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Comment: There is a CS dumbing down going on (Score 1) 138

Donald Knuth Worried About the "Dumbing Down" of Computer Science History

Whether CS education is appropriate to all people who do computed-assisted technical work is very irrelevant to me since practical forces in real life simply solve that issue.

The problem I care about is a problem I seen in CS for real. I've met quite a few CS grads who don't know who Knuth, Lamport, Liskov, Hoare Tarjan, o Dijkstra are.

If you (the generic CS grad) do not know who they are, how the hell do you know about basic CS things like routing algorithms, pre and post conditions, data structures, you know, the very basic shit that is supposed to be the bread and butter of CS????

It is ok not to know these things and these people if you are a Computer Engineer, MIS or Network/Telecomm engineer (to a degree dependent on what your job expects from you.)

But if you are Computer Scientist, my God, this is like hiring an Electrical Engineer who doesn't know who Maxwell was. It does not inspire a lot of confidence, does it?

Comment: Re:W3C, please. (Score 2) 189

by luis_a_espinal (#48676921) Attached to: MIT Unifies Web Development In Single, Speedy New Language

Except that both languages and "application architectures" are, so as to speak, both based on usefully constraining the set of valid programs.

Sorry I don't understand what this means. If you design a data schema that can't scale no language selection, amount of clustering, sharding, money or associated BS is going to be of much help... this is just reality.

This is true, but it does not lead to what you are claiming. A data schema (in a very general sense that goes beyond relational schema or XML data schema or whatever) might or might not scale (either by poor design choice, or by design).

But that schema will depend on specific concepts and assumptions that will be best realized with a specific family of technologies (or even a single one.) It would be possible (but very hard and stupid) to try to implement a relational data schema with a document-oriented database. And it would be very painful to implement a flexible document-oriented system using a RDBMS.

A good design of each type of system would achieve most, if not all of the requirements desired for such a system, but they will make a significant number of platform and language support assumptions.

Design and architecture are not some ethereal things up in the clouds; they are meant to be rooted on very specific language and runtime constrains.

Only when machines become smart enough to do the designing will this ever change.

And since that is an undecidable problem, we know that will never occur (not without heuristics and constant human intervention, validation and verification.)

Computers can do a lot on the margins but ultimately if you want scalability and performance in a non-trivial problem space YOU will have to work for it.

Yes, YOU have to work for it... using the appropriate levels of abstraction (be them run-times, frameworks, language features or any combination thereof.) Architecture and design are about constrains, about constraining the number of ways entire systems can be put into place within limited resources. That constrain alone dictates what language and platform features make architecture and design feasible.

What does constraint validation have to do with scalability and concurrency?

I'm not sure what the OP intended by "constrain validation", so I would present my own interpretation. A constrain or set of constrains will indicate how much scalability or concurrency you need. Those constrains then become vital for describing the means for testing, validation and verification (after all, a requirement is only valid when it is testable and verifiable.)

I could architect a large-scale e-commerce site with strict fault-tolerance and consistency requirements. Great. Then, I can, in theory, implement it in assembler, or C... or with a higher-level language and platform.

Similarly, I can architect a distributed operating system. I could implemented in Java or natively compiled BASIC... or I could do it in C/C++.

Proper architectures for each problem will prescribe the constrains of the design (and the means for verification and validation), and each will be better served by specific languages and tools.

Any non-trivial architecture will have a direct dependency to a set of language features. And any set of language features will have a relation of economic feasibility to families of problem domains and related architectures.

Comment: app specific problem =/= app specific solution (Score 3, Interesting) 189

by luis_a_espinal (#48676827) Attached to: MIT Unifies Web Development In Single, Speedy New Language
I typically side with the camp that thinks concurrency and distribution (and other things like security or fault/partition tolerance) are application-specific problems because it is the set of application (or domain) specific requirements dictate how much or how little they require from each capability.

With that said, I disagree with this:

Why shouldn't a language solve the problem of concurrency and distributed applications?

Because this can only be effectively answered by the application?

An application can only effectively address such challenges when using the appropriate levels of abstraction. And by *appropriate* we mean not just appropriate in the level of high (or low) level features, but also in the amount of resources that are required to construct a system with the right synergies between application and supporting (underlying) platforms.

For instance, having an actor model supported as a language feature help application domain developers exploit (or create) the necessary abstractions for concurrency far more economically than using an actor model developed from scratch (or as an add-on framework)... at least for applications whose concurrency requirements are best served with an actor model over more low-level constructs (locks and shared resources)

Or think fault-tolerance. A language that has concepts such as a valves as actual language or run-time features is far more valuable for developing certain classes of fault tolerance systems than languages or runtimes that do not have any (a reason why most systems are not equipped with any means of throttling to cope with partial failures.)

Language does not enable non-trivial problems to scale out... application architecture enables this and concurrency is of the same coin.

Resource-efficient realization of an application architecture into a design and implementation are highly dependent on the language and run-times of choice.

