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Obama's Privacy Reform Panel Will Report To ... the NSA

clong83 Re:Happy President (569 comments)

I'm sort of with you... And I am all for election reform, maybe 'ranking' your choices or something of that nature that has been described. But you are negelecting that many people in many states/voting districts really don't have a choice.

For example, in Oklahoma (I lived there for a time), they only have two candidates for president on the ballot. One democrat, one republican. No write-ins. You simply MUST pick, or leave it blank. There are literally no third-party options (there is a law on how a third party candidate can get on the ballot, but it is so onerous that nobody has done it since maybe Ross Perot). So what is someone supposed to do in this case? Not vote at all? Cede the last remnant of puny power that they have?

I have always thought that the primary process and local elections are where the real power is. Voting for people at that level that are amenable to changing these broken processes. And yet, these are precisely the elections that usually don't generate much interest.

I don't live in Oklahoma anymore, and typically I have a few more options. But tell me exactly why I should vote for someone who is only even on the ballot in 36 states?? I may as well write in Mickey Mouse in that case. It's just not going to happen without changing the way that elections are held. I really don't think it's worthwhile to blame voters for doing the most logical thing by voting for their favorite of the two candidates who are 100% guaranteed to win, rather than who they would like to have in some fantasy world...

about a year ago
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Fake "Speed Enforced By Drones" Signs On California Freeways

clong83 Re:IT'S NOT FAKE! (218 comments)

Understood. That's why I said maybe it was in AZ and not CA...

about a year ago
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Fake "Speed Enforced By Drones" Signs On California Freeways

clong83 Re:IT'S NOT FAKE! (218 comments)

Huh, good to know. But I know I've seen that sign several times on I-8 in the mountains. Maybe I'm confused, and it's in the mountains outside of Yuma in AZ. Either that, or it's a fake/old sign.

about a year ago
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Fake "Speed Enforced By Drones" Signs On California Freeways

clong83 Re:IT'S NOT FAKE! (218 comments)

Me too. I see cops all the time by abandoned roadside gas stations in the desert. Do they really think they are incospicuous there? I don't intentionally speed, but I know if I see a car a mile up the road at the deserted gas station that it is a cop, and I double-check my speedometer.

On the article... I've always thought these aircraft enforcement signs were usually baloney anyways. There's one of these signs on Interstate 8 outside of San Diego up in the mountains. The road is windy, in a deep canyon, and has a heck of a grade on it for an interstate. I always thought that the idea of an aircraft flying around up there reliably tracking cars past markers and getting plate numbers was kind of fishy.

about a year ago
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Adapteva Parallella Supercomputing Boards Start Shipping

clong83 Re:half the Gflops, 64 cores, 80% lower cost, 5 wa (98 comments)

Faster than serial ?! Of course! I only meant to compare it to a traditional parallel procssing environment. And you can definitely write a simple parallel algorithm for any O/PDE that will work on GPUs. What I meant was that there are an awful lot of claims about how wicked fast GPU processing can be. Some people tout it as much faster than traditional computing. This can be true, but to get a GPU to actually perform at that level, it requires particular structure to your data. Unstructured meshes are known to be particularly nasty. Doesn't mean you can't compute anyway. It just may or may not be any better than traditional methods.

I don't mean to poo-poo GPU computing in general. I admittedly haven't followed this field closely in a year or two, so it's possible there have been some newer agorithms for unstructured meshes that have improved the situation. And without knowing more about your particular problem, I won't speculate and tell you how it should or shouldn't work. Maybe you figured out a decent implementation on your own. In which case, publish it already!

about a year ago
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Adapteva Parallella Supercomputing Boards Start Shipping

clong83 Re:half the Gflops, 64 cores, 80% lower cost, 5 wa (98 comments)

"There is almost no chance that a $100 board can be designed to have a memory interface that can keep 64 cores well fed at this point in time. "

I agree with you 100% on that. If the cache isn't terrible, it might be okay if you have a problem amenable to openMP. But mainly I view these low-end things as kind of fun toys.

