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Comment Re:Not so innocent after all (Score 1) 141

Where the hell did you get that? Yes, there were people driven by religious zeal and whatnot, but for most of the European nobility the crusades were a chance to conquer a land for themselves, for as second born they had no claim to the land the firstborn got.

If you go down the list of noble participants of the various crusades, you will come up with a handful of landed leaders who wanted to ensure that the new "owners" will swear fealty to them and a huge number of landless nobles who wanted some.

Yes, religion was just the excuse used. As Napoleon sad "A man does not get himself killed for a piece of ribbon or a petty distinction, you must speak to the soul to electrify him". Men fought the crusades in the name of god, but the benefit of a few leaders, of course people being people, if told the truth would never have travelled half way around the world to fight and die for a few rich arseholes who were just being greedy, so they turn it into a holy war to get the peasantry whipped up into a frenzy.

You know what, in the intervening 500 odd years, little has changed. Religious wars are still fought for the benefit of a few powerful arseholes. There is no such thing as a innately violent religion, only men who twist it to their designs. The only real change in this method is that some leaders have been forced to use newer justifications to get people to go to war for the benefit of rich arseholes, religion having fallen out of favour with the local populace.

Comment Re:Because people can travel? (Score 1) 248

What's to stop people from going to Venezuela and buying 10 copies of Final Cut Pro and bringing it back to the US? Unless you are suggesting that they start region locking software, controlling which country you can use software in depending on where you bought it.

The fact that they will be able to do it online. Seriously, almost all software is digital download these days, only the purchase needs to go via Venezuela (and possibly the activation, but a /.er should know how to handle that).

There was once a time right up until the early 00's where it was cheaper to fly from Perth, Western Australia to Los Angeles to buy 5 copies of Creative Suite than it was to buy it locally including flights, 2 nights accommodations and the average wage of an Australian for a full working week.

After the mid 00's that kind of activity was made redundant by the internet and couldn't be stopped by the fact the Govt made it legal to buy grey imports.

Comment Re:As a tech worker with kids... (Score 1) 348

Austin is having the same problem.
Families that have lived there for generations can't afford to anymore.

Yeah I guess everything is relative. As a resident of the Chicago suburbs, when I see a non-foreclosure 3000 sq ft home in the middle of Austin for $400k it seems like the house is being given away. But to many native residents just the $9k in yearly taxes can be enough to cause problems.

Comment Re:As a tech worker with kids... (Score 1) 348

What qualifies as a "park" or "forest preserve" in and around San Francisco is laughable, at best. Come to Muir Woods where you can share 3 acres of forest with eleventy billion other city residents thinking they are getting in touch with their natural side, too!

Muir Woods is more like 554 acres, and sees only 6000 people per day during peak times. Far more than 3 acres and far less than eleventy billion visitors to share it with. And Muir Woods is only part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area which protects over 80,000 acres of land. This doesn't even count the numerous large parks within the city, like the Golden Gate Park, Presidio, and Land's End. Or the smaller neighborhood parks like Lafayette or Alta Plaza.

I have more forest in my back yard in Minnesota than pretty much all of NorCal combined.

Look up the concept of diminishing returns. Unless you are a real outdoorsy type, you're not going to need much more forest than even a small forest preserve to get a bit of nature in your life. But yes, those types of people are unlikely to like living in most cities. Perhaps the Denver area is one that gives both a modern city feel and easy access to a huge amount of wilderness.

Comment Two comments (Score 1) 63

Two comments

Parallelism -- the problem with parallelism is that everyone assumes that all problems can be decomposed into problems which can be solved in parallel. This is the "I all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" problem. There hasn't been a lot of progress on the P vs. NP front, nor does it look like there's likely to be one soon, short of true quantum computing. And no, D-Wave fans: quantum annealing is not the same thing as collapsing the composite wave for into the correct answer because you happen to own the computer in "the most sincere universe".

Productive programming -- It's amusing that a semiconductor vendor would complain about programming productivity. The main barrier to programming productivity is that the silicon doesn't think about problem solving the way you have to think about problem solving in order to get a stepwise improvement. In other words: the chip vendors are making the wrong chips. This is really easy to see if you've done VLSI design in Verilog or VHDL, or even if you've only had to deal with an FPGA. The primary difference is that the chip folks never have to deal with "can't happen" states -- so their silicon compilers simply ignore them, because you on'y ever correctly hook up a chip one way. Take a software engineer and have them code up a bit decoder in VHDL -- it's going to be 10 times larger than what a chip designer would produce because of collapsing "don't care" to something reasonable.

