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Comment: Re:Quite the poker player (Score 2) 285

by ShakaUVM (#48373353) Attached to: U.S. and China Make Landmark Climate Deal

>China's producing 7.2 tons per person. The US is producing 16.5 tons per person.

Per capita comparisons are ridiculous since a large chunk of China is still non-industrialized. There's a reason why China and India always focus on per-capita numbers - by having lots of poor people living in non-developed areas, they can get lots of extra quota for their highly polluting power plants and factories.

A better comparison is CO2 emitted per kWh produced or per dollar (or RMB) of GDP.

That said, at least China is building out some nuclear capacity. America is frozen on the issue.

Comment: Re:No, it's not time to do that. (Score 1) 299

by ShakaUVM (#48322733) Attached to: It's Time To Revive Hypercard

I can use some of that. I'm teaching 1st and 2nd semester CS in January, and I don't want to overload them too much with philosophy of programming, but I plan on having code reviews be 20% of their grade. They'll have to come up in front of the class and talk about why they made the design decisions they did, and other students can earn extra credit by finding bugs and pointing out questionable decisions.

But yeah, I was planning on doing a maze solver, so maybe a A* solver might be a little more useful. Thanks for the ideas!

Comment: Re:No, it's not time to do that. (Score 1) 299

by ShakaUVM (#48308203) Attached to: It's Time To Revive Hypercard

Will do. Thanks for the input!

I plan on using some common computer science job application questions as homework assignments, like Fizzbuzz. A friend of mine applied to Facebook and was asked to test a string for being a palindrome, create a linked list class, and write a method to reverse it.

You do have any suggestions for such homework assignments?

Comment: Re:No, it's not time to do that. (Score 1) 299

by ShakaUVM (#48289185) Attached to: It's Time To Revive Hypercard

>I can't tell you how many of these bozos who've learned in a "formal" setting can barely manage a coherent if/then statement, much less successfully complete even a small in-house application.

I'm going to start teaching CS in January. My approach will be to have the students writing code every class, which will be automatically tested by code that I write for correctness. If they can't get it done in class, they have until the next class (48 hours later) to finish it.

It is somewhat inspired by the code competitions I used to do. If a CS student can't write code to save his life, why is he taking a programming class?

>Granted, most of the self-taught crowd is weak on specialized algorithms and data structures

This is a bigger weakness than you think. Sure, some concepts like hashing and linked lists can be learned pretty quickly by an auto-didact, but the lack of formal training in discrete math means that their code all too often isn't correct. I can look at a recursive algorithm and immediately see when it was written by someone who never learned to do a proof by induction.

Also, their understanding of big-O notation is often (but not always) weak, and they'll tend to just try to use the one or two structures they understand for everything, which leads to inefficient implementations.

Comment: Re:Why not? (Re:No. Just no.) (Score 1) 206

>strangely enough there's a section in the constitution that actually makes vague laws of no effect. Can't remember the section.

That's funny.

Vague laws are the bread and butter of prosecutors.

If you want to read more on the subject, check out the book Three Felonies a Day.

Comment: Re:Why not? (Re:No. Just no.) (Score 2) 206

by ShakaUVM (#48265649) Attached to: Is the Outrage Over the FBI's Seattle Times Tactics a Knee-Jerk Reaction?

>Does not apply to sting operations...

Your reference says nothing about wire fraud.

Here's the actual law -

"Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both"

It's malleable enough that prosecutors can make it apply to basically anyone.

Comment: Models of the Heart (Score 1) 62

by ShakaUVM (#48265139) Attached to: Why Every Cardiac Patient Needs a Virtual Heart

I used to work in the "new" field of computational medicine about 15 years. (Is 15 years new? I don't think so - and some of those heart models well before my time.) The Cardiac Mechanics Computational Group at UCSD, if anyone cares.

Personalized medicine was a very big driver for the models we were working on. You could introduce ischemias or other defects into the modeled heart tissue and observe how it changed the propagation of potentials across the tissue surfaces.

I personally worked on smaller models of just one heart cell, with the purpose being that you could see what the impact various drugs would have without needing to do millions of dollars of testing. Got a drug you know will change the sodium permiability or whatever? Alter the constant in the model, and run it. Proctor and Gamble funded the research that funded me, and was pretty happy with the results, I think.

Comment: Re:Impressive (Score 1) 217

by ShakaUVM (#48219017) Attached to: Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin At Tsinghua University In Beijing

>Yes, his accent was horrible.

Yeah. I flinched at it. And his sentences were pretty basic. (Wo tai tai shi zhong guo ren, for example.)

That said, it's a nice gesture. When I went to China, people were constantly surprised at seeing a foreigner speak their language. It's a really diplomatic move on his part.

Comment: Re:Fox News? (Score 1) 460

by ShakaUVM (#48045269) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

In the lead up to the war, yes, old munitions were one of the big reasons for invading. Remember all the weapons inspectors kicking around Iraq?

And no, they're not duds. They were degraded, not harmless. They could still deal a lot of damage.

In any event, the point is that people keep pointing to this issue as an area where Fox viewers are misinformed, but in reality, it is the other crowd that has it wrong.

Comment: Re:Fox News? (Score 1) 460

by ShakaUVM (#48022903) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

>False equivalence. Although equal airtime for all views is silly, Fox intentionally distorts facts and dialog to fit their agenda. WMD's in Iraq? A certainty, well after all the other news outlets have given up on that

This is a meme that unfortunately puts you on the wrong side of the truth. WMDs were found in Iraq - their old chemical weapons stores were not all destroyed, as promised.

'On June 21, 2006 the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released key points from a classified report from the National Ground Intelligence Center on the recovery of a small number of degraded chemical munitions in Iraq. The report stated that "Coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent." All are thought to be pre-Gulf War munitions.

These munitions meet the technical definition of weapons of mass destruction, according to the commander of the National Ground Intelligence Center. "These are chemical weapons as defined under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and yes ... they do constitute weapons of mass destruction," Army Col. John Chu told the House Armed Services Committee. The munitions addressed in the report were produced in the 1980s, according to Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples. Badly corroded, they could not currently be used as originally intended, though agent remaining in the weapons would be very valuable to terrorists and insurgents, Maples said.' -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction#Chemical_Weapons_Recovered

Comment: Re:Fox News? (Score 1) 460

by ShakaUVM (#48022791) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

> Eight committees investigated the allegations and published reports, finding no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct.

Sure, there was no fraud or scientific misconduct.

However, the commission findings did confirm a lot of shitty things they were doing, such as coming up with arguably illegal tricks to avoid having to complete FOIA requests, strongarming journals that publish dissenting views in climate science, and a general lack of transparency in a field that requires data openness.

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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