That said, there is a market for something reasonably compact and affordable in between a 4-8 core desktop and a large scale cluster. I occasionally test and debug problems on my desktop that seem to work fine, but when I scale it to 200 processors and put it on the cluster, all hell breaks loose and it can be hard to debug. A cheapo 64 core board, even if slow, could help bridge that gap, assuming I can use mpich/openMP on this thing.

Otherwise it is for hobbyists or as a learning tool.

about a year ago
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Adapteva Parallella Supercomputing Boards Start Shipping

clong83 Re:Tiny but useful? (98 comments)

There is a high barrier to entry for piddling around with graphic cards. Fortunately, most home computers are already parallel (2-8 cores). I do extensive parallel programming, and I do most of the testing (for small problems, anyhow) on my desktop or laptop, which each have 8 cores.

There is simply a set of "parallel" function calls which can be built directly into your code. You then just need to compile your code with the proper libraries, usually either mpich or OpenMP. I believe both are available in the ubuntu repository. Pick the one that is most promising for your problem. They are fundamentally two distinct approaches to parallelism, each useful at times. Lawrence Livermore has a great tutorial site, including loads of example fortran and C codes of both openMP and mpich. THey are ready to compile and run on your home computer. Happy computing!

Tutorial: https://computing.llnl.gov/tutorials/mpi/
Example codes: https://computing.llnl.gov/tutorials/mpi/exercise.html#Exercise1

about a year ago
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Adapteva Parallella Supercomputing Boards Start Shipping

clong83 Re:half the Gflops, 64 cores, 80% lower cost, 5 wa (98 comments)

That, and GPU computing really only gives that kind of performance for a few types of problems. Namely, if you are able to structure your data arrays in memory in such a way that a GPU can operate on it efficiently. If you are solving nasty PDEs on an unstructured mesh, it's very difficult to do this. In that case, a GPU is pretty worthless. I don't know how these parallella boards work, but hopefully they would be a bit more versatile.

about a year ago
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"Smart Plates" Could Betray California Drivers' Privacy

clong83 Re:the serious answer from SCOTUS (262 comments)

Thank you. If that is how they ruled, I accept that anonymity is implied in the 1st amendment.

Do you have a link to that case?

about a year and a half ago
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"Smart Plates" Could Betray California Drivers' Privacy

clong83 Re:Why is there an assumption of privacy? (262 comments)

The post office isn't anonymous? I put stuff in mail boxes all the time without a return address.

I agree in principle with you. I think an easy method of remaining anonymous in communications can only help a democracy. I have two issues though:

1) I don't see anonymity as being legitimately threatened. Pre-paid phones exist. Mailboxes don't ask for ID. Newspapers can print an editorial under a psuedonym. You can pay for things in cash. For home internet, there are legal and effective tools like TOR which can effectively anonymize your internet traffic. I could go on. You can do pretty much anything you want to anonymously, except perhaps use Facebook. It's certainly not automatic, but then again, it was never assumed by default anyhow.

2) While I agree it is a nice feature, I still don't see why it is necessary, which is what the GP claimed. You use state-imposed censorship/repercussions as an argument for its necessity, but that is exactly what the First Amendment guarantees against. The use of anonymity to evade state harassment is only necessary in a society without a guarantee like the first amendment.

Going one step further, I have gotten into discussions with people who argue that I should be afraid of what the government might do if they one day decide they don't like my opinions, and that's why anonymity is still necessary. But I think this type of fear is exactly the type of fear that the first amendment frees us from having to experience. If you have to worry about being targetted for your views, and fear reprisal, what the heck is the point of the first amendment? Freedom means freedom from that fear. Period.

A last thought: Supposing the government suddenly starts throwing people in jail or otherwise harassing people for their political opinions, and the courts are somehow silenced. What good does a "right" to anonymity give you? Do you really think they wouldn't be listening to phone calls in any case? It's not worth anything more than the "right" to free speech which is being ignored.

about a year and a half ago
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"Smart Plates" Could Betray California Drivers' Privacy

clong83 Re:Why is there an assumption of privacy? (262 comments)

Ad hominem much?

