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Comment Re:A good point, but poorly phrased. (Score 1) 352

Sure. It's hard to get an estimate for the whole of gimp, but look at one of the plugins, eg. lighting:


In that plugin, apply, image and shade (about 1500 lines) contain the actual image processing code. The rest (about 2600 lines) is all UI and plumbing. And that's for a plugin, where most of the UI is supplied by GIMP. The code for something like the paintbush will be more like 90% UI and 10% processing.

You could also look at GEGL, the new image processing library that gimp is supposed to be switching to. That's currently 5mb of code to gimp's 20mb.

Comment Re:A good point, but poorly phrased. (Score 1) 352

It's not so easy. The whole of GIMP is programmed using C and GObject, the gtk object system. You could move the front end to Qt (though it would be years and years of work), but the back end would still be all gtk.

In fact, the UI is probably the largest part of GIMP. The actual image processing is rather small and simple.

Comment Re:No need for storage (Score 1) 223

Wind power, right now, costs three times what nuclear power costs, right now.

New capacity offshore wind and nuclear cost about the same, in the UK at least. Wikipedia says:

On 27 February 2015 Vattenfall Vindkraft AS agreed to build the Horns Rev 3 offshore wind farm at a price of 10.31 Eurocent per kWh. This has been quoted as below 100 UK pounds per MWh.

In 2013 in the United Kingdom for a new-to-build nuclear power plant (Hinkley Point C: completion 2023), a feed-in tariff of 92.50 pounds/MWh (around 142 USD/MWh) plus compensation for inflation with a running time of 35 years was agreed.[41][42]

On-shore wind is 30 - 50% cheaper than offshore, of course, so that would seem to beat nuclear by quite a good margin.


Comment Re:Ah, no lessons learned from Windows 8 (Score 3, Insightful) 170

I just don't think that's true, there's nothing touchy about the design of gnome3, it's a desktop UI and always has been. They are only now starting to add touch stuff, and only because most laptops now come with touch screens.

It does aim to be a very minimalist desktop. You have your application windows and ... that's about it. All the stuff for launching applications, managing workspaces, managing windows and so on is on the overview screen. I think the idea was that the desktop should get out of the way and just present your work without distraction.

I didn't like it much when it came out, but it's grown on me. I now prefer it to KDE and Unity, the two main rivals. The extension system is especially nice: you just go to the gnome extension site and turn the things you like on and off.

Comment Re:Not real science (Score 1) 370

There's plenty of science that works like this, generally in fields where the systems under study are very large and complex.

The example I often see used is the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. This seems like an obvious thing, but it's actually extremely hard to really prove (or equally, disprove). You have an event (smoking a cigarette) and the consequence (lung cancer), but in between you have perhaps 40 years of other health events. How can you possibly prove a causal relationship?

The answer is that in an individual case, you can't prove it. But if you take many people and painstakingly track them over a long enough period you can slowly narrow confidence intervals until, at some very ill-defined point, the case tips over and changes in the minds of people in the field from interesting unproven hypothesis to proven fact. You can also test parts of the theory in the lab (chemicals in smoke causing DNA damage, for example) and generate further hypotheses to test in people. It all adds to the evidence.

AGW is similar in that we'll probably never have 100% proof, it's not even obvious what that might look like, but we can construct a quite detailed model of the system and gather supporting evidence. Again, at some point, if no alternative explanation is found, it tips over into case proven.

I'd also distinguish between science, which tries to understand what is happening to the climate, and policy recommendations.

Your objection seems to be to policy recommendations, and I can understand that. I think policy is the domain of politics and there should certainly be a great deal of political argument about what we should do, or even if it's worth doing anything. However your post seems to be arguing policy by attacking science, and that feels wrong to me.

Comment Re:The difference... (Score 1) 97

This isn't a PC, it's a device, you can use it to make things. This is about the pleasure of soldering, gluing, painting and programming a little Python to make something cool.

Tiny, very cheap, very powerful (relatively) things like this make all kinds of projects trivial. For example, with my kids I put a motion sensor and a loudspeaker on an old r-pi, put it in a chinese takeaway box, painted it like a robot head, and installed it in the downstairs toilet. Now bogbot says disrespectful things to visitors in a Stephen Hawking voice when they are on the job. Very childish, but great fun, and my kids have (mostly) written the code for it.

