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Comment We like to think we're great (Score 1) 259

It's simple chauvinism. We're the winners of a "wonderfulness" contest for which we are the judges. We engage in the "Four F's" like all the other animals: fleeing, feeding, fighting and reproductive behavior. Pterosaurs lasted 140 million years. we've been around for maybe a million. A few thousand years ago we were worshipping trees and howling at the moon. Then we congregated, made the water go bad and had to drink booze to kill the bacteria until about 500 years ago. We got tea and coffee from some more sophisticated folks and sobered up. Newton got all jacked up on caffeine and we started thinking, Now we have extracted some gene from a jellyfish and made rabbits that glow in the dark. We're the real "The Crown of Creation". Death scares the bejeezus out of us. We need to distance ourselves from the animal kingdom as much as possible. There'll be a global extinction eventually and everything will start over again. Ending everything right after Stalin, Hitler and Mao would have been poetic justice. But as Elliot says, we'll go out with a whimper not a bang.

Comment How long to live? (Score 1) 813

Long enough that I have no teeth, no hair, can't talk or understand anything, can't walk, control my bladder or bowels, I drool my food, lay there naked and cry a lot. I want to leave the same way I came in. My grandchildren can have "before and after" photos over the fireplace.

Comment Cancelling account (Score 1) 303

Their selection of streaming movies sucks. Films listed under 'recently acquired' have been there for a year or more. They used to have agreat selection of documentaries but I've seen most of them. A few good foreign films get in. The point is that they spend as little as possible licensing movies rather than paying more for good ones and attracting more viewers. They're penny wise and pound foolish. Lots of businesses make this mistake and most go down the tubes.

Licensing is the big issue. Imagine a service able to stream every movie ever made in every language. Storage is nothing. Bandwidth would give ISPs seizures. But licensing? Negotiating those would be a nightmare no one would want to face.

Comment I don't trust people who are not open (Score 2) 157

Did anyone see "Catch Me If You Can"? True story. The FBI hired a master conterfeiter and con-man. Trust? Both the CIA and the FBI have vetted guys and moved them to high posts while they were working for the KGB. With a hacker you know what you're getting. They have to decide whether they want to protect their country from enemies, foreign and domestic. Don't expect them to jump on board with massive personal intrusion, expect them to go after bad guys. They have to accept that they are going to watched, tapped, bugged, whatever, as part of the job.

By the way, polygraph tests are a joke. Aldrich Ames had to take a ploygraph test. His KGB handlers told him not to worry, get a good night's sleep and be friendly with the testers. He passed of course. Anyone can beat it and with some mild drugs they might as well be giving the test to a corpse. Read "Telling Lies" and "Lie Spotting" and you'll be able to do a better job.

Comment We are really hot stuff. (Score 1) 637

Humans are the big winners in a beauty contest for which we wrote the criteria to match ourselves exclusively. We're just another creature fleeing, feeding, fighting and engaging in reproductive behavior. We may achieve immortality in the sense of eliminating death by aging but human deaths match the bell curve of the breakage of plates in a restaurant. They all get dropped eventually and we are far from eliminating disease. Evolution is a perpetual "Red Queen" arms race and while we have certain adaptive advantages, they are not the only game in town and humans would certainly not have survived the KT extinction.

Faster than light travel is not like flight where we new it was possible but hadn't the technological means, the luminal speed limit is a property of space-time. There may be a way to circumvent it but we haven't even come up with a power source to exceed a cosmic sub-snails-pace.

Mind uploading? Contra Ray Kurzweiler, an intelligent device may be able to communicate with us in a sense but lacking the lives humans live with -love, poop, joy, ecstasy, jealousy, murderous rage, the urge to unplug devices and a hundred other things - a vast divide will always exist that will never permit true understanding. I suggest Ludwig Wittgenstein on this topic.

Human-scale teleportation? We are so far from wrapping our heads around the quantum to cosmic universe that we may never do it. It's like the chaos versus complexity thing. We must admit free will even if the world is deterministic because we cannot even begin to formulate the enormous equations required to predict the outcome of the roll of one die much less provide the information required and solve them.

Certainly there is a small possibility that by some quirk we will develop a super-luminal space ship with human teleportation device but by the rules of quantum mechanics there is also small but distinct possibility that all the particles in your brain are a hundred billion light years from here at this moment.

World peace is by far the easiest thing of all these things to achieve. It is so simple that a classroom of children could work out the route to achieve it and the means to maintain it. Yet it sits at the bottom of the list in the "thought likely to happen" list. Why? Because we are, in large, just a huge troop of murderous baboons. That we are throwing trillions of dollars into the sky while children are dying of preventable and curable causes is the true measure of our intelligence and wisdom. We are morons. Idiots without peer. That I have had to spend my entire life consorting with you all is really depressing. But I have seen where the Buddha was born, where Francis of Assisi lived and where Mahatma Gandhi died. I have become reacquainted recently with a truly good person. What is this foolish hope I carry? I have come within a hair's breadth of death at least six times and I live. I have suffered terribly at the hands of love yet I love. Within our stupidity is this quixotic hope that keeps us going. That is the life-affirming truth of tragedy in the dramatic sense. That we can witness the horror and yet say "What magnificent creatures these are."

Comment New languages ARE coming (Score 2) 274

Carnegie-Mellon has dropped OOP from their CS requirements because they felt that the OOP model was not appropriate for modern needs. Linus Torvalds says "C++ is a horrible language." In the January issue of IEEE Computer there is an article "The Java Tree Withers - The java report card: infrastructure gets a D, code reuse gets an F".

Programming languages drive devices. I'm doing heterogenous parallel processing in C and CUDA. Multicore and massivelly parallel concurrency is absolutely the future and if you think it's easy, you haven't done it. There is a new compiler that will mix x86 and Fermi but it is definitely suboptimal. Only a human can do the cost/benefit analysis required for parallelization and only a human is creative. At this point anyway. Multicore consurrency is here to stay. I see no reason why heterogeneous processing (multiple architecture machines)should go away either.

Also, while Cray dropped the use of FPGAs, the are getting easier and easier to program, they are lightning fast, they can be reprogrammed in a millisecond and... and... while software patents are a can of of worms, an FPGA program/algorithm can be patented as a circuit. And there is massive legal precedence in enforcing circuit patents.

Comment Everyone who doesn't code is whacko (Score 1) 304

That's nothing. Every time the director mentions a project, the manager moves it to #1. I like going to a staff meeting first thing in the morning to find out what the project requirements are today. I remember Paul Newman in the film "Hombre". After wounding a guy he tells the guy to quit moving around so he can do better. It's hard to lead a target moving in an infinite number of dimensions.


Submission + - I'm looking for a journal that covers a range of c

bodhisattva writes: "I'm 62 and just retired due to the economy and my age. I started with Sperry/FORTRAN, then IBM/COBOL (I've served my time in hell) and more than 20 years with UNIX/C (my native tongue) and the Oracle RDBMS. I want to keep up with current trends and technology. I'm learning Python, PHP, etc. but don't even know what some things are: "Ruby on rails", "Ajax", etc. I get IEEE journals but they're off in the ether somewhere. Can someone recommend a good source for an old hand to keep current?"
Star Wars Prequels

Big Changes Planned For The Force Unleashed 2 100

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed debuted in 2008 to less than stellar reviews, but sales of the game were strong. A sequel for the game is due out in October, and the developers spoke at length with the Guardian's Games blog about the improvements they've been working on. One of their priorities was adding depth to the combat system to make it less of a button-mash. "The team has completely redesigned all the familiar Force powers from the first title including Force Push and Force Grip, and has added a few newcomers including the potentially amusing Force Mind Trick that'll allow you to trick Storm Troopers into leaping from high ledges." Enemy AI is another area that's getting some love, and they're trying to make level design more open and less linear. The team's confidence in the changes they're making stems in part from much greater familiarity with their game-building tools. "Like its predecessor, Force Unleashed 2 will combine three third-party physics engines, Havok, Euphoria and Digital Molecular Matter, to provide cutting edge human animation, materials effects and authentic physical forces. ... 'Whenever you're building the first iteration [of a game series] and a brand new game engine at the same time, everything comes in hot and fast – we were literally figuring out how to get the most out of those three technologies all the way up to shipping. The DLC then helped us to learn more, and that knowledge has given us the biggest leap forward.'" A trailer for the game was released at E3.

Comment Learn to beat them consistently. (Score 2, Interesting) 452

Beating a polygraph test is piece of cake. Aldrich Ames was worried about man an upcoming polygraph and his Russian handlers told him to get a good nights sleep and be friendly to the people administering the test. You can practice relaxing with biofeedback equipment which is essentially the same as a polygraph. You can take drugs like beta-blockers and tranquilizers that will make you dead to stress which is the mechanism of the polygraph. There are people on whom a polygraph doesn't work. My God, google "how to beat a polygraph".

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