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Comment Re:It's not money... not unlike US green back (Score 1) 149

Every country in the world is trying to put their wealth in dollars.

Because to buy oil for heating, making gasoline to drive cars, making diesel to drive trucks or persecutors for plastics you need dollars. US dollars.

The US governments, both one for the rich and the one for the poor, have been mighty stable compared to many poorly managed governments. But that's only because its economy moves in lockstep with most everybody's economy now. Thanks to international trade the US economy can feel any Chinese slow down or European Union financial stress. But to get or sell that fuel oil you need greenbacks even when your petro-nation is circling the $20-a-barrel toilet.

And every time some uppity nation of non-white people tries to sell oil for Russian Rubles or Chinese Renminbi guns and bombs with American flags painted on the side go raining down on them until they change their mind.

Comment Re:Companies shouldn't have political power (Score 0) 415

Any "solution" that is premised on changing human nature is not a solution at all.

Human nature is just an implmentation detail. With germ-line and retrovirus treatments improving your crops and pets it is only a matter of time until that gun is turned back on us.

After all, GMO people are safe people. Does your neighboor come with a Monstanto Pedophile Free(tm) garuntee?

Comment Re:Is this available to the US also? (Score 1) 360

yes, I, who grew up here in the US, demand to have first right of jobs over some foreigner who did nothing for the US, and in fact, won't do anything for the US once they take their money away and return home, later on.

The solution to this is very simple: end the H1-B visa program. Replace it with a program that lets you import a worker temporarily to do work only if (a) the employeer cannot find someone with the skills to do that job (b) willing-to-work-for-ramen level pay cannot be a consideration as a skill (c) that employee must actively train a native or green card holder in that skill. Set a deadline for replacing that worker with the native worker. Make the employeer pay both people at the same time.

When you are in business for the money that's the only thing you'll care about. Tariffs aren't just for products. Making that the H1-B "replacement" always costs much more than just hiring and training a citizen then your government is actively protecting and investing in the people that created that government to protect and invest in them. As long as your elected government creates and supports a system of cheap labor importation those employers who can take advantage of the cheap price will.

Comment Re:Some basic flaws here (Score 1) 298

. Air travel already involves sitting in a seat for too long.

Sit in a car. Stand in a line. Sit in chair. Stand in another line. Sit in a tiny, cramped seat. Sit in another car.

For shorter trips a high cost of air travel today isn't money, it's the long lead time and frustration. You can get in your own car and start driving to your destination in minutes or seconds. Trip on an airplane? That's a car, train or bus trip plus waiting in several lines for upwards of hours just to sit in a "lounge" for your aircraft.

What people *actually* want are revolutionary new concepts that cut the cost of air travel

I want to know: what does the USA's TSA thinks about people getting into pods?

I doubt that a pod would be pleasant after the bean counters come around and ask how tightly can you pack people into them.

Comment Re:Please don't kill 32-bit Wine (Score 1) 378

16-bit Windows software can be run through Wine. Linux has never had a 16-bit implementation.

Some business software is run through Wine. But it is heavily used for Windows games on Linux Mostly just 32-bit Blizzard titles and a few 32-bit or 64-bit MMOs like Eve Online.

For these applications Windows-on-Windows (WoW) is something Wine should handle. Wow is a subsystem specific to Windows. Both the 16-bit and 32-bit versions. Thunks to Linux 32-bit compat libraries may not always be appropriate when WoW behavior is expected.

64-bit Wine prefixes are considered experimental. But I would expect them to be very common. Ubuntu, MagiOS, openSUSE and Fedora provide it. Gamers playing on Linux likely will be using it the way from their distribution built it. That will be on 64-bit if their OS is 64-bit. On the flip side, competitive gamers looking for as much performance as possible are likely to try every combination to eke out that extra few fps. I have met people who dual box Windows and Linux for extra FPS on Linux when possible.

At the worst, 32-bit compat libraries will have to remain around. Wine can use those instead of providing internal narrowing support. The compat libraries are needed anyway for closed-source applications. Things like Oracle products, random indie developer apps and any number of long gone companies that farted out a single Linux edition in the 90s.

