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Comment: Re:8 million metric tons of sea water ... (Score 1) 121

That's right. If all that plastic were in a landfill rather than in the ocean where it's killing marine organisms, it really wouldn't be a big deal.

Of course, I once read that every human on earth would fit easily in a cubic box 1 mile on a side. And that box would fit easily in the Grand Canyon. I guess humans aren't very important either. ;)

Comment: Re:The problem isn't science (Score 1) 958

by SoftwareArtist (#48970461) Attached to: Science's Biggest Failure: Everything About Diet and Fitness

This is so true. 30 years ago, the best available dietary advice was simple. "Eat a Mediterranean diet. It's the only diet that's been proven to extend life expectancy." Today, guess what the best available advice is? You got it: "Eat a Mediterranean diet." Meanwhile we've gone through who knows how many nonsensical diet fads, and the media has reported on who knows how many hundreds of studies, presenting each one as "the best new dietary advice." They weren't. They were just isolated studies. The actual best dietary advice has barely changed at all.

Comment: AMD is the only real option (Score 4, Informative) 110

by SoftwareArtist (#48899405) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: GPU of Choice For OpenCL On Linux?

If you want to write modern OpenCL code and run it on a GPU, AMD is your only option.

In terms of performance, NVIDIA is actually the best. But they've been stuck at OpenCL 1.1 for years, while everyone else has long since moved to newer versions. Until (if) they add OpenCL 2.0 support, they'll be a bad choice.

Intel doesn't support running OpenCL on the GPU under Linux. See the chart at the end of You can still write OpenCL programs, but you'll just be running them on your CPU.

Comment: Re:Therefore justifying the killing of others (Score 1) 894

by SoftwareArtist (#48840437) Attached to: Pope Francis: There Are Limits To Freedom of Expression

Or perhaps you just aren't aware of how much evil is done by members of your own religion. I take it, for example, that you aren't familiar with the National Liberation Front of Tripura, a Christian terrorist organization in India notorious for murdering Hindus who refused to convert? Or the murder of 77 people (mostly children) in Oslo in 2011 by a man who wanted to preserve the "Christian culture" of Europe? Or, since I gather you're American, here's an example closer to home. Since 1977 there have been 383 death threats, 619 bomb threats, and at least 8 murders committed against abortion providers in the US, nearly all of those by Christians. Surely you're familiar with the Ku Klux Klan, America's most famous Christian terrorist organization which remains active today?

Beware of cultural biases. If you live in a Christian dominated society, you will naturally think of Christians as "normal people", but base your view of Muslims on whatever you see in the news - which is disproportionately about terrorist attacks. If you lived in a country with a different religion, you would see things very differently.

Comment: Wrong reasons (Score 3, Interesting) 441

by SoftwareArtist (#48826127) Attached to: Why We Have To Kiss Off Big Carbon Now

We understand way less about economics than about climate change. Predicting what the price of anything will do in the future is really, really hard. A few years ago it seemed like oil prices would keep going up forever. Now they're going down and someone immediately says, "They'll keep going down forever!". But really we have no idea.

But we have a very good idea about what burning oil will do to the climate. If you want to argue for phasing out fossil fuels, do it based on the good arguments: they're destroying the planet. Don't bring in bad arguments based on wild guesses about what might or might not happen to oil prices over the next few years. That just weakens your position.

Comment: Re:Therefore justifying the killing of others (Score 1) 894

by SoftwareArtist (#48825461) Attached to: Pope Francis: There Are Limits To Freedom of Expression

> (Yay, and now after probably pissing off lefties, I've just pissed off righties.. such is the curse of the moderate)

It's not that you're a moderate. It's that you just presented caricatures of lots of people's beliefs, that have little to do with what they actually believe. :)

Islam does not "have a cancer" any more than Christianity does. Ok, you could argue that both of them are cancers, along with most other major religions. I won't discuss that point one way or another. But if you think Islam is somehow worse than other religions... well, no. Islam and Christianity both have fringes of violent, hateful extremists. They also both have much larger numbers of believers who are just ordinary people who are as disgusted by these attacks as anyone else. They both have holy books with many violent, hateful passage. Most of their believers reject those passages as being appropriate guides to their own behavior.

And you just equated Shariah law with... playing the morning call to prayer?

Then you totally caricatured "leftists and atheists". This may surprise you, but Duke is a private university. If they chose to play Christian songs from their bell tower, no leftist or atheist I know would have the least objection. It's their own business what they want to play. Perhaps some people would object if a public university did that, but I strongly doubt it.

And then... what was it "righties" were supposed to be upset about? Saying that universities should be totally secular? There again, we're talking about a private university. All the conservatives I know would say a private organization should be free to be as religious or as secular as it likes. (Strangely enough, all the liberals I know would say exactly the same thing.)

Comment: Spinning wheel (Score 1) 790

by SoftwareArtist (#48785073) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

Here's even a similar musical reference: Gretchen Am Spinnrade (Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel) by Shubert, written in 1814. The piano accompaniment imitates the sound of a spinning wheel, with the right hand notes rising and falling as the wheel speeds up and slows down, and the thudding pedal in the left hand. It would have been a familiar sound for centuries. But how many people recognize it anymore?

Comment: Re:A Simple Retort (Score 1) 556

This is wrong on a bunch of different levels. First, God is not "outside" the universe unless you mean something completely different from me by the phrase, "the universe." When I (and most scientists) speak of "the universe," we mean, "everything that exists." If God exists, then God is part of the universe (by definition). If God is not part of the universe, then God does not exist.

Second, anything that exists is a legitimate subject for science to study. If it's part of the universe, it's fair game. Just because some people have religious beliefs about it, that doesn't mean we can't study it objectively. What you "choose to believe" has no bearing at all on what is actually true.

Third, science never "proves" anything. That's a word that has no rigorous meaning in the context of science. What science actually does is collect evidence, and compare it to the predictions of theories (where "theory" is roughly a synonym for "description"). If the evidence does a good job of matching the predictions, we conclude the theory is probably a good description of whatever it's meant to describe. If it doesn't match, we conclude it probably isn't a good description. But nothing is ever "proven". No question is so firmly settled it can never be reopened if new evidence or a new theory comes up.

Fourth, "God" is not a theory. "God" is just a poorly defined word that lots of people use to mean lots of different things. Most people use it without having any clear idea of what they mean by it. If you put together a coherent theory that happens to involve something called "God", we can test the predictions of that theory and see how they check out. But until then, it's meaningless to talk about "evidence". It's impossible (by definition) to have evidence for or against something that doesn't make predictions, because there's nothing to compare your data to.

Comment: Re:...and... (Score 1) 381

None of those is a liberal position. How many Democrats in congress can you name who endorse any of them? In contrast, a large number of Republicans in congress have explicitly and publicly rejected climate change and/or evolution. Those are mainstream positions within the party.

Comment: Re:Why bother? (Score 0) 421

> 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) 421

> 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.

Brain off-line, please wait.