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Comments

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Jimmy Wales To 'Holistic Healers': Prove Your Claims the Old-Fashioned Way

John Allsup Science has (at least) two meanings (517 comments)

The word science has an interesting etymology. One branch follows modern sciences such as physics, but classically pre the formation of the modern philosophy of science, the word also meant a reliable body of knowledge and discourse about it. Rigorous discourse should be fine, but a word other than science is needed, and a clear philosophy underlying said discourse. Much of the way our reality works is beyond what science can touch, since so much only happens once, or involves more variables than can be controlled in an experiment. I tend to explore these things through mathematical thought experiments, modelling what a human experimenter could see, and thus tend to be aware of 'aliasing issues' where too few observations allow false 'truths' to be inferred without contradiction. Proper scientists, as my last word, try their utmost to blow their results to kingdom come, and only accept what remains. Ask these 'holistic science' people two things: what are the limitations of their scientific methods, and what steps have they taken to try and disprove their claims. Unless, as we see in our physics textbooks, one can say 'this has survived every experimental test we've thrown at it', then a claim can't be said to be scientific in my book. (This means I throw much of biology and medicine outside what I consider scientific, but I am happy as a hardliner when it comes to what is scientific, and I am happy that there are other reliable bodies of knowledge that work differently.)

about three weeks ago
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Ouya Dropping 'Free-to-Play' Requirement

John Allsup More evidence that you can't trust promises... (107 comments)

My recent experience with the Mac App store (if a newer version won't work on your hardware, you're SOL and can't get older versions that do work) has burned me enough not to trust a model where I don't take delivery of a physical copy with the means to activate it without the intervention of third parties. I run the windoze that comes on my laptop until I decide on a HDD upgrade, then run Debian or UbuntuStudio. I'm beginning the painful process of weaning myself off ShinyJuicyAppleses.

With this console again it just goes to show that business needs trump claims and promises to consumers. You get what you pay for, and anything else is a bonus that lasts as long as it lasts. Mr Caveat X. Emptor is very much alive and kicking.

about three weeks ago
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Flies That Do Calculus With Their Wings

John Allsup Next they'll discover... (107 comments)

that humans do signal processing with their brains, and that such processing involves complex analysis. One day they'll learn that those squiggly symbols in maths books actually mean something. It's an embarrassment to science that these insect chasers are called scientists rather than sciensecoolhuhwowists. End rant of an old school fundamentalist.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can an Old Programmer Learn New Tricks?

John Allsup Programming Old School (306 comments)

Programming was done and dusted as a discipline in the sixties, got creative in the seventies and has been taking the piss ever since. New programmers need to stop learning tricks and learn to write good programs that work on minimal resources and work under strain and with no guessing games involved, just like the Space Shuttle people did, and learnt the beauty of purity that Lisp showed, the beauty of simplicity that Forth showed, and redevelop the lost art of programming. Modern day computing is ugly. [ Here ends the rant of an old school fundamentalist ;-) ]

about a month ago
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Solar-Powered Toilet Torches Waste For Public Health

John Allsup I misread the headline many times (126 comments)

"Solar Powered Toilet Torches deemed a Waste to the Public Health budget" is one example misreading.

about 1 month ago
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Child Porn Arrest For Cameron Aide Who Helped Plan UK Net Filters

John Allsup Just proves the anticensorship case. (205 comments)

A perfect child-porn filter that only filters child porn would be wonderful, but that is fairy magic.
In reality we cannot trust those who wish to filter our internet, and this is why.
There is no substitute for proper discipline and compassion in upbringing.
Being forced to learn to fight crudely at school to protect myself (and fight my own battles) has caused me crippling psychiatric issues in adulthood.
Being forced to porn act to make daddy money (this did NOT happen to me) is an even worse evil.
Children need to grow, learn and play, and be free from influences such as sexuality and violence, but must be taught proper discipline about both so that as they reach maturity these things are no longer a fascination and do not cause the grown up child to turn to unhealthy sex and violence as a crutch. Society needs fixing.

about a month and a half ago
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Slashdot Asks: Do You Label Your Tech Gear, and If So, How?

John Allsup Nail (250 comments)

Varnish! (Works a treat for colour coding things like laptop PSUs.)

about 2 months ago
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A Mathematical Proof Too Long To Check

John Allsup I realised this when doing my PhD in 2002. (189 comments)

I was trying to classify the normal subgroups of PSL(n,q) where n,q may be nonstandard elements of a nonstandard model of arithmetic. I pointed out that if Ariah Lev's work formalised correctly, then a few steps would yield the result I wanted, but that this was beyond checking. Once the PhD was done, I did further investigation, and scribbled a thought in a moment of insight, and left it to tidy itself up. I believe I put an entry on either chalisque.wordpress.com or deardiary.chalisque.org, but forget which, and am hunting it down. If not, John's Antibang Theory That Really Works and its notion of True Computability vs Turing equivalent non-True forms will see the light of day in a readable format, but if you want to know how my mind really thinks, this is a clue as to my mind's native language. It's quasi-English pseudo-maths that I then filter for correctness before communicating.

I can't find it, but there are a great many thoughts I had to dump out to reclaim brainspace. As a free software believer, and a free-thinking believer, I treat my programs and thoughts like a mother treats her children, caringly and lovingly and I don't send them out into the world ill-equipped to face rigorous challenge.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Options For Ongoing Education?

John Allsup Love Education, Do Not Love The Education System. (149 comments)

I've managed to fit my post into the subject, so here I'll paste my Open Letter to Wacom instead. Enjoy, and please don't moderate off-topic since the Comment Subject is the entire post and is on topic, but I've got to put something meaningful here to get through the filter.

From https://www.facebook.com/john....

(hint: copy and paste into a fixed width editor and reformat to taste, taking care to make my signature look like John.)

An Open Letter to Wacom,

Re: Drivers that don't drive properly, and are welded shut so as to be unfixable for whoever has the misfortune to need to use them.

Dear Wacom,

When I plug my Bamboo into my Linux laptops, it works perfectly every time. It does not, however, work at all properly on my mac, and isn't moving the mouse at all on this Windows 7 64bit laptop despite it having worked in the past, no new drivers having been installed, and Windows 7 saying the driver was successfully installed.

Please investigate how the Free Software community was able to write a working driver, hit your driver developers over the head with a clue-stick or other relevant therapy, and consider having open source (BSD licensed or weaker) Windows drivers---from which open source and Free Software drivers can be developed, maintained and debugged independently---written from scratch following advice of the Free Software community (but not copying code itself) and released under a BSD-style open source without restrictions license.

Since I cannot trust Wacom products to work on my Mac, nor on my Windows laptops, and my £200 Corel Painter software doesn't have a Linux version, I cannot justify the cost of an Intuos Pro no matter how much I love the idea if digital painting, and the philosophy of what was Fractal Design's Painter.

That I cannot trust Corel Painter to try to kick it's twice-a-day crash habit, means I can't trust it either.

Krita is a nice idea, but is at least a year or so from being production ready, and Gimp is not really a digital painting product, but a General Image Manipulation Program, so that is no substitute either.

You can put part of the blame on Microsoft for the driver issue for having such a stupid USB driver model, but you are the fools for actually trying to code to said broken model.

Yours wondering-when-Ableton-Suite-and-Reaper-and-all-my-VSTs-will-be-available-on-Linux-and-I-can-ditch-Windows-compeletly-ly,

JJJ h
_J_oo hh nn
J oo hh nn
J ----------- .

John Allsup.

15th February, 2014 (Hangover-after-Valentines-and-too-many-glasses-of-wine-Day Day) [hic!]

about 2 months ago
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Music Industry Is Keeping Streaming Services Unprofitable

John Allsup Youtube video plug. (118 comments)

I produced http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... from conception to completion within a day (yesterday, Valentines Day if you care about pink fluffy luvviduvvy stuff). This says all I think I can say abou the Music Industry's 'think of our struggling artists when you ponder not giving us more money than we need' attitude.

about 2 months ago
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More Bitcoin Exchanges Forced Out of Sync After Massive DDoS Attack

John Allsup The problem with Bitcoin (135 comments)

Totally decentralised systems, looked at through the viewpoint of 19th century analysis and stats, can seem to work by limiting the control to infinity. in reality there is no infinity to limit it to, this is just a useful figment of mathematicians imaginations when counting stuff is impractical. Somebody's actions will always control the balance of the random behaviours that lie behind bitcoin. The problem then is that this control point will move around essentially near-chaotically. The bitcoin network will have a weak mind of its own, and behave with the complexity of a small insect rummaging around looking for food. A mass of bitcoin like systems will evolve to work together like an army of ants. Basically the abstract model of an ant colony from which nature derives real ants, is trying to evolve itself on the internet. Bitcoin is the begining of a virtual bit-ant infestation. There is a place for ants, but the world finance system is not one of them.

about 2 months ago
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Open Source — the Last Patent Defense?

