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Comment Re:the problem with Kevin Kelly (Score 1) 242

Bah, I've got more.

Bubble sort was invented because it's optimal on a Turing machine, and it's easy to laugh at (ha, ha, topology matters after all). Of course, Turing chose the most reductive topology (linear tape) to simplify proof mechanics, and not as a realistic topology for any computation, ever.

Two fundamental technologies define our current electronic regime:

The first puts us into a fundamentally 2D electronic topology at the lowest scale. The second determines the first-order term in thermal efficiency. We've been running these rapids for my entire life—and for the better part of 50 years, it never blinked.

At the layer of the data center, with all those high-speed cross-bar switches pancaking the fabric, the meta topology is closer to 4D at the logical level (switching latency), and 2.5D at the physical level (speed of light effects). But still 2D at the silicon level. (It's only recently that TSV HBM is starting to appear in GPUs targeted at neural networks. Call that 2.5D.) With electronic switching, the 4D term presently dominates, but with the advent of photonic switching, the 2.5D term will likely dominate (alongside a one or two order-of-magnitude improvement in data-center bisection bandwidth).

When you look at computation on a planetary scale, and we're back to 2D (so far we mostly install our computational devices in the razor-thin planetary biosphere).

Now the human brain is 3D volumetrically, but probably closer to 2.5D at the logical connectivity layer. Back up to 3D at the level of individual neural networks. (Is that important?)

Neural oscillation

The band seems to range from 1–70 Hz. This is not dissimilar to planetary Internet-scale resonant frequencies: light circles the equator at about 7 Hz.

Human social intelligence resonates on the scale of seconds to minutes (your average drunk can thumb-select a wry emoticon for his Twitter feed in about the same length of time it takes to eject a floppy disk and jam in a different one—also known as 10 billion clock cycles). Machine social intelligence—should this come to pass—will resonate on a scale somewhere in the milliseconds to low seconds range.

The cleavage points in the time domain are strikingly different, yet more or less the same cup of tea, all the same.

This argument from time is hardly decided. An argument from Joules would probably be more useful, but is presently hard to assess in any shallow way.

What's the asymptotic data-recall efficiency of photonic memory?

Right. I've got no clue, either.

Comment the problem with Kevin Kelly (Score 1) 242

The problem with Kevin Kelly is that he tickles the part of your brain that wants more Richard Feynman, and then this.

This thesis is not new.

Kelly on the Future, Productivity, and the Quality of Life — January 2013

Guest: The basis of my non-worry comes from the fact that I think the idea of universal computation is a myth. And by universal computation is the belief that starting with the mathematical idea called Turing-Church hypothesis, which says any computation is equivalent to any other computation. The full version of that is: Any computation is equivalent to any other computation given infinite time and space.

From my original notes:

There was good stuff, but he also went on irritating rambles I wouldn't wish to consume again. ... The weirdest one is where he challenges universal computation as applying only when infinite in time and infinite in space.

Kelly seems not to comprehend the challenge involved in proving near-equivalency of computational systems (over any ingenious metric) in the finite case. You'd be walking straight uphill in the general direction of Chaitin's constant.

Although there are infinitely many halting probabilities, it is common to use the letter omega to refer to them as if there were only one.

Is lumping omega actually a real problem?

Kelly seems pretty sure that omega comes in flavours marsupial and mammal ("substrates").

Feynman had a supreme knack of not screwing this stuff up, even when he was skirting a field he really didn't know much about. He had such a strong sense of when his own feet were on solid ground, and was extremely clever is turning the discussion to where his solid footing generally carried the day.

Kevin Kelly not so much.

Comment the underbelly of entrepreneurship (Score 1) 86

My last two reads in this area were The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon (2013) and When Genius Failed (2000), both of which I found highly engaging.

Is that what you were looking for?

On my near-term list is The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers (2014).

Perhaps that's more what you're after.

I also liked The Man in the Machine (2015).

