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Comment: Re: Meh... (Score 2) 179

by Rei (#49757847) Attached to: California Votes To Ban Microbeads

The problem is, sewage treatment systems have a lot of trouble (at present, let's just simply say "can't") filtering them out. They go into the sewage, they will go into the sea.

Setting up filters for particles as small as 1 micron for all sewage going out into the ocean is obviously going to be a massive expensive. Who wants to pay for that so that people can keep sticking bits of plastic in cosmetics?

Seriously, whose bright idea was it to make bits of plastic, bite-size for plankton, looking like fish eggs, whose very design intent is to wash out into the ocean? And no, while they're not harmful to us, they absolutely will be to plankton - if not immediately (how healthy do you think you'd be if you wolfed down an entire meal-sized chunk of plastic?), then with time. Plastics act as chelators for heavy metals and a number of organic poisons, to such a degree that they might even be economical to mine. There's simply no way that this isn't going to have an impact.

And it's so stupid when one can just use soluble crystals (salts, sugars, etc) instead of plastic.

Comment: Re:Not likely. (Score 1) 148

by Opportunist (#49757537) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

The examples you mention are the low hanging fruits of the computer industry. Yes, EBay, Google and all the other "Internet wonders" started out small. Hey, MS started as a garage shop, and so did Apple. And I think I remember something about Henry Ford starting his motor company with little more than his own bare hands.

The point is that in the early days of a technology, what you mention is possible. It is no longer possible, though, once big players have emerged. You think a garage shop making cars, OSs or search engines could hit it anymore? Nope.

Big things can still be done, that's right. If, and only if, it hasn't been done before. And in this time and age, "doing big things" essentially means "try to find something that ain't been done to death, then hope that Google or Facebook buys you out before you drown in litigation fees".

Comment: Re:Not likely. (Score 1) 148

by Opportunist (#49757527) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

Excuse me, but it's not just "generation bashing", it's simply an observation of how computers evolved. Before my time, when people pretty much had to "roll their own", they needed to know electrical engineering to run a computer. You'd have to be able to pretty much piece it together. And to operate it, you had to understand how to troubleshoot in hardware because this or that failed, got out of sync or simply needed a nudge.

My "generation", so to speak, had to learn how to operate the OS, how to configure startup sequences and organize ram and resources like IOs and interrupt lines. We didn't need an EE degree anymore, though, for our hardware was stable enough to "just work".

And now you don't need to learn those "intimate" OS details anymore. Computers evolve. And the people don't have a need anymore to know certain things to use them. Yes, if people are interested they will of course dig into the matter and learn things, but there is no longer a need.

Comment: "Leak". Yeah. Sure. (Score 2) 128

I can only wonder how incredible the timing of those "leaks" always happens to be. Just not that the big discussion is brewing on whether the UK should retain its "Brit-rebate" and other undue privileges, we get to hear that the sky is falling over Europe should they dare to withdraw.

Timely blunders indeed.

Comment: Re:Not likely. (Score 2) 148

by Opportunist (#49757405) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

I don't make my own clothes, don't slaughter my own beef and don't distill my own gas. And I probably would fail miserably at trying to do so. Then again, I also don't bemoan that people lose the skill to do so.

The point was that it didn't matter in the "old days" whether you're curious enough so you'd want to do it. Back then, you simply HAD TO learn this to get things done. There was no way around it. If you wanted to program a game in the days of the C64, you HAD TO learn assembler since there was no other language remotely fast enough to accomplish what you wanted to do. And for the longest time, games and programming them meant riding the bleeding edge of technology development because only then you could actually squeeze those few last cycles out of the CPU or GPU and abuse some quirks of this or that chip to your advantage.

Advances in compilers meant that eventually we could dump asm in favor of C and C++ because those compilers were actually advanced enough to optimize sensibly, and soon their level of optimization beats the average asm programmer. But when I look at the development and how games are today written in C# or, like the Minecraft you used as an example, in Java, it mostly means that game programming now, too, has left the field of "bleeding edge tech" in favor or making it easier. Computers are fast enough that cycles wasted don't matter no longer.

But this also always means that certain skills will no longer be learned simply due to a lack of need. Which may be good, since it frees up time for learning something else, but it also means that some foundations are lost. Convenience always entails not knowing, or rather, not having to know something. Whether someone will learn it depends only on him wanting, not him needing, to learn it.

That difference is crucial. Some times are simply no fun to learn, but they may well be very important for understanding something and doing it the right way. Learning Big O Notation is no fun. None at all. But it is crucial if you want to understand (and not just accept as given) the advantages and drawbacks of various algorithms. And yes, you can simply learn that this algo is "better" than that one, but you will always be dependent on someone who learned it to calculate it for you.

Comment: Re:Java vs. C# amuses me (Score 1) 403

by shutdown -p now (#49757271) Attached to: The Reason For Java's Staying Power: It's Easy To Read

Java anon classes aren't quite the same because of the lack of "var" or similar - so you can implement interface members or override base class members, but you cannot introduce new members that can then be referenced outside of that object.

OTOH, C# anon classes don't support base types...

Comment: Re:So cool (Score 1) 34

by PopeRatzo (#49756417) Attached to: A Conversation with Druva Co-Founder Jaspreet Singh (Video)

Then become a Sikh, and stop boring us with this nonsense.

I happen to think dogs are great too, but that doesn't mean I should want to become a dog.

MechaStreisand, you are an unpleasant person. Your comments almost always refer to other people as "retards", "idiots" or "morons". It's a little bit unseemly for such a stupid sonofabitch to be doing that. It's really no way to go through life.

Comment: Of course they shed into the ocean (Score 1) 256

by rs79 (#49756151) Attached to: ESA Satellite Shows Sudden Ice Loss In Southern Antarctic Peninsula

If you've been looking at this for a while you know the antarctic ice mass grows in the middle and cleaves around the edges. The antarctic mass has been growing steadily for 45 years and has never been bigger than now.

How and why it's growing so much in a supposed "warming" world I leave to your imagination although keep in mind a new paper shows the rate of warming in the 20th century is the same rate as the previous 80 centuries.

Refs:
http://www.nasa.gov/content/go...
http://multi-science.atypon.co...

Comment: Re:So cool (Score 1) 34

by PopeRatzo (#49755771) Attached to: A Conversation with Druva Co-Founder Jaspreet Singh (Video)

Would you be more worried about what atheists thought, or what Sikhs would think if they knew you didn't belong to their religion?

Atheists think a lot of different things, and I'd like to think that most atheists aren't actually offended by the fact that religious people exist. That would be a pretty horrible way to go through life.

If there is a specific religious significance to the headwear, I wouldn't want believers to think I was denigrating their beliefs.

I'm old school in that I don't believe in being offensive without good reason.

Comment: Re:Not the Issue (Score 1) 131

by PopeRatzo (#49755071) Attached to: 'Prisonized' Neighborhoods Make Recidivism More Likely

American Justice is about having a penalty so severe that the risk/reward ratio makes doing the crime a bad idea. Unfortunately, many, many people today have a problem with thinking very far in the future.

No, American Justice is about keeping enough poor people incarcerated that revolution can be avoided.

The ridiculous percentage of Americans that are incarcerated has more to do with politics than it does crime.

You can fool all the people all of the time if the advertising is right and the budget is big enough. -- Joseph E. Levine

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