* Posts by Crumble

12 posts • joined 29 Sep 2014

So you're 'agile', huh? I do not think it means what you think it means


Re: By Bullshitters, For Bullshitters

Careful, you're only one step away from "I don't need to test it, I coded it correctly"!

To put it another way, yes you do need to re-test it every single time. If you constructed the test right the first time, it's trivial to prove it again. Then you can spend the rest of the afternoon working out why it didn't pass this time even though you DIDN'T CHANGE THAT BIT.

Prof Hawking to mail postage-stamp space craft to Alpha Centauri using frickin' lasers


The Alpha Centaurians would see the probe coming with plenty of time to prepare their response. It's "The Mote In Gods Eye" (Niven / Pournelle) in reverse.

Sysadmin's £100,000 revenge after sudden sacking


Re: James is a dick...

In my days as a consultant, I was regularly warned about giving advice without a contract in place. I was told that if any advice was to be acted on and went sour, there was no limited liability. Even though I've never seen this happen I was always very careful after that.

In James's place I might have been in touch offering to come and spend a few hours handover of work in progress subject to a suitable (large) fee. No obligation though. And management should already have been aware of the forward schedule for any significant actions required, so I'd expect them to refuse my offer anyway.

Brit cops accused of abusing anti-terror laws to hunt colleague


Re: "Give us more powers" they say. "Are you for or against terrorism?" they say.

It's just a special case of the general principle: if you give someone power they will eventually use it against you.

Terror in the Chernobyl dead zone: Life - of a wild kind - burgeons


Re: Radiation is safe for wildlife...

"Why not build a bunch of new reactors where we can simply specify an exclusion zone around them? Like in the middle of existing national parks?"

A bit like Windscale, really.

Doctor Who storms back in fine form with Season 9 opener The Magician's Apprentice


Re: Didn't watch it, however...

Mr Moffat already has far too many ideas and insists on including all of them in whichever episode he is working on at the time. Result? Plot holes, continuity gaps, unexplained non-sequiturs that seem to be thrown in just for the fun of it. He needs a script editor with discipline.

So, was it really the Commies that caused the early 20th Century inequality collapse?


Re: A bit simplistic

"And the philosophy of Marxism, that drives the left, is almost utterly irrelevant in a world in which there are no human workers, only machines."

Ever since I was a boy reading science fiction, I have struggled to see how such a world could work. How do you get the output of the machines to the people?

The best I can come up with is, take all the money, give it to the people, they use it to buy the output of the machines. Then you have to take all the money off the owner of the machines and give it back to the people to keep the cycle going. I don't think you can dispense with money and give the goods directly to the people, how do you know which people need stuff? At least money allows the people to choose which goods to obtain.

If we could only work out where we're headed, the path ahead would be a lot clearer!

In Kurt Vonnegut Jr's debut novel "Player Piano", central planning allocates goods to people, who mostly work in either the army or the "reconstruction and reclamation corps". It turns out not to be a great solution (although it's an excellent novel).

Meanwhile the Star Trek universe survives fine without money, although sadly Mr Roddenberry didn't go into sufficient detail as to how this works.

All hail Ikabai-Sital! Destroyer of worlds and mender of toilets


"On a general point the entire plumbing industry seems dedicated to producing large numbers of parts none of which are what you need, probably don't fit together and when they do they leak"


"What's a toa?" I'm not an expert, but I know a bit about word processing. "toa" is short for "to spend a".

So why the hell do we bail banks out?


If interest rates drop any lower it'll be cheaper for us to keep our savings under the mattress rather than put them in a bank. Won't that make the whole system collapse? Will we need laws to prevent people hoarding cash?

So how should we tax these BASTARD COMPANIES, then?


I don't buy it.

The snag with using government bond yields as a proxy for average rate of return is that yields have been badly distorted by Quantitative Easing programmes. The flood of money coming in has pushed up demand and pushed down yields. Ten year gilts are about 2% and no likelihood of returning to the old "normal" any time soon. What happens if the UK ends up like Switzerland with ten year bonds yielding less than zero percent?

If you want to do this complicated scheme (who am I to argue with a Nobel), find another proxy.

Hawking and friends: Artificial Intelligence 'must do what we want it to do'


"Our AI systems must do what we want them to do"

The military, which is very interested in AI research, would love to have weapons that can use their own initiative to track down and destroy the designated enemy. I fear that the "three laws" would make such systems impossible.

How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?


Squeezer has it. Scientific testing in the world of high-end hifi is virtually non-existent. There's no point asking the opinion of an audiophile who swears he can hear the difference if his speaker cables are connected back to front (with the lettering on the cable running from speaker to amp).

Nigel11 is right that your best chance of hearing a difference is on very simple music where any "unmusical" digital artefacts will add a perceived harshness to the sound. But I try hard not to listen to the sound and just enjoy the music. I suggest you do the same. It's bound to be coming through better than it did on pirate radio in the 1960's and that was hugely enjoyable regardless!


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