John Allsup Legal powers and invisible guns (52 comments)

Legal powers are like invisible guns to peoples' heads, and enforcement is like pulling the trigger. The solution to the problem of guns is not no guns, nor more guns, but possibly fewer guns and an absolute requirement on a lack of egotistical greedy selfish intent in anybody before they're allowed to go near a gun. Human greed and selfishness is the problem, and if we don't fix that, we're fuxked whether or not patent lawsuits are involved.

about 2 months ago
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Majority of Young American Adults Think Astrology Is a Science

John Allsup Mainstream science (625 comments)

Mainstream science is so full of bullshit these days that the general public, faced with two piles of bullshit, one containing a priceless gem, and the other not, can't see the difference and, sadly, don't seem to care. It's a sad world when that happens. At least we can plant pretty flowers in the bullshit and hope that some good can be made of it. One day the gem will be uncovered.

about 2 months ago
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Oldest Known Star In the Universe Discovered

John Allsup Re:Knowledge (141 comments)

If there was ever a book on how to read the KJV _properly_, then you would absolutely need that too. Alas they didn't have those to hand when compiling, and nobody since has had the understanding sufficient to write one.

Exercise 1 with the KJV: Take a single sentence, and see if the words fit better and make more sense in any other order.
Exercise 2 with the KJV: Repeat with each adjacent sequence of a few sentences.
Exercise 3 with the KJV: If there is no better word order, then the one you see is minimal for some particular meaning, so what is the meaning?
Exercise 4 with the KJV: Explore the degree to which one can ultimately rely upon the authority of a human third party, such as a church?
Exercise 5 with the KJV: Just appreciate the wonder of what was accomplished by it, rather than any potential flaws.
Exercise 6 with the KJV: Explore the historical context and carefully explain what qualitative improvements could have been made.
Exercise 7 with the KJV: Justify carefully every single possible improvement. You may assume your own existence, but all other assumptions must be carefully stated, and ultimately factored out in your reasoning.

If you haven't got past 7, then you can't really claim to even understand the idea of 'biblical inerrancy' and why it matters. My experience is that it is based on the intuition of 'locally minimal errors in a large region of possibilities', or that if the KJV isn't already correct for the context and language for which it was composed, there is no realistic possibility of improvement. Anything that remotely satisfies such a 'minimal error' condition, like the best music or poetry, or the best mathematical proofs, are beautiful in their own right. If one then looks to the KJV, RSV, NIV and ESV and cross compares, to see examples of translator decisions, then they can start to abstract the common meaning and factor away translating issues so as to intuitively grasp the deeper meaning.

There is no way, practically or physically, that you can properly understand even a fraction of the words of the KJV without proper study, contemplation, anguish and just plain getting it wrong time and time again until you see that most beautiful of interpretations that just fits. My own experience is that that 'most beautiful' of interpretations looks like an amazing consequence of the foundational laws of maths and physics that the modern world has discovered in the years after the KJV was written, and that 'almost magical' compatibility is what leads me to believe that my current understanding is worth anything.

For those who wish to see how little I like to rely upon external sources of reasoning, and how clearly I like to think things through, my PhD thesis at john.allsup.co is an example, though I'm much more pedantic these days than I was then, both about logical rigour, foundational assumptions, and just plain making things look nice. I'm an absolute bastard of a perfectionist, at heart, and to me, if something looks wrong then there is at least one thing wrong somewhere, and in the long run that's always gonna be one thing too many.

I take this philosophy into how I code, so I don't code much, but what I do code I damn well make sure works properly, or that if it doesn't, I understand why it doesn't before making a single correction. Errors once overwritten are sources of teaching and learning that, once lost, are unlikely to recur. Nurture your errors like seeds in a garden, and cultivate the flowers and plants that grow from them, rather than trying to rush things and get to the good stuff first. Rushing only make s for poorer results, and in the eyes of an absolute bastard of a perfectionist, such results are no results at all, other than more errors to be learned from.

about 2 months ago
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Oldest Known Star In the Universe Discovered

John Allsup I guess theoretically... (141 comments)

...that there's only a finite number of stars in the observable universe, so eventually they'll exhaustively find the oldest one of the lot, provided they can see it, and accurately verify its age, and tick off all the other candidates so as to ensure they have the correct answer. Then one has to ask what real-world survival problem will ever be aided by such research?

