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Book Review: The Ingenious Engine of Reality

gratuitous_arp First few pages, can anyone explain? (19 comments)

So I got on Amazon and read the first few pages of the prequel to the reviewed book, called "The Trousers of Reality" (link below). I found it so disjoint and jargon-ridden that I came here to ask: Am I missing something? I don't want to bash a book I haven't read fully -- maybe it really is a good book -- but try reading the first few pages for yourself. I belong to the author's target audience, and I can follow the words, but I came away from the chapter on "themes and direction" having very little idea what thoughts the author is trying to communicate.

If anyone here has read it, could you comment if the entire book reads like that, and if this sequel is the same?

about a year ago

In terms of general neatness, I am ...

gratuitous_arp Re:File system (181 comments)

You might try recruiting some midden workers. The queen should be able to spawn some.

about a year ago

Crowdsourced Network Planning For Connection-Bridging Startup

gratuitous_arp Re:Alex from Connectify (58 comments)

Thanks for taking questions. Take business travelers who have a laptop with builtin 802.11, and a 4G card for when they are not around an open access point. With switchboard, they would be able to use the 4G network even when they are connected to the 802.11 and observe increased speeds. That sounds like something a lot of people would use.

Do you consider this to be your target market, or something else?

about a year ago

Pirates of the Caribbean: the Pirate Bay Moves To Island of Sint Maarten

gratuitous_arp Re:A Whole Social Movement (108 comments)

Give me control of a planet's oxygen supply, and I won't care who runs the banks.

Give me control of the Spice and I'll control the universe.

about a year ago

FBI Releases Boston Bombing Suspect Images/Videos

gratuitous_arp Re:Vigilante Justice? (416 comments)

There's a fine line between soliciting public support and encouraging vigilante justice.

Well... the article does seem to make it pretty clear which side of the line they are on...

We considered them to be armed and extremely dangerous. No one should approach them. No one should attempt to apprehend them except law enforcement. Let me reiterate that caution. Do not take any action on your own. If you see these men, contact law enforcement.

about a year ago

Microbes Survive, and Maybe Thrive, High In the Atmosphere

gratuitous_arp Sagan's atmospheric beasts (37 comments)

Reminds me of Sagan's "atmospheric beasts", the floaters, sinkers and hunters he imagines in the second episode of Cosmos (see around 53:13) -- though TFA is talking about microorganisms on Earth not postulating life on other planets.

about a year and a half ago

Forbes 2013 Career List Flamed By University Professors

gratuitous_arp It is difficult (370 comments)

As a college professor, you have to teach new things to people who already know everything. That does sound really hard to do.

about a year and a half ago

Bruce Perens: The Day I Blundered Into the Nuclear Facility

gratuitous_arp 15 Years of Stuff That Matters (181 comments)

15 Years of Stuff That Matters -- Phew, glad that's over!

about 2 years ago

China's Yangtze River Turns Red

gratuitous_arp Re:Some photos obviously enhanced (272 comments)

Could someone with a knack for photoshop re-color the water in the picture to a nice blue color, with a caption saying both images are photoshopped? The "original" definitely looks photoshopped, but I admit I wasn't looking for it and I didn't notice until someone pointed it out. To see the the same photo with a sparkling blue river would be a great reminder that we have to keep our skepticism active at all times.

about 2 years ago

Stanford Researchers Discover the 'Anternet'

gratuitous_arp Ants moving from layer 2 to 3 to 4 (133 comments)

There is also research to suggest that ants connect colonies together using Steiner trees, which are related to minimum cost spanning trees. Network engineers are familiar with these since they're used in the protocol of the same name to prevent layer 2 loops. Now we discover they have a TCP-like throttling mechanism. Next we'll decode a colony as HTTP and figure out they're just playing farmville.

Also: Deborah Gordon (one of the authors of the paper) has an enjoyable book on her harvester ant research called "Ants at work: how an insect society is organized". In it, she talks about other forms of ant communication at a colony level and on an ant-to-ant level. This research isn't in the book since the book is older. Recommended if you have an interest in ants and their colonies and don't know where to start. Check your local library.

about 2 years ago

Microsoft Ignores Usability With All-Caps Menu in Visual Studio

gratuitous_arp American or English? (415 comments)

If you wanted to put structure into a menu, well how about color? Oh wait, I forgot the design department dumped color in favour of the 'everything-is-grey UI.'

How do you determine if this writer was American or English? (Pause) -- That's correct, it's time for a horse race!

If you wanted to put structure into a menu, well how about color?

They're out of the gates, and "American Author" sprints into an early lead!

