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Comment Re:Before a human walks on Mars... (Score 1) 285

It would be easier for humans to survive an "extinction-level event" on Earth than for a viable long-term population to survive on Mars. The Mars fans get excited when there's a little frost found there, whereas after the dinosaur-killer hit Earth there were still oceans of water available. We could engineer habitats here to survive almost anything short of the total stripping of atmosphere and oceans from the planet. Mars inhabitants will be struggling just to grow mushrooms.

Comment Re:That's nothing (Score 1) 258

The real test of artificial intelligence will come when the self-driving vehicle will have to decide between plowing into a crowd of people to protect the driver, and smashing into a tree to protect the crowd of people - but killing the driver, when the accident is inevitable.

Yeah, I hate it when that happens (and it happens all the time). So far I've always chosen the crowd of people - why can't we just program the car to do the same?

Comment Same Old Same Old (Score 1) 105

I've been hearing big-brother paranoia theories for decades now. It used to be using credit cards - remember how that would allow the evil corporations to track your every move? Well, now everybody uses them for everything, and the world hasn't collapsed into a dystopian police state yet. And what about those threads in $20 bills? Have they rounded up all the cash yet?

Besides, this story isn't as evil as the headline states anyway - Google doesn't "want" to do anything, they're just doing research at this point. This is no different than using a heartbeat monitor to test for health problems, IMO.

Comment Why Version Control is Important (Score 4, Insightful) 285

Back in the 80's, I was working on a project with three other programmers. Nobody had heard of version control back then; we were using VAX/VMS and it would keep a few versions of a file around after you changed it, which seemed good enough (after all, we all trusted each other, right?)

Well, I don't remember the exact bug(s), but one day I fixed something, and tested it. Fine. A few days later the bug came back. So I went back, fixed it again (wait, didn't I already make this change?). A few days later it came back again.

It turned out that one of the other guys had fixed a different bug, which I had introduced with my fix. So, his fix was to change the code back the way it was. We went back and forth a few times un-doing each others' changes before we realized what was going on. Seeing a revision log with comments on the changes might have helped...

Comment Re:Today's computer science corriculum is practica (Score 2) 154

Nowadays, anything that specific that you don't know, you just google it. I have a master's degree in CS and 30 years experience, don't have a clue what that subnet mask thingy does either, but I can find out in five minutes. Maybe your problem is you're hiring dumb people?

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department