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Obama Proposes 2 Years of Free Community College

Baldrson Re:Separation of Powers (703 comments)

To their credit, they at least attempted to make it clear that the powers granted to the government so Constituted would be enumerated and, hence, tightly limited, so that any fuck-ups in their designs would have limited effects on the States. Such modesty did not last beyond the 1860s.

about three weeks ago
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Obama Proposes 2 Years of Free Community College

Baldrson Separation of Powers (703 comments)

It was not intended that the President lead government. It was intended that the President, like the military, be under civilian rule.

And, yes, I know this original intent of the Constitution has been violated by virtually every President.

about three weeks ago
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Why We're Not Going To See Sub-orbital Airliners

Baldrson He's confused (300 comments)

Given fast turn around reusability with rocket engine restart capabilities claimed by SpaceX the numbers work out for high end passenger fares if you go to a lower suborbital velocity and then bleed off energy while stretching distance by passively skipping off the atmosphere. By "passive" I mean no scramjet (or other propulsive kick). If you really need distance use rocket engine restart and carry extra propellant.

about three weeks ago
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Ancient Planes and Other Claims Spark Controversy at Indian Science Congress

Baldrson A Truly Modest Admission... (381 comments)

He forgot to mention, probably out of modesty, that the transistor, integrated circuit and the Internet were all invented in Bhrat Gaarjya as well.

about three weeks ago
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If the Programmer Won't Go To Silicon Valley, Should SV Go To the Programmer?

Baldrson But the US Benefits by Their Spending Here!!! (294 comments)

If all these immigrants are so beneficial to me, I want a citizen's dividend to prove it and I do _not_ want my citizenship's equity diluted by making "voting share holders" out of these immigrants.

Oh, you can't provide that for me?

Take your immigration propaganda and shove it.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Should We Do About the DDoS Problem?

Baldrson The Primary Discipline (312 comments)

If the services being attacked are distributed then the distributed attacks are less likely to be effective as there are fewer choke-points.

From a Viewdata Corp of America proprietary white paper: "Rational and Overview of Requirements for a Videotex Local Programming Capability" by Jim Bowery circa 1982, section "The Primary Discipline":

At no point in the specification of the user interface should there appear artifacts of the physical distinction between the terminal and the network as a whole. The terminal should, at every point in the interface, be treated as a cohesive extension of the network. For functions that relate to ownership, operating environment and security, the terminal should be treated as a host system. Artifacts of the network's physics that relate to timing and reliability can only be minimized to the extent possible without compromising the specification of the user interface. This kind of simplification of the user interface is what sets user-oriented service apart from technology-oriented service. The difficulty of maintaining this discipline should not be under-estimated, nor should its import...

The local system is simply the host system closest to the user. The relationship between the local system and its host should be analogous in every way possible, to the relationship between central host systems. The local system, like any host system, has its own processor, memory, operating environment and ownership. Perhaps the only real distinction between a local system and a conventional host system is that it services only one user.

To those accustomed to dealing with "dumb" terminals, this seems like a radical departure, but if one accepts the need for local programmability, it is a necessary switch in perspective. Once one accepts this analogy, the strategy for implementing the primary discipline on the network as a whole becomes more apparent. The local/network interface specification needs to be, at least at the application level protocol, the same as the intra-network interface specification.

about a month ago
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Paul Graham: Let the Other 95% of Great Programmers In

Baldrson Fraud (552 comments)

Graham pretends that there hasn't been massive fraud in guest worker visas.

Why should anyone pay any attention to him on the issue of immigration at all?

The abuses of immigration statutes mean one thing and one thing only: Shut down immigration and repatriate those that were let in during the period of systemic fraud -- then after we've put our own house in order to a level of prudence commensurate with the history of fraud in this area, reconsider.

about a month ago
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What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Baldrson Re:Computer history rambles and what might have be (628 comments)

Thanks for the links to Norris's papers. I had attempted to gain access to those when I visited the Twin Cities a few years back -- as they were part of the UMN Norris archives -- but they kept worse than bankers' hours so I wasn't able to gain access to them during that visit.

In particular the long-lost paper "Back to the Countryside Via Technology" by William C. Norris, then CEO of Control Data Corporation, January 1978, was what I recalled. It delves into some of his vision for the PLATO network as a way of preserving the Nation of Settlers against the onslaughts of urbanization (and what has turned out to be a resulting demographic catastrophy in loss of total fertility rates among the baby boom generation).

