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Comment Re:Why not infect Naegleria fowleri with Mimivirus (Score 1) 149

Naegleria fowleri is close to 100% fatal,

It's close to 100% fatal once symptoms present (and are further successfully diagnosed as n. fowleri). There are confirmed instances of signs that some of the population has unknowingly gotten into their systems, so it may be significantly less than 100% fatal even when infected.

So the number to eye is about 3.5 deaths per year. So it's either the case that exposure is actually very low or else that most that get infected never even know. Pneumonia on the other hand has a much higher death count.

Comment It is horrific, however... (Score 5, Interesting) 149

" 97% of people whose brains start swelling"

So basically, if you start showing the signs, you are probably gone. However, IIRC, they found a fairly large portion of the population actually has antibodies for N. fowleri, indicating that getting infected may not be that uncommon, just that most infected are asymptomatic (or maybe mistook it for some more trivial ailment).

It would be interesting to also know the percentage of exposed who do not experience brain swelling...

Comment Re:Poor example (Score 1) 437

They may be fine in Arizona, but they're all kinds of fun to navigate when the road is icy, making every time you turn an invitation to start sliding. Did anyone not notice that roundabouts are a continuous turn? (Which is why I saw lots of accidents at the roundabouts I had to regularly use during an Idaho winter.)

Comment Re:Blindfold Anyone? (Score 1) 155

Take photosensitive paper off of wall.
Place into light-proof envelope.
Open small hatch in wall, which leads to drop box.
Place envelope into drop box.
Close hatch.
Alert the people outside the experimental room that they can now open their hatch, and retrieve the envelope.
They then take the envelope to a photographic darkroom and proceed as normal.

Comment Re:Learning to program by Googling + Trial & E (Score 0) 606

This is why so much poor software exists in the world.

I can only imagine what nightmare code is being generated by such efforts.

Yes, anyone can code, just as anyone can build a house. Whether or not the house collapses immediately, whether it has any real value, or by any other measure still depends on the skill of the builder, just as in software.

Garbage in -> Garbage out,
applies to the code as well as the data.


honestly, i can say that if it gets the desired results, who cares. it's going to be maintainable by that person, because they were the ones that wrote it. now, if this was a team effort, however, that would be a completely different matter. if there was a requirement to have a maintenance contract in place, for the long-term success of the code and the project, that would be, again, an entirely different matter.

i *do* actually successfully use the technique that the author uses - i have been using it successfully for over 30 years. however, during that time, i have added "unit tests", source code revision control, project management, documentation, proper comments, proper code structure, coding standards and many many more things which make a successfully *maintainable* project.

whilst such things are most likely entirely missing from the projects that this individual is tackling, the projects that this individual is tackling are also likely to be ones that *don't need* such techniques.

in essence: none of that de-legitimises the *technique* of "programming by random research". it's a legitimate technique that, i can tell you right now, saves a vast amount of time. understanding comes *later* (if indeed it is needed at all), usually by a process of "knowledge inference". to be able to switch off "disbelief" and "judgement" is something that i strongly recommend that you learn to do. if you've been trained as a software engineer, adding "programming by random research" to your arsenal of techniques will make you much more effective.

Comment Re:You know there's a problem... (Score 0, Troll) 606

...when you need to google the hex representation of 'red'. *much* better to understand the encoding, and it certainly isn't hard or requires tricky math. it's literally RRGGBB

you are completely and utterly missing the point, by a long, long margin, and have made a severe judgement error. the assumption that you have made is to correlate "understanding" with "successful results".

believe it or not, the two are *not* causally linked. for a successful counter-example, you need only look at genetic algorithms and at evolution itself.

did you know that human DNA contains a representation of micro-code, as well as a factory which can execute assembly-level-like "instructions"? i'm not talking about CGAT, i'm talking about a level above that. to ask how on earth did such a thing "evolve" is entirely missing the point. it did, it has, it works, and who cares? it's clearly working, otherwise we would not be here - on this site - to be able to say "what a complete load of tosh i am writing"!

what this person has done is to use their creative intelligence as well as something called "inference". they've *inferred* that if enough google queries of "what is hex HTML for red" come up with a particular number and it's always the same number in each result, then surprise-surprise it's pretty much 100% likely that that's the correct answer.

*later on* they might go "hmmm, that's interesting, when i search for "red" it comes up with FFnnnn, when i search for "green" it comes up with nnFFnn" and then they might actually gain the understanding that you INCORRECTLY believe is NECESSARY to achieve successful results.

but please for goodness sake don't make the mistake of assuming that understanding is *required* to achieve successful results: it most certainly is not.

Comment Re:Programming (Score 0) 606

Programming -- I don't think that word means what she think it means.

actually... i believe it's you who doesn't understand what programming is. programming is about "achieving results". the results - by virtue of their success - have absolutely NOTHING to do with the method by which those results are achieved. this is provable by either (a) unit tests or (b) a system test.

so if this person has found an unorthodox and successful way to do programming (which, by the way, is *exactly* how i do pretty much all of the programming i've ever done, including in programming languages that i've never learned before), then *so what*??

just because *you* memorise all the APIs, go through all the books, go through all the tutorials, go through all the reference material and then re-create pretty much everything that's ever been invented from scratch because otherwise you would not feel "confident" that it would "work", does NOT mean that there isn't an easier way.

there are actually two different types of intelligence:

(a) applied (logical) intelligence. this is usually linear and single-step.
(b) random (chaotic) intelligence. this is usually trial-and-error and is often parallelisable (evolution, bees, ants and other creatures)

an extreme variant of (b) is actually *programmable*. it's called "genetic algorithms".

personally i find that method (a) is incredibly laborious and slow, whereas method (b) is, if you write good enough unit tests and spend a significant amount of time reducing the "testing" loop, you get results very very quickly. genetics - darwin selection - is a very very good example. we don't "understand" each iteration, but we can clearly and obviously see that the "results" are quite blindingly-obviously successful.

by applying the technique that the original article mentions, i've managed to teach myself actionscript in about 48 hours, and java was about the same amount of time. i knew *nothing* about the APIs nor the full details of *either* language... yet i was able to successfully write the necessary code for a project that was based on red5 server and a real-time flash application. it was up and running within a couple of weeks.

in short: to call the method described in the article as "nothing to do with programming whatsoever" is complete rubbish. it's a proven technique that gets results, and, you know what? the most critical insight of the article is that it's *not* people who are "good at maths" who are good at achieving results with this technique: it's people who are creative and who understand language.

Comment Re:Great--humans getting back into space (i know I (Score 1) 54

In real life, what's going to happen is the Chinese will be the only ones strong in space exploration

Given the glacial pace and lack of ambition the Chinese have displayed so far... whatever you're smoking in order to believe this has to be illegal.

Comment Re:3D... (Score 1) 115

Yes, it would be cool. The failing of many VR systems is field of view. With more resolution, you can increase the FOV while still having enough detail to look decent. I think Occulus Rift is one of the few doing it "well", but even they have a bit of tunnel-vision in their system.

I can't wait until there are VR systems that have FULL field of view, so even your peripheral view is addressed.