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Attack of the One-Letter Programming Languages

njnnja Re:Web Searches For These Suck (127 comments)

Agreed. But my biggest adjustment was learning how to read code that I wrote 3 months ago not using loops.

3 days ago
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Aereo Files For Bankruptcy

njnnja Re:innovation thwarted (137 comments)

Thanks I didn't know that. But that makes the SCOTUS decision even more disappointing - they could have taken this opportunity to find that merely encoding and deencoding a signal in order to compress it to reduce bandwidth doesn't really change the signal for legal purposes.

3 days ago
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Aereo Files For Bankruptcy

njnnja Re:innovation thwarted (137 comments)

As I understand it, the service required a separate antenna for every single subscriber. So it's not the same as selling access to anyone willing to pay - you can sell it once, to yourself, then you need to set up a whole new antenna and cable for the next guy.

3 days ago
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Aereo Files For Bankruptcy

njnnja Re:innovation thwarted (137 comments)

But I disagree that what aereo did was rebroadcasting. If you think that crossing the street, and going into the cloud, is a rebroadcast, then you have a problem with every cloud service. If I upload a song to dropbox, then play it from the cloud, then by this definition it is a rebroadcast.

And I know the court tried to do a little "we know it when we see it" kind of thing in their opinion, I think that is the worst thing for innovation - they should have set a clear line about what part of aereo's technology is the "rebroadcast" so that they could have sold/leased the appropriate portions to end users (and kept the remainder to themselves). Instead they said that what aereo did "looked" like a rebroadcast so it wasn't ok, without clarifying why my own time shifting from any cloud provider (or even from one property that I own to another property that I own) over the internet is ok.

about a week ago
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Aereo Files For Bankruptcy

njnnja Re:innovation thwarted (137 comments)

Here's what I don't like about the Aereo ruling. I like your setup, and I've got one much like it myself, so we both believe the total do-it-yourself approach is fine.

But what if I didn't already have it, and didn't even know how to do it. If you told me you could time shift without using Comcast, I would ask you how to do that. You could of course tell me how, right? What if you didn't want to tell me, except for a fee, is that OK? What if I just paid you a flat fee to buy the equipment, come to my house, and install the tivo and antenna - isn't that still ok?

Now what if 50 people asked you to install tivo and an antenna on their houses - that seems ok to me too. Now imagine you own a bunch of rental properties, so the people don't own their own houses, but you are willing (again for a fee) to install tivo and an antenna at the houses that you own and they rent. Still seems OK to me. What if they are all in one apartment complex, so it makes more sense to set up 50 antennas and 50 tivo's in a single maintenance room than at the individual apartments?

Now assume one of those people moves to a place across the street, but they really like not having to pay the cable company (or don't get cable where they now live), so he asks if you can run a wire from the antenna that you installed for him at your apartment all the way to their new place. Of course, you charge him something for the continued rental of the place in the maintenance room. He is relying on your expertise to set things up and maintain them (and rental of the space), but it's still *his* signal, just as it was when he actually lived in your building.

This final situation seems functionally equivalent to what aereo actually did, and I can't see very clearly where along that line of analogies the signals changed from the tv watcher's own signal to an aereo rebroadcast. I guess because I don't think it ever turned into an aereo rebroadcast. I am basing the technological solution on things that I have read, so if I have that wrong I welcome a correction.

about a week ago
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Aereo Files For Bankruptcy

njnnja Re:innovation thwarted (137 comments)

Good idea but I would think the EFF would be better for things like this.

about a week ago
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Big Talk About Small Samples

njnnja Re:Amateur Mistake (245 comments)

This is a good rebuttal to Bennett's verbal diarrhea. But I would add the main problem is that the study was not well done even if there was a random sample.

