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Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

presidenteloco Re:Pronunciation (200 comments)

Yes. And it is "see" "ploose" "ploose" for those in the know.

5 days ago
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Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

presidenteloco C++ is a travesty of design (200 comments)

Because its requirements, chosen by its designer, were misguided and impossible to achieve with a clean, elegant design.

Attempting to be compatible with C was a terrible mistake. The resulting language complexity, inconsistency, and limitations resulted in an unsafe language much harder to use than is justifiable.

What would have been wrong with just creating a compiler which was both a C compiler, and also a compiler for a clean OO language.

Programs could have had C functions in some source files/directories, (considered unsafe, of course), and clean OO modules in other files / directories. An easy way of using data in some C types such as basic numbers, arrays, and strings within the OO language could have been crafted, and a no-muss-no-fuss way of calling C functions from OO and vice versa could have been included.

What was lacking was the courage to drag programmers away from C rules and conventions enough to create a simple and powerful OO language.

The ugly compromise approach set back OO programming momentum, cost millions of person-years of unnecessary debugging effort and allowed many, many continued buffer overflow exploits etc. that ruin the reputation of software in general.

5 days ago
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Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration

presidenteloco Imagine all the people (512 comments)

from around the world looking for work being treated equally,

and assessed based on their qualifications.

[sadly necessary sarcasm delimeter] But wait! That wouldn't let me prefer my buddies, who look just like me! [/sadly necessary sarcasm delimeter]

about a week ago
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Russia Says Drivers Must Not Have "Sex Disorders" To Get License

presidenteloco People who persecute others (412 comments)

are generally full of fear and insecurity.

Even though they act tough.

The Russian government is rabid with fear at the moment.

about three weeks ago
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Analysis of Spacecraft Data Reveals Most Earth-like Planet To Date

presidenteloco Re:Why not gas giants too? (83 comments)

My guess is that for life to form you need a place where common elements are brought together by gravity AND importantly, where solid, liquid, and gaseous phases of at least some common elements and molecules can co-exist.

The reason for the latter requirement is that life relies on at least some fairly solid structures to be able to form and persist for considerable time periods. Life needs a vocabulary and grammar of structures: e.g.
- tubes to conduct low-entropy (organized) flows of liquids and gases for organized energy and material transport.
- hollow spheroids to contain and shield (from outside random environment) metabolism and reproductive mechanisms and as building blocks for 3-D structures.
- semi-permeable membranes (to filter what can get into and out of hollow spheroids, to favour particular metabolic and reproductive processes inside the spheroids)
- layers of adjacent elements (to form surfaces of tubes and hollow spheroids)

- Life also needs liquids for organized material and energy transport within the organism.
- High-energy life like ourselves also needs gasses as a medium of rapid transport of sufficient quantities of high energy reactive materials (e.g. Oxygen).

I do not believe these requirements are just "the way it is done on Earth". I believe they are general to spontaneously originated and evolved life.

Conceivably, such life could then bootstrap artificial life of a different construction (e.g. self-replicating, material and energy hunting robot intelligences) but it is hard to see how that kind of life, which is comparatively rigid and fragile and extremely complex, could evolve itself from scratch, except by means of the squishier, semi-liquid, semi-solid self-evolvable simpler structures.

about three weeks ago
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Netflix Cracks Down On VPN and Proxy "Pirates"

presidenteloco How long before these greedy f**ks (437 comments)

realize we're moving toward one seamless world with friction-free commerce.

There are those who make a way forward, and those who just won't get out of the way.

Route around them with all possible haste.

about a month ago
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Bitcoin Gets Its First TV Ads

presidenteloco Re:No matter how much lipstick you put on it... (127 comments)

Well, after an initial period of deflation, there will be enough Bitcoin so that 10 billion people will be able to have an average of 210,000 Satoshis each.

Assume a Satoshi at that point is worth what a dollar is now. That still provides for quite a bit of economic growth from the average wealth now.

