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Is There a Creativity Deficit In Science?

bob_jenkins evolution (203 comments)

It's surprising how far you can get from your starting point by doing only incremental changes.

about 4 months ago
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DNA Reveals History of Vanished "Paleo-Eskimos"

bob_jenkins So, any survivors? (57 comments)

If they know the DNA, they can tell if anyone living has that DNA ... does anyone living have that DNA?

about 4 months ago
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MIT Researcher Works Toward Robots That Assemble Themselves In an Oven

bob_jenkins earth's core (20 comments)

I hear the inside of the earth is molten, and under high pressure. What I want is a robot that operates at that temperature and pressure, and can swim about earth's core. Don't know what it would use as an energy source.

about 7 months ago
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Understanding an AI's Timescale

bob_jenkins extrapolating (189 comments)

Humans seem to have a machine cycle of about 1/10 a second. I personally seem to walk a sequence of memories, where each is chosen based on the previous, no faster than two a second and usually more like once every 5 seconds. And I usually respond to questions about 5 to 30 seconds after I'm asked, depending on how hard I search for a reasonable response. Most people respond faster than me ... don't know if that's less screening of responses or inherently faster thinking. But going by me, 1/10 a second processing, 1/2 a second to fetch memory, 5 seconds to mull over a particular memory and relate it to the current conversation, 30 seconds to respond.

Computers can do random fetches of 4kb contiguous off disk about 200 per second, or 4KB off SSD at about 20000 per second. Based on fetch speed alone on today's hardware, an AI would think sequential thoughts 10x to 1000x faster than me, so they'd be ready to respond in .3 seconds (disk) or .003 seconds (SSD). If you require thousands of storage units (too much to fit in a single one), lightspeed can slow that down. Witness search engines. I think they're currently slower than me (on a single core) at figuring out if a given memory is relevant to a conversation, but parallel processing can help with that.

about 7 months ago
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Confessions Of an Ex-TSA Agent: Secrets Of the I.O. Room

bob_jenkins Re:and the TSA exists because... (393 comments)

Here's a table of how much people in the US actually have flown, by year: http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_01_40.html

The upshot is there was a slight dip in 2001-2002, but then it kept climbing. Until 2008, when it dropped slightly again and stayed dropped. This is easier to explain by price than by TSA.

about a year ago
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Amazon: We Can Ship Items Before Customers Order

bob_jenkins every brick & mortar store in existence (243 comments)

Every brick & mortar store in existence stocks its shelves with items they hope people in the local area will buy, before the people buy them. You can patent that?

about a year ago
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British Spies To Be Allowed To Break Speed Limit

bob_jenkins contradiction? (278 comments)

If the Secret Intelligence Service tries to get away with speeding, they have to reveal who they are, then they aren't secret anymore. In fact anyone speeding might be revealing they're in the Secret Intelligence Service.

about a year ago
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Not All Bugs Are Random

bob_jenkins Re:Bounds test? (165 comments)

Has testing degraded so far that people don't now what a bounds test is?

No, it's only slashdot which has degraded.

about a year ago
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60% of Americans Unaware of Looming Incandescent Bulb Phase Out

bob_jenkins Re:faint praise (944 comments)

Most of my house lamps take 3 bulbs. Some of them I have an LED, a CFL, and an incandescent, on the theory that together they'll produce a broader spectrum than any of them alone. Also, some of the dimmers had problems with buzzing with multiple LEDs, but didn't buzz with one LED and two CFLs. I like diversity.

about a year ago
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60% of Americans Unaware of Looming Incandescent Bulb Phase Out

bob_jenkins Re:Get rid of those things (944 comments)

I haven't replaced all my incandescents with LEDs yet. I've got some, but mostly ones that are on sale and just enough to replace incandescents that have burnt out. The price and quality of LEDs is changing rapidly, so I'm holding out in hopes that the near future is even brighter than the present. I don't like CFLs, having mercury around is yucky, though I am happier with them now that I've noticed Home Depot makes it easy for me to recycle them.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Long Will the Internet Remember Us?

bob_jenkins forever (126 comments)

The internet (in particular ancestry.com) will remember you forever, whether you want to be remembered or not. In particular it will remember your name, the day and location you were born, the day and location of your marriage (and the person you married), what children you had (when, where), and the day you died. It'll also remember how you responded to censuses. It'll probably remember one portrait of you, or a group shot. If you have an obituary it might remember that too. I expect soon it will remember your full genome as well, stored extremely compactly a diff of your parent's genomes.

