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Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

JBMcB Re:Armchair cognitive scientist (433 comments)

The idea that an ameoba displays intelligence in excess of our current ability to simulate is frankly a little ridiculous.

That quote bothered me, too. We've been simulating simple insects for decades, back when neural networks were clusters of transistors on flip-chips. We're at the point where we can build machines that can learn to move and navigate on their own. There was a Slashdot article a week ago about a fully mapped nematode neural network wired into a robot.

2 days ago
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Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

JBMcB Huh? (433 comments)

What is the point of this article? You would think that people have learned better by now than to attempt to make predictions as to where technology will go.

2 days ago
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US Gov't Seeks To Keep Megaupload Assets Because Kim Dotcom Is a Fugitive

JBMcB Re:Other fugitives (171 comments)

Er, McAffee is wanted for murder in Belize. Knox is wanted in Italy and will be tried in absentia.

But neither have extradition requests pending. McAfee has charges pending but they've never made it to a judge. Knox is probably going to be extradited but hasn't yet.

Until the U.S. government gets an extradition request they aren't required to, and shouldn't, do anything.

3 days ago
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Coal Plants Get New Lease On Life With Natural Gas

JBMcB Re: It's still reacting carbon and oxygen... (142 comments)

The problem with nuclear, without even going close to the radiation boogeyman, is that:

- it requres huge investement before nothing happens
- it takes years to construct a power plant
- the nuclear plants require a lot of sweet water for cooling, 24/7, and the world is running out

I'm a fan of the mini-nuclear reactors. These are about the size of a bus, can be mass-produced to make them cheaper, and require no maintenance or cooling. They are extremely fault-tolerant - they only operate in a narrow thermal band, if they get too hot or too cold the reaction shuts itself down. One produces enough energy to power a small city, or a large neighborhood in a big city. You sink them in a concrete vault and forget about them for a decade or so. When their nuclear fuel is spent, you pull them out, get rid of the waste (about the size of a softball) refurbish and refuel the reactor and put it back in the ground.

The bonus side-effect is a more stable and efficient electrical grid with fewer long-haul high voltage power lines running all over the place, more redundancy and less centralization.

5 days ago
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US Gov't Seeks To Keep Megaupload Assets Because Kim Dotcom Is a Fugitive

JBMcB Re:Other fugitives (171 comments)

There are no outstanding extradition requests for McAfee or Knox, so I'm not sure what your point is.

5 days ago
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Apple Disables Trim Support On 3rd Party SSDs In OS X

JBMcB Re:Summary is misleading, you can work around (327 comments)

Can't you run TRIM manually as well? Back when Linux TRIM support sucked you just ran it as a CRON job every once and a while.

about two weeks ago
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How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

JBMcB Chemicals! (377 comments)

Chemicals are *everywhere*, in all of our food, and many will kill you! I only eat chemical-free food, mainly neutrons and assorted leptons.

about two weeks ago
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Amazon Robot Picking Challenge 2015

JBMcB Re:Pay me once, shame on me. (106 comments)

I'm sure you had your secretary type out your message for you. Or are you using a job-destroying computer?

about a month and a half ago
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Netflix Rejects Canadian Regulator Jurisdiction Over Online Video

JBMcB Re:While I find it amusing... (184 comments)

Many Canadians *support* this idea and we're not too fond of an American company trying to wreck the system of local content production.

In what way is Netflix wrecking local content? They are making something available. You can choose to pay for it and use it or not.

about 2 months ago
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US Patent Office Seeking Consultant That Can Stamp Out Fraud By Patent Examiners

JBMcB Re:This is not a new or unique problem (124 comments)

Work reviews - like code reviews. Everyone "shows their work" to everyone else, and everything gets reviewed, every week. Less optimal than individual workers working at peak efficiency, but more optimal than most people screwing around with no oversight whatsoever.

about 2 months ago
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The State of ZFS On Linux

JBMcB Re:Unfamiliar (370 comments)

It appears to use a lot of memory because it replaces the standard kernel disk cache with its own ARC, and as unused memory is wasted memory, the ARC will eat up every last bit of memory you allow it.

Well, I had 4GB of RAM, the cache ate up every bit of it and didn't run particularly well.