Comment Re:she's a hypocrit (Score 1) 321

Nope. In an unregulated economy, the only way to make a monopoly is by offering your products or services at a better price than your competition

Don't confuse an econ 101 market with the real economy as a whole. In a completely unregulated economy my business can purchase the ability to burn your company to the ground or purchase the ability to prevent you from having shop space to sell your goods. If I can keep people from knowing your products exist your prices do not matter. I can do that by slander with advertising or buying you out.

Instead we have a government - a designated group of people with the monopoly on the business of violence - to prevent the former. And that government also has anti-trust regulations to prevent the latter cases.

More to the point, natural monopolies form in any market where there is huge advantages of scale, first mover advantages or large infrastructure outlays required. The services provided by water, gas, electric and gasoline distribution follow these laws. These are all heavily regulated because if they don't start with a monopoly the eventual consolidation of businesses for efficiency creates them.

In the case of Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft on Internet services they have a long-tail market with network effects and high cost of entry (largely a sunk cost today between the Free/Open Source Software and piracy movements.) In this you have all the features to create a natural monopoly. Except in Microsoft's case, the cost of switching is the only risk. In that case it is usually easier to create an oglopoly - a group of companies who work lock out competition - with low switching costs but the benefits of a monopoly and an illusion of choice. I can raise prices since the oligopoly can use undersell you temporarily at unsustainable levels to prevent competition. (Again, there are anti-trust regulations required to prevent that.)

Oddly enough, this is similar to the Democratic verses Republican party system. You have the illusion of choice but you are forced to buy something you don't want at a price you shouldn't have to pay.

Comment Patch and git (Score 2) 281

What are your views on version control systems like git and modern development practices around them?

Early F/OSS development practices started with tarballs and patches, moved to packages and VCSes then to (a)social coding with DVCS like Mercurial or git. You've been there for most if not all of that.

git can be described as a distributed content management system for patches. Linux Torvals' git --am workflow can be likened to playing chess via email but with kernel development the end game and patches as moves.

And thank you for patch, by the way. The diff command outputs the difference between two files. You wrote the patch command to take diff output and turn one file into another, including the ability to even go backwards and undo that change later. As someone who's had to package software for a Linux distribution this is critically important tool. Patch lets me preserve the original author's work. But patch (and quilt) lets me still apply needed changes and store those changes in obvious discrete packets of standard format that are diff files.

Comment Re:The irony (Score 1) 294

Ehrlich is simply wrong when he says "[the study] shows without any significant doubt that we are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event"; that would require 75% or more of all species to disappear; the paper only looks at a small subset of species, those most affected by humans.

I wondered if the extinction record could be used as evidence of past intelligent species on Earth. If there were any kind of prior top-shelf minds spreading across the globe one unmistakable evidence would be in how they shaped the foreign ecology they spread into.

Tools and buildings may not survive deep geological time. We may not even recognize something created by a very different kind of intelligence as a tool. Ancient hearth and midden piles on the Amazon are mined today for rich soil and charcoal but really hide the enormous human presence on the river that disappeared overnight to mostly likely European diseases. It took a surprising amount of time for someone to figure out that stuff came from us just a few centuries ago. But a sudden biodiversity decrease without a volcanic or meteoric crater and a change in seafloor sediments might be a smoking gun.

I would think humanity is almost a best case for leaving behind a detectable legacy. Outside of a pathogen we are the ultimate bad neighbors for a tasty species. Humans are aggressive territorial omnivores with very poor hygiene as a group. We may leave behind just enough trash to tell someone we were here long after our radio and radar signals are lost to the background noise. But what about our paleontology record?

If we cannot even kill most of the vertebrate species then that argues against using the extinction record to track prior intelligence that may have arose here. A technological species that develops green ethics before hitting the shoot-it-if-it-moves level may leave little change at the level we can detect.

Comment Re:Normal women... (Score 3, Interesting) 765

Where are the "Female Anatomy" joke projects?

Or is reminding people that humans have sexual organs somehow denigrating women?

I mean, it is sexist by definition. Being based on sex and all that. But when can we, in a world of transgender and homosexual people, stop abusing sexism to mean 'only hurtful to women?'

