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Comment: Re:I choose Science (Score 1) 235

by michaelggreer (#48567105) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Medal Will Be Returned To Him

I choose science too! One of the great things about science is that it can quickly conclude hypotheses based on opinion and prejudice. Continuation of such conjectures after solid refutation strips them of any "scientific" inquiry and authority. They are exposed for the pure prejudice they are.

And all members of a society are welcome to respond to such open and public prejudice in any reasonable manner they choose.

As he is also a well-known sexist jerk and research thief, I choose to spurn him. Join me if you agree, don't if you do not.

Comment: Re:Expanded thinking (Score 1) 392

by michaelggreer (#47920191) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?
Absolutely right. It isn't a contest between liberal arts and STEM: it is about building diverse, critical, integrated teams instead of technology monocultures. Communication, writing, and sociological insight are crucial _additions_ to a hardcore STEM team. As a CTO with an MFA, I can tell you for certain that my arts background has been the key to my success building product cultures and finding the best viable technology paths. But it doesn't mean it is the only way. Also: read lots of novels. They help you become a better human whatever your degree.

Comment: Re:*sigh* (Score 1) 358

by michaelggreer (#46809641) Attached to: Google: Better To Be a 'B' CS Grad Than an 'A+' English Grad
I completely agree. So much of engineering is actually about understanding the problem, so adding more people from the same background will not improve this. I always hire a diverse set of people, and help them work together as a team. While it is crucial to have some solid CS people there, having humanities (especially Library Science, my favorite degree to hire from) helps cut through the groupthink and improves the solution pool, same as hiring both young and old programmers etc. Also, its more fun.

Comment: Re:Degree (Score 1) 287

by michaelggreer (#46751151) Attached to: Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job
You can totally get a great job with only technical training, but those "bullshit lib arts requirements" are exactly what will allow all of your colleagues to advance past you. Literature and art are not just "fun": they are part of becoming rich human beings. Others' ability to speak well, and connect with, write to, and understand others will turn them into your bosses fairly quickly. But if you want a good job, and to stay there forever, technical training is absolutely sufficient.

Comment: Re:Words matter (Score 1) 178

by Adhemar (#37771676) Attached to: French Court Orders ISP To Block Police Misconduct Website

It’s perfectly possible that the website disclosed personal information, addresses, social network details and political affiliations of the police officers. And it’s understandable that the police say they are particularly concerned about those portions. I haven’t seen the site.

But I have read the judgment. And the justification of the website ban does not mention police officer’s personal information as a reason for the ban. Instead, the Court explains that it objects to certain language on the website, and the Court gives a few examples:

Nous n’hésiterons pas à user de termes sévères à l’égard de la Police et de la Gendarmerie, car nous considérons ces institutions comme la fosse commune de l’humanité, le charnier de l’évolution, la mise à mort quotidienne de la déontologie et de l’éthique. Nous serons sans equivoque
“We will not hesitate to use harsh terms down on Police and Gendarmerie, because we consider these institutions as the common grave of mankind, the mass grave of evolution, killing daily Conduct and ethics. We will be clear”

Un laboratoire ou CRS [compagnie républicaine de sécurité] et PAF [police aux frontières] s’entraînent à chasser le migrant, à l’humilier, à le torturer psychologiquement. Calais possède sans doute la PAF la plus violente de France
“A laboratory or Republic’s Security Company and the Border Police are trained in hunting downs migrants, in humiliating, in torturing them psychologically. [The town of] Calais has probably the most violent border police of France”

The Court considers that such language falls under the description

toute expression outrageante, termes de mépris ou invective qui ne renferme l’imputation d’aucun fait
“any offensive expression, contemptuous term or invective [violent denunciation] that does not reflect the imputation [attribution of a fault] of any fact”

with respect to the police, and is as such forbidden under a legal exception to the free speech/free press principle.

Comment: Simple (Score 3, Interesting) 142

by Mensa Babe (#37468544) Attached to: Patent Attorney Breaks Down Impact of the America Invents Act
Microsoft supported it, Google opposed it. What more proof do we need that this act is evil? Propably none and even if some then not much. Nevertheless the articles linked in this story even if not bad in content still may be quite hard to follow for anyone who hasn't got an opinion on this matter yet. You can find much more information in the Wikipedia article: Leahy-Smith America Invents Act and even more in the articles linked in the references. I strongly recommend reading it all because otherwise we risk to draw uneducated conclusions from the aspects of this story that may seem obvious but actually are not that obvious for anyone educated in the intellectual property law. Some of the implications of that act would be rather scary so we really need to take some time to fully research the subject and unlike the Redmondmag, the so called "independent voice of the Microsoft IT community", the Wikipedia is actually worth reading.

Comment: Shame (Score 0, Troll) 158

by Mensa Babe (#37467480) Attached to: Microsoft Ousts IE Mobile Manager For Revealing Nokia Phone Details
It's a shame that Nokia, a phone company with the best hardware, is working so hard to provide us their great hardware with the worst possible software. What I would really like to see is Nokia handsets with Android system. They would sell like there was no yesterday. Do you hear me Nokia?

Comment: Performance (Score 1) 329

by Mensa Babe (#37350316) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Programs To Learn From?
The main point is performance. Ryan Dahl wanted to write fast, scalable servers easily. We all know for years that threads don't scale but event loops do (see the second chart of memory consumption of apache vs nginx). Of course in order to have a highly concurrent evented server you can't use blocking system calls (which were a big mistake in my opinion to begin with - they are the only reason why you needed threads exposed at the application level for concurrency in the past). OK, so we want a portable, high performance, event-based, async-I/O, scalable, highly concurrent server. The obvious way to write such servers in a portable, OS-independent way was to write them in C using libraries like libev or libevent for event loops and libeio for non-blocking I/O. The result is great. But the problem is that it is not easy. C doesn't have lambdas, anonymous functions, closures or higher-order functions in a real sense, which all would make writing event handlers much easier. So Ryan was looking for a higher level language and found V8, the JavaScript virtual machine written by Google for Chrome. JavaScript has anonymous functions and closures. And V8 is fast. And also when you write JavaScript in the browser then you never use blocking function calls anyway, so people are already familiar with asynchronous I/O, events, callbacks, closures, futures and promises. Hell, you can even use Y combinators in JavaScript if you know your craft. Now, if only JavaScript had lazy evaluation and proper tail call optimization - maybe some day. Watch some talks by Ryan Dahl if you're interested and after 25 years in the field you should be. Oh, and Node doesn't have anything to do with the browser besides the V8 origins. It's all server-side. See the Wikipedia article on Node for more info and code examples. I'm glad that people who have been professionally programing for so many years are still willing to broaden their horizons. As I have written in the past it is not a universal property of programmers unfortunately. Have fun with new tools.

Comment: Click (Score 1) 329

by Mensa Babe (#37345514) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Programs To Learn From?

Out of curiosity I looked at your link to Node. Then at the explanation about what the project is. It fits in half a line: "evented I/O for v8 javascript" and I have no idea what that means, even after 25 years of pro programming.

Actually it says:

evented I/O for v8 javascript - Read more
http://nodejs.org/

Surely clicking one of those links would be faster than asking for it on Slashdot and waiting for an answer? When you click the "Read more" link that is not even half an inch from what you've quoted you can find a big "Resources for Newcomers" section with links to the wiki and the home page.

JavaScript is of course the programming language. V8 is its high-performance implementation developed by Google for Chrome. I/O means input/output and evented means that it is asynchronous I/O based on event loops. I think that after 25 years of pro programming you should know that, and if you don't then you should at least know how to follow the hyperlinks to find it out.

Fairly typical of undocumented open-source projects, unfortunately.

Well if the only place where you look for documentation is the title of the project on GitHub then yes, it is fairly typical.