Comment a poor-man's wild west (Score 2) 101

If you haven't got a billion dollars, you can't blather on about colonising Mars. How admirably crytocurrency fills its niche as a poor man's wild west. It's got everything. A Chinese Boss Hogg with a Fu Machu mustache can suddenly jump out of the woodwork at any moment. Hot damn!

I was never much of an Oregon Trail dreamer myself, so this whole scene amuses me greatly.

Comment the moderation gap (Score 1) 271

Almost any controlled diet (short of rice-cakes and water) improves health outcomes over what people eat when they're paying less attention.

Almost every controlled diet excludes most of the same extremely suspect foods (high-fructose bonbons, anything out of the smokey, rarely replenished deep-fat frier from hell).

It probably is true that inflammation is the underlying malady. High LDL levels probably exacerbate the negative effects of inflammation. Refined-carbohydrate–rich diets combined with a sedentary lifestyle are known to be inflammatory.

As I recall, studies of hard-working farmers who ate six eggs a day (with bacon) and not much sugar haven't shown unusually high rates of coronary heart disease. Thus I've begun to suspect that the problem comes from overloading the metabolism on two axes at the same time (lipids and carbohydrates) while also tying one-hand to the sedentary-lifestyle bed post.

In paleolithic times, it was possible to gorge yourself (from time to time) on one food group or another (bananas or bison), but rarely both at the same time (and certainly not without taking a long hike at some point either before, during, or afterwards, plus there's no shortage of labour involved in harvesting a side of bison with a stone axe, or spending an entire day climbing banana trees). These days we hang around in coffee shops playing chess, and the forty-move time control rarely elapses without inducing yet another mocha frappe and a "small" serving of cheesecake (it sure looks small beside that sugary 20-ounce drink).

It seems like any one of three corrective actions: elimination of excess sugar (rice cakes are 100% sugar), elimination of excess fat, or a vigorous physical lifestyle has an enormously beneficial effect. I suspect that any change will do, just so long as your metabolism is not confronting the triple-risk zone on a regular basis.

Of course, if they convince you to stay out of all three risk zones at the same time (carbs from green vegetables only, no animal fat, high exercise) your risk of crossing through the triple-risk zone at any point in time goes almost to zero. I tend to think of that as the belt and suspenders and sneakers approach. Or, if you convince someone to achieve a half-hearted three days of out seven compliance on each of those, he or she is probably mostly out of the weeds, as well.

Evolution tends to make us pretty adaptive. Two out of three stress factors poses only a moderate problem. Three out of three stress factors (a condition almost impossible to achieve in our evolutionary history) and now you have a big problem.

Pure approach to at-worst two-out-of-three:

* farming with ox and plow (always work hard, eat whatever you damn well want)
* total elimination of refined carbs (it's not easy to get or stay fat on this diet, unless you've already got metabolic syndrome)
* total elimination of animal fat (combining balanced nutrition with a green lifestyle is now your biggest challenge; almond production requires six-times more water than industrial chicken meat, per delivered ounce)

Impure approach to mostly at-worst two-out-of-three:

* vigorous exercise two days a week (with sustained spurts of 8-10 METs, ya lazy yoga-pant moron)
* complete elimination of sugary beverages (requires moderation of alcohol, too)
* plenty of animal fat, but not in the form of steak and cheesecake dinners (bad fat+ sugar), or all-you-can-eat fettuccine Alfredo buffets (also bad-fat Hoover Dam + sugar Niagara)

Of course, in any controlled study, interventions that ask for the moon have more margin for non-compliance, and that effect will definitely be measured, and found statistically significant.

That doesn't mean that impure moderation doesn't provide 80% of the benefits for 20% of the religious conviction.

But our research is never geared to tell us this.

Comment if not, fake news (Score 1) 546

on average millennials expect to retire younger than other working age generations.

Did you mean:

on average millennials expect to retire younger than other working age generations expected to retire when polled in the same way, at a comparable age and state of employment?

If not, fake news.

Comment preexisting malaise (Score 2) 220

What he wrote:

UPDATE: as a direct result of "the views espoused in my engineering article on Medium" I have been terminated from my contracting position at my current employer.