It's performing a checksum of your entire system. That's going to be a CPU hog. BTRFS will be no different in this regard.

Very true, but if CPU usage is a factor, on an app server say, then choosing ZFS is hardly a "no-brainer" as the OP stated.

Of course it does. It just has some limitations.

Right - what I was looking for is the ability to simply add a drive to a pool and get more drive space. With btrfs RAID1, which is what I'm using, you throw a drive in, hit rebalance, and you now have more storage, properly mirrored with distributed metadata.

about 2 months ago
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The State of ZFS On Linux

JBMcB Re:Unfamiliar (370 comments)

- CPU and RAM overhead comparable to Software RAID 5.

In my experience it needs a lot more memory than software RAID5. Something like 1GB per TB of disk space if running RAIDZ. Scrubbing can thrash your CPU pretty good, too.

I ran ZFS for a while on a dedicated file server with a fair amount of disk space (16TB) but switched over to btrfs RAID1 as my hardware wasn't up to ZFS requirements, and I needed the capability to add new drives to the pool which ZFS doesn't handle gracefully.

about 2 months ago
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European Commission Reopens Google Antitrust Investigation

JBMcB Re:Again? (96 comments)

Relatively speaking - computing power is cheap these days. You can build a server with more computing power of Google's first server farm for a few thousand dollars. You can virtualize everything and rent CPU power from Amazon or Rackspace or Microsoft. If you're working out of your garage you can start up a new search engine for a couple tens of thousands of dollars which, really, is hardly anything these days.

about 3 months ago
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How California's Carbon Market Actually Works

JBMcB Re:Fee rather than market (97 comments)

Same goes with the back-asswards CAFE standards. Want more fuel efficient vehicles on the road? Tax gasoline. But no, an insanely complicated average fuel economy-per-vehicle-segment over general fleet sales is imposed. More politically expedient, MUCH less efficient.

about 3 months ago
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Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

JBMcB No (381 comments)

My smartphone does everything already. Pulling it out of my pocket to look at it isn't such an ordeal. I already have a watch that tells the time and date, and it goes for years on a battery.

about 4 months ago
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Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial

JBMcB Re:Moron Judge (135 comments)

Butcoin was supposed to be money, but so far it's far to volatile to be used as a unit of account in any serious sense.

Using it as a a unit of account is a regulatory definition, not an economic one. Money is still money even if there is no concept of "Bookkeeping."

Volatility doesn't enter in to the equation, during the Weimar republic the Mark was still the currency of Germany, even though hyperinflation made it essentially worthless. Just because it isn't a good store of value doesn't mean it isn't a store of value. What matters is it's ultimate utility to the users.

about 4 months ago
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Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial

JBMcB Re:Moron Judge (135 comments)

Money is anything that can be used to store or trade value. Anything *can* be money, but that doesn't mean it is.

If people are buying bitcoin, then trading it for goods, services, or other forms of money, then, de-facto, it's money.

about 5 months ago
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Dubai's Climate-Controlled Dome City Is a Dystopia Waiting To Happen

JBMcB Perspective (265 comments)

It's easy to complain about how awful malls are until you have to walk around outside when it's 105F out, or when it's -5F with two feet of snow on the ground.

about 5 months ago
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IRS Recycled Lerner Hard Drive

JBMcB Lost... (682 comments)

We lost the backups. Her computer drive was taken apart and recycled into a crib mobile for underprivileged infants. We had printouts but those were shredded into organic compost. The tape backups were overwritten as we only have one backup set of tapes. The people who sent her the email also deleted them from their "sent" boxes as they only have 5MB of quota for that mail box. The people who received her email deleted them from their inboxes as we rigorously practice inbox zero.

So you see, no monkey business here.

about 5 months ago
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NADA Is Terrified of Tesla

JBMcB Re:No such thing as maintenance free car (455 comments)

That's just mostly how the current companies handle it. Safety recalls have happened with Tesla. They've simply used company techs to do the work by picking the vehicle up from your house/work if the fix can't be done on the spot, sometimes delivering a loaner vehicle.

This works great when you have a few thousand vehicles on the road. When you have a few hundred-thousand cars all over the country, sending techs out to everyone's home is going to bankrupt you.

about 5 months ago

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