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Comment SF won't address the root of the problem (Score 1) 256

If [San Francisco] allowed more new housing to be built, along with improving public transportation to accommodate greater demand, these problems would diminish.

I believe the problem can be summed up succinctly:

Many people in San Francisco don't want any new buildings; they say the existing buildings are part of the charm of SF and they worry about sprawl. Some of them even have the idea that building new stuff causes housing costs to go up due to "gentrification".

Many people in San Francisco don't want the cost of housing to go up; they decry the trends where only wealthy people (many of them young technical workers at hot companies like Google) can live in SF, and they complain that the city would be more interesting with more starving artists, poets, musicians, etc. (And many hate the private bus systems offered by companies like Google.)

Take both of the above together, and the people of San Francisco are never going to be happy. Not allowing more building capacity means prices will go up, prices going up means that artists and poets can't afford to live in the city. Protesting against the "Google Buses" does nothing to help any problems and just annoys people.

Comment but wait; there are markings (Score 1) 95

The abos are not so innocent as the liberals want to portray them after all.

Here's the thing: the upside of inventing a writing system is world domination; the downside is finally having to admit in public that you are a real ass (and always have been).

In the above, "you" is a set of nesting dolls, innermost being the fifty-year-old white male technocrats of western European origin who treat Wikipedia as their private, personal playgrounds (thence to aging white European males, white European males, white males, whites altogether, etc.)

Here's the second thing: after a society invents writing, soon the society has written myths (with serious legacy entrenchment) that innocence preceded the current sad state of affairs (how-far-I-have-fallen porn, not that the larger consequences can't be remedied by kneeling under the right cumulus cloud for a thoroughly abject sixty seconds).

Society will re-invent writing over and over again (movable type, Movable Type) before the reversal of true illumination makes the least headway: that the human asshole apogee was attained circa the advent of the original edged weapon.

As far as the abos go, they all need to repeat to themselves "there but for the grace of God go I", unless they think their ancestors truly enlightened enough to not have had even the most remote possibility of inventing any form of written record, whatsoever (best if you're not much past the wreathie leafy loin cloth, because any loose thread threatens to quipu a long record, and then immediately you're on the outie asshole train along with every other post-prehistoric posse of mugs, pugs, and thugs).

Comment Re:Important milestone (Score 0) 136

Google's AI is literally leaps-and-bounds ahead of the game in that respect as the search space is so much unbelievably huger than chess that chess is laughable in comparison.

Most people are too nice to point this out, but what you just wrote here amounts to waving a bright red "I'm an idiot" flag.

Consider this: the search space of Go 25x25 is so much unbelievably huger than Go 19x19 that Go 19x19 is laughable in comparison.

But wait, I'm not done.

Consider this: the search space of Go 37x37 is so much unbelievably huger than Go 25x25 that Go 25x25 is laughable in comparison.

Just two strides, and I'm already breaking into a Cantor.

Consider this: the search space of AES 512 is so much unbelievably huger than AES 256 that AES 256 is laughable in comparison.

Are you still laughing?

Check out Game complexity. By your chosen criteria, Connect6 19x19 two decimal orders of magnitude more manly than mere Go.

Really? That's the standard you judge by?

Comment Re:Competitors don't get it (Score 1) 104

It is use cases.

The pie is not a cheap computer. It is for camera, robots, sensors, and IOT type devices.

The original design brief of the Raspberry Pi was as a cheap computer. If it was intended for cameras, robots, sensors and IoT devices, it would have battery management onboard -- all the use cases you mention are much better server if the device can be powered without wires.

Comment Re:Hardware better? Matter of judgment (Score 1) 104

Onboard battery management with standardised support would make the Pi a real prospect to me. Battery management daughterboards for the Pi are almost as expensive as the device itself and block up GPIO pins other hardware might need. I'm also unclear on whether I'm going to have to roll my own operating environment to take advantage of it.

Comment Important milestone (Score 4, Interesting) 136

Unlike with games like Chess (best moves can be precisely calculated) and Backgammon (simple probabilities), Poker requires adapting to human behavior, indeed varying your play depending on what you learn about your opponent. The techniques are going to be applicable to a wide range of situations. For instance, I will go so far as to claim that we will shortly be wise to use an AI to advise us on investment decisions. (In the past, the computer has been used for speed, and reacting to subtle market signals, but not so much for long term investment planning.)

