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Comment Re:As it's been said... (Score 5, Insightful) 621

A parliament that cannot propose legislation is a parliament in name only. It's a check/balance, I'll give you that, but it's not where the power lies if it cannot propose and effect a change that it wants to.

In the UK, you elect an MP. That MP directly votes on, and can propose legislation. The "other" house, the House of Lords, can only delay any legislation that the House of Commons votes for by returning it with recommendations a maximum of 3 times. After the third time, if the House of Commons again votes it through, it becomes law (subject to Liz' royal assent, but that's not being withheld...).

This is effectively the inverse of the European "parliament". The EU commission decides what laws will be proposed, the parliament (the people who the people elected) then get to horse-trade the deal until the parliament and the commission agree, and then all countries must adopt the law. This is a significant reduction in the power of the people.

As a bonus, the commission are basically immunised against any effects of their political machinations, the only way for a member of the EU commission to be removed is if the parliament unanimously votes to remove all members of the commission at the same time. Yeah... Not gonna happen.

So to summarise: you have an un-sackable body that is the only group who can propose legislation, which gives them the ability to apply enormous pressure to the elected representatives (oh, you want X do you ? Well make sure you vote for our Y and Z and then we'll consider it). And then everyone is forced to accept the results of this as law.

Sorry. That sucks. Given the mission statement of ever closer union, the desire to raise an army etc., and the binding nature of EU law as supreme, the mismatch in democratic power within the EU *should* be concerning IMHO. Whether it's sufficiently concerning to brexit is a different argument, but I think it certainly played its part.

Comment Re:And ? (Score 1) 25

It doesn't have to be tradeable for the protections to stand. It just means the original person/company-if-it-was-an-employee that had the idea, and who filed the patent, now has the legal protections and can therefore attempt to attract investment that the patent encourages.

The idea of selling the patent to someone who has (a) no intent to manufacture or execute on the idea, and (b) simply wants to prevent anyone else from using the idea without paying some sort of (usually, after the fact, and punitive) licensing fees is what is counter to the original idea of what a patent would provide.

Intellectual property can be a thing - there ought to be some reward for working hard and creating something, but patents don't have to be considered normal intellectual property, they can be either a non-tradeable subclass, or simply defined otherwise.

Comment And ? (Score 4, Insightful) 25

Apple patents a lot of things. It's a big company, sure there'll be people at Apple working on AR/VR. There'll also be people there working on colour-coded mouse buttons... There's also the somewhat-nuts situation of "hey we should absolutely patent this in case we ever need it in the future, and we don't want someone else to patent it first".

Personally I think you should have to have demonstrable progress on anything you patent on a yearly basis until it makes it to the market. Also, the whole idea of patents as a tradeable commodity is nuts. If it has to be tradeable, make the patent lifetime be cut in half for every trade...

Comment Re:future 'rust belt' and detroits (Score 1) 100

Yeah, that list is at best misleading.

According to the second chart, Apple doesn't have 1376 employees in the Bay Area. There are more employees ahead of me in the lunch queue at Cafe Macs than that! Apple are building a second campus (and keeping the first) which will on its own hold 13,000 employees. The first campus is supposed to hold ~7000 IIRC, but it's being pushed to about 10,000 right now with people doubling up.

And if you've ever gone over to the Googleplex, you'll see a whole bunch of buildings taking up a pretty huge space. I can't believe there's only 1374 employees there, either.

Comment Re:Actual evidence (Score 4, Insightful) 197

Fuck me, that's the biggest load of bullshit I've read on Slashdot in recent memory.

How one can distil down an enormously complex situation into "too"[sic] paragraphs of dubious authenticity and simultaneously claim to understand the issues involved sufficiently to invoke two strawmen designed to be easily knocked down is beyond me, but hey, knock yourself out.

Just don't expect to be taken seriously.

