Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Poor Alan Kay (Score 5, Insightful) 200

by Calavar (#48894253) Attached to: Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

C++ is a three-way compromise between good object oriented design, backwards compatibility with C, and high performance. Stroustrup has never billed it as anything else.

Of course, the fact that C++ is a compromise between three goals that are often at odds means that it isn't anywhere near the best language for object-oriented design (loses to Smalltalk and many others), for backwards compatibility with C (IMO Vala does better -- YMMV), or for high performance (loses to FORTRAN). But it does a reasonable job of "good enough" on all three fronts, and that is what has made it so enduringly popular over the last few decades.

So, no, C++ isn't the best language for object-oriented programing. It's not even close. But that doesn't mean it is a bad language.

Comment: Re:In other news... (Score 1) 154

by Calavar (#48811373) Attached to: Human Language May Have Evolved To Help Our Ancestors Make Tools

No, the reason this experiment is stupid is that you are taking a subject group that have relied heavily on verbal communication there entire lives and then asking them to do the same task with and without verbal communication. Gee, I wonder which condition will produce better results.

Car analogy: You take a bunch of adults who've been driving for 20+ years and then tell half to drive through an obstacle course while using their feet to press the pedals and the other half to drive while using their hands to press the pedals. The result: those test subjects that used their feet to press the pedals had much better control of the car and completed the obstacle course quickly. Clearly this means that humans evolved feet to press the gas and break pedals in cars.

Gorillas have been seen using tools in the wild. Gorillas in captivity have been taught sign language. Now if there was an experiment that showed that Gorillas that know sign language could teach each other to use tools more effectively than Gorillas that do not know sign language, I'd be much more convinced, as Gorillas are not accustomed to using language as their primary means of communication in the same way that humans are.

Comment: Re:Quarterly forecast (Score 1) 153

by Calavar (#48782033) Attached to: Fewer Grants For Young Researchers Causing Brain Drain In Academia

What percent of NIH grants go to that sort of degree-restricted field, compared to degree-portable fields like CS? My initial guess is that most of the NIH grants would be degree-restricted and require a medical degree.

I don't have hard numbers on this, but my guess would be a lot. Many people getting NIH degrees do not have a medical degree. You have people studying stem cells (biologists and physiologists), people studying drugs (chemists and pharmacologists), people studying public health (epidemiologists), people studying radiation therapy (physicists and engineers), imaging and medical informatics (computer scientists) and so on all drawing funding from the NIH.

So it may even just be as simple as, "baby boomer generation had a baby boom, news at 11." If the percent of young researchers had remained level, that would actually mean that researchers were getting younger, because there are a higher percent of older people with medical degrees now.

It might be, but my gut tells me that it isn't. There was a famous Nobel laureate (I think Neils Bohr, but I might be misremembering) who once said that if you hadn't completed your Nobel prize winning research by the age of 40, you never would. That may have been very true in the early 20th century (consider Einstein, who completed his Nobel Prize -winning work at 26; Bohr, who published his prize-winning papers at 28; Marie Curie, who was 22; Werner Heisenberg, 24; and Paul Dirac, 26), but in the early 21st century, it seems absurd.

Comment: Re:islam (Score 1) 1350

by Calavar (#48761079) Attached to: Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

The crusades were over 1000 years ago, and that is still the best example of Christian church-led violence you can come up with?, yet multiple fatalities of innocent people from islamic terrorist attacks are taking place every day.

I can come up with plenty of examples of modern day violence. (Skip to the end of this post if you want to see them.) You probably never heard of any of these incidents, but that's simply because western media doesn't report on them. (Not because of some kind of religious bias on the part of the media, but because violence by Christians is typically directed towards backwater groups that westerners have never heard of, and that doesn't make for a good news story.)

Unlike islam, Christianity does not teach denial of basic human rights and prevention of education of certain groups of people (because of their gender, race or beliefs).

Are you fucking kidding me? What about persecution of Jews? Have you ever heard of the Spanish inquisition? And are we just going to pretend that Christian persecution of homosexuals never happened? There are still Christian mobs lynching homosexuals in countries like Nigeria and Ghana. Hatred for both of these groups can be found all over the New Testament. See Matthew 23:31-33 and Romans 1:24-32

Unlike islam, Christianity does not have radical priests that brainwash believers into becoming human bombs

You're right. Instead of telling their followers to tie bombs to themselves, they told them to tie bombs to innocent civilians and then threaten to kill those civilians' families unless they detonated the bombs in specific locations. Look up "proxy bombs" and the "Claudy bombings."

As promised, a compilation of modern day acts of Christian terrorism:

  • The National Liberation Front of Tripura, a group closely associated with the Baptist church of the Indian region of Tripura has killed hundreds of Hindus since being founded in 1989. The group has stated multiple times that one of its main goals is to convert all residents of Tripura to Christinanity using any means necessary, including force.
  • The National Socialist Council of Nagaland, also based in India, has raped and killed Hindus and Pagans since its formation in 1980. They also aim to forcibly convert their province to Christianity.
  • The anti-Balaka are a Christian militia in the Central African Republic that has engaged in large-scale ethnic cleansing of Muslims as recently as 2014.
  • In 1995, Orthodox and Catholic Christians working with the Bosnian Serb Army (a separatist group) killed more than 8,000 unarmed Muslim civilians.
  • In the 1990s, the Army of God, an extremist Christian organization based in the US, bombed multiple abortion clinics, murdered multiple abortion doctors, and wounded over 100 spectators at the 1996 Olympics.

