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Comment Re:How many bits? (Score 1) 74

To achieve a one million - to - one ratio, requires 20 bits.

No. Imagine you have a candle and an airplane's landing lights. You only need 1 bit.

0 == 1 lumen
1 == 1,000,000,000,000 lumens.

That's a trillion to one contrast ratio with one bit. If you want to be really pedantic contrast ratio isn't actually interesting because while 1:1,000,000,000,000 is a high contrast ratio, it's actually impressive because of the dynamic range not the ratio.

0 = 0 lumens
1 = 1 photon

That would be an infinite contrast ratio. And also expressed by one bit but not what most people think of when they think of high contrast ratios.

Comment Everything Old is New Again (Score 1) 51

The Andromeda Strain was published in 1969.

The United States has some disease reporting, it started at least 75 years ago before the antibiotic bubble. This CDC Report summarizes the present state of disease reporting, in two pages. We need higher standards of reporting and legal penalties for failure to report.

Comment Re:another wrinkle (Score 1) 5

What you heard is wrong. It is illegal for anyone to continue to provide assistance once they've been alerted that a DNR is in place. Continuing to work on you at that point is assault, illegal imprisonment, and all medical bills should the patient not make a full recovery.. You can't help someone who has refused to grant their consent, and that's what advanced medical directives are - a refusal to grant consent to medical treatment. So says the supreme court.

It's my body, my decision, same as what you want to do with your body is your decision. Anything else is quite simply unconstitutional.

Comment Re: Unfortunately no and I have a reason (Score 1) 358

Yes, he should go back and update his book with _actual_, popular, assembly languages. Using _practical_ languages means a student doesn't learn some obscure language that no one gives a fuck about but can _apply_ their skills immediately.

Also, by learning _multiple_ assembly languages the student doesn't pigeon-holed into myopic thinking. By being exposed to multiple languages they see how different design and implementation trade-offs were made.

The day of professors inventing yet-another-language are over. You can teach Theory AND Application, not just "my pet theory".

Comment Re:AI doesn't exist (Score 1) 21

You think human intelligence isn't an algorithm?

This issue is surprisingly divisive, even among those you'd think would know better (feasible scenario: perhaps they do).

Federico Faggin at UC Berkeley 2-19-2014

Pretty good, if you like this kind of thing.

1h12m41 he takes a question from the audience, and goes off into space (Hilbert space) on the underlying quantum mechanism of human consciousness (and mental creativity).

"You know, I am one of those guys who do not think that consciousness is an epiphenomenon of the operation of the brain. I thought like everyone else ... "

You think human intelligence isn't an algorithm?

Just one thing, is this unremarkable stock remark a terminating process, or have I personally fallen into an ELIZA trap?

Comment Re:Maybe, I should sue KDE? (Score 1) 119

> KDE3's tech had reached a dead-end, there was no way forward there, to keep building a new base was needed. KDE4 had to happen,

WIMP (Windows, Icons, Menu, Pointer) has been around since 1980 .. yeah, the 80's -- over 30 years.

Design and Implementation a GUI isn't rocket science -- WTF are people doing that they are constantly hacking SO much SHIT into it that they need to throw the whole thing away and start again from scratch?!?!

Comment Re:Unfortunately no and I have a reason (Score 1) 358

> More like pseudo-assembly than high-level pseudo-code.

It is actually worse then that. You learn some bullshit imaginary assembly language MMIX, instead of a pragmatic real assembly language like 6502, x86, or ARM which you could have immediately tried out. And while an assembler and debugger exist for MMIX this is yet more time you need to waste on some obscure, niche, proprietary language and toolchain.

That said, what The Art of Computer Programming lacks in quality it makes up in quantity.

> and understood it right away from CLR

100% agree that Introduction to Algorithms is a fantastic book! It definitely is on the "short list" of every books a computer programmer should own.

Comment DK-impervious = DK-permeable (Score 1) 358

One of the most important things is knowing when you don't know enough.

TAoCP is a never-fail personal Dunning–Kruger removal tool.

I never finished the mathematics degree I once started, but I always found the larger concepts easy enough to understand when sitting beside a real mathematician.

I certainly would have difficulty completing most of the HM exercises (this despite also owning Concrete Math). I rarely have difficulty understanding the form of the solution if I cheat and look it up.

Another book I'd put into the same category, roughly, was the original Applied Cryptography where it ought to be far more obvious that one shouldn't naively roll one's own, but somehow, for too many DK-impervious DK-permeable programmers out there, it isn't. (I'm looking at you, Wi-Fi Alliance; and every idiot who ever used the speedy MD5 to hash a password database, with or without salt, or worse.)

There's little wrong with Knuth's exposition that actual competence wouldn't fix.

You do the math.

Comment More of a desk reference than a novel... (Score 1) 358

As many above have pointed out, there is little reason to read the entire series "like a novel" from cover to cover, in addition to the fact that yeah, it would take a while to WORK through it like a textbook as opposed to read through it quickly to see what is there. And yeah, there are better books now in profusion on many of the topics covered, although AFAIK there is no book or book series that is as encyclopedic on the subjects he covers.

However, many people will find some of the sections very useful. I personally found "Seminumerical Algorithms" useful indeed when learning about random number generators and testing random number generators. It isn't the last word, and it certainly isn't the latest word as we move into a 64 bit world and beyond, but it is an excellent starting point. In other parts of the series there are other gems or nuggets well worth studying or reading, even if you move on to actual research papers or better books afterwards.

To sum up, it is a useful thing to own if you are doing a lot of very widely spread code development and need to acquire literacy quickly in subjects it covers, even if you are going to end up looking for an O'Reilly text on some of those subjects to get a more modern perspective. Those OR books are probably going to reference, rewrite, and augment Knuth.

Note well that I'm an Old Guy (tm) and actually did write a lot of code in Fortran once in the long ago before abandoning it for C and Unix and beyond. TAOCP was one of the ONLY really good encyclopedic references for people who were NOT CPS majors and who needed to learn about algorithms of one sort or another or some aspect of coding covered in one of the many CPS courses they never took. They (I) didn't need a course with the best textbook of the day -- we needed to get started. Once started, we knew how to learn and go beyond the start. 1.5 cubic feet of shelf space wasn't too high a price to be able to learn something about everything or anything to get started.

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