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Startup Magic Leap Hires Sci-Fi Writer Neal Stephenson As Chief Futurist

iMadeGhostzilla Does all "Leap" = hype? (45 comments)

Leap Motion was heavily overhyped and after $40M of investments they produced basically nothing useful. I'm very skeptical of companies that only talk about how great product they *will* have, and this hire goes squarely in that direction. Apple at least keep quit until they have something that works.

Another Leap in this category is Sinclair's QL -- though I'd take it any day over these other Leaps in their current form.

yesterday
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How Relevant is C in 2014?

iMadeGhostzilla Re: Very much so! (641 comments)

We're talking about cognitive ease (and cognitive strain) of reading code, so that is not the same: when I see
hs.add(elem) it is very obvious that the "add()" is some hs' thing. But when I see hs + elem it goes against years of practice that the operands are numbers or strings and for a tiny fraction of a second I may have to ask myself what are hs and elem again. That's cognitive strain.

IMO though operator overloading is justified with template programming since the "+" operator is guaranteed to exist so it's like a standardized function name. So I guess what I dislike is that C++ encourages things that don't have purpose other than looking nice to some people. In C at least it's accepted practice that going wild with macros is bad but with C++ there are things that are done only because they appear "elegant."

about a week ago
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How Relevant is C in 2014?

iMadeGhostzilla Re: Very much so! (641 comments)

Joel Spolsky's example touches on those too: "i might be of a type that has operator= overloaded, and the types might not be compatible so an automatic type coercion function might end up being called. And the only way to find out is not only to check the type of the variables, but to find the code that implements that type, and God help you if there’s inheritance somewhere" and so on.

It's a caricature of real world's examples meant to illustrate this: when you read competently written C++ code, you don't know in your head what's going on on the machine level without going outside of the code block you're reading to check. With competently written C, you do. I don't think there is much dispute over that.

The question is, does that matter? That's (more) up for debate. My conviction is yes, it matters for system code, and no not quite, it doesn't matter as much for app code. When I look at system code, I want to know what happens at the CPU level. When I look at app code, I want to know how these abstract elements combine to make something new.

As for operator overloading, I agree there are C++ things that are more invisible. With operator overloading, I just don't like it because of precedence and all. The sole purpose of overloaded operators, I believe, is to make the code more readable, by one person's standard, but readability is in the eye of the beholder. I prefer chained function calls as I find it easier to map the code in my head to the process at runtime.

about two weeks ago
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How Relevant is C in 2014?

iMadeGhostzilla Re:Very much so! (641 comments)

The "i = j * 5" example is meant to cover reasonable cases, not to take it to the extreme. Of course you can do all kinds of obfuscations in both C and C++. The point is that in a well-meaning, reasonably competent team, C++ coders often out of best intentions overload operators and do other things that obscure your understanding of what is actually happening. You will have to either assume/hope that the code doesn't have side effects you're not aware of, or you'll have to go and check elsewhere, which interrupts your flow of reading and understanding the code. With C, in a team of the same quality, you don't need to do that -- what you see is what you get. What I'm saying is under normal conditions, your confidence in knowing what happens is higher when looking at C than at C++ code, and the more critical the code is, the more important your level of confidence in it is.

about two weeks ago
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How Relevant is C in 2014?

iMadeGhostzilla Re: Very much so! (641 comments)

No one says it was you who overloaded the operator. You may be looking at code someone else in your team wrote, or an ex co-worker, or an open source contributor -- and it could be even you and don't remember it. The point is, the reality is if you are given code to work with and you see i = j * 5, if it's C you know what it does; if it's C++, you don't, regardless of who wrote it.

I think the danger of that happening for low level, frequent-running, system code outweighs the flexibility that C++ gives you, and vice versa for app code.

about two weeks ago
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How Relevant is C in 2014?

iMadeGhostzilla Re:Very much so! (641 comments)

The downside of C++, is you can't look at the code and know what happens at the machine level. Joel Spolsky describes it below: (in an article on variable naming)

"In general, I have to admit that I’m a little bit scared of language features that hide things. When you see the code

        i = j * 5;

  in C you know, at least, that j is being multiplied by five and the results stored in i.

But if you see that same snippet of code in C++, you don’t know anything. Nothing. The only way to know what’s really happening in C++ is to find out what types i and j are, something which might be declared somewhere altogether else. That’s because j might be of a type that has operator* overloaded and it does something terribly witty when you try to multiply it. And i might be of a type that has operator= overloaded, and the types might not be compatible so an automatic type coercion function might end up being called. And the only way to find out is not only to check the type of the variables, but to find the code that implements that type, and God help you if there’s inheritance somewhere, because now you have to traipse all the way up the class hierarchy all by yourself trying to find where that code really is, and if there’s polymorphism somewhere, you’re really in trouble because it’s not enough to know what type i and j are declared, you have to know what type they are right now, which might involve inspecting an arbitrary amount of code and you can never really be sure if you’ve looked everywhere thanks to the halting problem (phew!).

