* Posts by Dave 126

6133 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

AI no longer needs to fake it. Just don't try talking to your robots

Dave 126
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tl;dr

What some people find fun can be useful to society.

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Dave 126
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Maybe hedonism, but I know quite a few retired engineers who amuse themselves, when not in the pub,with some silly projects. Last month, for a few days, a pub table was covered in schematics of a washing machine motor control box, being looked at by some very qualified physicists, engineers and mechanics... someone wanted to re-purpose the motor to make a hovercraft.

Then there is a local billionaire, founder of a very respected high-end manufacturing concern, who could have retired years ago. But no, in his seventies he goes to work everyday because he evidently enjoys engineering. If he retired, what would he do - build a model railway?

Then you have the Felix Dennis types, who in retrospect wished they had stopped earning when they hit £30 million. He clams to have given up the cocaine and prostitutes at the age of sixty, but even when he indulged it didn't take too much of his time from working.

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Dave 126
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Re: @ Mage Actually ...

Oh come on guys, the references to Judge Dredd and various computer games, not to mention light-hearted touches (Japanese pensioners being crushed by a robot, poker players being meatbags) should have suggested that the article was not a sober academic piece about AI.

Of course, a real human would have noticed that the article was partly tongue-in-cheek, leading me to suspect that some of the comments above were made by 'AI's in Beta.

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30 years on from Challenger, NASA remembers the fallen

Dave 126
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Re: Was a very long day for me.

>I've watched NASA and, sorry, they haven't changed a bit. Even worse, actually.

That's as maybe, but they're not putting people into orbit any more.

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Dave 126
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Re: RIP the few -a testament to pioneer spirit.

It turned out Mr Feynman wasn't joking.

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Dave 126
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Re: I remember Challenger...

>I really wish Buzz Aldrin had been "first out the gate" as he would have been far more public and outspoken.

That was exactly the reason the mission planners chose Armstrong over Aldrin. They considered Aldrin a hothead.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/why-neil-armstrong/6362508 ( mp3 download )

Highlights of Why Neil Armstrong ? presented by the Space association of Australia and the Royal Aeronautical society. RMIT 24th March 2015

James Hansen, Armstrong's official biographer, untangles some of the facts from the fiction and looks in great detail at the events and circumstances that led to Armstrong being remembered as the first man on the moon.

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Major Hollywood studio eyes Paint Drying sequel

Dave 126
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Primer

The second film from the writer/director/actor/etc of Primer, Shane Carruth, was Upstream Colour.

Unlike my suggestions above, I'm not making this up:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2084989/

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Dave 126
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Robbie Coltrane

[Paint] Runs on the Run

The [Cellulose] Dope Must Dry

[Eggshell] Cracker

(I'm sorry, I have a cold and didn't get much sleep last night. I had strange dreams too, in which Robbie Coltrane did not feature. I don't where the above line of thought has come from)

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Dave 126
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Re: Paint Drying 2: Dry Hard

That should be:

An Emulsional Roller-Coater ride

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Cops hate encryption but the NSA loves it when you use PGP

Dave 126
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Re: RE: Start encrypting every bit of Internet traffic

>How do you monitor a language you don't know ?

There would be patterns, and statistical anomalies. Such techniques have been used to decipher long dead languages.

Of course, the bad guys could use rules to change the meaning of code words, ( e.g 'mango' mean 'bomb' but only if the football team who are currently 3rd in the premier division wear a blue strip, else 'ten mil spanner' is the magic word) but that requires discipline in their op sec. and perhaps wouldn't be considered a 'language'.

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Sensors, not CPUs, are the tech that swings the smartphone market

Dave 126
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Re: A computer without sensors is a pitiful, useless thing.

>OK as a sat nav - but not as accurate or durable as a dedicated unit

As a sat-nav, phones do have one trick up their sleeve over dedicated units: real time traffic information. Indeed, if you are feeling social, you can install an app that will add to the pool of real-time data, to everyone's benefit.

>- OK as a music player, but not the sound quality of a dedicated unit

That depends on the phone; some are very good, like the LG G2 or some variants of the Galaxy S3. But yeah, a dedicated player can be left plugged into your amp when a phone call comes in.

But yeah, I absolutely accept your general point, my quibbling aside.

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Dave 126
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Re: At the Apple koolade again?

>Then why define the need for it to be running spinning rust?

No worries, Known Hero! The spinning rust was just was just low-hanging fruit. Like I said, there are many ways of judging 'faster', and the 'last-but-one desktop*' could cover such a range of machines that it's silly. :)

It's all good though - even a £25 Chromecast or Raspberry Pi can shunt out HD video at a faster framerate than many a desktop I've seen, desktops that for many popular tasks aren't frustratingly slow.

*The original author would not be too unusual if he had last bought a desktop in, say 2005, and had since just used laptops.

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Dave 126
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Re: >we tend to judge of our computers by their CPUs, rather than their complement of sensors

>Give me a phone which can run a bog-standard linux distro and applications please, and give me a linux distro which can run on a phone.

I won't give it to you, you can buy it yourself! If you want command line Linux applications on a phone, a Ubuntu phone will do that, or a Sailfish in some circumstances.

If you want to use Linux GUI applications on a phone, then you are a masochist.

(I tried using Inkscape on an Android phone. It was a horrible experience. I can imagine the same is true of many GUI Linux applications on a small touchscreen. )

Good luck.

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Dave 126
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Re: A computer without sensors is a pitiful, useless thing.

Quite a few modern phones already have a far higher pixel density than benefits the reading of web-pages and the like. Indeed, some of them boast so many PPI that one suspects it is more motivated by bragging rights than user utility, especially given the detrimental effect on the battery.

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Dave 126
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Re: At the Apple koolade again?

>"Apple cleverly added a proximity sensor - infrared reflected off skin" - I had a Nortel with an IR proximity sensor in 1997...

I once had a capacitive touchscreen phone that lacked a (ear) proximity sensor... after waiting on hold to a utility company for twenty minutes and just getting through to a human, my cheek brushed the 'End Call' button. The phone was lucky not to be thrown across the car park.

The first iPhone had a very poor battery life (one of the reasons it lacked 3G) so the proximity sensor also helped in that regard, as noted in the article. I don't know about your Nortel, but I imagine it had a reasonable battery life anyway.

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Dave 126
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Re: At the Apple koolade again?

I have no need to skew the comparison, Known Hero. In fact my very first sentence included " all I'm saying is that there are a few ways of interpreting the "Y is faster than Z claim"."

The original author made a throw-away comparison, but he knows what the last-but-one desktop computer he bought was. We do not.

He could have used any new flagship smartphone, and the chances are his claim would still hold, so I didn't see it as 'Apple Koolaid' (which OP claimed) since 'Koolaid' is used colloquially to cast doubt on someone's judgement. In this case undeservedly so, since the author's claim is plausible - or likely even, if his last few PCs have been laptops.

He wasn't saying 'Apple is great', but that 'Moores Law means you can get a lot of grunt in small package today'.

( There are people who will tell you that the iPhone is faster than damned-near any other phone, but they defend against claims of Koolaid by describing their testing methodology and any hurdles in conducting a truly objective test: http://www.anandtech.com/show/8554/the-iphone-6-review/5 )

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Dave 126
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It's just an assumption that the author has been buying lots of recent desktops. The sales figures for desktops support the idea that many people find an older PC with no sdd fast enough.

It is perfectly possible for an iPhone - or Snapdragon or Samsung SoC to be faster than an older, but still fast enough, PC

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Dave 126
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Re: At the Apple koolade again?

The A9 chip isn't just doing CPU duties, it's doing GPU duties too - so all I'm saying is that there are a few ways of interpreting the "Y is faster than Z claim".

