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Comment: Mensa is for wannabes (Score 1) 561

by SoftwareArtist (#47326915) Attached to: Match.com, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses

Seriously. If there is one thing most smart people have in common, it's that they are not in Mensa.

I went to an Ivy League college. I work in an elite university. There are two Nobel laureates on my floor. I spend my days surrounded by certifiably Very Smart People.

I don't know a single person who belongs to Mensa. Most of the people I know would laugh at the idea of joining Mensa. They don't need to join an organization to show off how smart they are. Everyone already knows they're smart. They don't need to join an organization to find other smart people. They spend their days surrounded by smart people, because they work in fields that require intelligence.

Comment: Re:Market (Score 1) 190

by SoftwareArtist (#47259031) Attached to: U.S. Democrats Propose Legislation To Ban Internet Fast Lanes

You only have one ISP, but you have tons of video streaming services to choose from. This bill is about protecting competition in that latter market, not the former one. It won't create new ISPs, but it means your existing ISP can't block or downgrade service from internet companies that haven't paid it enough, or that compete with its own in-house services.

Comment: Why is this Google's responsibility? (Score 1) 248

Google is just an index to information that's on the web. If you object to something that's on the web, go after the person who put it there and demand they remove it. I could totally understand that. But instead of demanding it be removed, they're demanding that an unrelated party stop telling anyone, anywhere in the world, that it exists. That makes no sense to me.

Comment: Re:Why should we care? (Score 1) 206

(2) it gets us out of low earth orbit

But that's exactly the problem: it doesn't get us out of low earth orbit. Or rather, it gets precisely one ship out of low earth orbit, but the next one we send out will have to start all over from ground level. Sending anything from the earth's surface into space is incredibly expensive. As long as we have to rely on that, we will never be able to do more than a handful of one-off missions involving a handful of people.

I want to see humans colonizing space. I want to see permanent habitats where people live for years at a time. And not just a few people, but millions. Sending a few people to Mars doesn't get us closer to that. Developing asteroid mining facilities does get us closer.

Comment: Why should we care? (Score 4, Interesting) 206

Why is sending humans to Mars supposed to be such a great thing? It's incredibly expensive, incredibly dangerous, and doesn't accomplish much of anything useful. Once you've sent them, the next trip will be almost as expensive as the first one.

I'm much more interested in building up a meaningful, sustainable space program. That means building up an industrial base in space. We need to be able to manufacture things in space out of raw materials that were mined in space. That's the only way that human space travel will ever be economically sustainable. So that asteroid mission sounds like exactly the right approach to be taking.

Comment: Re:next 50 to 100 years? (Score 1) 453

by SoftwareArtist (#46961397) Attached to: Study: Earthlings Not Ready For Alien Encounters, Yet

Or maybe they're using exactly the types of communication we're steadily moving toward: fiber optics for long distances, lots of low power transmitters for short distances. If they've expanded beyond their home planet, interplanetary communication would probably use lasers, so very very highly directional. All of these signals would of course be digital, not analog.

Anyone in a distant star system listening for messages would hear absolutely nothing.

Comment: Complete nonsense (Score 1) 566

by SoftwareArtist (#46953183) Attached to: Let Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders Work In US, Says White House

'Fifty million working-age Americans aren't working,' Sessions said in a statement

Even the simplest calculation shows how absurd that claim is. The U.S. population is a bit over 300 million. Let's say 200 million are "working age". 50 million being out of work would be an unemployment rate of 25%. Ok, some people "aren't working" because they don't want to work. Perhaps they're staying home raising their children, while their spouse supports them. Though I'd argue being a full time homemaker is "working", especially if you're caring for children.

In any case, his number is clearly nonsensical. It has nothing to do with actual unemployment, the sort he's arguing this would make worse.

Comment: STL is painful to use (Score 1) 435

by SoftwareArtist (#46883221) Attached to: C++ and the STL 12 Years Later: What Do You Think Now?

Speaking just about STL, I'd have to say it's one of the worst designed container APIs I've worked with. It just goes out of its way to make your code painful to write and hard to read.

Suppose you want to determine if a collection c contains an element e. In any other language, you'd write something like c.contains(e). But the STL designers, in their infinite wisdom, decided instead you should write c.find(e) != c.end(). Because that's just so much more readable. Suppose you want to determine if a string s ends with some suffix t. In any other language you would write something like s.endswith(t). But in C++ you write s.rfind(t) == s.size()-t.size(). I think? I'm not 100% sure I didn't make a mistake in there.

C++11 tried to fix some of the worst aspects of STL, but they didn't redesign it from scratch, which is what it really needs.

Comment: Re:Terrible summary of an interesting paper (Score 1) 818

by SoftwareArtist (#46773011) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

No, that is not at all what the study found. Let me quote directly from the abstract:

"Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence."

Let me state that again: the only interest groups with substantial influence are those representing business interests. All other interest groups have "little or no independent influence". Organizing a grassroots movement is not an effective strategy.

Comment: Re:It was a "joke" back then (Score 1) 276

And the whole point of this cover is to be a joke - showing a "future" computer that is clearly completely impractical, because you would need a magnifying glass to read the tiny text on it, and because it would be completely impossible to actually type on a keyboard that small. The artist was having fun by pretending computers would just get smaller without changing in any other way, when this clearly couldn't happen in real life.

Comment: Re: Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (Score 1) 612

It doesn't exist in anything. That's the point: mathematics is independent of any context. When we say a piece of mathematics "exists", what we really mean is that certain consequences follow from certain definitions. It doesn't matter whether anyone has yet derived those consequences, or whether anyone has written down those definitions, or even whether there exists a person who could write them down or a surface on which to write them. It still remains true that certain consequences follow from certain definitions. And "the universe", according to the MUH, is the consequence that follows from some (currently unknown) definition.

Here's the Wikipedia page on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.... I tried to include that in my first post, but it looks like Slashdot beta has changed how you specify links. :(

"A mind is a terrible thing to have leaking out your ears." -- The League of Sadistic Telepaths

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