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Comment Image processing (Score 1) 89

When I started my PhD in image processing, I was given an 80-column, 24-line text terminal to the department microVax (approximately 1 MIP, shared between about 40 people). I was lucky, and got one of the good ones, it had an amber phospher :)

Seriously, the only place to see the results of the algorithm was on a shared display downstairs in the lab - which was in high demand. I ended up doing a lot of terminal-style graphs (mine wasn't a tektronix terminal, so I only had text-like characters) to prove an algorithm worked before actually seeing it.

And now I look at the technological ability of my freaking phone, and I wonder at just how far things have come in 30 years or so...

Comment What *could* happen? (Score 2) 183

Yep. Hey, you know what's great? Talking to people. Sex. Building models. Organizing one's rock/stamp/severedhead collections. Writing code. Playing with the cat/dog/cockatrice. Martial arts. Photography. Reading. Taking courses. Exercising. Working out a sane budget. Listening to music. Playing music. Sewing. Legos. Fooling with hardware. Home improvements. Giving the domicile a good once-over at the ultra-picky level, just for the fun of it. Putting the yard in tip-top order. Walking the canine or the cat. Visiting Rome, Paris or Venice (while pretending to be Canadian, of course.) Or just going to see a friend. You know, in person, not with that phone-tumor. Taking a walk, preferably somewhere you haven't been or really love. Etc. Lots and lots of etc.

Television... I just can't bring myself to call that "great." The couch, it really does make for potato generation.

Comment Que? (Score 1) 35

you maintain that anyone from any other country in the world has a right to live in the U.S., but U.S. citizens have no right to live in any other country?

No. However, I maintain that Trump's wall is one of his stupidest ideas.

That's English for "Trump's wall is one of his stupidest ideas", BTW.

Which is not to say that most of his other ideas aren't stupid, because they really, really are. But the wall is special. Like Trump. Short-bus special. Profoundly without merit while at the same time comprising a financial boondoggle of titanic proportions, at the very same time when the country's actual useful infrastructure (not in any way to be confused with border "walls") needs money and effort.

So without regard to political party

Oh, yes. Completely without regard to political party. Just in regard to Trump and any bewildered sycophant who thinks building that wall is anything but a complete waste of time, effort and money.

Also, I like vegetables. So I'm rather appreciative of the workers who pick them. No matter where they come from. I like tacos, too. I would not be in the least bit offended by a taco truck on every corner. Especially if they offered a nice selection of vegetables, but, you know, either way, really.

U.S. citizens have no right to live in any other country

Hmmm. That's a very... interesting... postulate. Let me guess: you live in one of the states that has legalized pot, and you just got back from a test run of every heavy-hitting variety offered, is that it? Did you know that at some taco stands, I've been able to buy Fritos? FRITOS! Lovely, crispy corn chips! And Soda! MMMMMM! Don't Bogart that joint, my friend. Pass it over to Juan.

Comment It is true (Score 2) 454

However, like everything, if a technology comes along to supplant it, in this case, the cost of greener alternatives is lower than coal, it'll simply dwindle and fade over time, with absolutely no need for liberals trying to regulate the crap out of it.

This flawed argument ignores the incontrovertible fact that allowing coal to continue to provide energy on equal terms with other energy supplies rather than pressuring the market to switch to less environmentally damaging sources of energy would do real and substantial harm to us all. The bottom line is: the less energy produced from burning coal and supplied instead from less polluting resources, the better off the world is.

So in fact, there is a need for it to have the crap regulated out of it in a context where it can be replaced with (considerably) less polluting energy sources, which is exactly where we are today.

Comment Re:(sigh) You people still think you're engineers (Score 1) 703

Instead of identifying himself as an engineer, he should have said, "You are dicks." They clearly would not have been able to argue that.

Response probably would have been somewhat along the lines of "You are fined $500 for falsely representing yourself as an anatomist."

Comment Re:Fluid type manipulation with unions (Score 1) 414

Granted, you're not making it worse in any way by representing it with a union.

More to the point, you can't make it better by avoiding using a union. Because it's optimum as is.

The right tool for the right job.

pretty much the essence of obscure legacy cruft.

The job is the job. I have no problem using the right tool for the job.

Comment Bram would be better off... (Score 1) 102

...taking the failed scam that was GemCoin, and actually make it a viable thing by backing it with something other than the worthless amber which the Chinese were trying to trick everyone into thinking had value. Opals, Emeralds, Topaz, Tanzanite, Kunzite, Morganite, Jade, etc. are all highly valuable, and only need a little work to obtain. You'd probably dump far less energy in actual mining than you would running mining rigs like with current Bitcoin.

Comment Re:structs and fundamental OO (Score 1) 414

You are just reinventing machine language where data, instructions, and address pointers can be mixed willy-nilly.

Because machine language varies hugely, and c varies little or none, when working on one platform and then another, c is a convenient low-level way to get as many advantages of working close to the metal (obvious ones are speed and executable size) as possible.

Higher-level languages merely try to introduce discipline and consistency to such practices.

Yes, they do. And in the process, they often cause the resulting product to suffer in speed and/or execution size (and the source code in clarity.) When "mere" means "the product is less good", I translate it as "not mere."

There are reasons to go one way or another. It's not as simple as "HLL's are always better." Sometimes even machine language is the best place to go, embedded controllers with limited storage and small tasks that must be accomplished efficiently, for instance.

Comment Impartial journalism? (Score 1) 182

impartial journalism is entirely possible.

It's certainly possible, but if you can actually show me an instance of it, I'd be quite surprised. I don't recall seeing such a thing. Ever.

There's selection bias, where the story that is told is not the only story, and/or leaves out pertinent details that variously pollute the information transfer to the information consumer. This occurs at the publisher, editorial, reporter and information source levels.

There are errors in collecting information, which can be characterized as "impartial but wrong" which entirely undermines the value of "impartial."

There's the social underpinning, such as the assumptions by the platform from publisher down to reporter buy into memes like the drug war, human trafficking, mommyism, military adventurism, etc. as right and proper undertakings and tell stories in the context of the presumptive matrix that results from those memes.

There's ad-pumping, where the advertising pays more money in when more eyes are attracted, which creates a loop based on popularity rather than accuracy.

There's comment "moderation", where "I disagree / am offended / am trolling" can strongly affect visibility of information -- depending on the site, that can come from privileged (and usually wholly unqualified) individuals, as here on slashdot, or from the crowd, as on reddit.

It all adds up to an extremely formidable gauntlet that information has to run in order to get from wherever it arises over to the consideration of the consumer.

And, not that it's part of the problem of actually achieving impartial journalism, but were you to completely get past every aspect of that somehow, then you still have to find an impartial audience or all that work is for nothing.

IOW, if you manage to present the facts, all the facts, nothing but the facts, and your audience cries "fake news" or drags prejudice, superstition, confirmation bias, or anything from a very long list of similar cognitive failure modes into it, well, there you go. You might as well have written an SF novel.

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