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+ - Death to C

Submitted by Teckla
Teckla writes: Ladies and gentlemen, the C programming language. It is blindingly, quicksilver fast, because it’s about as close to the bone of the machine as you can get. It is time-tested and ubiquitous. And it is terrifyingly dangerous.

Comment: Re:The whole idea is crazy (Score 1) 288

by Teckla (#49026129) Attached to: Quantum Equation Suggests Universe Had No Beginning

But seriously, as AC has posted, the question is meaningless if time "started" at the point of the Big Bang.

That's a mighty big "if". I like watching all the armchair physicists around here assume they know the answer with a religious-like fervor.

For all we know, the Big Bang had a cause. What caused it may exist in a "lower level" time that we don't knowingly experience. We might just experience our local time.

Comment: Re:The whole idea is crazy (Score 1) 288

by Teckla (#49026105) Attached to: Quantum Equation Suggests Universe Had No Beginning

No, definitely meaningless. Time itself began with the Big Bang. The instant of the Big Bang is t=0. There is no t = -1.

It's not meaningless.

The time we experience may have started with the Big Bang, but there may be a lower level time component to the greater universe. For example, one theory is that two Branes colliding caused the Big Bang we know and love. In order for two Branes to collide, they must exist in their own time, lower level than our time.

Comment: Re:Modula-3 FTW! (Score 1) 492

by Teckla (#48900359) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

I would say that Delphi's advantages over Python and Java are native compilation and its advantage over C++ is the speed of compilation.

A lack of good, free Java compilers that produce native binaries (with no additional dependencies!) is the Achilles' Heel of Java. I'm convinced languages like Google Go would never have been invented if Java's ecosystem wasn't missing such an important piece of the puzzle.

I say this as someone who thinks Java struck the right compromises in most design decisions.

Comment: Teachers and Nurses? (Score 2) 335

by Teckla (#48841963) Attached to: Lies, Damn Lies, and Tech Diversity Statistics

How come there are never any reports on the fact that elementary and middle school teachers are overwhelmingly female? How come there are never any reports on the fact that nurses such as LPNs and RNs are overwhelmingly female?

What's being done to close these gender gaps? Why is it never reported? Why is it not important? Wouldn't it be good for kids, who spend a lot of their life in school, to also have male teachers as role models?

What about college admissions? Female admissions have been much higher than male admissions for quite a while now. Why isn't this being reported? Shouldn't we be discussing what to do about that?

Forgive me, but I've seen this "gender gap in technology" thing reported over, and over, and over and over and over and over and over and over ad nauseum, the last few years. It's a discussion that's worth having, to be sure, but it astonishes me how gender gaps in other, probably much more important areas, are completely ignored.

Why is that?

Comment: Re:pfsense (Score 1) 403

by Teckla (#48826897) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Migrating a Router From Linux To *BSD?

So software written in C is bad now? What if you find a bug in the kernel, or in ls? You do know that ls is also written in C?

The application domains for which C is an appropriate choice has been shrinking for a few decades now. For example, C is not memory safe and pretty error prone. For those application domains where security and/or reliability trump maximum performance and/or low resource usage, languages other than C are probably appropriate.

Comment: Re:Hypocrites, liars and communists. (Score 1) 441

by Teckla (#48826839) Attached to: Why We Have To Kiss Off Big Carbon Now

My family did pretty much the same stuff. And since we're really not exceptional in any way, I have to assume that there are more people doing the same thing.

I'm not a climate change denier or anything, just trying to stress the (probably insurmountable) scope of the problem. Kudos to people who care, and do the right thing, but I don't think there's enough of them, sadly enough.

Comment: Re:Hypocrites, liars and communists. (Score 2) 441

by Teckla (#48826115) Attached to: Why We Have To Kiss Off Big Carbon Now

Some of us are doing quite a lot ourselves, actually. Starting a couple years ago I actually started refusing to commute to do work that can be done just as well over the internet. Sure, it meant turning down some jobs, but it also cut my total miles driven per year (at low speed in stop-and-go traffic no less) by thousands, and my total gasoline consumption by a factor of over 90%, and though I didn't plant a tree (I don't own any land to plant it on), I did plant an herb garden on my balcony.

Awesome! Only 6,999,999,999 humans to go!

Comment: Re: noooo (Score 1) 560

by Teckla (#48722335) Attached to: 2014: Hottest Year On Record

On current trends solar and wind are set to hit that goal within a decade or so. There are some interest engineering problems around storage/demand management and power transmission, but the trend lines look quite good. Especially if you enforce even reasonable local environmental standards on mining and burning coal.

I think wind and solar are already quite competitive, except for the base load problem. I'd love to see a lot more R&D money go into things like storage and distribution.

Comment: Re: noooo (Score 3, Insightful) 560

by Teckla (#48720209) Attached to: 2014: Hottest Year On Record

Let me start my comment by saying I very much believe in global warming and that I believe it is primarily caused by humans dumping enormous amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.

I would suggest sheer perseverance of publishing the science in the face of such unfounded denialism will eventually do the trick, in the same way that it worked to convince the public of the link between smoking and cancer despite the opposition from vested interests at the time.

There's a big difference this time that makes your analogy break down. Smoking does not give people that much of a boost in their quality of life. (In fact, it costs them a lot of money, and it makes them horribly sick--possibly even killing them!)

Lots of cheap energy gives people an enormous boost in their quality of life. Even if you get everyone agreeing that global warming is real and caused by human industry, they're still going to want their cheap energy--even if that means we continue dumping unprecedented amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.

The two primary camps today are the deniers (who are obviously deluded) and the believers (who are also deluded--they actually believe humanity will solve the problem, given enough evidence or education or whatever).

There are billions--billions--of humans on the planet, and a large percentage of them want to improve their quality of life--or, at the very least, not see it drop. There are hundreds of countries, many of them ready, willing, and able to burn all the coal and oil they can afford. (If some countries use less--in an attempt to reduce CO2 emissions--there's less demand, thus prices will drop, thus it'll become more affordable to those people and countries that so desperately want that energy to improve their quality of life.)

Humans are simply not going to stop dumping enormous quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere. It. Just. Isn't. Going. To. Happen.

Our only hope at this point is some breakthrough technologies that produce energy at a lower cost than alternatives like burning coal and oil. If that happens, the free market will take care of the rest. If you want to slow, stop, and reverse global warming, we need to throw money at alternative energy research. Anything else is doomed and hopeless. There's simply too much demand for (cheap) energy.

Comment: Re:You know what would get me going again? No 3D! (Score 2) 400

by Teckla (#48719859) Attached to: Box Office 2014: Moviegoing Hits Two-Decade Low

My wife and I stopped going to the cinemas a year or so ago because every movie we wanted to see, there was no option within a 45 minute drive to see these movies in anything but 3D.

I also dislike 3D movies. The goofy, uncomfortable glasses. The higher ticket prices. The fuzziness. Blech.

The good news is, Hollywood is slowly but surely discovering (for the second or third time) that people don't like 3D movies. You probably won't have to put up with them for much longer.

A debugged program is one for which you have not yet found the conditions that make it fail. -- Jerry Ogdin