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Comment: Teach everyone to code? (Score 1) 291

by RockDoctor (#49111111) Attached to: Should We Really Try To Teach Everyone To Code?

Some people would rather that proper coders actually built something that worked properly, rather than having to do the fucking job yourself. (If that means allowing for user-configurable UI, then that's probably fine. But most people want to do their job without having to learn a complete new family of skills.

I asked the welder to build me a bracket last night. He built it. He didn't need to program the nearest CNC machine (120km away) to have it manufactured then shipped to location (3-4 days, plus paperwork). Instead he made me the bracket, dunked it in a bucket to cool the welds off, and passed it to me. He doesn't need to code, and it's unlikely that he ever will need to.

Comment: You have to carry a driver's license in Iowa? (Score 1) 232

by RockDoctor (#49111071) Attached to: Iowa Wants To Let You Carry Your Driver's License On Your Phone
Really, do you?

I actually have a driving license (about a 50% probability for a random person in this country), and only in the last couple of months down-graded to a photographic one. Naturally, I don't carry it with me, except when I'm going to hire a car. Otherwise, it's simply not necessary, and there is no way that I am going to let our local police get into the habit of thinking "you must carry THIS piece of ID with you at all times".

But then, it seems that Iowans obviously have got into the habit of valuing convenience (for the police) over the liberty of the individual.

Didn't some guy called Frank Benjamin say something about that once?

Comment: Re:wearable for the wife? (Score 1) 327

by RockDoctor (#49110979) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Panic Button a Very Young Child Can Use

Make a little app the detects erratic arm movements

It seems that your mental map of "epileptic" requires a symptom of "movement", possibly even of "erratic movement", or even "flailing about thrashing the landscape and foaming at the mouth".

The OP didn't describe the symptoms of his wife's epilepsy, or even if the symptoms are the same from fit to fit. Many people with epilepsy do not have any noticeable "erratic" movements, twitching, tremor (that's possibly Parkinson's you're thinking about - a different neurological condition) or other physical symptoms. If they happen to be sitting down at the time of taking a fit, then it's quite hard to tell the difference between them having fallen asleep (or drifted off into some inner world of attention) and them having a fit. Even taking 5 minutes to slump to the desk in mid-meeting is hard to distinguish between someone bored to unconsciousness by the Boss and having a fit because their medication is too strong for their particular chemistry that day.

Epilepsy is a multi-symptom disease. Your measurement criterion would only work for one of the less-common cases.

Comment: Re:More liberal than libertarian (Score 1) 580

by RockDoctor (#49110673) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities

Just enough for basic safety, a level playing field, equal opportunity and most importantly accountability to locals.

Would you care to define "local". If you can reply within less than 8 years, then I suspect that there's at least one interstellar gap too few for me to consider you to be anything other than "local".

Hey! I just excreted a water molecule that passed through you mother's kidneys! While she was still in her mother. How's that for "intimate relationships"?

Comment: Re:Somebody has to say it... (Score 1) 141

by RockDoctor (#49005693) Attached to: The Strangest Moon In the Solar System
Why people bother with Star Wars references remains beyond me. Like - it was a movie in the 1970s or so, with an unending stream of sequels and prequels and reboots and regurgitations. Do people still watch these things? If I wanted an unending sequences of prequels and reboots, I'd watch a Bond movie.

Comment: Re:The strangest moon in the solar system is ours. (Score 1) 141

by RockDoctor (#49005629) Attached to: The Strangest Moon In the Solar System

There is a possibility a large moon is necessary for intelligent life,

It's a possibility. It attracts a fair amount of discussion. With a sample size of 1, we have no way of assessing whether or not it's a true statement. It is just as likely that the development of life, and intelligence, are completely unrelated to the presence of a medium-size moon.

Comment: Re:The strangest moon in the solar system is ours. (Score 1) 141

by RockDoctor (#49005597) Attached to: The Strangest Moon In the Solar System

The relative sizes of the Earth/Moon system is a total anomaly,

Is it? Moon diameter is 0.2724 that of Earth ; Charon's diameter is 0.5050 that of Pluto. For masses the corresponding ratios are 0.0122 (1/81) and 0.1160 (1/9). so, is the Moon a "total anomaly"?

so much so that it is very very close to the point where you have to call them a double planet rather than a planet and moon.

