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Comment: Re:Why bother? (Score 0) 420

> Java's IDEs are not as good as .Net's (Visual Studio is probably the best IDE ever built)

You have got to be kidding! Visual Studio is probably the single worst designed IDE I've ever used (and I've used a lot!), and compared to just about anything in the Java world it is unbelievably primitive. Every time I have to do something in Visual Studio I quickly find myself cursing it. Between the mostly broken autocompletion, its inability to distinguish between classes and constructors, the fact that you can't do anything while a build is in progress, not even trivial things like selecting "set as startup project", the unbelievable slowness and constant hangs...

If you want to see a truly good IDE, give IDEA a try. It's like moving from the 19th century into the 21st.

Comment: Wrong questions (Score 1) 420

> 2. Is there an open source choice today that's popular enough to be considered the standard that employers would like?

I think this poster is really asking the wrong questions. There are lots of different choices that are all popular, depending on what you want to do. Web development? Java, PHP, and Node are all fairly popular. Android development? That means Java. iOS? It's Objective C and/or Swift. Windows? It's C#. Cross platform game engines? C++. There are good reasons for those differences. You really don't want to try writing web applications in C++, or game engines in PHP. But in every case, there are existing options that are "up to the job" and, in most cases, open source.

Until now, C# and .NET were basically Windows-only technologies, and that held them back. (Yes there was Mono, but it was never more than the unloved step child.) With that changing, it now becomes plausible to use it for more things. Whether it's "up to the job" in those other fields has to be decided on technical grounds. Whether it will manage to take "market share" away from other technologies is partly a technical question, but more a political one.

> Choosing a standard means you can recruit young, cheap developers and actually get some output from them before they move on.

It also means you can recruit experienced developers who already know the technology. Standardization isn't just about being able to exploit people!

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 196

That's right, no TV and proud of it! I only watch what I can stream over the internet. :) Which these days is almost everything.

(Actually I do own a TV, but not to watch TV programs. The only things connected to it are various game consoles.)

You know, just because someone sees no value in the particular technology you're trying to hype, it doesn't automatically follow that they're a "Luddite" who has to be "dragged into the future kicking and screaming." Sometimes it's because the hype really is just hype. The burden is on you to present reasoned arguments for why your shiny new technology really will be useful to me, and not just resort to name calling.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 196

But I don't have any IP cameras. I don't want anything triggering the lights except me turning on the switch. I don't have a home server, and if I did have one, I certainly wouldn't want it turning on the oven. I know whether I plan to bake something, and it doesn't. Barcode scanners on refrigerators were a silly idea in 1995, and the idea hasn't gotten any less silly just because it's now wireless.

This all sounds like a solution in search of a problem. It doesn't make my life better. The default for any product should be that it isn't networked unless there's a really good reason that it needs to be. At least that way I don't have to worry about hackers breaking into.

Comment: Re:Strong AI = child (Score 1) 574

by SoftwareArtist (#48510501) Attached to: Hawking Warns Strong AI Could Threaten Humanity

We have a lot of experience creating children. We've created many billions of them so far, and none of them has yet wiped out humanity. It doesn't mean one of them won't eventually do it, but still we have a pretty good idea of what to expect from children.

We've never created a strong AI. We have very little idea what to expect from one. There's a good chance it will behave differently from any human in ways we have trouble predicting. That's a good reason to be cautious about creating one. It will not be the same as a human child.

Comment: Re:Training? (Score 1) 112

by SoftwareArtist (#48461181) Attached to: "Advanced Life Support" Ambulances May Lead To More Deaths

I remember a doctor telling me the same thing years ago. He said that EMTs are trained to do a fixed list of things, but aren't sufficiently trained to determine which ones will be beneficial for a given patient. Therefore, they always do all of them, whether they're needed or not. This is good for the ambulance companies, since they can charge the maximum amount for every call. It's bad for patients, because it then takes much longer to get to a hospital. In a minority of patients, one of those things on that fixed list of interventions will happen to be helpful... though not necessarily helpful enough to make up for the delay in getting to the hospital. In the majority of patients, they have no benefit and just cause delay.

Comment: Not in America! (Score 1) 55

by SoftwareArtist (#48413185) Attached to: Machine-Learning Algorithm Ranks the World's Most Notable Authors

Every year the works of thousands of authors enter the public domain

No copyright has expired in the US since 1998, and none will expire until at least 2019. I say "at least", because you can be sure there will be lots of lobbying to extend them even further. I hope the rest of the world is enjoying their public domain... while they still have it.

Comment: Re: I'm sick of this thread and sick of all of yo (Score 1) 330

No. You just said several things that are simply false. Please let me clarify them.

First, you seem to have the idea that experiments like this are expensive to perform. They aren't. I used to work in an MRI research lab. The cost of doing a scan is close to zero. Buying the machine in the first place is expensive, but since my lab was in a hospital, they already had that. The hospital used it for patients during the day, and then left it idle most of the night. That's when the graduate students ran their experiments. The cost of doing this study is whatever you have to pay some undergraduates to come in the middle of the night and get their brains scanned: not very much.