There is also the task-based measure of speed - how long does this thing take to open an email client, for example. I would imagine that the iPhone would load its mail client faster than any desktop computer that uses a spinning rust HDD. You might cry foul, saying that an app on iOS or Android app is smaller than a Windows/Linix equivilent, but he was clearly comparing two computing systems, not two CPUs.

Of course, the same is true of the top offerings from Qualcom or Samsung, too. The article author was just using the iPhone as an example against desktop computers, and wasn't comparing it to other phones.

In any case, Intel chips haven't got that much faster year-on-year recently... they have been 'fast enough' for some time, so Intel have concentrated on making them more power efficient (tangible benefits include longer battery on laptops, quieter operation and smaller form-factors on desktops.)

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OnePlus ends rationing. You can now buy its phones just like that!

Dave 126
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Re: What?

>Surely if your margin is tight you have to make many units to turn a decent profit??

For sure, but only if you have enough money or credit.

Otherwise you just have the volume of production that you can afford.

If at this point you have lower margins, it will take you longer to get the money together to up production than it would a company who is making more money on each device.

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Google DeepMind cyber-brain cracks tough AI challenge: Beating a top Go board-game player

Dave 126
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Re: Confused

Google's Go beat the human European champion. Facebook's Go hasn't.

Really though, the rival computers should play each other!

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Dave 126
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Re: Atoms

A 19 x 19 grid. So there are 361 intersections,or nodes. Each intersection can be Black, White or Empty.

So you have 3^361. That's 1.74×10^172, of which only 1.196% could be a legal move. So that's a mere 2.08168199382×10^170 possible combinations. That's 208168199381979984699478633344862770286522453884530548425639456820927419612738015378525648451698519643907259916015628128546089888314427129715319317557736620397247064840935

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_and_mathematics#Legal_positions

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Dave 126
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Re: Very Impressive

>No it is not [AI, specialized or general]. Neither by Turing nor by Azimov's criteria.

It'll only be AI when it gets drunk, mooches online, and then proceeds to argue over semantics on an El Reg forum.

Bite my shiny metal ass!

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Apple growth flatlines ... Tim Cook thinks, hey, $80bn is still $80bn

Dave 126
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>Once you reach that level then the best you can hope for - without increasing the range - is to maintain market share

Absolutely, hence the talk about the Next Big Thing. Remember that Apple made their money by increasing their range, i.e by entering Sony and Aiwa's personal music player market, and entering the music distribution business. Later on, it was Nokia's lunch they ate. (yeah, I'm over generalising)

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Dave 126
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Re: A sad day

A couple of things that are fairly self-evident:

- Anyone here who thinks they know what the NBT* will be has a strong incentive keep it to themselves.

- Apple are very, very far away from panic mode yet (remember, it's only Apple's own iPhone sales forecasts that are lower, based on last week's financial news about China where 1/4 of iPhones are sold. The markets knew this already). As such, Apple's attempts to enter the NBT won't be done hastily - they will have been actively conducting due process for years, and it's a game they have played well before. That's a not a guarantee they will succeed, of course, but they have a fairly strong hand.

That said, I already have every material thing I want... a phone to contact friends, and a vehicle to visit them in. My stereo system is loud enough, most of which dates from the 1980s. My coffee device, a moulded plastic plunger thing, makes good coffee anywhere. You get the idea. Come the Zombie apocalypse, I might revisit my chainsaw and shotgun choices of course, but for the time being I'm all good. So... maybe there isn't a NBT?

*Next Big Thing (TM)... (see comment above) yep, I'll steal that! Cheers!

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Stop the music! Booby-trapped song carjacked vehicles – security prof

Dave 126
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Re: WMA

I dunno, I reckon Sony's Sonic Stage could have given them a run for their money on the idiot stakes.

But hey, they're tamed beasts these days, if not reformed characters. Sony's proprietary sillines now looks like a cute idiosyncrasy these days, now that they're in a more humble must-try-harder market position.

