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Comment Quick way to quit Facebook (Score 3, Insightful) 170

I was getting annoyed about Facebook and finding that I was spending time on it and not really finding it worthwhile, but the monkey-brain habit was already ingrained so I kept going back. I honestly stopped the habit completely with just a couple steps:

1. Uninstall the Facebook app
2. If I ever end up opening Facebook in the browser, log out completely when I'm done, and don't save the password or username

Turns out that when I have to go through several steps (open browser, navigate to Facebook, type in username, type in password) it's disruptive enough to the mindless "Check Facebook" routine I had developed that it killed it entirely. I went from checking it 5-6 times a day to checking it once or twice a month, and life is much better.

Comment Re:Ways around this (Score 1) 510

No, ad ad hominem attack is name calling.

Wrong. Here's the correct answer:

Ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"), short for argumentum ad hominem, is a logical fallacy in which an argument is rebutted by attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.

An ad hominem would be saying "Hylandr is wrong because he's dumb" and is logically fallacious - a dumb person can make a good argument. However, saying "Hylandr is wrong for reasons x, y, and z" is not an ad hominem attack. When you claimed that I obey TV gods, you were attacking me, rather than the substance of my argument. Textbook example of ad hominem.

Comment Re:Ways around this (Score 1) 510

You clearly don't know what an Ad-Hominem is.

Classic. That statement is itself an ad hominem attack. It reminds me of something... oh yeah:

Ad-Hominem attacks are a Trump supporter's concession of defeat. The more names they call you, the greater your victory.

I have to say, it's rare to win an internet argument so clearly and decisively, but you sir have made it both easy and enjoyable. I hope we meet again. ;)

Comment Re:Ways around this (Score 1) 510

Enjoy your Koolaid, and please, take the time to perform your own research, rather than obey what the TV god tells you.

Nice job on not refuting a single one of my points. Guess how much TV coverage of politics I have watched since Trump's election? Zero. If you think I'm biased, point out where I've said anything factually untrue about Trump's actions? Was the executive order constitutional? Is it actually meaningful action to prevent terrorism? Was it well implemented?

It's remarkable that your sig calls out liberals for the use of ad hominems, but you resort to ad hominem on literally my very first criticism of your nonsense. Your hypocrisy would be amusing if it wasn't so sad.

Comment Re:Boy, that is a STUPID idea. (Score 1) 303

The actual per launch cost of just the SLS system is supposed to be about $500 million, or 2% of the $23 billion figure.

That $500 million per-launch cost is based on the assumption of frequent launches, but the thing is, when you are looking at the cost of a system, you need to amortize the development costs over the number of launches to get the true per-launch cost.. If we only get one productive flight out of it, it's appropriate to call it a $23B launch. If we get two, we could call it an $11.5B launch. Right now, there are one or two notional NASA missions that are designed to use the capability of SLS, a bunch of random stuff they've cobbled together that could keep it busy, and no other commercial or government customers who have interest.

The problem is at the end of the day, that even at $500M a launch it is still way, way too expensive. The only advantage of SLS is that it can put up a huge payload in a single shot, but the thing is, payloads are generally getting smaller just as computers have gotten smaller. Why spend $500M for 70 tons on SLS when you could spend $150M for 53 tons on Falcon Heavy? Or hell, do 3 launches of Falcon at $60M a pop (for 25 tons) and you still come out ahead.

What's worse, since the development and operation of SLS is so pricey, the only customer who could conceivably afford to use it (NASA themselves) is strapped for cash because SLS is consuming most of their budget.

Not that that's completely unimportant, but I'd like to know what the manned component does for the mission besides make it more complex and expensive and therefore a more impressive demonstration of our manhood.

SLS has always been intended for manned missions - what's different about this is that NASA is looking at making the first test flight of SLS (originally slated to be autonomously controlled) into a manned mission. The motivation for this is potentially to save some cost and schedule, skipping that first test flight and going straight for the headline-making positive press of sending astronauts into a lunar orbit for the first time since Apollo. However, what has everybody up in arms is that this is incredibly risky - would you want to gamble your life on a rocket that has never successfully flown? There's speculation that this might be a study carried out at the behest of the Trump administration... currently there's a test mission scheduled for 2018 and the first manned mission is planned for 2021, if instead the first manned mission could happen in 2019 it would be a nice feather in the cap for a president's first term, heading into election season.