Bennett could have tried to show that there was in fact no difference in reaction to the 2 photos, but given the clear evidence, the initial prior would have to have been pretty strong and therefore the sample size of his experiment was too small to budge that prior very much. Or he could have tried to ascertain the cause behind the difference in observed reaction, but that would have required an entirely different study design than the simple "appropriate/inappropriate" question.

tl;dr Real statisticians say that you can safely ignore Bennett's "study"

about two weeks ago
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Window Washing a Skyscraper Is Beyond a Robot's Reach

njnnja Re:It seems like squeegeeing is the wrong approach (203 comments)

Still not thinking big enough. Who needs windows? Giant LCD screens on the inside, tiny pinhole cameras on the outside FTW!

I know, it uses a lot of energy to power those screens, so it's not very environmentally friendly. But they could place big solar cells on the sides of the building to power them. Unfortunately, eventually those solar cells would get dirty and lose efficiency. In theory you could lower someone down on a scaffolding who could clean the solar cells when they got dirty, but as a practical matter that is way too dangerous and you'd never find someone willing to do it.

about two weeks ago
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How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

njnnja Re:So, does water cost more? (377 comments)

I understand completely that you assert that for your local conditions, you are capable of creating your own technologies that are better than COTS technologies. No one is arguing that *you* should buy seeds from the 4H program. As I said, that is your choice, and you live with the consequences of your choices so I will certainly not judge.

But when you look at a typical emerging market that has 30-40% employed in agriculture, while there are countries like the US that are net exporters of agricultural products despite having only 2% of the workforce employed in agriculture, I am confident in asserting that there is a lot of room for improvement. And since the farmers themselves say that they want the new seeds, I tend to believe that the big seed corporations are able to produce a better product than the kind of local knowledge that you endorse allows Ghanaian farmers to produce. It's a pretty strong prior so unless you can provide stronger evidence about the local knowledge of Ghanaian farmers that contradicts this I'm afraid I'm going to continue to believe it.

I understand that you strongly believe in the superiority of your local knowledge, but a subsistence farmer in a 3rd world country is in a very different situation than you are. I think it is entirely consistent with the point that you are making that what works for you will not necessarily work for someone else far away.

about two weeks ago
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How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

njnnja Re:So, does water cost more? (377 comments)

I agree that it is really just a question of how much vertical integration does the farmer want to take on. My point is that it is a matter of degree, not a boolean, so while you may build many of the machines that you use, you probably let cummins build the engine, and you probably didn't refine the petroleum that powers it, nor smelt the steel used in fabrication. I certainly understand that these questions get answered based on the economics of the situation, and a professional farmer like parent poster knows a lot more about what those choices should be than us armchair quarterbacks.

But it seems that the article is very negative about the fact that new seed technology is going to put small farmers out of business. New technology and higher productivity puts some people out of business. Should we ban the use of tractors on African farms, since that puts some people out of a job, and poor small farmers can't afford those either? I'm trying to understand why more productive seed technology is somehow worse than more productive other types of technology, or whether the article was just written by some anti-technology Luddite who thinks countries like Ghana would be better off keeping 40% of the population doing back breaking labor in agriculture than using modern technology for any reason other than *OMG change is scary!!!*

about two weeks ago
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How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

njnnja Re:So, does water cost more? (377 comments)

In the real world we save our best seed and livestock year to year using that to grow the next generation.

Who is the "we" in this statement? Why is the farmer responsible for saving the best seed to improve the next generation instead of a big corporation? There is nothing magical about seeds; they are just another input to the process. We don't expect farmers to build their own tractors - they pay a company that specializes in building tractors to do provide them. Maybe John Deere could really screw over it's customers by charging an exorbitant amount to replacement parts (they probably do) but farmers still buy them because they can do what they do best (farming the land) better by using that externally provided equipment than they could with whatever machines the farmer could build themselves. Maybe we have this romantic ideal of the pre-industrial age farmer who makes his own axe while his wife sews all their own clothes but that world went away and was replaced by a world with specialization and people have longer, healthier lives with more leisure time as a result. Nobody is entirely self-sufficient; we all draw the line about where we do for ourselves versus pay others to do for us somewhere.

