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Comment: Re:Only in America... (Score 1) 307

by Pseudonym (#46764285) Attached to: Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun To Calculate Pi

Not in countries that don't let you own pump-action shotguns.

Incidentally, if you're curious why that make and model of shotgun mattered, it's in the paper. They had to factor in that shotguns don't cover a target with an even distribution of shot. In the zombie apocalypse, I think it's going to be simpler to measure the diameter of the motor of my chainsaw. It won't require any importance sampling for a start.

Comment: Re:Knowledge (Score 2) 1037

by Pseudonym (#46680343) Attached to: How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion

Actually, there's one key word in the headline (and the story) which I don't see being teased out: "America".

This is an extremely important qualification which can't be under-emphasised. The United States has a quirky form of evangelical fundamentalist protestantism which (until the US started exporting it) basically didn't exist anywhere else in any significant numbers. In the late 70s to early 80s, it became a political tool of the neo-conservatives, which means that it's a bizarre mix of fringe religion and fringe politics. Well, "fringe" by the standards of the rest of the world.

The most similar phenomenon is political Islamism. (According to Adam Curtis, you can even think of them as two sides of the one coin.)

One upshot is that the Internet actually attacks it on two fronts, both the religious front and the political front.

The other factor which is important is that the largest (and fastest-growing) religious group in the English-speaking world is people who self-identify as some kind of Christian but who don't regularly attend a place of worship. This group is even growing faster than atheism. So the Internet may be making people "not religious", but most of those prefix that with "spiritual but". It also explains the rise of "post-evangelicals", especially among young people, in the Internet era.

Comment: Re:Legendary... (Score 2) 232

The hell it is.

The Dragon Book of graphics is Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice by Foley and van Dam (and later Feiner and Hughes too). Like CG:PP, the other two books that you mention are books for scientists and engineers. The Black Book is for hackers of the early 1990s.

It's a book which describes a world that no longer exists. We don't have non-pipelined 80386 CPUs, non-existent or slow floating point, VGA data latches, or pretty much anything that the book describes in depth. I remember that world, and I remember it well.

The first edition of the Dragon Book has dated, and doesn't cover a lot of modern compiler practice, but over half of it is still relevant. The Gang of Four book also shows its age, but it still serves its purpose as a dictionary, and as a tool for helping you to think in higher-level structures. Very little in the Black Book is useful today as anything other than history.

Comment: Re:English? (Score 1) 230

by Pseudonym (#46560805) Attached to: Facebook Introduces Hack: Statically Typed PHP

Has any new company ever succeeded with Java Enterprise?

If you're old enough, you might remember a company called "eBay". It's apparently still around as a cheap Chinese crap vendor.

But seriously, plenty of new companies have succeeded with Java EE, but most new companies don't make external-facing social media websites. You probably haven't heard of the company that wrote the online banking system used by your financial institution, but chances are good that it's written in either .NET or J2EE.

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