Comment: Node (Score 2) 329

by Mensa Babe (#37340944) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Programs To Learn From?
I suggest diving into Node. It is written in a very competent way, it's fast, small, efficient, nicely documented, does the IO correctly so no messy blocking function calls and threads synchronization madness, and is pretty young so the code base is not too big for one person to understand. Thanks to npm it is also very easy to write modules that are small, clean and have minimum boilerplate code so it's not like writing Java. There is a lot of code to be written so you may find writing and publishing your own useful modules pretty soon. Good luck!

Comment: Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (Score -1, Flamebait) 90

by Mensa Babe (#37336292) Attached to: Microbes Produce Power As They Clean Nuclear Waste

Before anyone has a knee-jerk reaction and says that it is bad because it's about nuclear power and genetically modified life forms, let me summarise for you the most important result of this research in the most straightforward way possible:

nuclear energy + genetic engineering + nanoparticles = clean planet

Now, if those so called environmentalist are really fighting for cleaner planet and healthy energy then they must support this technology. If they oppose it, then it is a clear proof that their motivations are not as clear as they wish us to believe. Anyone who is truly concerned about our environment must admit that there is no cleaner energy source then nuclear and using genetically modified microbes to clean up the nuclear waste is the last nail to the coffin of the opposition to the use of nuclear energy. I don't care about CO2 because this is what plants are breathing, and quite frankly I'd prefer having a little bit warmer climate, but I do care about polution and using clean, not necessarily renewable, energy sources is the answer to that problem.

This is an example of great research. I am proud that it was all done by a team of female researchers.

Comment: Genetics (Score 3, Interesting) 157

by Mensa Babe (#37316490) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Classroom Eco-Projects Suited To Alaska?
I suggest diving into the synthetic biology movement. Take a look at the BioBricks Foundation. Search the Registry of Standard Biological Parts. Maybe there is something missing that you might contribute. Join iGEM, the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition. It is a worldwide synthetic biology competition aimed mostly at undergraduate university and high school students. Some people there are doing amazing eco-friendly projects. And don't be scared by the recent anti-science hysteria. Genetic engineering in general and synthetic biology in particular is not as hard as people tend to think. It doesn't even has to be too serious. For example, in 2006 the MIT team engineered E. coli to produce a wintergreen scent during exponential phase and a banana scent during stationary phase, known as the "banana-fart" bacteria. Some kids are engineering just amazing DNA to produce bacteria that help to digest pollution, or converts sunlight into energy that is easy to use. There is a lot to be done in synthetic biology and both BioBricks and iGEM are directed towards young people who want to experiment and collaborate, without the need to synthesise everything from scratch. You don't need sunlight to do that and you don't need expensive equipment any more. These days people are sending DNA by email and change it like it was just a computer program - which it is in a sense, but it is software that builds hardware. This is truly amazing stuff and I believe this the future of fixing our planet. We have to help mother nature. And this is the most optimal way to do it - from the ground up. iGEM and BioBricks is a great way for young students to dive into it.

Comment: Battle? (Score 5, Insightful) 734

by Mensa Babe (#37314512) Attached to: USPS Losing Battle Against the E-mail Age

For at least 15 years I've been hearing that various postal services all over the world are "losing battle against e-mail age" while in fact that scary "e-mail age" (or Internet age, as I would call it) should be the best thing they should hope could possible happen. Never before in human history we were buying so many goods from remote locations all over the world to be delivered by ... postal services! And now they want an end to Saturday delivery? They should start Sunday delivery. They missed the opportunity to start the biggest online payment system in the world so they should at least focus on being the best at delivering good bought on the Internet, not being worse still.

The "proliferation of e-mail and online bill-paying services" should have been started by USPS because they already had the infrastructure to do that and the client base. If back in the nineties everyone paying bills at USPS were told that they could do the same faster, cheaper and more conveniently at USPSpal.com then people would do that. The problem is not that the world is not friendly to postal services but that they don't want to change. They missed the train and now they want our help to survive. This has never worked in the long term before.

The trouble with being punctual is that people think you have nothing more important to do.

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