Other than that... interesting interview, even if it doesn't cover a lot of ground, overall.

Comment Re:As a tech worker with kids... (Score 2) 348

> The same is true of most desirable suburbs

Yup, exactly, that's why my neighbors are eating a 2 hour commute to the bay area. San Francisco, however, isn't a suburb.

The same is true for the desirable areas in any city. The problem with San Francisco is if you want to live in places like Pacific Heights it costs millions of dollars. In a city like Chicago you can get a decent house in many good neighborhoods for $500k. Go to Texas and it's more like $300k.

Comment Re:Deliberately missing the forest for the trees (Score 3, Insightful) 348

They can't admit that we're in the worst economy for young people since the Depression. They can't get jobs that pay enough for food and housing, let alone a wife and kids.

We are talking about San Francisco, where the economy is booming. The price of housing is skyrocketing precisely because people have more money to pay for housing. The problem has nothing to do with a weak economy.

The problem is caused by zoning. Existing property owners know new construction could lower their existing home values, so building permits are severely restricted. If they allowed more new housing to be built, along with improving public transportation to accommodate greater demand, these problems would diminish.

Comment Re:As a tech worker with kids... (Score 1) 348

Here I am sitting in the 'middle of nowhere' on 20 acres. If the kid wants go go outside, we go out side. Walk on our own property. Go sledding, biking, or what ever else he wants to do. If I need a workout I'll go fell some trees. I can't imagine trying to raise a kid in a concrete jungle.

You do realize there are parks even in cities, right? I only live on a quarter acre of land, but we have a forest preserve and three parks within a mile of our house. The same is true of most desirable suburbs (perhaps not the forest preserves). I significantly prefer public parks to a huge private property for both the community aspect and the lack of maintenance effort.

I grew up on a farm with a nearly 10 acres of non-field/pasture land to maintain, and I sure never want to go back to that. But I can at least imagine why it appeals to others, which you should be able to do about suburb / urban life if you took the time to empathize with other peoples' priorities.

Comment Re:Heads-up Texas Holdem (Score 1) 154

Yes, years. Libratus uses 16 Terabytes of memory for just a 2 player game. The size of the game tree increases by at least a factor of 1000 when moving up to just 3 players.

This is why better algorithms are almost always a bigger factor than increased computing power when solving these problems. They won't solve playing against 3+ players with more RAM, they will solve it with better algorithms. By some cases algorithmic improvements can be 43 times more important than computing power improvements.

Considering this AI is already dealing with unknown information, I doubt the size of the "game tree" increases by the factor you cited as you add more players.

Comment Re:The death spiral is continuing. (Score 2) 165

There is no sign of a death spiral in these layoffs. The article cites 1600 job openings Microsoft currently has posted on LinkedIn alone, so they are still growing. And each of these employees has 60 days to find new internal positions at Microsoft, so if their skills are still relevant they don't necessarily even need to leave Microsoft.

This is simply sign of a transitioning company that knows it cannot be successful simply sticking to the status quo.

Comment Re:They are right by the current definition of AI (Score 1) 157

Today too many dumb people consider a well written computer program to be AI, like Alexa. Alexa will not threaten humanity because it's really not 'artificial intelligence' to start with, it's just a clever piece of software.


We are nowhere near having real 'AI' yet and won't be for decades.

Only if you're thinking about AI in terms of strong AI.

Alexa and many other equivalents are examples of weak AI. They operate within limited perimeters, generally aren't capable of determining actions by themselves or determine outcomes/actions based on a large set of historical data, generally using formulas to determine next steps. More or less they're still dependent on humans giving them directions or at the least, a dataset.

You're right that we are decades, if not centuries away from strong AI or Artificial General Intelligence that is truly capable of self determination or put simply, an AI that can think in the way a human can. However weak AI is something we've had for a while now. It takes at least 25 years for an invention to go from development to everyday life and it's fair to say that weak AI has pretty much reached that point.