Really, can we at least get a show of hands of the number of gay men offended by this low-brow dick joke project?

Comment Re:Better definition of planet (Score 1) 196

Is the Sun a planet?

Yes, the Sun is a planet by the older definition. But the new definition isn't much better*.

The classification of what is and is not a planet changed over time. Now it is tied to some metrics involving orbits and gravity that doesn't even apply well in the Solar System let alone a different Star System.

By the original meaning the Sun and Moon (of Earth) are also planets.

There are 7 objects that visible to the naked eye (say 5.5 magnitude or less at best) which move with respect to the fixed stars (everything above 5.5 magnitude.) Sol, Mercury, Venus, Luna, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

The real problem is when you start using telescopes to see things moving in the "firmament" that you cannot see with the naked eye. Then you start seeing things like Vesta, Ceres, Neptune. With a powerful enough scope we can even see Uranus. All of these got called a planets at one time. Some of them are not called planets anymore. Uranus may be full of gas but still gets this top billing.

Planet was once the word for wanderer of the night sky. A nice, simple definition. Now it means something else. Somehow everyone decided once we found out there's a lot of stuff wandering out there, planet became a special status and not just a simple label. In Science and Fiction people travel to or hail from Planet X, not Oblate Spheroid Mass X in orbit around Mass Y where Mass X is much larger than anything else in a similar orbit. The most recent definitions for astronomers appears to just be trying to encode that bias giving a bad definition - complex and counter intuitive.

It's like the term spaceship. If you put a big enough engine on anything and it will fly wherever you want it. So the difference between a space station and a space ship is a question of temporary fitting.

But astronomy is full of definitions that are not well founded (asteroid belt?) Astronomy as a field needs to learn from biology. Cladistics is a big part of biological science. You're going to getting it wrong, even for 100s of years. Naming controversies come with the territory. The International Astronomer's Union is charged with naming things in space so we can all agree on what to call that thing over there. Some of names are going to be arbitrary. Turns out planet is one of those arbitrary names**.

Time is long past to just put up a list of 'these are planets' and everything else is not. Then get used to everyone else, particularly the amateurs, using different lists.

* Over long time scales even rocks are fluids. There is no such thing as a solid on the timescale of atomic stability. There are just temporary crystalline or amorphous structures seeking lower energy states. Humans (or stars) just don't live long enough (yet) to see perfect gravitational stratification of a cold bulk object by quantum tunneling.

** For fun, go look up Asimov's description of the Earth and compare with IAU's definition of a planet. Does Earth qualify?

Comment Re:Better than monitor rate. (Score 1) 100

So while the catalyst driver may be faster, in some cases doubling the frame rate, I highly doubt you'd actually notice the difference.

Above monitor performance FPS seems useless until you factor in multi-monitor, screen resolution and multi-boxing. Or that games are more than movies (looking at you Japanese RPGs) and have to actually take input and do processing in between frames. Being able to drop a few frames for better input might just mean that click that keeps you alive makes it into the game. And when the drive is no longer struggling to get a frame to the screen you can move the performance bottleneck elsewhere (like the network in MMOs).

Given a marginal setup like a lot of these F/OSS developers seem to have, just running multiple clients of an online graphical game can drop you from 120-150fps to the mid 30s-50s on your 60 Hz screen. Some games actively encourage this (Eve Online).

Then lets talk about wine. It's not an emulator, but if your game is already slowed by a thunk that thick the graphics stack better be awesome or your game is going to look like crud.

I'm sure there's something in there for 2D plain old apps, too. Maybe less detectible tearing and artifacts while you drag and drop around your office software.

Comment Re:Jesus H. Christ on a crutch! (Score 5, Interesting) 216

Porn may tip the favor for a particular coin but there is one market that can make Bitcoin or any given altcoin an huge (relative to current) market.

Marijuana is a Schedule I drug no matter what any State's laws say. This Federal classification means that banks cannot do direct business with dealers, transporters, processors or growers of it. Several publications have covered this problem.

People in the trade are either working in very grey banking situations or dealing with large amounts of cash. Having to pay your $20,000 taxes this quarter with a duffle bag of twenties is a perfect situation for robbery. Pot dispensaries on Colorado, USA are starting to figure out that they don't need banks to deal with Bitcoin or other altcoins. Right there could be a real Business-to-Business revolution for digital currency.

Sure, today a digital coin is mostly useful for transactions. A business would have to convert between cash and coin at the ends. And even when you can go bitcoin from customer to suppliers for your business you'll still need to get out cash.

Comment Re:Command line is more error-prone (Score 1) 606

It's easier to shoot yourself in the foot with the command line. ... Just offering a counter-argument for the sake of discussion.

Well, the UNIX camp would just point out this is an argument for using crusty typing instead of click-n-drag pictures. The appropos quote from wikipedia is:

"Unix was not designed to stop its users from doing stupid things, as that would also stop them from doing clever things." – Doug Gwyn

The original poster has more than two different problems conflated and it reads like 'I took a bad class and this is why.'

The study of computer training, as a part of the larger pedology, frequently brings up the user vs programmer paradigm. But the whole framing is captive and derogatory. It's parishioner verses priests and proletariat verses bourgeois. Some people use some tools differently. This is not culture, it is just label-ism, that first step on the road to racism, at its finest. We should call that black sheep what it is and move away from it.

One of the problems the article points out, graphics verses typing, nothing new to even to slashdot. It may be that he is encountering this for the first time but others have written better on it. I see whole books published by Sun Microsystems on Graphical User Interfaces(GUI) verses Command Line Interfaces(CLI) on my shelf without even standing up.

To teach people to program in the 21st century you have to be prepared to show them both graphical tools and the command line. But you do have to explain them and why and when to use them to new people. They each have their uses. Tower for the mac and good ol' git in the terminal for version control. Google docs or Microsoft Windows and RestructureText and LATEX. Sales and Marketing may claim training's purpose is to get free swag and charge an arseload for support. But that's the point of training: to explain stuff.

If you don't know enough to explain that, why are you trying? (nobody else? boss + deadline? free t-shirts? It's your "job?")

However, it looks like the preparation for the training class that the article is based on wasn't even up to a standard where such mechanisms could be addressed directly.

  • They reported people failing to get a Linux laptop to use $RANDOM_BRAND projector. Noob trainer mistake #1 - prepare to present by practicing with what you'll actually use.
  • The trainers presents follow-along training using stunt-configured terminals different from what the students saw. Noob trainer mistake #2 - eat the same dogfood your students do or you'll waste the student's time explaining and dealing with the differences.

If you are dealing with people who are starting out you will spend most your time on jargon and concepts. Diving into the command line would be fine, but you would be putting artificial constraints on your presentation. A good trainer needs to be aware of and explicitly mention that.

Adult education is a different form children's education. Usually the one that never gets the adequate funding. We expect different from and for adults. Kids are used to walls of new unrelated stuff. Adults usually are not or are good at ignoring it. You can convince a child that 'this is just how you do it' most the time where as an adult probably has some biases built in from previous experience.

That's the only good point I see in the article: people aren't blank slates. But one person's trivial obvious fact is another person's mind blowing revelation.

Comment Re: Earth isn't delicate, (Score 1) 414

So let's just become a horde of locusts jumping from planet to planet

Humans don't consume 'planets.' At best we make it inconvenient for other humans to live near us in the tiny rind on a huge orange. Not really even a rind, but the zest layer that we favor. This is what we get for being slobs, though. No matter how many cute cuddly pandas we kill off, if there is a niche for them something just as cute and cuddly will be back once humanity loses the Russian Roulette we play every time someone craps in public or throws trash in the streets.

But this is Planetary Chauvinism at its worst. Planets are inconvenient accumulations of resources down a deep gravity well. Heck, all the good minerals are locked deep down underground. Most the planet is useless to us. Sure, baring major collisions or inconvenient changes in stellar output they are neigh invulnerable (outside pure Science Fantasy.) But I'd much rather be out there in a comfortable station, craft or other human-friendly bubble with the rich resources of the Solar System than suck on a rock.

Too many people are mentally stuck on a rock. Literally and figuratively. Hawking is stuck in a chair and yet he gets this.

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