American: 1
English: 0

Oh wait, I forgot the design department dumped color

Ah, an obstruction in the track! "English Expositor" got its hoof stuck on a sodding large crumpet and is now clomping along alone like a Billy No-Mates! With such a slowdown, it may never catch up, just like the train schedule!

American: 2
English: 0

in favour of the

But wait, "American Author" has smelled the crumpet and is circling back to investigate! It looks like the rider is shouting to "American Author" at the top of his lungs that its going the wrong way, but he refuses to use his riding crop or otherwise take action to correct the problem.

Now "European Expositor" is gaining ground fast! A more in-depth genealogy analysis may very well reveal that Bob is, in fact, his uncle!

American: 2
English: 1

'everything-is-grey UI'

"European Expositor" has shaken off its handicap and they're on the home stretch! They're neck and neck across the finish line -- it's a tie!

American: 2
English: 2

To finish the story, the riders then dismounted and decided to play a tiebreaker match of football. It ended in another tie, one team scoring two touchdowns and the other netting twelve goals.

more than 2 years ago

Twitter: 'We Promise To Not Be a Patent Troll'

gratuitous_arp Use of quotation marks in title (103 comments)

The title of this piece on Slashdot was:

Twitter: 'We Promise To Not Be a Patent Troll'

However, I don't see in any of the three links where twitter made the statement: "We Promise To Not Be a Patent Troll".

It is really not appropriate to use quotation marks when paraphrasing. It's not only unfair to the person you're allegedly quoting, it's also misleading to your readers.

more than 2 years ago

13-Billion-Year-Old Alien Worlds Discovered

gratuitous_arp Re:Time Enough For Lithium (302 comments)

Enjoying the science fiction references in this thread more than the discussion stemming from the article.

more than 2 years ago

13-Billion-Year-Old Alien Worlds Discovered

gratuitous_arp Re:Oblig. Foundation reference (302 comments)

Ah, but the whole Asimov universe was rich in the metal that mattered.


more than 2 years ago

Facebook Asserts Trademark On "Book" In New User Agreement

gratuitous_arp Re:*facepalm* (197 comments)



more than 2 years ago

Tennessee Passes Bill That Allows "Teaching the Controversy" of Evolution

gratuitous_arp Re:There's Your Problem Right There (1108 comments)

When scientists say "theory" they mean something different than what most other people think of when they use the word. "Theory" is used in the "I'm pretty sure the thing I'm typing on is a keyboard, but I could be hallucinating and giving my cat, Whiskers, a backrub" sense. It's the best information that humans have, but we are humble enough to permit the idea that there is something unknown about the subject that could, if someday discovered by research, invalidate it.

It's correct to call evolution a scientific theory, people just don't understand why the word "theory" is used here and it gets misused into making evolution look less like "the only game in town."

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Getting Feedback On Programming?

gratuitous_arp Internal code review (196 comments)

> Since we're students, though, no one really has the experience to offer major advice or critiques

See how the other students would feel about internal code or design reviews. They may or may not know what it is and they may take it the wrong way or not like the perceived criticism from peers, depends on your relationship with them.

About none of you having much experience -- maybe not, but part of college is wrestling with challenging questions that you don't know the answer to with people who don't know the answers either. If you're working for the college, even better. It may only lead to marginally better code, but hopefully you would all learn from each other. And it would look good on a resume to say you "improved coding standards and helped foster growth among colleagues by proposing and implementing a peer code review system."

about 2 years ago

Should Microsoft Put Office On the iPad?

gratuitous_arp Last sentence in summary? (402 comments)

Maybe it's too early...

"Speaking of the future of Office, did you ever notice how people use MS-Word to convince people to use Google Docs?"

Could anyone explain what this means, and what the linked-to page is illustrating?

more than 2 years ago

Did Microsoft Make Google Pay Triple Rate To Mozilla?

gratuitous_arp Re:Started out as a search company? (248 comments)

The original poster is correct. Google's original business plan was wildly different from auctioned search terms. Believe it or not, it was... well, you can do your own research

From what I remember of reading "Googled" by Ken Auletta when it came out, Larry and Sergey didn't have a business plan initially, even after getting venture funding for Google. They tried to make the best search engine they could and assumed money would somehow follow if they developed a great product. After a couple years, I believe the first idea they had was farming out their search services to places like Yahoo -- which iirc was their first deal. When that didn't keep the VCs happy, they gradually became more advertising oriented and never looked back.

So I don't think they had a plan to make money to start with, which is why I initially took issue with the original post when I read it. But I suppose it's fair to say that their original plan was selling search services to other search providers. Is this what you are referring to? (Am I misremembering part of Google's history?)

more than 2 years ago


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