Norris was one of my inspirations for county currency, as well as my early promotion of mass market computer networks. Sadly, perhaps even tragically, I did not get through his middle management at CDC to Norris about the mass market version of PLATO a group of us young engineers had demonstrated right under his nose at CDC circa 1980. The world might have been a very different place. It is my greatest professional regret that I didn't just barge into his office and chain myself to a door to get his attention.

about a month ago
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What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Baldrson Re:Basic Income vs. Copyrights & Patents (628 comments)

The approach of replacing net asset taxation with what amounts to property insurance is a good one and indeed one I've suggested as part of an anarcho-capitalist model for government as mutual insurance company (ala Lysander Spooner). The basic income then becomes, literally, a dividend to the shareholders in the mutual insurance company -- which maintains defense of national territory as the foundation for all other property.

As for intellectual property, there are genuinely heroic inventions that need to be rewarded because technology development is damn expensive and money needs to be placed in the hands of proven inventors. The problem is patents are the _only_ asset that is de facto taxed by the Federal government -- when it should be the only asset that is _exempt_, if any. Moreover, the legal fees of maintaining filings world-wide should be picked up as a natural security measure -- as well as defending intellectual property as though it were sovereign territory. Finally, the standard of "non-obviousness" needs to be much more strictly enforced to prohibit patent trolls. For instance, I don't consider my invention of the massively multiplayer first person shooter 3D game to be particularly heroic or "non-obvious", which is why I've never made a big deal about not receiving much in the way of royalties from the follow-on industry. It was something that was bound to happen one way or another as more people got their hands on computers with graphics and networking capability.

On the other hand, probably the most pathological example of intellectual property in history is MS-DOS, so you cite it at length for good reason. However, if the property value assessment is, as I have often suggested, a market-based liquidation value, from virtually the moment that IBM made the decision to distribute MS-DOS with their 4.77MHz 8088 PC, the tax rate on Bill Gates would have been so great that he would have had to very quickly sold MS-DOS to some legal person that had at least as great a vision for the future of operating systems as DRI.

There were a number of operating systems around at that time but few that would run on the 8086/8088 hardware. One with multitasking was the iRMX86 OSsupplied by Intel with its 8086/8088 chips for real time development. I don't know how or why they overlooked that. My suspicion is that the real reason they chose MS-DOS was that Bill Gates's mother had direct contacts with the IBM board of directors.

If that's the case, it would make me feel quite a bit better about my decision to abandon development of an 8086/8088 OS -- a development that started before the first silicon was shipped while I was at the PLATO project where we modified the CDC Cyber COMPASS assembler to produce the instructions documented on the preliminary datasheets, and execute on an emulator running on the Cyber 6500 during off-hours.

The reason I initiated that project, with some of the PLATO system programmers (Ray Ozzie was a system programmer at PLATO but was consumed by his work on the Z80 firmware) was that I foresaw the horror of a bad operating system becoming the network-effect atop Moore's Law, and wanted to head it off. Others, primarily Steve Freyder, agreed and pitched in.

It was obvious to me that whoever got the critical mass OS for that platform would have a natural monopoly and lock out competition -- including superior operating systems.

I abandoned that project only because Mike Pavloff at Control Data HQ offered me a position at the Arden Hills Operations where I could pursue a mass market version of the PLATO network which would have, using Ozzie's Z80 firmware, bypassed the personal computer era entirely with a Mac-like UI and built-in 1200bps modem starting in 1981 with a monthly service charge of $40/month including "terminal" rental. We had that system benchmarked out at a scale that could have deployed nation wide late in 1979, but Wall Street analysts smelled blood and were ripping Bill Norris (the Nebraska farm boy that founded CDC with Seymour Cray) limb from limb due to his billion dollar investment in PLATO. CDC middle management mutinied and reneged on their agreement to let me pursue a mass market
version of PLATO. I fled CDC and tried to revive something similar at Knight-Rider's joint venture with AT&T, but that is another story.

Suffice to say, when I saw MS-DOS I knew a horror had been unleashed and that Gates would become extremely wealthy.

