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NASA Cancels "Sunjammer" Solar Sail Demonstration Mission

QilessQi Re:To me, this is good news (74 comments)

Actually, I've been a private IT contractor supporting various government branches for about 25 years now. :-) I've actually seen projects -- not mine, thankfully -- cancelled for precisely the reason stated in this article: the contractor was screwing up royally, and the Federal managers did not want a flaming disaster on their hands.

about a week ago
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NASA Cancels "Sunjammer" Solar Sail Demonstration Mission

QilessQi Re:To me, this is good news (74 comments)

And yet, as with your house analogy, it's better to bring in a competent contractor to set things right, than to soldier on and live in a house that threatens to collapse in the first strong wind.

about a week ago
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NASA Cancels "Sunjammer" Solar Sail Demonstration Mission

QilessQi To me, this is good news (74 comments)

Whenever NASA (or any other agency) cancels a contract because they lack confidence in the contractor, it probably means that someone in the government is paying attention to what's going on, and is holding the responsible party's feet to the fire.

Compare this to situations where billions of dollars of money are tossed away in the pursuit of unworking (and possibly unworkable) missle defense systems.

about a week ago
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Complain About Comcast, Get Fired From Your Job

QilessQi Re:So, it has come to this. (742 comments)

They can cut off 100% of your income suddenly and at a whim.

No they can't. I have several job opportunities.

Good for you. But when you're middle aged, less marketable (by far), and supporting two parents in a nursing home, a kid, a special-needs toddler, and a stay-at-home-wife who takes care of the toddler, you may think differently about your employer firing you just because Some Big Company decided to take revenge on you for daring to badmouth them.

about two weeks ago
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First Demonstration of Artificial Intelligence On a Quantum Computer

QilessQi Re:There is no "working AI" at this time (98 comments)

You're right that the wording is overblown, but AI is a big field, and pattern recognition is a big part of it -- vision, voice recognition, decision making, and other facets of human intelligence all rely on automated categorization of inputs to some degree.

Getting a tiny piece of the puzzle to work in a test tube is a necessary first step to bigger and better things. No one is going to put together a working brain in one shot (if ever).

about two weeks ago
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First Demonstration of Artificial Intelligence On a Quantum Computer

QilessQi A small vat of organic liquid? (98 comments)

I read this:

Their quantum computing machine consists of a small vat of the organic liquid carbon-13-iodotrifluroethylene, a molecule consisting of two carbon atoms attached to three fluorine atoms and one iodine atom. Crucially, one of the carbon atoms is a carbon-13 isotope.

And immediately thought of this:

The principle of generating small amounts of finite improbability by simply hooking the logic circuits of a Bambleweeny 57 Sub-Meson Brain to an atomic vector plotter suspended in a strong Brownian Motion producer (say a nice hot cup of tea) were of course well understood ...

God, I love how weird the future is.

about two weeks ago
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Obama Presses Leaders To Speed Ebola Response

QilessQi Re:War! (221 comments)

Let's hope it goes better than the "War on Drugs".

about a month ago
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Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads

QilessQi Re:Unterminated quotation (405 comments)

(Addendum) Apparently, this may be rooted in the archaic practise of:

“Using a
“quotation mark at the
“beginning of every line
“of the quoted text. This
“practise was actually
“pretty commonplace during
“the Georgian and Victo-
“ian Eras.”

Curiously, this is:

> Strongly reminiscent
> of what a quoted
> message looks like
> in emails and newsgroups.
> The cycle is now complete.

Or, you could say that:

/* modern quotes
are like block
comments */

whereas...

// Victorian
// quotes
// are like in-line
// comments.

I think that's neat. :-)

about a month and a half ago
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Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads

QilessQi Re:Unterminated quotation (405 comments)

I'm not sure that's true. In my experience, an unterminated quotation is meant to span paragraphs until its termination (although, confusingly, subsequent paragraphs must begin with the quote to remind you that it is still open. Like this:

http://english.stackexchange.c...

“That seems like an odd way to use punctuation,” Tom said. “What harm would there be in using quotation marks at the end of every paragraph?”

“Oh, that’s not all that complicated,” J.R. answered. “If you closed quotes at the end of every paragraph, then you would need to reidentify the speaker with every subsequent paragraph.

“Say a narrative was describing two or three people engaged in a lengthy conversation. If you closed the quotation marks in the previous paragraph, then a reader wouldn’t be able to easily tell if the previous speaker was extending his point, or if someone else in the room had picked up the conversation. By leaving the previous paragraph’s quote unclosed, the reader knows that the previous speaker is still the one talking.”

