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Comment: Re:Other reasons (Score 1) 306 306

No, it wasn't like that. After graduating with a CS degree in 1998, the job offer I was planning on taking paid $25K -- or $36K in today's 2015 dollars. I wasn't happy about it, but I was happy to have an offer. At the last minute another offer came through at $35K ($50K in today's dollars), and I was the envy of that year's CS grads for getting the largest job offer. Literally no one received this "started at $40,000" business you're talking about.

Comment: Re:Security is a process - not a tool (Score 1) 203 203

Well, in the interests of honesty I have to say the matter in '98 with the shotgun was a lot more of a chaotic mess than I made it out to be. Whenever the fecal matter strikes the rotating metal blade, there's always a whole lot more confusion than the neat after-action writeups indicate.

The incident involving the courthouse, I actually don't recall what I was carrying -- either a Glock or an FN FNP-9.

Beyond that, yes, it's factual. :)

I've never much trusted the language of patriotism or civic duty. Too often they get hijacked by scoundrels to justify their skulduggery. I like to think of it this way: I like my home, I like my neighborhood, I like my neighbors. That gives me a pretty good motivation to give a damn about them. That, to me, is all that civic virtue really is: giving a damn about the people around you.

I recommend it to everyone. Life's better if we give a damn about the people around us. :)

Comment: Re:Compared to guns... (Score 1) 203 203

Speaking as someone who has purchased many firearms at gun shows: no commercial firearms dealer has ever sold me anything without requiring an ATF Form 4473, whatever the local equivalent state and/or municipal paperwork is, and a NICS check. No private individual has ever sold me anything without requiring a photo ID and a copy of my concealed carry permit, which guarantees that I'm not prohibited from purchasing arms.

The idea that gun shows are hotbeds of background check-free shopping is completely wrong. According to the FBI, few criminals obtain their firearms at gun shows. I suspect the reason is just simple pragmatism: there are too many cops at gun shows and too many civic-minded people who will tell the cops if they hear someone's looking for a no-paperwork sale. Then the cops get involved, ask who you are, run your ID, discover you've got a felony conviction, and *bam*, you're now under arrest.

If I was a criminal and I wanted to obtain a firearm, I'd do what the guy who stole my SIG P220 did. I left the shooting range, placed my range bag in my trunk, realized I'd left a box of ammunition inside, locked my vehicle, walked back inside, picked up the ammunition, walked outside, and discovered my hatchback's rear window had been shattered and some asshole was already fifty meters away running down the street with my range bag over my shoulder and a tire iron in his hand...

Comment: Re:Security is a process - not a tool (Score 1) 203 203

When was the last time you actually saw someone grab a gun and go be a "first responder" to a crime? You haven't.

You seem to believe this doesn't happen. It does. I know because I was the guy with a gun.

In August 1998 a young man was getting beaten to death in my apartment's parking lot. (Whether it was their intent to kill him, I don't know. What I do know is that beating someone with a tire iron is lethal force.) One of my neighbors called 911. I went out with a 12-gauge loaded with deer slug and suggested they leave him alone. They stopped beating him. When the deputy sheriff arrived a few minutes later this young man was in bad shape, but was still alive. He's alive because I had a shotgun.

In 2006 a younger friend of mine who had been the victim of a violent rape ten years before received word that her attacker was being released from prison. The prison psychologist contacted my friend to let her know this rapist was still obsessed with her. He had a three-day window between the time he was released and the time he registered his new domicile with a local county sheriff -- three days during which my friend was intensely vulnerable. The police said they'd send a car past her place twice each shift. That was no comfort at all. But when several of her (armed and trained) friends took shifts in her home with a shotgun, she was able to rest well. (And each day she woke up to a hearty plate of eggs, bacon, toast, and a cup of hot Jamaican Blue Mountain.)

A couple of years ago a friend of mine had to testify at a trial and was afraid to walk to the courthouse for fear the defendant's friends would waylay her. She shared her fears with me. I shrugged, holstered a Glock, and walked her to the courthouse. I didn't go inside (since that would've been a violation of the law), but I handed her off to a sheriff's deputy who took her the rest of the way to the courtroom. She felt safe the entire way.

You seem to believe guns are the problem. Guns are not the problem. Guns in the hands of the irresponsible, the untrained, and the immature... now there's a problem for you, an enormous one, and one I don't have a good answer for.

But a rifle, a shotgun, or a handgun, in the hands of a responsible, mature individual who's been trained in their use and the legal statutes pertaining to violence... we genuinely are the first responders the original poster talked about. And our business is violence *prevention*, not violence. Our presence deters violence. I like that, I like that a lot.

I've got no desire to shoot anyone. Killing is a messy, disgusting business and I recommend everyone avoid it. A gunshot will involve years of nightmares, torturous soul-searching, civil lawsuits, the deceased's friends and family wanting vengeance, and every other damned thing imaginable... and that's for a 100% justified kill. There is literally no upside in shooting someone.

But preventing bad things from happening to people? I have to say... that's kind of cool. I like that. A lot.

Comment: Re:Answer (Score 5, Informative) 336 336

I don't know who told you C++ was an object-oriented language. It's not -- ask Bjarne. It supports many different styles of programming, object-oriented being just one of many, but it is in no way object-oriented. You can write large code bases without using a single object.

Comment: Re:Answer (Score 5, Informative) 336 336

unique_ptr<T> is normally preferred over shared_ptr<T> -- the former is zero-overhead compared to a pointer, while the latter has a reference count associated with it which has to be incremented and decremented. If you know two or more things will be using the pointer and you don't want to have to worry about ownership semantics, shared_ptr<T> makes a lot of sense. If you know only one will be using it, unique_ptr<T> makes more sense.

Comment: Re:not far enough. (Score -1) 201 201

Please see my original post:

They're not going to work as cops ever again.

And they're not going to get hired as security guards in the U.S., either. Would you hire someone that you already knew, 100%, had violated someone's civil liberties so egregiously? Of course not: your shareholders would can you for hiring them. If you hire people you know are a discipline problem, you're just begging for a lawsuit when they fuck up again while working for you.

Comment: Re:Ten seconds? (Score 5, Informative) 591 591

You weren't breathing pure helium. You were breathing "balloon gas," which is a mixture of helium and normal, breathable room air. The oxygen in the mixture was keeping you conscious.

Helium is an expensive substance and you don't need pure helium in a balloon to give it lift. By cutting the helium with air, the balloon outfit is able to make their expensive resource last much longer.

Comment: Re:you can do osx and ios in c++ (Score 1) 407 407

Cfront worked by translating C++ into C, which was then run through a C compiler. As such, cfront had to be abandoned in the early 90s because there were certain syntactic structures that simply couldn't be expressed in a reasonable amount of C source code.

The original poster is (mostly) correct. Cfront was a compiler only in the sense that it did a transform of one language (C++) into another (C). It was not a compiler to any extent beyond that; compiling to native code was left up to the system C compiler.

Where the original poster is wrong is calling C++ a "preprocessor for C". That's a reasonably-correct way to describe one early implementation of a C++ compilation system, but it's not an accurate way to describe the language itself.

Comment: Parody is protected (Score 3, Informative) 255 255

Parody is protected; satire is not. Parody uses the objects of an artistic creation to criticize, lampoon, or make fun of the original creation. Satire uses the objects of one artistic creation to criticize, lampoon, or make fun of other creations. Using A to mock A is fair game in copyright law. Using A to mock B is seen as a violation of the copyright holder of A's rights.

As an example: Demolition Man used commercial jingles and Taco Bell to satirize modern American life and where it was headed, but they weren't really holding up the Oscar-Meyer Company or Taco Bell up for ridicule. The laughs were aimed elsewhere. As a result, they had to get permission from the Oscar-Meyer company to use the Oscar-Meyer wiener jingle, and permission from Taco Bell to use the Taco Bell logo. That's satire.

The Power Rangers fan film is pretty much straight-up parody. They're not scoring points about anything outside the Power Rangers franchise: they're just holding it up for brutal mocking. That's parody, and that means the people who made it were A-OK.

Comment: Re:Mostly right. (Score 1) 681 681

I'm not rejecting Noether's theorem -- I'm rejecting temporal invariance. Spacetime is dynamical, therefore not invariant, etc., etc.

You can definitely torture the definitions of words until you reach a kind of invariance, but I feel this creates more problems than it solves. Better to just say, "conservation of energy only holds true for static backgrounds."

See Sean Carroll's "Energy Is Not Conserved" blogpost for a more detailed explanation. He convinced me to stop talking about the energy of the gravitational field as the escape hatch for conservation. :)

Comment: Your own humanity (Score 1) 698 698

It's commendable that you want to pass on wisdom. But I suspect your daughter isn't going to miss your wisdom anywhere near as much as she's going to miss you. What is it that makes you so uniquely you?

For example: I have some really strong memories associated with science fiction, particularly Poul Anderson's Tau Zero. So I might record myself reading Tau Zero, and whenever I reached a passage that really resonated with me I might go into a long digression about why it resonated with me, and things in my life and history that also strike that same thematic note. By the end of it, she would know not only that I loved Tau Zero, but she'd know a lot more about me and why I loved it and why it spoke to me and why, with only six good months left, I'd choose to spend six hours of it recording it for her.

Wisdom is overrated. It really, truly is. It's valuable but it's not the best thing out there. And I say that as the son of a father who has the keenest mind I've ever known, a guy who has enormous life experience and wisdom and has shared it with me freely throughout my life. If-and-when he goes, I'll miss his wisdom a lot. But I'll miss him more.

The most important gift you have to pass on to your daughter isn't your wisdom. It's you.

Comment: Re:Mostly right. (Score 1) 681 681

So where are the perpetual motion machines?

This is a great question. Let me rephrase it: "How can we collect dark energy and convert it into something useful?"

Nobody knows. Nobody knows if it's possible, for that matter. But yes, energy is constantly being pumped into spacetime; that's what's causing the expansion of spacetime. The nature of that energy and its origin (is it produced ex nihilo? Is it leaking in from another universe?) are currently hotly debated within physics.

But again, it's a great question. I wish we had an answer for it! :)

Comment: Re:Mostly right. (Score 1) 681 681

Try high-school level details. The basic principles of relativity ("no preferred reference frames; time and space are relative; the speed of light is constant") are taught in high school physics, as are such things as barycenters (although they usually call it the "center of gravity"). The bit about the Uncertainty Principle is college-level physics, but the rest is straight-up high school physics -- and not AP Physics, either.

And if you say the earth goes 'round the sun, you're every bit as wrong as if you say the sun goes 'round the earth. The reason why you're just as wrong is because you're making the same fundamental mistake: you're assuming the existence of a preferred reference frame.

So, in a sense, thanks for proving my points.

It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.

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