If Freyder and I had been able to, somehow, beat Gates's mother and get our OS distributed by IBM, do I think I would have deserved to be the world's richest man? Hell NO! I consider my foresight to be no more than the ability to identify a bottleneck in the trade routes of Moore's Law that, if one could occupy, one could extract an enormous revenue stream from; and if my position on net asset taxation hasn't made it clear that I would not consider such foresight to be a "creative spark", I don't know what would.

about a month ago
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What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Baldrson Re:Communism (628 comments)

You are correct to point out the similarity between the failure mode of capitalism and communism as being central control by corporation vs central control by government. But this is precisely the argument for why basic income is a solution to both.

You're correct in another way that needs some elaboration, because on the face of it you are dead wrong:

The demographic transitio, in which total fertility rates fall below replacement rate as women are given independence by economic development, is a powerful force for zero population growth, as can be seen in this GapMinder animation of TFR vs per capita income by country through time. If one relies on such data, one can see that overpopulation is not a problem (although race replacement of non-African countries by African countries will obtain due to liberal immigration policies into the future).

However, income as TFR suppression, must be seen for what it is: A kind of antibiotic targeting human fertility.

Viewed in this way, once the world has been Africanized and has a TFR below replacement rate, subpopulations that are immune to the antibiotic will emerge with very high TFRs.

So, yes, fertility controls will eventually become critical, since the biosphere is a two-dimensional surface and exponentiation is hyperdimensional, but this is true regardless of the political economy in place.

about a month ago
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What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Baldrson A Transition Policy (628 comments)

My suggestion for a transition policy, which I set forth in a 1992 paper titled "A Net Asset Tax Based On The Net Present Value Calculation and Market Democracy" was to cease taxing economic activity and, instead, tax net assets beyond bankruptcy protection of home and tools of the trade, and use the funds to pay out an unconditional basic income aka "citizen's dividend", thereby doing away with most of the present functions of government including not only the welfare state but also the need for burdensome regulatory agencies (that are subject to capture). Part of the problem here, of course, is the notion of "citizen" vs "non-citizen", but that is a far lesser problem than massive unemployment and hyper-centralization of net assets.

Quoting from that paper:

The government should tax net assets, in excess of levels typically protected under personal bankruptcy, at a rate equal to the rate of interest on the national debt, thereby eliminating other forms of taxation. Creator-owned intellectual property should be exempt.

...

With the exception of basic functions of government and the pay down of debt, the government budget should be dispersed to citizens as cash, rather than being spent in government programs or even limited in the form of vouchers. This is "market democracy" in which the citizens and their markets, rather than central planning and politics, influence the selection of goods and services to be capitalized and provided.

about a month ago
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Brain Stimulation For Entertainment?

Baldrson Old Fashioned Frequency Following (88 comments)

In a college course called "Physics for Artists" at the U of IA back in 1974, I pursued the frequency following effect of strobe lights as an adjunct to art displays to induce the desired state of consciousness. Fortunately the EEG technology was too expensive to complete the project for my college sophomore budget -- fortunately because it is the kind of thing that if shown in a public exhibit could definitely cause seizures. Milder forms are already probably being used in theater with rhythmic light and sound, but attenuated in a studied manner.

about a month and a half ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

Baldrson Genocide (398 comments)

Elizabeth Warren's work on "The Two Income Trap" has shown the government's figures on the cost of living to be genocidally wrong. When I say genocidally wrong I mean the absence of children that contributes to "the labor shortage" is due to income redistribution from the middle classes to the increasing centralization of wealth among the upper 1%. Ricardo's "iron law of wages" was formulated in a time when "subsistence" could not cut into replacement reproduction due to the lack of birth control. The conscientious fraction of the population will respond to a lowering of real family income relative to the cost of replacement child rearing by ceasing to have children. This is what Warren's work shows is exactly what happened to the Baby Boomers when it came time for them to plan their families. To further import foreign workers to fill the "labor shortage" when it is already demonstrably the case that lowered _real_ wages has resulted in quasi-genocide of the populations being replaced is no longer excusable as mere ignorance by policy planners, if, indeed, it ever was excusable.

about 2 months ago
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James Watson's Nobel Prize Goes On Auction This Week

Baldrson Truth vs Civilization (355 comments)

It is symptomatic of where civilization is headed that the respondents most highly rated here at "News for Nerds" -- presumably a technically and scientifically literate sampling of civilization -- exhibit almost scientific literacy regarding Watson's statements.

