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Comments

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Indian Court Orders Google To Remove Content

Laxitive The same old (477 comments)

Look, guys. You know how politicians in your countries try to use religious wedge issues, appeal to "cultural values", and leverage that in politics to push through the censorship regimes they want?

Yeah. That doesn't just happen in your country.

more than 2 years ago
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Foreign Hackers Attack Canadian Government

Laxitive Re:Canada? (208 comments)

An AC pointed this out in a reply to my post correcting some factual errors in my post. It was an australian company (BHP) doing the bidding, and that was scuttled. The executives, however, were not happy with the BHP bid (which was hostile), and were trying to arrange a more lucrative deal with a Chinese company.

The federal action scuttled both potential deals. Anyway, the point is that China buys a LOT of potash from Canada, and has strategic interests in that resource.

-Laxitive

more than 3 years ago
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Foreign Hackers Attack Canadian Government

Laxitive Re:Canada? (208 comments)

You are right. I didn't have my facts straight... thanks for the correction. So yeah, BHP was bidding, as was a Chinese company. The BHP bid was scuttled, and it seems Chinese offer went down with it. As for why the execs liked the deal, it's because they would have been greatly enriched by the sale.

Quoth the CBC, in an editorial (http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/10/01/f-vp-newman.html):

The executives at Potash Corp., who will benefit from a huge payout if the company is sold, are reportedly trying to organize a rival bid involving a Chinese government-owned company to drive up the sale price.

But ultimate ownership by a company from China, which is one of the biggest buyers of Saskatchewan potash, would have even greater implications for the value of the product than a sale to BHP Billiton.

So, regardless of who makes the stronger bid, the answer from both Ottawa and Saskatchewan should be the same: "Sorry. No sale."

more than 3 years ago
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Foreign Hackers Attack Canadian Government

Laxitive Re:Canada? (208 comments)

God no. We keep that shit in a bunker underneath the Canadian shield, disconnected from the internet. You don't leave national secrets like that just lying around.

On a serious note, China's main interest is in Canada's natural resources. As they grow and industrialize, their need to import massive amounts of raw resources to fuel their economy and people.

For example, Saskatchewan has basically the largest natural deposits of Potash in the world. The whole province is basically potash.. dig anywhere.. and you'll hit potash. Potash is what they make fertilizer out of. Not too long ago, a chinese firm wanted to acquire Potash Corp., Saskatchewan's potash producer. There was a big ruckus raised about it internally, and eventually the sale was stopped by the federal government after the extremely popular provincial minister went on the warpath about Saskatchewan natural resources being sold to foreign interests.

I don't disagree with that move (It'd be idiotic to sell off the rights to your own land's bounty).. but China really doesn't like not being able to get what they want. While it's not proven that it was the Chinese government behind these attacks, my suspicion is that they are (occam's razor). There's a well known effort by China to influence the Canadian government and people, and it's been brought up in the national media not too long ago.

-Laxitive

more than 3 years ago
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Running Your Own Ghost Investigation?

Laxitive What's the control group? (810 comments)

I'm assuming you're earnest about this... so on that premise, here's what'll happen:

You'll put together a set of measurements from this place. Then you'll try to interpret it with no reference point. You have no baseline measurements. Have you tested 20, or say even a handful, of regular, non-haunted houses to establish a control that you can compare to? Chances are you'll pick up SOME noise in SOME measurements that may or may not be construed to be paranormal, or maybe not. Who knows.

What are your predictions? Is there a set of particular things you'll be looking for? Can it be summed up as more-or-less "anything that seems wierd in the measurements"?

I'm not trying to dissuade you from doing it. Just don't call it scientific and then do bad science. It could be a very cool movie project, and it could be a lot of fun doing it, so it may entirely be worth your time. So if it seems cool then go for it.. but plz do not slap a "scientific" label onto it frivolously.

more than 3 years ago
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The Big Promise of 'Big Data'

Laxitive Re:LiveSQL (78 comments)

I should have thought things out a bit better with the stddev example - and realized that it does indeed have a reasonable closed form. Good catch.

Complex data mining is hard everywhere, that's true. The problem is that even straightforward data mining is hard once the dataset sizes reach into the hundred-millions or billions or trillions in size (implying absolute dataset sizes of terabytes or more). For google it's webpages, for biology labs it's sequences.

