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Comment: What is true in 5000 years? Look back 5000... (Score 1) 368

by Aristos Mazer (#48545421) Attached to: Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

Dan Simmons, author of _Hyperion_ and other novels, was once asked to write a short story set 5000 years in the future. He said in the introduction that he drew his inspiration by asking what was true 5000 years ago that is still true today. His answer? "In 5000 years, someone will still be trying to kill the Jews." In that respect, a "cowboys in space" type of sci-fi like Star Trek was actually very optimistic... it offered hope of a human society that didn't still have those divisions... and in only 400 years!

Comment: Re:What people want to read (Score 1) 368

by Aristos Mazer (#48545393) Attached to: Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

It can be done. But as Piers Anthony noted, a writer has to be already established to tell the stories the writer wants to tell. "If I want to actually make money, I write a Xanth novel." This was in the commentary for his novel _Firefly_, which, relevant to this thread, includes a disturbingly mature sexual relationship between an adult male and a 5-year-old girl. I don't recommend reading it unless you're really prepared to explore that "what if." It's fairly graphic.

Comment: Re:Should be confidential/private (Score 1) 301

by Aristos Mazer (#48364577) Attached to: Police Body Cam Privacy Exploitation

The problem is that one of the points of the body cameras is for citizens to be able to do random inspections to make sure that cops aren't abusing power. As much as we don't want the information abused, we do want citizens able to request and view arbitrary footage. The two desires are at odds with each other, and balancing them will be tricky.

Comment: Re:Here's a Thought... (Score 2) 608

by Aristos Mazer (#48237997) Attached to: Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment

Multiple researchers have tried doing this. The problem is doing it after the fact... who at age 30 can tell you why they *didn't* do something at age 8 or 16? The answers come back mushy, like it just didn't seem interesting or "not my kind of thing". That doesn't get to the question of what about it turned them off. And something must be turning them off (or turning them on to something else) because there are also studies showing girls who do get exposure younger are just as adept at programming as the boys, and continue to be so as they grow up, provided they stick with the field.

Comment: Re:Yosemite (Score 3, Interesting) 370

by Aristos Mazer (#48180851) Attached to: Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

>Does anyone even use full-screen apps?

Yes... on laptops. This is something I've observed watching my own customers work with software -- on desktop machines, few things are truly maximized. On laptops, nearly everything is maximized. I think it has to do with screen real estate. The more you have, the less likely you are to want to fill the whole thing with one window.

Making the green button work to maximize is probably the right choice for the smaller devices. If they want a consistent UI across all devices, that's the right call given the prevalence of smaller devices.

It makes the behavior match MS Windows... I doubt Apple considered this a plus, but I work back and forth across both OSes regularly, and that's one of the few kinks that has caught me.

> At least Apple should put a toggle in system preferences so the user can revert the behavior.

Yes, that would be nice. I agree. But that is explicitly what Apple does not do and what they generally consider to be A Bad Idea. Such toggles lead to low-use code paths in the OS, which means they don't get nearly the same amount of testing and they increase the complexity of the underlying software, increasing the risk of bugs in both settings. I've encountered that philosophy in many companies with large scale software -- better to leave out the option and give people something that you know works rather than put in the option and increase your bug risk.

Question: Does anyone know of actual studies done to demonstrate validity of such philosophy? I've heard it described many times, but I don't think I've ever heard any research into it.

Comment: Can we filter sperm/eggs before making embryos? (Score 1) 366

by Aristos Mazer (#48158707) Attached to: Scanning Embryos For Super-Intelligent Kids Is On the Horizon

One of the ethical questions (and there are multiple here) is with discarding embryos after they are created. Do we have the technology to filter the sperm and eggs before creating the embryos to achieve the same effect? Or do you need the whole genome together to make a good evaluation? Filtering ahead of time would alleviate some of the abortion concerns with such technologies.

Comment: Asimov's First Foundation Problem (Score 1) 127

I take it this statistician has not read Asimov. By announcing the prediction, you void the prediction. He should have put his program in a certified sarcophagus and then revealed after the show that he had correctly predicted it. Otherwise George R. R. Martin will just use his results as a reason to adjust the script!

Comment: Re:So flog the bash developer who checked this in. (Score 5, Insightful) 318

The bug is 25 years old at least. Pre-dates the existence of GIT and most other source code control software in use today. I have no idea what SCC would've been used 25 years ago. To give perspective -- this bug predates the WWW by at least a year.

Comment: Re:eyebrows raised. (Score 1) 280

by Aristos Mazer (#47979311) Attached to: CDC: Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million In 4 Months

There's likely a lot of data behind the under reporting statistic. I'm not familiar enough with this particular data set, but for other diseases, after the fact, we can find out how many people died and we can survey to find out how many became sick. Once the scare is gone, this data is much easier to collect. The result is that we can back trace to figure out the under reporting originally. Then you can use that figure to make a better estimate the next time.

As I say, I don't know enough about this data set to comment on probable validity of the 2.5 factor, but I'm willing to bet that there is data leading them to use that number and not some other.

Comment: Re: The UK Cobol Climate Is Very Different (Score 1) 270

by Aristos Mazer (#47931395) Attached to: College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

You have essentially the same attitude as the banker on ten million a year who doesn't understand why there are people who have to catch the bus to work.

I disagree. My company is an engineering firm that provides tools to other engineering firms. As such, when I visit customers, I am frequently going into engineering workplaces. The number who require suits/formal attire is vanishingly small. So I think that squizzar is correct in his (her?) attitude: no one in a tech role really has to put up with a formal dress code if they do not want to. There are plenty of jobs for engineers, at least in the USA, even in this economy, and an employer who puts a dress code up as a barrier to employment is more likely to find themselves without top-tier talent than the top-tier talent is likely to find themselves without a job. So it really is the employer who needs to change their attitude.

We will have solar energy as soon as the utility companies solve one technical problem -- how to run a sunbeam through a meter.

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