1) The "representation" for the *people* in the EU is horribly undemocratic. All the people get to elect representatives to is the toothless chamber, ironically named the European Parliament. Forgive me, but any so-called parliament that can't even propose legislation, or even have the final say in enactment of the legislation graciously imposed upon it, is no parliament worth bearing the name. I'm used to the people (or at least our elected representatives) having the power, not an unelected body of career politicians out to line their own (or their own countries) pockets.

2) There is an element of racism in every society on this planet, it's a leftover from the "us" vs "them" tribal nature of our shared history. There were indeed people with money who were advertising and therefore getting their message across this time, and some of those people had a xenophobic and sometimes racist agenda, agreed. To immediately paint all those who voted leave (for whatever reason of their own) as racist, because some other person was being racist in an advertising campaign beggars belief. Clearly critical thinking in whatever country you're from is lacking (and the point stands if that country is Britain).

The issues involved were complex, and it's not anywhere near as simple as "fuck those brown people"; to imply such is frankly insulting. Perhaps those who voted to leave simply chose the probability of lesser prosperity as an acceptable compromise for real self-determination.

Comment Re: Compression (Score 1) 295

That's common wisdom, but I don't think it stands up in the modern world. Here's my bonnie results on a softraid-5 partition with a 10GB test file:


  simon% bonnie -s 10000 -m imac
    File './Bonnie.2543', size: 10485760000
    Writing with putc()...done
    Rewriting...done
    Writing intelligently...done
    Reading with getc()...done
    Reading intelligently...done
    Seeker 3...Seeker 2...Seeker 1...start 'em...done...done...done...
                            -------Sequential Output-------- ---Sequential Input-- --Random--
                            -Per Char- --Block--- -Rewrite-- -Per Char- --Block--- --Seeks---
    Machine GB M/sec %CPU M/sec %CPU M/sec %CPU M/sec %CPU M/sec %CPU /sec %CPU
    imac 10 29.0 99.3 531.7 27.7 333.0 18.0 26.9 89.5 460.7 16.1 28342 50.5

Formatting is screwy even in TT mode, but that's saying I can write 530MBytes/sec to, and read 460 MBytes/sec from the SSD RAID attached over TB2 on a 2013 iMac (quad core i7, 3.5GHz).

Now, creating a 530 MB file and compressing it takes:


  simon% dd if=/dev/random of=test.raw bs=555745280 count=1
    1+0 records in
    1+0 records out
    555745280 bytes transferred in 35.273966 secs (15755112 bytes/sec)

  simon% /usr/bin/time gzip -1 test.raw
              14.50 real 14.02 user 0.33 sys

  simon% ls -l test.raw.gz
    -rw-r--r-- 1 simon staff 555914267 Jun 14 08:29 test.raw.gz

... So allowing for (let's be generous) 2 second's time to read and another 2 seconds time to write the files, that leaves ~10 seconds of time to compress the data, even at the lowest compression gzip can muster. I don't think I'd take a 10x slowdown on my RAID array for (at least in this case) an *increase* in the file-size.

Comment Poetry (Score 3, Interesting) 637

So one of the (at the time) drawbacks of my UK education was that we had to learn poems off by heart for the English Lit. exam. At the time I thought it was just about the most boring part of the curriculum, but now they're a treasure trove of password sources...

Example (no, I don't use this one). One of the poems we had to learn was "Dulce Et Decorum Est"...


Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

"The old lie" being "It is a great and glorious thing to die in the service of one's country". Anyway, take the N'th character of every line - easiest is the first, until you get the number of characters you need. It's easy to remember if you know the poem, it gives you a completely unintelligible password, and it's easy to make a password hint that's opaque to pretty much everyone but you.

Has worked for me for ages. (I'm very old, compared to you yound whippersnappers hanging around /. recently).

Simon

Comment Re:Flaw in the argument ... (Score 1) 951

It was possibly poorly phrased, the "Special Relativity" was supposed to be a clue though. I was talking about it being a universal constant independent of the observer's velocity, i.e.: the difference between light having velocity 'c' and anything else having velocity 'v' where (if I am moving at velocity V), the other object is moving at velocity (v+V) whereas light is moving at velocity 'c'. It just smacks of Reality::constants::FLOAT_MAX.