What's he's hoping people read:

UPDATE: solely as a result of "the views espoused in my engineering article on Medium" I have been terminated from my contracting position at my current employer.

Unfortunately, version 1.0 typically falls under the thick veil of he said, she said.

Here's the exact point where he wanders off into the weeds:

Its intractability comes not from incompetency or from a lack of discipline, ...

It doesn't take a 4-Sigmund review to spot the out-of-school litigation here. No one in a state of conflict appreciates the lateral spread of subtext.

I know estimation is often used as a management bully club, and I've had some pretty dark thoughts about some indivisuals who have chosen to behave that way, but sorry, I'm just not feeling the sympathy in this instance.

Comment Re:Online ? Authors never shopped in real life (Score 1) 250

Because I hate to tell you, but stores in Beverly Hills charge more than they do in Compton for the exact same product.

Personally, I would lump the surcharge for blowing smoke up the customer's ass as part of the actual product for most of the merchandise available in Beverly Hills. When you're wealthy enough, the retail experience is the product, and what you actually take home is just the Broadway playbill souvenir.

Comment Re: Unimpressive performance. (Score 1) 145

You can buy a 128GB SSD for less than $77 (plus the cost of a new CPU and motherboard). Exactly what is Intel's value proposition?

Here, let me do your thinking for you.

1 TB NAS drives are running about USD $65 at Newegg today. You'll want to run two in a mirror configuration. (This will double your pathetic read IOPs over a non-mirrored drive, and double your sequential read performance to 300 MB/s.)

Both of those, plus the Optane SRT, works out to $207.

A single Crucial MX300 1 TB M.2 will run you USD $289 all by itself. The SRT-boosted system will probably allow you to search your file system metadata faster than the SSD. 300 MB/s sustained sequential read is actually pretty fast, if the hard drives aren't constantly interrupted to fetch small-block metadata.

Clearly, though, this product does not displace an SSD in your single, small SSD consumer box. Like, for a guy with nothing much to store, and infinite faith in angular's 50 different shades of cloudy "I agree".

While we're at it, let's clear up a second common misconception. Most people think that "pair" in "pair of pants" refers to the biological bilateral symmetry. But no, it actually refers to the sociological bicoronal symmetry—the imperfect, candle-light symmetry between front and back. Because I just know that you're going to complain that Joe consumer is not going to pony up for a NAS drive pair.

Well, Joe consumer does not have to pony up for a NAS drive pair. Best Buy will sell him the front half of the NAS pair for exactly half the price. And then the Best Buy moron-vultures will tell him that with only one drive, now he only needs the smaller Intel SRT, and now the wallet bump for 1 TB of SRT-enhanced NAS drive is down to a very attractive $109 and shoeless Joe gets some new shiny to crow about, too.

"But the other store told me all I needed was 128 GB!"

"Have you heard about the number of pixels in the camera of the new iPhone 9?"

"Really? The iPhone 9?"

"Yeah, it'll be so amazing. Don't be caught short with a tiny little SSD. Hey, and check out the mirror, too. You're looking gooood."

For this purpose, Best Buy has a special hand-held mirror, only slightly larger than a dental mirror, which makes it almost impossible to see the startled expression on the face of anyone milling around behind you.

Comment blantant-predator moral honeypot (Score 1) 174

A public act by an organization ignoring robots.txt will only lead to the justification of other organizations ignoring robots.txt.

So what? When DoubleClick argues that they ought to have the same advantages as Archive.org, they'll only manage to look like douchebags reaching their filthy hands into a cookie jar.

It's not always a bad thing to set up douchebag-honeypot moral exemption, even if it does depend on the mass audience (mostly) managing to find two sticks to rub together.

The real solution here is to make the directives in robots.txt more explicit concerning the predatory/non-predatory use cases.

Comment thou shalt not deviate (Score 1) 70

I once read a book by Linda Hill that I personally found amazingly valuable, but only because I was careful not to light any matches, because her presentation was dry, dry, dry.