This reinforces my perception of civilization as more of a eusocial organism than anything resembling an enlightened society. Eusocial organisms, like bee or ant colonies, do exchange information between its members but the information is relatively low bandwidth taking the form of pheromones. Most of the words used to describe Watson, such as "racist" and "sexist" are so loaded with connotation that they are virtually worthless as high bandwidth tokens -- serving more the function of pheromone signaling in eusocial insects: "Not of the hive! Attack!"

about 2 months ago
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Game Theory Analysis Shows How Evolution Favors Cooperation's Collapse

Baldrson Re:TIt-for-tat fallacy (213 comments)

You are referring to the climatic memetic demographic prisoner's dilemma. The idea there was to try to have the most primitive form of "meme" imaginable: A speech act which could take one of two states "defect" or "cooperate", in the context of a population which may, or may not, repeat memes and which -- independent of repetition behavior -- may or may not comply with the meme it "hears". Tit for tat during iteration of the PD was simulated by allowing a variation in which the behavior (cooperate or defect) was based on what the organism had last experienced, as opposed to what the organism had last "heard". The "climate" was the degree to which the environment provided "food" to make up for loss of points in the PD score keeping.

The notion that one can _reliably_ "experience" defection _as_ defection is what I claim is an unrealistic assumption -- deception being such a central strategy in evolution -- hence tit for tat is a poor assumption.

about 2 months ago
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Game Theory Analysis Shows How Evolution Favors Cooperation's Collapse

Baldrson TIt-for-tat fallacy (213 comments)

The notion that "tit for tat" is relevant to evolution in the iterated prisoner's assumes that defection is detected -- an unrealistic assumption. The only reliable evolutionary system in which cooperation is sustainable is one in which the replicators (genetic and memetic) share a common fate aka vertical transmission. This is why the meiotic lottery works in multicellular sexual species and it is how symbiosis between species can evolve in ecologies where migration is restricted -- migration being the origin of the evolution of virulence via horizontal transmission. However, since restricting migration is not practical in much of nature, there is an "optimal virulence" in which a replicator tests the limits of its ability to, in essence, "take the money and run", and exploits to that limit.

about a month ago
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Black Friday '14: E-commerce Pages Far Slower Than They Were in 2013

Baldrson Fluff Piece (143 comments)

Due to caching, downloading Javascript pays off with faster response if you hit the same site enough times. Neither the article nor the Catchpoint Systems website say how many times they hit the same site, let alone how many times a customer is expected to hit the same site so essentially this article is fluff piece.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: IT Career Path After 35?

Baldrson Larry Wall Unemployed With Four Children (376 comments)

When the response of industry leaders and Congress to the collapse in the jobs market of 2000 was to increase H-1b worker visas, it should have been a signal to any sane youngster US citizen (who wasn't an Asian immigrant) to steer clear of the IT industry. Yes, there are jobs that are well paying and yes there are a lot of US citizens, even older US citizens, who are getting them despite the insane guest worker policies pursued by Asian ethnic nepotism taking over Fortune 1000 IT hiring authority.

But think about the way casinos operate: When someone wins at the slots, the machines make lots of noise but when someone loses at slots, there is dead silence.

Since 2002 he was only partly employed. In 2009 he recollected

Essentially I have been officially unemployed for not quite five years now. There's never enough funding.

If you are a non-Asian US citizen, there are better ways of terminating your bloodline than getting a degree in IT, such as suicide bombing some of the industry leaders that expanded the H-1b visa program when the jobs market collapsed in 2000.

about a month ago
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Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

Baldrson Sortocracy is the only answer (413 comments)

Sortocracy is sorting proponents of social theories into governments that test them. It is the only political system that allows people to escape bad governance: People can vote with their feet.

Any attempt to "reform the political process" is doomed for the reason pointed out by Machiavellli:

It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out nor more doubtful of success nor more dangerous to handle than to initiate a new order of things; for the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order; this lukewarmness arising partly from the incredulity of mankind who does not truly believe in anything new until they actually have experience of it.

