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Comment Re:Wish they'd looked into this sooner (Score 1) 75

I listened to Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Motorhead and pretty much anything loud. Including concerts. And I play electric guitar.
Yet I lie awake at night because a neighbor snores, or the aquarium fish flips its fin at the other side of the house, or the blood coursing through my veins, or the hum of a lamp, or even cats walking across the carpet in the room above mine.
If anything, listening to so much loud music has made me overly sensitive, and I have to sleep with ear plugs. Not that it helps when the birds start chirping outside early in the morning.

Comment Re:Good start (Score 1) 276

Please describe this arena that code competes in and the rules of said competition. I don't recall any job I've done where we created more than one chunk of code to perform the same task and set them into competition.

Others create code that your code competes with. Unless you've cornered the market, you are always in a deadly competition, whether you realize it or not.

Comment Glitchless streaming. (Score 4, Interesting) 155

Can you name one thing that your customers actually want that is actually being prevented by network neutrality regulations?

Glitchless streaming.

Streaming (things like audio, video, phone calls) requires relatively small and constant bandwidth (though compression adds variability) but isn't good at tolerating dropouts or variations in transit time. When it does get dropouts it's better to NOT send a retry correction (and have the retry packet risk delaying and/or forcing the drop of another packet).

TCP connections (things like big file transfers) error check and retry, fixing dropouts and errors so the data arrives intact, though with no guarantee exactly when. But they achieve high bandwidth and evenly divide the bandwidth at a bottleneck by deliberately speeding up until they super-saturate the bottleneck and force dropouts. The dropouts tell them they've hit the limit, so they slow down and track the bleeding edge.

Put them both on a link and treat the packets equally and TCP causes streaming to break up, stutter, etc. Overbuilding the net helps, but if the data to be tranferred is big enough TCP will ALWAYS saturate a link somewhere along the way.

Identify the traffic type and treat their packets differently - giving higher priority to stream packets (up to a limit, so applications can't gain by cheating, claiming to be a stream when they're not) - and then they play together just fine. Stream packets zip through, up to an allocation limit at some fraction of the available bandwidth, and TCP transfers evenly divide what's left - including the unused part of the streams' allocation.

But the tools for doing this also enable the ISPs to do other, not so good for customers, things. Provided they chose to do so, of course.

IMHO the bad behavior can be dealt with best, not by attempting to enforce "Network Neutrality" as a technical hack at an FCC regulation level, but as a consumer protection issue, by an agency like the FTC. Some high points:
  - Break up the vertical integration of ISPs into "content provider" conglomerates, so there's no incentive to penalize the packets of competitors to the mother-ship's services.
  - Treat things like throttling high-volume users and high-bandwidth services as consumer fraud: "You sold 'internet service'". Internet service doesn't work that way. Ditto "pay for better treatment of your packets" (but not "pay to sublet a fixed fraction of the pipe").
  - Extra scrutiny for possible monopolistic behavior anywhere there are less than four viable broadband competitors, making it impractical for customers to "vote with their feet".

Comment A different perspective (Score 1) 155

The US cotton industry claims that a repeal of the abolition -- which destroys innovation and value creation -- will foster an environment that'll be more positive for their business and would be good for innovation in the industry. They went on to say that it "would provide opportunity for significant innovation and differentiation" and that it'd enable you to "do some very interesting things."

Comment Re:Provide this at the state level (Score 1) 276

Since the ability to pursue happiness isn't mentioned at all in the Constitution, I think it's pretty safe to say that it's irrelevant to federal issues.

It is part of the Declaration of Independence, without which the Constitution has no base and is null and void.

Comment Re:Good start (Score 1) 276

When I refactor code it's similar to reorganizing a warehouse. This is not evolution. It's simple management.

The evolutionary aspect is what happens after you refactor your code. It tallies the score on whether you made good or bad decisions. Spend too much time on something that doesn't give your code a competitive advantage, and it fails when competing.
Understanding evolution doesn't mean direct evolution. That's a big clue that you don't understand evolution.
Understanding how evolution works is by always keeping in mind that the least fit are culled, and how to reduce the risks of it being you. You don't have to be best; you just have to not be worse than the competition in any aspect that could cause a survival advantage for them over you.

Comment Re:Provide this at the state level (Score 1) 276

A federal system relies on the assumption that the federal government is smart enough to know what's best for everyone

No, it only relies on the assumption that the federal government is smarter than the dumbest state government in order to raise the floor.