Why shouldn't farmers buy the best seeds possible, even if somebody else made them? I don't understand why buying seeds evokes such a strong emotional reaction, but buying all of the other things that a farmer needs (machines for farming, lumber and metal for buildings, hired hands for manual labor, etc.) doesn't.

about two weeks ago
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Overbilled Customer Sues Time Warner Cable For False Advertising

njnnja Re:Comcast tried to steal $50 from me (223 comments)

Although it could be a combination of both malice and stupidity. Higher ups could maliciously staff up the card offer department with the most incompetent, logistically-challenged employees (who for whatever reason they can't/won't let go - yet) figuring that if the cards don't all get sent out it's no big deal.

So there are 2 reasons why you don't get the gift card you were promised - you didn't get the card because the guy in charge of distributing them only has a job because his brother in law is one of Comcast's best corporate salesmen, and couldn't query a customer database if his life depended on it, but you also didn't get the card because some VP figured that if the guy in charge of sending them out is an idiot then they might save a few bucks because he will never figure out who should get them, and will probably never get around to actually sending them out even when he does.

about two weeks ago
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Website Peeps Into 73,000 Unsecured Security Cameras Via Default Passwords

njnnja Re:Ethics (321 comments)

I know you are joking, but the line was plagiarized/borrowed. The original line was "life, liberty, and the pursuit of property". But It wasn't simply about the right to accumulate a bunch of luxuries; in context, it was referring to the pursuit of things that are somehow relevant to a satisfying and productive life. So it would be the right to pursue home ownership for your family, maybe fields for farming, and for many ./ers, it would be the right to accumulate gadgets, for the musically inclined, the right to procure instruments, etc. It doesn't take much of a stretch to go from this sort of enlightened satisfaction, to calling it merely "happiness" for simplicity.

about three weeks ago
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Some Virgin Galactic Customers Demand Money Back

njnnja Re:Space flight failure rate is around 5% (165 comments)

That's not what the parent said, and that's not what the link says. The parent says:

the odds of dying just from riding a motorcycle are roughly 1 in 800

It doesn't say anything about "riding a motorcycle for a year," it just says "riding a motorcycle." I was just pointing out the absurdity of that statement, in case anybody thought that it was correct.

Furthermore, if you look at the underlying link, it says the odds of dying from heart disease are 1 in 6, and from cancer are 1 in 7. If those are annual mortality rates, just those 2 alone would imply that 30% of the US population dies each year (about 90 million deaths). In fact, there are less than 3 million deaths in the US each year. So clearly the 1 in 800 odds of dying in a motorcycle accident *does not* refer to the odds of a motorcycle rider dying in one year.

I'm not arguing that riding motorcycles is safe; I'm arguing that medhelp.org does a poor job presenting and explaining its statistics.

about three weeks ago
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Some Virgin Galactic Customers Demand Money Back

njnnja Re:Space flight failure rate is around 5% (165 comments)

That is the worst citation I have ever seen. The odds of dying just from riding on a motorcycle cannot possibly be 1 in 800. I think what those odds mean is the odds of the cause of death being particular sources, conditional on someone being known to have died. There are about 10 million motorcycles in the US, and if each one is ridden, say, only once per week, then if there is a 1 in 800 chance of dying by riding a motorcycle then there would be on average 650,000 motorcycle deaths in the US each year (650,000 = 10,000,000 motorcycle rides/week * 1/800 deaths / motorcycle ride * 52 weeks/year).

about three weeks ago
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Silicon Valley Swings To Republicans

njnnja Re:Funny how it's the business donations. (485 comments)

I think the causality is backwards. Republicans aren't going to win because Silicon Valley is contributing to them; rather, Silicon Valley is contributing to Republicans because it looks like they are going to win. The relationship between ad spending and margins of victory are statistically small, and politicians (with certain notable exceptions) are generally not blatantly for sale to the highest bidder. The real reason for contributing is to give to people who generally already agree with you, so that if they get elected they will choose to focus on the priorities that are important to you instead of focusing on something else. In this case, patent reform.

about three weeks ago
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Microsoft Enters the Wearables Market With 'Band'

njnnja Re: hmm (135 comments)

No, the investor class is quite content to keep milking the cash cow that is Microsoft Office, and see steady capital accumulation through dividends and stock buybacks. Nobody who still owns MSFT stock is demanding double digit returns from them at this point. It is upper management who have a psychological need to be a part of an ever growing empire and therefore doesn't mind pissing the owners money away on YAZ (yet another zune).

about a month ago
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Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

njnnja Re:So What? (669 comments)

Except that, as I understand it, the Pope doesn't get to just declare which parts of the Bible (which has been accepted doctrine for well over a millennium) are true, which are false, and which are metaphor or allegory as it suits him.