Second, this study was not a fishing expedition. It's the latest in a growing body of literature on the subject. They included various types of "disgusting" images because previous studies had shown (based on skin response and the like) that conservatives have a stronger response to them than liberals do. They included threat images for the same reason: previous studies have shown that conservatives have a stronger startle reflex than liberals. They were a bit surprised when they didn't find anything for those images, and they include commentary speculating on why they didn't. There is no previous evidence that conservatives and liberals respond differently to pleasant images, so they would have been surprised if anything had shown up there. And it would have been very surprising if they'd found any difference for neutral images, making those a good negative control.

Third, as a neuroscientist you're well aware that we know more about the brain than just the sensory and motor parts. That doesn't mean we have detailed circuits, but we do know, for example, that particular regions are involved in emotion, memory, higher cognitive tasks, etc. Maybe those parts aren't what you are personally interested in, but that doesn't make them invalid subjects to study.

Comment: Re: I'm sick of this thread and sick of all of yo (Score 1) 330

How about you? What were you going to add?

I was going to add (and did add) the suggestion that you read the paper so you could post informed opinions rather than uninformed ones. (It amazes me how often my signature quote turns out to be exactly relevant.) And that led you to do it, so I totally count it as a positive contribution to the discussion!

I do, however, think you're being overly harsh toward this paper. They crossvalidated their results, and also included negative controls in the study. If their statistics were really as badly done as you claim, they would have found just as strong predictors based on the pleasant and neutral images. But they didn't.

Comment: Re:Conservatives don't accept that Humans are anim (Score 1) 330

My take on this as a US liberal, is that this might be indicative of a conservative having an aversion to being reminded of how humans are little more than animals.

I'm not at all surprised that, as a liberal, you would interpret it that way. Even though there's nothing in the study that actually supports that interpretation. A conservative, of course, would almost certainly not interpret it that way. The liberal and the conservative are both being equally emotional and non-rational in their reasoning.

Think carefully about what you just did. You first decided (based primarily on emotion) what conclusion you wanted to reach, then interpreted the data as supporting that conclusion. You did that (as everyone does, many times a day) despite the fact that it required wild extrapolations, and there are tons of other interpretations equally consistent with the data. This is exactly the sort of thing this article is talking about. Humans are not rational. We make decisions based on emotion, then rationalize them to convince ourselves they were actually based on logic. If you are human, then you are not rational. If you believe you are, that's just an example of one of your irrational beliefs.

Comment: Re: I'm sick of this thread and sick of all of you (Score 1) 330

Unfortunately this is most likely sensationalist BS, not interesting science. I haven't read the paper.

So maybe you should read the paper? Then you'll know. Instead you just posted lots of totally uninformed speculation about what they "probably did" while presenting this as some sort of authoritative view. In just a few minutes you could have skimmed the paper (it's not very long and quite clearly written), then posted a useful commentary that would actually add to the conversation.

Comment: Apple designs for yesterday (Score 2) 370

by SoftwareArtist (#48181363) Attached to: Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

Example: a few releases ago they made scrollbars thinner (making them harder to click), and also made them disappear by default. All this to "free up the space" that was being "wasted" by scrollbars. Now in Yosemite they're getting rid of window title bars in many apps, making it harder to move windows around. This is for the same reason: to free up space being used by title bars.

My computer has a 24" screen. The space taken up by scrollbars and window titles is completely insignificant. The inconvenience caused by not having them is very significant. This is a design decision that might have been justifiable 15 years ago when a 17" monitor was considered large, but today is completely absurd.

Comment: What did they actually do? (Score 1) 571

by SoftwareArtist (#48154255) Attached to: Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

From the article: "In a statement, the company, the Pentagon's largest supplier, said it would build and test a compact fusion reactor in less than a year, and build a prototype in five years." So if they haven't even built a reactor yet, much less tested it to see if it really works, what exactly is the amazing breakthrough they're claiming?

Comment: Re:Energy != standard of living (Score 1) 652

by SoftwareArtist (#48088821) Attached to: Living On a Carbon Budget: The End of Recreation As We Know It?

Alaska is much colder, but it's one of the states with lowest energy use. So is Maine. Conversely the second worst state by energy use is Kentucky, which has very mild winters. The list of states with the highest energy use includes both North Dakota (bitterly cold) and Louisiana (nearly tropical). But the one state that is truly tropical--Hawaii--has the second lowest energy use.

Energy use has far more to do with public policy than weather.

Comment: Energy != standard of living (Score 1) 652

by SoftwareArtist (#48077485) Attached to: Living On a Carbon Budget: The End of Recreation As We Know It?

This is a standard fallacy, that there's a direct correspondence between energy use and standard of living. Take a look at the actual numbers for what a "circa-2010 American standard of living" actually means for energy:

The average person in Wyoming used more than four times as much energy as the average person in California. Do you think that means their standard of living was four times as high? And no, it's not just that Wyoming is a large rural state. California has huge rural areas too. And Washington DC consists entirely of one city, but its per-capita energy use was nearly three times higher than California's.

What this actually means is that California has taken energy conservation seriously for decades, and has had government policies designed to promote energy efficiency. And those policies have worked, really really well. An "American standard of living" does not require ridiculously high energy use.

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.