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Comment: Re:Duck and cover (Score 1) 522

by Sir Realist (#46994177) Attached to: Russia Bans US Use of Its Rocket Engines For Military Launches

In the case of anything but the most limited of exchanges, my house wasn't going to be worrying about ionizing radiation, it was going to _be_ physics dust settling in a glassy crater. The "watching the mushroom clouds" line was purely for show; there wasn't going to be anyone around to watch.

I'm not sure that a poncho would help.

Comment: Re:Duck and cover (Score 5, Interesting) 522

by Sir Realist (#46992739) Attached to: Russia Bans US Use of Its Rocket Engines For Military Launches

I grew up in the middle of Silicon Valley - a major techno-industrial center wedged between a fairly major military base and two major population centers. As part of my Boy Scouts Disaster Preparedness merit badge, we had to explain our plan in case of a nuclear war being declared. I told them "kick back on the roof in a lounge chair and watch the mushroom clouds go up."

There was a brief pause, and the instructor said "Fair enough."

Comment: Its True... (Score 1) 317

by Sir Realist (#45631209) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best FLOSS iTunes Replacement In 2013?

Strangely, the interface that Apple designed for Windows-based systems is orders of magnitude stupider than the one they designed for MacOS. Its almost like they didn't like Microsoft or something. I'm sure its a coincidence.

Of course their interface for Linux is "use our crappy window manager or die", so I guess I shouldn't complain.

Comment: Re:Alternate Hypothesis (Score 1) 325

by Sir Realist (#43817517) Attached to: Predicting IQ With a Simple Visual Test

Truth (but alas, no mod points.) Though the close correspondence between the two in the research would seem to initially imply that there are a minimal number of confounding factors. If you tell me there is a statistically significant link between scores on test A and trait B, the simplest conclusion is that test A tests for trait B. Doesn't make it true; just the simplest answer. Any longer train of logic requires more assumptions and/or discrepancies to explain away. Case in point; if we assume IQ tests measure pattern matching and noise filtering and X, then we have to explain why we don't (if we don't) have a bunch of people who are lousy at pattern matching, but score high on IQ tests anyways (because they're good at X). There are lots of perfectly sensible answers for that, but we'd better go find one.

Of course, if we _do_ have a bunch of people like that that need explaining, then its good evidence for the existence of one or more X's...

Comment: Too good... at what? (Score 1) 397

by Sir Realist (#43815221) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When Is the User Experience Too Good?

The goal of a user interface is to make it easy for a user to do _what they want_. If the thing you made it easy to do is what they wanted done, then it isn't possible for it to be too good. If you made it easy for them to do something they didn't want done by mistake, then its not "too good", its not good enough.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis