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Comment: Re:Comparing Nonsense (Score 4, Informative) 127

by Rei (#49179093) Attached to: The US's First Offshore Wind Farm Will Cut Local Power Prices By 40%

Wow, way to not link to a study, but rather a Smithsonian blog talking about a Wordpress blog talking about a study. You clearly love your primary sources!

FYI, the study is just one of many. The study itself cites others, including:

20,000 birds/yr (Sovacool, 2012)
10,000–40,000 birds/yr (Erickson et al., 2001 and Manville, 2005)
20,000–40,000 birds/yr (Erickson et al., 2005)
440,000 (Manville, 2009)
573,000 (Smallwood, 2013).

The latter two include lattice towers, which are largely being decommissioned as unsafe to birds.

But hey, having varied numbers clearly means that if you can find a blog linking to another blog linking to a study that shows high numbers (among many different studies), then clearly the GP is "plain wrong", right?

And yes, even if we go with your choice study's mean of 234,012 annual bird deaths, that's still orders of magnitude less than many other types of human activities.

Comment: misleading headline (Score 5, Insightful) 58

by Tom (#49178995) Attached to: Schneier: Either Everyone Is Cyber-secure Or No One Is

What's with the clickbait headlines? By itself, the headline is total BS. The actual statement made, however, is spot on. The hole in your security doesn't care who exploits it. There's no "good guy" flag in IP headers (though I'm sure some April 1st RFC will soon introduce it).

What worries me most is that we could win this fight, if it weren't for our own governments deciding to betray us. There are vastly more people interested in secure communication and other people not being able to spy on or subvert our computers and mobile devices than there are people interested in compromised communications and systems (basically only criminals and some deluded, criminal-if-the-laws-were-right elements of governments).

There is just one problem to Bruce's argument: The largest and most powerful spy agency in the world disagrees with his fundamental assumption. We often forget that the NSA has two missions, and they are exactly the two things that Bruce argues cannot co-exist: To secure the computing infrastructure of the US against foreign espionage, and to provide espionage on foreign communication.
The NSA believes, and/or is tasked with exactly these two things that Bruce says (and I agree) are mutually exclusive. No surprise they've gone rogue, their very mission statement is a recipe for a mental breakdown through cognitive dissonance.

Comment: depends ? (Score 1) 187

by Tom (#49178645) Attached to: Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality

Doesn't it depend a lot on what you refactor, when and how?

I have 3 year old code that I would like to refactor because I've since switched framework (from CodeIgniter to Symfony 2) and it would bring it in line with all my other projects, allowing me more easy code-reuse and not maintaining two frameworks both on servers and in my mind. But it's largely a convenience factor and I would agree that it will probably not improve code quality very much.

But I also have 12+ year old code written in plain PHP with my own simple database abstraction layer. I'm quite certain that refactoring that would do a world of good.

Comment: Re:on *average* (Score 4, Insightful) 187

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49177303) Attached to: Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality

It needs a lot more qualifiers than that.

For a start, as with an unfortunate number of academic studies, it appears that the sample population consisted of undergraduates and recent graduates. That alone completely invalidates any conclusions as they might apply to experienced professionals with better judgement about when and how to use refactoring techniques.

Even without that, there seem to be a number of fundamental concerns about the data.

One obvious example is that they consider lines of code to be a metric that tells you anything useful beyond the width you need to allow for the line number margin in your text editor. I doubt most experienced programmers would agree that a LOC count in isolation tells us anything useful about maintainability or that the mere fact that LOC went up or down after a change necessarily meant the code had become better or worse in any useful sense.

Another concern is that they talk about "analysability", but this seems to be measured only by reference to a brief examination of a small code base in one of two versions, unrefactored and refactored. I'd like to know what the actual code looked like before I read anything at all into that data -- what refactoring was performed, what was the motivation for each change, and how do they know those two small code bases were representative of either refactoring in general or the effectiveness of refactoring on larger code bases or code bases that developers have more time to study and work with?

I'm all for empirical data -- goodness knows, we need more objective information about what really works in an industry as hype-driven and accepting of poor quality as ours -- but I'm afraid this particular study seems to be so flawed that it really tells us very little of value.

Comment: The sound sucks because your gear sucks. (Score 1) 80

by Lumpy (#49176955) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Wireless Microphone For Stand-up Meetings?

Get management to pony up for real AV gear. The problem is your gear is garbage and not designed for the use. There is no magical CHEAP thing you can buy.

Now get a biamp or BSS DSP and 4 boundary mics hanging from the ceiling on some 18" diameter glass plates... I can make a meeting room cover all voices in there perfectly for video and teleconference.

Comment: Re:Bad idea (Score 3, Insightful) 551

by Rei (#49176087) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial

The number of grammatical cases is irrelevant. Question: What's the difference between a grammatical case without stem changes and a postposition (opposite of a preposition? Answer: A space.

  That which is challenging, apart from stem changes, is the same thing that is challenging with helper words in general: when to use what with what. Picture a person learning English and trying to remember what to use with what. "I was scolding her.... over it? for it? about it? to it? around it?" "We were unhappy.... over it? for it? about it? to it? around it?" "She was dedicated.... over it? for it? about it? to it? around it?" And so forth. It's the same for people trying to learn which declension case to use in which context. But if the declensions are just suffixes without stem changes, then they're no different from postpositions. And often stem changes where they occur follow pretty predictable rules, often for pronunciation reasons.

Comment: Re:Bad idea (Score 1) 551

by Lumpy (#49174505) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial

Absolutely, He is a fool if he even thinks about it because the DOJ can promise the world and not abide by it. In fact I guarantee they will make his life a living hell and an example to all those bad bad americans that would dare let out secrets that help terrorists.

Only a fool would come back here after blowing the whistle like that.

Comment: Re: A giant lagoon dam (Score 1) 187

by Rei (#49167981) Attached to: World's First Lagoon Power Plants Unveiled In UK

I'm sorry, but I agree with that. If you on the UK want us to dam up our rivers and build roads out to geothermal areas and tap into our resources, and raise our local power prices in the process, all for the benefit of the UK, our government better damn well profit as much as possible from it and reduce our taxes / improve our services in exchange for that.

Unfortunately, xB and xD do not agree.

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