When you see i=j*5 in C++ you are really on your own, bubby, and that, in my mind, reduces the ability to detect possible problems just by looking at code."

My opinion is, for code that lives closer to the OS (or the OS itself), where there are fewer lines of code but which run more frequently, C is king. For code that needs to multiply/grow/combine/evolve faster and still run fast, C++ is often a better choice.

about two weeks ago
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Spectrum Vega: A Blast From the Past

iMadeGhostzilla Re:Classic? Only if you lived in the UK. (110 comments)

I grew up in Serbia and Spectrum meant the world to many kids in my generation, even though we had no direct connection with the UK market whatsoever -- no magazines or TV programs or anything really. So it is fair to say that Spectrum was a cross-European phenomenon. C64 was (almost) equally present, though everyone I knew who had a Commodore just played games, whereas lots of Spectrum folks dabbled in programming, at least a little.

about two weeks ago
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Australian Target Stores Ban GTA V For Depictions of Violence Against Women

iMadeGhostzilla Re:Meanwhile (310 comments)

People react to people more than people react to concepts, I don't think it's that surprising. "There's been a murder" has less of an emotional weight than "Alice murdered Bob." (And note, different emotional weight than "Bob murdered Alice." The endless nuances of being human carry far more information -- infinitely more, actually -- than what is captured by a conceptual abstraction.)

about two weeks ago
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Want To Work For a Cool Tech Company? Hone Your Social Skills

iMadeGhostzilla Re:"Culture Fit" is an excuse for discrimination (139 comments)

B/c those rich white frat boys want to make shit such as Groupon and Zynga. That is the real problem (for me), their outlook on life and their values result in things I don't consider useful or beautiful but just something that makes them richer and the rest of the world poorer and dumber.

about two weeks ago
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Study Shows Direct Brain Interface Between Humans

iMadeGhostzilla Re:That's Kinda Creepy... (110 comments)

I would imagine it feels like the reflex-test kick in the knee -- you feel the sensation but are surprised it is happening since you are not willing it, and you're merely observing the process.

Taking it a step further, I imagine one day when someone else can press a trigger to create a vague thought or image in your mind, you'd feel the same -- feel the mental sensation but since you'd not be willing it, you'd be just observing it. (Perhaps similar with eg. a hallucinations? Also something you did not invite in your mental space, it just occurs.)

about a month and a half ago
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Denuvo DRM Challenges Game Crackers

iMadeGhostzilla Re:What's the process? (187 comments)

I'm curious what happens if there are multiple validations checks and if they don't all have immediate visible consequence. E.g. if some basic function in the game such as moving to the left deteriorates in the minutes or even hours/days after the validation check has failed, or if the failed check forces glitches downstream that make the game unplayable? In other words, how do you know if you have removed the protection (esp. if the game has genuine bugs)?

about a month and a half ago
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Researchers At Brown University Shattered a Quantum Wave Function

iMadeGhostzilla Re:umm.. what? (150 comments)

Thanks. "The bump is the rope; the wave and bump are one" is a good way to put it. I found a paper by Art Hobson of UARK claiming that "There are no particles, there are only fields" (http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1204/1204.4616.pdf), this sounds similar. So phenomena appear to us as particles, and we model those phenomena as waves to predict how/where/when they will manifest to us. Seen that way, I think the double slit experiment isn't any more mysterious than any "ordinary" electron behavior, but it's always present as "this is where things get weird."

about a month and a half ago
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Black Swan Author: Genetically Modified Organisms Risk Global Ruin

iMadeGhostzilla Re:A mathematician commenting on biology (432 comments)

True, humans add multiplication to that exponential growth.

I am also pro GM research however, I do believe that GM knowledge can come in handy some day in different situations, and to be the devil's advocate, I wonder if we can reach that knowledge if we are rational enough about GM and use it only when justified. Kind of like, you need to play with fire and get burned a little in the process before you understand how to use it properly.

about a month and a half ago
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Researchers At Brown University Shattered a Quantum Wave Function

iMadeGhostzilla Re:umm.. what? (150 comments)

Maybe you'd be a good person to ask -- the collapse is the end of superposition, but where does it "begin"? We say that an electron passes through the double slit which sounds like it is a definitive single particle/wave, but I'm guessing that electron itself is one possible state of the part of the quantum system ie. of the cathode that emitted the electron or not, the cathode itself being a part of the larger system and so on. So the electron that may or may not have been emitted from the cathode may or may not have passed through the say left slit, and only when we look we can say yes there was an electron and it passed through the left slit. But when we are not looking, are there any "actual" electrons to begin with or is everything around us all superpositions of superpositions of states to infinity, appearing in one way or another only when measured?

