217 posts • joined 4 Sep 2009
Re: model a neurone in one supercomputer
>If you feed a computer program with the same inputs, it will always produce the same outputs. A brain is not like that.
But it never *is* the same input. I have very little programming background, and only a limited knowledge of neuroscience, but this is my take on it:
Every input your brain gets causes a reaction, be it positive or negative. The first time you hear a catchy pop song? "Mmm, that's nice." The n-th time you hear that song? "Oh bollocks, not this again."
The first time you eat an olive? "Get this damned thing out of our mouth" The third or so time? "Oh yes. Please do find more of these."
So the first input is never anything like the second one, or the n-th one.
Works the same on the molecular/neurotransmitter level, too, with all sorts of drugs.
If a computer were capable of remembering every fscking time you asked it to calculate a particularly boring Excel spreadsheet, you can bet it would start throwing hissy fits by the tenth time and changing the results by the twentieth. Unless you programmed it so that Excel would be its equivalent of libido, but then again, I'd rather not have a computer that used my invoices spreadsheet as a jazz mag ...
Anonymous, despite their less-than-stellar reputation, are rather caring people. They just tend to like the lulz a bit too much.
My oldish Air (mid-2011) seems to respond a lot faster.
I'm sure ...
... that the El Reg commentards and the rest of the world will be relieved to hear I just managed to post a status update.
>So you're suggesting that your lack of Word skills is actually not a lack of skills at all but instead the computer working against you?
No, I'm suggesting that Word is absolutely fucking useless for page layout.
>Word is designed around 100+ page fully formatted reports at which it excels
Yes, it excels especially at buggering up the whole bloody document if one tries to move a table or, god forbid, a picture, a few pixels to the left. Or right. Or any other direction, by any other amount of pixels, dots or centimetres.
>Give the two possibilities - employers with all the power leading to a Victorian distopia or workers with all the power leading to slower economic growth as people stop become "lazy" and stop killing themselves for the sake of their jobs - I vote "worker power."
I'm a socialist at heart. I really am.
However, I spent the first decade of my life in a 'worker's paradise'. Granted, that's not much. From what I do remember, though, and from the aftermath that followed (which was admittedly a very benign sort of aftermath), I'll tell you this. There has to be a balance between worker power and employer power, otherwise, you end up with an economy that's basically run by the sort of people who inhabit the less reputable corners of Tumblr nowadays - and I'm not talking about the porn bits.
You end up with permanently dissatisfied, nothing-is-ever-my-fault, the-world-is-out-to-get-me tw*ts organising a strike for every single thing, the most productive workers being mobbed for doing *too much*, as it makes everyone else look bad, and so on.
A balance is a must.
That being said, an all-worker-power clusterf*ck is mildly preferable to an all-capitalist-power clusterf*ck we currently live in. But only just.
As much as I enjoy taking the piss out of Linux on anything that isn't meant for sysadmins, if Valve port the games to Linux anywhere nearly as well as they do on Mac, it's going to be a very good experience.
... to all of them.
Except to the reality TV project. Because you just now it's going to end in punters paying extra to watch shower scenes from beyond the Moon's orbit.
I don't care that much for INNOVATION and REVOLUTIONARY
I would very much like it if Apple concentrated on what got me hooked into their ecosystem - building somewhat overpriced computers that work really bloody well and which run an OS that for a reasonably small subset of users is fantastic.
I'm utterly dependent on QuickView*, for instance, to sort through mounds of PDFs and DOCs with cryptic names I get from my clients. A well thought-out user interface on a solid, if perhaps somewhat middling and in some cases definitely overpriced hardware - I can earn money with that.
64-bit mobile processors, fingerprint readers? Not so much.
Disclaimer: I do love my iPhone, but it's a gadget, not a tool.
*yes, yes, I'm sure Ubuntu has something that is vastly superior and works really well, provided you only use it on three filetypes and spend a few days configuring it just right.
Re: Affordability my arse
While I'm unashamedly a Cupertino fanboi and while I do love the not-so-bloody-serious look of the 5C, this line had me spitting coffee all over my shiny MacBook Air.
"Marketeer for "an injection moulded blob of uber-scratchable plastic with a toughened-glass-esque sales spin applied"?"
Well done, sir, and have a beer, you deserve it.
Re: One unified brand...
"The word is Finnish, a Finno-Ugric language which has no relation to Latin"
True to a certain extent, but considering how long Finnish has been surrounded by Indo-European languages, there are (comparatively) very few words left that are truly Finno-Ugric in origin. That being said, toponyms are usually amongst the last to go, so your point is probably still valid.
Finnish still has the distinction of being the angriest sounding language I've ever heard, apart from Scots.
Probably just a vegementalist, with this 'quorn' (I'll admit to being ignorant on this matter, living quite blissfully in a country that is a few years behind every health food fad) being the newest and the greatest of what basically amounts to the proverbial carrot garden in a nunnery - i.e. a poor substitute for something they allegedly don't miss at all.
Re: That sounds like ...
Good grief, whoever is writing this is brilliant. I'm not even in IT and I find it hilarious. Thank you very much for pointing me in this direction.
Re: <3 Competition. Still not buying an Xboner, however.
"The GIMP and Inkscape just isn't catching on despite being around for ages, just as capable"
Go on, pull the other one.
Re: What resources actually are.
Would you mind explaining to the unenlightened among us how exactly are we getting this energy from air?
Love the experiment, but this video is just awful.
Re: Anti-Apple bias
I'll just put a few <twat> tags around my face the next time :/
Re: Anti-Apple bias
Look, in the past five years or so, I've bought two Apple desktops, two laptops, three iPods and two iPhones. And while I'm very happy with all of them, Apple's practice of patenting every ridiculous bit of their design is becoming quite distasteful to me, and I don't mind El Reg pointing this out.
To me, an anti-Apple bias would be reviewing their products unfairly, and I've never found this to be the case. Taking the piss out of the business practices of an arrogant multinational, albeit one whose products I like, is NOT anti-Apple bias, it's simply telling it like it is.
Coffee, meet keyboard
The bootnote did it.
Re: You're late to the party
"Americans are accepting restrictions on everyone's freedoms instead of simply rounding up all Muslims in America."
Seriously, how thick exactly does one have to be to spout such nonsense? Do you really expect a round of applause for not locking up/shooting/gassing members of a certain religion?
Next thing you know, Angela Merkel will be on the telly, saying "Well, we haven't done any systematic killing of Jews in a very long time, I think it's time we give ourselves a hand."
>Actually it looks like Ebola is the one to really fear.
>Death is in days, not months or years.
Actually, this is exactly why ebola isn't the one to fear. You see, ebola kills its host far too quickly to spread really efficiently.
Ebola: You get infected in Africa, and you're dead before you even get to the next village, let alone the airport. In most cases, anyway.
HIV: You get infected in Africa, and you die a few years later, and are subclinical (i.e. not showing any signs or symptoms) for much of these years, giving you ample chance to infect everyone you come in all sorts of fun contact with.
From an evolutionary point of view, HIV is much more successful, as it has a larger reservoir of hosts.
As my virology prof explained to us, most viruses tend to attenuate with time - killing your host in particularly gruesome ways is never the parasite's goal, it's living* in the host for as long as possible and spreading to as many other hosts as possible. Therefore, it is entirely possible that in a few hundred years' time, HIV, if it weren't for medicine, would simply cease to be fatal and be more like herpes - a few cold sores every now and then, but mostly just a virus you carry around in your body without suffering any serious harm.
*Viruses aren't really alive, though that is a grey area.
Re: Have you noticed they're hiding the screen...
Oh, good, I was worried you were unable to find time in your busy schedule to enlighten the world about the evils of Microsoft.
Re: Missing the point: SOLID STATE!
I tend to disagree.
Imagine a laser anti-artillery battery in South Korea. Since its power requirements are likely to be colossal, it would have to be fixed, at least the power source would. Even with North Korea's dismal economic state, artillery is relatively cheap. All they need to do is triangulate the position of the power plant, which is relatively simple, wait for a bit of fog to creep in (not that it would defeat the laser, but it would most definitely impair its function) and launch a barrage with n+1 shells, where n is the number that saturates the defences.
For the cost of a 100 artillery shells, a very expensive piece of equipment would be gone.
Now of course, this doesn't take into account air supremacy, which would very likely make mincemeat from the artillery about 20 seconds after its location was known, and so on.
Not that I disagree with you completely - I believe this truly is a massive development. I just don't consider it to be quite the silver bullet you seem to think it is.
>For me, a mate IS someone I see/share experiences with.
Maybe as you age you will look back and think.........