Any system that does not allow people to experience a new order of things by voluntary assortation is doomed to the political equivalent of theocracy: Imposing a single social theory on unwilling human experimental subjects. You must allow for consent to experimental treatment of human subjects and you must allow for control groups to evidence causality.

There is going to be a revolution.

about 2 months ago
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Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist

Baldrson Who are they kidding? (454 comments)

Oh good grief. 15 years after the DotCon implosion, when industry leaders and Congress responded to the collapse in tech employment by ramping up H-1b guest worker visas, we're supposed to believe this is news?

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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"Disgruntled Employee" Suspected in Sony Cyber Attack

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  about 1 month ago

Baldrson (78598) writes "Politico.com reports that: "FBI agents investigating the Sony Pictures hack were briefed Monday by a security firm that says its research points to laid-off Sony staff, not North Korea, as the perpetrator...Researchers from the cyber intelligence company Norse have said their own investigation into the data on the Sony attack doesn’t point to North Korea at all and instead indicates some combination of a disgruntled employee and hackers for piracy groups is at fault." One wonders what Paul Graham has to say about the risk posed by "disgruntled employees" to Fortune 500 firms that follow his advice."
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Bill Gates Sponsoring Palladium-Based LENR Technology

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  about a month ago

Baldrson (78598) writes "Kitco.com reports that: "Low energy nuclear reactor (LENR) technology, and by extension palladium, is attracting the attention of one of the richest men in the world and a pioneer inventor of new technology... In a recent visit to Italy, billionaire business man, investor and inventor Bill Gates said that for several years he has been a believer in the idea of LENR, and is a sponsor of companies developing the technology... During his trip to Italy he visited the national agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable economic development (ENEA) where scientists have made significant progress towards a working design for low energy nuclear fusion. The centerpiece of their design is the same as in Mitsubishi’s: palladium. Creating palladium foil with just the right parameters, and managing stress levels in the material was a key issue, one that the researchers at EMEA were able to resolve several years ago." This is controversial to say the least. For example one of the first (1994) Idea Futures claims was that a palladium cold fusion device could produce even a small fraction of that claimed by many researchers over the last quarter century. That claim is presently selling at 2% odds and the judgement deadline is next week."
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Bezos's Blue Origin Part of Boeing Team Bidding for Taxi to ISS

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  about 4 months ago

Baldrson (78598) writes "The WSJ reports that: "The long-secretive space ambitions of Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon.com Inc., suddenly are about to get a lot more public. Blue Origin LLC, the space-exploration startup Mr. Bezos has been quietly toiling over for years, is part of a team led by Boeing Co. that is expected to soon garner a NASA contract to ferry astronauts to and from the international space station, according to people familiar with the matter.""
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NASA Langley Study On Cold Fusion's Potential in Aviation

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  about a year ago

Baldrson (78598) writes "Perpetually in-flight "skytrains" with which smaller aircraft would temporarily dock to exchange passengers and cargo, ground-effect flying container ships ala the Hughes Spruce Goose (only bigger and not made of spruce) and vertical takeoff and landing supersonic business jets were among among the aircraft potentials of cold fusion technology presented at NASA Langley's ARMD Seedling Seminar, February 25, 2014 in a study titled "Low Energy Nuclear Reaction Aircraft" (Warning: Adobe Connect). One comment heard: "There is a similar initiative in Lockheed/Martin.""
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NYT: Massive Study Questions H-1b Policies

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Baldrson (78598) writes "The New York Times reports: "An LCA is not an actual H1-B application rather an intent to hire an H1-B worker after an unsuccessful domestic search...Within the top 10 jobs, there are an estimated 134% more candidates nationwide than there were positions requested. Additionally, we found that domestic student enrollment in computer and mathematical graduate programs has grown 88% in the last decade, while foreign student enrollment has dwindled 13%. There does not appear to be a sudden mass shortage of educated domestic workers, rather a handful of outsourcing firms who file a majority of the LCAs and are uninterested in domestic candidates. 82% of the positions requested by the top 20 companies were requested by outsourcing firms.""
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Forbes Takes a Second Look At Rossi's E-Cat Cold Fusion Device