Similar and maybe easier question to answer may be, how does entanglement begin? Or maybe these questions have no meaning at any time we are not looking/measuring?

about a month and a half ago
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Black Swan Author: Genetically Modified Organisms Risk Global Ruin

iMadeGhostzilla Re:Nonsense. Again. (432 comments)

Do the diff of the genetic material before and after, in the case of 1) "natural" mutations, 2) selective breeding, and 3) GM. And don't look for just the number of "lines" of code, but look at the structure and correlation among the changes. Then, apply exponential growth to the diffs -- and the fact that we cannot possibly predict the effect of either 10, 20 or 100 years downstream, and you'll see what's different.

about 2 months ago
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Black Swan Author: Genetically Modified Organisms Risk Global Ruin

iMadeGhostzilla Re:A mathematician commenting on biology (432 comments)

The risk is (meaningfully, not formally) non-zero because GMOs ride the most potent distribution mechanism in existence for free -- natural replication and multiplication. An error in a nuclear reactor doesn't affect other nuclear reactors, but a "faulty" GM organism with potentially bad consequences (for us) can be everywhere just a few generations down. And unlike a computer virus for example, we may not be equipped to deal with the spread in the material worlds.

A fair question would be why that is different from "natural" mutations of living things. (Which could also wipe us out some day.) The answer, as I understand it, is that natural mutations introduce a small delta of change at once, so there is more opportunity for the entire biosystem to adapt to them or neutralize them if harmful for the system. With GMOs, the delta of change is large and very structured, and that delta propagates at the same speed as the small "natural" deltas.

"Natural" is btw only a statistical description. The processes we call natural have in the past occurred many orders of magnitude more times than those we call "artificial" and so their consequence is far more known.

about 2 months ago
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Black Swan Author: Genetically Modified Organisms Risk Global Ruin

iMadeGhostzilla Re:I'm all in favor... (432 comments)

And the other key part is that the danger of potential consequences should be weighed against the expected benefit. Eg. if we are about to starve because a disease is wiping out corn, it's better to risk with GMO corn that to have no corn. And likewise we shouldn't introduce potentially huge unknown risks that could take decades to show -- like trans fat, if we can even trace those back -- for small benefits like 10% lower price or slightly longer shelf life.

But you're right, we in the modern society are unable to see things deeper, even using our own logic. I was somewhat open before reading Antifragility and still felt shock and hostility to Taleb's ideas, took me quite some time to start digesting them. In some ways those aren't necessarily his ideas even, it is a wisdom of humanity that has been lost temporarily. But he gets the credit for reminding us of those despite the hate he gets.

about 2 months ago
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Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

iMadeGhostzilla Re:Overly broad? (422 comments)

I think in your question lies the essence of the problem: "What element in their test soda is so harmful that it has such a dramatic effect?" You are making an assumption that a food (as it were) can be reduced to its individual ingredients and studied that way. This has been shown many times to be false -- for example equal amounts of fructose in a fruit juice and in fresh fruit have been found to have different effects because (supposedly) fiber in fresh fruit slows down absorption of sugars. (Maybe that's how it works, maybe not -- all we have observed is that people who drink fruit juices tend to have larger waists than people who only eat fresh fruit.)

The system is too complex to understand. Soda is invented foodstuff, foreign to our evolutionary mechanisms. The only reasonable decision about it is to consume it only when it has a clear benefit (lifts spirits, prevents you from fainting if you are starved etc.), because we don't know what the potential unknown harms are. The harms become known (or suspected, as is the case here) only with time -- a long time.

about 2 months ago
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Torvalds: I Made Community-Building Mistakes With Linux

iMadeGhostzilla Re:Has it been working so far? (387 comments)

Sorry but "could have been" is nonsense that only works with parallel universes. Strong, successful open-source projects are rare compared to the number of open-source projects in general, and Linus delivered on that front. That is the only valid point for comparison IMO, and from that point he deserves a thankyou.

about 2 months ago
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Cyanogen Inc. Turns Down Google, Seeing $1 Billion Valuation

iMadeGhostzilla Re:Google just pissy (107 comments)

Thank you for this -- I just assumed there's no AdBlock on Chrome because Google wouldn't allow it, and didn't even look, until now. Installed and running fine. My respect for Google just went up a notch.

about 2 months ago

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