Apparently, the ageing bit has already happened, alas.
The mates I refer to I did see and share experiences with, and lots of them, most of which I wouldn't entrust a social network with, it's just that kids and families and jobs tend to mean we don't have so much time to share new ones.
In a sense, it is a very sad situation, sort of the end of an era, and in another sense, well, if we can't see each other so much because of kids and families and jobs, it's not such a bad reason, is it? And if I can use social networks to share my latest musical obsession with them, or a fantastic movie I just saw, well, social networks really aren't such a bad thing, are they?
On the other hand, the amount and intimacy of shit youngsters post on social media is just astonishing. But then again, who am I to judge, being a jaded old fart.
In a sense, I do agree with you. On the other hand, my mates and I are now so deeply embroiled with our everyday lives, we don't really find much time to go out for a beer, and social networks are a decent-ish way of staying in touch. Not the best way, I agree, but better than nothing.
That being said, there is an enormous amount of sheer twattery going on on social networks, but then again, one can easily block said perpetrators of twattery.
Re: For those interested:
>Rather helpfully, it turned out that the USAF were a bit crap at excuses and tended to trot out the usual "weather balloon" type platitudes. This led to the belief that there was a monumental cover up of UFO work at Area 51, which handily distracted everyone from what was really going on and suited the CIA down to the ground. It was so useful as misdirection that the CIA made a point of pouring fuel on the fires of the conspiracy nuts at every opportunity.
Of course, that's what THEY want you to believe.
I've met my share of nutters ...
... including one girl, who, after one date (which went by without any physical contact whatsoever) decided that I was the love of her life (I didn't quite reciprocate) and eventually nearly forced me to change my phone number after pestering me with calls night and day.
On the other hand, I've also met quite a few very nice girls - sometimes, things didn't work out, and sometimes, they did.
However, I never found anyone on a dating site as such - mostly, it was just chatrooms and various forums.
Oh, and internet dating is indeed a boon for not particularly attractive folks with the social skills of a demented turtle, such as me. Picking up women in bars or indeed initiating any sort of physical contact is, I'm afraid, very much beyond my abilities.
I think having a relatively vast supply of metal and water in orbit is a very good thing indeed. Send up a ThingWotMakesOtherThings(TM) (or a von Neumann machine, if you want to be really high-brow about it), leave it to work there for a while, refining metal and turning water into delicious hydrogen and even more delicious oxygen, and in a few years' time, you have all we need for a space-based industrial complex and maybe even the beginnings of humanity becoming a true space-faring race.
In my opinion, while 999 of 1000 such companies will go bust, it'll be the one that doesn't that will advance humanity by a significant bit. And I very much look forward to it.
Re: Etruscan? Basque?
You're missing the point. This program is not meant to decode the meaning of another language, it's supposed (as far as I can tell, anyway) to simulate the evolution of languages in reverse. This won't work on Basque or Etruscan or other language isolates, because they have no common ancestor, or at least none that is attested.
It can, on the other hand, simulate the common ancestor of, e.g., the English hound and the German Hund, but do so far more rapidly, if less accurately, than humans, basically helping us to develop a phylogenetic tree for all related languages and even tentatively reconstruct words from related languages that are now extinct.
Re: Tongues untied
There are certain astonishingly accurate and universal laws that govern the changes in pronunciation through time. My flabber was well and truly gasted when I first stumbled upon this concept, but they do seem to work well. Google Grimm's law, and I'm sure you'll be amazed.
Re: To be honest...
Actually, the by far most popular fast food place in my town specialises in horse burgers. And boy, are they delicious.
Re: Just wondering...
They don't really get along that well with Indonesia, which has a decent-ish air force. Of course there would never be an invasion, but an up-yours air raid isn't completely out of the question.
Re: Oh, come off it
Forgot the link, of course.
Oh, come off it
>While I do agree with academic journals and articles needing to be more freely available, I also know it always was a very complex situation when it comes to the costs of running these journals and editing them to certain standards.
They don't, really. If you fancy a bit of reading, here's a very good blog post with links to other very good blog posts on this topic.
>Publishers always have been riding the fine line to providing them free to academics without giving them away to the whole world. Complex licensing schemes are in place throughout the educational world, meaning that many academics and students have free access through their library or department already. At least they should have.
The access is only free to the academics and the students. The libraries, on the other hand, pay through the nose, and are pressured to buy access huge bundles of journals they don't really want. All in all, the academic publishing industry is truly a nasty piece of work.
Re: "popular Japanese Reddit clone 2channel"
I'm cancelling my subscription to El Reg etc.
No, but seriously, El Reg, how about doing just a teensy bit of research?
Re: Three simple bits of information:
This link is complete rubbish. A mate of mine from uni was a bit taller than me, weighed about half of what I did (as noted previously, I am a bit of a hambeast) and had to eat as much, if not more than me, just to maintain his weight, and this is with no exercise at all, other than walking, of which we did about the same amount.
According to this calculator, to maintain his weight he should eat about 1600 calories, and I should eat about 2200. I guarantee you that if he were to do that, I'd have attended his funeral a few years back.
(No, he wasn't ill or anything, he just had a really rubbish metabolism. And cheekbones that made women's undergarments depart their owners' bodies post haste.)
Of course, not stuffing one's face with crap is out of the question entirely.
I've been a lardarse for most of my life, and recently, I've decided to start eating less and stop eating crap. In about three months, I've lost about 25 pounds. Still at least another 25 to go, but hey, progress has been made. Yeah, I've got a really effective metabolism the likes of which haven't been seen outside Polynesia, and yeah, I've got a few physiological defects that prevent me from being really athletic, but you know what, I did it anyway. No surgery, no pills, and no fancy schmancy diet, just eating less and eating reasonably decent food, as I'm afraid I don't have the money to eat really nice things all day, every day.
Re: Life existed on Mars
I think I recall reading something about all probes being meticulously sterilised for exactly this reason. Of course, I could well be mistaken.
Re: Life existed on Mars
>How many of the life millions of forms that we know of could survive there if transplanted there?
This is just an educated guess, but I reckon if you transported a few tons of various extremophile bacteria up there, you'd end up with at least one of them (and its various descendants) colonising the whole of Mars in a few centuries. They are some tough buggers, extremophiles.
A huge ethical dilemma, of course, as we cannot know for sure that no life exists on Mars, and introducing our bacteria could end up being a massive xenocide.
One of them has a bigger
Re: Nice try
Good grief, but you are a bit of a dimwit, aren't you? There is no Anonymous as such, just a bunch of people on the internet with a shared passion for, erm, lulz. And a few of these got together and wanted to expose a few major cesspits in our genetic pool, further aided by the fact that said cesspits are jocks, who are the natural nemeses of basement dwellers and other neckbeards, which is what most Anons are. Besides, what could be lulzier than exposing a few local deities to some richly deserved punishment and humiliation?
Note that I do not care much for most of Anon's undertakings, and find some of them to be downright despicable, much like what I think of Christians and their various sub-organisations and denominations, but in this case, Anon done good, much like Christians occasionally do.
Re: Why doesn't Apple simply 'Man Up'?
>We are looking at more than simple corporate profits here, we are talking peoples lives. Newspapers are replete with examples of how people religiously follow their GPS devices and end up stranded / jammed in to some isolated spot with no means of help. Whether it is dumb or smart, people put their faith in technology?
While I agree with the rest of your comment, I would like to point out that losing the people who follow their GPS devices 'religiously', as you put it, would actually enrich our gene pool.
Globalisation is coming back home
Chinese labour is starting to get more expensive, it would seem.
Can I just say
All this is soooo exciting! I finally feel as if we're nearing the future I imagined as a kid and it really makes me happy.
Words fail me.
That's genetic engineering, and we all know genetic engineered crops make you into a slave of the NWO! And they give you cancers and stop you from opening your ar*ehole chakra! And your aura will be very sad and might leave you!
(I am, of course, doing a rather ham-fisted attempt at joking, but there are plenty of nutters that will use the exact same arguments with a straight face.)
Best use of 'goatse' ever
Dearest El Reg
When it comes to such staggering numbers, would you please be so kind and write them down in powers of 10 to make them easier to imagine?
Lovely article otherwise.
This sounds like it might have a grain of truth to it. He was on /b/ today and was very chatty, but ignored every question related to the legal proceedings. On the other hand, it was probably what his lawyers told him to do.
- Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
- Spanish village called 'Kill the Jews' mulls rebranding exercise
- NASA finds first Earth-sized planet in a habitable zone around star
- New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
- Battle of the Linux clouds! Linode DOUBLES RAM to take on Digital Ocean