Comment Re:Does this help? (Score 1) 221

The H-!B program prohibited the replacement of American workers before, but ways were found to get around it. This bill is really saying the same thing with the addition of foreign students getting preference for them? Maybe I'm being a negative nellie here but it seems that this bill doesn't do anything extra than the original bill did except give domestic STEM workers more competition to get into good schools due to an influx of students looking for the H-1B ride.

You're not being a Negative Nellie. You're being a Realistic Ryan.

Only a fool thinks Trump is magically fixing the H1B problem. Like the Parent said, there were always provisions to prevent H-1B's from taking jobs from Americans, but there were loopholes that were easy to exploit so expect a status quo ante trump. You've got to be naive in the extreme not to know that big business butters Trump's bread, he's not going to do anything to jepordise that, in the mean time if a bit of hand waving can appease the bleating masses, then it's a win-win.

Nothing is going to change.

Comment Re:Thank you, Pres. Trump, for putting America fir (Score 3, Interesting) 221

Patriotism has never been a dirty word. Misuse of the words "patriot" and "patriotism", though, has stained the words to the point where they're immediately associated with something being covered up (see: USA PATRIOT Act).

Nationalism, though, has been a dirty word since the '40s when nationalism's big brother "Fascism" became a bit of an issue for people living in the countries immediately adjacent.

This. Having pride in your country because its something to be proud of is patriotism, a patriot strives to improve his country.

Demanding your country is recognised as superior without merit is nationalism. A nationalist seeks to belittle other countries to make his own look better.

A patriot does not mind people criticising their country, a Nationalist or Jingoist does not permit any questions about his beliefs.

I just got back from Holland. contrary to popular American views is actually a nation of people who are very proud to be Dutch, I think the confusion comes in the way the Dutch express their patriotism. Everywhere I went I was asked "You are from England, how are you enjoying Holland". Hell, even the Dutch customs officer asked me how my trip was on the way out of Schipol. The Dutch take great pride in their hospitality and friendliness. Because of this, they are actually quite open to criticism, seeing it as a means of improvement (or at the worst, know when a critisim is not valid and should be ignored).

Even though I'm technically an Australian, I really dont mind being called English (I live there now). It happens all the time in the US, I consistently am asked "What part of England are you from" (which should be "which" part) and respond with "I'm from this small island a bit south of England called Australia". Well I guess I cant use that one any more. Sorry for the Grandpa Simpson story, and yes I did have an onion tied to my belt, which was the style at the time.

So it's a shame that I have to use my own country as an example of nationalism, particularly as nationalism pretending to be patriotism. Traditionally, for an Australian to be proud of Australia, we were proud of its accomplishments, accomplishments that often outshone larger nations. It was always an easy going pride, the idea was that you didn't have to wave a flag or recite a poem to be a proud Australian. The Australian way used to be giving people a fair go, being kind and generous to your friends. Sure it was always cliquey but nowhere near the level of outright xenophobia you see today. The people in Australia who label themselves "patriots" are nothing but xenophobic ultra-nationalists who have adopted ironically un-Australian sayings like "Fuck off, we're full", make barely coherent arguments about "boat people" who are allegedly "destroying the Australian way of life" and "taking jobs from Hard working Australians" (lets ignore that the speaker has probably been on the dole for the last 4 years).

Sure I know plenty of people who like Australia, who would like to express their pride, but are too scared of being associated with the likes of Reclaim Australia because... because to be frankly Australian about it, they aren't racists fuckwits like One Nation and Reclaim Australia.

I see the same thing here now I've lived in England for a while. There's lots to celebrate about English culture (not the food, but I digress) however nationalists like the EDL (English Defence Leauge) make it hard for ordinary English to do this because they deliberately try to weld being a proud Englishmen to a xenophobic ideology... And I think that's a bloody shame.

Comment Re:Commander's Diary, Startime 4637A.Q (Score 1) 143

My Valcun first officer tells me we're running the risk of Klangon attack, but I never listen to that pointy-nosed pink-blooded twerp.

Ironically you should mention this.

The series Andromeda was based on unused material from Gene Roddenberry, much of which was from Star Trek so its no surprise that a lot of it was very similar (I.E. Commonwealth == Federation and Nietzschiens == Klingons). However it was picked up by another production company so someone ran a find/replace through it just enough to avoid Paramount's lawyers.

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