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Comment: A lesson with perhaps unintended consequences (Score 1) 644

by Eternal Vigilance (#46062089) Attached to: Court Says Craigslist Sperm Donor Must Pay Child Support

Never ejaculate anywhere near America.

At least, not without your lawyer present. ;-)

To be safe, your lawyer and all parties involved should probably be male.

(I wonder if this court recognizes their attempt to defend heterosexual reproduction is also indirectly championing gay sex? I guess it's a reproductive politics version of the "dropping a cat with an open-face peanut butter sandwich on its back" paradox.)

"Kansas Welcomes You And Reminds You Of The Severe Consequences Of Non-Homosexual Sex"

Comment: Hardware vs. software implementation...of slavery (Score 2) 464

by Eternal Vigilance (#45752513) Attached to: Reuters: RSA Weakened Encryption For $10M From NSA

You see, the easiest slave to control is one who doesn't realize he's a slave.

"Totalitarian" governments control their populations physically, with chains, clubs, physical restriction. "Democracies" control their populations mentally, with imagery, thoughts, mental restriction.

They're both the same process - one implemented in hardware, the other in software.

Comment: Land of the Free Range (Score 1) 464

by Eternal Vigilance (#45752483) Attached to: Reuters: RSA Weakened Encryption For $10M From NSA

Well said. History is just the cognitive version of those hagiographic paintings rulers like to put up in the palace.

And as far as "Land of the Free," there's free as in speech, free as in beer, and free as in range. Americans are "free" in that final sense: "Land of the Free Range."

Hey, at least we're waking up.

"When we said 'We the People,' we didn't mean you."

Comment: Re:Google's first try got the age algorithm wrong (Score 1) 157

by Eternal Vigilance (#45646807) Attached to: Google Doodle Remembers Computing Pioneer Grace Hopper

Nope, stopped reading reddit long ago after discovering the mods' penchant for silently censoring comments and entire story threads they didn't like.

That the original Doodle might have accurately depicted poor-but-industry-accepted COBOL coding practices (i.e., approving and committing code where the program logic is wrong but the result of the calculation may still appear correct if an invisible dependency on a separate section of the program happens to work out in the programmer's favor) is either deeply nuanced, deeply disturbing, or both. ;-)

(Showing enough COBOL to correctly calculate age-in-years would make for a verrrry long Doodle.)

Comment: Google's first try got the age algorithm wrong (!) (Score 2) 157

by Eternal Vigilance (#45643511) Attached to: Google Doodle Remembers Computing Pioneer Grace Hopper

The first version of this Doodle got the algorithm to compute age wrong (!). The original version of the Doodle used the COBOL expression

SUBTRACT CurrentYear FROM BirthYear GIVING Age

which actually computes the negative of the age (for most people born after Christ, anyway).

I wondered whether this might be a nod to her pioneering work in software debugging, as also referenced in the flying moth at the end of the animation, but since Google has since corrected the bug, it seems even the mighty Google still sometimes commits the simplest of programming errors. (Right on their main page and logo, too. Oooops. I suppose there's also the view that the code was wrong because it was a woman doing the coding. You misogynist Google bastards.)

Whatever the reason, happy birthday and many thanks to Amazing Grace.

(full disclosure: I submitted this as a story overnight, but since it didn't get picked up, it seemed too funny to let it completely slip into the ether.)

+ - Google Doodle Honoring Grace Hopper Has A Real Code Bug->

Submitted by Eternal Vigilance
Eternal Vigilance (573501) writes "Today's Google Doodle honoring the 107th birthday of computer pioneer Grace Hopper has a bug (no, it's a feature!) in the COBOL algorithm to calculate age. The animated gif uses the expression "SUBTRACT CurrentYear FROM BirthYear GIVING Age" — but since CurrentYear >= BirthYear that actually calculates the negative of the person's age. Whether this bug is truly a bug, or a subtle reference in code to go along with the animated bug at the end of the doodle celebrating Hopper's popularizing of the word that is both the bane and job security of the world's programmers, the doodle doesn't calculate. Perhaps this is as close as we get in COBOL to a joke (there's your setup, +5 Funny people)."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Well, the prize *is* for "business ethics" (Score 4, Insightful) 131

by Eternal Vigilance (#44983683) Attached to: Cricket Reactor Inventor Says $1mil Prize Winners Stole His Work

"The mandate of the competition," Dzamba notes, "is to instill business ethics among college and university students..."

