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Comment: Re:"Thus ends "Climategate." Hopefully." (Score 1) 321

by ultranova (#47418623) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

Problem is that skeptical scientists such as Richard Lindzen agree with that 'consensus', because the question is too narrow. Ask something more interesting like, "should we replace all our coal power with renewables because to prevent AGW?" or "is AGW going to be catastrophic?" and you will find that there is no consensus.

And should such consensus emerge, you can always rephrase the question again. Or maybe you'll claim the answer should be ignored since climatologists are not, after all, engineers. Perhaps you'll come up with something more creative. Just as long as it lets you dismiss science that's saying things you don't want to hear while pretending to be scientific.

Climate change scepticism certainly serves as a wonderful demonstration about human capacity for self-deception.

Comment: Re:Why yes, we should blame the victim here (Score 1) 281

by ultranova (#47418131) Attached to: Tor Project Sued Over a Revenge Porn Business That Used Its Service

The whole concept of "revenge porn," insofar as it applies to nudes and porn freely made and disseminated, is ever so much "I want my freedom.... but I don't want my choices to have consequences of which I don't approve."

Does this only apply to revenge porn, or would you also blame someone who gets mugged for being out after dark?

We have a term for that behavior. It's called behaving like a child.

No, that's just you attempting to use rhetoric to dismiss a position without actually analysing it.

Comment: Re:What happened to Scheme? (Score 1) 388

by ultranova (#47411835) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

Just because most of the people graduating with a degree in physics never actually use quantum physics in their jobs does not mean it's pointless to teach quantum physics to students.

Actually, it does. That's exactly what it means. If your "degree in X" doesn't mean you'll be using Y in your work, it's pointless to include Y in said degree, as long as said degree is mainly a qualification for work.

Comment: Re:another language shoved down your throat (Score 1) 388

by ultranova (#47411623) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

While I do think that it is of extreme value to know what problems something (in this case, a paradigm) tries to solve, I do not think that you need to know procedural programming to know object oriented programming.

The problem with procedural programming is that every piece of code can touch every piece of data. The problem is combinatory explosion. If you've never run into that problem, how can you understand the need for a solution?

It might, in most cases, also be beneficial to most people. But as I saw my college classmates go through this (we did procedural Python, then C, then Java), I noticed that many of them had quite a lot of trouble getting rid of the "procedural way" of doing things, and often made more errors than I did when I first learned OOP. Maybe I'm an exception. But, oh well...

I've never been to college, so I wouldn't know. But this is how it worked for me: line-number Basic, C, Object-oriented, functional. I don't know any of these well, but I know what problem each rose to solve - except functional, since it didn't rise to solve problems in programming, but is simply an alternative way of describing algorithms. However, I'm developing a love/hate relationship with Haskell.

Comment: Re:Python for learning? Good choice. (Score 1) 388

by ultranova (#47411335) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

I'll disagree on that. We use white space to communicate our programs' block structure to other humans. Why should we use a different syntax to tell the compiler the same information?

Because our visual cortext deals with geometric structure, while the compiler deals with logical structure. It's simply more efficient to tell the compiler the latter, and let the IDE to format the code for easy consumption by the former.

Computers should conform to the needs of humans. Full. Stop.

I agree. And in my experience, it's much easier to have explicit block start/end markers and let the IDE format things than wonder if your bugs are caused by mixed tabs and spaces.

Python eliminates that source of bugs and redundancy by having the compiler's view of the significance of what space match a human's view of significance of white space.

No, it doesn't, and that's precisely the problem. My eye can't tell the difference between 8 spaces and a tab, but the compiler can. And I often find myself refactoring the code in ways that causes space-based alignment to get inconsistent. In languages like Java I just insert braces and tell the compiler to reformat, and all is well; in languages like Python, I'll have a fun time re-indenting hundreds of lines and hoping I get everything right.

"Indentation is logical structure" sounds like a good idea, but it's not. It's a horrible one.

Comment: Re:another language shoved down your throat (Score 1) 388

by ultranova (#47411087) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

C is very beginner friendly in my opinion. It was my first non-BASIC language. Learning C you learn how those bits and bytes work and how shit gets done. The paradigm is old but not obsolete.

