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Comment What were they for anyways? (Score 1) 247 247

I had these stupid microbeads in my hand-soap, and I found them really irritating.. I didn't know they were in it, and don't understand what they're supposed to do - other than be some sales-gimmick to paranoid "Soccer Moms". The less plastic we pump down the drain and into the environment - the better. Plastic is poisonous to wildlife and it always needs to be recycled, there's no such thing as a "healthy" level of plastic in the environment - unless it's "none". I can't even imagine this crap in toothpaste... wtf? Save the plankton!!!

Comment HTML - this is sort of the point of HTML.. (Score 1) 200 200

I would think HTML is the obvious choice as it is the most widely implemented document format.. "Document Object Model" isn't just a name.
  • * open - just about as open as any format can be!
  • * searchable - yes, very. especially with Microdata or RDFa tags to describe data content
  • * portable - yes, very. virtually all modern operating systems support at least one decent web browser and there are countless other HTML/XML tools out there
  • * compressible - yes, depending. Depending on how much "compression" really means to you - assuming you're simply storing the actual text content and not images of text then HTML is obviously superior to all other formats. If you need graphics and diagrams (not photos), you can use embedded SVG to store near-perfect resolution images and shapes. and embedded uri's to hold the photos/images right there in the document with "data:image/png;base64,...".
  • * editable - yes, surprised? It may not always be pretty or easy, but you can use MS, Open, or Libre offices to load/edit/save HTML documents. Don't let your head explode... I know HTML documents generated by these editors are ugly as sin - but you can always edit the tags yourself (which I personally prefer) if you don't want to fight with a fickle GUI.. you can't really do anything like that in a .doc or .pdf. To me, nothing beats a good clean text editor.

I'm just not sure why it's a question.. it's the format . . for .. um.. documents.

Comment Money is the apex predator.. (Score 1) 227 227

People are afraid of technology because it's new and poorly understood, until it is understood. But we understand money, and we should understand that money is the greatest threat to humanity. Ask yourself if we value money over people, money over the environment, money over loyalty.. it wins more often than it deserves to. Elon Musk started this whole media bomb about "summoning the demons".. but I'm sorry, no. Just as the automobile, air travel, electricity, indoor plumbing, medicine, and all the rest have made life more comfortable - money has made us into slaves. Income disparity and centralization of wealth are going to be the biggest social problems in the future. AI could actually be one of the few things that helps counteract the effects of economics. All this media frenzy over AI is part of what I call "Skynet Disease" - it's a mental condition. People equate artificial intelligence with "artificial consciousness" all the time. They think their car "hates them".. no, the car is an object - they hate the car. Your phone is "acting stupid".. no, sorry it's just broken. Maybe we collectively feel so guilty about our treatment of each other and the planet - that we assume something smarter and better than us will hate us just as much as we hate ourselves. I believe an artificial intelligence that has some vague essence of "consciousness" (again, another anthropomorphism) would want us to help it and to help us in return. There's no reasonable plot to Terminator.. Skynet just "decides" to kill us. Again, that's stupid human logic writing the story. It sounds more like a religiously-founded armageddon scenario than future ai technology gone awry. We must have just been so bad, guilty, dirty, "original sinny", hmmm.. sorry, my last one: we would not be alive if we were just "so bad and sinful".. we deserve to live, happily. And any "artificial intelligence" worth developing would come to the same decision. It is money that has no soul.

Comment I was never curious about a test (Score 3, Interesting) 83 83

I just wanted to get the test over with and move on to something interesting and worth remembering. Now we have an official report to prove the self-evident. meanwhile - we cancel art, music, electronics, workshop, anything a student would really want to learn. How about combine music. electronics, and math into a short but immersive synthesizer course. They don't have to build anything huge - but they could physically see what all this algebra and electrical stuff means by hearing it, something worth remembering. A biology/art/science course growing plants? Workshop and physics combined into so many possible ways? - no, we just cancel these sorts of things and impose a standardized testing routine with no experimentation. Poor kids, I heard some elementary schools got rid of recess too. Tragic.

Comment They must Want to code.. not for "job security" (Score 1) 546 546

Classess or not, the issue is never going to be the "ability" to program, it's the desire to program that will be most important. Skills can be learned and updated, but the desire is the most important factor you cannot teach. Being a programmer involves lots of frustration sporadically broken by moments of accomplishment - Its really not for everyone. I have several friends who simply refuse to handle "coding" in any real sense for extended periods of time, they just burn out. I'm not comparing this work to manual labor where you reach a point of physical exhaustion, it's more of a kind of self-esteem exhaustion. When you reach a problem you simply cannot mentally abstract and solve, you can get very depressed. Most people hit this wall with no inner incentives to continue further, they assume "this is all I can understand" and decide they can find more satisfaction doing something else. Its not necessarily a bad thing, I do the same thing with advanced calculus - I simply do not understand much of it, so I go elsewhere and focus on functional logic instead (aka: programming). If we didn't do this, most people would be even more miserable for most of their lives because they're not doing what they really want. I don't diminish calculus, I just have no inner burning desire to comprehend higher calculus. Perhaps more exposure to programming and logic will give more students the chance to see what programming lets them do, but a badly-conceived course can ruin the experience and potentially drive away as much interest as it gains. And as a career, programming is not exactly stable or secure with long-term advancement - its more cutthroat than most markets, so telling students that programming is reliable work is misleading.

Comment Give them a summer worth remembering (Score 1) 421 421

I'm not adverse to having year-round education, but the most important and interesting things I ever did were outside of school. I spent a summer teaching myself to program GW-Basic on my 286 in the basement and another at summer camp. I took computer-focused summer courses at a special high school. I remember those days with good memories, and some good education got adsorbed along with it. If I had to spend those days sitting through the same Math and English courses I hated during the rest of the school year, I'd be a much more miserable person. My high school chemistry course involved less chemistry than my 3rd grade "rocks and minerals" course. The problem with our educational system is the lack of inspiration, we teach "classes" without focus on application or purpose. What do I use calculus for?.. little to nothing. But a "personal finances" course (which did NOT exist) could have saved me from ruining my financial history. Take me to a factory and show me how something is made, don't just waste my summer with a physics course that involves NO physical objects or demonstrations and try to convince me that I need to know it for some reason.. I don't believe you because you've provided no evidence. And my school wasn't crap, it was a highly-rated public school in Northern Va.. it's just that our cirriculum was paranoid about safety and was painfully boring - so nothing was really worth remembering. Then came the college "computer science" course that did not involve touching a computer for 2 years... leading to my abandonment of institutional academics. I have learned everything I know about computers and software from outside of school. All 23 languages I've written in (and two I've created) were done without supervision or direction. So don't take their summer away, give them a summer worth remembering.

Comment Request For Comments: Evolutionary Assembly Lang. (Score 0) 285 285

Self-promoting a personal research project that might be able to one day meet this challenge. API is open-source, looking for peer-review, in design/specification phase. Any and all comments and questions are welcome. Documentation is still being edited, so please forgive the rough pages.

Project: Evolutionary Assembly Language (EAL aka poxEAL)
Site: http://www.poxix.com/eal/doc

Again, the project specifications are still in the design phase, so there is no software to download yet - just lots of specs working out the conceptual blueprint first. No point in coding something obviously flawed... and I know there are conceptual holes to be filled. There's no magic or supernatural claims involved, just statistics and probability... thousands of monkeys at typewriters banging out software, not Shakespeare.

Summary: EAL is a multi-purpose programming language and environment designed to solve problems using guided auto-generation of program modules. EAL adopts various concepts from the languages LISP, Basic, and generic assembly - but is NOT meant to be a manually-coded language for end-users. Provided with a batch of properly formatted "task scenarios", EAL uses a error-friendly syntax to attempt self-generated (semi-random or mutated) solutions to those tasks. Code modules are evaluated for their various fitness "grades" (size, cycles, errors, correctness, extraneous output, etc.) and the most useful modules stored and catalogued for later reuse and mutation. While you sleep, an EAL environment could be left running to optimize existing code on it's own. You can still write your own EAL program by hand.. but the breakthrough will be when you don't have to.

Much more info is in the docs, and please provide any feedback with the "comments/subscribe" form in the docs.. I desperately need written peer review .. research students, academic institutions, funding entities?... Hah! hahaha... oh yeah.. funding..... for research.. .. ah, I'm so funny..

Comment Personal IETF mailing list experience... (Score 2) 83 83

..leads me to have sympathy for Yahoo. Over a decade ago, I was partly in charge of maintaining the mailing lists at the IETF Secretariat - so I remember what volume of email they were working with in 2001, and I would never want to manage a mailing list that big again (certainly not in 2014). In hind-sight it wasn't so bad then, I recall about 47,800 messages in 4 days @ roughly 85% spam for the whole IETF mailing list, but that was in 2001. We had to implement anti-spam filters for lists of people with very strong opinions regarding censorship, and rightly so - but present yourself with the thought of handling filters for the "Anti-Spam Research Group" mailing list. ..bweheheh .. heh ..pwfff. useless. Spam quickly discovered it could spam more easily through the anti-spam email list. ..so many penis pills.

I believe it just isn't possible to fix the spam problem in email as it currently exists. All is not lost, because auxiliary communications (phonecalls, texting, Twitter, Dropbox, Facebook, Skype, etc) are better suited for specific types of communication and are self-partitioning. Email is often just as boring and disappointing as physical mail - mostly advertising junk. Because it is based on physical mail, we can't really complain - it's doing exactly what we designed it to do.

The digital world treats bots and brains the same. Captcha was useful for a little while, but seems to be meaningless these days. These days, if I have a form that's getting spammed I use interactive JavaScript operations (mostly option selections) to create the html form and omit a submit-typed button. That way it takes a real person looking at the page to figure out where the "send" action is.

Fundamentally, the problem with the current SMTP infrastructure is that it is based on Recipient-liability without any real Sender-liability. It is the recipient's responsibility to have some gargantuan "put junk here" box instead of a reasonably-small tray for other's to say: "I have something for you, encrypted with this secret key, find it on my server here __ .".

That would handle the storage penalty (the message is waiting in their outbox or application, sent to your inbox only when you choose to accept it). If the message is SO important, and you're REALLY who you say you are, then I can get back to you when I want to read/download your message - making the sender easier to authenticate. And both parties would know when the message has been received, or if the message has been read before the intended recipient chose to accept it.

..but it's been 10 years, and so far email hasn't totally collapsed. Time will tell.

"'Tis true, 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true." -- Poloniouius, in Willie the Shake's _Hamlet, Prince of Darkness_