Because of the Indian incompetence story here on Slashdot this morning, I went to paste a link into my files, and chanced upon a past entry concerning HCL Technologies, a topic that Linda Hill has addressed in video, and soon I found myself watching a clip of hers on YouTube I hadn't seen before.

Linda Hill on empowering young sparks at HCL — July 2016

The problem in India with the educational system is that the system dictates and student repeats. ... We all had to unlearn how we were educated. And the leaders had to unlearn what they thought leadership was about. Because if you grow up in that kind of system, when you're a leader what you think your role is, is that you're supposed to set direction and make sure nobody deviates from it. That's fundamentally how they saw their role.

And here we have this Wikipedia article, where the unstated premise seems to be "Surprise! Derf-derf-derf, Wikipedia doesn't actually practice zero-deviation culture, despite their publicly assigned role as the plastic–pocket-protector paragon of geek dysfunction.

No, instead what we have is this: if a source is broadly flagged as tainted, it becomes open season to replace this source with a better citation wherever and whenever, without expecting significant blow back.

Isn't that leadership enough?

Is the underlying zero-deviation fixation that motivates this story just a tired strawman? Or is this derf-derf strawman meme playing to a real audience?

Well, I personally would run, run, run if I found myself in that audience, because anyone who doesn't is doomed to be soon be looking up at India as the management enlightenment movement that just passed you by with a big whoosh.

Comment Re: My experience... (Score 2) 450

I don't see a problem with this. You want specific levels of error handling? Put it in the spec.


#include "no_abe_normal.h"

If you're not familiar with this convention (it appears you haven't been in this business long enough to hear the pathetic whimpers of Forma L. val d'Ation sequestered away from public shame in an attic antechamber), the "h" stands for "head".

Comment can you do the job? (Score 3, Insightful) 342

Republicans only care about money. Can you do the job? Good. Get to work.

Cutting red tape to ribbons is an intrinsically easier job than building up effective layers of regulation that prevent the public interest being bent over a barrel, while the longest of all possible rubber gloves rummages around for the better part of a trillion dollars.

Evidently, no money was harmed in the operation.

The job, as I see it, is a little harder to accomplish, once you concede that there is such a thing as effective regulation, though it's yet far from a science; science also being a discipline where time after time ones best efforts fall short, and yet one perseveres.

In the best case scenario, even after regulation becomes more of science, it will still be double hard: hard to do and hard on the ego.

Kind of makes a guy want to double down on only caring about money, setting oneself up on a lavish private beach, and watching the glorious Egos soar.

Comment Re: Forget the graphic cards... (Score 1) 93

Now obviously something was wrong with the polling data.

Because why? Because popular opinion has guaranteed monotonic convergence? At a guaranteed quadratic convergence rate?

Just what part of "moving target" is so hard for people to understand?

Candidate A shits her pants at the front of the boat. Everybody rushes to the back of the boat.

Candidate B begins barfing up a taco bowl. Everybody rushes back to the front of the boat.

Blather. Foam. Repeat.

The only reason Trump won is because on the day of the election, there were more disgusted voters headed to the back of the boat than the front of the boat.

Polls, especially rolling meta polls, have an intrinsic lag of two to four days. I clearly saw on the 538 graphics momentum building toward the rear bulkhead as we rounded into election day. After I extrapolated the trend a few days forward to compensate for polling lag, I was not surprised by the final outcome.

There was more than enough disgust in both directions to support either outcome. Another Billy Bush tape in the final week could easily have turned the tide. This was not a normal election where the polls were tracking a slow convergence of the undecideds. The polls were tracking a mad (and futile) scramble for the voters to distance themselves from whichever paragon of disgust was recently the most salient.

Moving target. The polls were no less instantaneously accurate than they've ever been. They just don't work very well when neither candidate has a redeeming feature, and the electorate goes into orbit around a positive pole in the complex plain.

How is this even remotely difficult to comprehend?

From where I sit, it's all bog-standard Electoral Engineering for Dummies, 101.

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