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Baldrson (78598) writes "Forbes technology contributor Mark Gibbs reports that: "I haven’t posted about Rossi and his E-Cat since last August simply because there wasn’t much to report other than more of Rossi’s unsupported and infuriating claims ... What everyone wanted was something that Rossi has been promising was about to happen for months: An independent test by third parties who were credible... much to my, and I suspect many other people’s surprise, a report by credible, independent third parties is exactly what we got. Published on May 16, the paper titled “Indication of anomalous heat energy production in a reactor device” would appear to deliver what we wanted...And now, the big reveal the authors’ conclusions are (again, the emphasis is mine): ' if we consider the whole volume of the reactor core and the most conservative figures on energy production, we still get a value of (7.93 ± 0.8) 102 MJ/Liter that is one order of magnitude higher than any conventional source.'""
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Independent Academic Validation of Industrially Useful Cold Fusion Device

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Baldrson (78598) writes "An energy revolution has been reported in a joint paper by scientists from Bologna University, Uppsala University and Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, titled "Indication of anomalous heat energy production in a reactor device containing hydrogen loaded nickel powder." This is the long-awaited independent validation of the infamous "E-Cat" or "Energy Catalyzer" by controversial inventor Andrea Rossi. Quoting the paper: "Even by the most conservative assumptions as to the errors in the measurements, the result is still one order of magnitude greater than conventional energy sources.""
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Applied Oceanic Geoengineer Spurs Mass Hysteria Among Political Class

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Baldrson writes "The UK Guardian via io9 reports that "A massive and illegal geoengineering project has been detected off Canada’s west coast." An Amerindian tribe in the Pacific NW that depends on salmon contracted to have 100 tonnes of iron sulphate spread across a huge area in order to spur plankton growth. The entrepreneur, Russ George, hopes to cash in on the carbon credits and the Amerindian tribe on an increased salmon harvest. This is inducing mass hysteria among the poltical class."
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H-1bs Drive Out Skilled But Not Unskilled

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Baldrson writes "From a Notre Dame press release: "In the first study to measure the temporary impact of highly skilled immigrants on native populations, University of Notre Dame EconomistAbigail Wozniak and Fairfield University's Thomas J. Murray — a former Notre Dame graduate student — found that when highly skilled immigrants move to a city or town, the U.S. natives in that area who are also highly skilled tend to move away. However, the study found that the same immigrant group's presence decreases the chances that low-skilled natives would leave." This, of course, contrasts with pundits such as Tim O'Reilly who claim that US skilled workers enjoy greater economic security from skilled immigrants."
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Quadrotor Construction Swarm

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  about 4 years ago

Baldrson (78598) writes "In this video teams of quadrotors autonomously build cubic structures from modular parts. Imagine these little guys flying to battery recharge stations, dropping off their discharged batteries and picking up freshly charged batteries. That would take only about 10% off their production time. The battery recharge stations themselves could be autonomously and continuously redistributed to the construction frontier. Autonomous crawlers could weld the positioned joints."
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Falcon 9 Orbits!

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Baldrson (78598) writes "Business Week reports that: "SpaceX’s Falcon 9 took off on its first test flight at about 2:45 p.m. local time from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It reached the Earth’s orbit about nine minutes later." This is a victory not only for Elon Musk's team, but for advocates of commercial space transportation."
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A Space Solar Power Satellite A Day...

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Baldrson writes "I've been following space solar power satellite technology since O'Neill's Stewart Brand days (longer than half of you have been alive) and this is the first time it appears likely to happen in the near future: PowerSat Corporation has filed 2 important patents. One uses the solar array to propel itself from low earth orbit to geostationary orbit. The other one turns a cloud of small geostationary solar power satellites into a huge phased array. The propulsion patent plausibly reduces launch costs by 67%. The satellite cloud microwave phasing patent, however, has a huge hidden benefit that I doubt even Powersat has fully taken into account: industrial learning curve of small launchers. A similar argument has been made before by Autodesk founder, John Walker in "A Rocket A Day keeps the High Costs Away. Basically, if you are going to deploy a system with a large number of repetitions, the total (integral) cost is given by the formula: firstunit*(units^(1-rate))/(1-rate). To replace all fossil fuel baseload generation capacity in the US (250GW) would require 20,000 Falcon 9 HL launches (78Mdollars/15000kg or $5200/kg to geostationary transfer orbit) each of 3 BrightStars (PowerSat's satellite) at nearly 5000kg each. Walk that down down an industrial learning curve at 10% per doubling, the total launch cost of a 250GW cloud would be (1-.67)*1-.67)*5200*3*5000*((200*100)^(1-.1))/(1-.1) = 212G$ or less than a dollar per installed watt of baseload electric generation capacity. Assuming 10% energy loss in transmission to the ground array, each satellite would need to generate around 250GW/(3*5000*200*100)kg/(1-.1) or less than 1kW/kg or 5MW/satellite. At 35% solar conversion efficiency and 1kW/m^2 solar flux most of that would be in a weightless mirror that would have to be about 70m in diameter at 350g/m^2 (5000kg/(5MW/(.35*1kW/m^2))). Weightless mirrors can be very low mass and inexpensive. Looks doable. To pay for the satellite itself let's more than triple the installed cost to $3/W. To understand how big of a deal this is: The other near-term scalable baseload electrical sources are "clean coal" and nuclear power — both of which are, optimistically, at similar capital costs per installed watt."
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Spasim: World's First 3D MOG