I've been taking an interest in astronomy for 40 odd years now, and I don't know what the point where I'd "have to" call a system a "double planet" is. I don't recall ever seeing the term defined in the astronomical literature. Even Wikipedia puts it as no stronger than an "informal term".

What would be the benefit of such a term? Once you acknowledge that two objects are in an orbital relationship, you need to calculate various properties (mutual eccentricities, velocities, masses, periods), but these are going to be essentially the same calculations whether you're looking at Pluto-Charon or Pluto-Nix (or is it Hydra that's the smallest known component of that system?). It's only when systems are close enough that they become tidally-locked that you get something new happening. Until the atmospheres meet. It's the same situation for multiple stars too - until you have to account for mass transfers from one to the other, then you're still looking at a Keplerian system.

Comment: Re:Camera shake. (Score 1) 422

by RockDoctor (#49005271) Attached to: What Happened To the Photography Industry In 2014?

Wouldn't Camera shake for cameras mean a need for faster image acquisition?

That is one possible solution. On the other hand, better technique in the photographer is a zero-cost option that has been available for a century or so.

Using a tripod is a solution too. But leaning on a wall, post, whatever has always been available (unless you're into really unusual sports). Changing your shutter speed is normally an option too. But that's all down to the most important lens in the camera - the one behind the viewfinder.

Comment: Re:bank I use ... allows (weak passwords) (Score 1) 271

by RockDoctor (#49005227) Attached to: Why Gmail Has Better Security Than Your Bank
I don't need to worry about it - it happens. when I go to work, I'm typically a hundred or so kilometres beyond the reach of the last cellphone tower (they don't build them in the middle of the ocean). There are other options for regaining access, typically by sending an email to another (non-Google) account. Since I have my work-supplied email (which we're required to use our own webmail ; forwarding to any other account is not permitted ; we've had people miss flights in the past through failures of third-party email, hence the only way to get work email is by logging in to our webmail server), a google account, and at least two others, that's not a problem.

In answer to someone below who posits your house burning down - this is why you have things called "friends" and keep backups of important documents and data (or some of the originals, as appropriate) in a locked box at their house. And you reciprocate, of course. It's called "off-site backup" - you may have heard of it.

If you've got too few friends for that, then you probably have bigger problems.

Comment: Re:Plenty of other creatures haven't "evolved" (Score 1) 138

by RockDoctor (#49004737) Attached to: Deep-Sea Microorganism Hasn't Evolved For Over 2 Billion Years
OK, so I took the time to look it up.

The oldest references that I can find to the age of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is the Florida Museum of Natural History, who are of the opinion that the morpological differences between Alligator olseni (White, 1942) and Alligator mississippiensis (Daudan, 1802) are insufficient to justify calling them separate species. By the rules of zoological nomenclature the senior synomym applies. Specimens ascribed to olseni (and therefore, if you accept the FLMNH position, to mississippiensis) date back to the early Miocene at 16-18 Myr, possibly the earliest Miocene at 22-23 Myr. If you don't accept the FLMNH synonymy, then the oldest known fossils of Alligator mississippiensis date to the Pliocene around 5 million years. http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/vertp... http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/vertp...

Sorry to destroy your assertion by doing the most trivial of research. I hope that your attention to detail is better when you're coding Ruby, but you've hardly left that impression.

Comment: Re: Plenty of other creatures haven't "evolved" (Score 1) 138

by RockDoctor (#49002319) Attached to: Deep-Sea Microorganism Hasn't Evolved For Over 2 Billion Years
If I had time, I might look it up by checking for reports of fossils. But what would I know - I'm just a working geologist who deals with this stuff every day of the week. I'm sure you claimed experience in coding Ruby is far more relevant. How much variation in tooth profile and spacing do you see in the fossils you have access to?

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux