3389 posts • joined 3 Nov 2015
Re: Love at first sight
"It was a tedious process, a major undertaking for someone with crap handwriting"
A major issue was that engineering got the crap typists because things like reports and technical manuals are not as important as management memos about over-use of paperclips.
I acquired an early (tape to tape) microprocessor development system - once the light went on and we realised that plain text includes documents as well as source code, secretarial assistance became history.
"I do hope you corrected your child's spelling, then showed them how to translate the phrase into Latin"
In the past the naughty bits in books, even textbooks, were often in Latin so the women and servants wouldn't be able to read them and be contaminated.
Then prosecuting counsel in the Lady Chatterley case waved a copy at the jury and asked "Would you let your servants read this book?" and the whole thing started to unravel.
There are, however, I am sure, barristers living today who would think both of the above paragraphs totally appropriate. And that's why we get laws like this. If you tell the lower orders and women about sex, they'll be doing it all over the place. They just haven't yet worked out a way to identify on the Internet someone who is either female or in social classes B2CDE.
Re: On your bike
"It was the odious Norman Tebbit who made the comment, not the slightly less odious Michael Hestletine."
Michael Heseltine (note spelling) was the one who actually campaigned for money to be spent up North the way that the people there thought best. He also tried to stop the rather dubious sell out of Westlands and he caused the collapse of the Matrix Churchill trial where elements in the Civil Service were covertly encouraging arms for Iraq and then wanted to hide when an SIS officer found out what was happening and the faeces hit the impeller.
He also wanted the classics educated dead wood at the DTI replaced by people who had significant industry experience and STEM qualifications.
Over the top? Agreed. But one of the few politicians for whom I have considerable respect.
Tebbit? Since his wife was so seriously hurt in the IRA attempt to kill Thatcher it's hard not to feel sorry for him. But the pre-Brighton Tebbit was pretty despicable, so let's call that one odious. The present one is simply sad and irrelevant.
Re: Let them eat cake
"1) not cake but brioche, which is more a sweet bread than cake, and
2) never said by Marie Antoinette. In fact, it dates from at least 50 years before she was born."
According to one biographer ( and it may be a myth because biographers tend to love their subjects) what happened was this:
Bread price was regulated; cake price wasn't.
Therefore when wheat was in short supply, bakers made cake rather than bread.
It was therefore decreed that if there was insufficient bread, the government could force bakers to sell brioche for the same regulated price as bread.
Therefore, Marie Antoinette being told there was not enough bread correctly advised them to enforce the law on brioche and sell it at the bread price.
But it didn't help because as so often happens (a) the Royals were terrible at PR and (b) the opposition was rather good at it. (However, monarchs traditionally have been good at ensuring the poor - who might have nothing to lose by revolting - at least get fed in the capital city, panem et circenses, so there may be some truth in the story.)
I guess the equivalent in this case would be regulating the maximum prices for network speeds, requiring the ISPs to provide service, and penalising them by only allowing them to charge at the rate for the lowest bandwidth in a given municipality.
Re: Banking Recession
"Actually, much of the recession in the US was caused by the government REQUIRING banks to write high-risk loans."
This is repeated by right-wingers (gummint shouldn't lend to poor people) but as Gillian Tett so forensically analysed it in her book Fool's Gold what actually caused the crisis was a lethal combination of investors demanding low risk (AAA) investments, oversupply of high end property developments like condos in Florida, and the banks deciding that mortgages could be repackaged as investments. It wasn't the high risk debt to poor people that caused the crisis - most of them repaid because they were honest as well as poor - but the fact that investments labelled low risk were actually very high risk because of falling prices, and the rating agencies didn't notice. It was the big crooks caused the crisis.
Tett is a social anthropologist as well as a financial journalist and she exposes the extremely toxic banking culture.
The government had to step in and fix the problems in the end. In this particular case the problem may turn out to be a stock market crash as the overvaluing of the Internet-based companies is more and more exposed, and fixing Pai won't fix that.
When was the hole made?
Presumably they want to know when in the production process it happened. If there was swarf on the outside, it was made after the insulation was fitted. If not, before. And there might be a clue from the directionality of the cut edges as to whether it was made from inside or outside.
This kind of investigation is done when looking at defects in cars - such as rust around fasteners. Did it occur due to defective paint, or careless assembly.
Isolate the section of the production process, get out the rubber truncheons.
A warning, really.
Unless you're a development engineer, why would you buy a first generation 5G phone with separate modem in 2019? Some of us remember the power consumption fiasco of the first 4g phones with separate modem, the first 64 bit Qualcomm CPU (810)...
Let's hope my present phone lasts till well into 2020.
Re: "something that could in parts be older than the solar system"
Interestingly, in response to another nutter claiming NASA faked the Moon landings, a Russian scientist who has analysed some of the rock brought back from the Moon has replied that as the rock samples are older than the Earth, it would have been easier simply to go to the Moon and get them than to fake them.
Re: There's no mystery
It's clearly explained in the Bible - it was God what done it. He caused it to rain an awful lot and opened the fountains of the deep.
If you're the kind of person who tries to rationalise the Bible you'll say that the rain was the cometary impacts and the fountains of the deep was all the water from below reaching the surface.
If you're the kind of person who is a bit more aware of the mindset of people who lived between five and three thousand years ago you'll say "quick thinking by priest in response to awkward question, probably from a five year old."
US Homeland Security installs AI cameras at the White House, Google tries to make translation less sexist
Re: Translation and Artificial Idiocy
I think mediocre does not mean what you think it means. Mediocre means it would be doing about as well as an average translator (the medi as in Mediterranean, lit. middle of the Earth, gives it away.)
Looking for idiom is I think unrealistic, especially as there are so many within a given language. (Translating, say, Raymond Queneau's street argot must have been a nightmare). But readable and accurate may be achievable for non-literary text, which is what most people are going to want most of the time.
Re: I'm not sure what the fuss is about
"Your examples are unnecessarily too complicated to illustrate why Google is failing."
You say that and then say the problem is lack of context sensitivity, which was exactly what I was saying, and just giving a couple of examples to show how it works.
Which languages do you know in which third person plural is gendered? Telling us might give some value to your post.
I'm not sure what the fuss is about
I think the fuss is about the limitations of phrasal recognition in translation without context sensitivity, which is a long standing issue.
Many languages - Germanic, Romance, Slavic - in the West are highly gendered. Some languages are not.
Take a language with non-gendered pronouns. Faced with the sentences equivalent to "This is Susan. It is a doctor", a human translator has no problem. She knows Susan is female, and so can translate into English as "This is Susan. She is a doctor." But a phrasal automatic translator will result in, given the usual statistical bias, "This is Susan. He is a doctor." Because it doesn't remember context from one clause to another.
A reverse example would be to take the sentence (transliterated Russian) "Vot Dima. Ona sobaka." Now sobaka is the common word for a dog in Russian and is feminine in grammar. "Dima" has a feminine ending. So a translation engine is likely to come up with "Here is Dima. She is a dog." In fact, "Dima" is a masculine nickname - as a human translator will know - and the correct translation is "Here is Dima. He is a dog."
Translation is as you say not an exact science. But humans are very sensitive to words even without taking modern sensibilities into account, and they would consider the misgendering a poor translation.And laugh at the stupid mistake.
Google Translate does a reasonably good job between related languages but that is actually less of a challenge - where it would be most useful is between unrelated languages. And it's issues like these that will take the most effort to iron out.
Re: Latest theory
Are we going to buy that platinum-iridium kilogramme from the French and rename it the Imperial 2.204 Pound? Then if we can just find twelve yeomen coming out of church on a Sunday we can get our standard foot back.
Just in time for a number of large corporations to stick it right in their mouths.
Re: Risk assessment
"WRONG - there should be as little as possible human contact with dangerous substances."
Years of Internet experience from the 1990s on leads me to believe that when someone starts a post with "WRONG" in capitals - they are usually not even wrong themselves.
I like the way you are trying to shift the ground. Nobody is talking about humans handling pepper spray direct. The point is that it was in supposedly safe packaging - until it came into contact with some machinery (forklift?)
Visit a pharmacy and see the incorrectness of your statement. Watch things like chemotherapy agents being dispensed.
The point is that in human handling things may get dropped, but automatic machinery can break things in ways hard to anticipate. Believe me, I've worked in factory automation. I also know about forklift drivers, and the creative ways things can fall off of and get caught in conveyors. Human-only handling accidents tend to be very much gentler.
If bear spray is not very toxic than why were 24 people hospitalised, one described as being in "critical condition"?
It looks as if no risk assessment was done on the handling of an extremely dangerous substance (practically a chemical weapon) in an automated warehouse.
That's the kind of stuff that should be subject to manual handling only rules.
And if it was in the warehouse, how would it be packed and despatched? In a secure container? Or an Amazon cardboard box?
Re: "All of these images are both porn (at least to me)"
"Very good, but the general public don't care what the root of a word was or what it used to mean, they'll take your dictionary and beat you over the head with it."
