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Comment: Re:The death of expertise ("it's the money!") (Score 1) 846

by GlassHeart (#46016725) Attached to: Global-Warming Skepticism Hits 6-Year High

Here are the two propositions that you are comparing:

  1. Opinions of regular people are just as valid as those of experts
  2. A gross majority of experts are lying to get funding

What would you say is the likelihood of each being true? Just because neither is 0% or 100% doesn't make them equivalent.

Comment: Re:Depends on the product (Score 1) 432

by GlassHeart (#42762653) Attached to: Is 'Brogramming' Killing Requirements Engineering?

If you capture the market for a new idea you can use a more formal process for v2 while your competitors missed out.

That still depends on how much of your v1 you're able to salvage for your v2. If you essentially have to toss it all out, then you've just thrown away much of the advantage you have against a (typically big boy) competitor. Think of your v1 as detailed specs for Google's very bright engineers.

Comment: Say hello to globalization (Score 1) 689

by GlassHeart (#42742889) Attached to: Does US Owe the World an Education At Its Expense?

First of all, the US does not have a monopoly of good schools. Europe has many good schools, and there are schools that provide competent college-level education all over the world. Closing the doors of US universities merely directs the demand to these other good schools, and would probably not substantially decrease the creation of competition.

Secondly, the US has a moral obligation to many countries, having terribly damaged their institutions and infrastructures over years of intervention. Even if the US was paying for their education (and we are generally not), a person with a sense of history might not think it's so unfair. One could even argue that the richest country in the history of the world has an obligation to humankind to help develop as much of the limited pool of talent we have. Would it really benefit us if the next Darwin or Einstein is denied the best education?

Thirdly, many universities are private and most professors (except perhaps ones with truly sensitive expertise like nuclear engineering) are mobile. Countries are not going to stop trying to compete with the US just because we stop issuing student visas. If we leave them no other choice, they'll simply invite our universities to set up satellite campuses, or just hire away professors. The resulting brain drain could be even worse.

Basically, the only way it'll work out as the submitter imagines is when there are lots of qualified and motivated US students who can afford the education to fill the slots vacated by foreigners. With the economy in trouble and government slashing education spending, it's more likely that a lot of schools will downsize, shut down, or simply move.

Comment: Re:Not surprising (Score 1) 535

by GlassHeart (#42511077) Attached to: C Beats Java As Number One Language According To TIOBE Index

It's strange that you would call C the "most standardized language". Lots of very basic things in C are implementation-defined or even undefined. For example, the C Standard allows int types to be implemented at least as sign-magnitude, one's-complement, and two's-complement formats. It doesn't specify the number of bits in a char type, allowing it to differ from implementation to implementation. It doesn't even specify if char is signed or unsigned by default. Real-world C programs often get by because they happen to run on similar CPU architectures, not because they actually comply with the Standard, compared to other languages that offer more hardware abstraction.

I would also disagree with "simple to learn and use". I've been writing in C (and C-like languages) for about 20 years now, and it's a professional tool that can hurt unwary newbies. Features like its relatively terse syntax and manual memory management are obviously not impossible to learn, but not particularly "easy" either.

Comment: Re:C? (Score 1) 535

by GlassHeart (#42510837) Attached to: C Beats Java As Number One Language According To TIOBE Index
The advantages to being able to develop software for anything from phones to mainframes in one language are not limited to just porting the same code everywhere, although many libraries do port readily even if the application doesn't. It also has to do with the programmer's mastery of the language. If the programmer is actually writing (even very different) code on all these disparate platforms, he or she is probably still going to be a better programmer in the end than one who has to switch among four different languages.

Comment: Re:Base partisan politics? Look in the mirror. (Score 2) 401

by GlassHeart (#41938477) Attached to: CIA Director David Petraeus Resigns, Citing Affair

'Shit' didn't just happen. A pending attack or assassination was a big concern for Ambassador Stevens months beforehand, and his requests for more security went nowhere.

Requests for all sorts of things are denied by superiors all the time for all sorts of reasons. Some reasons are good, some reasons are bad, and some reasons are even criminal, but you haven't established which one it was. I would suggest you present the substance of this supposed request, and show how a reasonable boss should've granted it. Just because the "big concern" turned out right in hindsight isn't actually enough.

there's some concern that Obama failed miserably when Hillary Clinton's legendary '3 am phone call' came.

