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Comment: Naming? (Score 1) 210 210

Since you tend to name things after yourself, do you regret not naming Mathematica differently?

The first question is a joke, nothing one would ask in polite conversation. My real question to him is this:

I assume it was a pivotal moment in your life when Veltman showed you Schoonship, which was essential to the work later earning him a Nobel with t'Hooft. It was probably the first computer algebra system able to transform the large expressions that you had to deal with in your preceding work on particle physics. Can you describe how and if that changed your perspective on what you would do in life?

Comment: Re:How much benefit? (Score 2) 226 226

The slow paths are "several thousand times" slower, according to the article. You only need to hit them rarely to see a significant degradation of performance.

I was recently dealing with a code that spent most of its time in pow(). Some basic algebra significantly simplified the math, and I could do away with the call to the function, but this shows its performance is a real-life concern for some people.

Comment: Re:except crimea is home to a Russian fleet (Score 1) 789 789

How the fuck is invading from preexisting bases any less serious than invading from the mainland?

For starters, one difference is that you're not invading when you're not crossing any borders. How is that difference relevant? Well, Russia's actions made very much sense and didn't require violence as an outright invasion probably would have. And that's true whether one likes them or not (I don't, you seem to imply something different).

I belive you're the one missing the point. Russia legally has no right to decide where Crimea stays. That's for the Crimeans to decide... and they did, a few years ago: they decided to stay in Ukraine! There was no Crimean decision to join Russia.

The situation changed, and it's not irrational to assume that the opinion on Crimea would have changed to reflect that change. Technicalities again, even if you discount the referendum, it's still the Crimean government that asked to join Russia.

Trying to justify Russia's actions is as disgusting as trying to justify the third Reich's actions - because they're exactly the same where it matters.

Thanks, Godwin. Conversation finished. More to the point: Russia's actions concerning Crimea were logical and very sensible from their self-interest of continuing to have a fleet with access to the Mediterranean. It would have been stupid for them to hope that the status-quo on Crimea would be maintained with an American-chosen government in Kiev. If you think that's "justifying" their actions, then you are mistaken. Being able to think like the other side is the best means when trying to predict their actions. That's why it's important to note that it wasn't an invasion, that's why it is important to note that there are good reasons to assume the Crimean population welcomed joining Russia. Assuming that one's dealing with barbaric warmongers who act with no consideration of the consequences of their actions is idiotic.

Comment: Re:except crimea is home to a Russian fleet (Score 1) 789 789

Sorry for getitng back so late.

To satisfy the pedants:

Russia denied having troops in Crimea outside their bases, only to later admit it was a blatant lie.

It makes a difference, doesn't it? Rolling into a country with tanks is fairly different from already being there on commonly agreed terms. Seriously, the autonomous ukrainian republic is one of Russia's most important military bases, and the US installs a prime minister of their choosing in Ukraine. What did the European and American governments think would happen?

You may also wonder who destabilized the Ukrainian government, leading to a putsch, without thinking about the well-known fact that Russia has a history of using political instability for their benefit. I cannot blame Crimeans for not wanting to end up in a civil war, BTW. In that light it was a very rational decision to join Russia.

That's brilliant. /s

They didn't decide to join Russia. The Russians set up a sham referendum.

Also, the "if we don't fight, it'll all be better" mentality is pure bullshit. It just encourages further aggression.

Misses the point. Was it foreseeable that the situation in Ukraine would deteriorate? Yes, as it usually does after coup-d'états. Was it therefore rational to want to join Russia? Yes. Did I ever say the referendum was fair and democratic? No. As for your last paragraph, maybe you want to apply that reasoning to the Russian perspective and you will understand much better what's been going on.

Comment: except crimea is home to a Russian fleet (Score 1) 789 789

You might want to be precise. Crimea has always been a big Russian military base. So of course they had military there. So what exactly did they deny?

You may also wonder who destabilized the Ukrainian government, leading to a putsch, without thinking about the well-known fact that Russia has a history of using political instability for their benefit. I cannot blame Crimeans for not wanting to end up in a civil war, BTW. In that light it was a very rational decision to join Russia.

Comment: Re:Misleading title & summary (Score 2) 579 579

Parliament on the other hand still appears to be solidly pro-Linux.

We should note the types of complaints: on the one had there are the usual complaints ("it's broken"). These would be the same in an MS Office world. Why? Because most of government office work is based on standardized templates which are custom implementations. These would have to be retrofitted to MS Office in a switch back. There's little reason to assume that they would become any better in that case.

On the other hand, there are complaints about interoperability with the outside world: outside people sending MS Office documents or being unable to read open formats. Yes it's annoying, but if you decide to go with a standard instead of proprietary stuff you expect this. It should be noted that the largest external groups the city of Munich has to deal with are the enveloping government bodies, namely the district of upper Bavaria and the state of Bavaria -- both run by the conservative party of the new 2nd mayor. These never liked non-proprietary software and history ahs shown again and again that they will do whatever they can to make administering a social-democratic town (which Munich still is) a bit more difficult.

Third, the new second mayor complained about something as great as Outlook not being available. So that's the real issue: taking office he had to change his habits, something that by definition is hard for a conservative :)

As for the new first mayor: he has been a big shot in city administration for a long time, and he has always been outspoken against the Linux switchover. Why would he change his mind now when he has negotiated Microsoft's move into the city from the suburbs?

Comment: Re:Perhaps stupid question (Score 1) 310 310

Well, after they recognized what it was they knew its approximate size, thus could determine the distance and hence determine that it was dangerously close. This is not in contradiction to them not being aided by air traffic protocol and not being able to gauge the distance before that instant.

Comment: Re: Perhaps stupid question (Score 1) 310 310

Please notice the qualification "steady flight". Birds are moving. That's how I wanted to avoid this question, but since you asked ...

You can probably recognize a bird as such and thus gauge its size (as it is an object you would expect to encounter), whereas a drone could have any shape or color or may even be made to look like a typical helicopter scaled down. There's no a priori estimate of such an object's size.

Comment: Perhaps stupid question (Score 2) 310 310

How do these rules deal with the possibility that you cannot gauge the distance? For an object in midair the only available measure of distance is the size of the object. A drone is much smaller than any object you're usually encountering in steady flight (another helicopter, say). Hence you're going to significantly overestimate the distance. Or so would be my thought. Please educate.

Comment: So, for the sake of equality (Score 1) 498 498

Putin should allow Czechnia, Dagestan and Inguchechia to vote about their independence of Russia. After all, neither of these parts of Russia has more than 4% ethnic Russians (whatever that means, they don't print ethnicities in passports like they did in the Soviet Union, right?).

Comment: Re:Your wrong by an order of magnitude (Score 1) 310 310

Out of the 13000 deaths tallied in that statistic I quoted, 1200 were flagged as suicides. Much too large a number, but not essential to the argument. So we can leave them aside for the sake of the argument. I was talkign order of magnitude, not something accurate to 10%. Nevertheless, you may want to think about whether the gun-owning father whose kid shot himself with the gun did something "wrong" or not (let's put it into moral categories, if you don't like the word "irresponsible").

Ok, so it's 1 in 10000 gun owners per year does something bad, or one in 1000 over the lifetime of a gun (hey, 10 years is a low estimate). I would consider that too high a fraction of the owners of a deadly implement. You disagree, fine. That doesn't take away from my oiginal point, namely that your common-sense argument was based on an estimate of yours that was wrong by several orders of magnitude. As an aside: In order to illustrate why it's the 0.0something% that count and not the 99.9999something%, let me give an example : living next to a volcano that has a 10^-4 probability of erupting the next year is quite different from a volcano that has a 10^-2 probability. Even though the 99.99% probability that all goes well looks very similar to the 99% near the other volcano, I'm fairly sure that you wouldn't build your house next to the 10^-2 volcano.

What this had to do with the lower socio-economic standing of blacks, and the biasedness of the court system against them, completely escapes me. Gun owners are not born with their deadly implements that scare other people (or whatever comparison you're drawing).

Comment: Re:Your wrong by an order of magnitude (Score 1) 310 310

Ahhh. Another person who either failed logic 101 or who likes to skew facts. You assume that all gun deaths = irresponsible gun owners. How about these categories?

That's certainly fine for an estimate of order of magnitude, especially as the statistic I was referring to only counted deaths actually reported in the media, and therefore probably happening in more outrageous circumstances. And yes, I believe that virtually all gun deaths (and injuries inflicted by guns, which are not even tallied in that number) are irresponsible.

Police shootings. Yes, there are some cops who should not have a badge or a gun. But the vast majority of them are responsible public servants. I would say that when a police officer shoots a dangerous criminal it is not irresponsible.

No, but the criminal wielding a gun certainly is.

Similarly, a gun used by a responsible and honest citizen to protect their own life and the lives of their loved ones is hardly an irresponsible use of a gun. To argue otherwise indicates that you value the lives of criminals over that of decent citizens.

Again, probably the criminal was using a gun irresponsibly himself. And no, I don't value the life of a "decent" citizen over that of a criminal. I believe in the right to self-defence, but it's still a tragedy if somebody is hurt in the outcome.

Many gun deaths are suicides. The belief that getting rid of guns would prevent these deaths is naive. I would say that a bottle of whisky and a bottle of sleeping pills are easier to get than a box of bullets. Guns are an effective suicide tool, but are far from the only tool available.

That doesn't change the fact that suicide with a gun requires an irresponsible gun owner -- which is what your number was about.

Also my statistic of 99.999% was a very rough approximation. I have not done the math recently. It may be 99.995%. Even if it is only 99.99%, the point still stands that it makes little sense to restrict the rights of all because a tiny minority abuses it.

As I pointed out, the number is probably closer to 99.8%. Where's the threshold? You said, irresponsible ownership of a gun is very seldom -- hugely underestimating its frequency when you were making that argument. Maybe that's something to think about instead of something to rationalize.

Plus, criminals, by definition, do not obey the law and are happy to purchase guns illegally. Taking away rights only harms the honest people. Need I point out that almost all mass shootings happen in "gun-free" zones?

Right, and criminals don't purchase guns legally. Anyway, that's a discussion that's so old and tiring -- and besides the point, see "suicides" -- that we don't need to have it here, as we're certainly not going to agree.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming