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Comment Re:Consumers reject advertising (Score 2) 170

I don't like ads, but before they got obnoxious, I didn't bother to block them. Then, for awhile, I just refused to have flash installed. Now I also use noscript.

If they make things obnoxious, I'll avoid them. It doesn't bother me to avoid sites that require flash...and I consider flash a security risk. It's easy to get me to avoid a site. Just ask me not to visit, and I'll leave and not go back. (It's been years since I've visited the New York Times site. They wanted more than I was willing to offer, so I just stopped visiting.) Really, about the only sites I feel I need to visit document programming languages, as for the rest, push me and I'll leave. But I won't come back later.

OTOH, other people have other priorities. My wife insists on having flash installed in her computer. And many people feel that way, too. One size doesn't fit all, and if Mozilla expects it to, they can expect resistance that will not end.

Comment Re:Yes and? (Score 1) 105

The macro assembler in Byte had conditionals, loops, etc. Don't know about switch statements. It had operators. I think it had types, and enums, but I'm not sure about structs. It had at least limited scoping.

I never used it enough to really get a handle on its capabilities, so it may well have done more than I'm saying. It *didn't* implement libraries other than assembler (no I/O, e.g.), so it was clearly not very useful. But it was over 80% of the C language, and possibly over 90%.

Comment Re:Yes and? (Score 1) 105

C is, essentially, a good portable assembler. It's barely a compiler at all, which is why it could fit on really small 8-bit systems.

For that matter, Byte once ran an article where they implemented most of C in M68000 assembler macros, so that it ACUTALLY was assembler. It wasn't all of C, just most of it, and it was too clumsy to actually use (M68000 assembler code was as readable and much more efficient), but it worked.

For that matter, LifeboatC, an i8080 compiler, really was a translator from C to assembler (a translator, not exactly a compiler) to the point that if you knew what you were doing you could drop assembler instructions in the middle of your C code and have them work properly. It emitted assembler code or (I believe, it's been awhile) could directly build an executable. But C is much more similar to M68000 assembler than i8080 assembler, so LifeboatC was rather of a tour de force. It wasn't a full K&R C, but it was quite close.

So I consider C a portable assembler, and as such quite good. I don't think of it as a good compiler language. At this point in time a good computer language needs to handle unicode characters quite well. Vala has potentials, if it ever matures. Similarly D (Digital Mars D) has potentials. If you don't need speed, Python is a good choice. Soon a good computer language will also need to handle parallel processing gracefully...but so far I haven't seen any contenders for this. Even C will do it if you don't demand grace and elegance.

P.S.: I no longer consider assembler a reasonable thing to require...either of myself or of anyone who isn't implementing things at the hardware level. C is as close to that as I consider reasonable, and even C is limiting. The complexity of code anyone can write is limited, so any complexity you can push off onto your tools should be so pushed...unless you are a tool designer or builder, or, to a much lesser extent, evaluator.

Comment Re:Lies, damned lies, and statistics (Score 1) 204

Yes, but while the physicists admit that the "dark" things are error factors, they handwave about gravitons not being found when and how they were predicted. (OTOH, the orbital loss of energy fits the graviton equations just fine, so something really odd is going on. But I have my doubts as to whether it's gravitons as normally calculated. Perhaps the graviton is an unstable particle, but what could it break up into? For that matter, could that have any connection to "dark energy" and "dark matter").

I think the graviton is just as much a placeholder as is "dark matter" or "dark energy". All describe places where equations that normally work don't match what we see.

Comment Re:Wait a minute. (Score 1) 204

Well, it's one of the sorts of errors peer-review is supposed to catch. And I guess that in this case it eventually did. Compare this to free-market idealism which is also supposed to be caught (there is no free market, there never has been a free market, and it wouldn't even be meta-stable if it existed for an hour somewhere). But this is wiggled around by using terms that are not subject to observation or test. Peer-review is supposed to catch this kind of thing too, but it hasn't in the last 200 years. Too many people find it too attractive an idea, so objections are ignored and ill-defined terms are accepted, and so is lack of a decent experimental test. (I'm not even asking for a controlled test here.)