On a finite planet with finite resources, and a fixed or slightly declining human population as is predicted after 9 or 10 billion is reached, the only kind of economic growth that is sustainable is growth in valued virtual services. Such growth must be essentially zero-sum (or negative, actually) when it comes to throughput of non-renewable resources. Sure, innovation can continue, but some activities and products that take resources or deplete natural eco-system capital must cease when other products or activities are invented.

A steady-state economy based on renewable resources are maintenance of eco-system complesity is pretty much what physics dictates. Whether it happens smoothly and under our control or in massive cliff-fall crashes is up to our level of technical and social ingenuity. So far the signs are not very positive on that front.

about a month ago
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Bitcoin Gets Its First TV Ads

presidenteloco Re:We don't need a new money (127 comments)

Re: The only way out ... is workers revolution for communism!

Um. Unless you're planning to outlaw the continued improvement of automation technology and artificial intelligence, I think you'll find that a workers revolution is an obsolete concept. The value of human labour in general is declining fairly rapidly, relative to economic production/activity/throughput/value.

Socialism may be required in the near future, to deal with the predicament that probably a majority of us will be permanently out of work while the economy hums along producing goods and services in a highly automated fashion.

But it will most assuredly not be labour-based socialism.

It will have to be a "Hey, I was born into this society, so it would be inhumane not to provide me a roof and some food, when you (the owners of automated production) could easily do it" type of socialism.

about a month ago
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The Open Office Is Destroying the Workplace

presidenteloco More productive on the bus to/from work (420 comments)

I had a programming job in an open office with the boss on the phone faking jovial, garrulous laughter in sales calls all day long when he wasn't coming over to refocus our efforts many times a day and ask how long that would take.

Needless to say, I got more productive development done (on my hobby project/next business) in the private office of the back seat of the bus for half hour in the morning and evening. A bus can be noisy (and you have to hang on to your laptop for fear of sudden stops), but it beats the open plan office by a long shot anyday.

about a month ago
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Problem Solver Beer Tells How Much To Drink To Boost Your Creativity

presidenteloco Just don't drive creatively too (73 comments)

0.075 is above our legal limit of 0.05 for driving.

Excuses, even if very creative, like I was just driving around the block with the window open to clear my head, won't work.

So best to just sit in the pub morosely pondering whatever problem you are trying to solve.

My problem is, at point 0.075 I'm most creative, but at 0.076 I lapse into an existential crisis and think why bother. working on that problem anyway. Plenty of way more fun things to do around here.

about a month ago
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The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

presidenteloco Re:Life form? (391 comments)

A rock is not life because its maintained crystalline structure (eg an NaCl crystal) is a lowest-energy, most-probable configuration, given the thermodynamic regime and material availability in the environment. There is no need for particular information embedded in that structure to influence the surrounding physics and chemistry to achieve greater than thermodynamically expected longevity of the structure.

If you equate the information in the crystal structure (all several bits of it) with the form (and bonding-energy configuration) of the structure, then I SUPPOSE you could say that that information embedded in/ implicit in that structure is related to the structure's thermodynamic stability. In more life-y persistent structures, there is a more complex causal relationship between the information's form and the persistence of the structure. Also, there is typically much more information, and therefore much lower probability of the information pattern's spontaneous formation or maintenance in the thermodynamic regime, so much more NEED for self-causation by the information. If something was inevitably going to happen anyway to some matter and energy, due to its statistical distribution and the surrounding thermodynamic regime and fundamental forces, do we say that that future state (or equivalence class of states) required a particular cause (beyond the operation of the simple physical laws on the situation?) No. So particular local information is not required to cause anything, in thermodynamically and physically stochastically EXPECTED states. Information is only required to be able to be self-causal when the persistence of the information (and the material forms and processes it persists in) are NOT OTHERWISE thermodynamically and physically probable/expected.