Comment: Re:They're assholes. (Score 1) 324

by luis_a_espinal (#48676785) Attached to: Why Lizard Squad Took Down PSN and Xbox Live On Christmas Day

So they just gave you time to think about your game consumption, and the opportunity to think about the "silent" in silent night.

They didn't *give* shit. They *forced* it upon people without giving them a choice. Anyone who think this was benevolent or positive in any way is an idiot living ideological fallacies as if they were real, positive options. #fileitunderfuckyou

Comment: The NK story was cover to protect Sony (and NSA) (Score 5, Insightful) 280

by Eternal Vigilance (#48670543) Attached to: Did North Korea Really Attack Sony?

Of course North Korea didn't attack Sony. Asking "Did North Korea really attack Sony?" is like asking "Does NORAD really track Santa?"

The North Korea story was spin to save Sony from the devastating bad publicity about the depths of their business and technological incompetence. (The politicians who defended them will get repaid for this favor during the next election cycle. My previous comment about this from last week: They may even start using this to try to rescue that disaster of a movie. "You have to see 'The Interview'! To support free speech and America!")

The Dear Leader Of The Free World announcing "don't blame poor Sony, they were helpless victims of the evil North Koreans" totally changed the media story, saving Sony huge $$$ in both public perception and future lawsuits.

But just how America's President and trillion-dollar national security state could get things so wrong - but should always be trusted when saying who's bad and deserves to be killed, like some kind of psycho-Santa delivering death from his sleigh filled with drones - will never be questioned.

Businesses and politicians will never stop lying when it works this well.

Merry Christmas.

Comment: That will be a hotel that doesn't get my business (Score 1) 291

by garyebickford (#48665219) Attached to: Hotel Group Asks FCC For Permission To Block Some Outside Wi-Fi

My company doesn't have a strong policy - we all try to keep costs down, but we don't go crazy. There are two primary reasons I won't go to a hotel that blocks my use of my phone +/or ipad as a hotspot:

1) security - this is actually pretty much a company policy. We never use public wifi anywhere except in a few rare cases where there was no choice (typically because the cell signal was too weak). If we had a corporate VPN to run everything through it might be less dangerous.

2) bandwidth - in the few times I've actually tried to use the hotel's wifi, or a convention center's wifi, the bandwidth was so bad that it was unusable.

and also, 3) they actually charge for this? Every place I've been to in the last year has had free wifi, and in some cases free hardwired ethernet. Hmm. I am a member of Hilton's HHonors, so I get the wifi for free if I want it. I guess they do charge otherwise. HHonors doesn't cost anything so there's no reason I know of not to be a member. Same goes for Marriott, etc.

Comment: Re:ZMapp (Score 3, Informative) 33

I've watched way too many zombie movies to feel comfortable with the drug's name.

Heck, never mind the name, this is the beginning of the plot of more zombie movies than I can count.

You two aren't just whistlin' Dixie; that's the major plot of the Charlton Heston classic The Omega Man.

Then again, that one chick-zombie was pretty cool, so if that's a possible side-effect, then I say it's win-win.


Meet the Doctor Trying To Use the Blood of Ebola Survivors To Create a Cure 33

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-in-the-blood dept.
An anonymous reader points out this article about Dr. James Crowe, who is trying to use the blood of Ebola survivors to develop a cure. "For months, Vanderbilt University researcher Dr. James Crowe has been desperately seeking access to the blood of U.S. Ebola survivors, hoping to extract the proteins that helped them overcome the deadly virus for use in new, potent drugs. His efforts finally paid off in mid-November with a donation from Dr. Rick Sacra, a University of Massachusetts physician who contracted Ebola while working in Liberia. The donation puts Crowe at the forefront of a new model for fighting the virus, now responsible for the worst known outbreak in West Africa that has killed nearly 7,000 people. Crowe is working with privately-held drugmaker Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc, which he said will manufacture the antibodies for further testing under a National Institutes of Health grant. Mapp is currently testing its own drug ZMapp, a cocktail of three antibodies that has shown promise in treating a handful of Ebola patients."

Comment: The bogus NK claim protects Sony (and NSA) (Score 1) 236

The Sony hack is just a simple case of incompetent corporate management and the lengths to which big-money donors and their political friends will go to protect themselves and advance their own ends.

By claiming this is all North Korea (the best Korea!)'s doing, what was initially lose-lose (Sony burns their multi-billion-dollar business to the ground, and the NSA gets exposed for not having any ability to stop it or even give warning) is now suddenly win-win (Sony gets to portray itself as a helpless victim and thus no liability, and NSA gets to argue for even more spying).

Sure makes it easier to avoid bad press and expensive lawsuits when the President himself comes out and tells the world "It wasn't Sony's fault."

(I bet that will be worth a lot come campaign contribution time. Sort of the Hollywood version of how Obama sold all Americans to the health businesses, in exchange for their support and donations to D's.)

And the Rahm Emanuel playbook - "Never let a good crisis go to waste" - is still clearly in use in D.C. Instead of people demanding to know "why didn't the outrageously expensive and unconstitutional NSA surveillance of every American (and the whole world) protect anyone against this?" the political spin can now be "see, this is why we need restrictions on everyone's use of the Internet."

(As an amusing political side note, even though the Republicans are well aware North Korea had nothing to do with this, and are seething at how the Democrats will be able to use Obama's move for huge amounts of Hollywood support in 2016, the R's can't say a damn thing - because if they do they end up looking like they're defending North Korea!)

But it is impressive the level of influence some people have. "Tell Obama we need him to hold a press conference and say our negligence and malfeasance that destroyed our company wasn't our fault."

They may even start using this to try to rescue that disaster of a movie. "You have to see 'The Interview'! To support free speech and America!"

Who knows, maybe someone will even dig up from the Archives that patriotic old WWII song "Good Old Sony."

Comment: Re: Simple answer... (Score 5, Insightful) 482

by luis_a_espinal (#48633415) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

Hahahahahaha you think tax money goes to pay for water and highways. No. Tax money goes to pay for stuff like this, this and this.

I know that *some* (not all) taxes go to stuff like that. If you are claiming that NO TAXES go ever to public infrastructure, then you are going to have to do better than just pointing at counter examples.

I never claimed that ALL TAXES go to public infrastructure. I claim that taxes PAY for infrastructure. That claim does not says "ALL TAXES go to infrastructure" or that "infrastructure gets funded PROPERLY by ALL TAXES."

As a result, your reply, by logical necessity, is misplaced and inadequate. Unless you can prove anywhere that I've said anything that warrants your reply, you have to admit, if you are honest, that you are simply building a strawman.

Haven't you noticed that America's infrastructure is crumbling?


Now why is that?

Because its maintenance and expansion is not funded properly. This is no proof that taxes never go there. It is certainly not proof of the following statement:

And taxes are good, right? Not like that's stealing or anything.

People shouldn't expect not to be challenged when they post asinine shit like that without a context or at least some thought behind it.

Giving more tax income for the government is no better than giving a crackhead more money.

There is not one government. There is federal government, there is state and local government, and depending on the region, tribal government. Each operates differently, with different levels of efficiency and honesty (or lack thereof) when it comes to collecting taxes (and putting them to good use.)

In this specific context, this thread, taxation is being referred to state and local taxation. It is not accurate to describe taxation and public spending in such over-generalized terms. It is great from the point of rhetoric.

It has been a long time since the US government has made effective use of its money. Besides - all tax revenue is barely enough to cover the INTEREST on the deficit (even at these low low rates) - let alone the deficit. A few hundred million here or there will make zero difference to the ocean of pork.

Here you are properly elaborating a good point (finally). It still does not explain what states are to do with pot legalization, the war on drugs, state rights over their own taxation, their relation on that topic to the federal state, the nature of interstate commerce, free passage of citizens from one state to another to purchase an item and the arbiter role of federal government in such activities.

There are the goddamned subjects of this threat. Alcohol is already taxed with different sale taxes across the states, so logically legalization of pot by a state will imply its taxation by said state.

Inefficiency of (or even corruption during) taxation of an item by a government, be it local, state or federal, does not preclude a government, in particular a state government from exercising that sovereign power. If you oppose a state from taxing pot as a condition for legalization, you are going to have to do better than saying "taxation is bad or badly done."

Comment: Re: Simple answer... (Score 0) 482

by luis_a_espinal (#48633191) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

Yeah, because shit like highways, water and land management, law enforcement and public infrastructure is self-sustained, for free, with nothing but bunnies' farts and pixie dust magically coming out of Tinkerbell's ass.

Fuck you, you wetback cunt.

I'd spit in your face if you were in front of me, and you would like it and ask for more.

I bow to your awesome 3rd grade rhetoric.

Comment: WTF happended to "small gubmint and freedom fries" (Score 4, Interesting) 482

by luis_a_espinal (#48633153) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

The attorneys general of Nebraska and Oklahoma sued Colorado in the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, arguing state-legalized marijuana from Colorado is improperly spilling across state lines

Seriously, wtf. Oklahoma is way up there among the meth'iest states in the Union, and in Nebraska, LEO's report 1 meth lab incident per 200K people (compared to 1 incident per 376K people in Colorado.) Meth is far more dangerous than pot, I would think these two states should get their shit together before trying to drag another state to federal court.

Furthermore, Colorado is doing far better in almost all indicators than these two states. Not because of pot legalization obviously, but because of a variety of reasons (many of them social).

So, Oklahoma and Nebraska, butt off. Get your shit together. Then worry about legal consequences, if any, that you might be experiencing because Coloradoans are baking brownies the type your granny used to eat back in Woodstock (yes, either she did that there or in a barn, get over it.)

Steve Jobs said two years ago that X is brain-damaged and it will be gone in two years. He was half right. -- Dennis Ritchie