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Comment: Re:Syntax (Score 1) 61 61

I really wish people would get away from the character-by-character idea of program source, and rediscovered the Lisp idea that program is a data structure. In the case of what, say, C or C++ do, it would be nice to develop a means to construct things like functions and classes (with reading from traditional character based source files implemented as a thin parser layer in front of this), add them to a program, and then through things (in this data structure form) over to a compiler.
Source files would then be more like scripts that drive the compiler infrastructure.
(And this again isn't new, but was the sort of thing that was happening in the 70s and 80s before C++ happened). C++ can all too easily become a syntactic cocaine habit.

Comment: Medication stops your brain working normally (Score 1) 112 112

I wonder how long it will take them to discover that all of these mind altering drugs stop the brain working properly, and that outside certain acute situations where stopping the brain's normal working is not the most pressing issue (acute mania, extreme depression, etc.), they don't achieve much, and can get in the way of recovery. Unfortunately the truth is not particularly helpful to pharmaceutical profits, and is not particularly useful to doctors who only think in terms of 'this disease means that drug' and have nothing besides drugs to offer.

Comment: They'll try again (Score 1) 229 229

Economic reality makes cheap labour too tempting. They will try again. They only need to try once, with insufficient negative reaction, for the move to go through. Then a move in the reverse direction will seem so expensive as to be unworkable.

"Today we were unlucky, but remember we only have to be lucky once. You will have to be lucky always." -- IRA after the Brighton bombing failed to kill Margaret Thatcher.

Comment: Hunter gatherers (Score 1) 637 637

For most of the past 100 millennia we were Hunter gatherers. That's what we're still primarily adapted to. We lack adaptations for large scale population survival, since there was no need for that sort of thing in the Hunter gatherers days. Now there is insufficient individual survival pressure for us to adapt to post Hunter gatherer life.

Comment: Re:Great for linux desktop and gaming (Score 2) 54 54

If you don't have an SSD, consider having a ramdisk /tmp via tmpfs, and a nice -19 background process that runs on boot and copies all the often used files from /bin, /ilb, /usr/bin and /usr/lib to the same file in /tmp before deleting it. This forces just about anything you are about to run into the cache, and once you get to the sage of having 16GB RAM (like one of my HP boxes), it is a while before those files get forced out of cache. In the case of my second hand HP Z800 with 48GB of RAM, it takes a while for that to happen. (Of course pre-caching say 4GB of data of a spinning HDD takes time, but making it a nice -19 process means that you can use the machine at HDD speed when it's booted, and after a while it speeds up with all the binaries cached in memory). I wrote a 20 line bash script to do this.

Comment: Until Google closes it... (Score 5, Interesting) 175 175

The trouble with the 'backup' claim is that a Google cloud service may suffer a permanent failure upon a behind-closed-doors business decision, with potentially little warning. If Seagate, say, could instruct your usb hdd to brick itself, would you use it for backup? The Cloud is convenient in the short term, but business reality means it must be thought of as 'may fail for no reason'.

Comment: Re:Different perspectives... (Score 1) 253 253

Likewise spectacles like WWE wrestling present a similarly unrealistic picture of both human physiques, and human fighting, and indeed set a poor example of how to behave if people are looking for examples of how to live. Similarly, superhero movies (very popular at the moment) present a heavily distorted picture of reality. Then professional sports give a simiilary fantastical picture of human fitness and how sports are played, compared to what average players of these sports would be like (and it is unrealistic to expect than any amount of training would get my tennis to the level of Djokovic or Federer). Then in fashion and marketing, unrealistically good looking people and unrealistically good images of products are used to sell things.

Unreality is omnipresent in today's world, and porn is just one example. If we instinctively think that 'this sort of thing only happens in porn movies, not real life', and likewise 'only top football teams can get away with playing this way -- when I play, I stick to what is realistic', then the many of the issues that porn 'causes' go away. The 'sex addiction' that is sometimes seen with porn can just as readily happen with an overactive imagination, and in any case, anything that placates a strongly dissatisfied sex drive and end up becoming an obsession. (And there are far worse obsessions than porn.)

The big problem of teaching children to tell fantasy and fiction from reality is one which our education systems desperately need to tackle, but probably won't. Likewise how to prevent the problem of attaching too much unnecessary meaning to things like sex and nudity. In the present world, bringing a new human being into the world is a 20+ year process (building a home, fertilisation, bringing the pregnancy to term, safe delivery, raising the child to maturity). Fertilisatiion is pretty much the most trivially easy of that process, but it is the one to which we have a natural instinctive drive, and it is the one stage over which it is easy to make broad controlling statements from a position of power.

The european countries have a far better attitude to sex and nudity than the US or UK, and we should seriously learn from them.

Comment: History is frustrating (Score 1) 85 85

The case for the 'principle of least authority' has been made many times. People have even tried to design operating systems around it. But when the dominant PC operating system is simply designed to make its maker money and give them market dominance, stuff like this happens. PCs vulnerable to this sort of thing are the product of laziness and the business obsession with (and present-day necessity of) short time-to-market. Unfortunately modern business reality means people often cannot afford to make things properly anymore.

Computer Science is the only discipline in which we view adding a new wing to a building as being maintenance -- Jim Horning

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