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Comment To them, evidence is meaningless (Score 1) 655

Just like Creationists, climate change deniers have a REASON to not want to believe the science. It might be a stupid reason, but they hold a dogma that isn’t going to be swayed by evidence, because they do not WANT to share your conclusions. These people literally live in a fantasy world where evidence is fabricated and evil scientists across the world collude to mislead the public. (Ironic then that the deniers actively collude to mislead the public, many of whom are fully aware that they’re lying, but to this mentality, the ends justify the means.)

Creationists HAVE to have a young earth or else it breaks their religion (original sin and atonement). Climate science deniers are mostly motivated by not wanting to curb their activities because of the economic impact. Supposedly the left is all about entitlement and hand-outs to peolpe who don’t want to work, but this is an example of where the right seriously falls down in terms of personal responsibility. So they invent reasons why their activities are not irresponsible.

Comment Re:Might not be doable open source (Score 1) 185

This isn’t about the technical distinction between Libre and Gratis. This is about the perceptions of companies and software developers with the skills necessary to develop these things and the willingness of such people to develop open source software. Your nit-pick doesn’t change the fact that (a) some developers don’t have interest or skill in certain topics, and (b) if a company invests millions into developing software, they’re not going to share source code, regardless of sticker price.

Comment Might not be doable open source (Score 3, Insightful) 185

There are a few application areas that are specialized and difficult enough that it they may not be doable within the Free Software paradigm. Richard Stallman himself, for instance, was not able to explain to me how you could get the right specialized engineers together to develop a free equivalent to Synopsys design compiler. Enthusiasts in this area don’t tend to be interested in writing software as a hobby, so you’d have to hire engineers, which means you have to pay for all the development.

With automatic speech recognition, it’s not just an AI problem. You need massive labeled datasets that cost money to acquire, and the experts who really know this stuff are moving to on to their next research project. So how are you going to get engineers to learn and implement the esoteric techniques used here? You’d have to pay them. Most people who would be interested in writing free software to do this just don’t know the subject area well enough.

Comment Total bullshit, SEUs are fixable (Score 2) 144

There has been assloads of research on mitigating soft errors going back to the 1970’s. I’ve published some myself. There is no shortage of workable methods on masking transient errors in logic and bit flips in DRAMs. SEUs are a major problem for supercomputers, so their memory systems have sophisticated mechanisms for catching them.

If Cisco is blaming this on SEUs, that just proves their incompetence, since they obvious didn’t spend 5 minutes with Google Scholar looking at hundreds of GOOD papers (in the top conferences and journals) on this topic. Seriously.

PLUS, if something goes wrong, even if it IS a transient error, it’s FAR more likely to be a fixable bug than radiation. We had a weird bug in a DRAM controller whose state kept going invalid. We had to add another circuit to fix that. We *called* is a cosmic ray deflector, but the more likely causes, in order were (a) another bug we couldn’t find, (b) a timing violation caused perhaps by voltage or temperature fluctuation, or (c) crosstalk in the circuit. We would have kept looking, but this deflector circuit made it robust to hundreds of hours of slamming the memory system, so we let it go. (Also, it was graphics memory, so even if it did ultimately suffer a glitch some day, it would go unnoticed.)

Comment The patent’s novelty is not about bags (Score 1) 201

I want to start by saying that I’m never going to buy an iPhone 7. I understand that removing the audio jack saved some room inside the iPhone. But the water proofing argument is stupid, the “courage argument” is bullshit, and the primary benefit is to Apple’s bottom line to sell us more expensive adapters and annoying wireless earphones.

I’ll buy a MacBook Pro because of the extended warranty, the fact that a comparable PC laptop costs only a little less (and looks less cool), industry support for Linux on laptops sucks, and I hate Windows. I bought an iPhone 6+ because I’m too lazy to research to find out which Android phone is the best, I can be sure that the iPhone is at least “good,” and I have an investment already in iPhone apps. But I hope to God (and all the other deities) that Apple fans are smart enough to sit this one out. Apple needs to get smacked hard in the pocketbook for such a stupid decision.

That being said, this patent is not about paper bags. It’s about making a more sturdy glossy white paper (from which you can make a bag) out of recycled materials.

Comment Dedication and hard work (Score 1) 629

I have had chronic fatigue syndrome since 1994. It hit me like a truck and has only very slowly been getting better. Even now, I have to very carefully manage my time and energy. Regardless, I managed to have a successful software engineering and chip design career, then got a PhD, and now I work as a professor at a major public university and research center. To do this, I had to cut things out of my life that others are not willing to give up. For instance, I don’t have much of a social life, and I don’t get to watch much TV or spend time playing video games.

Some of us may disagree with Hillary’s political views or whatnot. Putting that aside, is she healthy enough to do the job? I don’t know the details, but we can see that she has had a successful political career. In public appearances, she seems to be healthy enough (but then again, so do I and I feel like total crap much of the time). Keep in mind that lots of past presidents have had significant health problems that did not stop them from doing the job.

We also have a fall-back plan. Is Tim Kaine any good? Can he take up any slack? If Hillary tanks, can he adequately take over the job? Also keep in mind that Bill Clinton will be around and he will be a very active first-spouse.