The next challenge is going to be independent learning. I believe human experts still supervise the learning process of all the best AIs. Once the need for the human adviser goes away, AIs are literally going to be everywhere. Your phone AI will recognize and react to your current mental state, as well as help you overcome everyday problems. The AI in your fridge could become a huge help in keeping you compliant with your diet plans.

Comment Re:They took the worst part of Python (Score 1) 184

I'm not saying it's a bad thing -- quite the opposite: redundancy is often a good thing. But the justification seems half-hearted, because it doesn't eliminate redundancy, so it's not about eliminating redundancy. It's a block_start token, even if some people choose to play semantics and claim it's part of the command syntax: a block is always preceded by a colon. I don't like the explicit start marker without the explicit end marker. Yes, start marker only does seem a little more like human language, but computer languages aren't human languages.

Comment Free software assistant... already exists (Score 3, Informative) 90

Free software assistant... already exists

http://mycroft.ai

They've got an RPi image you can download, slap on a card, and be up and running with a USB mic and something to handle the audio out.

Seems to me like the FSF should pay more attention to what is already going on.

Comment Re:They took the worst part of Python (Score 2) 184

>There is no reason that indentation levels couldn't be automatically displayed based on the parenthesis data

Yeah, but nobody does that and even Apple and other huge companies have created horrible security bugs because they extended a branch of an "if" statement to two statements without adding the parens around the two statements that one would need then. Huh.

Yes, but automatic indentation in the editor would have automatically highlighted the mistake, and the programmer could have fixed it immediately. Why are computer programmers such luddites? We try to fix other people's problems with technology, but insist that our jobs should be carried out using 1970s technology.

Meanwhile, you can just have the indentation signify blocks which is how every human alive understands it anyhow and which require no special editor support and no weird manual fixes by the person editing it.

Humans may not vary much, but computer screens do. Consider that the whole point of things like HTML is to abstract out formatting in order to allow the same content to be rendered on various devices, including print.

I really think it's time we started getting smarter with our coding environments. Customisable display doesn't just mean indentation levels. Maybe you want to see an argument list in one line: result = functioncall (size=1, number=2, somethingelse=3)

but maybe I want to see it tabulated, with the arguments lined up on individual lines, and both the parameter names and values lined up in two columns. Or maybe just the arguments on different lines, but within setting up columns.

These sorts of differences exist today as "programming style", even in Python (indentation is meaningless in continuation lines in Python). But because the style (rendering) is an integral part of the source code, the programmer is forced to adapt to the chosen style of the team, project or company they work with. This is inefficient and distracts the programmer from the main goal: writing the code.

I'm more efficient when the information is laid out in the way that I find clearest.

But even that may change with time and with what job I'm doing. Maybe I want to be able to "unfold" a single line into a tabulated form for closer examination, or "fold" a tabulated form into a single line to get the "bigger picture" of the code.

But what I shouldn't have to think about is how anyone else is going to see the source code.

Comment Re:Whitespace takes the most space (Score 1) 184

doesn't sounds all that unique. Lots of languages let you muck with memory allocation. For example C++

But C++ doesn't have a garbage collector, and more generally most languages have [i]either[/i] implicit garbage collection [i]or[/i] explicit memory management -- Nim has both, allowing you to ignore memory management completely until you're ready to optimise -- that's a very useful thing. I'm no expert on languages, so I don't know which of the more advanced multi-paradigm languages have similar options -- but it's something that's still missing from mainstream languages.

Comment Re:He's missing the point. (Score 4, Insightful) 138

It would be nice if people could learn to think in terms of threats that fell somewhere between "safe to ignore" and "extinction level event". Or could distinguish between "extreme and expensive" responses and "effective" ones.

9/11 could have been prevented by simple, conservative and inexpensive countermeasures. After 9/11 politicians droned on about how "9/11 changed everything," but the cold sober fact was that it in fact changed nothing. It just showed that some of the things sensible people had already been telling us to do (like reinforcing cockpit doors or getting agencies to work together despite institutional rivalries) really did need to be done. Instead "9/11 changed everything" became the rallying cry for every pet scheme that had heretofore been correctly dismissed as too expensive, hare-brained, or just plain dumb.

Which doesn't change the fact that something needed to be done. Here's the lesson I think we should take into this infrastructure debate: we should take sensible and conservative steps to secure infrastructure against terrorism now, before events put foolish ones on the table.

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