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Comment: It's not about writers, it's about alphabetism (Score 1) 291

by Kirth (#49065439) Attached to: Should We Really Try To Teach Everyone To Code?

IMHO, writing code is a skill like writing a language. It's not that you're expected to become a writer, but writing helps you everywhere.

And using "Apps" as an example is of course bogus. The thing you'll probably do with your "coding experience" is more like writing word macros, or change some lines within some open source program.

A friend of mine, a climatologist, said "You can't be a scientist today -- no matter which field -- without knowing how to write code". He's right.

Comment: Re:Just for fun (Score 1) 351

by Kirth (#48913477) Attached to: Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

I think the labelling thing is nonsense since I don't think health risks are a big concern but I am a bit more cautious about the long term environmental effects as I suspect we're underestimating the probability of black swan events.
It's a good idea, no matter whether it's a health concern or not.

Because if I know, I can actually use the tools the free market gives me: Vote with my money if I want GMO or not. Because I want to boycott the patent-hoarding bastards that are tipping over the ecosystem.

Comment: Spying on the world is unconstitutional in the US (Score 1) 282

by Kirth (#48913197) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

Actually, the constitution not only forbids spying against citizens of the USA, but against everyone:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Notice, it says "people" there. It's speaking of "citizen" in the context of elections, so clearly the intention was that the 4th amendment applies to everyone.

Comment: Re:Science by democracy doesn't work? (Score 3, Informative) 497

by Kirth (#48875335) Attached to: Science By Democracy Doesn't Work

None. When science hasn't fully resolved a question based on the evidence, none of the competing theories should be used as a basis for public policy.

Bogus. Science is not about "fully resolving" but about "models that work". Yes you could back the "wrong" scientifc theory when making policy, but in most cases they will differ only in corner cases. And even better, you can choose a response that addresses the problem, no matter which theory is correct. Even if global warming today was mainly caused by volcanoes, would it make sense to pump out even more CO2?

However, if there's a debate like there is in the US with climate change, with opinions 180 degrees the opposite, you can be sure that one side is only spouting complete bollocks and propaganda. Especially when you notice that one side has most of the scientists on its side, and the other mostly politicians.

Comment: Re:Ha ha ha (Score 1) 129

by Kirth (#48727405) Attached to: Google Researcher Publishes Unpatched Windows 8.1 Security Vulnerability

> It's arrogant as hell for Google to decide that 90 days is long enough, thank you.

Totally ridiculous. I've witnessed the "responsible disclosure" discussions a few years back, and even then, 4 weeks was considered generous. I'd say it's totally egotist of you to expect google to keep even quiet for more than 30 days.

I'd given them two weeks and gone out with it. And there's some researchers with a lot more clout than me, who would have given them exactly ZERO days:

Comment: Re:It all comes down to the OGL (Score 1) 203

by Kirth (#47710361) Attached to: Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released

... which is a trademark license anyway.

There is no copyright possible on game mechanics, so you can pretty much write your own completely D&D compatible game, with the rules taken straight from D&D (but rephrased, of course, because the actual phrases are copyrighted). As long as you don't advertise this with trademarked terms, you're fine, you don't need the OGL.

But anyway. Who in his right mind would want to use this complicated mess as a base for his own game, when there is a system from 1978 that is much, much more elegant, named BRP?

Comment: Secret services exacerbating the problem (Score 1) 205

by Kirth (#47322979) Attached to: The Security Industry Is Failing Miserably At Fixing Underlying Dangers

Of course, if some morons decide instead of to fix problems to try to exploit them -- and to create a market for them, the problem sure is to grow even more.

"Yes, this car may be tipping over very easily, but we might need this to assassinate some foreign dignitaries, so we don't hell the manufacturer".

Real Users never know what they want, but they always know when your program doesn't deliver it.