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Comment: Re:Wildly premature question (Score 1) 81

by Bruce Perens (#48620117) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

If we look at jet aircraft, wear depends on the airframe and the engines, and the airframe seems to be the number of pressurize/depressurize cycles as well as the running hours. Engines get swapped out routinely but when the airframe has enough stress it's time to retire the aircraft lest it suffer catastrophic failure. Rockets are different in scale (much greater stresses) but we can expect the failure points due to age to be those two, with the addition of one main rocket-specific failure point: cryogenic tanks.

How long each will be reliable can be established using ground-based environmental testing. Nobody has the numbers for Falcon 9R yet.

Weight vs. reusable life will become a design decision in rocket design.

Comment: Excellent! Finally, standard formats (Score 1) 40

by dwheeler (#48618153) Attached to: ODF Support In Google Drive
This is excellent news. It's absurd that so many typical documents are stuck in proprietary formats. As stuff changes we should be able to read older documents using any tool we'd like. This is a major step along the way; there are now even more systems that support open document format. Congrats to Google!

Comment: Re:Just let them test out! (Score 1) 307

That's actually a path I don't like much myself. I too took AP Calc in high school and though I passed the test and exempted Calc 101, Calc 102 was just a bit too much too fast. I ended up having to drop it the first time and take it a second time to actually get my credit.

I kinda worry about that with CS too. There are a lot of people who may think they have a good foundation going in (and they likely do), but for anyone that doesn't already have the formal education they all pick up a least a FEW new things in an intro class. Those few new things can be the difference between the 2nd class in the series being overly difficult or manageable.

Comment: Re:Just let them test out! (Score 1) 307

I'd say that was more the fault of your teacher than the experienced student.

I started in 1999 myself (though I was 17), and had been programming at home in BASIC for 6-7 years at that point. Things went MUCH smoother for me than my roommate (also a CS Major) who was starting completely fresh. As long as the experienced students don't try to change the tempo of the class (ie, yes you know what a variable is already, but just be quiet and let everyone else hear the lecture), I don't see the issue.

Comment: Re:Just let them test out! (Score 1) 307

Certainly wasn't when I was in college (though that's been 11 years ago at this point). I had always heard hearsay and urban legends about professors who would give only a set number of letter grades based on a curve, but never experienced it.

About the closest I got was a particularly lenient History teacher who at the end of the semester gave everyone with averages 85-100 an A, 70-85 a B, 55-70 a C, and 40-55 a D. Still wasn't a set # of grades though - he just adjusted what numeric average corresponded to what letter grade. In all fairness though that class was a bit hard to score well in numerically - the only grades in the class were from 3 tests - all of which were composed of only 3 essay questions.

I think the set # of grades thing is mostly a myth and something you see in movies.

+ - Microsoft to open source cloud framework behind Halo 4 services->

Submitted by angry tapir
angry tapir (1463043) writes "Microsoft plans to open-source the framework that helps developers of cloud services like those behind Halo 4. Project Orleans is a framework built by the eXtreme Computing Group at Microsoft Research using .NET, designed so developers who aren't distributed systems experts can build cloud services that scale to cope with high demand and still keep high performance. The Orleans framework was used to build several services on Azure, including services that are part of Halo 4. The code will be released under an MIT license on GitHub early next year."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Parentheses (Score 1) 62

by dwheeler (#48593373) Attached to: Kawa 2.0 Supports Scheme R7RS

Most software developers will take one look at the excessive parentheses required for Kawa and Scheme and say "nuke it from orbit". Even Lisp advocates like Paul Graham admits that syntax like "(* (+ 1 2) (- 5 4))" is painful to deal with.

Thankfully, there *are* solutions for Scheme: SRFI-105 and SRFI-110 (which I co-authored). These are extensions to Scheme that let you keep meta programming (and syntax tree editing in an editor) with readable syntax. To my knowledge Kawa doesn't implement them, but they could be added.

Comment: Because patent still applies (Score 1) 263

by dwheeler (#48593257) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine
My understanding is that currently a patent is still valid EVEN IF the drug is taken off the market. But I think that's the right solution: Change the rules so that if you take a drug off the market, the patent is immediately declared abandoned, and anyone else can make it.

Comment: "Stop making" should equal "patent expired" (Score 5, Interesting) 263

by dwheeler (#48593241) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

Stopping to make the original drug should cause immediate expiration of its patent. A patent is a government-created monopoly to encourage people to make the stuff. Clearly, if the company won't make it, there's no need for the patent. Requiring a company to make something they don't want to make is absurd; instead, just let others make it. And if they raise the prices substantially, perhaps require patent licensing in those cases (just as we did for music).

Comment: Re:freedom 2 b a moron (Score 3, Insightful) 1049

by MBGMorden (#48583931) Attached to: Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

Sorry, but that's part of the compromise.

I'm very much for personal freedoms. I don't believe much of anything should be required - particularly for medical treatments (that's not to say I'm anti-vaccine - on the contrary I've pretty much all of them and do a yearly flu-shot).

HOWEVER, part of the social contract is that if you want to participate in the group's collaborate efforts, then you have to abide by some rules. Ergo, if you don't want to vaccinate your child you're free to do that, but be prepared to pay for private education. You can't have the best of both worlds - taking advantage of the publicly funded education system whilst endangering the health of the other participants.

Comment: Re:Need a flash mob.... (Score 1) 515

by Java Pimp (#48581683) Attached to: Once Again, Baltimore Police Arrest a Person For Recording Them

No, we don't need a flash mob to potentially get in the way, cause a scene or otherwise interfere with police business. But we do need more people recording and holding them accountable. If you happen to be there, by all means record it. But don't go actively seeking them out especially in large groups or otherwise provide them with a valid reason to enact an all out ban on the practice.

The police do have an important job to do and the majority of them are good people. But since there are those bad actors out there and we don't know who is who, we still need to have this ability to watch over them.

Comment: Re:Someone has (Score 1) 270

by MBGMorden (#48575703) Attached to: Keurig 2.0 Genuine K-Cup Spoofing Vulnerability

As another person pointed out - a coffee filter and used up coffee grounds not that detrimental to the environment - there's a high level of biodegrability there.

Plastic cups? Not so much.

This also negates the fact that from a cost perspective, regular ground coffee (even better varieties) cost significantly less than K-cups. You may be financially ahead throwing out your extra.

Comment: Re:Read one, write other (Score 1) 566

by MBGMorden (#48575169) Attached to: The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait

Because tablets still suck for browsing the web. Data entry on such devices moves along at a snail's pace compared to an actual keyboard and mouse - and using the web still involves a lot of data entry (search boxes, logins, forum posts, etc).

I have a tablet I use it a lot - when travelling. Their portability is amazing. I'd rather drive a nail through my foot than use one at home or work though - even for just browsing the web.

"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." -- John Wooden