The GP discussed the Bill of Rights. The last time I checked, this is an American document. It was claimed that the Bill of Rights protects anonymity in speech. I refuted that claim, and asked him why he thought that. If he were to cite a court decision where this concept is upheld, I would absolutely change my mind. If he presented a cogent argument about why it is necessary or otherwise implied, I would certainly consider it.

You could have presented such an argument as well, but instead chose to go with the nationalistic attack. I'm sure whatever country you're from is full of very enlightened people.

about a year and a half ago
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"Smart Plates" Could Betray California Drivers' Privacy

clong83 Re:Why is there an assumption of privacy? (262 comments)

There's a difference between expressing an opinion or idea (protected speech), and reneging on a contract you voluntarily signed that forbids you from disseminating particular information (not protected speech). Snowden was completely free to rail against the idea of the government collecting phone records. He instead disseminated information about the government's activities. There is an important difference.

You can feel about Snowden however you want, and I don't care. Traitor or hero, it's your opinion, and it's perfectly valid. All I will say is that he knowingly violated the law because he thought it was the right thing to do. Sometimes it is the right thing, and it's open for discussion. But arguing that what he did was covered by free speech is factually wrong. Unless you equally think that someone at a government lab should be able to post blueprints for nuclear weapons without any consequences, because you know, free speech and government transparency.

about a year and a half ago
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Jimmy Carter Calls Snowden Leak Ultimately "Beneficial"

clong83 Re:+5 Insightful for (424 comments)

Maybe you're right. I have thought for awhile now that the Republican party is regrettably in a civil war, and is becoming unviable. I was once a registered (R), but no longer. And with every major election cycle, the average Republican candidate seems to get worse. To be fair, there will always be loonies in both parties so long as loonies continue to exist. The thing is, I think an intellectually healthy party controls such members effectively. You don't see some hippy named Moonbeam that wants to entirely ban guns and force non-gluten diets on everyone win very many primaries within the democratic party. Especially for major office. But the cartoonish, knee-jerk, pseudo-anarchist that wants to privatize highways seem to be gaining traction on the right. They haven't totally gotten control of the party, but they are definitely on a major upswing, and it's destabilizing the whole party.

And yet, the party persists. They may very well have a majority in both chambers in 2015. They have a solid base that will continue to keep them competitive for the forseeable future. They seem to be defying gravity, and I'm at a loss to explain how.

about a year and a half ago
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"Smart Plates" Could Betray California Drivers' Privacy

clong83 Re:Why is there an assumption of privacy? (262 comments)

I'm curious why anonymity is necessary for free speech? Serious question.

The Constitution guarantees I can fundamentally express any idea I want to without fear of reprisals from the state, no matter how controversial or unpopular it might be. It does not guarantee, at least to my understanding, that I can express those ideas anonymously or without repercussions from my fellow citizens... If you feel anonymity is important (they wore hoods in the Klan, after all) you can do that. Take the bus, train, ride a bike, walk, etc, to your protest and don a white hood like they did in the old days. Don't bring your cellphone while your at it. Protecting your anonymity is on YOU, it's not a guaranteed right...

Anyway, it's a bit tangent to the main thread. I generally feel I have no expectation of privacy in a public area, and have no problem wih the idea of a "chip" that has the sole purpose of updating my registration automatically (some concerns about cost - what happens if it breaks?), but I'm also wary of implementing a system that could potentially be used or abused by a future administration.

about a year and a half ago
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China Bumps US Out of First Place For Fastest Supercomptuer

clong83 Re:Supercomputers are pretty useless (125 comments)

Not the poster upthread, but as someone else who runs fluids codes on big machines, I will chime in:
A lot of the guys on the big NICS machines aren't using ANSYS. They're using their own research codes that are tailored for parallel performance and/or to solve specific and difficult problems that commercial codes don't do well, like fluid-structure interaction. I know there are guys that depend on licensing somehow or another and this is artificially limiting. But I never really understood it. If all you want is a basic, parallel fluids solver, there are some open-source options. Probably won't scale well, but it sure beats spending half your lab budget to get only 8 processors.

