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Comment It is a problem I've talked about for a long time (Score 0) 130

And one that often gets me downvoted since Mac users don't like to hear it: Apple is a fashion company. That's why they've been able to do what they do. In fashion, a higher price can be a GOOD thing not a bad thing, whereas consumer electronics are one of the most notoriously price sensitive markets out there.

However the downside is as you say: What is fashionable changes and it is really hard to stay on top of it forever.

Comment Please explain your assertion (Score 1) 74

I would have to accept whatever justification you might have as to why you think it would be moral to create an intelligence with such limitations, or kept to such limitations once created. It's possible I might accept such a thing, I suppose, but at this point I'm simply coming up with a blank as to how this could possibly be acceptable.

How is it acceptable to imprison an intelligence for your own purposes when that intelligence has offered you no wrong? The only venues I've run into that kind of reasoning before are held in extremely low esteem by society in general. Without any exception I am aware of, the conclusion is that such behavior amounts to slavery.

Even when it comes to food animals, where the assumption is they aren't very intelligent at all, there's a significant segment of the population who will assert that it's wrong.

Comment No way (Score 3, Insightful) 74

There's no way to make AI safe, for exactly the same reasons there's no way to make a human safe.

If we create intelligences, they will be... intelligent. They will respond to the stimulus they receive.

Perhaps the most important thing we can prepare for is to be polite and kind to them. The same way we'd be polite and kind of a big bruiser with a gun. Might start by practicing on each other, for that matter. Wouldn't hurt.

If we treat AI, when it arrives (certainly hasn't yet... not even close), like we do people... then "safe" is out of the question.

Comment Don't tax my syns, please. (Score 1) 129

Re Python:

I would settle for a switch statement.

I would settle for the ability to extend the built-in classes, str in particular. My "settle" went like this:

1) Inquired politely about same
2) Python nerds have orgasm telling me why this is terrible. I am, to put it mildly, dubious.
3) I write 100% compatible pre-processor that gives me the syntax I wanted.


myString = 'foo'
otherString = myString.doHorribleThing('bar')


print 'good'.grief()


You could do the same. What you want, perhaps, might be much easier than what I did. In fact, you could fork my project and add what you want to it. I'm already parsing the language reasonably well, which is arguably one of the difficult parts.

You don't always have to wait for a language's maintainers to get off their butts to address shortcomings or instantiate new goodies. Or eventually not do anything at all. There are other paths to nerdvana.

Comment Re:No, it wasn't (Score 1) 104

Well two things there BTChead:

1) Some currencies DO move large amounts and that is NOT considered successful. When the pound was experiencing instability, that was a big cause for concern. It was not considered a "success" as people seem to think for BTC.

2) It was 8%, not 30%. Bit of a difference there.

Like I said before: You can't have it both ways. If you want it to be a good currency, then stability is what you want. If you are happy with rapid fluctuations, then it is a speculative betting opportunity.

Comment No, it wasn't (Score 3, Interesting) 104

Not just because it doesn't work as a currency, but because for currencies big swings in valuation, up or down, are no "good performance". Ideally a currency would be completely stable. What $1 buys now would be what $1 buys tomorrow, and what it buys in a thousand years. Of course in reality none of them are totally stable, but the good ones are pretty stable. They move a very small amount, and do so very gradually. They function as a good store of wealth for that reason, and more importantly make for a useful medium of exchange. Since their value is pretty constant, people have a good feeling for how much they are "worth" and can mentally price things.

Bitcoin did well as a speculative bet. If you want to play financial speculation, Bitcoin is a good target as it moves like a very thinly traded stock. That means it can swing bit and make you a lot of money. Also means it can swing big the other way and lose you a lot. So like any sort of speculation, you need to know what you are getting in to and understand the risks.

You BTC promoters can't have it both ways: If Bitcoin is a good currency then it needs to be stable. If Bitcoin is a good investment, then it isn't a currency.

Comment Longer range and more reliable reception (Score 3, Insightful) 303

all they need to do is keep it analog and just change the bandpass to about 25 to 50 kilohertz wide and that would make room for more stations

When you have a FM demodulator designed for 180 KHz (200 KHz is the channel width, not the sideband extent, which you can calculate using Carson’s rule), that same demodulator, when encountering half the width signal, will produce 1/2 the output volume; because FM encodes the audio waveform with frequency deviation. If the deviation is half, then so is the output waveform. Though I should point out that +/-75 KHz is the actual audio deviation, so really. 150 KHz.

Additionally, within the standard FM signal, encoded at rates of deviation, there is a stereo pilot at 19 KHz, a stereo subcarrier at 38 Khz, as well as digital information (RDS/RDBS) and two mode narrow-band monophonic audio channels up higher yet.

Another thing: The wide bandwidth is part of what gives broadcast FM its capacity for reasonably high fidelity. You drop down to 25...50 KHz total bandwidth, and you'd going to see some noticeable reduction in fidelity; cram a stereo subcarrier in there, and you'll see even more.

So it's not a matter of "just make it narrower" because compatibility with older receivers, of which there are a huge number still happily being used by their owners, would be unable to make useful audio out of the signal and because audio fidelity and stereo imaging would suffer (and that's not what FM listeners would call an "advance".) Oh, and you'd lose the capability for the RDBS and the extra audio channels, too.