Comment Re:Let's Face It (Score 1) 276

That's funny, I'm using a touch keyboard now, and I can still spell correctly.

Not at any appreciable speed, I am fairly certain. Touch typing is fast, while swiping is slow. So slow that auto-completion becomes an important and integral part of swiping.

Some companies tried that with word processing for touch typists too (long before swiping was invented), and almost all typists turned it off. With touch typing, you could finish a word much quicker than it took to look at the suggestion and accept it.

Comment Re:Provide this at the state level (Score 1) 276

Since education isn't mentioned at all in the Constitution, I think it's pretty safe to say that the 10th means it's not something the Feds have any business doing....

Anything that directly affects an individuals ability to pursue happiness is very much a federal issue.

Comment Re:Good start (Score 2) 276

In very few fields, even science and technology, is an accurate understanding of evolution even remotely helpful.

Au contraire, an understanding of evolution gives a strong advantage in pretty much any field. Whether it's programming or economics, understanding how successful models gain a survival advantage, while the weakest are more subject to predation is more than remotely helpful.
Competition and death is inevitable, and you become more successful by embracing it than fighting or ignoring it.

When deciding what programmers do, evolution plays a part on a daily basis. You want to refactor code? Unless something is detrimental, leave it in. You have two different ways of doing things? Use both if you can, and let time decide which one is best; you may be surprised that it's not always the fastest or most elegant code. You have some spare time? Have individuals compete instead of collaborate. Let the worst projects fail - don't spend a major effort rescuing them.

Similar for any other science. Use your knowledge of evolution. It is a scorekeeper and happens whether you like it or not. So use it to your advantage. Embrace the principles; don't fight them.

Comment Re:Provide this at the state level (Score 4, Interesting) 276

These sorts of programs should not be Federal.

Now I'd like to hear some logic behind that claim.

I can only see detriments. When states pick, the result will differ between them. That leads to unequal opportunities depending on where you were born, and as many gaps between haves and have-nots that divide further as gaps that close. Or more, because there seems to be a strong correlation between the overall poverty of a state and how reluctant it is to support science.

Now if there were evolution for states, I'd be all for it. Every year, force a random poor state to dissolve and be amalgamated with its neighbors, and a random rich state to split in two. Then, doing the right thing would be rewarded by survival over time.
But alas, the competition isn't between the states, which survive no matter what, but between humans, who too often lose because of their state not giving them as good opportunities as other states.

Comment IQ and attention to detail are different things. (Score 1) 168

"How hard is to remember to unload your weapon before packing it?" I guess there's no I.Q. check for firearms purchases, maybe there should be.

IQ and attention to detail are different things.

Also: Even the best-trained, most reliable, gun user can have a lapse when in a hurry, as in when packing for a flight.

That's why firearms training stresses redundancy, with rules like "A gun is loaded as soon as you put it down and look away". Or "Don't point (even an "unloaded") gun at anything you don't want to destroy."

The phenomenon is referred to as "a visit from the Ammo Fairy". That entity is similar to the Tooth Fairy, but instead of leaving a coin under you pillow it leaves a round in your chamber. B-)

Comment I have read much of it, as I would an encyclopedia (Score 3, Interesting) 376

My wife and I each had a copy of the first three volumes when we married. Yes, there are female computer nerds. B-)

I first encountered it when assigned one of the volumes as a text back in 1971. Of course the class didn't consist of learning EVERYTHING in the volume. B-)

I use it from time to time - mainly as a reference book. Most recently this spring, when I needed a reference on a data structure (circular linked lists) for a paper. I've found it useful often when doing professional computer programming and hardware design (for instance, where the hardware has to support some software algorithm efficiently, or efficient algorithms in driver software allow hardware simplification).

I don't try to read it straight through. But when I need a algorithm for some job and it's not immediately obvious which is best, the first place I check is Knuth. He usually has a clear description of some darned good wheel that was already invented decades ago, analyzed to a fare-thee-well.

I only see him about once a year. He's still a sharp cookie.

Comment They let the ban on propagandizing citizens expire (Score 4, Informative) 324

Three and a half years ago the US government, under the Obama administration, let the ban on propagandizing US citizens expire - and immediately began writing and spreading "fake news".

From an FP article dated July 14, 2013:

U.S. Repeals Propaganda Ban, Spreads Government-Made News to Americans

For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. governmentâ(TM)s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts.

So the only thing new here is US citizens noticed one of the government's renewed, official, domestic propaganda operations.

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