Even if you have your own in-house solver, you will of course run into problems with latency as you scale up. I usually run on around 100-200 processors, depending on the problem. I would love use more, but the communication costs start to take over. Some guys can run on 10-100,000 processors. Not sure what they are doing, but I am guess whatever they are computing requires very little communication between nodes, or has been optimized to an extreme degree. Hard to imagine those guys are running a normal fluids solver with an unstructured grid. That'd be a huge waste.

And I agree to whomever said that if someone know of a big wasted supercomputer with idle time on it, please advertise it here! All the ones I've ever seen are more-or-less utilized to their full extent.

about a year and a half ago
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USPS To Launch Line of Smart Clothing

clong83 Re:You're not going to get that loop (206 comments)

Your post just reminded me about the second time it happened. The exception they gave that time was: "No apartment number given"

Again, I lived in a single family home.

about 2 years ago
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USPS To Launch Line of Smart Clothing

clong83 Re:and they wonder why they dont make money... (206 comments)

I'm not an expert on constitutional law (or any law), but I don't think it would require much of Congress. Just a bill that says something like, "The USPS can manage itself as a completely independent entity until further notice by Congress". The USPS could then get into retail banking, or not, of their own accord at any point they so choose.

Surely all those people who talk so loud about ineffective government management would be all for a scaling back of congressional control of the Post Office, right? Right? Oh wait, they'd rather micromanage it into oblivion to make a political point. Maybe you're right.

about 2 years ago
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USPS To Launch Line of Smart Clothing

clong83 Re:You're not going to get that loop (206 comments)

I used to live in a stand-alone, single family home, in the middle of a major US city. The streets were gridded and well-marked, and my address was displayed. It was close to the heart of the city, not out in some suburban snake-pit of cul-de-sac roads.

I never had a problem with packages from USPS, or FedEx. But UPS... Oh holy god. I ordered something online, and waited. And waited. I checked the tracking only to see it was labelled as "undeliverable address" or something like that. I drove to some distribution point way out of my way to pick it up. I thought somehow I must have typed in a bad zip code or something, but when I picked it up, everything was correct. The driver just couldn't find it.

When it happenned a second time, I decided never to use UPS again, and damn the cost.

about 2 years ago
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USPS To Launch Line of Smart Clothing

clong83 Re:and they wonder why they dont make money... (206 comments)

They're losing money for a variety of reasons. The most important is that they are mandated to exist by congress, and are supposed to be financially autonomous, but are micromanaged by congress. You'd have to think long and hard to come up with a worse group of PHBs. Congress told them to pre-fund in full their retirement fund for the next 75 years. The USPS has basically said, "This requirement is bankrupting us. If you relax it, or let us make our own decisions we'll be fine." People wonder why they can't compete with FedEx, UPS, DSL, etc, and the answer is simply that those companies don't have to listen to Congress dictate details like telling them to pre-fund the entirety of a 20 year-old employee's pension right now. I'm all for fiscal responsibility and responsible funding of pensions, but is ten years of secure pension funding not enough? 20? 30? I mean, 75? How do you even estimate your pension needs 75 years in advance?

On another note, one idea I've heard that was intriguing would allow them to operate something like a bank. Not a financial investment house, but a low-end and low-cost branch bank. Sure, I might not switch all my finances over to it, and most people probably wouldn't either. But I might open an account and seed it with some cash if it were convenient. I could send mail and have it draw on the account without having to buy stamps or wait in line. Just drop it in a box at the post office and enter my account number/pin. It could work really nicely. There's already a branch in every city. And for a lot of working poor that have no bank affiliation, it might be the most convenient place to open an account, reducing the population of unbanked. Basically a public option for retail banking.

Believe it or not, it works like this in most other places, mostly with success. And this is the way it used to work in the US as well, but it was not FDIC insured, and was phased out in the 60s or 70s.

about 2 years ago

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