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Comment Re:Privacy (Score 1) 63

I'm guessing that sure, a lot of folks wouldn't care, but I would posit that the majority of the populace using social media even is NOT aware of the massive information collection going on, nor how it is used.

I doubt the difference is awareness so much as caring. Germany, in particular, is extremely sensitive to privacy reasons. What's more interesting is why the populace of some countries care so much more than others. German motivations seem obvious... but Russians would seem to have almost as much motivation and they're heavy users of social media.

Comment Re:Why is this surprising? (Score 1) 63

Gabbing, food-plate moneyshots, selfie-admiration and laughing at animals does not necessarily lead to productivity.

You're implying a causal relationship, which is contradicted by the existence of many other high-performing economies -- including the most productive countries -- that do have heavy social media usage.

Comment Re:This reminds me of the nuclear boy scout story. (Score 1) 166

Actually, I meant what I said.

Then you're just wrong, because decisions like this guy made have basically nothing to do with any sort of intelligence, and certainly not social intelligence (not by any definition of that phrase that I've ever seen). They do have something to do with motivation, but it's about the goal of the motivation, not the degree.

It's perfectly possible to have high intelligence across every category, including social intelligence, and still be foolish.

While this may be true, I think it is impossible to anticipate someone's actual social reasoning performance from any measure of social reasoning capacity to any useful degree.

Likely true, but irrelevant.

Comment Re:This reminds me of the nuclear boy scout story. (Score 2) 166

The moral of the story is that even a stupid human being can be pretty smart. Particularly a sufficiently motivated stupid person.

That's an odd thing to say, since stupid is the antonym of smart. I think what you meant to say is:

The moral of the story is that even a foolish human being can be pretty smart. Particularly a sufficiently-motivated fool.

Foolishness is the opposite of wisdom, and the foolish/wise axis is roughly orthogonal to the stupid/smart axis.

Of course it also helps that intelligence comes in different flavors. Some people are good at spatial reasoning, others are good at verbal reasoning. But we often overlook social reasoning because it's not part of the traditional IQ tests. I think another reason that Social IQ testing hasn't caught on is that there is good reason to believe that social reasoning ability isn't fixed. Changes in attitude can strongly impair or enhance an individual's ability to process social information.

I don't think this has anything to do with social intelligence. It's perfectly possible to have high intelligence across every category, including social intelligence, and still be foolish. Wisdom/foolishness is in how you think about things more than in how your are able to think about things. Wise people consider the consequences of their actions carefully. I'm sure this guy was fully capable of thinking through what would happen if he got caught... he just didn't bother to do it.

Comment Re:I like functions... (Score 1) 370

Yes, it means your functions aren't allowed to have side effects (i.e., all parameters are passed by value and the only result is the value returned to the caller).

It's quite a bit more than that, at least if you're talking about pure functional programming. You also have to get rid of most all of your old notions of flow control. Imperative programming is about defining sequences of steps, some of which are conditional. Functional programming is all done with nested transformations; there are no sequential steps, there are no branches, there is no iteration.

If this sounds freakish and impossible to someone raised on imperative programming paradigms... yes, it is. Functional programming requires thinking in an entirely new way. It's a very powerful tool. I'm not sure it's the best tool for the systems I build (though I'm also not sure it isn't), but at a minimum it's a useful way to think about code construction. Every programmer should spend some time learning it.

Comment Re:"Like"? (Score 2) 370

I don't get what you mean by "like".

Procedures are procedures, period.

Indeed they are. And purely functional programming languages don't have procedures.

The grafting of functional programming constructs onto imperative languages is interesting and useful, but every programmer should spend some time learning to program in a purely functional style, even if they then go back to imperative languages for their everyday work. It opens up a whole new way of thinking about code.

Comment Re:It has its uses (Score 1) 370

There's two big things that have come out of the recent move towards more functional programming which are really important.

