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Comment Re:EBooks (Score 1) 165

Same across the board for most 'digital' with physical counterparts. If I 'buy' a digital video, it'd be more expensive (and more limited) than a blu-ray copy. Steam is about the only venue I've seen the downloaded copies sell for cheaper than boxed copies.

Comment Re:EBooks (Score 1) 165

I would *hope* so, but there's frankly a limit on how many people would purchase a work. I'm not so sure that a 50 shades series book would have much opportunity to sell to more people than they already did. I don't think I've heard many people say "oh, I would read that book, but I can't afford it".

Of the people I know roughly their buying habits, their time budget for reading limits them far more than their money budget.

Comment Re:Not a big deal (Score 1) 136

MS, like almost every company on earth, would kill to have a "fad" like that...

The article you link in fact state "In contrast to the iPhone and Mac, the iPad continues to struggle". They made a lot more even on Mac computers. Their competitors make more (revenue) on laptops/desktops than Apple does on Macs. While no company would turn down an extra $5 billion in revenue certainly, the players in the industry don't have much reason to be *exceedingly* envious of that particular product.

iPad fever had the world on fire as it went from $2 billion a quarter to 5 and then 11 billion, with people assuming that trend would continue. $11 billion was respectable in its own right and would outpace most companies PCs sales if sustained, but people were *mostly* focused on the presumed future. Since then iPad sales half fallen to half of that, without a sign of that trend reversing.

Comment Re:the problem with Kevin Kelly (Score 1) 255

Bah, I've got more.

Bubble sort was invented because it's optimal on a Turing machine, and it's easy to laugh at (ha, ha, topology matters after all). Of course, Turing chose the most reductive topology (linear tape) to simplify proof mechanics, and not as a realistic topology for any computation, ever.

Two fundamental technologies define our current electronic regime:

The first puts us into a fundamentally 2D electronic topology at the lowest scale. The second determines the first-order term in thermal efficiency. We've been running these rapids for my entire life—and for the better part of 50 years, it never blinked.

At the layer of the data center, with all those high-speed cross-bar switches pancaking the fabric, the meta topology is closer to 4D at the logical level (switching latency), and 2.5D at the physical level (speed of light effects). But still 2D at the silicon level. (It's only recently that TSV HBM is starting to appear in GPUs targeted at neural networks. Call that 2.5D.) With electronic switching, the 4D term presently dominates, but with the advent of photonic switching, the 2.5D term will likely dominate (alongside a one or two order-of-magnitude improvement in data-center bisection bandwidth).

When you look at computation on a planetary scale, and we're back to 2D (so far we mostly install our computational devices in the razor-thin planetary biosphere).

Now the human brain is 3D volumetrically, but probably closer to 2.5D at the logical connectivity layer. Back up to 3D at the level of individual neural networks. (Is that important?)

Neural oscillation

The band seems to range from 1–70 Hz. This is not dissimilar to planetary Internet-scale resonant frequencies: light circles the equator at about 7 Hz.

Human social intelligence resonates on the scale of seconds to minutes (your average drunk can thumb-select a wry emoticon for his Twitter feed in about the same length of time it takes to eject a floppy disk and jam in a different one—also known as 10 billion clock cycles). Machine social intelligence—should this come to pass—will resonate on a scale somewhere in the milliseconds to low seconds range.

The cleavage points in the time domain are strikingly different, yet more or less the same cup of tea, all the same.

This argument from time is hardly decided. An argument from Joules would probably be more useful, but is presently hard to assess in any shallow way.

What's the asymptotic data-recall efficiency of photonic memory?

Right. I've got no clue, either.

Comment the problem with Kevin Kelly (Score 1) 255

The problem with Kevin Kelly is that he tickles the part of your brain that wants more Richard Feynman, and then this.

This thesis is not new.

Kelly on the Future, Productivity, and the Quality of Life — January 2013

Guest: The basis of my non-worry comes from the fact that I think the idea of universal computation is a myth. And by universal computation is the belief that starting with the mathematical idea called Turing-Church hypothesis, which says any computation is equivalent to any other computation. The full version of that is: Any computation is equivalent to any other computation given infinite time and space.

