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Comment: Re:How much more? (Score 1) 95

by SoftwareArtist (#47553521) Attached to: Google's Mapping Contest Draws Ire From Indian Government

No, we didn't.

Prior to the first gulf war (the one in the early 90s), Iraq had a chemical weapons program. After the war, that was shut down and most of their stocks destroyed. When the inspectors came through after the second gulf war (the one in the early 2000s), they came across old shells on which they found residue of chemical weapons, indicating that a decade earlier they had once contained chemical weapons. They found no evidence that Iraq had actually restarted its chemical weapons program, or had any significant stock of chemical weapons.

If you claim they found anything more than that, please provide a citation.

Comment: So what? (Score 1) 174

Is this supposed to be a bad thing? Why? This post seems to imply that your entire career should be determined by your major in college. Thank goodness that isn't true. How many people really know what they want to do at age 20? Lots of people change fields several times over their careers.

Comment: Re:Incandescent will be best for the environment. (Score 1) 278

by SoftwareArtist (#47462045) Attached to: My most recent energy-saving bulbs last ...

Hard to beat a plain glass globe with a metal wire for clean recyclable environmentally friendly materials.

The mercury released into the atmosphere by using an incandescent is more than what's released by using a CFL. Incandescents don't contain mercury, but coal does, and a lot of the world's electricity comes from burning coal. Then of course, if you recycle your CFLs instead of putting them in the garbage, that means even less mercury in the environment.

Comment: Mensa is for wannabes (Score 1) 561

by SoftwareArtist (#47326915) Attached to:, 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.