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Baldrson writes "The first 3D Multiplayer Online Game was published in — 1994? No. 1984? Sorry, Mac. It was 1974 on the same system that Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's current Chief Architect got his start: PLATO IV. It was for up to 32 world-wide users all shooting it up in a space simulation called "Spasim". Watch the video of a recent demonstration running on a CDC Cyber emulated by an AMD64 system."
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Armadillo Aerospace Wins First Lunar Lander Prize

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Baldrson writes "By flying a rocket for 90 seconds to a soft landing on another pad, and then relaunching for a similar 90 second flight, John Carmack's rocket company, Armadillo Aerospace has won the first, and smaller, of two prizes in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. The first flight was completed this morning but the second flight was delayed until this afternoon due to air traffic conflicts. Carmack and crew have been at this for a number of years with some near misses in prior competitions. This winning flight is welcome good news at a time when many have concerns about a down-turn in commercial space and the likely next President of the United States has recently said of such prizes, "When John F. Kennedy decided that we were going to put a man on the moon, he didn't put a bounty out for some rocket scientist to win — he put the full resources of the United States government behind the project...""
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Fear and Loathing in AIG's IT Department

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Baldrson writes "John Miano of The Programmer's Guild writes: "In the late 1990s the world of computer consulting took me to AIG. Only superlatives can describe what I saw while working at AIG's computer operation. It was the most mismanaged company of any type that I have ever seen...So why are you and I bailing out this company? In a free market, the penalty for mismanagement is going out of business. America owes AIG nothing. AIG has no loyalty to America or the American people. They were willing to replace Americans with foreign workers in a futile attempt to save a few dollars.""
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$1M In Compression Prizes Announced by Ocarina

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Baldrson writes "Ocarina, a storage compression company, is offering $1 million in prize increments of $10,000 for each 3% advance in compression on what Ocarina's Chief Scientist, Matt Mahoney, describes as "extremely challenging data". Matt should know, since, in addition to originating a leading class of compression algorithms and maintaining a benchmark list of top compressors, he is on the board of directors of The Hutter Prize for Lossless Compression of Human Knowledge, which stimulated a number of 3% incremental improvements in compressing Wikipedia."
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Machine Super Intelligence Thesis Wins $10k Prize

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Baldrson writes "The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence has announced Dr. Shane Legg the winner of its $(CDN)10,000 prize for academic achievement in 2008 for his theoretic work relating to "machine super intelligence". In his own words: "My thesis is written and submitted and I will be having my thesis defence in June. The title is 'Machine Super Intelligence' in which I describe Marcus Hutter's AIXI model and study some of its implications, extensions etc." His post-doctoral work is going to be in finance."
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H-1b Visas Not Going to "Best and Brightest

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Baldrson writes "Norm Matloff has published a continuation of an earlier study investigating the degree to which H-1b visas have been awarded to talent unavailable in the United States — "the best and the brightest" — as is required by law. Using a market-based analysis derived from salary figures, Matloff concludes: '...the data show dramatically that most foreign workers, the vast majority of whom are from Asia, are in fact not "the best and the brightest."' Moreover, he further concludes that 'Most foreign workers work at or near entry level, described by the Department of Labor in terms akin to apprenticeship. This counters the industry's claim that they hire the workers as key innovators, and again we will see a stark difference between the Asians and Europeans.'"
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Chertoff Recommends Cyber "Manhattan Project&#

