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Huckleberry of Yore

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Everything posted by Huckleberry of Yore

  1. We are using the word "computer" loosely here right? It is whatever mechanism is providing the implementation of the "simulation", right? I guess I'm an old fashioned deity. Besides she's temporary anyway. Don't want to keep Arwen waiting!
  2. Well, since no one has made a suggestion, I'll take a stab at it. How about studying feces? Yeah, gross, but interesting. Gut biome is grabbing headlines a lot recently. Human, dog, cat, bird. Compare young dog to old dog? Just a suggestion. And perhaps consult a teacher about hygiene so you don't get sick. Good luck.
  3. Ironically, the possibility of our universe being LIKE a simulation begs the question of who/what is responsible for the computer. One interesting variant on this hypothesis is that the answer is: me. Perhaps I am a solitary and bored god who for entertainment value created a fascinating but painful and ultimately deadly universe and chose to be born into it. Of course not knowing I am the god makes it especially exciting. If this is true, then when I die, and recover my omniscient state, I think my next escapade will be to be born Aragorn in Tolkien's Middle Earth. I'd choose Harry Potter only if I get to marry Emma Watson.
  4. GDP stats for 2018 Q4 are due out this week; expected to be around 2.9%. The average GDP growth under Trump is also 2.9%. The average for Obama was 2.1%. So Trump would argue his policies have increased GDP growth by about 38%. Why is the stock market down? Competition from other asset classes (e.g. increasing interest rates), reduced corporate earnings, and/or reductions in growth of earnings. It is my assertion that the drop in the stock market seen in late last summer was most likely primarily the result of increasing probabilities of democrats making gains in the upcoming elections. Democratic influence is a negative factor economically, obviously due to their tendencies toward higher taxation and regulation. The massive stock crash in 08 was in fact caused by the subprime mortgage fiasco (directly attributed to democrats - Carter and Clinton et al) and made worse by the increased likelihood of Obama winning the presidency. Ironically, Obama didn't inherit a bad economy, he helped create it, first by supporting policies leading to the mortgage crisis, and then by getting elected.
  5. I can't say I follow this logic. Would a smaller universe imply some greater value on life? The fact that our physical form is as it is shouldn't devalue our existence. The itsy bitsy electron is pretty darn small, and we almost surely under-appreciate it's specialness due to our ignorance of what it's actually made of and doing and why. Pardon a deviation from the present topic, but, as I've noted elsewhere, the exponential growth of technology suggests that humans might be travelling at 99% of c in a hundred years or maybe 10,000. And while it's unreasonable to imagine exceeding c, due to our present understanding of physics, it might be at least deemed possible. As for the specific query of this thread, I'd say first, what does it mean to "matter"? Is it valued positively? Is it valued negatively? Both of which I'd say imply "mattering". Further, who is doing the evaluation? I don't doubt there are individuals that consider humanity as a blight, and extermination would be "good" for Earth, or nature, or whatever. And I might ask, "Does my life matter?" Everyone asks this question, at least implicitly, every day. The people that are convinced of "mattering<=0" are probably the most at risk of violence against themselves and others. Generally, we consider these people "mentally ill". But just like in one's employment, or personal relationships, when the cost of an activity exceeds the gains, that activity is likely to be terminated. If my job sucks enough, I'll move on. If life becomes unbearable, well then the end is inevitable. Fortunately (my values inserted) this is fairly rare; people live out their lives until the body isn't sustainable any more.
  6. I suspect that perhaps a million years from now, our galaxy will be saturated with life. Most or all of that life will have originated on Earth. Of the intelligent lifeforms inhabiting various areas of the galaxy, some may well have no idea where their ancestors came from. But unlike us, they will have evidence of their immigration, and look to the stars and wonder where life began.
  7. There are probably various accreditations an institution can obtain. I believe my university's CS program was specifically accredited by an outfit dealing with that discipline directly. How much that matters, I couldn't say. This is very true. @Rhine227, do you have one or more areas of CS you intend to pursue? If you see yourself in, for instance, database design or web site development, higher calculus probably won't be terribly useful (but it might!). Otherwise, for example 3D technologies like gaming and VR would probably benefit greatly from advanced calculus (e.g. vectors and differential equations, amongst others) and numerical methods. When making recommendations to students I know, I usually advise them to take as much math as they can handle; the more the better, in general.
  8. You are misquoting me! I said the Y2K event was vastly overblown, overhyped, and a case of mistaken mass hysteria. Just as appears to be happening with "AI". Yeah, that's NASA. Didn't they lose one over a temperature conversion bug too. I'm quite familiar with UTC. We've been aware of the 2038 problem since forever, and here 20 years before the event have taken steps to upgrade. (I have.) Still, not sure why they don't just use that 32nd bit; I guess they can, it's just that existing software still needs to be upgraded. Still, I hope you aren't suggesting planes fall out of the sky, or nuclear reactors will melt down on 1/18/38? You've proven my point. Which was: the majority of the population didn't think programmers could fix all the problems so they vastly overestimated the risks. I was there. We had to set the date on all of our PCs and see if they were compliant. I recall, "Yeah the old Packard Bell in the closet says it's 1900. Should we upgrade the firmware? No just throw it in the garbage." And, my industrial controllers don't care what year it is, to make it so would be negligent. They care about temperatures and motor speeds; worst case would have been activity log files would have reported the year as 1900 on timestamps. Embarrassing but not catastrophic. I've never claimed engineers are perfect, they make mistakes all the time. For example, a certain Asian nation put a nuclear reactor on the shoreline known to be susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis. Didn't work out too well, but we learn and move on. That'll be the case with AI too. Edit: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/25/technology/automation-davos-world-economic-forum.html A very relevant article about managers at Davos secretly conspiring to eliminate jobs with autoamation. Reminds me of my early career in commercial avionics. The Fortune 100 company I worked went through a phase of investing and proposing we eliminate all software engineers by automatic code generation. The idea was all you needed were systems engineers that wrote specs. The new magical (and expensive) software system would automatically generate the code. It was a boondoggle. And most of us knew it would be, just not management. They found out eventually, and some had to be "reskilled" (they were fired).
  9. I'd check to see if CTU 's computer science program is accredited. I have a BSCS from an accredited university, and while my degree was earned a long time ago, checking their current curriculum, it hasn't changed a lot. There is a lot of math, statistics and calculus. In my time calculus was required although there were two flavors: an easier business series, or the more thorough and difficult type for engineering. You could inquire at potential employers, placement agencies, and graduates for views on the CTU degree.
  10. >>>> some programmers used packet BCD Yeah, I'm an embedded software engineer and I'll bet you've flown in an aircraft with my code helping to get you to your destination safely and on time. Y2K was way more than BCD for heaven's sake. I also have spent much of my career building control systems for research and manufacturing. As engineers we don't design the safety of our systems to fail because the year has 3 zeroes in it. Perhaps you are too young and don't have personal knowledge. People were truly terrified that nuclear power plants were going to melt down, and planes were going to fall out of the sky. Rubbish, and most of us engineers tried to calm people, largely to no avail. As I recall, there were a few credit card companies whose billing systems had some glitches, but the Y2K scare was an embarrassing time, and demonstrates how the masses can be lead into hysteria. >>> So you don't understand global warming either.. Start another thread and defend your position then. >>>> The social costs of high unemployment and poverty As members of a dynamic economy it is everyone's responsibility to have skills that are in demand. When the cotton gin was invented, cotton workers were VERY upset as I recall. Might have been some violence involved. We've all heard of the buggy whip, typewriter, etc. I view the technological expansion we've seen over the last 2 hundred years as fairly constant without any decline that you'd see in an S curve, but I'm open to examples. Automation just makes us more efficient (otherwise we wouldn't adopt it) and leaves more manpower (physical and intellectual) and allows for that effort to be put to improving our situation even more. That's real progress.
  11. IMO nothing to worry about. Our world is full of poop and pee all over the place (and worse). Pets, bugs, birds, we really live in very filthy world with bacteria literally everywhere. If your urine was that toxic, you'd have a lot more to worry about. (I am not a doctor.)
  12. >>>> OK, so let's start with the important bit; the guy didn't do his homework. To whom do you refer? Dr. Davis, or me? >>>> And then there's the fact that those squirrels you mention have been eating grain for even longer. I didn't mention it because I don't know it to be true. And neither do you. I'd suspect they more likely ate acorns. Furthermore, if the squirrels were eating grains what difference does that make? That wouldn't invalidate the assertion that humans shouldn't eat grains, just that squirrels probably should. >>>> So, how toxic can this stuff be? And, there's the fact that data isn't the plural of anecdote. I quoted the book Wheatbelly if you are actually interested in the someone's answer to that question. >>>> And, if you think the only thing in pretzels is gluten then you haven't thought it through. Precisely. Perhaps you've read Wheatbelly? That is exactly what he states. Some of the other proteins and starches in grain are arguably even worse than gluten. >>>> So, you may well be imagining the effects. or it may be one of the real effects- it's not as if anyone disputed the fact that it causes problems for some people. I would have thought this to be obvious, but yes of course, I can't prove you are wrong.
  13. I wasn't referring to anyone in this thread. I had Musk and Hawking in mind.
  14. Probably fodder for a different thread. My point is that even highly educated/intelligent people seem to have a tendency to hype stories to the point of hysteria, and ultimately are proven to have overreacted.
  15. I'm getting that Y2K feeling all over again. And global warming. People love to be scared of nonsense. It'd help if people viewed "AI" as a potential for improving science and medicine and forget about the Terminator style dystopia.
  16. As I said, technology grows exponentially. Plot ex and imagine what we can expect in the future. Moore's law is just one example of many. Of course technological growth isn't guaranteed. I've wondered if it holds in places like North Korea. It might, just slower. IMO as a society it behooves us to encourage technological growth, and not stifle it (which we actually do too often).
  17. As opposed to 2 million years give or take eating squirrels and fish? Furthermore, the grains have evolved significantly just in the last century and probably don't very much resemble those eaten in ancient times.
  18. First, the term AI is used way too much. Most of it is actually just advanced algorithms and improvements in the technology of automation which has been evolving for decades. Sure, true machine learning is pretty amazing; for example Google's chess program, but since chess is just a game, it's not clear how revolutionary that advancement will be. IMO it isn't enough to simply pass the Turing test (which I don't think we are even close to), but when AI can autonomously research and build even better AI, then we're talking. Second, the fully automated lifestyle portrayed, for example, in the movie WALL-E is probably just fantasy. Technology is just an evolution in human effort and innovation, not a terminal event. This might sound pretty silly, but I can imagine that given the exponential growth in technology, humanity could, given time and luck, at some distant future achieve the type of omniscience portrayed by the Q in Star Trek NG.
  19. About seven years ago I started a low carb diet, they called it Atkin's back then. Now it's keto. I lost 85 pounds and was able to stop taking blood pressure meds. This involved no sugar and no starch, including any grains. The only exception, I stopped drinking beer and replaced with occasional vodka. Then one day I was channel surfing and watched a program about the evils of grains in terms of human diet. The programs featured Dr. Davis, a cardiologist who had written a book called Wheatbelly. His claim was that grass seeds (wheat, oats, corn,...) have only been eaten by humans for a few thousand years and contribute to the obesity problem, diabetes, as well as a variety of inflammatory and auto-immune conditions. At that time I recalled a year earlier while working for a couple weeks in Germany I had violated my no-grain rule and ate the very delicious German pretzels. I also recalled that around that time I experienced swelling and pain in three finger joints on my left hand. Dr. Davis was suggesting there could be correlation. As luck would have it, I had to return to Germany for another 2 week stint. So I once again ate the pretzels, and once again my fingers swelled and ached, and once again went away when I returned home. That was 5 years ago and it hasn't happened since. I'm a believer.
  20. None of the defendants you cited have been convicted of anything related to Russian meddling. Flynn might have lied about talking to an ambassador. Meh. The DOJ has indicted Russian agents, but it was explicitly said that those indictments had no involvement by the Trump campaign, or any American citizens at all. Perhaps you could list the pertinent specifics of the proceedings you cited. But like Strzok I'm pretty sure there is no there there. And, I'll bet the 50th draft of impeachment articles has been written already. I don't really care, but part of me says, go ahead, roll the dice. The recent tit-for-tat between Trump and Pelosi is so entertaining; why not have an all out street brawl. I can't wait for the circus to come to town.
  21. You appear to know more about political strategy than I do. But it suggests that Pelosi should waste no time proceeding with impeachment. Given recent gains by Republicans in the Senate, there's little chance of removing Trump. But if you're right, the democrats would be foolish not to move forward regardless. But I'll reiterate that at this point Russian collusion is very unlikely to be the star attraction in the impeachment articles.
  22. Perhaps. But the consensus I've observed is that the Clinton impeachment was a net loser for the opposition; Clinton didn't seem to be hurt by it. Whether or not impeaching Trump would help or hurt the Democrats is unknown for sure, I'd say. But I guarantee you the power brokers will consider the threat of backlash as they make their decisions.
  23. Of course, if that evidence pans out, and it is sufficient to convict/impeach, then do it. So far, there hasn't been anything of substance leaked, and certainly nothing at all related to Russian collusion.
  24. It happens all the time. Just like companies settle lawsuits when they aren't at fault. Because it's cheaper. Prosecutors extort guilty pleas by threatening expensive litigation and other ways. It's suspected that Flynn did this; he simply didn't have the money for lawyers, and the prosecutors were threatening to charge his son. Just imagine what kind of dirt they have on Cohen. He pled guilty, but my earlier point is that his plea cannot be used in court as proof that Trump is guilty. It will need to be litigated, if it gets that far. Technically, I believe Trump cannot be indicted until out of office. But the House can impeach him, like Clinton was. Then it is up to the Senate to convict and remove him. At this point it seems very unlikely, and if the other side proceeds, there may be a heavy political price.
  25. Pleading guilty to a crime is not proof that a crime occurred.
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