The big killer is the cost of transferring data, which is how traditional data systems are built. A remote host has some software set up, and you send it some data, and it processes it and returns it to you. The distinction with Hadoop is that you keep the data on distributed hosts and send the code (which is typically a lot smaller).

The point stands that incremental update of queries on mutation is not a generally solvable problem: it'll still require the addition of new constructs and the limitation of existing constructs in SQL (e.g. ordering). Hadoop approaches the issue from the other end of the spectrum: focusing on a framework that models distributable algorithms directly using a small set of primitive operators (specifically, "map" and "reduce").

-Laxitive

more than 4 years ago
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The Big Promise of 'Big Data'

Laxitive Re:Am I the only one who finds Hadoop unusable? (78 comments)

In situations where you are using Hadoop, your "primary" data store should BE the HDFS store you are using to analyze it. That's a big part of the actual efficiency proposition of Hadoop.

The big trick with the "big data" approaches is to recognize that you keep _everything_ distributed, _all the time_. Your input dataset is not "copied into the system" for some particular analysis task, it _exists in the system_ from the time you acquire it, and the analysis results from it are kept distributed. It's only at specific points in time (exporting data to send to someone external, importing data into your infrastructure) that you should be messing around with copying stuff in and out of HDFS.

-Laxitive

more than 4 years ago
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The Big Promise of 'Big Data'

Laxitive Re:LiveSQL (78 comments)

There are some serious technical challenges to overcome when you think about actually implementing something like this.

Take something like "select stddev(column) from table" - there's no way to get an incremental update on that expression given the original data state and a point mutation to one of the entries for the column. Any change cascades globally, and is hard to recompute on the fly without scanning all the values again.

This issue is also present in queries using ordered results (as changes to a single value participating in the ordering would affect the global ordering of results for that query).

The issue that "Big Data" presents is really the need to run -global- data analysis on extremely large datasets, utilizing data parallelism to extract performance from a cluster of machines.

What you're suggesting (basically a functional reactive framework for querying volatile persistent data), would still involve a number of limitations over the SQL model: basically disallowing the usage of any truly global algorithm across large datasets. Tools like Hadoop get around these limitations by taking the focus away from the data model (which is what SQL excels in dealing with), and putting it on providing an expressive framework for describing distributable computations (which SQL is not so great at dealing with).

-Laxitive

more than 4 years ago
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Extreme Memory Oversubscription for VMs

Laxitive Re:Over commit is great (4 comments)

Well, not really. It's the same as operating systems 'overcommitting' memory by giving each process a full virtual address space and filling it on the go. Operating systems solve this problem by... well.. using paging.

The paging approach works well for systems where you expect the in-memory working set to be tight. Mainly you'll see a graceful degradation in performance as you actually start hitting real memory limits and paging comes into effect.

Eventually, I think that can be resolved by taking a hybrid approach: wait until memory pressure builds and paging hits performance more than you'd like, then auto-migrate machines off the host as necessary. You get the best of both worlds: oversubscription when resource usage is low and performance is not affected, and on-demand resource allocation when resources are known to be needed.

-Laxitive

more than 4 years ago
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Rockstar Employees Badly Overworked, Say Wives

Laxitive Re:How to get management to listen (633 comments)

You will not be fired for exercising workplace rights. You'll be fired for "not being a team player".

-Laxitive

more than 4 years ago
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The Apple Tablet Interface Must Be Like This

Laxitive Re:new? (278 comments)

It's not that 3d user interfaces have been fully explored, but that simulated 3d interfaces on 2d desktops have some fundamental limitations. We already have some amount of simulated pseudo-depth: windows can lie on top of other windows, etc.

The problem is that by the time you get around to interacting with something, you're interacting with a 2d euclidean plane which presents a projection of some 3d model. It doesn't make the plane 3d. You can't reach around and touch the "middle" of an 3d object projected onto a 2d plane. That's a problem. These might be somewhat ameliorated by true 3d interfaces (where the display itself is 3d), but that tech has yet to mature.