Comment Re:Is this the un"adjusted" raw data? (Score 1) 310

I don't think that's true. There are rewards for following the crowd, but there are much greater rewards for coming up with something new.

This is how academic careers are made: 1) bright young thing comes up with a clever new idea (plus supporting evidence, of course) that cuts off their teacher's work at the knees, 2) gets it in a good journal (journals are eager to be the first to publish an exciting new idea, though also wary of looking foolish, hence the need for evidence), 3) is offered a post at a research institute to push their idea, 4) attracts a group of co-researchers, pulls in grant money ... 5) successful academic. This is not uncommon, this is how every head of department in every field got their job. Medical research (my field) operates exactly like this and, judging by the state of modern medicine, more or less works.

AGW has been talked about for 120 years and has been a topic of serious research for more than 50. In all that time, not one bright young thing has been able to come up with a serious alternative explanation for our observed rising CO2 and observed rising temperatures.

Science is never finally settled, of course, but it's looking like AGW has, like tobacco-cancer, tipped over from a likely hypothesis to as-good-as-proved.

I understand many people have a very strong dislike of things like carbon taxes. But attacking the science is probably a dead-end --- in my opinion, opponents would do better to shift their focus to the political question of whether carbon taxes would be effective or even necessary. Leave the hard-working scientists alone.

Comment Re:c++? (Score 2) 407

I'm not sure that's really fair to Obj-C. Another way to explain the differences would be to say that Obj-C comes from the Smalltalk family of OO languages and C++ comes from Simula.

Smalltalk-family languages (eg. also Ruby, Swift, etc.) have late binding: you can join up things at runtime. This is great for GUIs, many common patterns become far easier. Simula-family languages are much more rigid. Almost everything is known at compile-time, so it's safer, but the rigidity makes some things harder to implement.

Writing a GUI in plain C++ is very painful, so all toolkits (that I can think of) add a late binding mechanism. Qt, for example, has signals and slots. Seen from this angle, Obj-C is something like Qt, but with the signal/slot mechanism made part of the core language and syntax.

Comment Re:just want I wanted! (Score 2) 307

The r-pi has an accelerated desktop now, thank goodness. It was all software on a dumb frame buffer at launch, but those days are far behind us.

Who knows, maybe Wayland support will come soon, we can hope.

a href="http://www.raspberrypi.org/preview-the-upcoming-maynard-desktop/">http://www.raspberrypi.org/preview-the-upcoming-maynard-desktop/

Comment Lawrence Lessig on this (Score 3, Informative) 495

Pre-2000, the US had "open access", meaning that cable owners had to sell use of their infrastructure. This made it relatively easy for startup ISPs to enter the market: every time you sign up a customer, you just need to buy time on the extra bit of cable you need to serve that person. Almost every country in the world uses this regulatory model.

Under intense pressure from lobbyists the US changed to a closed model in 2000. Now cable owners are also ISPs and have exclusive rights to the bits of wire they own. There are only a few ISPs, it's very, very expensive for anyone else to enter the market, and they can charge what they like, not only to customers, but upstream as well, as we're now seeing.

tl;dr: this is a failure of regulation.

Lessig talking about this:


Comment It's lightfield, it is holography (sorta) (Score 4, Informative) 171

It's not using simple stereo screens, they have lightfield projectors:

Project HoloLens is built, fittingly enough, around a set of holographic lenses. Each lens has three layers of glassâ"in blue, green, and redâ"full of microthin corrugated grooves that diffract light. There are multiple cameras at the front and sides of the device that do everything from head tracking to video capture. And it can see far and wide: The field of view spans 120 degrees by 120 degrees, significantly bigger than that of the Kinect camera. A âoelight engineâ above the lenses projects light into the glasses, where it hits the grating and then volleys between the layers of glass millions of times. That process, along with input from the device's myriad sensors, tricks the eye into perceiving the image as existing in the world beyond the lenses.


They track eye movement and adjust for that as well. I think you need the lightfield stuff so that the eye if forced to adapt focus for different distances, it's a depth cue that Oculus don't have.

It'll be interesting to see what frame rate and latency they achieve. It sounds like they have a lot of hardware in the headset, so it could be quite good. Plus they only need to render the bit right in the centre of the field of view at high quality.

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