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Comment: What is really happening here? (Score 1) 943

by Bruce Perens (#47930483) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children
We are in a War on Faith, because Faith justifies anything and ISIS takes it to extremes. But in the end they are just a bigger version of Christian-dominated school boards that mess with the teaching of Evolution, or Mormon sponsors of anti-gay-marriage measures, or my Hebrew school teacher, an adult who slapped me as a 12-year-old for some unremembered offense against his faith.

Comment: Re:Anti-math and anti-science ... (Score 1) 943

by Bruce Perens (#47930331) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Hm. The covenant of Noah is about two paragraphs before this part (King James Version) which is used for various justifications of slavery and discrimination against all sorts of people because they are said to bear the Curse of Ham. If folks wanted to use the Bible to justify anything ISIS says is justified by God's words in the Koran, they could easily do so.

18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.
19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.
24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
26 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Comment: People who can think and learn (Score 1) 391

by spaceyhackerlady (#47922291) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

I'm guided by the experience of the airlines. While you must, obviously, have the right sort of pilot's license, they also want a four year university degree. Not because it necessarily enhances your flying, but because it shows you can learn and accomplish things. If you can learn and accomplish things, and know your way around computers, I'd love to talk to you.

The big problem at most places I've worked is getting promising resumes past HR people who only count buzzwords.

...laura

Comment: Let's be different (Score 2) 93

by spaceyhackerlady (#47920245) Attached to: New Release of MINIX 3 For x86 and ARM Is NetBSD Compatible

I've followed Minix development with interest. The internal architecture is different from most OSs out there. Not different for the sake of being different, but different to show different solutions to problems. The way we do things in Linux et al is powerful, but it's not the only way.

I haven't come up with a compelling reason to use it in my work (yet... :-), but I install each new release on a virtual machine and play with it.

...laura

Comment: Customers going postal (Score 1) 814

The quality of service no longer meets customer requirements, and customers are rebelling. The airlines and airports have done their best to remove any aspect of comfort or pleasure from air travel, and customers, the people who actually pay the bills, have had enough.

Entitled attitudes don't help. I ended up with bruised knees on a British Airways flight from the person ahead of me refusing to negotiate on seat reclining, with the flight attendants refusing to mediate. On a American flight the passenger next to me went ballistic and very loudly demanded to be reseated, because I was wearing perfume.

On my last long-haul flight (Vancouver to London) I did an on-the-spot upgrade to premium economy and had a good flight. I had cashed in credit card points for the ticket, so the extra $$$ was money well-spent.

I think diverting is a lousy way to handle customer disputes, but it scares me that the airlines may start accepting this as part of the cost of doing business...

...laura

Google

Google Expands Safe Browsing To Block Unwanted Downloads 106

Posted by timothy
from the now-you-can-turn-off-adblock dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced it is expanding its Safe Browsing service to protect users against malware that makes unexpected changes to your computer. Google says it will show a warning in Chrome whenever an attempt is made to trick you into downloading and installing such software. In the case of malware, PUA stands for Potentially Unwanted Application, which is also sometimes called Potentially Unwanted Program or PUP. In short, the broad terms encompass any downloads that the user does not want, typically because they display popups, show ads, install toolbars in the default browser, change the homepage or the search engine, run several processes in the background that slow down the PC, and so on."

Comment: 100% on Ishihara (Score 1) 267

by spaceyhackerlady (#47620069) Attached to: My degree of colorblindness:

I do Ishihara every time I renew my aviation medical certificate.

To respect the spirit of the test I make a point of not memorizing the numbers, and always call the number at a glance.

Some years ago I had a colleague who chose such odd colour combinations for her clothes we wondered if she had issues in this area. This is indeed unusual in a woman, but it happens.

...laura

Comment: Computing is bigger than any one language! (Score 1) 637

by Frater 219 (#47616805) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

I'm no fan of Java-based curricula, for the same reason I'd be no fan of Fortran-based curricula. Computing isn't about one language. Each language and system shows you one hyperplane of a vast multidimensional space. The best programmers know lots of languages, and choose wisely among them — or even create new ones when appropriate.

In the production world, there are times where some C++ or Java code is appropriate ... and there are times when what you want is a couple of lines of shellscript and some pipes ... and there are times when the most sensible algorithm for something can't be neatly expressed in a language like C++ or Java, and really requires something like Common Lisp or Haskell. If you need to exploit multiple processors without getting bogged down in locking bullshit and race conditions, you're much better off using Go than Java.

