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Watson Wins Jeopardy Contest

tristanreid Re:AI Winter (674 comments)

Pretty sure people have been scoring through that goal post for a while. There are some pretty convincing programs that you can run from your desktop that beat some humans in human-like interaction.

-t.

more than 3 years ago
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Cloth Successfully Separates Oil From Gulf Water

tristanreid Re:Good point (327 comments)

When oil droplets are small enough, they're eaten by naturally-occuring bacteria. That's the main reason for dispersants.

That's also the reason that naturally-occuring oil seeps don't pose a threat to wildlife, because in a seep the oil comes out slowly and spread out, rather than shooting out in a massive non-stop plume.

I don't put it past BP to have the ulterior motive you're describing, but there's not enough evidence to convict on this particular charge (so to speak).

-t.

more than 4 years ago
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Yale Law Student Wants Government To Have Everybody's DNA

tristanreid Re:Wrong Movie Reference (544 comments)

I guess it depends on how you define: "Nanny Government". Is that the ones who are generally affiliated with religious censorship? The ones who are trying to change history and science textbooks to better fit their political agenda? The ones who have generally tried to control people's sexuality and drug use for the past century, who constantly try to make the military more powerful, the ones who use words like treason when someone describes possible human rights violations by our country? The ones who generally try to close access to information about the government in the name of security (unless it's politically expedient to do the opposite)?

Next to all that, I guess I don't really see things like political correctness or health care as all that offensive. Maybe they're a slippery slope, but the other side seems to have already slid down the hill.

I mean, think there are bajillions of examples where PC gets taken too far, and I agree that trying to enforce something like it is probably a bad idea. I think the health care issue is so fraught with exceptions and inefficiencies that it's going to be a horrible mess. But I don't buy that the left is the Nanny Government. I think that is propogated by the good, down-to-earth, neighborly people that represent some of the biggest organizations on the planet. Somehow the right keeps this myth alive that they represent freedom for the common man.

-t.

more than 4 years ago
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The Sad History and (Possibly) Bright Future of TiVo

tristanreid Tivo Pop-up Ads Make me Hate Tivo (490 comments)

I used to be a Tivo owner, but now I use the lesser-quality DVR that comes with my cable box. Why? Partly because of the cost, but mostly because I feel like Tivo is one of the worst offenders I see in terms of popup ads. They manage to route around the popup blocker in Google Toolbar.

If you are literally FORCING someone to look at your ads, I don't want to do business with you. Ever.

-t.

more than 4 years ago
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When Will AI Surpass Human Intelligence?

tristanreid Re:Human Intelligence... (979 comments)

Your opinion is dumb.

Okay, why?

Not going to put words in the GP's mouth, but my take is because:

(a) Cheer up, emo kid.

(b) You presuppose that all base instincts are bad (e.g. you reference them as "crap"). It's kind of Victorian.

(c) What base instinct produced your first post? Did you feel that if you posted a view that was anti-humanity that you would distinguish yourself from the herd and get you noticed by potential mates? On /.?

(d) Your argument is reductionist and nihilistic (see (a)): "If people tend to do bad things, society will tend to do bad things. If civilizations have done bad things, they will always tend to do bad things." The problem with reductionism is that it's possible to argue that any altruistic action is done purely to enhance ones own esteem. It's possible that no form of art has ever had merit, and that the advancement of science and knowledge serve only to further the dominance of alpha males. But it's also possible to argue the converse for evil actions. You could argue that there's no reason not to 'cull the herd' of weaklings, as they will taint the gene pool. I disagree with you for the same reason that I disagree with Ayn Rand. There's no room for nuance.

(e) An alternate possibility to "Society and civilization are simply entities that over time evolved on top of all this crap" is that society and civilization function as ways to prevent us from purely acting on base instincts, and that we've actually learned some lessons from history. We stumble along, and different peoples' base drives will direct them to push for a different society, but we have evolved societal rules that have actually protected us from too many crimes in any particular direction. There are certainly conflicts and crimes between family members, between neighbors, between states, between countries, and certainly the winners are usually the 'stronger'. I just think the failings are instances where our societal rules still have room for improvement, not as an indictment against our species ever being any better. It's only been a relatively short period of time since humans were able to talk to anyone on the planet in real-time.

Just my two cents,

-t.

more than 4 years ago
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UCLA Profs Banned From Posting Course Videos

tristanreid Re:Videos? In college? (134 comments)

I'd have to disagree with you on that one. If you've never read something that moved you, you haven't read the right books.

-t.

more than 4 years ago
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UCLA Profs Banned From Posting Course Videos

tristanreid Re:Videos? In college? (134 comments)

I took a lit class called "An Introduction to Vice" in which we read a bunch of Shakespeare plays (Othello==Rage, Merchant of Venice==Greed, etc) and watched 12 Hitchcock films. The films were an integral part of the course.

In high school and before, I can (sadly) see your point. But if you have a prof. showing a film in college and you consider it a pointless time waster, I think you went to the wrong school or took the wrong class.

-t.

more than 4 years ago
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Studies Reveal Why Kids Get Bullied and Rejected

tristanreid Re:I could have told you that. (938 comments)

I'm pretty sure there is a strong fundamental need to establish dominance.

You, sir, are an idiot.

...--snipped pretty well thought out reasoning about evolution of social behaviors--...

The culture of modern American society already elevated this competitiveness to dangerous levels, and this is why you are being led by sociopaths. Telling people that they "need" to dominate others, plays exactly into the hands of those sick leaders -- it imposes pathological behavior onto the rest of society, and makes it impossible to recognize the disease in those who have it.

Ok Alex, please don't take this the wrong way - I really thought your comment was excellent, and I agree with what you're saying.

I just think it's kind of funny that you're talking about the evils of dominating others and bullying, and you started by calling that guy an idiot.

I understand your anger at his attitude, but remember that by posting something that is clearly more intelligent, you've already established a form of dominance. By topping that with the insult...well I think you get my point.

Come on, you have to admit, it's at least more ironic than rain on a wedding day.

-t.

more than 4 years ago
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Can Curiosity Be Programmed?

tristanreid Re:Physics of computing the universe (269 comments)

You're pre-supposing that your analogy is really how the universe works.

There are programs that can output themselves (google quine). The output of the program is the entire source code of the program. It takes some cleverness, but it's possible to do.

-t.

more than 4 years ago
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MSI Will Launch iPad Alternative

tristanreid Re:I've had a long-running problem (756 comments)

Hey, I'm a skilled software developer, and I agree with your wife. A perfect OS would not require you to do housecleaning tasks in order to function well.

Why is it so unreasonable to ask a device to work for you, instead of demanding that we learn to think in a technical way in order to use it?

From a geek perspective, yeah multitasking is great. But the correct implementation of multitasking should be able to prioritize the current application in such a way that the user experience is not impacted by background applications. Maybe the device should serialize portions of background apps to disk, and only run some minimal set of tasks? Maybe there should be an api that makes this easy to do? Maybe the "sleep for a minute then check again, keeping the entire program in memory" loops should be re-written as cron tasks?

I generally would want to use and develop software on a device that has multitasking, given the choice and everything else equal. But really, it's the user experience that trumps all.

-t.

more than 4 years ago
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iPad Is a "Huge Step Backward"

tristanreid Re:Dear FSF (1634 comments)

I see what you're saying. From my (admittedly limited) point of view, it's about as many Pro-Apple people defending Apple's choices on /. as Anti-Apple, and one crowd doesn't seem to systematically get more highly rated comments than the other.

I don't get as involved in the types of discussions you're describing, so I guess I haven't seen as many of those zealots who vilify everything Apple does. On the other hand, surely you'll admit that some of their historical practices have come across as underhanded? The fact that a special tool was needed to install memory comes to mind. I also have a slightly different memory of how the 'clone wars' happened. Apple actually sold more Macs than it ever had before AFTER the clones were introduced. They were becoming a vastly more popular operating system, well into the mid-90s. It was only when Win95 came out, and when OS 8 was seen as a failure, when they decided it wouldn't support existing Apple hardware that was in some cases only 2 years old - that's when they went after the clones. People bought clones because they were cheap, but I remember Mac Addict and others acting like every clone bought was money out of Apple's pocket. It was also kind of underhanded how they terminated the manufacturers' licenses with a legal loop-hole. Many of the manufacturers were just trying to play in the same pool, and were promoting the Apple Way more strongly than anyone. A company should maximize its profits, but it seemed kinda uncool. I'm just saying.