Actually the Pope can do just that, when he speaks ex cathedra. It only applies to certain fields (e.g., he can't just say the sky is green and that becomes Catholic doctrine), but something like interpreting the literal-ness of the Bible would count. Of course, Popes don't make ex cathedra pronouncements frequently, precisely because it's like using a sledgehammer. So you are correct that usually doctrine gets made in communion with the Bishops in councils, conferences and the like.

about a month ago
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Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

njnnja Re:So What? (669 comments)

All of these are excellent points and I was going to go into it in my earlier post but I got too lazy to do it, so I'm glad that you did. What I would add is that in all religions there is a tension between "true believers" who think that a religion should avoid hierarchies and stay out of public life, versus the "help the people" group that thinks that a religion *has* to be out in the world where the people are.

The problem with the "true believers" approach is that hiding up in a monastery and saying prayers 20 hours a day doesn't seem to do much to help actual people in real suffering, and to a lot of religious people, that is important. Further, its insularity can lead to total inflexibility and stagnation, or even just irrelevance to the outside world. OTOH, the problem with the "help the people" group is that the more a religion has contact with the outside world, there are more temptations and that will lead to more corruption.

The Catholic Church has tended towards the more worldly, "help the people" view, and the Jesuits even more so (of which the current Pope is a member of). But as a result, it has often gotten involved in real world power struggles and fallen to the corruption that a more "pure" religion is less susceptible to. However, it also has a strong component of "true believers," with an option to lead a monastic life, while even clergy that deal directly with the public live a life that is very different from the public that they interact with (vows of poverty, chastity, etc). That flexibility to do both has probably been a big part of why the Catholic Church has lasted as long as it has.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Hotel charges guests $500 for bad online reviews

njnnja njnnja writes  |  about 4 months ago

njnnja (2833511) writes "In an incredibly misguided attempt to reduce the quantity of bad reviews (such as these), the Union Street Guest House, a hotel about 2 hours outside of New York City, had instituted a policy to charge groups such as wedding parties $500 for each bad review posted online. The policy has been removed from their webpage but the wayback machine has archived the policy.

If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event If you stay here to attend a wedding anywhere in the area and leave us a negative review on any internet site you agree to a $500. fine for each negative review.

"
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Social Media Company Stock CYNK is Worth $5 Billion Despite No Revenue or Assets

njnnja njnnja writes  |  about 5 months ago

njnnja (2833511) writes "In what might be considered a sign that there is another tech bubble, social media company CYNK stock has been on a tear lately, and in the course of about a month has increased in value about 25,000%, and now has a market cap of over $6 billion. However, the company appears to have no revenue, no assets, and only one employee."
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Artist Creates Graphical Depiction of Science Fiction Spaceships

njnnja njnnja writes  |  about a year ago

njnnja (2833511) writes "German artist Dirk Loechel has created a 10 MB large poster that graphically depicts the size of major (and some not-so major) spaceships from the canons of dozens of science fiction movies, shows, and novels. Visit his posting here and prepare to lose the rest of your afternoon."
Link to Original Source
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North Korea's Twitter and Flickr Accounts Hacked by Anonymous

njnnja njnnja writes  |  about a year and a half ago

njnnja (2833511) writes "With tensions on the Korean peninsula continuing to rise, Anonymous hacked into the government-run North Korean Flickr site to post a "wanted" poster for NK leader Kim Jong Un. It says that he is wanted for "threatening world peace" and "wasting money while his people starve to death". They also hacked into NK's Twitter account and posted a link to the Flickr page."
Link to Original Source

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