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Comment Re: What I want to know is who keeps telling Tom H (Score 1) 67

On Internet forums, especially if you're AC, "fascism" just means "zealousness". Like, "I hate the liberal fascists just as much as the conservative ones, and the Green Party fascists are the worst.".

No, what it means is that we have a troll here whose agenda is to tilt the entire exchange so that every political disposition is judged against the most strident example of the first-to-mind reductive cliche.

It's a war against subtlety. It's a war against moderates and it's a war against moderation—where "moderation" means the kind of people who think before speaking. It's a distributed, grassroots campaign to normalize the extremes through the implication that all stupidity is created equal. It's painting an f-washed world in which no person is angry or intense because they have a valid point to make about some aspect of society being not right. It's an exit ramp lowered to a swamp world where anger is a Halloween costume (Yoda, Darth Vader), rather than a tool (Martin Luther King, Jr).

That's what it means when 'fascism' becomes a trivialized wingnut stand-in for 'zealotry', a word which already has two boots firmly planted in labelling over listening. Add heels, click, and the world becomes corn-belt Kansas 24/7.

Comment Re:Fake news? (Score 1) 391

Those terms are meant to

I'm not feeling generous today, so I won't write a correspondingly pedantic essay about the meaning of words is never so cut and dried, not even when socially ratified by unnamed parties.

I've always thought the guy in the bright-orange vest with the LED-powered traffic control baton who originally assigned these things to the left and right was a bit of an idiot with a small mind.

But it appears he did have an algorithm after all, however naive. Thanks for boiling that down so succinctly.

Comment all lizard brains are created equal (Score 1) 156

I studied myself, and noticed the same thing: that my choices were a direct function of the quality of goods available. So I fired all the low quality options (and haven't looked back).

Also, if there's a giant bag of potato chips in the house, my odds of cooking a healthy meal go down by about 50%. So I fired the chips, too.

Netflix is right: all lizard brains are created equal.

Comment Re:AI doesn't exist (Score 1) 22

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 DK-impervious = DK-permeable (Score 1) 374

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 immune system flanked (Score 1) 324

Who knew that fact checking was an essential component of the human immune system?

Unbeknownst to him, all is not well in the harem. His wife and one of his mistresses are independently plotting his demise. The wife poisons the water in his canteen, while the mistress punctures the canteen so that the water slowly leaks out.

The Sheik sets out on the journey. After a few miles he feels parched. He unscrews the cap on his canteen and finds, much to his displeasure, that it is empty. He soon dies of dehydration.

Question: who caused the Utahan fracker's death, the wolf-calling media bias Republican or the relative-identity-politics Democrat?

Moral of the story: no time like the present to grease the squeaky wheels. And if that doesn't work, concrete shoes.

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

Yes, so much depends upon one yellowish-green wheel to muck the mules, situated at the goddamn factual (and spectral) midline.

Comment use the Semantic Scholar, Luke (Score 3, Interesting) 68

I've been waiting for a good opportunity to take this new toy out for a spin. Semantic Scholar claims to have brain science almost completely covered.

* author search

Not bad.

* topic search

Not blindingly great. But the third link down is a primary hit.

Theory of Connectivity: Nature and Nurture of Cell Assemblies and Cognitive Computation

There's not a lot of related material here that I'd have gone chasing after the hard way. Apparently, either this research result or this search engine is still too new.

Nevertheless, I retain high hopes.

Comment Re:another editor fail (Score 1) 89

I've always wanted a job that involved no physical labor and no mental labor and no oversight of performance.

Too bad others felt the same way, as we're getting exactly that. I've never wanted such a job. The job I've always wanted is the one where I'm in flow for six hours at a stretch (at least once per day), there are more feedback loops than you can shake a stick at, mainly anchored in equally competent peers who likewise wouldn't have it any other way.

NASA, during the Apollo program, had many pockets of competence where The Right Stuff stretched as far as the eye could see.

9 Project Management Lessons Learned from the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

Delegating to people who don't have experience with a certain task may seem counterintuitive, but it was something Apollo project managers actively encouraged — in fact, the average age of the entire Operations team was just 26, most fresh out of college. NASA gave someone a problem and the freedom to run with it, and the results speak for themselves.

