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Comment There's Not Enough of It and Never Will Be.... (Score 1) 75

to justify hitting it with new deep learning/NN technology. Also, most of the old data has been "mined out" with standard statistical techniques.

Oh, they can do the exercise: chase phantoms, declare that they "found" something new (the same old trends previously found again), with the very occasional true discovery. But by and large, 15 minutes after the data is released, everything we already know will be confirmed and anything new we can know or will know will be revealed.

Nothing here, Folks. Move along please.

Comment Re:RTFA this time (Score 1) 264

"chopping wood with an axe isn't a hotbed of technological innovation. It's pretty much worked the same way since the stone age, even though the tools have gotten a bit better."

But the risks remain. Chopping wood is a dangerous and potentially lethal activity. Your axe/hatchet must be sharp but a sharp axe can, in a flash, sever a tendon, an artery or even a leg. Suddenly you will want the latest 21st-century surgical technology. Are you able to sew up a severed artery? Even a tendon? My, my....

Wear sturdy boots - tall boots designed to protect you from an axe. Check your equipment: a loose axehead will ill serve you if, when you give it the "good ole college try", it flies off the handle and embeds itself in your significant other's belly. Can you sew up a severed aorta? In 5 minutes or less? Can you do a field blood transfusion to replace the blood the victim lost? My, my....

Point is, we've forgotten much of how to do things that we _think_ we understand. Most people today could not chop wood with an axe without, at some point, seriously hurting themselves or others. There is no substitute for experience and learning.

Finally, forget about the axe/hatchet. Use a hand saw - it's far safer. But learn and practice how to use it first: an artery severed by a saw is harder to patch than one severed by an axe.

Comment Google Thermometer! (Score 1) 52

Google has found another earth-shattering ML application: Google Thermometer! For a fee of only $xxxx (fill in the blanks), Google will monitor your a/c system and control it remotely! It will also accept Twitter, e-mail and messages from irritated occupants (such as Mary in Accounting, who is enduring post-menopausal heat flashes) and act (or not) upon them.

Next Month's Fun: Google Rectal Thermometer, which will monitor your bodily functions to optimize your metabolism.

Comment Living in a Police State (Score 3, Informative) 215

WTF are people thinking, doing such things?

Thanks to fools who accept this sort of behavior we are now officially living in a police state.

There should be criminal, legislative and civil investigations, and the whole bunch of people involved rounded up, prosecuted and thrown in the slammer.

Comment Impossible Because of Second Law of Thermodynamics (Score 1) 830

The article says

"...if we take it as read that it is, in principle, possible to simulate a universe in some way, at some point in the future, then we have to assume that on an infinite timeline some species, somewhere, will simulate the universe...."

But this is impossible since, to simulate a universe completely would require at least the entire resources of the original universe which, due to the 2nd law of thermodynamics, are not all available. Q.E.D

That is, trying to run a true simulation of a universe within an already-extant universe is akin to trying to run a perpetual-motion machine: it ain't gonna happen.

There are other objections, but this is IMO the strongest.

Comment Be Glad the Jerks Are Here... (Score 3, Insightful) 642

...each and every time a plane crosses the equator yet computes it's trajectory correctly, every time your car adjusts properly to changes in air temperature, and every time your pacemaker properly tells your heart to beep.

Jerks rule the tech universe. Others participate, but the Jerks keep them in line and the Jerks rule. Without Jerks all would be chaos.

Learn to spell. Pay attention to grammar. Get the errors out of your maths. Become a Jerk, not an uneducated slob! Then get a high-paying tech job and contribute something to the future of mankind.

Comment Free The Data! Let the World See Itself For Once! (Score 2) 209

This data should be released to the world for all to see along with search tools to suit.

Sociologists and citizens alike could plumb the depths of human behavior for years and finally, for once, get a clear view of political, economical and social alliances in all their (formerly) clandestine glory. Some changes might even result.