C is not beginner friendly. The reason is that it's not a managed language, so a mistake will have unpredictable consequences, rather than firing an exception like in Java. Yes, you can still do it; I learned C by reverse engineering Nethack sources in pre-Internet days and debugging all errors with printfs ("got here!") and logic, and perhaps that should be the criteria for serious programmers, but that's hardly "beginner friendly".

Personally, I think programmers should start with with line-number Basic, then move to procedural programming, then to object-oriented. You can't really understand a paradigm unless you know the problem it was designed as a response for.

Comment: Re:more leisure time for humans! (Score 1) 516

by ultranova (#47410977) Attached to: Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

That's not the correct use of the word "coercion", and it's a misuse that indicates a bias regarding economic policy. Coercion indicates the use of force or threat of force by one against another. A person in the wilderness must work or die, and no other person is there to coerce him to work.

You do realize that the entire point of civilization is to make things different from being alone in the wilderness, right? So if they aren't, then the civilization has failed miserably. Also, the conditions in wilderness are not under anyone's control, while the conditions in civilization are.

And I absolutely have a "bias" regarding economic policty: I believe economy exists to serve human needs and as such must address not just efficiency, but also fairness and security. Our current economy fails with all three.

Comment: Re: If everyone loses their jobs... (Score 1) 516

by ultranova (#47408509) Attached to: Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

Right, because automation causes poverty.

Not automation, but automation combined with free market fundamentalism. The former causes disturbances in economy and the latter prevents efficient safety nets to ensure proper maintenance of human resources who's primary supply of income gets cut by them. This combination makes the economy extremely fragile, both because the resulting lack of flexibility but also because people compensate by overreacting to any negative signal.

That is why countries like Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Somalia, that wisely avoided the "productivity catastrophe", are doing well, while countries adopting automation, like America, Europe, and Japan, are starving.

United States is starving. Europe makes do with filthy socialism and Japan with the remnants of feudalism. But don't worry, you've succesfully propagandized about the wonders of austerity, so it's unlikely that Europe will rise from depression any time soon.

Comment: Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (Score 1) 516

by ultranova (#47408381) Attached to: Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

Workers are lazy and will not produce if they don't have to.

Thank you for being honest about capitalism being based on coercion, disguised as it might be. However, the issue is precisely that we're running out of work that needs to - or even profitably can - be performed by humans, so what's the problem?

Comment: Re:more leisure time for humans! (Score 2) 516

by ultranova (#47407183) Attached to: Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

Sounds awfully like feminism or progressivism to me.

They can become religions, certainly. Progressivism has a built-in sense of destiny - a divine plan - and feminism began as a demand for more just world and developed a weird cult-like fringe later.

Ideologies are generally counterproductive my friend, except Buddhism, and that only because its first and last instructions are to reject ideologies, including this one.

Go ahead and reject ideologies, then. Now how will you get food? You can't just buy it, after all, without interacting with the local economic system in ways acceptable to that system - and if you do, you're not rejecting its values in any meaningful way.

This is what I meant when I said people aren't really in control of their destiny: believe what you will, but you'll still obey the overlords or die.

Comment: Re:more leisure time for humans! (Score 1) 516

by ultranova (#47406059) Attached to: Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

What I do know is that as long as there are people there will be something person A wants from person B and vice versa, and with that basis for trade there will be an economy, and something akin to jobs.

There is, however, an important difference between working to get food and working to get concert tickets. Current economy is ultimately based on coercion: work or die, or at least be extremely miserable. A society where all basic production is automated could guarantee an unconditional middle-class income to its members, so working would be strictly a matter of personal ambition.

Then again, we could already have an unconditional minimum income - and likely end up with a more efficient economy, since it's the coercion-based hierarchy that's the main source of inefficiency in corporations - yet don't do that for ideological reasons. So that suggests we'll see the nightmare scenario of ever-increasing wealth concentration and worsening dystopia instead.

Comment: Re:Misused? Murder is intrinsic in communism. (Score 1) 516

by ultranova (#47405997) Attached to: Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

Ayn Rand may have been batshit crazy about some things, but she also was accurate on some of her observations of human nature.

Batshit crazy or just a cynical and calculating con(wo)man. Either would be consistent with flattering the powerful and letting them pretend to be the victims rather than the victimizers...

"Those who will be able to conquer software will be able to conquer the world." -- Tadahiro Sekimoto, president, NEC Corp.