about 2 months ago
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3 Reasons To Hate Mass Surveillance; 3 Ways To Fight It

John Allsup Just everybody behave slightly more suspiciously (120 comments)

Figure out what can alert the watchers without getting into trouble, and compare notes and discuss in forums on Tinternet.
Make sport out of the watchers by seeing what you can figure out about them simply by provoking unnecessary reactions.
Read The Art of War and study Tai Chi (properly, not just as a spaced-out eastern arm-waving exercise, but as the study of super-efficient movement and coordination -- though that can take a decade or so just to get the basics half-right).

about 2 months ago
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A Dedicated Shell For Git Commands

John Allsup What you need is a new command shell (96 comments)

Bash is very good, but much could be done to craft a better command shell that combines the best of Bash, Perl, Ruby and Python, with the only bit of Visual Basic that I really liked: the with construct.

In Visual Basic, one could write
with myObject .this := that .and := other
end with

The dots at the start are redundant given proper block structure, unless you also have a smalltalk like messaging facility that runs aside C++ style getters and setters. Then .this = that style constructs would do low level get and set, and
with git
    init
    add .
    commit -m "initial commit"
    end
which is fine provided 'git end' has no meaningful value to git.

I'm also thinking about the consequences of replacing the environment with stacks of dictionaries, and playing with simple prototypes in Python, sometimes just half writing them to help me see how the code would look.

about 2 months ago
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Second World War Code-cracking Computing Hero Colossus Turns 70

John Allsup And if you need any more proof of why Russia's ant (110 comments)

Just look at what the Brit's old-school equivalents led to in how they treated him after he played a critical role in helping the Allies win WW2.

Sorry if this seems off-topic, but this is Alan Turing I'm talking about here, and the two most salient pieces of his life were his maths and his ability to both dream beyond his peers, and his ability to make it absolutely practical where needed, and his sexual orientation. This ability with maths is rare to see, and how the British establishment saw fit to overlook this, punish him for his gayness, and ultimatly drive him to suicide is a deep lesson in just how much of a bunch of arseholes people can be even to the best of us.

about 2 months ago
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Designer Seeds Thought To Be Latest Target By Chinese

John Allsup seeds as mother nature made them (164 comments)

Have been refined by millions of years of evolution. That a few scientists with an ego problem think they can do better is laughable.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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I can prove P strictly contains NP, the Riemann Hypothesis is an Illusion and...

John Allsup John Allsup writes  |  about a month and a half ago

John Allsup (987) writes "Psychiatry is a dangerous medical cult, and has been from the start. I am slightly less confident of the latter, but am still pretty damned certain. See my wiki, esp. SoundMind and note that this is slashdot user 987 speaking here: I've been with you guys faithfully since before you had user accounts."
Link to Original Source
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Legal defintions of 'computer' and 'sound recording'

John Allsup John Allsup writes  |  about 10 months ago

John Allsup (987) writes "I have been reading through copyright law (UK, since that is where I live) and have noticed that they talk about 'sound recording's and yet never define them clearly in the context of digital information. Is there are non-absurd legal definition of 'sound recording' that makes sense in the age of the modern digital computer? I began thinking this through whilst writing content for a lightweight wikiwiki site."
Link to Original Source

Journals

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The Law for Lawyers and Non-Law for Non-Lawyers Manifesto: A Call to Arms, Legs,

John Allsup John Allsup writes  |  more than 4 years ago

etc...

We demand the right not to be treated as lawyers, by laywers, subjugated under the will of a legal system run by lawyers. We've just had enough "legal fertilizer probably legally obtained from a possibly illegally owned cow's rear end" and "ignorance of the law is no excuse".

Well (Non-)Ignorance of the (Non-)Law (respectively subect to the existence of at least one Non) is equally No Excuse.

So hear our Non-Law and take your Law of Lawwers, by Lawyers, of Lawyers and for Lawyers back to you planet of Law and leave us in peace to explore the rest of the Universe.

Important Non-Legal point:

By adding to this document, you are declaring Your intention to lay down Your life if required to do so in the event that You are required to Die so that Your inconsistent addition may be removed for the sake of all others.

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My blog.

John Allsup John Allsup writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Ok, whoever may read this. I've set up a standard free blogging account with blogger.com. You can go there to read thoughts that I want to jot down. Chances are, I won't write anything much in my journal entry here. This may change, but given that I've been a slashdotter since before it had user accounts, and I've never bothered to make a journal entry here before, don't expect much.

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