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Baldrson writes "News.com reports that: "Risks from cyberattacks are increasing and the consequences are so great that the country needs a "Manhattan Project" for network security, Michael Chertoff, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said in a keynote on Tuesday at RSA 2008... The government needs the "best and brightest" from Silicon Valley and elsewhere in the private sector to work on creating an advanced warning system to prevent such cyberattacks." I'm sure all reasonable readers of /. are now asking themselves, "Why don't they just bring in a bunch of Indians, Chinese, and Israelis on H-1B visas?""
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Journals

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Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 8 years ago Alexander Ratushnyak's most recent (09/10/2006) Hutter Prize program purports a nearly 6% increase in compression of the first 100M of Wikipedia over the prize baseline. I've verified this with my own system running his program. If this withstands the 30-day comment period then this represents a very good start for the Hutter Prize, which was active for just a month before this entry. Congratulations are premature as yet but I just wanted to share some of the potentially good news with people. If you have any kind of financial means I really urge you to contribute to this prize fund. It is truly the most crucial technology prize of all due to the fact that it represents a proven sound way of advancing artificial intelligence -- a discipline with the potential to advance all other knowledge.

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"Protestants" fall to less than 50% of the US

Baldrson Baldrson writes  |  more than 10 years ago The following article claims that within a year or two the percent of the US population that is "protestant" will have fallen bellow 50% for the first time since Jamestown settlers.

I disagree with this assessment if one is going to call "protestant" those denominations that have been for individual conscience against the imposition of theocracy -- which is its original foundation.

We in the US have been living in a de facto theocracy at least since Brown vs the Board of Education in 1954. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that is the first time that protestant leadership capitulated, en masse, to a government action which violated freedom of association and hence freedom of religion. (One can easily argue that prior imposition of public education did not so violate the desires of association of the communities in which it was applied, except in principle. School bussing and other follow-ons to the 1954 ruling were clearly taking this theoretic violation to practice in a way that the vast majority disagreed with at that time.) That it was done to the children is even more in line with historic maneuvers of theocracy. The only other contender I can think of is the Telecommunications Act of 1934 when monopoly rights to new broadcast technologies were granted by the government to private concerns -- but that is a bit more problematic as it merely violated freedom of speech, an obviously lesser principle than freedom of religion which entails freedom of speech only to the extent that one is allowed to declare one's independence -- one's secession -- which may, in turn, entail expulsion from the fora of one's former order.

At the present time the war is on between theocracies: Catholic, Islamic and, of course, the currently ruling de facto theocracy of political correctness which is largely a secularized Jewish construction (see Kevin MacDonald's "Culture of Critique"), as was the Telecommunications Act of 1934 in its grant of monopoly rights to the networks (see Neal Gabler's "An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood")

Some people say the US died at earlier points in time -- perhaps. However, the underlying principle of the Declaration of Independence, that every human has a right to "the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them" is protestant. This established the right of secession as the primordial right over all others -- including the divine right of kings, popes or other potentates. That is the true origin of protestantism, of freedom of religion (to choose the social order in which one invests one's life) and of abolition of slavery.

Such a declaration is anathema to many who otherwise think of themselves as opposed to political correctness. They're just substituting one theocracy for another and they have in common, with political correctness, a slave-making mentality.

July 21, 2004, 12:18AM

Study finds number of Protestants is falling

Soon, less than 50% of Americans will claim the faith

By RICHARD VARA

Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

For the first time in U.S. history, the number of Protestants soon will slip below 50 percent of the nation's population, according to a new survey.

"As early as this year and certainly, if the projections hold, within the next two years, the majority of American adults will not be Protestants for the first time since the founding of colonial Jamestown," said Tom W. Smith, director of the National Opinion Research Center's General Social Survey.

"We were always at least a majority Protestant country, and that is about to change."

The survey, which was released Tuesday, has studied various aspects of American life, including its religious dimension, for 32 years.

From 1972 to 1993, it found that Protestants constituted 63 percent of the national population. But the total declined to 52 percent in 2002.

The study mirrors results from a recent Harris County survey. Protestants decreased from 56 percent in 1994 to 34 percent in 2004, according to the Houston Area Survey directed by Stephen Klineberg, a Rice University sociology professor.

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