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Comment: Re:It is time to get up one way or the other (Score 1) 1089

by SlideRuleGuy (#49303167) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

You have indeed conflated pro-business Republicanism with rank-and-file conservatism, as I suspected.

A quick glance at a graph of federal spending as a percent of GDP for the last 100 years shows an upward trend no one can miss. Conservatives (but not necessarily Republicans) would like to see that return to pre-FDR levels, but hold little hope of it happening. And I think they would see government stay entirely out of the same-sex marriage debate--taking neither side, but leaving that up to the States or the people. (Seems like I've read that phrase someplace...)

(But I'm glad to hear you opposed Obamacare.)

Comment: Re:It is time to get up one way or the other (Score 2) 1089

by SlideRuleGuy (#49300573) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

Politics are dominated by two parties (which are both marching further to the far-right end of the spectrum in a global sense)

Surely you're not calling our slide into a police state, with government consuming an ever-growing percentage of GDP a move to the right. Obamacare was move to the right??

Unless you've redefined the political spectrum recently, these are all moves that liberals I know still applaud. I can hear them clapping. (They're not actually happy, but they never were. Obamacare wasn't far enough for them!)

There are a few actual conservatives left in this country, and they'd still like to see us shrink the size of government as a percent of GDP, reduce taxes, reduce the intrusion of government into our personal lives, and so on. We're getting farther from their goals, not closer. They've basically given up all hope for the US.

Perhaps you're confusing conservatives with Republicans. Repubs abandoned conservatism about a decade ago, leaving the conservatives I know with no one to (willingly) vote for.

Comment: Shouldn't be hard to foil (Score 1) 220

by SlideRuleGuy (#48927321) Attached to: Anonymous No More: Your Coding Style Can Give You Away

With coding standards to follow, and tools that uniform-ify your code, it should be easier to anonymize it than with regular prose. And regular prose is apparently trivial to anonymize: see "Practical Attacks Against Authorship Recognition Techniques" by Michael Brennan and Rachel Greenstadt.

Comment: The new literacy ought to be (Score 1) 212

by SlideRuleGuy (#48913831) Attached to: Why Coding Is Not the New Literacy

the ability to think rationally and analytically. We live in a world full of people who think with their emotions, and can't reason more than one cause/effect level deep in anything. They are superstitious as a result, and make bad decisions constantly. A lot more good things would flow out of a more rational populace. It might start by turning off the damn television once in a while, too.

In fact, courses in practical reasoning ought to be part of every young person's curriculum all the way through high school and college. Not just a single course, but one per semester, because thinking clearly about things obviously doesn't come naturally to people.

Comment: P not needed (Score 0) 127

by SlideRuleGuy (#48457601) Attached to: Attack of the One-Letter Programming Languages

With Microsoft's P language, Not Invented Here has clearly struck again. From their own documentation and examples, P doesn't support state nesting, which is the most powerful feature that UML statecharts have--and statecharts have had it since their inception (Harel, 1988). Skip P, and go for an open-source implementation of UML statecharts. Check out Boost's implementation, or this free one here: A Lightweight Implementation of UML Statecharts

Comment: More engineering than art?? (Score 0) 212

by SlideRuleGuy (#48359423) Attached to: New Book Argues Automation Is Making Software Developers Less Capable

If you think programming is far more engineering than art, then you must be in a highly structured environment, program for the DoD, etc. Out here in the real world, people around me code without a shred of design work or planning of any sort. They just sit down and start typing...whatever organically evolves is what happens. Code is created with no foresight at all. I wish it were more engineering than art, though. Sad to see all the effort wasted so often.

As actually practiced, it should be called a craft, rather than art or engineering. And most developers I watch are quite Amish.

Comment: Re:As Simple As Possible, No Simpler (Score 0) 876

by SlideRuleGuy (#46206949) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

In all fairness, UML wasn't meant to express things like individual "for" loops. It's utility is at a much higher level. However, some of its formalisms, such as class diagrams and statecharts are very much one-to-one with actual code. (See this for an example.)

And if you need any more reasons to understand why graphical languages didn't make it, just consider the fact that most of the silly icons had a text window behind them where you could put specific text, even short scripts. Why was that needed if graphical programming was so complete? Just like CASE tools and object databases, graphical programming was just an attempt by vendors to shake some more money loose from unsuspecting clients.

