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Amazon Uses Robots To Speed Up Human 'Pickers' In Fulfillment Centers

dalutong Re:Dice Strikes Again... (184 comments)

The problem isn't that we find ways to do things without people it's that we're starting to run out of ideas about what people should do instead.

That's the interesting point -- will we ever reach a threshold where we say, "great! another boring job has been replaced! that's one less person that needs to work." Or will that sense never change so long as profit is based off the ownership of the company?

1 year,10 days

Steve Jobs' First Boss: 'Very Few Companies Would Hire Steve, Even Today'

dalutong Oh, the world of data-driven risk-abatement (420 comments)

I'm not sure he used the term "outlier" purposefully, but it is telling in our era of data-driven everything. We will always have middle-of-the-curve people if we live only by data-driven metrics. It will allow us to make safe decisions, but it sure seems to be a waste of human resources.

about a year and a half ago

Poor Sleep Prevents Brain From Storing Memories

dalutong Re:As an amnesiac, I found this interesting (180 comments)

I'll have to look up some of those phrases so that I can see how well they apply. I do try to make as many associations as I can. And I try to imagine how else I might use the information so that I can also think about how it might be referenced. But a lot of my life is working through configurations of associations until one triggers a memory (or I simply conclude that it is the most reasonable conclusion even if it didn't trigger a memory.)

about 2 years ago

Poor Sleep Prevents Brain From Storing Memories

dalutong Re:As an amnesiac, I found this interesting (180 comments)

I lost my memory in 2003. I couldn't escape the references to Momento for years. But I had to look up who Christopher Nolan was to confirm my suspicion. :)

about 2 years ago

Poor Sleep Prevents Brain From Storing Memories

dalutong As an amnesiac, I found this interesting (180 comments)

I like to follow these types of stories. I lost all of my memory one morning when I was 19. The cause isn't clear. I was in an underdeveloped country at the time, so the medical facilities didn't exist to determine what had happened. (It might have been a delayed effect of a car accident I was in two years earlier.) It's also probably important to note that my ability to form new memories was also severely impeded.

I wonder a little bit about what "moving" a memory means. At least in my amateur study, memories aren't complete entities (like a file, database, etc). They are mixes of memories, the awareness of what has occurred, and associations, our integration of what we already know with what we are remembering. That's part of the reason people can have such differing memories of a shared experience. Some of that is about how memories are retrieved. In my study and experience, they are retrieved by these associations we make. That's why memory tricks involve making varied associations -- to song, to a mental or physical image, etc. For people who haven't learned those tricks, an association can be as simple as "I remember we met in a bar..." then the rest of the picture is pieced together.

I wonder sometimes if my having to learn different ways of "remembering" things will allow me to maintain a higher level of memory functioning into my elder years. I have to be very aware and purposeful about what I remember. I was in college when I lost my memory, so I had to learn very quickly how to perform in school without being able to learn in the conventional sense (I could not remember the beginning of a semester by the time it ended). So I focused much more on the integration of memories into my existing awareness (aka forming associations between new experiences and prior knowledge.) I still have a very poor memory retrieval in the classic sense, but I can still learn lessons well. It has just required a much higher level of sentience with regards to how memories are stored and what I hope to gain from a memory in the long term.

about 2 years ago

China's Human Flesh Search Engine

dalutong Re:But who verified it was really her?! (248 comments)

Yes, but in court you have to provide evidence. And you can refute that evidence. So it becomes rational. Groupthink is not rational. And very very dangerous. And you can't remove the 100 people who are outliers (people who would be taken off a jury because they are prejudiced). Those might be the people who use the information to harass someone they don't like.

For instance, what if a group decided to "out" all the gay people in a town? They'd start their investigations and post the names online. That's wrong in and of itself. But an outlier might then decide to use that information for violence.

And that's why we have a judicial system.

more than 4 years ago

The Limits To Skepticism

dalutong Re:like trying to offer proof to a Birther (1093 comments)

It isn't about gutting the current economy. It's about providing incentive structures for developing green technology.

Businesses don't develop new methods and technologies unless they have a reason to. Sometimes that reason is that an entrepreneur saw that the future would be different and had a product that would advance us towards that new paradigm.

Sometimes external factors, usually the government, create such incentives. For instance, look how much technology has been developed for military purposes. All of those were provided by the government.

And the government can provide non-war incentives. Like carbon credits. That proposal has been the green-technology version of micro-loans, a private-sector way to assist a public-sector problem. Make it make sense to find ways to lower emission so you can sell your credits to another company and businesses will find ways.

The GP said that China has become a leader in green technology. It has because the government realizes (all too well) that it can't keep down the same path forever. For many, standards of living have increased to the point where the cost of living can no longer be met by low-level factory jobs. Those jobs are moving to Vietnam and elsewhere. So China has focused on higher-level jobs.

In the same way, it's realized that its water pollution and other problems like that can only be ignored so long. That they will slap them in the face (like pollution during the Olympics almost did) if they don't start addressing it. The big question will be, as the GP suggested, whether we (US), or other countries that eventually provide green incentives, will be buying Chinese technology and hiring Chinese contractors to pursue such incentives or if we will be on the cutting edge enough to use our own resources. The longer we wait to "jump on the bandwagon," the more likely that scenario is.

about 5 years ago

DNA Suggests Three Basic Human Groups

dalutong Re:I don't think so (459 comments)

Though the Chinese government has its faults, I don't think your statement, "a nation's Government is the single largest institution that decides its prosperity," disqualifies China from continuing its rise. The government is very aware of what will allow China's continued economics rise. This can be seen with some of the long-term partnerships China has developed with countries around the world. It is slowly learning how to implement a civil society without ensuring its own destruction.

But I disagree with your statement more generally, too. As ElectricTurtle said, East Asia, especially China, was on top of the world for about a millennium. And they didn't do it under a democracy. They did it because China has the world's oldest tradition of a meritocracy. Since Confucius, the way you made it up in the world was through passing an exam. That's why China has been able to rise so quickly -- the people value education, and are willing to sacrifice everything so that their children might have more.

I wanted to add one more example to ElectricTurtle's list. China had ships that could carry 15x the tonnage as Christopher Columbus' ships almost a century before he "discovered" America. And they were much harder to sink because they had separate compartments around the base of the ship. If one was punctured and flooded, they could keep sailing. Why didn't they become the great explorers then? Two reasons. One, China was the center of the world and so they weren't so interested in exploring. And two, the internal culture just happened to become xenophobic just as Zhenghe's (the admiral of the ships described above) era of exploration was coming to an end. (And, under the next dynasty, run by the Mongols, there was an effort to appease the Chinese by sticking to their traditions. This impeded progress. Sort of like if the U.S. all became Amish.)

To further cast doubt on the manifest destiny that "inevitably" lead to Europe's rise, consider this. The Europeans were brutal to those they colonized. They demanded submission and subservience. During Zhenghe's day, the Chinese didn't. They created trade pacts, but let the people be. So what might have happened if the wheels of development had been a little more favorably aligned for the Chinese (and all other non-Europeans?) What if Zhenghe had been alive at the time of Columbus? Do you think the people of the world would have rather dealt with the European colonizers or partnered with the must more respectful Chinese?

Note: a fun model comparing Zhenghe's treasure ships to Columbus'. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/10/Zheng_He's_ship_compared_to_Columbus's.JPG.jpg/800px-Zheng_He's_ship_compared_to_Columbus's.JPG.jpg

more than 5 years ago

AP Considers Making Content Require Payment

dalutong I see one opportunity, and lots of problems (425 comments)

Since reading (and disagreeing with) Walter Issacson's Time magazine article on this topic (http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1877191,00.html), I have spent a good amount of time thinking about the topic. I think that a pay-per-read system could work if managed better than I expect it would be. I think it would require an agreement among major content providers to use the same micro-payment system, sort of like OpenID. It would have to have zero monthly/basic payment/deposit. And the rate for articles would have to be flat (and low), like 1-5 cents and article. Finally, I think think they would have to only charge your card after you had accumulated some amount of charges (like $5-$10) so you wouldn't have to have money deposited in the account.

Now, the problems. For one, it's hard to take away what people have been used to. Two, there isn't much of a value for "real" news, so most would probably happily find their "journalism" elsewhere. And three, no major reporting service could opt out (in hopes of getting all the viewers who bail on the newspapers that implement this), which would make orchestrating it especially difficult.

Personally, I think newspapers might have to adopt an endowment method. Or a private/public endowment/fund. There also probably has to be more discussion on what "real" journalists can provide that is unique so they can focus on that and spend less money on the "common" news (like who one the Oscars or following the inauguration. There will be little difference between what AP/ NYT/ WP/ WSJ, etc say about those events.)

more than 5 years ago

How to Deal With an Aging Brain?

dalutong Re:Technology replacement (684 comments)

We should start a amnesiac's club. I'm looking at taskfreak now. Glad it's GTD-based.

about 6 years ago

How to Deal With an Aging Brain?

dalutong Re:Replace memorization with wisdom and intelligen (684 comments)

Replace memorization with wisdom and intelligence.

Couldn't agree with you more. I lost my memory, and most of my ability to form new memories, when I was 19. (Woke up one morning and couldn't recognize my family. Learned at the end of my first post-amnesia semester that I had no memory of the begging of the semester.)

People wonder how I still managed to graduate with honors and succeed at work. I tell them that I stopped trying to memorize things and instead worked to understand them. As a friend of mine once said, "so I guess you're an interpreter. I'm a compiler."

So be an interpreter. Hone those equations you've (probably) developed subconsciously (and make them conscious.) Take lots of notes. Organize things systematically. (It's fun trying to find things from the past; it's like being a detective all the time.) When dealing with data, get it, process it, take action, and move on. Then you don't have to worry about remembering all of it -- you've gotten everything you need from it. Learn to be a better writer and to communicate ideas. (I've become a much better writer since losing my memory. Everything I write has to be for the third person: myself, when I read it again.) Oh, and on a personal note, take photos. (It's nice to learn over and over that I've been all over the world.)

about 6 years ago

dalutong Re:Heart ? ( comments)

I grew up in China and am insulted by how people have such simplistic concepts of China and of the Chinese people. There are ignorant people everywhere. The only difference is that in China there are more people who are willing to see their government as something distinct from themselves; as something that doesn't necessarily have legitimacy. The greatest trick ever played on the American people is convincing them that the U.S. government is the way it is because they want it to be that way. (Read Democracy in America -- it's been true for 200 years.)

Is America the country where I'd rather be a citizen? Yes. Does America have flaws galore? Absolutely. But understand that the Chinese people are smart. They understand the flaws of their government. But they also understand that they have had unbelievable growth over the past 30 years, and that this ascendancy is going to cause some problems.

The problems that China faces are the same as those in America: people care more about whether they can buy the next cool thing. So long as they can, and the government keeps the economy growing so they can, they don't care what the government does. The same way we don't care what abuses our government commits so long as we get our cheap oil, food, clothes, etc. The only difference is that we have a different government system, so the abuses are done with (slightly) more caution.

more than 6 years ago



Enterprise Media Storage and Management

dalutong dalutong writes  |  more than 6 years ago

dalutong writes "Our company, like many companies, is dealing with more and more media content: videos, audio clips, and photos. We are now facing two problems. First, users make lots of duplicates, both so there is a copy is in all the directories they might associate with the file and to preserve an original, unedited, version. Second, because the files are not stored in any structured fashion, they are only available to whoever remembers where they were saved. What enterprise/business solutions have /.ers found to minimize duplication (and hence space) and to increase use of the available media (making it easy to find through tags, etc)? Sites like flickr.com have made this less of a problem for individuals, but how can IT shops benefit similarly?"

dalutong dalutong writes  |  more than 7 years ago

dalutong writes "BBC News has an article detailing NASA's replacement for the much-loved Hubble telescope. The $4.5 billion telescope will be placed in orbit 1.5 million km from Earth and will be almost three times the size of the Hubble. It is set to launch in 2013. They plan to service the Hubble in 2008."


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