If you think about it, even the way we work on our typical desk is mostly 2d, from a topological perspective. I have a pile of papers and some random crap lying around my desk. When I go to grab a document to work on, I don't just reach into the middle of a stack and pull out the right one. I don't have that capability. I need to go and start flipping pages, basically morphing my 2d topology to reveal some object hidden in 3d, and only then interact with it.

That's not to say that all 3d effects and stuff are useless. Simulated 3d is a great way of providing visual cues that we have been training ourselves on since we opened our eyes. That can be a very important aspect of intuitive interfaces.. but fundamentally it acts as a visual highlight. The goodness or badness of any particular 3d interface depends entirely on how effectively the _2d_ projection is.

Thirdly, "true" 3d is actually too limiting. We are forced to live in a 3d world, but our computers give us access to many more dimensions, weirder dimensions, than that. We can provide 2d projections of abstract non-fixed-dimensional objects, like n-ary trees (e.g. filesystems). An example of a projection of that abstract object to a 2d interface would be spotlight. It provides a 2d textbox which behaves in strange and weird ways - a 2d textbox that projects 2d manipulations (type some characters), into an arbitrary traversal of the tree. Compare the utility of that to the utility of a "true" 3d rendered filesystem. What value would that add? Sure, it would look neat, but what extra thing would you gain from it?

There's nothing magic about 3d. Computers operate above and beyond limitations of 3 dimensions, and are currently constrained to expose their behaviour through primarily 2d interfaces. Simulating 3d on top of 2d user interfaces, aside from the "visual cue" aspect, is kind of an arbitrary choice.. not necessarily the best one.

-Laxitive

more than 4 years ago
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James Cameron On How Avatar Technology Could Keep Actors Young

Laxitive "How cool would that be?" (404 comments)

"How cool would that be?"

I don't know. Depends on how good the movie is.

more than 4 years ago
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Microsoft Fined In India For Using "Money Power" Against Pirates

Laxitive Re:be careful (204 comments)

I see that you have spent some time developing deep experience with strawmen. Good for you.

Anyway, I'll go ahead and give you an A for effort. Let's play smug one liner vs. amused mockery again sometime :)

-Laxitive

more than 4 years ago
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Microsoft Fined In India For Using "Money Power" Against Pirates

Laxitive Re:India is sooo into equality (204 comments)

Ah, I see, you must be referring to the Delhi high court's support of caste discrimination. I'm having a bit of trouble finding examples of that, though. Could you point me to some of your examples?

I tried searching for '...' in google, but it doesn't yield too much in the way of results relating to the delhi high court.

Thanks in advance!

-Laxitive

more than 4 years ago
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Microsoft Fined In India For Using "Money Power" Against Pirates

Laxitive Re:India is sooo into equality (204 comments)

I'm sure if you lend the Indians your time machine, they can go back in time and fix that issue. Until then, I guess they'll have to just live with outlawing caste discrimination in the constitution and then slowly working to change public attitudes.

Or perhaps you've discovered a way to fix the issue with smug off-topic one-liners?

Do tell. I eagerly await your insight into the issue.

-Laxitive

more than 4 years ago
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New Research Forecasts Global 6C Increase By End of Century

Laxitive Re:re Increase or decline? (746 comments)

In experimental science, this is not uncommon. Using different methods of analyzing the same subject is, in other words, using (relatively) independent methods to analyze that subject. Using multiple independent methods and combining their results is a good thing, because it avoids experimental error and potential systemic biases that exist in every observational setup.

That said, I don't want to get into an actual discussion about the actual paper in question because I have not read the relevant hacked personal e-mails with their full context and interpreted their significance (and I likely won't have time in the near future given the pressures of day to day life). I am not particularly inclined to start implying conclusions and accusations based off of an incomplete and shoddy reading of a few out-of-context paragraphs. I am neither willing to vouch for or defend, or attack a particular piece of research until I am reasonably well informed about how that research was conducted.

There seem to be many people, however, who are willing to do exactly that.