(Just last night, at a meetup, I was talking with two bright young physicists who reported that their universities don't do a good enough job of teaching Fortran, which is the language they actually need to do their job. Scientific computing still relies heavily on Fortran, Matlab, and other languages well removed from what's trendy in the CS department — no matter if that CS department is in the Java, Haskell, or Python camp. But if you want to learn to write good Fortran, you basically need a mentor in the physics department with time to teach you.)

And there are times when the right thing to do is to create a new language, whether a domain-specific language or a new approach on general-purpose computing. There's a good reason Rob Pike came up with Sawzall, a logs-analysis DSL that compiles to arbitrarily parallel mapreduces; and then Go, a C-like systems language with a rocket engine of concurrency built in.

(And there's a good reason a lot of people adopting Go have been coming not from the C++/Java camps that the Go developers expected, but from Python and Ruby: because Go gives you the raw speed of a concurrent and native-compiled language, plus libraries designed by actual engineers, without a lot of the verbose bullshit of C++ or Java. Would I recommend Go as a first language? I'm not so sure about that ....)

What would an optimal computing curriculum look like? I have no freakin' clue. It would have to cover particular basics — variable binding, iteration, recursion, sequencing, data structures, libraries and APIs, concurrency — no matter what the language. But it can't leave its students thinking that one language is Intuitive and the other ones are Just Gratuitously Weird ... and that's too much of what I see from young programmers in industry today.

Social Networks

Hotel Charges Guests $500 For Bad Online Reviews 183

Posted by timothy
from the may-require-substantial-deposit dept.
njnnja (2833511) writes In an incredibly misguided attempt to reduce the quantity of bad reviews (such as these), the Union Street Guest House, a hotel about 2 hours outside of New York City, had instituted a policy to charge groups such as wedding parties $500 for each bad review posted online. The policy has been removed from their webpage but the wayback machine has archived the policy. "If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event If you stay here to attend a wedding anywhere in the area and leave us a negative review on any internet site you agree to a $500. fine for each negative review."

Comment: Re:They used a vacuum, and a serious one at that. (Score 1) 201

by syukton (#47605409) Attached to: NASA Tests Microwave Space Drive

I think this is an error in grammar.

I believe what they're saying there is that with a higher-power RF amplifier that is purpose-built to operate in a vacuum, they could test in even higher vacuum than they were able to during this test. The section is Summary and Forward Work and I don't think they're saying that they did not test in a vacuum, but that their ability to test in a vacuum was limited and could be improved in future work. 5x10^-6 torr is not quite "vacuum of outer space"; it's a high vacuum, but not quite interstellar-space vacuum.

Comment: They used a vacuum, and a serious one at that. (Score 5, Informative) 201

by syukton (#47587313) Attached to: NASA Tests Microwave Space Drive

It's probably #2. The paper, as presented at the 50th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference, is available for purchase. I happened to have a spare $25 and a burning curiosity. The full paper isn't available on the NASA site, only the abstract can be gotten there for free. If you wanna read the details, you have to pay for 'em.

Anyhow, here's the relevant bit from the paper: "Two roughing pumps provide the vacuum required to lower the environment to approximately 10 Torr in less than 30 minutes. Then, two high-speed turbo pumps are used to complete the evacuation to 5x10E-6 Torr, which requires a few additional days. During this final evacuation, a large strip heater (mounted around most of the circumference of the cylindrical chamber) is used to heat the chamber interior sufficiently to emancipate volatile substances that typically coat the chamber interior walls whenever the chamber is at ambient pressure with the chamber door open. During test run data takes at vacuum, the turbo pumps continue to run to maintain the hard vacuum environment."

I'm not a physicist, but the paper is still an absolutely fascinating read, and contains a number of color photos of the test apparatus, the device itself, etc. The amount of detail they went into for the experiment is really impressive; seismically isolating the test chamber, using liquid metal (galinstan) electrical contacts to eliminate any forces due to a mechanical coupling to a wire, compensating for the magnetic field that is created by passing electricity through the device, and so on. This is NASA we're talking about here, the guys that do ROCKET SCIENCE. The idea that they wouldn't test this device in a vacuum is laughable.

Something spooky is going on inside this device, and I hope it doesn't take us too long to figure out what is really happening.

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.

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