Anyway, because of my limited experience with 'modern' (post-2000) Macs other than iPods, I really don't know how much the company has changed. You could be right that they're getting a bad rap. It might help, though, if you try to see past the vitriolic types to those who would love to see Apple succeed, but also hold a bit of reserve about Apple's methods. People extrapolate every action of Google into an evil plot to rule the universe, why shouldn't they also assume that Apple is going to try to lock their platform as much as possible?

more than 4 years ago
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iPad Is a "Huge Step Backward"

tristanreid Re:Dear FSF (1634 comments)

Your argument is essentially "I'm not responding to what you're saying, but other people 'on your side' are unreasonable, therefore there's just nothing to be discussed?

FWIW, I agree that there's a lot of zealotry around, and it's hard to have a reasonable conversation.

I was a Mac guy in college in the mid-90s, I was the main Mac support guy for the helpdesk of a very large university. I contributed chapters to several books on Mac programming. Then Apple decided to kill the clone manufacturers. Then they released some OS upgrades that didn't support existing hardware (partly to leave behind the clone manufacturers, but I had a legitimate powerbook that wasn't very old). Many fervent Mac supporters (including myself) got a lot more quiet, and our next purchase was not an Apple computer. This was one reason that they effectively disappeared as a viable option for several years.

It's all well and good for a company to make money any way they can within certain boundaries. When a company starts to reach a certain size, they start to dominate the market. This is IMHO when people really need to express their opinions about how the company does business. There are many barriers to entry for a company trying to enter this market, not least of which is perception. If you insist that open software isn't important to people, you're helping to make it true.

-t.

more than 4 years ago
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Chinese Human Rights Orgs Hit By DDoS

tristanreid Re:Looking for a fight in all the wrong places. (156 comments)

I don't think the GP was really trolling, and I think some of your econ 101 is a bit off.

If the chinese government is hording money, they won't be buying up dollars. That's spending their money to buy dollars...They are propping up the US economy.

They're buying T-bills. The impact of this is to drive up the value of the dollar relative to the Yuan, and also it keeps US interest rates low. From the standpoint of "we have borrowed lots of money", yes, they are 'propping up' the US economy. From the standpoint of "US businesses are competing in a worldwide market against Chinese businesses", no, they are very much not helping the US economy. They are making dollars more expensive for global customers. It is an effective tariff on US businesses overseas.

That means they need to continue to grow and increase their middle class, or the populace won't be happy at all...Nor does it make sense for the government to horde money to keep the populace poor if they want to keep the populace happy. If the divide between the wealthy (government) and the poor is great, there is a greater chance of unreset.

There's a difference between "this is what would make sense" and "this is what is happening". The GP's sense of civil unrest is not just invented. While the Chinese Govt may want to keep the populace happy, in fact the divide between rich and poor is growing greater, and the social gap between rural and urban is increasing. Their govt is full of nepotism and cronyism, and people are becoming more aware and unhappy about it. Add that to increasing pollution and demographic issues from their historic policies - they have many problems on their horizon.

Not saying that these problems are guaranteed to end up the way the GP stated, just saying, the GP isn't necessarily the complete idiot you are portraying.

-t.

more than 4 years ago
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MIT Offers Picture-Centric Programming To the Masses With Sikuli

tristanreid Re:Think executable step-by-step tutorials (154 comments)

I totally agree. I watched the youtube video (is WTFYV the equivalent of RTFA?), and I was kind of impressed. Although the demo shows an interaction with a bunch of buttons, the real power is the image recognition. She showed how with one command each you can script the two of the fundamental interactions you have with images on the screen: click it, or wait for it to appear. The fuzzy visual recognition algorithms are a huge plus. If you wanted to script something in your room using a web-cam, this is basically how to do it with trivial coding.

I think of this as an equivalent to something like sql. There's a domain in which you'd like to impose logical structure (relational data / images), and you generally use the language to great effect in conjunction with another programming language. If I had to write a scheduled task for my laptop that needed for me to be on the VPN, I'd much rather use something like this to handle the connection rather than trying to figure out how the VPN API works.

-t.

more than 4 years ago
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Martian Microbe Fossils, Not So Debunked Anymore

tristanreid Re:My psychic prediction (306 comments)

Why was this given insightful? It's just a two-part snarky comment by an AC.

The first part of the comment is just an ad hominem argument, with nothing specific to back it up. In regards to the second part, I agree that Drake's equation is oversimplified, but unless you have specific things to say about it, there's no better estimate out there.