Yes, parts of NASA on the ground basically looked like this.

Imagine the caliber of people you need to hire by default to make this strategy viable.

Gerald Weinberg's second rule of acquisition:

        (2) No matter how it looks at first, it's always a people problem.

Moral of the story: hire only those who dream for the stars, the kind of stars where Easy Street has no name.

Comment when the elephant craps on a haystack (Score 1) 468

When the elephant craps on a haystack, finding the needle is even less fun. When the elephant deliberately binges on legumes and kelp and sun-ripened fish sauce for the sole purpose of defiling the haystack, this thread—so far as I managed to get— is the end result.

So thanks to the first ten posts I skimmed for tilting the payoff matrix so far towards rational ignorance and learned helplessness that even my three adult decades of burly and well-callused sanity is squeaking like a little girl, blubbering like a baby, and asking for a day pass.

It's official. I call "uncle".

Comment mixed emotions (Score 3, Informative) 93

I purchased two Pebble watches as part of the original Kickstarter. One failed within a year (we were too distracted at the time to pursue a warranty claim), the other one is still "ticking".

Custom programming my own non-24-hour sleep-wake calendar was a big step for me in finding a cure. It finally put my metabolic reality on equal footing with the world around me, so that I could properly track each on its own terms.

I will always remember my Pebble watch as a life-changing event.

That said, I had doubts about Eric Migicovsky as a venture capitalist right from the beginning. When the original watch was delayed (I've done electronics fabrication before, it's far from easy with so much at stake on a new product) Eric obviously got some advice to keep reality close to the vest, and thus his public comments fell far short of the mark, given the situation. It's actually a flaw in the Kickstarter program that your promised delivery date is locked in stone prior to discovering you've got a landslide on your hands. (How to manage around that, I've never quite figured out. Kickstarter mainly appeals to flighty dreamers—too much honesty could seriously damp the lemming effect.) For my money, Eric failed the test of knowing when and where to draw the line on taking good advice. Any damn fool can advise you to keep your PR powder dry. Actual VC talent is required to know when to blow these damn fools off and venture out into the dangerous territory of actual honesty, while your users still care.

As for the watch itself, I'm still actually using my Pebble watch, for a single reason. Cure now in hand, in bottle form, I continue to wear my watch because its vibrate alarm is harder for me to ignore or forget than any other watch/phone I've had before, so I really do take my sustained-release melatonin at exactly the right time of day, each and every day, without fail.

I turned off BT completely after Fitness App Runkeeper Secretly Tracks Users At All Times, Sends Data to Advertisers because at this level of vigilance investment, extra battery life on both sides was more important than e-mail notification (and I hate pulling out my phone just to check a quick message).

Sad.

Comment Re:Eleven Million (Score 1) 589

Finding a small faction of them stupid enough to literally file an admission to a crime on the other hand isn't difficult at all.

Finding a small faction of them stupid enough to literally fight on the wrong side of a civil war on the other hand isn't difficult at all.

FTFY.

Suggestion. Try reading history. Nearly the whole of the present world order had its origins in a then-termed illegal act—pretty much all the wayback to Silverback Eden.

Twenty-five distinct vocalisations are recognised, many of which are used primarily for group communication within dense vegetation. Most of these mean "don't".

Comment Re:Well then... (Score 1) 589

Seriously? That's even worse. He was charged with "assault" - a word which, everywhere else in the world, implies physical violence - for *saying* something.

Says the man who's never heard of a dead Danish cartoonist he really missed. No wait, he's still alive, because sensible people took all those verbal threats seriously.

I realize the connection here is somewhat abstract. If this proves too hard for you, I suggest you start by watching the movie Robocop.

Comment the one true roundness (Score 1) 332

By all accounts Donald Knuth—almost all by himself—ran circles around the Agile team (this was a full two decades before the first glint in eye of the Agile Manifesto) and yet the world has not adopted Literate Programming.

Suppose I were to acquire an Agile development shop, one with a track record of making their chosen process work. Then, surely, a year later, I could write the following:

The Agile team struggled to switch to Literate, but not yet successfully. It's not easy to do, and the transition is often done poorly. Then, the Agile believers point to the failed transition and use it as evidence that Literate does not work.