What is the ultimate question to life, the universe, and everything? You already know it: "What is your name?"

about a year ago
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Reprogrammed Bacterium Speaks New Language of Life

bob_jenkins labeling food food (141 comments)

I would approve of requiring labeling on food if it was produced by one of these.

about a year ago
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100% Failure Rate On University of Liberia's Admission Exam

bob_jenkins 0 out of 25,000? (308 comments)

I'm guessing the official answer sheet was fed to the automated multiple-choice grader upside down. Or, less likely, someone with control over the test decided their pockets would be lined well if nobody could pass the test. They're going to check the test and how students scored; that should identify those sorts of issues.

about a year ago
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UK Government Destroys Guardian's Snowden Drives

bob_jenkins previous data (508 comments)

Indian: Boy, that was awful, Snowden releasing all that data.
Chief: Good thing he didn't release x,y,z as well
Indian: Hum ... wait a second ... let me check what was on Snowden's drive BEFORE he copied that data onto it
Chief: OMG
Indian: Y'know, with the proper tools, anyone with that actual drive could get at that ...
Chief: OMG! OMG!
Indian: I'm on it, boss

about a year ago
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Google To Encrypt Cloud Storage Data By Default

bob_jenkins Re:What does this mean exactly? (217 comments)

Does Google charge more for data that doesn't compress? (Encrypted data doesn't compress, so if you're going to encrypt your data yourself you should compress it yourself too first.)

about a year ago
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English High Court Bans Publication of 0-Day Threat To Auto Immobilizers

bob_jenkins Re:this should be standard (168 comments)

Yes, exactly. This is a mechanism for motivating companies to correct it ... if there was a default 6-month waiting period, and some products had a 2 month one and others a 1 year one, and some refused to have any, that's information prospective customers can take into account.

about a year ago
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Retail Stores Plan Elaborate Ways To Track You

bob_jenkins tracking good, advertisements bad (195 comments)

I have no trouble with being tracked, and with the environment being modified towards my likes. However I'm royally sick of constantly being offered shopping opportunities. Hey guys, if you're tracking my actions and my likes, you should notice that actively trying to sell me stuff makes me go away, and stop doing it so much.

about a year ago
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English High Court Bans Publication of 0-Day Threat To Auto Immobilizers

bob_jenkins this should be standard (168 comments)

It should be standard that you notify the company before releasing the flaw publicly, and it should also be standard that after some waiting period the bug should go public. Well, standard per product ... different products have different release cycles, I could see some wanting 2 months while others want 1 year. But it should be public information, that product X you should notify them first then you're allowed to report the bug publicly after n months. That waiting period should be part of the product specs.

about a year ago
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The DNA Data Deluge

bob_jenkins 600 bytes per person (138 comments)

If you have the genomes of your parents, and your own genome, yours is about 70 new spot mutations, about 60 crossovers, and you have to specify who your parents were. About 600 bytes of new information per person. You could store the genomes of the entire human race on a couple terabytes if you knew the family trees well enough. I tried to nail down the statistics for that in http://burtleburtle.net/bob/future/geninfo.html .

about a year and a half ago
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The Men Trying To Save Us From the Machines

bob_jenkins AI or viruses (161 comments)

I've always though our main future threats are AI and manmade viruses. If AI wins, we'll be relegated to zoos. If manmade viruses win, we'll all die. I'm rooting for AI.

about a year ago

Submissions

bob_jenkins hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

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bob_jenkins bob_jenkins writes  |  more than 11 years ago

I'm going to write a tool that takes BNF as input, plus a list of restrictions, and generates testcases that cover all pairs of elements in the BNF. What should I call it? BNFpairs, perhaps?

I already have a tool, jenny, that does the same thing, except the input is a list of independent dimensions each consisting of a number of mutually exclusive options. Perhaps I shouldn't have a new tool, but should just add this new interface to jenny? There are tools by others, ALLPAIRS and AETG, that have the same functionality as jenny. I haven't seen any existing tools that do that for BNF, though.

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