-t.

more than 4 years ago
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Brain Scans Used In Murder Sentencing

tristanreid Re:Nature versus Nurture (328 comments)

Well if "special place" is another word for "prison", then why not? I don't know where you got the genetic testing part, though. If the defendant chose to use his genetics as a defense, then yes, s/he will have to submit to testing to make that case. If it is found that the genetics defense is reasonable, then yes, I think the defendant should be able to plead for a less-harsh environment, as long as it can be shown that a future incidence is being prevented.

That last part isn't as tricky as you might think. We already have separate jails for white collar criminals, and they're sociopaths. Why not do the same thing for someone who honestly doesn't want to be a monster?

-t.

about 5 years ago
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Brain Scans Used In Murder Sentencing

tristanreid Re:Nature versus Nurture (328 comments)

Is that really the politically correct party line? I believe the socially liberal viewpoint is that
    a) capital punishment is wrong
    b) mental retardation is a defense
Both of which would say that a brain scan of a criminal defendant would indeed carry weight against the death penalty.

It sounds to me like you're using logic to extrapolate a political position. Your experience may vary, but I find that no existing political party is logically consistent, so you can't extrapolate.

Just my two cents,

-t.

about 5 years ago
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Go, Google's New Open Source Programming Language

tristanreid Re:"Go" name already taken for programming languag (831 comments)

Good point, but they're actually two separate animals. The ability to script applets came after the fact, and it's really an additional library, not the language itself.

-t.

more than 5 years ago
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The Most Useless Key On My Keyboard Is...

tristanreid Re:I don't have the F-lock on my keyboard (939 comments)

Context Menu is useful if you don't have a mouse, to right-click.

Shift-F10 also is a right-click, context menu is redundant.

-t.

more than 5 years ago
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Microsoft Poland Photoshops Black Guy To White One

tristanreid Re:Even Stranger...... (964 comments)

I think you don't get it. The problem with casually accepting jokes that stereotype is that people ARE influenced by such things. You're saying that you're making a joke based on a generalization and that nobody intelligent takes those jokes seriously. The problem is that many of those generalizations are based on extremely deep seated problems. It's the difference between joking about a good friend's mother being ugly, or joking that she has breast cancer and probably isn't going to make it.

Many of the stereotypes of black Americans were literally created, they didn't just arrive as observations. An enslaved population will naturally be considered unworthy, inferior, unintelligent, lazy, surly, 'uppity', overly-sensitive, etc. But how does a man stand up for himself and get recognized as an individual with all of that baggage, when the stereotypes keep getting reinforced? It's one thing when the stereotypes are about a people who have their own distinct homeland and groups, but black Americans are in a place where they always feel like outsiders. Consider that your friend who is ok with such jokes may just tolerate them because he considers it the price of your friendship.

-t.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Hulu language that compiles into Hadoop MapReduce jobs

tristanreid tristanreid writes  |  about 8 months ago

tristanreid (182859) writes "Hulu's tech blog outlines BeaconSpec, a domain-specific language for describing types of beacons. A beacon is the chunks of data from Hulu users' devices (set-top, mobile, etc.), which Hulu process for things like recommendations and determining which new content to buy. These descriptions get compiled into MapReduce jobs, which they runs on a Hadoop cluster. The goal in all this is to reduce the monotony of writing code for processing things that are structurally similar, but with different content."
Link to Original Source
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Five Best Visualization Projects of 2008

tristanreid tristanreid writes  |  more than 5 years ago

tristanreid (182859) writes "Flowing Data, a site dedicated to data visualization lists their top 5 picks for the best projects of the year, plus an honorable mention. Slashdot readers might recognize #4 from last July (Radiohead Open Sources Music Video).

Most of these are interesting because they are flashy (like the video), but some are interesting because of the underlying data (like the Obama-Clinton Decision-Tree). I wonder: Is this an example of advances in technology helping us comprehend the world, or does it just mean that only the most attractive presentations will get an audience?"
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US Corps Want $1B from Govt For Battery Factory

tristanreid tristanreid writes  |  about 6 years ago

tristanreid (182859) writes "The Wall St. Journal reports that a consortium of 14 U.S. technology companies will ask the Federal Govt for up to $1 billion for a plant to make advanced battery technology, as a part of the broad fiscal stimulus package that Pres. Elect Obama is planning.

The story quotes a report by Ralph Brodd, which suggests that while existing battery technology was developed in the U.S., the lead in development is now held in Asia.

From the WSJ story: "More than four dozen advanced battery factories are being built in China but none, currently, in the U.S.""

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