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Comment: Also fails history. (Score 1, Informative) 648

by Comboman (#48856513) Attached to: Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

Since BASIC was introduced in 1964 and C was not released until 1972, it is highly doubtful that BASIC is in any way "based on C". BASIC is patterned after Fortran and to a lesser extent Algol. Those language also influenced C, though in different proportions (more Algol, less Fortran), but any claim of BASIC being C-based is quite laughable.

Comment: Null Terminated Strings (Score 3, Interesting) 729

- strings terminated by a binary zero rather than their physical size. Who the hell thought that would be a good idea?
Well, age old argument. Basically a matter of taste or sadly a historical "evolution".

I'm pretty sure null-terminated strings come from the days of punch cards/punch tape where an unpunched area is read as null (binary zero). Wherever the data-entry clerk stopped typing was the end of the string and the string could be appended to latter (impossible with a non-zero end-of-string symbol or a string length in the header which can't be rewritten on card/tape).

Comment: strained logic (Score 1) 667

by Comboman (#47497273) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

But still, interpreted literally the new statement is far more factually correct and unbiased than what it replaced. Whoever shot down the plane, they were "soldiers" or fighters of some variety and almost certainly can be described as Ukrainian, given that everyone seems to agree that the fighters are actually eastern Ukrainians and at most Russia is supplying weapons to them.

By that logic, "Saudi Arabian soldiers" were responsible for flying airliners into the World Trade Center.

Comment: Why I vote Republican (Score -1, Flamebait) 50

by Comboman (#47416997) Attached to: DHS Mistakenly Releases 840 Pages of Critical Infrastructure Documents

Why I vote Republican

I vote Republican because I believe it’s okay if our federal government borrows $85 Billion every single month...as long as it's spent by the Department of Defense.

I vote Republican because I claim to care about the children but don't want any money spent on education or healthcare.

I vote Republican because I believe it is okay if conservative activist judges rewrite the Constitution to suit some fringe kooks, who would otherwise never get their agenda past the voters.

I vote Republican because I believe that corporate America should be allowed to make profits for themselves, by outsourcing American jobs, busting unions, destroying the environment and lobbying corrupt politicians.

I vote Republican because I’m concerned about millions of babies being aborted, but don't care what happens after they're born.

I vote Republican because I don't know the difference between weather and climate.

I vote Republican because The Right To Bear Arms is not as important as preventing people from being murdered.

I vote Republican because I believe lazy, uneducated rednecks should have just as big a say in running our country as entrepreneurs who risk everything and work 70 hours per week.

I vote Republican because I see absolutely no correlation between corporate welfare and the rise of income inequality.

I vote Republican because I see absolutely no correlation between lenient gun laws and surging crime rates.

I vote Republican because I believe you don’t need an ID buy a gun, but do to vote.

I vote Republican because I think AIDS is prevented by keeping children ignorant about safe sex.

I vote Republican because I think “freedom” is far more important than fairness.

I vote Republican because I think an “equal opportunity” means anyone can apply for a job but only white males will get one.

I vote Republican because I would rather hide in a boardroom while others fight for my freedom.

I vote Republican because I’m not smart enough to own a gun but think I should be allowed to anyway.

And lastly, I vote Republican because I’m convinced that government is the source of all our problems... and prove it every time we're in office.

Comment: Interstellar travel impossible?? (Score 1) 686

by Comboman (#47218537) Attached to: Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

Various explanations for why we don't see aliens have been proposed—perhaps interstellar travel is impossible

Not only is interstellar travel possible, we've already done it (at least, we've sent 2 space probes outside our solar system which will eventually reach other stars). Interstellar travel within the lifespan of a single human being might be impossible, but enough other solutions exist (robotic probes, generational ships, suspended animation, long-lived alien species) that this limitation is not an adequate explanation for why alien ships have not reached Earth.

Comment: Citation Needed (Score 1) 231

I do think that Linnaeus is a bit of an exception there, tough. Who else gets regularly linked in a template? It's not like there's an infobox for people with a field "personal_savior" or "favorite_roman_emperor" ;)

I'm officially changing my name to Citation Needed so I will be next years most influential person in history (assuming they keep the same methodology).

Comment: Linnaeus cheated (Score 1) 231

Not a bad list, honestly. Still not sure why Linnaeus is *that* high, but most of the rest is quite reasonable, methinks.

I would have to agree. I think that Linnaeus has gamed the system a bit. Every (or at least most) Wikipedia articles about a plant or animal species would have a link to back to Linnaeus or his nomenclature system. While he was certainly a notable scientist, he was in no way as influential as most of the others on the list. Perhaps I should change my name to "Citation Needed" so I would be the most influential person in history (according to this methodology).

Comment: You answered your own question (Score 4, Interesting) 213

by Comboman (#47165903) Attached to: US Secret Service Wants To Identify Snark

Nobody seems to be asking WHY.

Why would the Secret Service, in particular, want to tell sarcasm apart from other speech? Think about who they are.

They want to be able to distinguish sarcastic political speech, from sincere political speech. Of course both are protected speech.

Now, they might have a benign purpose, but from the description in TFA it doesn't seem so. After all, the administration would look pretty foolish if they tried to harass or jail someone for being sarcastic.

The reason the Secret Service wants sarcasm detection is because of the bad PR they get every time they harass someone for being sarcastic. The problem is not sarcastic political speech vs sincere political speech; it's sarcastic threats vs sincere threats.

Comment: People seek treatment when one is available (Score 1) 558

Just because more people are seeking diagnosis and treatment when a treatment becomes available, doesn't mean either the diagnosis is wrong or the treatment is ineffective. According to the data, Erectile Dysfunction was an extremely rare condition prior to the release of Viagra, but extremely common afterward. That doesn't mean E.D. rates suddenly increased, or doctors misdiagnosed it to sell more drugs; it just means few men were willing to tell their doctors about it when they thought there was no effective treatment (or so I've heard, I wouldn't know personally).

Comment: Citation Needed (Score 1) 226

by Comboman (#46341199) Attached to: Google Fighting Distracted Driver Laws

Given the toll on our highways shown to arise from distracted drivers...

What toll? Shown by whom? Despite the increased use of so-called distractions (google glass, cellphones, gps, etc); motor vehicle fatalities have done nothing but drop for decades. The 32,367 traffic fatalities in 2011 in the US were the lowest in 62 years.

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