Comment: Re:Some practical examples (Score 5, Interesting) 153

by Calavar (#48611869) Attached to: In IT, Beware of Fad Versus Functional

everyone realized that Ruby is awful

I'm tired of hearing this. Ruby is not awful. It's a wonderful language, and Rails is a wonderful framework. The problem is that Rails is designed for a very particular niche (small, fairly CRUD-oriented web applications), and people keep trying to stupidly shoehorn it into places where it doesn't work well (large, enterprise applications that need to do lots of heavy number crunching or querying of enormous databases in the background). Predictably, such projects end in a trainwreck and then people blame Rails, but Rails wasn't the problem.

Comment: Re:The wet ones did! (Score 3, Informative) 135

by Calavar (#48572577) Attached to: Rosetta Results: Comets "Did Not Bring Water To Earth"

Weight is defined as the force of gravity that is acting on an object. When you are in orbit, weight is serving as the centripetal force that is keeping you on a circular orbit. So if an object was weightless, it would fly off in a straight line instead of orbiting. GP is almost right. The weight of the space ship is going to be much greater than the weight of the astronaut inside simply because the spaceship is more massive (and F_g = GMm/r^2, so weight increases linearly with the mass of the orbiting object), but the astronaut feels weightless because he/she has the same acceleration as the space ship.

Comment: Re:The wet ones did! (Score 3, Informative) 135

by Calavar (#48572533) Attached to: Rosetta Results: Comets "Did Not Bring Water To Earth"

No, it doesn't.

F_g = GMm/r^2

F_c = mv^2/r

Combine the two, and you get

GM/v^2 = r

So the orbital radius of an object around the sun depends only on the mass of the sun and the velocity of the object. The mass of the object doesn't matter. This is high school level physics, buddy.

Comment: Re:why should he have it (Score 1) 235

by Calavar (#48570265) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Medal Will Be Returned To Him

Middle East? What in the world are you talking about? Kissinger got the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for the American withdrawal from Vietnam. (And ostensibly for brokering peace between North and South Vietnam, but we all know how long that lasted.)

Keep in mind that in 1970, Kissinger was the one who pushed for expanding the Vietnam conflict into Cambodia. Around the same time, he was also working with the CIA to try to overthrow the democratically elected government of Chile. In 1971, he had the US throw its support behind the Pakistani government, even after a US diplomat in Pakistan said that the government engaging in widespread genocide of its own citizens.

Did I think Obama deserve the Peace Prize? Probably not. But at least the committee didn't decide to give it to him while knowing that he was complicit in genocide and active in coup d'etats.

Comment: Re:not enthuisastic about this (Score 5, Insightful) 262

by Calavar (#48503071) Attached to: Obama Offers Funding For 50,000 Police Body Cameras

Pervasive surveillance by law enforcement is a bad thing. Pervasive surveillance of law enforcement is a good thing. And that is what these body cams are: They aren't recording anything that police officers aren't already seeing with their own eyes. Instead, these cameras create a record of officers' actions -- a record that keeps them accountable for said actions.

+ - Republicans Block Latest Attempt at Curbing NSA Power 2

Submitted by Robotron23
Robotron23 (832528) writes "The latest attempt at NSA reform has been prevented from passage in the Senate by a margin of 58 to 42. Introduced as a means to stop the NSA collecting bulk phone and e-mail records on a daily basis, the USA Freedom Act has been considered a practical route to curtailment of perceived overreach by security services,18 months since Edward Snowden went public. Opponents to the bill said it as needless, as Wall Street Journal raised the possibility of terrorists such as ISIS running amok on U.S. soil. Supporting the bill meanwhile were the technology giants Google and Microsoft. Prior to this vote, the bill had already been stripped of privacy protections in aid of gaining White House support. A provision to extend the controversial USA Patriot Act to 2017 was also appended by the House of Representatives."

+ - Three-Way Comparison Shows PCs Slaying Consoles in Dragon Age Inquisition->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "BioWare's long-awaited Dragon Age Inquisition has dropped in for the PS4, Xbox One, and PCs. To say folks are excited would be an understatement. What's really interesting, however, is a comparison of the visuals in key scenes between all three platforms (Xbox One, PS4 and PC) shows that while the PC variant clearly looks the best in multiple areas (as it should), there's evidence of good, intelligent optimization for consoles and PCs alike. After the debacle of Assassin's Creed Unity, Inquisition could provide an important taste of how to do things right. As expect though, when detail levels are increased, the PC still comes away with the best overall visuals. The Xbox One and PS4 are largely matched, while PC renders of characters have better facial coloring and slightly more detailed textures. The lighting models are also far more detailed on the PC version with the PS4 following behind. The Xbox One, in contrast, is rather muddy. Overall, the PC and PS4 are closest in general detail, with the Xbox One occasionally lagging behind."
Link to Original Source

+ - Gecko-inspired adhesives allow people to climb walls->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "In the 2011 movie Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Tom Cruise climbs the exterior of the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, using nothing more than a pair of gloves. Now, scientists have invented the real deal: hand-sized, gecko-inspired adhesives that can lift a human up glass walls—and that one day may even catch space junk. “This is one of the most exciting things I’ve seen in years,” says biomechanist Kellar Autumn of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, who was not involved with the study."
Link to Original Source

If you are good, you will be assigned all the work. If you are real good, you will get out of it.