“Oh, that makes sense. Thanks!”

about a month and a half ago
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Can ISO 29119 Software Testing "Standard" Really Be a Standard?

QilessQi This sounds... familiar.... (152 comments)

By implementing these standards, you will be adopting the only internationally-recognised and agreed standards for software testing, which will provide your organisation with a high-quality approach to testing that can be communicated throughout the world.

....Be the first on your block to collect all five! GOTTA CATCH 'EM ALL!

about 2 months ago
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Google To Build Quantum Information Processors

QilessQi God, I love living in the future... (72 comments)

That summary reads like something out of Star Trek. Superconducting qubit arrays! Imagine a positronic network of those. ;-)

about 2 months ago
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

QilessQi Re:Her work (1262 comments)

That you posted this AC tells us everything we need to know about you.

about 2 months ago
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DARPA Wants To Kill the Password

QilessQi They should watch "Archer"... (383 comments)

Pam: Oh, OK, then good luck with all the biometric scanners. Unless you wanna cut off my fingers and scoop out my retinas.

Kidnappers look at each other.

Pam: Oh, don't be dicks!

about 2 months ago
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New NSA-Funded Code Rolls All Programming Languages Into One

QilessQi FTFY (306 comments)

"Web applications today are written as a poorly-coordinated mishmash of artifacts written in different languages, file formats, and technologies.

"...and here's another one!"

about 2 months ago
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Extracting Audio From Visual Information

QilessQi Re:tl;dr: (142 comments)

Laugh if you want, but if you yell MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB at your rhododendrons, the NSA will know about it.

about 3 months ago
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US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

QilessQi Re:Can we just recognize it as currency and be don (172 comments)

I would guess that one reasons that retailers are converting BTC to local currency immediately is that it is insanely volatile right now, so holding BTC comes with risk. If the value becomes more quiescent (say, on a par with the USD), and if the retailers can purchase their supplies from other retailers who also accept BTC, then direct re-spending of BTC would rise without the vendor going through an exchange first. Which would be ideal, since any exchange is going to skim a little off the top.

See, I also think cryptocurrencies in their present form have a good chance of failing, but for very different reasons:

1. The blockchain doesn't appear to scale well. It takes a long time to verify transactions, and we're hardly stressing BTC to reasonable levels. 1.2 million users is paltry compared to the population of the world. One would ideally need something like a BTC credit card, where actual transactions are mediated by insured banks that act as buffers, providing the illusion of "instantaneous" and "reversible" transactions for a fee that might be paid for by either card holders or merchants. The bank would then take on the risk of a transaction subsequently failing to verify, using typical means to go after the offending party to get the funds back.

2. It all goes south when the power's out. If there's a widespread blackout or communications outage, I can't use my BTC. I can use the bills in my wallet, or even trade the physical goods/services I have for the ones I need. Of course, you might say that credit/debit cards have the same problem, and increasingly that's what we use for daily purchases. If the computing infrastructure of the world were to collapse, I'd say we'd have bigger problems to deal with -- but I still like the idea of coins and paper money as a backup for temporary outages.

3. Properly securing a wallet is hard, and using a compromised wallet is easy. Have you seen what people do to print a secure paper wallet? Disconnecting the printer from the internet, etc.? Average Joes and Janes won't do it. And then access to that single number gives a thief access to however much money you've got in the wallet. Since some folks are storing tens of thousands of USD in wallets, thieves are highly motivated. Money has to be simple to use.

But all this is tangential to the original discussion: do we need special regulation of cryptocurrencies? To which I say, no. Like it or not, they're being widely used as currencies, moreso than the native currencies of certain island nations, so we might as well treat them as such. Now, they may be a bad implementation of a currency, but that's another topic entirely.

about 3 months ago
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US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

QilessQi Re:Your lack of a clue is not my problem. (172 comments)

Hmm, I can't at all see where I "personally attacked you", although I do see you lashing out a lot. But that's ok, son... I ain't mad. :-)

It does seem like you're having a lot of problems convincing people on this thread. Maybe if you stated clearly why you think a cryptocurrency valued at 7.5 billion US$ isn't a real currency just because there's no government backing it, you might get some folks to see things your way. But saying things like "your argument is irrelevant" or "you can't debate facts" without telling us what facts you're talking about is just going to make those people grin and shake their heads.

about 3 months ago

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