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Comment immune system flanked (Score 1) 265

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

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

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 2) 66

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) 82

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) 448

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).


Comment Re:Eleven Million (Score 1) 586

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.


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) 586

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) 1424

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.

Comment Re:Legal requirements in each of 120 countries? (Score 1) 90

huge amount of additional taxpayer money idling wastefully while waiting for its big chance to break into computers in 120 countries


Why do so many people struggle with the basic idea that the margin frequently log-jams on political constraints other than funds?

Cynicism as the last refuge of the one-track mind.

Comment Tor stinks of honeypot stinks of FUD (Score 1) 39

Avoid Tor. It's a trap.

And you would be:

A) on the side of the freedom loving tin hats;
B) the algorithmic claptrap of yet another NSA disinformation FUD campaign?

What I can say for certain.

Your post hails from the Chicago "the gun, the gun, the gun" school of analysis.


Interesting. Somewhere in the bath water, reducing the scope of your security leak to (probably) the most advanced and (certainly) the best-funded surveillance agency on the planet went right out the window.

Here's the thing about the NSA. They've (literally) got billions of fish to fry.

Unless you're a very big fish indeed (or part and parcel of the sleeper cell with the mostest, of same) fixating on putative capabilities of the NSA (dispelling clarity on this matter is NSA's job #1) is narcissism porn of the boner apocalypse.

Comment upright poppy syndrome (Score 1) 385

This entire media "bias" meme really separates those who allowed their schooling to interfere with their education, and those of us who didn't. What would unbiased media even look like? I don't know, but it would certainly be a state propaganda feed, because something can only be unbiased as measured against a ratified, societal norm.

For Act II, how about we stick our little strip of pink/blue bias-detection litmus paper into the baptismal bowl at Lakewood Church? Bias? Just imagine. Part of a giant, orchestrated, financially flush media empire? Absolutely. Harder to Google than the printed word? Who would have guessed?

There's a good sociological reason Wikipedia is largely authored by literate, STEM-positive, over-educated, middle-aged white males such as myself—many of us keep our Sunday morning calendars free and clear of conflicting obligations.

Journalism—the kind that operates outside the church—also, tilts toward a literate, STEM-positive, over-educated, professional cadre.

I once read a book by an IT consultant from way back. (Gerald Weinberg would have been on my desk at the time, but I'm not sure it was him.) As the story went, he was shooting the shit in the cubical of the middle manager who was likely to retain him, and noticed a huge, fancy chart on the wall documenting the weekly software defect rate. Seeing an in, his mouth shot out "looks like you have a problem here with software quality".

Already steaming, the middle manager shot right back, "what the fuck do you mean?" and proceeded to explain that the chart was just one artefact of an industry-leading quality management program that actually bothered to meticulously self-assess, which was almost unheard of in its time. The consultant had been brought in to forestall future pain, rather than medicate human folly. Lesson learned: think before you assume that smoke means unmanaged fire.

Journalism self assesses, bias purportedly found (by an otherwise unloved wolf-calling sub-population whose standard of hard thinking is managing to distinguish red from blue along a single axis).

Wikipedia self assesses, huge pockets of white male nerds discovered.

The church self assesses, oh noes we've got a few here who haven't swallowed the catechism lock, stock, and barrel; we should redouble our efforts.

Hmmm, different agendas.

At the end of the day, bias is mainly found in the organizations leading the curve in self-assessment (not hard to do, as this is so rarely done at all).

Comment Re:Block everyone or the driver? (Score 1) 291

Cell phones are entirely new in the past generation, but, there has been no uptick, overall, in distracted driving deaths, certainly not like you would expect if they were an actual cause and not simply a new preferred choice for distraction.

Someone who wasn't distracted by their own fatuous logic would expected the road fatality rate to decrease on a VMT basis due to ongoing improvements in vehicle safety, road design, trauma surgery, and ongoing public education efforts.

I'd parse List of motor vehicle deaths in U.S. by year for you, but I no longer trust the official U.S. population figures.

The number of illegal immigrants in the United States is "30 million, it could be 34 million."
                                                          — Donald Trump

Friday 24 July 2015 interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

(It kind of makes me wonder how many of those 34 or 38 or 42 million people presently realize they're living in America on borrowed time.)

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What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.