My argument has nothing to do with our understanding of them. It's a statement that they are areas of our reality that don't behave like all the others - and they tend to be at the extrema, and that's where *we* would put boundary condition / special cases / approximations if we were writing a simulator.

Comment Re:If the NPCs had self awareness... (Score 4, Interesting) 951

Mmm. I'm not sure I agree with the reasoning. You and I can run conway's game of Life on a computer, fast enough to update an entire screen in real time and see things evolve. GPU's are awesome.

But if you and I are the analogues for the nodes in that Life simulation, we have no concept of how much time passes between each simulation step. For all we know, it could take aeons of what we would perceive to be our timebase for the simulation of every Tp (Planck Time). We would never know any different.

The argument of resource is equally unconvincing - to the (strangely, intelligent :-) nodes in our hypothetical game of Life, the very idea of simulating a complex environment is outlandish, but to us it's a simple situation, taking up next to no resources. The expectation is that the next "level up" that would be running our reality as a simulation would be just as much of a difference (or more) to us, as we are to the game of Life. Ad infinitum, of course.

Comment Re:Flaw in the argument ... (Score 2) 951

I'm assuming he's saying we're not *in* the simulation. We *are* part of the simulation. It's not that there's no other more advanced society out there, it's that this entire universe is being simulated and we're part of that simulation. In the same way as we, relatively pitifully, can simulate star motion as universes collide by specifying the base rules and then letting matter interact.

When you think about it, there's a lot that's pretty fishy about our reality

  • The whole speed-of-light being a constant thing. That's just weird. Special relativity. Really ?
  • Wave/Particle duality. Yeah...
  • Quantum entanglement. Uh-huh ?
  • ...

I'm a physicist, and I find these weird. To take Musk's argument for a second, they do seem to smack of approximation code in and around the boundary conditions of a simulation... "Nothing will ever go that fast apart from light, so let's just simplify those parameters a bit"...

Perhaps we're not in some grand experiment. Perhaps we're in a 7-years-old's school science-fair project...

Plus, if you were simulating a universe, and you intended to seed life, that's probably pretty hard. Doing it multiple times could be a lot harder. Perhaps the very scarcity of life (as far as we know) in the universe is an indication of it *being* a simulation...

Food for thought.

Comment When the rats start to understand the experiment.. (Score 1) 951

... the scientists change the rules. Let's hope our overlords are willing to let the experiment run, even if people start to publicise this as a theory. On the plus side, we'd never know it if we're a simulation. Everything will just go offline instantaneously.

And I think it'd be cool if that jesus guy was just someone who figured out a cheat code to our reality. Then the ban-hammer came down, of course...

Comment Problems of scale (Score -1) 100

With "hundreds", hell, even tens of *thousands* of people experiencing a problem, it's still a tiny, tiny percentage of systems. The problem is that when your userbase is in the millions, a 0.1% problem is a *huge* problem. Apple shipped ~4,500,000 systems in 1Q16 according to IDC, just how are they supposed to find a problem that affects as-close-to-zero-percent-of-systems-as-makes-no-difference ? You can QA until you're blue in the face, but it's not going to catch *everything*.

The bad news for Apple is that (a) Apple fans are vocal when things don't "just work", and (b) it's only going to get worse. It's particularly bad for Apple because they have far fewer product lines than most PC retailers, so a problem that affects one line has a disproportionately large effect compared to other manufacturers. On the other hand, the upside is that because there are relatively few product lines, the problem is easier to track down, isolate, and eliminate.

So, as userbase grows, there are going to be more and more cases like this - some failure mode, followed by an outcry on forums, followed by (hopefully) a fix. Apple's problem is to try and make sure this doesn't affect their image of having computers that "just work"...

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