-Laxitive

more than 3 years ago
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New Research Forecasts Global 6C Increase By End of Century

Laxitive Re:re Increase or decline? (746 comments)

Response from the RealClimate website, here (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/the-cru-hack/#more-1853):

No doubt, instances of cherry-picked and poorly-worded “gotcha” phrases will be pulled out of context. One example is worth mentioning quickly. Phil Jones in discussing the presentation of temperature reconstructions stated that “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.” The paper in question is the Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1998) Nature paper on the original multiproxy temperature reconstruction, and the ‘trick’ is just to plot the instrumental records along with reconstruction so that the context of the recent warming is clear. Scientists often use the term “trick” to refer to a “a good way to deal with a problem”, rather than something that is “secret”, and so there is nothing problematic in this at all. As for the ‘decline’, it is well known that Keith Briffa’s maximum latewood tree ring density proxy diverges from the temperature records after 1960 (this is more commonly known as the “divergence problem”–see e.g. the recent discussion in this paper) and has been discussed in the literature since Briffa et al in Nature in 1998 (Nature, 391, 678-682). Those authors have always recommend not using the post 1960 part of their reconstruction, and so while ‘hiding’ is probably a poor choice of words (since it is ‘hidden’ in plain sight), not using the data in the plot is completely appropriate, as is further research to understand why this happens.

This will indeed cause certain people to "wonder". Especially people who do not have the faculties to properly understand the idiomatic uses of the English language, and people who are willing to take words and phrases of out of context, as well as people who are willing to formulate their opinions without considering the actual analysis and instead relying on secondhand hysteria generated by others who are also not willing to consider the actual analysis.

So it goes.

-Laxitive

more than 3 years ago
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IBM Researchers Working Toward Cheap, Fast DNA Reader

Laxitive Re:Cynicism (90 comments)

If you think that fast and cheap DNA reading applies only (or even mostly) to monitoring of individuals, you do not have a real grasp of the scope and applicability of DNA sequencing.

There are enormous resources in scientific research that goes toward generating datasets. Sequencing of humans is a significant part of it, but most of that applies to medicinal uses, such as cancer genotyping (which uses sequencing to identify specifically the genotypic characteristics of a particular tumor colony so it can be treated much more effectively than just trying to guess by looking at it "from the outside"). Also, a huge new area in medicine is going to be "personalized" medicine. Medicine that's actually tailored to the specific genetic traits that YOU have, so that the chances of side-effects are reduced and effectiveness is increased.

Then there are the thousands of researchers that need to collect sequence datasets on organisms that have NOTHING to do with humans. A big chunk of this is plant genetics: crop stress tolerance (e.g. make wheat grow more reliably in colder or dryer climates, or resist disease better), natural product optimization (e.g. make canola plants produce 10% more of the kinds of oils you care about, and less of the crap you don't). Another big chunk of this research is basic science: figuring out the specific details of how evolution has progressed, or to identify the core biological processes that make organisms tick. That's core evolutionary biology and biomechanics research.

Then there's the people trying to do constructive genomics: actually build organisms that do specific things. Like modifying yeast to produce some complex bioproduct that requires a network of potentially hundreds of genes. Or creating organisms that filter waste from water. Or building algae variants that run on sunlight and produce oil.

All of these things could desperately use robust, cheap, accessible sequencing platforms. Genetic sequencing is not all about your privacy. It's a platform which has the scope to save scientists and researchers millions, and put that towards more research and better results than towards trying to scrape out a few bases from a tissue sample.

IBM is trying big time to get into the life sciences (that's wrong actually, they actually already HAVE products they market to the life sciences, like systems for large-scale data processing). It is worth billions to them, and they want to tap it.

-Laxitive

about 5 years ago
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Blueprint For a Quantum Electric Motor

Laxitive Re:Two atoms? (97 comments)

I suspect an oil rig, a refinery, a transport truck, and a highway system to deliver the oil, and an oil distribution infrastructure were all part of your car motor too. Because without those it's just a hunk of twisted metal.

-Laxitive

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Wisconsin considers forcing UofW off of Internet2

Laxitive Laxitive writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Laxitive (10360) writes "In a set of surprise changes to the to a budget bill, the government of Wisconsin has included resolutions calling for UofW to return $39-million in federal grant money awarded to build out high-speed internet access in the state. From the article:

"The plan would also require all University of Wisconsin institutions to withdraw from WiscNet, a nonprofit network cooperative that services the public universities, most of the technical and private colleges in Wisconsin, about 75 percent of the state’s elementary and high schools, and 95 percent of its public libraries, according to David F. Giroux, a spokesman for the university system.""

