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Comment: Re:Wasn't there a book about this? (Score 1) 137

by Waffle Iron (#48605397) Attached to: How Birds Lost Their Teeth

The conditions species live in aren't constant. Advantages of A and/or B fluctuate over time. If an animal has A, and the environment suddenly favors B, those closer to B win. For a while some animals will have both.

However, every feature comes at an energy cost, so animals quickly let what they don't need atrophy. If in the current environment B beats out A+B minus extra energy to generate both, then they will settle at B only.

At any rate, every organism is a mixture of thousands of features, from A0 to Z99999, many of which get added and deleted all the time, so your whole argument is bogus to begin with.

Comment: Re:Wasn't there a book about this? (Score 4, Insightful) 137

by Waffle Iron (#48601685) Attached to: How Birds Lost Their Teeth

The example I use is Butterflies, which change from a crawling creature to one that flies, mid life. Incredible "random" feat if you ask me.

It's not random. The ability for adult insects to fly evolved gradually. That has nothing to do with the fact that insects go through metamorphosis, which most likely evolved independently and prior to the capability of flight

Your argument makes as much sense as saying: "I don't believe evolution because people can talk using air even though they spend 9 months sealed up in a bag of water."

Comment: Re:I don't understand this ... (Score 1) 184

I can maybe see the life evolving in one of these solar systems after it leaves the black hole area, presuming the atmospheres of planets aren't scoured away by high-speed interactions with the interstellar medium.

However, how could this life "spread"? I don't see how you slow down any complex molecules from these speeds without totally incinerating them.

Comment: Re:Environmentalists is why we still pump carbon (Score 1) 652

by Waffle Iron (#48459429) Attached to: Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

It's because Republicans know a WMD proliferation risk when they see it. They just don't want to talk about it because that would make it look like they agree with the smelly hippie environmentalists.

If fission power were a viable solution to the world's energy needs, we'd already be selling centrifuges to Iran.

Comment: Re:Problem? (Score 1) 186

by Waffle Iron (#48448737) Attached to: How the World's Agricultural Boom Has Changed CO2 Cycles

And more animals in them, producing more CO2.

Those animals got all of their carbon from the fields they were standing in. If the animals hadn't been there, that same carbon would have been turned into CO2 by organisms like insects or fungi. The overall amount of CO2 released would have remained almost exactly the same.

Comment: Re:Is it wrong to wish for it to crash? (Score 1) 419

by Waffle Iron (#48392519) Attached to: Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph

there's no way for the train to derail, considering the design (the thing literally runs in a 3 ft deep ditch)

Yet by my calculations, the train has enough kinetic energy to lift itself over 3100 feet up into the air. So the depth of any ditch isn't really going to help.

I assume it's "locked" into the track, but at these speeds the entire train could probably disintegrate into confetti if it hit a solid enough obstacle, so it's not impossible for the majority of the mass of train to come off the rails.

Comment: Re:Can't trust robots (Score 2) 223

by Waffle Iron (#48388087) Attached to: Comet Probe Philae To Deploy Drill As Battery Life Wanes

What state would the man be in after 10 years in space?

With adequate life support, as good as new,

Hardly. Cosmonauts returning from Mir after only one year in space could barely function once they returned to earth. I kind of doubt that anybody would physically survive 10 years in zero-G, even assuming they've survived the long-shot odds of no fatal spacecraft malfunctions in 10 years.

Not to mention that they would gone bat-shit insane by that time, after they realized that they've sat in a tiny tin can eating stale cat food and being blasted by cosmic rays for over a decade just so they get a sample of some crappy small-time comet; a job that could be easily done by a robot.

Comment: Re:For those interested... (Score 3, Informative) 82

by Waffle Iron (#48380555) Attached to: Five Years of the Go Programming Language

Due to the inherent design of C/C++ header files and their "compile units", building any large project in C++ takes almost forever. The work to build grows significantly more than linearly with the number of source files.

Many things in C++ feel very "brittle" largely due to the limitations of its type system and generics.

C++ reference counting is better than fully manual memory management, but still often requires careful attention to "ownership" issues, leaving a risk of leaks or segfaults.

Most recommedations from the experts advise against using most of the actual features of C++ because they are so poorly conceived, poorly supported, or cause safety or compatibility problems. Best to stick with a bare-bones subset that's not very satisfying.

Many of these problems were addressed by languages such as Java and C#. However those both require a heavyweght "virtual machine" runtime. The nice thing about Go is that it creates self-contained executables that run without needing to install anything special on the target machines (at the cost of the executables being larger than most people are used to).

Comment: Re:I'm surrounded by morons (Score 1) 613

by Waffle Iron (#48294861) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?

Was it working fine before congress added the extra month to it as well?
My company runs a lot of hardware that still runs on the old rules we (our department has 5 people) have to go manually adjust the time on them 4 times (When clocks change but the device doesn't and again when the device finally changes and needs to be set to the correct time) a year at 150 sites.

Congress has been fiddling with DST since it was invented. If you were somehow under the impression that congress would never change DST again while you evaluated equipment for purchase, then you deserve what you get. I'm not going to give up a couple of hundred hours of useful daylight per year to help you compensate for your short-sighted technology buys.

Building translators is good clean fun. -- T. Cheatham