Rocks are expected (from operation of simple physics laws), so are not life-y self-causal by particular information.

about a month ago
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The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

presidenteloco Re: Life form? (391 comments)

Ok, but the slight problem with your definition is that it's not a particular bunch of matter and energy that is maintaining the state. Matter and energy flows through the lifeform (and the species, ecosystem), Each lifeform (and living system) is an open thermodynamic system, transforming energy and material input, which temporarily becomes part of the lifeform/system, then exits as waste material or heat.
So it is not a collection of matter and energy that actively... bur rather, it is a particular PATTERN of matter and energy (a standing wave would be a good analogy) which actively maintains the state of low entropy. And a PATTERN of matter and energy is in the category "information": not matter or energy or collections of stuff.

By the way, a virus-system is a living-system pattern. It is a distributed system, whose parts are sometimes considerably separated in space and sometimes closer. The best system boundary to draw for the virus living-system's genotype is "all of the virus's codng DNA and some of the host species' coding DNA; that subset that is used by the virus." The best system boundary to draw for the virus living-system's phenotype (instance) is the whole virus body plus some or all of the infected host's body. Those who deny that a virus is living are just drawing the wrong boundary around the "virus-living-system" because they are hung up on the physical boundary of a single virus-body, but that boundary is not that important (it is not an important system-boundary) when considering the fate probabilities, and longevity, of the virus-system.

Fire is not living because its persistence (the persistence of its pattern of process for some amount of time) is not unexpected given the thermodynamic regime and material environment. Fire is the thermodynamically optimum chemical reaction, independent of particular information that is embodied in the fire. There may be (a minimal amount of) stable information embodied in the fire, and that may be connected with the persistence of the reaction, but external factors dominate the lifespan determination, compared to the stable information (if any) in the fire.

about a month ago
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The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

presidenteloco Re:Life form? (391 comments)

I think the simplest (hah!) and most general/versatile definition of life is:
  An information pattern embodied in a physical mechanism (mechanism here being defined loosely as a class of configurations and processes of matter and energy) which is such that the information pattern is capable of influencing the state and evolution of the physical mechanism and its environment in such a way as to increase the probability of sustained embodiment of that information pattern (or an informationally close relative) in local (causally connected) matter and energy.

To be lifelike, the information pattern must be capable of increasing its own (or its informationally close relative's) sustained embodiment for longer than would be expected by chance, given the physical regime of the environment (the forces acting, and the thermodynamic regime).

Note: It is not sufficient to conserve AN AMOUNT of information (beyond that expected) locally. It is required to conserve the SAME information. The loss of same information (information pattern) with time can be measured in bits/second change in a maximally compressed bitstring representing the pattern. The conservation of information pattern can be measured in bit-seconds.

about a month ago
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Marissa Mayer's Reinvention of Yahoo! Stumbles

presidenteloco Yeah but. (222 comments)

What Yahoo needs is an idea (simple, to the point, effective, new, user worthy)
followed by an execution.

- Not 50 things. 1 to 3, done well. That's how all of the few mega-successful companies got to where they are now.

about a month and a half ago
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Australia Moves Toward New Restrictions On Technology Export and Publication

presidenteloco because we all know Australia invents best crypto (91 comments)

The best spectacularly bad analogy I can think of is a law forbidding the export of water from your leaky submarine.

about a month and a half ago
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Will Ripple Eclipse Bitcoin?

presidenteloco Re:government should create a cryptocurrency (144 comments)

Yeah. But which government?

One of the key advantages of today's crypto-currencies is that they are effectively global. Not unduely influenced by any single national government.
I would think that broad adoption of a cryptocurrency by a large fraction of the global population might help make the cryptocurrency's value stable, after initial (and unstable) growth in value due to growth in adoption.

about a month and a half ago
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New Cargo Ship Is 488 Meters Long

presidenteloco Re:Because what we need is more gas!!! (116 comments)

Solutions (so sensible that they are guaranteed political suicide):

1. A carbon tax, starting off modest, but with a growth escalator built in and known in advance to assist planning of transition.

