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Comment Re: Swift (Score 1) 255 255

I have a strong aversion to XOR hacks (and bithacks in general) because of the freaking crazy precedence the operator has in C/C++. Fine for well-reviewed library code, but I cringe when I see it used offhandedly for terseness.

// If foo is green, handle the green case
if (foo & COLOR_BITS == GREEN) { ... }

Eesh - that can be a frustrating bug at 3AM when you don't see the problem reading through the code, and it's working fine for some cases.

Of course, if you're only using ^ on Boolean values, then fine, I'm with you. I've never seen anyone do

if (GREEN == foo ^ RED == bar) { ... }

like that without parens, but at least it would do the expected thing.

Comment Yes it is what we need (Score 4, Insightful) 255 255

Think of the countless small ways in which knowing some code, or scripting has been useful over your life - sorting simple lists, renaming things in batch, formulas in a spreadsheet... etc. etc.

Even if most people will not be doing code professionally, it will help them do little things for themselves. It will also help them understand to some extent why software driven things behave the way they do, and even to make more informed choices as to software driven hardware they buy (and that is the future).

It's not like a flood of really bad programmers will get through most hiring barricades, already famously difficult to storm. They will go on to do things besides programming, where light programming can help them.

Comment Re:Raising questions about freedom of speech? (Score 1) 292 292

Refusing to allow a specific speaker is pure content-based censorship. You could argue that allowing a wanted fugitive to appear in person was a public safety issue, not content-based, but of course that's not what happened here.

Remember, the government usually has some wonderful-sounding reason for censorship - their stated intentions count for nothing, it's the result of the action that matters.

Comment Re:Everybody List What You Think Went Wrong (Score 1) 479 479

that's because Gamergate wasn't about ethics in game journalism, hilarious memes be damned. it was PRECISELY about white men continuing to be gatekeepers against gaming opening up to other people, including women.

People actually believe this? Really? Game companies just want money. Gamers just want fun games. The only corner of "gaming" where misogyny can be found is Call of Duty and a handful of similar games where the player base is predominately teenage boys. That's a very small part of gaming these days.

"Gaming" is not the small "first person shooters played on consoles" games market: it's Plants v Zombies, and Candy Crush, and Angry Birds, and MMOs, and Necrodancer, and a million rogue-lite single-player games (and far too many shitty Unity-engine games and visual novels). Last time I saw the stats, the median gamer was around 30, and most game-buyers were female, and the game companies certainly know the stats.

Comment Re:Everybody List What You Think Went Wrong (Score 1) 479 479

I've been a software dev for that long, and I've never seen an idea rejected because a woman proposed it (and I've worked in some extremely shitty places with overt racial discrimination).

You say you work "in tech"? Where? IT? Dev? Ops? Is it a regional thing?

I hear terrible things about misogyny in Ruby on Rails dev jobs, but not yet a firsthand account.

Can you share some examples or details to make your point? At least what industry and region?

Comment Re:Change Is Life (Score 2) 135 135

It's not all that hard to stick with a toolkit version for a couple of months (or to be honest, even a project lasting up to 18 months is no big deal.

That depends on the system. If you are doing iOS development, while 18 months is possible it's not advisable due to every new version of XCode (one major, a few minor updates every year) having more advanced tooling, compilers, frameworks... furthermore you are going to have to use a beta version at some point to test and debug your software on for un-released versions of iOS that you have to make sure you work well on before they are released.

I see your point, I was more speaking to the attitude of people that want to spend years without upgrading the underlying technologies involved in building and running your project... the longer you wait the worse the transition is, and like I said in the meantime you are also missing out on things that could have made development easier or resolved bugs you had to fix.

Comment Re:Blimey (Score 1) 446 446

Also any zero propellent drive is also an over unity device. Easy to prove.

If such a thing has actually been discovered, the very likely result is that it's neither "zero propellent" nor over unity, but instead has something being emitted that we don't understand.

For example, one could imagine an engine that seemed to have no propellant, but was in fact creating and emitting dark matter. On the lab bench it would be consuming energy that would be going somewhere mysterious (e.g., not heating up enough for the energy inputs), generating measurable thrust, and having no measurable propellent. Obviously that's not what's going on here, but something like that (emitting a propellent we don't know how to measure) would be the only rational explanation for any such device.

It's also theoretically possible to have a "warp" drive that produced thrust without propellent by altering the local spacetime metric. But this would not be "over unity", would be quite obvious as it would be turning local space into a lens, and likely isn't actually possible, for all that the math allows it, as you'd think we'd have seen evidence of it by now.

I guess "negative mass" drives also aren't ruled out yet, which also would have no propellent and while they are perpetual motion machines, they aren't "over unity" due to a technicality. Negative mass seems even less likely to be actually possible, despite the math allowing it, given the lack of evidence of its existence.

Comment Re:Blimey (Score 1) 446 446

Particles with mass move slower than the speed of light, experience the passage of time, and can thus change state (e.g. decay). Mass-less particles move at the speed of light (when in a vacuum), do not experience the passage of time, and thus cannot change state. Photons are clearly the latter.

Oddly enough, whether a kind of particle has mass can change over time, and it's thought that all particles were massless in the very early universe. The reason the Higgs Boson discovery was exciting was that it confirmed the idea of a particle changing from mass-less to massive in the early universe (the Higgs Boson itself is pretty dull).

Comment Change Is Life (Score 3, Informative) 135 135

On the other hand if you fall behind current dev tools, you miss out on the potential for a lot of community support, risk being crippled by the bugs that remain in the older system that are fixed the new, and hamstring your ability to work as effectively as you might because you cannot use newer tooling/frameworks to help with development...

Yes SE has a lot of stuff changing, it always has and always will. But cringing from the pain will not help, SE is not finding any kind of safe plateau (because there are none). It is moving ever forward at a reasonable pace, using nettles as handholds where you must grasp them firmly as you ascend, living with the brief pain to move forward.

Comment Re:Blimey (Score 2) 446 446

Ahem ... that would be an _ostensible_ propulsion device, the working principle for which is (according to mainstream physicists) poorly described and violates commonly accepted physical principles

History is replete with examples of commonly accepted physical principles undergoing revision in response to unexpected discoveries. I expect, along with nearly everyone else, this is the result of bad experimentation. But you never know.

Comment Re:Blimey (Score 4, Insightful) 446 446

Conservation of momentum is more than "new physics". It's quite fundamental, thanks to Noether's Theorem: conservation of momentum is mathematically equivalent to "the laws of physics don't vary with spatial coordinates", that is, the X, Y, and Z axes can be "zeroed" anywhere, the choice of coordinates are arbitrary as long as their consistent. The universe would be a very strange place indeed if this weren't true, and furthermore we'd have noticed by now.

So, whatever's going on here, momentum is being conserved. Just how that's happening is the curious bit. It wasn't obvious until the early 1900s that light had momentum - maybe there's something else we're missing, or maybe this really is an actual "warp" drive that locally changes the metric of space (in a way different from GR) and momentum really isn't conserved. Somehow I doubt the latter is true.

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay