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Comment: Re:no problem (Score 2) 508

Privacy vs. no privacy is a false dichotomy. In my own home, I can reasonably expect that no one will observe me. On a podium in front of a crown, I can reasonably expect that everyone will observe me. Walking down the street, I can reasonably expect that people will see me, notice me, but that I will be one of many, unrecognized other than by those who directly know me. It is this last expectation that is violated by omnipresent cameras.

Comment: Re: Earth isn't delicate, (Score 1) 414

by Simply Curious (#43440771) Attached to: Stephen Hawking Warns Against Confining Ourselves To Earth
A plague of locusts swarms outward, consuming everything in its path. A swarm of humans, on the other hand, would swarm outward, terraforming planets and increasing habitability. One leaves the area less able to support life, the other leaves the area more able to support life. The pristine state of the universe is not the best for supporting life, and so we should feel no obligation to keep it as it is.

Comment: Re:Exception to Betteridge's law!! (Score 1) 292

by Simply Curious (#42879203) Attached to: Is the Concept of 'Cyberspace' Stupid?
Not really sure what gives that impression. Neither adding nor scalar multiplication of a server location yield anything useful. I cannot think of a way to define an inner product between two servers, nor any relevant information that could be gained from it. What would be the distance between two servers? In short, a mathematical space has nothing to do with the concept of "cyberspace".

The closest mathematical structure I can see would be an unordered set whose elements are individual servers, but this is so generic of a structure as to be entirely useless.

Comment: Re:Exception to Betteridge's law!! (Score 1) 292

by Simply Curious (#42878933) Attached to: Is the Concept of 'Cyberspace' Stupid?
Metaphors are there to give insight into concepts that are difficult to understand. If a metaphor provides correct understanding by giving intuition based on the metaphor, then it is a good metaphor. If a metaphor provides wrong answers when applying it, then it is wrong as a metaphor.

Comment: Re:Exception to Betteridge's law!! (Score 1) 292

by Simply Curious (#42878425) Attached to: Is the Concept of 'Cyberspace' Stupid?
It isn't a lack of imagination that causes one to see cyberspace as idiotic. Rather, those who see cyberspace as a useful concept have a lack of understanding. It is an incorrect metaphor, because it implies connections that do not exist. For example, it implies that someone must be physically located somewhere in order to affect a location. It implies that a person cannot affect multiple locations at the same time. It implies that a person is capable of littering without the permission of the owner. It implies that borders can be enforced. It implies that there are neighboring areas. (My address being 1 away from yours implies that I have the house next to yours. My IP address being 1 away from yours implies that they were purchased as part of the same lot.)

I'm all for metaphors when they are accurate and increase understanding. When they are outright wrong, then the metaphors are idiotic, and should be dropped.

Comment: Re:An iPhone just to make calls? (Score 5, Informative) 798

by Simply Curious (#42777167) Attached to: AT&T: Don't Want a Data Plan for That Smartphone? Too Bad.
I have wifi available everywhere except in transit. I have no need of a data plan whatsoever. It would be nice, however, to have my phone be more user-friendly, able to notify me of mail, and have a few games on it for passing the time.

Of course I would be doing more with it than just making calls. However, I would not be doing more on the network than making calls. The requirement of a data plan prevents that.

Comment: Re:The third option (Score 4, Insightful) 536

by Simply Curious (#42225903) Attached to: The Scourge of Error Handling
I would say that it is much less verbose in the case where errors need to be propagated upward. This is exactly why not every function call has a try/catch around it. Suppose I am writing a function that accepts a filename, interprets the text in the file, and then returns some modified version of the text. With error codes, I would need to explicitly check that open_file has returned a valid file handler. I can't do anything without a valid file, so I then need to propagate the error upward. On the other hand, with exceptions, I could simply not catch that exception from open_file. I can't do anything to recover, so I should let the exception propagate upward to wherever called me, and then let them deal with it.

Comment: Re:Can we have a little less bias in the summaries (Score 1) 153

by Simply Curious (#42047185) Attached to: USPTO Head: Current Patent Litigation Is 'Reasonable'
While there may be two sides to every story, I do not believe that they should be presented equally. I would expect someone who insists that the time is a cube to be laughed out of any rational discussion. Equally, I would expect someone who insists that our patent system is the "envy of the world" and that increasing the prevalence of lawsuits are evidence of a well-functioning patent system to be laughed at.

"If John Madden steps outside on February 2, looks down, and doesn't see his feet, we'll have 6 more weeks of Pro football." -- Chuck Newcombe

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