn't mean their authoritarian practices had anything to do with it.

See Politcal Compass for more.

(That said, I agree totally with your fears of power grabs by governments around the world, and the need for us to do something about it).

Comment Re:Condemnation of Agile practices (Score 1) 625

Agile is a nice word for management to throw around and pretend they're adding something useful. But that doesn't mean that it's a) being used by that company, b) completely useless.

The fact that MS can't release things in a timely manner (or even very often at all) is damning evidence that they're not Agile. If they were, they'd be de-scoping to hit releases. Regular, incremental releases is fundamental to good Agile (something a lot of people seem to miss). Ubuntu seems to have it right in that respect, and they're reaping the rewards.

Comment Re:But... is Perl now historical only? (Score 1) 277

Perl 5 is still alive and kicking. For just one example of a new project in Perl 5 on a major site, see the BBC iPlayer web interface. (I've heard rumours that another example is youporn ;)

The Perl community is very good at keeping up with the advances of other languages, and in some cases quietly advancing itself. The Moose object system is a good example, which has at least one other language (Javascript) has seen fit to copy.

Moose itself has drawn a lot of inspiration from Perl 6. But Perl 5 has a lot of baggage (as any language of it's age does, e.g. Java), and it'll never be able to do all the things Perl 6 will eventually be capable of.

Perl 6 is a massive undertaking though. They are releasing often, but it's too early to really do much cool stuff with it yet (although you can at least play Hangman). I don't think there's any other language taking on a project so ambitious, at least not one funded by donations, and definitely nothing in the world of dynamic languages.

At any rate, I don't really see how it can be vapourware when they're releasing actual code at least monthly that you can do stuff with.

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