You missed the biggest one: Eliminating mutable state makes code inherently safe for concurrency. Not an inconsiderable issue, since the direction of hardware progress seems to be towards ever more cores.

Of course, pure functional programming eliminates mutable state by creating massive numbers of copies. Actual functional programming languages (e.g. Haskell) are quite clever about optimizing out nearly all of those copies, but the result of that is that the generated code has mutable state. Still, this may very well be the best way forward... automatic parallelization of imperative code is very hard. It may well be that it's easier to automatically decide how to split work up by analyzing data copying, and then apply copy optimization to each thread.

Comment Re:What's changed? (Score 3, Interesting) 276

On the internet, short of blocking them on social media, you are confronted with them constantly.

Actually, I think it's the ability to block (or just de-friend) that creates the biggest part of the problem. It creates echo chamber effects, which help ideas morph into their most virulent and effective forms, especially ideas that demonize the holders of opposing ideas -- which, from a memetic evolutionary perspective are really cooperating ideas, not competing at all.

A good, though somewhat annoyingly dumbed down, explanation of this process and effect is this youtube video. If you haven't watched it, you really should -- and then think about the ideas that you hold and consider the possibility that they have evolved specifically to push your hot buttons in the most effective way possible, and how you can counter that.

Comment Re:What could possibly go wrong? (Score 1) 93

Perhaps: Well the ocean temperature dropped enough, but turns out the local increase in salinity due to the cloud whitening machine spraying salt in to the air has killed off the entire Great Barrier Reef. Oops.

It should be trivial to calculate the potential salinity increase. Do you really think environmental scientists trying to protect the reef won't bother to check that?

Comment Re:DRONE ON (Score 1) 259

So working to reduce our waste volume is the only realistic plan.

Not the only one. Another is to learn how to engineer the climate. Actually, in the long run that will be necessary anyway, because the Earth's climate has significant natural variation, enough that for most of the planet's life-bearing history it's had a climate that we wouldn't like very much. There's also evidence from both Greenland and Antarctic ice core records that the planet occasionally undergoes very rapid spontaneous (i.e. not driven by obvious causes like large volcanic event) climate changes -- faster than the current anthropogenic change. We need to learn how to manage the climate.

Reducing our "accidental" impact will make the job of engineering appropriate deliberate impacts easier, of course.

Comment Re:The problem is depth perception (Score 1) 56

Your eyes are far better at matching light frequencies between both eyes to get the depth mapping correct. Your standard camera can only distinguish 24 bits of light frequency. At that level you get somewhat of a depth map but not a very good one.

Waymo uses LIDAR, not visual light cameras. It gets an extremely accurate depth map, far more accurate than any human could, because LIDAR measures the time it takes light to reach the "seen" object and bounce back to the receptor.

In a 3D mapped world, all the depth information is 100% accurate.

Which is only slightly better than LIDAR-derived depth information.

Comment Re: I think I speak for all of us here (Score 1) 74

So, not for moral reasons at all

RTFS:

they saw hacking as a "moral crusade", said Paul Hoare, senior manager at the NCA's cybercrime unit, who led the research. Others were motivated by a desire to tackle technical problems and prove themselves to friends

I realize that reading the article is too much to ask, but reading the summary really isn't.

Comment I think I speak for all of us here (Score 1) 74

I think I speak for all of us here when I say: Duh?

I mean, I'm glad they've realized this, but rather disappointed they didn't figure it out, oh, 30 years ago, back when kids were hacking the phone system. I mean, even back then some of them "stole" quite a bit of value in the form of hours-long international telephone calls (which used to be really expensive, not like now), but clearly the monetary value was irrelevant, except perhaps as a way to keep score.

Some of those kids grow up and turn their skills to deliberate crime for profit, sure. But I think it's always been clear that basically none of them start that way. Honestly, I don't think it's even possible. There has to be an overpowering love of and fascination with the technology at the beginning, that almost certainly overshadows any interest in material gain. Later, the glamor of the tech fades a bit, but that takes years.

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