burkaman's recent activity

  1. Comment on Goodbye, MIT in ~humanities

    burkaman
    Link
    A bit off topic, but I will never understand why anyone donates to any large university. MIT's endowment is $27 billion. They do not need your money and they never will. They could eliminate...

    A bit off topic, but I will never understand why anyone donates to any large university. MIT's endowment is $27 billion. They do not need your money and they never will. They could eliminate tuition for the next century and not even notice. Please find a cause that will actually benefit from your support, no matter how much you love your college.

    11 votes
  2. Comment on Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of October 18 in ~health.coronavirus

    burkaman
    Link Parent
    That's 83.2% of people 18 or older. Our World in Data is showing proportions for people of all ages.

    That's 83.2% of people 18 or older. Our World in Data is showing proportions for people of all ages.

    3 votes
  3. Comment on Amazon copied products and rigged search results to promote its own brands, documents show in ~finance

    burkaman
    Link Parent
    Yes they do: https://themarkup.org/amazons-advantage/2021/10/14/amazon-puts-its-own-brands-first-above-better-rated-products#amazon-methodology-fig4b-survey-bars-Q2 Most people think Amazon search...
    • Exemplary

    no one goes to Amazon thinking that they're getting unbiased search results

    Yes they do: https://themarkup.org/amazons-advantage/2021/10/14/amazon-puts-its-own-brands-first-above-better-rated-products#amazon-methodology-fig4b-survey-bars-Q2

    Most people think Amazon search will give them the bestselling or best rated product, or just don't really think about it.

    Also, that's what they told Congress: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/JU/JU05/20190716/109793/HHRG-116-JU05-20190716-SD038.pdf

    Amazon designs its shopping and discovery experience to feature the items customers will want
    to purchase, regardless of whether they are offered by Amazon or one of its selling partners.
    Amazon considers many factors when choosing the shopping results featured for customers,
    including, for example, customer actions (such as how frequently an item was purchased),
    information about the item (such as title, price, and description), and availability.

    In question 7 they explicitly deny that their algorithms consider a product's relationship to Amazon.

    14 votes
  4. Comment on Shower thought ... Maybe everything else is mutating, too? in ~health

    burkaman
    Link
    Everything else is mutating all the time, that's why there's a new flu shot every year. You'd actually expect them to mutate less in this scenario, if they're infecting fewer people and therefore...

    Everything else is mutating all the time, that's why there's a new flu shot every year.

    Thanks to all of the social distancing, OCD hand-washing, masking, etc for the past 18 months, "regular" colds/flus/germs have probably been going through some pretty extreme evolutionary stresses, just like Covid

    You'd actually expect them to mutate less in this scenario, if they're infecting fewer people and therefore have fewer opportunities to reproduce. Environmental stress can drive evolution, but if a virus can't spread, that's more than stress; it's just going to die and fail to pass on any genes at all.

    10 votes
  5. Comment on Bangle.js 2 is a hackable, open source smartwatch that runs JavaScript in ~tech

    burkaman
    Link Parent
    I mean any language without explicit memory management has to be run in an environment with garbage collection. Espruino has a GC, but I don't know enough to say what algorithm it uses or how safe...

    I mean any language without explicit memory management has to be run in an environment with garbage collection. Espruino has a GC, but I don't know enough to say what algorithm it uses or how safe and efficient it is.

    4 votes
  6. Comment on Bangle.js 2 is a hackable, open source smartwatch that runs JavaScript in ~tech

    burkaman
    Link Parent
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gfw/banglejs-2-the-open-smart-watch Don't totally buy it, I don't think any of this is unique to Javascript. However the Espruino site is more convincing:...

    Why JavaScript?

    Developing software for embedded devices can be a real pain. Code can take a minute or more to compile and upload to the chip, which has to happen for every change you make. Many tools don’t even allow for debugging, and on a device that stays on for weeks, even a tiny memory leak can make it unusable.

    Bangle.js doesn’t have those problems. The Espruino JavaScript interpreter allows you to upload code and debug wirelessly out of the box using just a Web Browser, with no need to install software on your computer. You can even try it out in an emulator!

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gfw/banglejs-2-the-open-smart-watch

    Don't totally buy it, I don't think any of this is unique to Javascript. However the Espruino site is more convincing:

    Why JavaScript?

    We wanted to use a language that:

    • Has the same basic form as C, so simple code appears similar to Arduino code
    • Encourages event-based programming (for lower power consumption)
    • Is widely used, with lots of learning material online
    • Is interpreted, and allows functions to be modified while the interpreter is running (unlike some other languages, JavaScript treats functions as variables)

    How power efficient is Espruino?

    Very. Because it is event based, the Espruino interpreter can put itself to sleep when it knows no action is required.

    This means that code written for Espruino will be substantially more power efficient than the same code written in C, unless the C programmer has explicitly added code to enter low power sleep modes.

    Power Consumption depends on the board you're using, but for a device like Puck.js power consumption when idle can be as little as 3uA (0.000003 Amps).

    https://www.espruino.com/FAQ

    I hate Javascript but this seems like a pretty mature and well-thought-out project.

    11 votes
  7. Comment on Is there really a US truck driver shortage? in ~life

    burkaman
    Link Parent
    Sounds like they need a union.

    Sounds like they need a union.

    3 votes
  8. Comment on Portland, Oregon, is ground zero for violent culture-war clashes. And it’s spreading in ~misc

  9. Comment on ‘I’m sorry, but it’s too late’: Alabama doctor on treating unvaccinated, dying COVID patients in ~health.coronavirus

    burkaman
    Link Parent
    Why? The global population growth rate has been falling for 50 years and will almost definitely continue to fall until population peaks in the not too distant future. "Keep doing our best to stop...

    Either birth rates must fall dramatically, or death rates must increase dramatically.

    Why? The global population growth rate has been falling for 50 years and will almost definitely continue to fall until population peaks in the not too distant future. "Keep doing our best to stop people from dying" seems like a humane path forward.

    5 votes
  10. Comment on What really happened at the Oroville Dam Spillway? in ~science

    burkaman
    Link Parent
    We have the same thing in the US: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineer%27s_Ring I don't think most people take it very seriously, you need more than a one time ritual to maintain a strong culture.

    We have the same thing in the US: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineer%27s_Ring

    I don't think most people take it very seriously, you need more than a one time ritual to maintain a strong culture.

    2 votes
  11. Comment on England’s largest seagrass planting programme gets underway in ~enviro

    burkaman
    Link Parent
    It's badly phrased, I think it means "seagrass is the source of 10% of all the carbon that gets sequestered in ocean sediment every year".

    It's badly phrased, I think it means "seagrass is the source of 10% of all the carbon that gets sequestered in ocean sediment every year".

    7 votes
  12. Comment on Why I am obsessed with the forbidden Seuss in ~books

    burkaman
    Link Parent
    Only one library in that article removed the books (temporarily), and eBay has not banned them...

    Only one library in that article removed the books (temporarily), and eBay has not banned them (https://www.ebay.com/itm/RAN-THE-ZOO-CHILDRENS-BOOK-RANDOM-HOUSE-NEW-YORK-VINTAGE-HARDCOVER-BOOK/233933309198?hash=item367783050e:g:HNAAAOSwUIhgUgOE, https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dr-Suess-Book-Renewed-Copyright-1974/133696411712?hash=item1f20ed5840:g:sZQAAOSw2z9gURYF, easy to find more).

    I can't find an explanation of eBay's decision, but every article I can find says something like "eBay said they were removing the books, but hundreds of listings are still up".

    10 votes
  13. Comment on Left-wing protesters get treated with brutality. Right-wing protesters get coddled. in ~misc

  14. Comment on Let us drink in public: Open container laws criminalize working-class people and make public life less fun in ~food

    burkaman
    Link Parent
    I think the accepted term for this that most people will understand is "victimless" behavior. Using an uncommon definition of violence is confusing your message, and I don't think there's any benefit.

    I think the accepted term for this that most people will understand is "victimless" behavior. Using an uncommon definition of violence is confusing your message, and I don't think there's any benefit.

    6 votes
  15. Comment on The Trump campaign is currently spending $5.4 million per week on Facebook ads, almost assuredly making it the platform's largest advertiser in ~tech

  16. Comment on [WARNING - transphobia] Gender critical has been banned - here are some links I’ve collected in ~test

    burkaman
    Link Parent
    Useful for what? I'm just trying to figure out what action you want taken. Is it seriously just about bathrooms and sports matchups? Those feel like relatively minor problems compared to the...

    Useful for what? I'm just trying to figure out what action you want taken. Is it seriously just about bathrooms and sports matchups? Those feel like relatively minor problems compared to the intensity of the rhetoric in the stuff you posted.

    8 votes
  17. Comment on [WARNING - transphobia] Gender critical has been banned - here are some links I’ve collected in ~test

    burkaman
    Link
    What is the actual problem that you think needs to be solved? I'm looking through these links, and I don't understand what argument they could be promoting other than "trans people shouldn't...

    What is the actual problem that you think needs to be solved? I'm looking through these links, and I don't understand what argument they could be promoting other than "trans people shouldn't exist". You claim to be fine with the existence of trans people, so I don't understand what issue you want to be addressed. I guess there was an unfair boxing matchup or something, is it more than that?

    If you believe trans people deserve the same human rights as everyone else, then what is the issue?

    8 votes
  18. Comment on Facebook creates fact-checking exemption for climate deniers in ~tech

    burkaman
    Link Parent
    He has also staffed the company with people like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Kaplan, who I imagine was more directly involved with this decision.

    He has also staffed the company with people like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Kaplan, who I imagine was more directly involved with this decision.

    1 vote
  19. Comment on The death of George Floyd, in context in ~misc

    burkaman
    Link Parent
    I agree with your general point that the internet often reacts to things before it can possibly understand the context, but in this specific scenario I don't think the context changes anything....

    I agree with your general point that the internet often reacts to things before it can possibly understand the context, but in this specific scenario I don't think the context changes anything.

    Obviously it's subjective, but on a scale from 1 (no threat at all) to 10 (I need to call the police right now), the context of the Christian Cooper story brings it to about a 2. A reasonable reaction, at most, would be to say "what the fuck, don't threaten me", and walk away while keeping your eye on him. "I will come at you like a fucking wolverine." would not be a reasonable reaction.

    10 votes
  20. Comment on As a DM, I kinda hate Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition in ~games.tabletop

    burkaman
    Link Parent
    I've never played 4e, but I think it was generally agreed by everyone to be pretty bad. Not good for beginners, and not good for hardcore experienced players. Generally the "debate" is between 5e...

    I've never played 4e, but I think it was generally agreed by everyone to be pretty bad. Not good for beginners, and not good for hardcore experienced players. Generally the "debate" is between 5e and 3.5e, which I would compare to Skyrim vs. Morrowind. I think they're both good, and it just depends what kind of game you want to play. I agree with your take on 5, and I think 3.5 is definitely harder and more strategic, but not so punishing that it's not fun for beginners.

    2 votes