Link to Original Source
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Company eyes "reboot" of Blade Runner "franchise"

Laxitive Laxitive writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Laxitive (10360) writes "Company Alcon, behind the movie "The Blind Side" is eyeing a "reboot" of Blade Runner, according to this article. To quote the co-heads:
"This is a major acquisition for our company, and a personal favorite film for both of us... We recognize the responsibility we have to do justice to the memory of the original with any prequel or sequel we produce. We have long-term goals for the franchise, and are exploring multiplatform concepts, not just limiting ourselves to one medium.”"

Link to Original Source
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Producer/Consumer VMs Using Instant Live-Cloning

Laxitive Laxitive writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Laxitive (10360) writes "GridCentric just posted an article and demo on using live-cloning of VMs across a network to implement a producer/consumer system where new producer and/or consumer VMs can be instantly scaled from a single running VM to dozens in a few seconds, with just a single click.

The article demonstrates scaling from 1 VM to more than a dozen (across multiple physical hosts on a network) in just a few seconds... putting the scaling performance of existing cloud architectures to shame."

Link to Original Source
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DDOS-in-a-box: VM swarm in a dozen lines of shell

Laxitive Laxitive writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Laxitive (10360) writes "We (GridCentric) just posted a couple of interesting videos demoing a load-testing use-case on top of our freely available Xen-based virtualization platform called Copper. In both videos, we use live-cloning of VMs to instantly create a swarm of worker VMs that act as clients to a webapp. The ability to clone is exposed as an API call to the VM that wants to clone itself, meaning that in a dozen lines of shell, we can script the automatic creation and control of dozens of VMs across multiple physical computers.

Creating a clone VM in Copper is similar in function and complexity to forking a process in Unix, and carries all the same assurances: your new VMs are near exact copies of the original VM, start running within seconds of the clone command being invoked, and are "live" — meaning that all programs running on the original VM remain running on the clone VM.

The more we play with it, the more it feels like live-cloning is one of those core capabilities which is at once powerful as well as easy to leverage in designing distributed applications and services. And it seems that today, when cloud is on the top of everyone's mind, is when we should really be having a discussion on what the APIs, architecture, and features of this new class of distributed operating systems should be.

We hope this demo spurs some of that discussion..."

Link to Original Source
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Extreme Memory Oversubscription for VMs

Laxitive Laxitive writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Laxitive (10360) writes "Virtualization systems currently have a pretty easy time oversubscribing CPUs (running lots of VMs on a few CPUs), but have had a very hard time oversubscribing memory. GridCentric, a virtualization startup, just posted on their blog a video demoing the creation of 16 one-gigabyte desktop VMs (running X) on a computer with just 5 gigs of ram. The blog post includes a good explanation of how this is accomplished, along with a description of how it's different from the major approaches being used today (memory ballooning, VMWare's page sharing, etc.). Their method is based on a combination of lightweight VM cloning (sort of like fork() for VMs) and on-demand paging. Seems like the 'other half' of resource oversubscription for VMs might finally be here."
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Lameness filter MUST go

Laxitive Laxitive writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Ok, this is a somewhat juvenile post I made to a poll thread about command prompts. Yes, I flew off the handle there, but my points are valid.


http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=108424&cid=9225476

Please people, let's try figuring something out to get the lameness filter removed from slashdot. Using a perl script to figure out the value of posts is NOT the right way to solve the probem. The moderion system already exists and works pretty well. What difference does it make if a post is lame because the guy makes a one-liner about natalie portman and hot grits (wow, blast from the past ;) ), or wether it's a bunch of non-letter characters?

There exists a good system to take care of lameness, let's use it, instead of giving up control to a tyrranical perl script.

If you support this idea, and want to try to change it, put the following text in your sig:

The Lameness Filter MUST go

and make it link to this journal entry.

Thank you.
-Laxitive

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Why wasn't I notified of this!

Laxitive Laxitive writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Slashdot has a Journal? Friends? Fans? Foes?
I have fans?

Sweet lord, how the hell did I miss this shit? When were these features added to slashdot? What the hell is going on?! I'm confused. This calls for a smoke.

To those who are on my fan list. Thank you. It's a weird, and good, feeling to know that someone actually notices your comments.

I'll have to start using these newly discovered facilities...

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