Comment Re:Clusterfuck (Score 1) 315

Well, obviously there are different opinions on this. But it’s different from pre-EU or pre-UK-in-EU. For one thing, there are the feelings of abandonment by other members of the EU and concerns about the wisdom and stability of the UK government. It’s like having a friend that you like and might want to have a deeper relationship vs. having had a deeper relationship and then breaking up. The latter interferes with trust around future dealings.

And as many have pointed out, the costs to be an EU member are small compared to the bureaucratic overhead that will be required for all of the new trade treaties, all of the businesses that have to move out of the UK because they are required to be in an EU state, etc.

Comment Clusterfuck (Score 1) 315

As an American, I should appreciate the value of gaining independence from a far-off country who taxes you with a less than desired level of legislative representation. But the truth is the American revolution is as unlike the UK/EU situation as you can get. The UK paid some nominal fees in order to have unfettered travel and trade with the European continent. Brexit is going to completely fuck up the UK economy along with many other major world economies. The Japanese aren’t going to sit back and just watch this happen, and the truth is that the rest of the world’s major governments should speak up as well.

Comment Why fundamentalists can’t accept deep time (Score 3, Interesting) 76

Evolution implies death before sin. If there was death before sin, then “original sin” and Jesus’ atonment for that sin are meaningless. They’re not going to accept something that breaks their religion, because they have a deathly (no pun intended) fear of not having a life after death. They are also wrapped up in fear over some mythical “moral decline” that they believe is caused by moral relativism that they seem to think evolution implies.

What’s interesting is to uncover the inconsistences in their beliefs. They claim to read the Bible literally or “at face value.” But when it comes to original sin, the Bible is only clear about HUMAN SPIRITUAL death as a result of original sin. They extend this to physical death of all animals. But when pressed, they cannot identify specific Bible verses that speak to this. Rather, they fall back on an assumption they make about the meaning of “very good” which they ASSUME (a tendency they say is a problem with evolutionists) means there could have been no animal death before human sin. They presume too much to know the mind of God and what God may have thought was “very good” beyond what their Bible claims while trying to convince us that the primary source of truth should be the Bible.

They go on to create a subculture where evidence is something we can take or leave as we like as it fits or doesn’t fit our preconceptions. Then they turn around and call evolution a preconception. It was Christians who came up with the idea!

Comment Java’s problem is memory usage (Score 2) 427

That’s funny, although unless you’re bumping up against your VM memory limit, it’s not such a problem. When you DO approach your memory limit, performance drops to a crawl. In the 32-bit days, I hated the fact that my colleagues in AI developed in Java instead of C++ for programs that worked on really huge datasets just because of this issue. The programs would be frozen on GC for as much time as they did computation. That doesn’t mean I hate Java; I really like it, but this was the wrong time to use it.

But a bigger problem is that Java VMs are memory-hungry. After a little while, a long-running Java app has grown to its maximum size and stays there tying up system resources that it’s not really using. This can happen in C too, but with Java, you can’t avoid allocating and freeing objects constantly, while you can keep memory allocation well under control in C/C++, keeping your process size small. You can’t keep your Java process size small AND have good performance.

BTW, despite this, I do all kinds of work in Java. Mostly server stuff and some swing. When I need speed, I use C and/or C++. When I want to do something like string processing or just want to hack together a one-off, I use Ruby. When I want to do symbolic math, I am forced to use Python (a language whose syntax I object to on moral grounds) because sympy is the awesomest thing ever.

My FAVORITE language? Probably Verilog. I’m a chip designer, so you can just assume that any piddling arguments you have over programming languages will just make me roll my eyes over how trivial the differences are. That’s like watching a Lutheran and a Methodist try to argue over the infinitessimally trivial differences in their religions. Just to piss people off for fun, I’m going to say that software languages (except maybe Haskell, which is scary for other reasons) are these arbitrary constructions that people argue about like religions. On the other hand, Verilog is grounded in reality and science; it has some rough edges too, but that is the way of science. (Our VHDL bretheren fully recognize that the two languages ultimately have the same semantics.)

Comment Re:It's not aliens (Score 1) 282

I have trouble conceiving of intelligent beings with the ability to imagine things that are not right in front of their faces as being incapable of committing an unethical act. It seems inevitable, as a function of the way intelligence works. At some point, hominids were capable of committing atrocities but didn't have sufficient capability for premeditating these things. Gradually over time, they evolved greater and greater conscious volition, which enabled them to become gradually more "sinful." Something similar would have happened with language AT THE SAME TIME, because to communicate a message about the past requires that one be able to imagine something that is not right in front of them.

If the Bible has anything value at all beyond mythology of primitive peoples, then it only makes sense as an allegory. Sure, it contains history. All myths contain elements of real history, but the (a) the main purpose isn't as a science or history book, and (b) at the time it was written our modern idea of "history" didn't really exist apart from what we would also today call myth or urban legend. And we all know that the Torah was an oral tradition long before it was written down, and we can associate stories in it with stories from other cultures. Also, based on the way many ancient writers described things, they barely distinguished dreams from waking life, seeing random brain activity as being visions from God. I'm not saying there were no visions from God, but I am saying that most dreams surely were not, but ancient peoples tended to not make these distinctions.

So if things like creation, original sin, and the flood have any real meaning, it's within the context of the culture they came from and their limited knowledge of the universe, so if there's a spiritual message implanted in it, we have to be careful to separate that spiritual message from any "factual" content that it completely out of date. Imagine if God had revealed to people things about cosmic distances and quantum mechanics; nobody would have believed it, resulting in a still-born religion.

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