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Comment Re:Offshore wind (Score 1) 645

Lol, I'm from Iowa, and wind farms kill a LOT more creatures than nuclear generally does. They are doing way more to wipe out endagered species of eagles than poachers could ever do. Plus, even though they may not blow up, they shut down all the time when the wind doesn't blow. They are a ridiculous source of energy. If you want your eagles to live and don't want everything electrical in your city to shut down every time the wind stops, you'd better find something else.

But like most environmentalists, it's probably better for you to make yourself "feel green" by supporting wind than actually pick something useful or address the massive killings of flying creatures, right?

Comment Re:Offshore wind (Score 1) 645

Plus politicians like the late Teddy Kennedy heavily fight offshore wind turbines because they don't want the turbines cluttering up their views from their coastal mansions, such as the view they had in Hyannis Port at the Kennedy compound. But they have no problem cluttering up our beautiful views all across Iowa. Bunch of hypocrites, all the environmentalists and left wing politicians.

Wind is one of the most expensive forms of energy out there. Way more so than nuclear. My relatives live in rural Iowa literally right next to a windfarm, and you also have the problem that some days when you look out there, not a single turbine is moving. Yep, when the wind doesn't blow, do we just turn everything off? That's another good reason to go nuclear... you need something that works all the time. Wind and solar are no replacement for fossil fuels because they don't work at all times, but nuclear could be.

Comment Re:Seems overly optimistic (Score 1) 259

They're probably already capable of a coast-to-coast autonomous trip - in good weather. What's uncertain is if they can cope with really poor driving conditions.

Lol, exactly. Googles designs its cars in sunny southern California, with programmers who are southern drivers. I for one can't wait to see them attempt to perform in Minneapolis. If the programmers in the South West have programmed the cars to make decisions the way they make decisions when driving (which is a reasonable assumption), then I expect that they will respond like all southern drivers: when the first snowflake appears, they will immediately pull over to the side of the road and wait for the spring thaw!

Comment Not confident about the "machine learning" thing (Score 1) 259

It seems unlikely that they'll transition from this to true autonomous long distance operation in 3 years.

Plus the whole "machine learning" thing he's counting on to make this work sounds more like a buzzword than any kind of reality. Machines don't learn. We don't even understand how we learn or how our brain works, and we certainly haven't made any serious progress in making a machine "learn". What we have done is come up with better statistical models and the ability to update those models and rulesets, which can allow the car to make better programmatic choices in a larger variety of situations, but really, there's no learning going on. Just humans continuing to refine and fine tune code that handles hard problems. If his humans can get the technology working in three years (which sounds overly optimistic to me too), then great, but it's not like you can just send the car to a driver's ed course and it will "machine learn" how to drive better while in the class.

And I do agree with others who are skeptical that the security implications of this have been worked out. I'm particularly not a fan of a car being able to go long distances without a human in it. I think the range should be limited to a couple blocks for parking convenience purposes, and that's it. Otherwise, you have the possibility of terrorists being able to construct car bombs in rural areas far from the eyes of the law, and then remotely command the cars to drive to populated areas and blow up while they sit undetected in safety somewhere. I don't think the human should necessarily have to be in the driver's seat, but there ought to be someone in the car to prevent these things from becoming autonomous warfare drones.

Comment There will be a stampede of developers to Perl 6 (Score 2, Interesting) 131

It's funny how everyone here says "No one is going to try that". Actually, Perl 6, if it releases by Christmas, will probably be the hottest language around in the next year or two. And I'm not necessarily saying that because of it's merits (which I have not definitively assessed one way or the other). I'm saying that because developers are pretty much all about "Hey new shiny thing over here!".

It seems like pretty much every time a new language drops there's a stampede to it by developers just because its new. Hey, Ruby on Rails! Hey, there's C# over there! Hey, F#! Hey, Erlang! Hey, Javascript framework of January! Hey, Javascript framework of February! Hey, Javascript Framework of the second half of February! Whoa look, it's Coffeescript! ......... Hey, it's Perl 6!

Some of these of course are decent languages and frameworks and have staying power... others, perhaps not as much. We'll know after five years or so where Perl 6 is going to end up. But don't underestimate the ability of developers to stampede at something for no other reason than that it is new. I expect considerable chatter at some point just because it's the new kid on the block.

Comment Re:Perl? I thought most everyone moved on to Pytho (Score 2) 131

I'm actually faced with this dilemma now, and I'm strongly considering Perl 6. I have to do a considerable amount of work with configuration files and text parsing as part of my job, and I'm willing to bet Perl can still do that better than anything else if I can achieve enough mastery in it, since that's basically what it's designed for. And Perl 6 is supposed to finally be adding objects, which was one of my big turn offs for Perl 5, so I'm hoping it will be a good fit for me. Also, I'm often under the gun when I'm doing this work, so something terse and expressive seems best.

Note - I tried filling this role with Powershell over the last few years, but it's a huge pain in the butt. It's hard to debug, and while I love the fact that it uses objects everywhere, it's not so great when I want to use "select-string" to grep some text and Powershell returns some crazy "match-info" object with all kinds of other nested objects I can't hardly begin to decipher (and this happens a lot... you want a command to return something simple and it returns some crazy complicated object). And creating a new object or class of your own on the fly in Powershell? Royal pain in the butt... better create the class in C# and import it. It just got to the point where I felt like it would be easier to write most of my stuff in C# to start with than use Powershell, unless it was just to run a series of Windows commands for which Powershell cmdlets had already been written.

I guess if Perl is too hard to learn though, I'll join the revolution and try Python. But I don't think I'm going to start there.

Comment Re:I've found the Perl 6 community to be dreadful. (Score 2, Interesting) 131

With C++, Java, PHP, or C# there is usually at least some consistency to the code from programmer to programmer...but not with perl. There are probably 500 different ways to do any common thing ("Hello world!") and what is clever, clear, and obvious to programmer A is completely unreadable and opaque to programmer B. Yes, there may be "more than one way to do it" in perl, but trust me, that's not always a good thing.

Hang on, you've obviously never coded much with C++ in the real world. I'll give you that Java and C# are fairly consistent, but absolutely no way with C++. That language is literally the "everything and the kitchen sink and the range rover, the dog, the refrigerator and everything in Walmart all thrown together" language. When you try to support every possible programming paradigm in a single language like C++, you can get programs that look like they were written in two different languages. It is not more consistent than Perl, and if there are 500 ways to do something in Perl it's probably a million in C++.

And as much as people hate php, it's nearly impossible to crash it so hard that it won't at least give you some info about the problem that caused it to choke on. It's a billion times easier to debug than perl.

Again, if we are going to talk about debugging, I would strongly dispute the Perl is the hardest. I know you mentioned PHP in this part of the quote, but if you want to talk about hard debugging, I would again refer you to C++. Operator overloading? Check... that can make things crazy. Not to mention C++ is not an interpreted language, but a compiled language, and you can be doing very low level things with it. You can get into some very hard situations to debug in that language.

And actually, I want to state for the record I'm not a C++ hater. It was my first language and still one of my favorites (next to C). Despite the difficulties it's an incredibly powerful language. And it's the same with Perl. Certainly I prefer a language that is simpler all else being equal, but there are languages like Perl and C++ that overcome their craziness to be something quite powerful anyway. And I'm not putting down some of the "simpler" languages like Java or C# either, because they are also excellent, powerful languages. Each has their place... for general development I'd pick Java or C#, but for concise easy text parsing Perl is probably best, and for interacting with hardware or doing things really optimally it would be hard to beat C++ (or C).

Comment Re:'Open, therefore secure', LOL (Score 1) 214

You can never (in practice and under usual economic border conditions) make closed source secure. On the other hand, while you must make it open in order for it to be possibly secure, you must do other things in addition.

Really, get a grip on basic logic and stop claiming bullshit.

Sorry, but I've spent WAY too much time over the last year or two dealing with huge vulnerabilities in open source to believe any of the stuff you are spouting. OpenSSL alone (Heartbleed and several other critical flaws) has cost me a huge amount of time, and that's one of those open source security related products that theoretically will attract the most auditing attention and should be "secure due to the number of eyeballs theoretically always auditing it". Yet despite being open, it has not become secure, or even close to secure.

On my web hosting team (which hosts thousands of websites and uses both Linux and Windows), we have spent far less time over the last couple of years patching or dealing with closed source critical Windows vulnerabilities than we have spent on various open source critical vulnerabilities. Things always go in cycles, and probably we'll have a year here soon where Windows racks up the most major headaches again, but the point is, there's no way you can claim you can "never make closed source secure" but that "making it open could make it possibly secure if you take some additional steps". That's all nonsense. Neither model is any better than the other when it comes to security, and neither can ever be made totally secure, especially as complexity continues to rise.

Open source has its benefits, but security has never been one of them, as recent history demonstrates. It just seemed that way for a while when it had less of an install base. Now that everyone, even commercial products, are embedding open source packages like OpenSSL into them, the target base is easily big enough to invite the black hat attention, and we see that things are basically the same as they are for closed source packages with a large install base.

PS - The Linux foundation is working with researchers to make a huge push to audit OpenSSL to look for issues. This, again, proves things are the same between open and closed source. Windows gets repeatedly, badly owned, and Bill Gates writes his secure computing memo directing a huge amount of resources at security training and auditing, and things do actually improve (though they are never perfect). Now, OpenSSL gets owned, someone directs huge resources at it, and it will probably improve, in the same way and for the same reasons as closed source. Put the resources behind it, you can improve security, but without a dedicated, directed push, things slide in both models because programmers, whether in closed or open shops, are in general are fairly lazy and like new shiny things, and don't really enjoy doing mundane boring tasks like auditing old code.

Comment Re:Let's face it... (Score 2) 260

The existence of life, particularly very simple kinds of life, is not remotely incompatible with the bible. The existence of advanced *intelligent* life, however, may be.

Your statement that the Bible is not contradicted by extra-terrestrial life is true. The Bible only says God created life. It doesn't specify all the places where he might have put it, and it never says he didn't put it on other planets (in fact it is completely silent on the topic). Considering the Bible says he created the entire universe, finding bacteria on Mars would not contradict anything.

In fact, famous atheist turned Christian apologist CS Lewis, known for both his famous theological works such as "Mere Christianity" and his fantastic fiction works, such as the Chronicles of Narnia, also wrote a science fiction trilogy beginning with the book "Out of the Silent Planet". In that series, life exists not just on Earth, but also on Mars and Venus. It's actually a pretty good read, although his description of Mars can at times be unrecognizable because he wrote the book before we sent probes there and got detailed pictures, so the terrain he describes is not accurate. The point, however, is that great Christian thinkers have not necessarily had any problem imagining life on other worlds, and have not necessarily considered even intelligent extra-terrestrial life to be in conflict with the Bible. In that series, both the inhabitants of Mars and Venus were equal to man (in fact, they were above man in many ways, because they chose not to sin; only Adam on Earth led life on his planet into sin according to the story).

And just a side note: I keep seeing people here claiming Christians can't be intellectuals, or that being intellectual is incompatible with Christianity. That's simply not true.

  1. Lewis was a professor at Oxford and later chair of Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge. He was probably smarter than most people posting on this board.
  2. His friend JRR Tolkien (yes, the Lord of the Rings Tolkien) who led him to Christianity, was a professor and fellow at Oxford.
  3. There were plenty of Christian scientists too, from Calculus and Newtonian physics pioneer Isaac Newton, to physicist Werner Heisenberg, to father of rocketry Werner Von Braun.

And Max Planck (yes, the father of Quantum Theory and the person the Planck length is named after) actually said this: "No matter where and how far we look, nowhere do we find contradiction between religion and science"-there is "complete concordance." Raymond J. Seeger, "Planck, Physicist" in The Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, 37 (December 1985): 232-233 (http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1985/JASA12-85Seeger2.html; viewed 26 September 2005)

So before you troll on Internet message boards about how stupid Christians are compared to scientists, you might want to check the beliefs of those scientists you adore. It appears quite a number of them apparently hadn't gotten the memo that you can't be a great scientist if you are "backwards" enough to believe in Christianity, and not knowing Christianity and science had been declared by Internet trolls to be irreconcilable, they went ahead and believed in Christ while making some of the biggest scientific leaps in history. Lol.

Comment Are we sure our probes didn't bring life to Mars? (Score 2) 260

Even at that, considering how much material Earth and Mars have exchanged over billions of years, it wouldn't even really be that amazing for single cell life to be on Mars, especially if it has a common origin with life on Earth. If we proved beyond doubt that it had an independent origin, THAT would be big.

Let's put aside the long timelines and asteroid impacts and focus on more recent exchanges. We keep sending probes to Mars, and I don't think we sterilize them before we send them. I know space is a harsh place, but bacteria on Earth live in some exceedingly harsh environments. Is there any way to guarantee that nothing survived the journey, and that any life that may be on Mars wasn't in fact brought over by us in the first place?

And if we found bacteria there, how would we prove whether it is native or our own? We haven't even discovered all forms of higher life on Earth, let alone created a database of every bacterial strain. Could a "new" bacteria we find there actually be a less common form native to Earth that we've never catalogued, that managed to survive a probe ride and thrive over there? I keep expecting scientists to announce they've found bacterial life over there, only to eventually realize far later that it's actually Earth life.

Comment Re: Go Bucks! (Score 1) 190

There doesnt need to be more unwanted children in the adoption files than there is.

You just say that to make yourself feel better about the rampant killing of children that goes on in our society. The actual fact is that most adoption agencies have a two year average wait time. There are more loving families looking to adopt than there are children to match them with. Even if that weren't the case, it's still just as wrong, and sick, to murder a child, but it's especially pathetic to claim they are "unwanted" and that you are doing them a favor by killing them.

By the way, I hope you didn't type that inane post on an iPhone or iPad, because if everyone followed your wicked ideas, Steve Jobs would have been aborted, not raised in a loving home, and there would be no such thing as Apple Computer. Just think about that when you claim an adopted baby is unwanted and will be nothing more than a welfare leach. And even if they don't invent Apple Computer, their life is still just as valuable and they have a right to live it out as they wish.

And yes, I will say it: if you are not ready to have kids then you'd better either be willing to abstain, or lovingly raise any child you have/put it up for adoption. They should not pay the price for your lack of self control and your bad decisions.

Comment Re: Skill and TCL in Design Automation (Score 1) 429

Please pardon the really bad autocorrect above. That's what I get for posting this with a mobile device. I was trying to say a lot of languages owe a big debt to TCL. Also in the case of PowerShell, its design philosophy of the same. In PowerShell, almost everything is a command (cmdlet), but they are compiled as and interface with a different underlying language (C#). That way you can script really easily with PowerShell at a high level, but the underlying code is much more robust and fast. And that was basically the TCL philosophy, albeit with C. TCL was the glue language you scripted with, but C was the language that did all the work, and did it fast.

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