From my original notes:

There was good stuff, but he also went on irritating rambles I wouldn't wish to consume again. ... The weirdest one is where he challenges universal computation as applying only when infinite in time and infinite in space.

Kelly seems not to comprehend the challenge involved in proving near-equivalency of computational systems (over any ingenious metric) in the finite case. You'd be walking straight uphill in the general direction of Chaitin's constant.

Although there are infinitely many halting probabilities, it is common to use the letter omega to refer to them as if there were only one.

Is lumping omega actually a real problem?

Kelly seems pretty sure that omega comes in flavours marsupial and mammal ("substrates").

Feynman had a supreme knack of not screwing this stuff up, even when he was skirting a field he really didn't know much about. He had such a strong sense of when his own feet were on solid ground, and was extremely clever is turning the discussion to where his solid footing generally carried the day.

Kevin Kelly not so much.

Comment Re: Children and bathwaters (Score 1, Interesting) 126

IQ tests are problematic, and are at best general indicators. And seeing as socio-economic conditions can and do influence IQ scores (see the Flynn Effect), trying to use IQ averages in populations to justify claims "whites are smarter thank blacks" makes IQ tests even more problematic.

Probably the best way to up general IQ scores in a population is to assure children get proper nutrition in infancy and childhood. So the real observation here is that IQ scores are probably measuring other phenomenon other than intelligence, making claims that some ethnic or racial groups are smarter than others pretty iffy at best.

Whatever the factuality of the Bell Curve, the Flynn Effect seems to counter it. Intelligence certainly has a genetic component, but it's probable that you won't really determine just how genetics influences intelligence so long as you have large segments of any given population who lack both academic avenues and basic requirements for academic and cognitive performance like decent food.

But hey, I get it, it's the age of the alt-right, where saying "Blacks are dumber than whites" is now apparently some sort of unassailable dogma, and where a previous generation's debunked or at least heavily questioned claims are brought back and again asserted to be absolute truth.

Comment Re:I agree, but not for the same reasons as Musk (Score 1) 147

how do you rescue passengers from a stranded pod in an evacuated underground tube?

TBC is not dependent on hyperloop. You can fill the tunnel however you want. You could just put normal roads in there, or normal rail, or light rail, or a PRT monorail (monorail? monorail!) or a moving walkway or a canal or... use your imagination. (Personally, I'd imagine away the wheels, and use rail of some sort, whether single or dual. But I imagine the idea is to have dual-mode vehicles that can actually use the network without the sled.)

Comment Re:The problem (Score 1) 147

I'd much rather be in a helicopter that's lost its engine than an airplane.

Sadly, multicopters (where multi > bi) don't autorotate, and the "flying cars" which are about to hit the market are all multicopters.

I'd rather just be on the ground, so I don't have to worry about whether I will fall out of the sky, unless I'm going someplace across an ocean. Moving quickly on the water is quite inefficient, so far.

Comment Re:The problem (Score 1) 147

happened to me in my first car that was 17 years old, I used the parking brake to stop, some of that redundant system magic.

According to slashdot logic, that's unpossible as it would definitely have caused your car to spin out or some other such BS, because "the parking brake is not an emergency brake"

Which is a load of hot cockery, but what can you do? Congrats on not dying.

Comment Re:yes and no (Score 2) 114

The first computer I remember using in school was an Apple II, I think it was in fifth grade. I remember playing Lemonade Stand and Oregon Trail. When I got into high school, they had computer labs that were made up of Apple IIs, Apple IIEs and some Apple II clones. Didn't see an PCs until a few years later when I took data processing (basically dBase III) and "office procedures" classes.

My actual first introduction to computers was my uncle, who had a Commodore 64, and between playing with that and in Apple BASIC at school, I pretty much begged and pleaded with anyone would listen to get me a computer.

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