Comment Re:Ways around this (Score 1) 510

Trump hasn't had his first 100 days in office and the media isn't giving him a chance to prove himself.

This divisiveness is what threatens to tear this nation apart.

First of all, the media is being amazingly honest in their reporting of Trump. For instance, how do you know that Trump has called the media dishonest? Because the media has itself told you about his statements. The media is SO honest, that they are faithfully reporting on someone who is disparaging them.

Secondly, Trump has been given every chance to prove himself: it's just that he's attempting to follow through on campaign promises which were known to be unconstitutional, stupid or worse at the time that he originally made them. So people are rightly calling him out on his boneheaded authoritarian policies, which have been known about on some level since the early days of his campaign. Secondly, he has badly botched several of his implementations such that they have caused confusion, disorganization, and outright failure in many cases.

The executive order banning immigration is the best example: it's unconstitutional, because it has a religious basis and thus violates the first amendment. It's stupid, because no immigrant from any of those countries has ever killed anybody in a terrorist act on US soil, and it doesn't offer any meaningful increase in safety. It was poorly implemented, because it was rushed out with no coordination among government agencies and apparently didn't get the review of someone who actually knows how the government works, because it was a matter of mere hours before it was shut down by the judicial branch.

So, should we just say that unconstitutional, stupid, poorly implemented policies are ok because the guy is just starting out? Or should we call a spade a spade, and say that he's inept, regardless of whether it's day 1 or day 1000 of his term?

Finally, who is being divisive? The left, many of whom have said that they will willingly support Trump's policies and appointments if they seem to be good for the country, based on individual merit? Or the right, who said that they would oppose any and all goals of the Obama administration, regardless of merit, to make sure that he failed?

One thing you really, really need to figure out: Trump isn't a conservative. He's not the champion of the working class. He's an authoritarian and a narcissist, who lies pathologically and fundamentally doesn't believe his opinions and moods are subject to little nuisances like facts.

Comment Not exactly news (Score 1) 263

An entire field of study devoted to this exact problem (Radiation Effects) has been around since the 70's at least for aerospace purposes. That said, neutrons have only become a serious concern for terrestrial applications in recent years, as process geometries have gotten small enough and parts have gotten dense enough that neutron upset becomes less of an occasional annoyance and more of a constant problem.

Generally you test electronics for Single Event Effects (SEE) at a cyclotron, and it used to be NASA, Lockheed, Boeing and the likes who were doing all the testing. More recently, though, Cisco and Intel have begun doing a lot of testing of their own. Cisco is known to put an entire server rack at a time in a neutron beam to see what goes boom.

Comment Re: "Of course it can," says government (Score 1) 263

ECC is actually more reliable, for its problem domain, than a triple voting system. The probability that you would arrive at a valid ECC code for bad data due to multiple bit flips is much lower than than the probability of two out of three systems voting wrong.

I'd say it all depends on the architecture of the systems in question, and there are a variety of possible outcomes. If you compare a bit-level TMR system to an ECC system (suppose 8 data bits and 1 ECC bit) in which all bits are equally susceptible to upset, then you clearly have a greater chance to accumulate 2 bits in error in the ECC system just because you've got 9 chances to upset 2 bits instead of only 3 chances. If you're flipping coins, you've got a better chance of seeing heads > twice in 9 flips than you do of seeing heads twice in 3 flips.

Suppose you've got a 10% chance of accumulating an error in a given bit per day, you end up with ~72% chance of 2 upsets in the ECC architecture (.9*.8, an approximation), vs 6% (0.3*0.2) in the TMR architecture. Granted, you've got to multiply that by 8 to to get the same amount of data storage as the ECC example. So at the end of the day in this notional case, you end up with 72% chance of lost data in the ECC architecture, and 48% chance of lost data in the TMR example. I've used imprecise approximations, but they demonstrate that statistically speaking, TMR can provide better protection than ECC in some cases.

Now, many ECC algorithms provide a single-error correct dual-error detect (SECDED) capability, which does confer a meaningful advantage vs TMR, where you can correct a single bit but you have no idea if you are actually seeing a two bit error. On the whole, though, you're still going to get 2x upsets far more often with ECC simply because there's a larger target area. So you end up with data loss more often with ECC, but at least you know that you've lost data.