Literate definitely works better than Agile in the 0.001% of the programmer population—to offer up a perhaps hopelessly optimistic estimate—who are a) brilliant mathematicians, and b) semi-brilliant architects, and c) brilliant expositors, and d) know the algorithmic literature inside out.

Agile works well when the glove fits the talent (it would not have worked well for Knuth).

This is not new. Many other gloves have demonstrated the same success model. What every workable model has in common: hire the best people, and then create a culture where the best people can most effectively drag the rest along.

The other way this plays out is that a sub-group of programmers who are a little better at politics (and a lot noisier) agitate toward their particular approach to life being flattered by the best-fitting glove. Then, instead of people being judged by where their talents are the best fit, the story becomes square programmer fails to fit round hole.

Agile is far from the roundest hole. Literate is a hole so round it unbreaks broken symmetry. What's great about Literate is that it's so obviously too round for the human species to endure, it's almost never forced upon anyone unsuited to its strictures. Instead, Lisp and Haskell (and APL within a smaller niche) take the crown of being the roundest holes into which any programmer has been forced against his or her aptitude and self-interest.

Agile is good at managing specification risk. If managing specification risk is the top of your risk pyramid, it's proper to ask whether forcing people (whose natural fit lies elsewhere) into a rounder hole is the right business method. What drives specification risk? 50% of this is driven by ambitious yet curiously clueless customers. These are never in short supply, so Agile is rarely in short supply.

What drove Literate? The case of a curiously over-competent customer (Knuth wrote TeX first and foremost for himself, to typeset a sophisticated manuscript he had already authored). These have never been in large supply, hence Literate has never been in large supply.

Even with top talent, the fractal repeats. PHK hates Literate, and he's neither second rate nor inarticulate. What happened there?

Move my rants into their own sandbox

==Why Sphinx and reStructuredText?==

The first school of thought on documentation, is the one we subscribe to in Varnish right now: "Documentation schmocumentation ..." It does not work for anybody.

The second school is the "Write a {La}TeX document" school, where the documentation is seen as a stand alone product, which is produced independently. This works great for PDF output, and sucks royally for HTML and TXT output.

The third school is the "Literate programming" school, which abandons readability of *both* the program source code *and* the documentation source, which seems to be one of the best access protections one can put on the source code of either.

The fourth school is the "DoxyGen" school, which lets a program collect a mindless list of hyperlinked variable, procedure, class and filenames, and call that "documentation".

And the fifth school is anything that uses a fileformat that cannot be put into a version control system, because it is binary and non-diff'able. It doesn't matter if it is OpenOffice, LyX or Word, a non-diffable doc source is a no go with programmers.

Quite frankly, none of these works very well in practice.

One of the very central issues, is that writing documentation must not become a big and clear context-switch from programming. That precludes special graphical editors, browser-based (wiki!) formats etc.

Yes, if you write documentation for half your workday, that works, but if you write code most of your workday, that does not work. Trust me on this, I have 25 years of experience avoiding using such tools.

I found one project which has thought radically about the problem, and their reasoning is interesting, and quite attractive to me ...

Unfortunately, PHK turns out to be one of those stupid Waterfall guys who just somehow just can't manage to revamp his innate conception of "readability" to handle the one true roundness.

Comment my previous bookmark on open source RISC-V (Score 1) 101

Analyzing the RISC-V Instruction Set Architecture â" Andreas Olofsson, August 2014

The RISC-V architecture is not revolutionary, but it is an excellent general purpose architecture with solid design decisions. The true breakthrough here is really the open source licensing model and the maturity of the design as compared to most other open source hardware projects. ... A royalty free 64-bit RISC-V core would have a raw silicon cost of a couple of cents in current CMOS process nodes. Now that is exciting!

Comment cyber warfare street conversion kit (Score 1) 1428

Liberals, having given up their assault weapons and Saturday Night Specials, don't do so well.

Just how long do you figure it would take for all those college-educated, STEM-leaning liberals with their basements packed with 3D-printing equipment to grass roots a driverless Elon Musk roof-mounted rail gun conversion kit?

Cyber warfare street conversion kit.

There's an app for that.

"Got me a gun, no education required," is a-soon heading for ye olde retirement home.

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