Hmm, steal the winning idea, take the prize money, threaten to sue the original inventor...I'd say the competition succeeded.

Comment: From Microsoft - the masters of great UI (Score 1) 338

by Eternal Vigilance (#44563029) Attached to: Bill Gates Seeking Patent To Make Shakespeare Less Boring

Given how shoddy Microsoft's interface to computing has been over the decades, I'm nauseated by the idea of the same people creating - and if this patent is granted, controlling - an interface to (some subset of) reality.

Though it's ironic that people who used to insist text was the only interface the world needed and anyone who wanted more was mentally feeble are now basing a patent application on their ground-breaking insight that text is sometimes limiting.

I do look forward to all the hilarious ways this latest variation of the intelligent PDA will screw up.

"It looks like you're trying to murder your father and marry your mother. Would you like help?"

p.s. The appropriate solution to students finding textbooks boring is better textbooks and a society that demands quality education for its people. What Gates and Myhrvold are attempting to provide is the educational equivalent of an energy drink - instead of true health and fitness.

p.p.s. Knowing how difficult the process is Gates and Myhrvold are attempting to claim they can implement, I'm surprised TFA didn't include

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

[0011] FIG. 1 and then a miracle occurs.

Comment: Because Congress' goal is to privatize the USPS (Score 5, Interesting) 867

by Eternal Vigilance (#44378483) Attached to: Door-To-Door Mail Delivery To End Under New Plan

Why don't we just let the price of stamps rise to where it makes sense, instead?

Because that would allow the USPS to continue operating smoothly, and is thus illegal.

The goal of both parties of Congress is to sell off the lucrative USPS to private interests. In order to do that Congress and its owners must trick the public into believing their valuable USPS is a failing, worthless business.

The USPS cannot - by law - raise the price of stamps by anything more than the "rate of inflation" the government announces. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a politically-motivated number, since higher rates of inflation reflect badly on politicians and cost the government money in payments keyed to CPI. So the USPS is legally prohibited from raising prices to reflect its costs, and even the amount it is allowed to increase is artificially low.

The USPS is prevented from doing what every other business is allowed to do - change its prices to reflect changes in its costs - and then the results of this Congressional restriction are used in Congress as an example of how the USPS is inept and inefficient and must be privatized!

This legal constraint on the revenue side is matched by a legal requirement for the USPS to wildly increase its expenses. The same law restricting increases in USPS revenue requires the USPS pre-fund 75 years worth of retiree health benefits - while private businesses are being allowed to completely renege on even existing pension agreements.

(There's also a little backstory here about Congress mandating these huge front-loaded payments. The USPS had been overpaying into its pension fund and was actually going to be able to reduce the amount it needed to pay, but because of unified federal budgeting, USPS payments into its pension fund counted as revenue to the entire government. Congress required these huge payments from the USPS to make sure Congress didn't have to reduce its own spending. But that's a detail, like robbing a person already being murdered for their bodily organs.)

The goal of this simultaneous restriction on revenue and increase in costs is to force the USPS into bankruptcy and paint the USPS as an expensive failure so the public will accept having another valuable public resource sold off at fire sale prices to private interests.

Said a shorter way, what "makes sense" from the standpoint of the public makes no sense at all from the viewpoint of those who feed off the public.

Always think of something new; this helps you forget your last rotten idea. -- Seth Frankel

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