Robert Prior

Robert Prior

  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    And of course infant mortality really lowers the "average life expectancy" without revealing how likely you are to live after surviving childhood. Is there another commonly-used measure that captures how long adults are likely to live? An age-at-death histogram would...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    I don't think I know anyone who plays just one instrument. My dad could play the piano for as long as I can remember. Eventually he decided to teach himself guitar, which brought him up to two instruments, but for...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    And there's the famous Torpenhow Hill, although that's apparently a ghost word. https://digitalcommons.butler.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=4733&context=wordways...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    The metaphor Cohen and Stewart used in Figments of Reality was the circus ringmaster. To the audience it looks like the ringmaster is in control, but they're actually just pointing out what would have happened anyway. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figments_of_Reality Hm. Published 20...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    Lamarck vs Lysenko? You're right. It's possible my teacher got it wrong, more likely my memory got it wrong (it was many decades ago, and those notes are long gone so I can't check). If what I described is more...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    My first thought was a crossover with Pratchett's dwarves. Like Low King, without the monarchy....
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    A botanical analogy would be "Lysenkoism with genes". With epigenetics and horizontal gene transfer, Lysenkoism isn't as flat-out wrong as I learned in school. (Leaving aside the con-man aspects, and taking "Lysenkoism" to mean "inheritance of acquired characteristics" which...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    For some reason this seems apropos: https://www.xkcd.com/793/...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    I'm just guessing that some biological processes are irrelevant, based on general reductionist grounds. Things like hair growing, digestion (I often think while taking a dump [as I'm doing right now], but I'm perfectly capable of thinking outside the toilet),...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    I was taking the city bus to school in grade 5 too. Two busses with a transfer (very indirect route). Or in good weather I could ride my bike. Nowadays it wouldn't be allowed — enforced through anonymous complaints to...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    Exactly. Like Megpie's point about not exposing your 'infant' AI to the full internet…...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    Looks like I'm stuck then. I (mostly) use my computers for photography, and my 6+TB of photographs are stored in Aperture which isn't supported* (and works reliably under Yosemite but not under High Sierra). I also use Pages from iWork...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    any learning system has to be treated, in its early stages, as a child in need of supervision, care, and the application of selection and discretion to what they're exposed to Interesting idea. David Brin used something like that...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    So turn off JavaScript except when I'm reading Charlie's blog? :-) I can do that. Thanks....
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    I'm running a few OSes behind on a Mac — haven't upgraded because the software I use 50% of the time isn't supported on newer OSes. Would it be a reasonable assumption that as long as I don't install new...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    most people assume faster and more convenient communication, so you're likely to find yourself and your family missing out on some things if you live without a telephone A child's school, for example, requires a phone number for emergencies....
  • Commented on Dark State: how to get signed copies!
    Conveniently ignored much of the time. In Canada during the G20 conference* we had police acting illegally, blatantly so, and getting away with it even after courts ruled that their behaviour was illegal. And it seems to me the the...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    There is no reason to have a personal discussion absent trivial facts anymore, yet Newspaper editorial boards are still writing without bothering to look them up. Depends on whether you are trying to present information or convince someone. My...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    Later this century, I suspect we'll see migrations that put all these to shame, coming out of Bangladesh, Shanghai, and the Mekong River Delta. Shanghai might not be such a problem. There are lots of ghost cities in China,...
  • Commented on Dark State: how to get signed copies!
    You're probably out of luck. Passengers wanted in the US have been taken from international flights that had unplanned landings there; foreigners have very limited rights*; failing to follow police orders is a felony**… *Legally they have some, practically enforcing...
  • Commented on Dark State: how to get signed copies!
    Did people who used BBC Micros go on to write their university essays using their BBC Micro? Did businesses run commercial software on it? Did scientists do real modelling on it? Dunno about the BBC Micro, but I used my...
  • Commented on PSA: Please don't nominate the Laundry Files for a Best Series Hugo Award (this year)
    But of course, the straight-forward reading would have required black neighborhoods to be armed to the teeth, and the entire history of gun-control in the US is racist as all hell. That's been my impression. Thinks like the Milford Act,...
  • Commented on PSA: Please don't nominate the Laundry Files for a Best Series Hugo Award (this year)
    Good point. Travelling so can't check my original research, but I'm pretty sure I was looking at "legally available" rather than "easy to find and purchase". Of course, if there was little supply because there was little demand that would...
  • Commented on PSA: Please don't nominate the Laundry Files for a Best Series Hugo Award (this year)
    I'll have to remember that. Useful summation of statistics. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before, but back before Canada had any gun control* our murder rate was about 1/10 that of America. Even the bits of Canada with lots...
  • Commented on What can possibly go wrong?
    the few hundred ms audio transmission delay is in just the right range to crash your analytical faculties and you don't even notice it happening Do you have a reference for that? I teach a lot of kids who...
  • Commented on What can possibly go wrong?
    As long as we're going for the obvious, I remember my father singing along to this one when I was a lad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yw0bLHTOb0 (Andy Stewart singing "Donald Where's Your Troosers")...
  • Commented on What can possibly go wrong?
    Admittedly such safety systems may lead to more accidents caused by inattentive drivers ... And inattentive pedestrians who assume the car will give them right-of-way even if it's physically impossible… Assuming there's anything to risk homeostasis, I'd expect pedestrians...
  • Commented on What can possibly go wrong?
    the male teenager equivalent Trousers with the crotch by your knees, belted below your butt cheeks. Bum mostly covered by fancy underwear, with the crack exposed if you're careless or looking to wind your teachers up*. On the bright...
  • Commented on What can possibly go wrong?
    Yeah, I'm amazed at the number of people who think they can see everything happening in the traffic around them. They just don't seem to fathom that they could miss something important. That's one of the reasons I'm glad I...
  • Commented on What can possibly go wrong?
    Dark clothing seems to be a thing now. As well, aggressive driving/riding/walking seems to be more than when I moved to Toronto in the 90s, but that could be a faulty memory....
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