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Big Advance In Hydrogen Production Could Change Alternative Energy Landscape

Matrix14 Re:Not a replacement yet (340 comments)

Not really. Better battery technologies could increase the prevalence of electric cars, and the conversion of hydrogen to electricity can happen offline (i.e., at a power plant).

about 2 years ago

How Old Were You When You First Got a Cell Phone?

Matrix14 Re:I'm old (330 comments)

Probably encoded in a seven bit encoding like GSM text messages. 160 chars * 7 bits = 140 chars * bits. Since Twitter was originally a text message forwarding system, this is the origin of limit.

Of course, now Twitter messages are 140 Unicode characters, which can be more bits.

about 2 years ago

The Scourge of Error Handling

Matrix14 Monads! (536 comments)

Monads monads monads monads monads from Haskell.

Or "workflows" in F#. Related to, I think, "generators" in Scala?

Roughly (and I'm going to make up some C++/Java style syntax here), you write something like this:

workflow someExpressionMaybeAnObject
        int x = someassignment;
        some statement;

At the end of each line, you check the return value for errors, and use the handlers defined by the object up top, which could short-circuit the rest of evaluation.

These are actually a lot more general than error handling. For example, they generalize Python-style list comprehensions when used in a certain way.

In Haskell-land, there's a lot of interesting math about how they work, but you don't need it for error handling.

Moral: Learn a wider variety of languages!

more than 2 years ago

US Has Secret Tools To Force Internet On Dictatorships

Matrix14 Re:Imagine that... (282 comments)

English isn't particularly more fault-tolerant than other languages. All languages are fault tolerant. It's why things like noun-verb agreement exist: they provide redundancy and error detection and correction.

English is so dominant on the Internet because England conquered the world and the US is enormously influential.

more than 3 years ago

Polynomial Time Code For 3-SAT Released, P==NP

Matrix14 Re:I'll be first to say WTF (700 comments)

Yes it does. The two formulations are equivalent, and, in fact the time-to-check answer one is much more commonly used because it is much easier to reason about.

about 4 years ago

DoE Develops Flexible Glass Stronger Than Steel

Matrix14 Re:Obligatory... (242 comments)

Mithril totally is aluminum., Light, strong, shiny and more valuable than gold until the modern age.

about 4 years ago

A New Idea, For People Who Want To See More Banner Ads

Matrix14 Re:Forget the article, submitter is weird (167 comments)

This is less true of web ads, but a lot of print ads and billboards are very well designed and definitely enrich the visual environment.

more than 4 years ago

What To Load On a 4-Year-Old's Netbook?

Matrix14 Re:Regardless (742 comments)

When I was 10, I was making elaborate 3D models in a modeler called Form-Z, and, while I like to think I'm pretty smart, I don't think that it was that hard. Kids from like 8 to 12 have an incredible ability to hyperconcentrate on cool things like that.

When I was five, I was using a mouse to make drawings in KidPix. I don't think it is that unreasonable to expect a four year old to have a lot of fun with blender. And you are vastly underestimating them if you think they can't use a mouse.

more than 4 years ago

SpaceShipTwo Flies Free For the First Time

Matrix14 Re:This is how train and air travel began, too. (164 comments)

I imagine there is a pretty good market for New York to Europe or Japan in half an hour for 100K. High level executives in multinational corporations with emergencies to fix would probably be willing to pay for this all the time.

more than 4 years ago

Earth-Like Planet That Could Sustain Life Found

Matrix14 Re:Only 20 light years??? (575 comments)

Apparently this one was easier to find because the star was a red dwarf. This means that, because it is not as bright as the Sun, the habitable zone is much closer in and so the gravitational force between the star and the planet was larger. Moreover, the red dwarf is much less massive than the Sun. Together these two facts mean that the star wiggles a lot more do to gravitational effects than an Earthlike planet would cause a Sunlike star to, and so it was easier to find. Aliens on this planet trying to find planets around the Sun with the same techniques would be able find only Saturn and Jupiter.

So says my science writer friend.

more than 4 years ago

Lucas Promises Star Wars on Blu-Ray in 2011

Matrix14 Re:Six films? (420 comments)

Eh, idunno. I think Revenge of the Sith is at least as good as Return of the Jedi. Purists may burn me alive, I guess.

more than 4 years ago

Claimed Proof That P != NP

Matrix14 Paper (457 comments)

I didn't see this elsewhere in the comments.

Here is a link to the paper off of Dr. Deolalikar's official website at HP. It appears to be rather slow, but is loading eventually.

more than 4 years ago

$200B Lost To Counterfeiting? Back It Up

Matrix14 Re:It is killing retail too (283 comments)

I'm a guy, sitting in an office in front of a computer in the middle of the night, in a tiedye tee-shirt and blue jeans I bought at goddamn Target, and even I know that clothing quality can scale linearly with price easily up to $400 for a dress.

more than 4 years ago

4 Cores? 6 Cores? Do You Care?

Matrix14 Re:Ideally the best metric would be (661 comments)

The problem with that is that operations per second on a multicore machine does not mean the same thing as on a single core machine. If I increase the number of cores, the number of operations per second goes up, but your programs won't run any faster unless the programmer wrote really good threaded code. Which he or she didn't, because that's hard. On the other hand, if I increase the clock speed, the number of operations per second goes up, and your program also runs faster.

Of course, commodity processors stopped getting faster clock speeds in 2003, while Moore's law keeps marching, so now the added complexity goes into more cores, which is useless for many applications.

(FLOPS is used as a metric by the scientific computing community, which tends to deal with large, well structured problems which can be easily distributed across thousands of machines, and which use floating point arithmetic. It's a useful metric there, but it's not really useful for commodity machines.)

more than 4 years ago

NASA Should Focus On Going To..

Matrix14 Re:Obvious Choice (508 comments)

I have no idea how true this is, but I have heard estimates of the metal content of a medium sized carbonaceous asteroid as being about $400 billion, and the square cube law makes it all much closer to the surface than on Earth. So, it might be worth it for a business.

more than 4 years ago

Knuth Plans 'Earthshaking Announcement' Wednesday

Matrix14 Re:Hmmm... (701 comments)

Yep. It was called World War II.

more than 4 years ago

SCOTUS Rules Petiton Signatures Are Public Record

Matrix14 Re:I'm not clear (780 comments)

The 14th Amendment's so-called "Equal Protection Clause":

"no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws"

has been almost universally held by the Supreme Court to extend Bill of Rights protections to state laws.

more than 4 years ago


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