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Comment: Re:Nitrogen asphyxiation? (Score 4, Insightful) 1081 1081

That is very much the heart of it.

Consider at one extreme, public decapitation. However, only 'barbaric' cultures do this. So, the quest in the USA in particular was for a more 'humane' method, one that, incidentally, does not traumatise the executioner or the witnesses too much. (And that's a thing to consider. You probably don't want the sort of person who really, really enjoys their job to be an executioner in the first place [the normal solution to this is to appoint a condemned prisoner, but that has other problems]); and you probably don't want to send your humane executioner insane simply from doing their job either).

And so, the quest for 'humane' methods that don't traumatise anyone, which historically got side-tracked by the shiny of technology (poison gas, electricity).

Lethal injection goes to extreme lengths to pretend that all is sweetness and unicorns: victim is put gently to sleep, then paralyzed (so on-lookers don't freak out---of course if prisoner is not unconscious, this is the stuff of nightmares), then heart is stopped (apparently agonising if not unconscious). So. Many. Ways. To. Go. Wrong.

And it's all down to the pretence that the state can kill someone 'humanely'. Without upsetting anyone, not even the condemned.

Comment: Re:Objective C (Score 2, Interesting) 407 407

I agree.

I was surprised to find how clean Obj-C was. Eventually, I figured out that it's because of two things:

[1] The weird at first [receiver message] syntax makes it explicit that it is a message passing object model. I find that a natural and helpful model, rather than the procedural-like syntax of C++ and Java. The syntax helps me think in objects, with a clean visual and mental distinction between the Obj bits and the procedural bits.

[2] NextStep is a thing of beauty.

Against that, modern C++ has more modern and advanced syntax (lambda, templates). I'm not sure they make up for it. But rather than C++ I'd go for some other modern language (insert large list here).

Comment: Re: Perl is more expressive (Score 1) 192 192

Well, they are both tending towards line noise in my opinion, but doesn't the c++ version have a typo :) ? (auto &l should be auto &l1).

Personally, I find the Perl version a little clearer, but to a c++ geek, the familiarity probably makes the construct obvious and the Perl version ugly; a Perl geek draws the opposite conclusion.

Comment: Re:American Football thinks it's tough (Score 1) 227 227

Hurling. A bar fight. With clubs. Only faster and more violent.

I particularly like the mounds of broken sticks that accumulate on the sideline during the game, mostly broken over the head of an opposing player.

Has been known to result in injuries to players.

Comment: The Guillotine (Score 1) 790 790

Given that the guillotine was last used in France in 1977, and last used there publicly in 1939, it's not a sound that should be at all familiar, yet I suspect most of you can bring the sound to mind—courtesy of innumerable historical dramas and the dedicated efforts of Foley artists.

Comment: Re:To save you the click through trouble... (Score 1) 190 190

Backblaze tested the slower and cheaper STBD6000100, not the ST6000NM0024.

For their tests they note that the WD Red uses slightly less energy (which is important to them, when they have racks full of the drives) and also because it can lay down 1TB a day MORE than the Seagate. Again, a slightly different workload than most of us.

For them, the extra cost and power of the higher spec Seagate aren't worth it.

In summary: essentially equal performance (go to SSD if you need speed); essentially equal cost; slight edge on power to WD;

For reliability, no failures or pre-failures in 3 months of 24/7 operation.

Comment: Re:OH GOODY (Score 2) 203 203

Indeed. "Strong" is not a well understood concept. People often confuse it with hard, or tough or stiff.

I can thoroughly recommend The New Science of Strong Materials or Why You Don't Fall through the Floor by J.E. Gordon, which even has a positive review by Bill Gates.

Finding something that is:

  • Hard
  • Tough
  • Light
  • Cheap
  • Transparent

is challenging. Sapphire gets a pass for Hard and a (mostly) Transparent.

Comment: Re:Confirms that Apple's strategy is correct (Score 1) 415 415

I have an old mechanical watch. It requires winding once every two days, so I wind it every day. No big deal. BUT, it takes a few (10, 15) seconds to wind the watch. Can I charge the Apple Watch in under a minute? While wearing it?

Winding a mechanical watch and charging a cellphone/smartwatch are not quite as comparable as other posters have been making out.

Comment: Re:Who said they were smart? (Score 1) 399 399

MS #1: It's going to be called Windows U+122BA
MS #1: What?
MS #1: Windows SE
MS #2: "Es Ee"?

MS #1: Sumerian Edition.
MS #2: Why!?
MS #1: Well, Slashdot doesn't do unicode properly, so they can't say mean things about it.
MS #2: Who cares what Slashdot says about Windows?
MS #1: Philistine!
MS #2: No, that's Windows PE.
MS #1: ?
MS #2: Philistine Edition, a.k.a. Phone Edition.

Comment: Re:Beyond the law? (Score 1) 354 354

Through inheritance (isn't OOP a wonderful thing?).

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 12. And the UDHR was ratified in June 1992 and signed into law by Pres. Bush.

The constitution provides for the process, which has been followed.

Of course, one might cynically note many other actions that appear to be against the law, yet go unprosecuted; or indeed laws that conflict with international obligations as established by treaty, or laws that conflict with the constitution.

(Yes, I know parent was being rhetorical).

Comment: impossibilium nulla obligatio (Score 2) 236 236

It may also be to a company's financial advantage to guard their customers' data in this way, and I don't mean that it will get them more customers.

The cost of complying with requests for this sort of data is not zero, and may in fact be considerable. The Agencies may do it at their own cost, but you can bet they really want the cost out of their own budgets and into someone else's.

If a company really has no way to deliver the information, impossibilium nulla obligatio (no legal obligation to do the impossible), they have no compliance costs.

Have you ever noticed that the people who are always trying to tell you `there's a time for work and a time for play' never find the time for play?