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Comment Re:No (Score 1) 328

I present here (not for the first time) the Woodhams Hierarchy of Epistemological Categories:
1) Stuff that you know
2) Stuff that you know where to find out
3) Stuff that you know that somebody knows
3a) Stuff that you know that nobody knows (a category irrelevant to this discussion but important to scientists.)
4) Stuff you know nothing about

So, about the same as:

1) I have drugs
2) I know where to buy drugs
3) I have a friend who can get me drugs
3a) I have drugs, and my friends don't know I do
4) I have no drugs, and have no idea how to score them

Comment Re:Paging Dr. Faustus (Score 1) 481

I always find this funny that so many studies say "The Arctic is warming and there should be no more ice cap by 2050". I remember some US scientists said there would be no ice in the Arctic by 2013

Of course, the article says nothing of the kind:

Their latest modelling studies indicate northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers

Comment Re:Positive feedback? (Score 3, Insightful) 314

All true, and for the top 1%:

6) You had part-time tutors, learning specialists, etc come in to help as needed when you weren't getting As in a class
7) Your maid took care of doing the dishes and making your bed so you got to read, play, learn, etc in all your free time
8) You know how to behave around rich people and college professors because you were around them all the time
9) You've been to several foreign countries by age 10, often with an expert guide just for your family
10) You know how to navigate a white-table cloth restaurant, a cocktail party, an art gallery, a meet-and-greet

Comment Re:... move to a shared, distributed database ... (Score 2) 109

If you broadcast something everywhere, and people record it everywhere, it's very hard to go back and forge the past of that decentralized record.

True, but proof-of-work blockchains are a *really* expensive way to achieve the goal. It is far cheaper to have both parties just cryptographically sign a transaction and keep a copy themselves or even post it to a public repository.

Blockchains solve the double-spend problem. Great, but banks don't typically have that problem in the first place because the currency is not the record.

Comment Re:truth tables (Score 1) 73

Exactly, but the article seems to be adding confusion by talking about low-level physical implementation. It's a good rule of thumb that claiming a low-level idea will somehow punch through four or five layers of abstraction to get a high-level paradigm shift is usually wrong (maybe quantum computing will prove the exception,) but usually the high level ideas remain the same and just get better as the underlying mechanics improve. We've got a lot of experience with transputers, connection machines, GPUs, parallel grids, and other local storage-and-compute models. I doubt this will change our technology arc much.

Comment Re:Continut Working on My Own Terms (Score 1) 406

and even leadership opportunities

I certainly would not be doing that, I could see myself working for free in my current position if I could just do the SW related stuff, but all the crud I seem to have to deal with from marketing/program management types because they can't be bothered to learn our product would be right out as would any tier one customer support.

I'd love to be able to just fix all the known bugs that never get attention because they're not understood by management or implement automated testing on a larger scale.

I don't understand why people with significant wealth would want to run a company or organization rather than work on the project directly, but each to his/her own.

Um, because senior leadership is basically just fixing bugs and optimizing space/time/resources at the scale of the company rather than at the project/code level?

Now, most senior leaders suck at this just like most programmers suck at their jobs. That's just a fact of life. But if you luck into a good leader...

Maybe they listen to you about the crud you have to deal with from program management types. Then they think hard, figure out the correct metrics, run a few tests on current projects, come up with a better implementation, and get it adopted (i.e. pushed to production.) It takes a year, but the organization is better in the end (well, except to some project managers who were doing the wrong thing to begin with.)

Comment Re:Much more than barcodes (Score 1) 109

You just crypto-sign records and publish the (possibly encrypted) ledger.

If the entire DB was encrypted and published every time it was modified (many times per second) how could that possibly be a better solution than a blockchain? If you only encrypted and published the diffs, then wouldn't the chain of diffs pertaining to a single item be functionally the same as a blockchain, other than being scattered and more difficult to verify?

You're totally correct. A classic DBMS is just an efficient way to map a series of immutable transactions into a current state that can be queried efficiently: in it's most pure form it's just a complete transaction log, an initial empty state, a mapping from state+transaction->state, and a bunch of caching to aid in querying. So the transaction log is exactly equal to your chain of diffs.

Is the chain of signed diffs the same as a blockchain? Not quite. They are both chains, but transactions in the diff chain are not revokable (they are signed and can be upheld in court, etc,) whereas the blockchain transactions only become effectively non-revokable by consensus (requiring time and lots of compute power.) So, signing is much faster and cheaper than consensus. Scattered is second reason signed transactions are better: I only need to keep my copy of a transaction to prove it happened, blockchain requires I go out and find the consensus longest chain to prove the transaction is recorded. So, signed is safer and faster again as long as I can keep my own data.

Comment Re:Much more than barcodes (Score 2) 109

And you don't need a blockchain to fix the relational db tampering issue. You just crypto-sign records and publish the (possibly encrypted) ledger. Sign-and-register is technology that works and has been around for long before computers even existed.

The only thing blockchain solves is the double-spend problem. And that isn't an issue for WallMart's solution.

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