Comment: Arnold Toynbee had it 60 years ago. (Score 0) 926

by SlideRuleGuy (#45390887) Attached to: Where Does America's Fear Come From?

If you're looking for a deeper explanation that goes beyond the "they're all pussies now" kind, read Arnold Toynbee's A Study of History. (Or read the D. C. Somervell's a lot shorter.) Toynbee was amazingly prescient, and if you adjust for a few factors, his cyclical view of history is rolling along as predicted for the U.S. and the West in general.

Where his view needs some adjustment is in two areas: Today, the largest nations can project their militaries anywhere on the globe at the push of a button. This alters how cultures behave at their boundaries. Now that our world is fully divvied up, borders don't shift like the tides. Secondly, with the internet and global media, ideas spread at light speed around the planet. So good ideas and bad alike spread very quickly. But America and the West are a visionless bunch to whom the rest of the world no longer looks for leadership. And we're clearly in decline.

Comment: Re:Personalization (Score 0) 507

by SlideRuleGuy (#45279427) Attached to: How Big Data Is Destroying the US Healthcare System

Sounds like you're saying that as our medical futures become more transparent, each of us is going to have to bear the burden individually for our own health. That sounds a lot like the rugged individualism and personal responsibility angle that everyone here has been bashing...

After all, the demand for health care is potentially infinite, whereas the amount of wealth we have is finite.

Comment: Less violent now? (Score 0) 478

by SlideRuleGuy (#44755669) Attached to: Schneier: We Need To Relearn How To Accept Risk

Really? You'd think that if you read Pinker's book on the decline of violence, but not if you re-examine his statistics. By examining only the worst events in a particular period, he provides a skewed view of the risk of death by violence. Much better to consider the probability of dying by all violent causes in a particular year/century. Given that some major atrocities in centuries past were exaggerated, it's likely that the 20th century is at least the second and possibly the most violent in the last 2K years. (And killing only gets more efficient with time and technology...)

Comment: No, it's about the fun. (Score 0) 479

by SlideRuleGuy (#44434181) Attached to: Remember the Computer Science Past Or Be Condemned To Repeat It?

You've missed it. Things get re-invented every generation because doing so is where the fun is. Simply tying together primitives written by somebody else sucks all the fun out of the whole process. No matter that they'd be done 10x as soon. Programming is supposed to be fun, and nothing, not even common sense, is going to remove that fun.

I've known so many programmers that had working components at their fingertips that could do everything they needed, but wanted to do it themselves so the code would be *theirs*, and not somebody else's.

Comment: Re:Not acceptable? (Score 0) 1501

by SlideRuleGuy (#44296329) Attached to: Kernel Dev Tells Linus Torvalds To Stop Using Abusive Language

Slavery works. Human experimentation works. Spying on every citizen in the country works.

This. If your only guide is simple expediency, then we are all in a heap of trouble because you can justify absolutely anything with enough selfishness. There's a very thin layer of civility separating us from the rest of the animals. It took us a long time to develop it. Some of us think it's a good thing that we've risen above the rest of animals. Let's not intentionally scrape that layer off.

Or to approach this from a less abstract angle: psychological studies show no correlation between how assertive someone is and how correct they are about what they think. Being able to win a verbal argument says nothing about one's technical abilities. No correlation at all. So for all of you out there with a strong resemblance to the north end of a southbound horse, you got nothing on the rest of us but your ability to be abusive.

Comment: Past wisdom (Score 0) 297

by SlideRuleGuy (#43535913) Attached to: Overconfidence: Why You Suck At Making Development Time Estimates
"No software project plan ever survives contact with reality." - Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, paraphrased.

"It's not the known things that get you, or the known unknowns, it's the unknown unknowns." -- heavily paraphrased from Donald Rumsfeld

Just a little wisdom from a related field...although many days it feels like they're the same thing...

Comment: Re:FORTH (Score 1) 704

by SlideRuleGuy (#42714809) Attached to: What Early Software Was Influential Enough To Deserve Acclaim?

Oh not again. When will we let that language die??!!??

I programmed in it for 6 years right out of college because the employer was desperate for anyone who didn't value their career too highly. I was only saved from it because I had C experience in school. It might have been a good scripting language if only people thought in RPN, but alas, we don't. One of the worst languages I've ever used, right down there with T-SQL and 4-D.

"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds." -- J. Finnegan, USC.