That's rather vague. What did he do, and what was he supposed to do, when?

Note that I'm not defending the Obama administration's actions in any way. I'm just pointing out that I don't actually know what you're accusing them of.

Comment: Re:To what end? (Score 2) 266

by GlassHeart (#41394443) Attached to: Richard Branson 'Determined To Start a Population On Mars'
Insurance only makes sense if the premium is much much lower than the catastrophic event you're protecting against. For example, Google shows me an ad for life insurance: "Get $500,000 of Coverage For Only $21/Month". That makes sense, because the $500,000 protects your family against financial ruin, and you can afford the $21. A Mars colony protects against human extinction, which I would expect most people care about a great deal less than their families. Hell, at least one major religion embraces apocalypse, so their believers would presumably not be too worried about it.

Comment: Re:Land of the Free (Score 1) 559

by GlassHeart (#41063637) Attached to: California Wants Genetically Modified Foods To Be Labelled

If there ere any scientific prove these foods may be dangerous, they would be prohibited by governments.

According to Wikipedia, "Asbestos became increasingly popular among manufacturers and builders in the late 19th century because of its sound absorption, average tensile strength, its resistance to fire, heat, electrical and chemical damage, and affordability. [...] The first documented death related to asbestos was in 1906. In the early 1900s researchers began to notice a large number of early deaths and lung problems in asbestos mining towns. The first diagnosis of asbestosis was made in the UK in 1924. By the 1930s, the UK regulated ventilation and made asbestosis an excusable work-related disease, followed by the U.S about ten years later. The term mesothelioma was first used in medical literature in 1931; its association with asbestos was first noted sometime in the 1940s."

The point is not to say that GM foods are dangerous. The point is that some ill effects can take time to show up, still more time to link to the source conclusively, and then still more time for governments to take action. The harmful effects of tobacco have been well-known for decades, yet it's still quite legal, so I'm not sure where you get your faith in governments.

Comment: Re:What about external hazards? (Score 4, Insightful) 605

by GlassHeart (#38978701) Attached to: TomTom Satnavs To Set Insurance Prices
It's not that complicated. Your personal sharp brake count can be compared to the average count of all drivers in the area. Random events happen to everybody, but if it somehow happens to you a lot more, then either you are extraordinarily unlucky, or you're a bad driver. Either way the insurance company would want you to pay more, assuming they can correlate this behavior with actual accident rates.

Comment: Re:"...only show phones they think might sell." (Score 3, Interesting) 435

by GlassHeart (#38870649) Attached to: Nokia CEO Blames Salesmen For Windows Phone Struggles

Prolonging the inevitable doesn't make it any less inevitable.

That's not actually true. Even just breaking even means that you don't have to lay off employees with important skills and knowledge, and watch them go work for competitors. It means buying yourself some time for R&D to catch up. It means time for a competitor or two to make a mistake. People forget how many years Apple struggled with "inevitable" bankruptcy, that as recently as 2003 you could've had a share of AAPL for $7.

Comment: Re:speaking of which (Score 3, Insightful) 457

by GlassHeart (#38599890) Attached to: Mathematics Says Romney and Santorum Tied In Iowa

It's not as if Obama has strayed at all from his predecessor's policies on war, executive supremacy, and foreign policy.

Obama got the Arab League* to endorse the no-fly zone over Libya, and got the Europeans flying many of the missions, for a final cost of about $2 billion and no known American lives. Does that sound even remotely like either of Bush's wars?

* Which, mind you, is not only Arab and Muslim like Libya, but also mostly dealing with internal dissent themselves, and are obviously wary of Western intervention themselves. How eager do you suppose they were to throw Libya under the bus?

Comment: Re:so much for e-ink... (Score 1) 156

by GlassHeart (#37298718) Attached to: Hands-On Account of Amazon's Upcoming Color Kindle

I really don't see how my reader could be significantly improved.

In no particular order:

  1. The background color of e-ink is not ideal, and should be able to display something resembling white, if not actually a user-selectable color.
  2. The resolution of e-ink can be improved, at least to 300 dpi or so.
  3. While the flashing refresh is bearable, it's obviously not ideal.
  4. Depending on what you're reading, rich color.

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