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Comment: Huh? (Score 1) 99

by Black Parrot (#48920405) Attached to: Gamma-ray Bursts May Explain Fermi's Paradox

GRBs clearly haven't prevented life in *our* galaxy, so the Fermi Paradox still stands.

The caluculations probably rule out life in the core of our galaxy, but systems further out would be exposed even less often than ours is. And even though GRBs can periodically sterilize a planet, their directionality means that one burst would not likely sterilize all the planets in an intercellar civilization simultaneously.

So, to modify what someone said above, we can add another term to the Drake equation, but this doesn't do much to answer Fermi.

Comment: When something is "new" it doesn't imply... (Score 1) 192

by Casandro (#48911447) Attached to: Why Coding Is Not the New Literacy

...that other things are automatically obsolete.

"new" in this case means "additional". And no, this is not about generating "code monkeys", this is about giving people an insight into what computers are, and equipping them with enough knowledge so they can form their own ethical framework around it.

Comment: Re:We Really Don't (Score 1) 151

by Black Parrot (#48910827) Attached to: How Do We Know the Timeline of the Universe?

Sorry... I was going for the joke and didn't pitch it very well. My actual views are more like yours.

As for the reality of the subject matter, I would borrow the concept of "probably approximately correct" from machine learning, and give it a 90-95% chance of being ~80% correct. (The 80% is lower to allow room for some more big discoveries like inflation.)

Unfortunately, people will be (hopefully) studying this for thousands of years on top of the <100 we have so far, and none of us will live to see how it turns out in the long term.

Comment: Re:I have an idea.. (Score 1) 432

It's like the old Texan saying: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, can't get fooled again."

I always heard it as: "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

And of course, the word of choice usually wasn't "fool".

(Is this really a regional saying?)

Comment: Lazarus (Score 2) 478

by Casandro (#48902397) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

Unfortunately the state of desktop applications is now to bad, that Lazarus is now pretty much the only alternative left, particularly if you want to distribute your software in binary. .net requires the user to install a huge and fragile framework. Java does the same and even adds an insecure browser plugin. In both cases your code will need an installation routine. And even then, Lazarus will be able to compile for more platforms than Java and .net support.

On Lazarus you get a statically linked binary you can just plop onto your system and execute it. So up- and down-grading your application is trivial.

Plus you get things like bounds checking simply with a compiler option. In my tests it didn't hurt the speed, probably because the compiler can easily find out when they are needed and when not. However as far as I know you can enable and disable it per line.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"