Comment Release Them To The Public! (Score 1) 56

Let everyone read everyone else's e-mails and conversations: congressmen and presidents, priests, doctors, lawyers, businessmen and their workers, peons and plutocrats. Maybe we can, as a society, come to some conclusion about how we should handle privacy in the future.

Researchers will have a field day. It will be hard to have your voice heard above the din of discontent as society's members see just how bad they look in the mirror.

Let the great leveling begin!

Comment Re:Why? (Score 3, Interesting) 166

Hmm. That sounds almost like you're tracking relationships. Maybe you should use... (wait for it) A RELATIONAL DATABASE. Seriously, we often store object databases in relational databases. It's easy to add more properties to objects in your database with a relational db because of its very nature. You just create a new relationship, appropriately keyed. And there are lots of examples of systems backed by relational databases which permit you to add arbitrary new properties to objects. Take Drupal, for example; you can always either add a new module which will add new properties to old node types, or just add more data types to old node types. You could add, for example, a parent-child relationship. In fact, modules exist to do this already.

Except that MUMPS did it 30-40 years before such features were available in relational databases.

And see Henry Baker on "Relational Databases", Comm. of the ACM 35,4 (April 1992), 16,18.:

Why were relational databases such a Procrustean bed? Because organizations, budgets, products, etc., are hierarchical; hierarchies require transitive closures for their "explosions"; and transitive closures cannot be expressed within the classical Codd model using only a finite number of joins (I wrote a paper in 1971 discussing this problem). Perhaps this sounds like 20-20 hindsight, but most manufacturing databases of the late 1960's were of the "Bill of Materials" type, which today would be characterized as "object-oriented". Parts "explosions" and budgets "explosions" were the norm, and these databases could easily handle the complexity of large amounts of CAD-equivalent data. These databases could also respond quickly to "real-time" requests for information, because the data was readily accessible through pointers and hash tables--without performing "joins".

I shudder to think about the large number of man-years that were devoted during the 1970's and 1980's to "optimizing" relational databases to the point where they could remotely compete in the marketplace. It is also a tribute to the power of the universities, that by teaching only relational databases, they could convince an entire generation of computer scientists that relational databases were more appropriate than "ad hoc" databases such as flat files and Bills of Materials.

Computing history will consider the past 20 years as a kind of Dark Ages of commercial data processing in which the religious zealots of the Church of Relationalism managed to hold back progress until a Renaissance rediscovered the Greece and Rome of pointer-based databases. Database research has produced a number of good results, but the relational database is not one of them.


Henry G. Baker, Ph.D.

Comment Check Current Credit Report And Go From There (Score 2) 213

You need to do this at least once a year anyway:

Ask each of the three credit bureaus for your free credit report. You usually fill out a set of forms and they'll e-mail you a report. For each credit report:

  1. Check the accounts. Close old accounts that you don't use by writing a snail-mail letter (e-mail will _not_ do) to the company [not the credit bureau] with the account#, your basic info and signature and a specific request to close the account. Your credit report includes the mailing address for each account always. Expect a written snail-mailed response within a month.
    1. For any accounts you didn't open:
    2. Call the company [not the credit bureau] and discuss the account. If it isn't your account (you may find it is something you forgot), tell them so. Occasionally they will make corrections immediately, but usually they won't and will wait for your snail-mail request. Ask them if there are any special procedures necessary to remove the account from your credit report. For example, if unpaid purchases have been made then they may ask you to file an offense report for credit fraud with the local police. Of course they may ask you to pay the account off but, if it isn't yours, politely remind them, and ask them the procedure for removing a fraudulent account from your credit record.
    3. Follow up by notifying them via snail-mail, mentioning the earlier phone call. Provide any requested info, e.g., copy of police report you filed. Again expect a response within a month.
    4. Keep notes of all credit reports, phone conversations, paper copies of e-mails, snail-mails and responses in a file folder,
    5. If you don't get a response in a month then rinse & repeat (that is, call and follow-up with snail mail).
  2. Above all, relax. Fixing a credit report isn't hard but it just takes time.

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