Note: Since we know the economy did ok with oil priced double what it is now, the carbon tax need not start out so modest. It could be adaptive, so that for example retail gasoline prices are made roughly what they just were over the last 5 years (average), as a starting point for the tax to kick off system-transition investments.

Carbon trading is not a viable option. A simple at-source carbon tax is more effective and more transparent. Carbon trading is too easily gamed by accountants at the expense of physical reality. e.g. giving you credit for the forest you haven't chopped down yet (how nice of you) so that I can continue to burn more coal.

2.One third of proceeds of carbon tax used to reduce income tax, to keep the economy stimulated.

3. One third of carbon tax revenue used to fund R&D into bleeding-edge alternative energy and transportation technologies.
e.g. better PV, better batteries, hyperloop, magnetized target fusion, thorium, novel grid-scale energy storage, smart-grid, superconducting supergrid

4. One third of carbon tax revenue used to fund non-fossil-fuel infrastructure projects with current technology. Examples:
a) Rapid transit
b) High-speed rail links
c) Energy-efficient building technology (LEED, Passivhaus) - regulations for all new construction, and subsidies
d) Geothermal Energy Projects. Redirect oil&gas industry drilling know-how and workers.
e) Significant feed-in tariffs for clean renewables (as done previously in Germany)
f) Other incentives for solar farms and solar thermal plants with molten-salt energy storage
f) Other incentives for residential PV and solar water heating
g) Deployment of grid-scale storage initially using existing technologies including Li-ion and sodium sulphur batteries, pumped hydro, underground pumped hydro.
h) Addition of long-distance HVDC power transmission lines long enough to cross weather systems. Encourages wind power and solar by evening out intermittency.
i) Expanded subsidy of electric vehicle purchase.
j) Electric vehicle charging infrastructure expansion

about a month and a half ago
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In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

presidenteloco Re:Failed state policies (435 comments)

I didn't say that. I said their system had the resiliency to survive severe sanctions and externally imposed economic isolation. For example, ships that dock in Cuban ports are not permitted to dock at US ports.

Honestly the US embargo is the dumbest policy conceivable. If it hadn't been in place, chances are high that the people in Cuba, immersed in the world economy and saturated by mainstream western "culture", would have made substantial changes to their government policies by now.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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software for home energy conservation

presidenteloco presidenteloco writes  |  about 4 years ago

presidenteloco (659168) writes "We have some development resources to prototype smart energy grid innovations. What would you like to see? How could people interact over the Internet to help conserve energy? What about a smartphone app tied to your smart home. Any ideas?"
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Looking for smartgrid software design ideas

presidenteloco presidenteloco writes  |  about 4 years ago

presidenteloco (659168) writes "I work for a polytechnic university applied research group working on a smartgrid testbed project. That is, we are implementing R&D versions of electrical power grid technologies. My team does the software side of the work. One thing we are building is energy management system web applications for residential energy consumers to look at their consumption and set profiles for their consumption depending on energy price. What features should that have? What pricing models would you like to see? Can you think of any social energy management apps? We have some resources to implement prototypes, and are looking for ideas. This is for research purposes and innovation of the grid for environmental and economic and security reasons. Someone might try to commercialize some of it. Do you have any smartgrid software ideas you are willing to share?"
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presidenteloco presidenteloco writes  |  about 8 years ago

presidenteloco (659168) writes "I have developed a web application that I plan to offer on a subscription or service-fee basis.
Should I make the source code behind it free and open source?

What are the factors I should consider? If I FOSS it, I'll receive possibly some assistance
with refining and extending the software, and some good Karma, but on the other hand,
It will be trivial for anyone else to replicate my business model, or to set up their own in-house
version of my service, with no remuneration for me. Also, the value of the "asset" from an
investment or acquisition perspective would likely fall. Ideally, I'd like to earn a humble living or a
portion thereof from operating web applications that I develop. What would Slashdotters do?"

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