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Comment: Sad, and not black and white either (Score 4, Insightful) 351

by RightwingNutjob (#46701905) Attached to: Isolated Tribes Die Shortly After We Meet Them
The metaphorical White Man has a heavy burden here. Reach out to the savages, and there are adverse consequences, suffering, death, and loss of traditions going back millennia. Stay away, and people who should be your fellow human beings are cut off from the fruits of civilization, and are treated like livestock whose habitat must be delineated and (un)managed to keep their numbers healthy so that more children can be born into a life where their greatest aspiration can be to live just like their grandfathers going back tens of thousands of years.

Comment: Re:Cold (Score 1) 94

You'd need battery warmers to weather the overnight cold, but assuming they'd be plugged in to charge during the worst overnight cold, the battery heater would be running during the lowest temperatures with the standard use procedure.

The real question is what happens if you get a cold snap in the middle of the day. Since most suburban school districts stagger the school day for elementary, middle, and junior/senior high schools to minimize the size of their bus fleets, it's quite conceivable that these things would be on the road for close to 8 hours straight without a chance to recharge in between the morning and afternoon commutes.

Comment: Re:Comfort with not knowing (Score 1) 114

by RightwingNutjob (#46414387) Attached to: Mathematicians Are Chronically Lost and Confused
See, there's a difference between knowing what you don't know and living in a sea of ambiguity the way the OP seems to imply. In mathematics especially, there is a very tall and elaborate edifice of deductions and axioms from which all exploration takes place.

For example, one of the more mind-bending exercises in undergrad abstract algebra is proving Peano's axioms for integers. On the one hand you could say "well, I thought I knew basic arithmetic, but now I have to question even that: I'm lost!" But on the other hand, when you go through that exercise, you have very powerful tools in your toolbox: deduction, group theory, ring theory, etc, which you spend time building up and exercising exhaustively before you attack the natural numbers. So you're not really "lost" as in at sea without a clue, but you're just approaching something from a new direction with very well-defined assumptions and rigid reasoning.

And if I can hope to contribute to the religious debate without sparking too big of a flame war: maybe this same conflation between being completely lost and working in an unfamility coordinate system may be at play when Skeptics and scientists describe why they're athiests. Empirical evidence and deductive reasoning can peel away some scripture as obviously false, but when you're denying a higher power by an appeal to logic/reason/etc, you're still assuming the presence of this abstract thing called mathematical/empirical truth, and perhaps even Order with a capital 'O'.

I'm sure I'm not at all speaking for any sort of majority view of believers or skeptics or deists, but why is it not valid to call that God and be comforted by its existence, as opposed to say chaos?

Comment: Re:Tell me again... (Score 0) 538

by RightwingNutjob (#46377991) Attached to: U.S. Students/Grads Carrying Over $1 Trillion In Debt
Let me propose an amendment: "higher education in ornamental subjects should be for people who can pay their own way"

I'll take a wild stab and guess that people who take on monstrous loans to study useful things like math, physical science, or engineering put themselves in a place where they can actually pay off the loans in a reasonable amount of time without trouble. It's the people who spend four years boozing, partying, and "learning" about their humanities professors' favorite interpretation of reality that find themselves unable to meet their financial obligations.

Comment: Re:Yes, but appropriate for age level grade 6-12 (Score 1) 313

by RightwingNutjob (#46365287) Attached to: Should programming be a required curriculum in public schools?
Programming should be part of the math curriculum and grow in complexity with it. After teaching math to kids grades 0-12 for the past 150+ years, we've got a rough idea of where the cutoffs in complexity are, and at what level it doesn't stick to such-and-such a percentage of kids of a certain age. But if you can expect a 10 year old to compute the volume of a box, you should also expect him to compute the total volume of a list of boxes supplied in a flat comma-delimited text file with one L,W,H per line. And extra credit for proper handling of mixed length units indicated after the numbers. Now go for the gold and bring out those idiot counting cubes you used in 2nd grade, glue 'em together into boxes, make a list, and see who's program can compute the right answer measured against the weight of the boxes!

Comment: Re:Not to state the obvious... (Score 1) 237

by RightwingNutjob (#46281735) Attached to: A New Car UI
At work we recently got ourselves a smart tablet ink thing for one of the conference rooms so people can give 'chalk talks' electronically. It's a touch screen with a special pen like the one in the checkout counter that lets you doodle on your powerpoints.

So 1k for the computer, probably 2-3k for the tablet, 1-2k for the projector, and God knows how much for the software licenses. The thing sort of works, but occasionally crashes, and takes a while to set up.

Back in the cave days of the mid 1990's you'd use an overhead projector, and pay less than 2k for it.

Comment: Re:Lego Mindstorms (Score 1) 876

by RightwingNutjob (#46204641) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?
Most of the things you need to do for engineering applications *do* lend themselves to a data flow paradigm, but a lot of the things under the hood do not. Data acquisition, process control, and the like lend themselves very much to such thinking. Iterative solvers and fitters, less so, but it can be done because the data flows in strictly parallel or strictly serial paths.

Applications where the data flow isn't 'laminar' and jumps around an awful lot, like learning algorithms, image segmentation, and pattern matching doesn't lend itself to data flow programming at all. That's not to say it can't be done, but the resulting diagrams will have crazy jumps and the LabView equivalent of global variables all over the place, because the data processing is not local, and the result at location x at time t doesn't only depend on the input in the neighborhood of x and time t.

Comment: Re:Lego Mindstorms (Score 1) 876

by RightwingNutjob (#46200597) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?
LabView is part of the problem, and the problem is a misapprehension of what problems programming solves. NI software sucks (and the constant excuses on the NI forums from the support people reek of a lack of technical know-how in the company's software people to fix them, which isn't surprising for a large codebase developed half a generation ago). The only reason LabView is used is that the graphical paradigm makes *some* limited applications so much better that it's worth it to deal with the NI clowns to use it. Trouble is that people who don't know better do those limited things with a graphical language and think they can do everything with it.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: #44 Zebras are colored with dark stripes on a light background.

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