Because of this, economics is basically a form of theology. It's actually worse than metaphysics.

Comment Re:Why would anyone be shocked? (Score 2) 204

It would be *extremely* difficult to run controlled experiments in economics. For one thing, just try to find two identical populations to run your test on. There are *WAY* too many plausible variables.

N.B.: That doesn't mean I don't think that most economists are politicians grinding an axe. It means that the ones who are trying to do decent economics studies would have a really hard problem even if they weren't being drowned out in noise that's essentially theological.

Comment Re:Current research in cold fusion (Score 1) 186

Sounds interesting. Do they have any estimate of the maximum rate of fusion? I can well imagine cold fusion being a reality that happens, but never produces enough energy to bother with.

And, of course, any limits they estimated at this time would be subject to improvement..

Not having a lot of capability of investing in something rather speculative, I'm going to consider this something more interesting than useful until someone with plausible knowledge says otherwise. (And I still won't be investing, but then I'll follow it with more interest.)

P.S.: SRI has, in the past, put effort into some rather questionable research. They hire a lot of people and some of them aren't above inflating their results. But they also do lots of really excellent work. You just need to remember that some of their researchers aren't exactly indifferent about the success of their research.

Comment Re:Hmmm .... (Score 1) 186

Nahh. Leave open the possibility that he's honest and really has something. But if he's incapable of sharing it, for whatever reason, then it's worthless to anyone else.

Remember, in the really early days of crystal radios there were frequently people who could get their set working, but couldn't help anyone else to do so. So leave slack to allow this to be what's happening here. Of course, it's still worthless to anyone else.

Comment Re:The Message (Score 1) 139

Yes, but if you're talking about a species survival in an environment, then cleaning the damage out quick, e.g. via failure to reproduce, should benefit changes of survival. You need to distinguish between the ability of a species to survive in an environment and the ability of an individual. With a greater proportion of the damaged individuals being weeded out every year a higher rate of genetic damage per unit time should be sustainable by the species. This is, of course, going to be quite unpleasant for those eliminated, but so is being eaten by a predator...and the predators are going to be experiencing the same winnowing.

That said, it would seem that the maximum length of a genetic code with a given capability of repair would get shorter at any particular rate of reproduction....unless, like the rats in the experiment I referred to, there was an inherent tendency to avoid areas with radiation.

P.S.: While cockroaches have been observed eating the insulation on the inside of fission reactors (i.e., in the high radiation area, not the high temperature area) I don't believe that this was ever tested over several generations. But radiodurans (Deinococcus radiodurans), a bacteria, has been tested for several generations.

Comment Re: Ban ALL NUKES NOW (Score 1) 139

Umn... You are aware that the Fukushima earthquake was well off shore aren't you? That was why it was followed by the large tsunami. And there isn't a place on earth that isn't subject to earthquakes. Some place are more likely to experience damage from them, but no place is safe. One of the largest quakes in US history happened in Missouri, but quakes can happen even in the middle of plates. And some of those are worse than most that happen along the edges.

As for not near an ocean:
it's further from the ocean than Fukushima was, but not far enough that tsunamis are irrelevant. It's right on a river. Most nuclear plants are, because they need the water for cooling. And tsunamis roll right up rivers.

All that said, I'll agree that TMI is less likely to experience that particular external insult. But the world is full of unlikely accidents. It's good to avoid the ones you recognize, but that doesn't make them the one you needed to have defended against. Where to TMI style plants store their spent fuel rods? What do they do if the power supplies are interrupted? (Be aware that Fukushima thought they had that covered before the accident happened.)

Many nuclear plants in the US are being run at longer than their rated lifetime and for more than their rated power output. Yes, the original ratings were conservative, but there are good reasons those ratings were conservative. And many of the plants have repeatedly failed safety inspections. That nothing bad has happened so far is as much due to luck as to proper care...because proper care has often be sacrificed to corporate agendas. (Much like Fukushima and other plants run by Tokyo Electric [TepCo] in that respect.)

Feel disillusioned? I've got some great new illusions, right here!