But over here where we don't have political elected judges, m'lud tends to be well educated and does care.
OM5G... Qualcomm teases next Snapdragon chip for phones: The 855 with a fingerprint Sonic Screwdriver, er, Sensor
Re: I'll just leave this here...
I am left unsure whether that was meant to be funny or not, because on the whole commentards are not people who go for fantasy world conspiracy theory blogs.
Or perhaps I really should check out whether exposure to multi-gigahertz radiation in my garden really did turn the grass brown this summer.
Re: 5G skeptics
"I heard that 400-700nm is the worst radiation wavelength."
You jest but I believe around 300-400 really is. UV is ionising, for some atoms and molecules.
One thing about believers in low level radiation nonsense is that their belief basically follows the pattern of religion or homeopathy. As one possibility after another is exploded, they invent new ones. OK, microwaves in general aren't harmful but the modulation of the wifi signal makes it dangerous. 50Hz has been around in our houses for years? It was safe until CFLs affected the waveform and made it hazardous.
I wish I was making this stuff up. Alternatively, I wish I had a big business selling radiation detectors to the gullible.
Re: Band bingo
"Phones with global LTE coverage already cost a fortune. "
Unless you mean you want something that works with both CDMA and GSM I don't think you're right.
Early 4g phones were quite expensive but a lot cheaper than a new iPhone. Many Far Eastern phones have "global" editions which cover all the usual bands. I paid £240 for mine.
I expect 5g to get to reasonable prices about the time I need a replacement.
Re: the Turing Test isn't really appropriate because of its anthropocentric assumptions
"Would be relevant, except the entire article was about using "AI" in an anthropocentric environment."
Fair comment, I suppose. But the question still remains whether a system designed to evaluate evidence in court cases and interpreting the law should do something resembling human reasoning. The massive cost of litigation and the unsatisfactory outcome of many cases may be a simple artefact of people being what they are, but it may be that the brains evolved to look for food and sex and shout at other apes may not be the best way to deal with the complexities of a modern society.
Re: Turing test ?
"Could any commentards help by filling in the names of systems that have passed it in reply to this comment, please."
Me for one. Nobody has spotted that I'm a bot yet.
(Serious point; when Turing wrote about that test, we still thought that human intelligence was the only kind of intelligence. It's now obvious that parrots and dolphins are intelligent but not necessarily in a human like way, and that some aspects of human behaviour are distributed fairly randomly among the animals - dogs are good at communicating with people but not as good at abstract thought as ravens, say. So the Turing Test isn't really appropriate any more, because of its anthropocentric assumption.)
Re: Is it a penis or....
"Yet another example of "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing""
I am so put down
"So in summary (and apologies for the Biblical nerdism), your reasoning and example are utterly wrong"
Again, I am so put down.
Mine's the one with a copy of Weingreen in the pocket. I gave all my other textbooks to Oxfam years ago...they were a little taken aback but said they would probably go to Oxford.
Re: Is it a penis or....
" I am pretty certain Enki was featured in some book by Neal Stephenson. Could it be a subliminal inspiration for your post?"
Not really, I have never to my knowledge read anything by Stephenson.
But I am aware that this is an extremely contentious area.
Orthodox Jews have quite a critical apparatus intended to "monotheise" Bereshit, and I would say that I am familiar with some of what you post. To others I would merely suggest that yours could be a post facto rationalisation since Bereshit was put together many years after the origins of the Hebrew religion. And, in fact, after Omri suppressed the worship of Yahweh, referred to in Kings when his successor Ahab was overthrown by the Yahwists. (Coincidentally there's an excellent article on the chronology of the written Bible in this month's National Geographic, but it doesn't go into prehistory.)
Re: Is it a penis or....
Do you know one explanation of why visual representations of God were forbidden in Judaism?
Because at least one of the three gods mentioned in the first part of the Bible (Adonai, Elohim and Yahweh) was a fertility god represented as bringing life into being by watering the land with his semen.
"This isn't rude, constable, I'm a pre-Yahwist and I think the Ten Commandments are blatant heresy."
FYI: NASA has sent a snatch-and-grab spacecraft to an asteroid to seize some rock and send it back to Earth
Re: Generational differences
"well, you could start by not generalising a whole generation"
We're not. You are a legit poster since 2011. We're having a got at people who are so obsessed with this guy that they signed up specifically to post on this one article, and are so up themselves that Space X will probably be employing them as booster stages.
Most of us old farts have children and grandchildren. We'd die of embarrassment if any of them were like that. One of mine has his own Youtube channel for his electronic music. That sort of thing I don't mind at all.