It's also worth noting that if TMR is implemented on a byte level, where you compare the contents of 3 bytes, TMR looks a lot better because it's very unlikely that you'll upset the same bit on two different bytes. So effectively you do end up with something more like SECDED.

Anyhow, it's a complex topic with lots of potential for statistical hangups. In my experience, ECC is attractive primarily because it is so efficient compared to TMR - you're generally talking a 1-10% memory overhead to provide some very capable protection that will generally bring upsets down by a few orders of magnitude. With TMR, the overhead is 300%. However, TMR can be simple, and for situations where you have memory capacity, board space, and/or power to spare, it can be a superior option.

Last but not least, in both cases, the rate of uncorrectable errors is highly dependent on data retention time. You have to keep moving data in and out fast enough that the chance of accumulating multiple error bits in a data word is small. So there's a time component to the whole discussion as well.

Comment Re:Why not blame the manufacturer? (Score 1) 263

Xilinx does offer this, but implementing TMR (Triple Majority Redundancy) isn't always straightforward. The thing is, when you've tripled the size of your circuit, you will now accrue 3 times as many errors - you've just created a much larger target. You've also tripled size and power, and probably slowed the whole design down. And unless you are very, very careful, you introduce a new single point of failure: the voter, which has to mediate between the three elements in question.

Fun fact: A previous generation of Xilinx TMR IP actually made upset rates WORSE than no protection whatsoever. Source - IAAREE - I Am A Radiation Effects Engineer, I do this for a living. ;)

Comment Re:This is news...? (Score 1) 263

For technical accuracy, it would be better to blame terrestrial neutron cascades generated by cosmic rays. Gamma rays don't actually cause bit upsets or things that would cause a momentary glitch - you need something like a neutron or proton for that. Gamma rays do a perfectly fine job at putting dose on parts, but if the computer has accumulated enough dose to cause a failure, then the user probably died quite a while ago.

Disclaimer: IAAREE (I Am A Radiation Effects Engineer)


Comment Re:work less (Score 1) 722

My original intent was to refute the sweeping generalization that no human will ever work an hour in their life if UBI is available. That doesn't reflect the actuality that lots of people continue to work even if they don't need to to meet their basic needs. On the other hand, I agree with you that there are definitely some people who will stop working. On the whole of it, it is hard to say exactly where it will come down, because some people will stop working, some people will work less, some people will work exactly the same amount (that's what I would do if UBI were implemented today), and some people will have the financial security to do more productive, interesting work than they would've otherwise - I know lots of artsy, creative types who would probably produce some incredible things if they weren't stuck making minimum wage as a barista or whatever. Same thing will apply to entrepreneurs and technical people who will now be able to get their startups off the ground without worrying about starving to death.

On the second point, I agree it is a different discussion, but it's inherently tied to the UBI argument. If you think that automation is going to be taking over jobs faster than they can be replaced, it means we will either have massive unemployment and social unrest or need to come up with a new economic model. If you think that our current revolution in automation is yet another variation on the industrial revolution, and that it's just a transition that won't change anything fundamental about the economy, then there's much less urgency to consider something novel like the UBI.

Comment Re:work less (Score 1) 722

Do you understand that 25% is a small percentage of people who normally work? Do you understand that means most people are not working?

Of course I do - it's a feature, not a bug. But I think it's undeniable that a significant portion of humans will continue to do productive work even if their basic financial needs are met.

This is the other dream that UBI advocates have......that automation will make it so they don't have to work. It's a nice dream, I'll agree to that.

The thing is, unemployment numbers are low, but workforce participation is also very low. We've already got a big trend towards less of the population working, partly due to the retirement of boomers, partly due to people who lost jobs in the recession and just gave up. And isn't it possible that some of it is due to the progression in automation? There's a rate at which jobs are being lost to automation. There's also a rate at which jobs are being created, either by expansion of existing sectors or creation of new sectors. There's no physical law that says one rate must match another, and there's a lot of evidence to suggest that automation is outpacing the economy's capability to create new jobs.

There's also the reality that robotics will eventually get to the point where it will be cheaper on a per-hour basis and offer higher quality output than all unskilled human labor. It's just inevitable, because humans have essentially static capabilities but technology advances continually - the only question is when, and recent trends suggest it will be sooner rather than later.

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