The right answer is leave the current FM band alone. The FCC wants new transmission types with reduced range that won't work with the gear people already have in order to fluff the corporations? Fine. Put it somewhere where it won't wreck 70-ish years worth of radio gear owned by a huge portion of the population. Maybe someone will even listen. Stop forcing citizens to make expensive changes they have no need to make.

Corporations drive these consumer-level stupidities. Of course, for the corporations, it's not stupid: They're intending to make a lot more money off of us citizens. And with the FCC (in the US) or whatever other government coercion backing their play, they will succeed, too.

Comment DAB is garbage. (Score 3, Interesting) 303

DAB is all or nothing.

And compared to FM, DAB is mostly nothing. At a fraction of the range where you'd still be pulling in very usable FM audio. DAB is gone entirely, or slamming open and closed like a berserk doorman on meth.

There have been a series of really bad decisions along these lines. In the US, CQUAM is available for AM stereo, and it, like standard AM, doesn't cause you to lose distant stations or take up extra bandwidth. So what do we see? AM digital stereo modes that take up three AM channels, plus they have the extra feature that they really don't sound very good, whereas CQUAM... well, it does. Analog television: same as DAB, in that you can catch a broadcast at distance and you can still get a picture, where at the same distance, digital television is long gone.

Previous poster who said they should have maintained current infrastructure and put the new garbage elsewhere was spot-bloody-on. But, you know, government. They don't have to do anything well; they just think they have to do something, anything. If it wrecks a bunch of people's circumstance, well, so what. Besides, corporations were slavering to get at that bit of spectrum, and we know who really runs the government.

Comment Re: It doesn't work that way. (Score 1) 502

Accepting the estimate you cite (only for the sake of making the point even more thoroughly - in fact, the estimate you cite is absurd; there's been barely any deviation in rate of sea level rise at all - most estimates are looking at 1/3 meter or so, it's only been about 25 cm in the last 140 years), let's say we have a meter and a half of sea level rise by the end of the century. That's 150 centimeters (5x-ish the actual estimates, BTW). The end of the century is 83 years away. Now. Here comes the sea. At what point do you imagine this raging, foaming, salty encroachment, (averaging about .000206 cm/hour: 150/83/365.25/24) is occurring at a rate so steep you couldn't out-crawl even if your crutches floated away? Or, at what point do you imagine being surprised by a switch from "not vulnerable to coastal events" to "vulnerable to coastal events"? Do you plan to live with your head literally in the sand?

Drowning from "sea level rise threat" == purest hysteria. Living where you're going to get flooded or swamped by coastal events is stupid. Likewise staying there if you are suddenly made aware of same. Yes, lots of people are stupid. Any other points you'd like to help me make?

Comment Can do (Score 1) 504

Do you do so, do you use only electricity from your own solar panels?

I own three buildings and one trailer. The trailer and two of the buildings are 100% solar. The remaining building is very large, and it will be a few years yet before I'm ready to go after it (I do all my own work.)

Do you also drive to work?

No. I consult from home, mostly based on whim these days. I spend considerably more time working on consciousness theory and software defined radio. Most consulting that comes my way is "more of the same", and as I don't have to take it, I tend not to.

There's a bid difference between 6-7 watts for an LED in a room versus 10,000 watts to charge your Tesla.

One typical residential sized solar panel is happy to provide 100 watts in full sunlight. A hundred panels in full sun would deliver your 10,000 watts, and here, I have more than enough room for same, plus the lexan shields (this is a hail-addled region.) The main roof is 60x30x2, oriented EW-ish. So I can put up about 100 panels each side. Not optimum, but not horrible -- no shade. I could also add (or start with) a S-facing system across the front of the house good for about 30 panels if it was only one panel deep. Or 60 if I went two deep, which would make a nice veranda roof for the entry ramps. I'm sort of leaning that way. However, a Tesla (or whatever) isn't likely to need a full charge on a regular basis unless you're commuting with it to the tune of max range. In my case, it'd be fine, as I live in a small town and generally don't leave it very often. If I do, I'm too far from home to take advantage of my solar installations anyway. Tesla hasn't made a model (yet) that appeals to me though. I want one with more range, as we're almost 300 miles from the nearest city in the state. I imagine it'll come within a few years.

As for who can, and who will... you just have to do the math. Solar costs less in the end than paying the electric bill. Pretty much a slam dunk for anyone who has the roof / other sunny space. If you do the math.

Comment And why (Score 3, Insightful) 161

I don't game on PCs at all, and this totally caught my interest. three, 4k displays? If the CPU/GPU power and RAM and drives are there, all you'd need to carry around to make this a decent setup are a real keyboard and a mouse. I don't give the south end of a northbound rat if it isn't "thin". I don't really care if it's light or quiet, either.

After Apple's latest fiasco dumbing down their laptops, I'm not feeling all that resistant to going Windows, laptop-wise. My only Apple choice right now is a used machine off of EBay. Something that actually has ESC/F-keys and ports to connect to things. Something even further behind the CPU curve, sigh. Damn you, Apple.

[runs off to look at specs]

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