I can't even be bothered to curse Microsoft these days either, since Windows 7 doesn't do anything too stupid (as opposed to Vista, XP, 2K Me 98, 95).

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Dave 126
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Re: Just use firewalls and intrusion detection systems ..

>Did no one at the design stage ask the question as to whether these automobile systems could be hacked?

They had no need to ask that when they designed CANBus, because no one was in the habit of connecting it to anything that received wireless data. It's a sound system.

What is daft building a vehicle that includes a module that can both talk to the drivetrain and receive wireless data.

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Dave 126
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Re: Diagnostics and audio

You don't need a firewall, you just need to use *listen-only* modules where appropriate. After all, the store needs to listen to the network to get engine speed, but the stereo doest need to transmit anything.

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Dave 126
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Re: why?

iWhat DougS said.

CANBus's two speeds were traditionally Drivetrain and Infotainment/VAC. The Drivetrain ran at a higher frequency, and the Infotainment at a lower frequency. It runs on a twisted pair of wires, with ground being through the power supply to each module.

It's a packet-based system, with priority. All modules (NXP, Bosh, Whoever) can send and receive, and be either sensors and/or actuators. The high speed version will only run if both wires in the twisted pair are good, the low speed version is tolerant of a fault in either wire.

If you break down, you can still listen to the radio and wind the windows down whilst waiting for the recovery vehicle. So far, so good. Very good, in fact.

Further commands to remote control the vehicle could then be received via the car's built in cellular connection.

Very good, as long as you don't fit a digital wireless receiver to the vehicle's physical network.

I can't think of any reason why a car stereo needs to communicate to the drivetrain. But:

It's not just a bloody stereo these days; it's used to control drivetrain features, such as Sport / Eco modes...

(Not my old van, the £50 Lidl Stereo that plays SD Cards and USB sticks is still working and van doesn't have any built in Sat Nav or cellular radio. Actually TBH, recently it sounds like the capacitors in my stereo are on their way out, but must have got 5 years out of it.)

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Dave 126
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Re: 'Here in my car, it's a safe place to be, i can lock all my doors.....

Gary Numan is probably safe... he used a Mellatron keyboard, a splendidly analogue (and not networked) way of doing what people would now do digitally.

Each key was linked to a coiled length of magnetic tape, and playing the note pulled the tape across a head. Maximum 'sample' size was eight seconds, after which (or after releasing the key) you could hear the tape being rapidly wound back into its spool, if you held your ear near by.

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Dave 126
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Re: The stupidity is you

@Kevin

From the article:

[After playing the Trojan .WMA] "Further commands to remote control the vehicle could then be received via the car's builtin cellular connection."

So, the attacker doesn't need physical access to the car, they 'just' need to socially engineer the owner into playing the CD.

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Flock of sheep ends NZ high-speed car chase

Dave 126
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Re: Sheep used as a roadblock?

What? People for the Eating of Tasty Animals?

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Dave 126
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Re: NZ Rally

It would appear that the first AC doesn't appreciate the difference between concave and convex structures, from a mechanical strength point of view.

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Dave 126
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NZ Rally

I was watching a NZ stage of the World Rally Championship a few years back. The camera was mounted in the cab of a car that was absolutely hooning it down a mountain road. At that speed, there was a small speck of white in the distance, that within the blink of an eye was a flash of red across the windscreen.

"And that was one of New Zealand's 30 million sheep" observed the commentator.

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Apple's Tim Cook rocks up at Vatican - one week after Schmidt

Dave 126
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You're thinking of Bono.

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Dave 126
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For anyone unsure if Bibbit was joking or not:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/thoughtful-animal/once-upon-a-time-the-catholic-church-decided-that-beavers-were-fish/

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Four Boys' Own style World War Two heroes to fire your imagination

Dave 126
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Thumb Up

IT angle:

From Wikipedia:

He also took an umbrella with his kit as a means of identification because he had trouble remembering passwords and felt that anyone who saw him with it would think that "only a bloody fool of an Englishman" would carry an umbrella into battle.

Hahaha! I believe there was a Reg article about the password problem yesterday. Love this gent's solution, so much better than 'send a password reset link to your stored email address'.

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Dave 126
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Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown

His episode of Desert Island Discs is here. It's well worth a listen for his sense humour, as well as his amazing life. He's still as sharp as a tack.

I loved the story of him illegally looping around the Forth Bridge in a Navy Spitfire... the police didn't know the Navy had a Spitfire so fruitlessly chased up the RAF, thus he escaped a severe reprimanding.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04nvgq1

And whilst I'm at it, here's Louis Armstrong's episode. Just because.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p009y1rb

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Five technologies you shouldn't bother looking out for in 2016

Dave 126
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Re: IoT

I've seen home automation done right, in some very expensive homes. Window blinds in a bedroom, linked to a control panel by the bed, that sort of thing.

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Dave 126
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From Hamlet

Hamlet: Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel?

Polonius: By the mass, and ’tis like a camel, indeed.

Hamlet: Methinks it is like a weasel.

Polonius: It is backed like a weasel.

Hamlet: Or like a whale?

Polonius: Very like a whale.

'Methinks' is just a different way of writing 'IMO'. There similarity of cloud shapes to other objects is clearly subjective, not objective. Also, Polonius is coming across as a bit of a sycophant.

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Dave 126
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Re: 4G

>Civilised parts of the country have more interesting things for you to to do than play with 4G phones

Er, the point of having a faster connection is that you spend *less* time waiting for your phone to display the information you need, not more.

>I can't be the only person who has their phone set to "prefer 2G" the majority of the time can I?

If you have a Sony with 'Stamina Mode', or a newer Android version on any phone, the phone will effectively be in 2G mode whenever the screen is turned off - i.e you'll only receive calls and SMS. It's great.

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Dave 126
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Re: Augmented reality

The Google Night Sky app is a nice use of AR, helping people take an interest in the sky at night. It will highlight constellations and planets etc.

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The last time Earth was this hot hippos lived in Britain (that’s 130,000 years ago)

Dave 126
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Re: So what are we supposed to think?

>Preventing things from going extinct is BAD if evolution is GOOD.

That's not how it works. And in any case, it is diversity that is considered good and resilient, not evolution per se. This isn't just for the benefit of the birds and beasts, but for us humans too - look at the Irish Potato Famine if you want an example of the hazards of a monoculture.

>So we need to make up our minds and take our pick.

That's based on a false premise.

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Dave 126
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Re: @Dave 126

>The people who have the most to lose from our disbelief are the ones who invested in carbon credits, renewable energy and their trading. It is already proven that without impressive taxpayer subsidy, wind and solar can't stand on their own. That's who is "grabbing power"!

There will always be people who will attempt to turn any situation to their advantage. That is human nature. There will always be bureaucratic mismanagement. That too is human nature.

However, these human failings say nothing about the validity of climate change one way or another. Indeed, as I said before, the logic of 'Who Benefits?' cuts all ways. If you are saying that some groups benefit from promoting a belief in climate change, then you should be able to accept that some groups benefit from promoting a denial of climate change. To be selective in how you apply your logic is intelectually dishonest.

So, we should all be looking at the evidence without it being filtered through interested parties. That is easier said than done, I grant you, given that it is a complex subject. It becomes even thornier, given its very real geo-political implications. We've had wars over oil, trade dealings with unsavoury oil-producing nations, massively polluting manufacturing states, aid to countries where it seems unfair to deny them the same access to cheap energy in their development as we once did... the list goes on.

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Dave 126
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Re: So what are we supposed to think?

>So what are we supposed to think?

Thinking is a process, not a destination.

Think. Read. Look at the diagrams. Read more. History, economics, sociology, biology, evolution. Information theory, philosophy, mathematics. Brush up on how statistics are used and abused. Read the works of the sacred cows, and of the iconoclasts and heretics. Psychology - who is a nutter? What are their motivations and biases? Draw parallels. Take a walk. Talk to different people in the pub. Play music loudly. Read more. Smell the flowers. Beware of conclusions that suit your circumstances. Draw some pictures. Think.

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Dave 126
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Re: So what are we supposed to think?

>The real issue seems to be OMG! Change is happening! We're scared of change! We must stop it!"

That depends on where you live. For some people right now, climate change is a real threat, and their fear is valid.

For sure, there will be some areas of the world where climate change, in any direction, will be bring some benefits- greater crop yields, for example. However, is the scenario is rapid change, even those short-term beneficiaries might quickly find their good fortune reversed.

If you live in an area that has always had high winds, for example, or heavy snow, your architecture, infrastructure, methods of farming and customs will accommodate such events. With rapid change there is less time to adapt.

Further more, there likely won't be a smooth transition from the status quo to a new scenario. Complex adaptive systems have pesky tendency to be turbulent during times of transition. You might have few years of heavy flooding, and adapt to that, and then find that you have a drought... so there wouldn't be any one optimal adaptation.

And even if you are sitting pretty, there will be a knocking at your gates from poor sods who have found their lands uninhabitable.

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Dave 126
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Re: So what are we supposed to think?

> and if a bunch of ugly insects and a few cute, furry, things can't cope - well that's life!

Stephen J Gould has addressed that issue in an essay, and for that matter, so has Frank Zappa in his song 'Dumb All Over'.

The biggest victims of rapid change will be us and our descendants. Short term business thinking dictates efficiency, and efficiency is the enemy of redundancy and contingency plans - just look at the supply chain issues caused by earthquakes in Japan or floods in Asia.

And for sure, there is a similar pattern mature ecosystems - competition leads to specialisation and an inability to evolve to fit a changing environment quickly enough.

For sure, we could nuke or poison our planet back to slime and within a mere half billion years there could be some interesting multicellular fauna.

Personally, I'd rather myself and my descendants to have the resources to have some fun.

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Dave 126
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Re: Bring on the warming!!!

The thing about Complex Systems, is that they are, er, complex. There could be a rise in the global temperature yet if the Gulf Stream, for example, when out of whack then Britain would get a lot colder.

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Dave 126
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Re: Back in the 70's...

>Back in the 70's... ...I remember quite a bit of angst about a new ice age and the chaos it would cause for humanity

Indeed, Arthur C Clarke wrote, in 1956, a short story set in that scenario. Later however, as a keen scuba diver, I don't he much liked the idea of ocean acidification, either. Still, his role was to facilitate our own thinking about different possible futures, not to lay down a predictions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Forgotten_Enemy

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Dave 126
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>It's a power grab and people know it.

Okay, so you invoking the line of reasoning of "who benefits?". So far, so reasonable. However, were you to wield that approach as the undiscriminating blade that it is, you would acknowledge that fossil fuels have benefited - in terms of money and power - some fairly unsavoury groups and individuals. And the thing about money and power is that it is used to retain and gain more money and power.

This influence is in lobbying in Washington D.C, through to giving Putin leverage over his neighbours, through to the West turning a blind eye to Saudi Arabia's bad behaviour. Britain has historically played pretty dirty in this game as well.

Now, you are exhibiting some of the symptoms of unsound reasoning. There is a whole menagerie of cognitive biases that may skew your perspective until you actively learn about them and challenge yourself.

In the mean time, who exactly do think this is a 'power grab' by? And can you get a job with them?

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Blighty's Parliament prescribed tablets to cope with future votes

Dave 126
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Re: voice recognition

Eranu for yes.

Uvavu for no.

Also, Vic Reeves is made the Speaker of the House.

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