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Comment Re:Groklaw Needed More Than Ever (Score 1) 457

It is impossible to write a non-trivial Java application without extending or overriding some API "owned" by Sun/Oracle. This means that basically every Java application and by extension, every program that implements a public, non-open-source API or is written in a proprietary language exists at the sufference[sic] of the API/language creator

Can you explain this a bit more to an experienced dev with very little exposure to Java? Because I managed to write all manner of non-trivial applications in all manner of other languages without ever having to modify the language APIs. That's both low level (C/C++/FORTRAN) and high (C#/Python/Go).

This is really quite puzzling -- it seems like a real anti-pattern to modify language API, even in languages where you can do it. Not the least of which is that whatever dev inherits your code is going to curse you after they spend a day figuring out why std::foo (or whatnot) doesn't do the same thing it does everywhere else.

Comment Re:Drone It (Score 1) 843

again, assuming intel was right, and the place was an ammo stash and not a madrasa full of little ones.

Who says those two are mutually exclusive?

Because if there was a rule about not bombing a madrasa full of little ones, that would be a strong incentive to also use it as an ammo stash. Of course an incentive doesn't mean it's often or even likely. Worse still, the evidence might all be vaporized and you might have nothing more than circumstantial "video of secondary explosions" claims.

So in a war you'll probably have to settle for not knowing whether the mosque or madrassa actually had ammo, combatants, worshippers or some mix of all three.

Comment So when did my thumbprint become some big secret? (Score 1) 141

Because nobody told me and I've been leaving it literally everywhere I go.

And boy do I feel like an idiot -- I had a cup of coffee the other day (without my tinfoil gloves) in the breakroom and left a good looking print on the shiny mug. Then I realized that I didn't wipe clean my thumbprint off my shiny car! And I definitely read the newspaper at the park the other day and just left it there for the next reader instead of securely incinerating it! To make matters worse, I let a nice lady borrow my pen and maybe she lifted it too!

Comment Re:Because no one else does (Score 2) 260

Closures and lambdas are definitely compatible with strongly typed performant code. C++11 has both and is still very performant (std::function is lightweight enough to toss around, doubly so with reference/move semantics) and as an added bonus with C++14's "auto-goes-everywhere" you get output that's strongly typed without the hassle of naming it. Purists can still opt to explicitly type everything if they prefer of course.

Similarly, Apple's block extension to C has all of those and is still reasonably performant. Their implementation is a bit slower (all variables captured are ref-counted on the heap) but still very reasonable. Function-objects themselves need to be manually managed/copied around, but that's the legacy of C shining through...

Totally agree about VMs and the obsession with functional languages though :-)

Comment Lying != Evading (Score 1) 510

I'm really not clear what "evading government scrutiny" means at all. What Hastert did doesn't seem to fit that definition -- he lied to investigators. Not even a questionable/sort-of-weasel lie even, it was a simple and direct statement that was contrary to the truth.

I agree the government has no right to harass anyone (or snoop their phone calls or steal their emails, FWIW). And the government has no right to demand answers to their questions -- Hastert had the right to remain silent and he declined to exercise it. What the government did here was pretty classic "traditional" investigation -- interview people that are speaking to your voluntarily and find the inconsistencies in what they say.

[ And while there's a lot to say about coercive interviewing, it's a bit ridiculous to think that applies to a powerful defendant. We're talking about a man that was third in line to be the President, not some teenager being browbeat by a pair of officers in the middle of the night. ]

Comment Re:Well there's the problem... (Score 1) 201

If you want fair competition, you have to do it under the same rules as everyone else.

And fair rules would be that any driver that meets some objective criteria relevant to driving (vehicle inspection, insurance, licensure, ...) can operate a taxi and obey the same rules. Unfair rules would be something like "the first 1000 people to sign up" can operate a taxi and everyone else can sod off.

Not every rule or regulation is an evil plot to suppress the entrepreneurial spirit.
Not every rule or regulation is justified in protecting consumers or the public.

In this case, the consumer-protection part of the laws are undoubtedly the former while the arbitrary limitations on the number of licenses seem very likely to be the latter.

This has nothing to do with fair competition, or protecting entrenched players. This is about governments having the authority to pass laws, and whiny idiots claiming they don't want laws.

Of course they have authority to pass laws. And people have the right to complain when the laws go beyond protecting consumers into protecting a racket. Not every law is foolish or an imposition or liberty but as the same time some are giveaways to special interests.

Comment "How much would you be willing to pay?" (Score 1) 515

That's a silly question, since it depends on what airfare for the equivalent trip is. In truth, what I'll probably do is go to ${AirfareSearchSite} and ${RailSearchSite} and compare on a trip-by-trip basis. That would probably include factors uncorrelated to the modality -- like which particular departure times are convenient for me.

It's beyond me why you would want to answer this question in the way it was asked -- as if there was some magical price for the trip as opposed to a comparison with other substitutes.

[ And, of course, the comparison is not just on the fare. Total travel time (including the connection on either end) is a factor, as are possible delays (SFO gets slowed by fog) or comfort (train legroom?). But again, it's a comparison not an absolute ... ]

Comment Re:Behavior that is rewarded is repeated .... (Score 1) 334

What's the morality of saving one hostage taken now if that leads to 10 more kidnappings laters? Just because those hostages are nameless and faceless (until they get taken hostage and possibly become headless) does not mean that their moral interests are any less real.

And, of course, the current hostage now was a hypothetical hostage in the previous iteration. Back then, he would have said "bomb them so they don't have an incentive to kidnap me later". Now he says "pay them $10M so I go free" even if that money goes to funding a kidnapping later, whereas the victim of that future kidnapping would prefer otherwise.

Comment Behavior that is rewarded is repeated .... (Score 5, Insightful) 334

If kidnapping Westerners and keeping them within 50 feet of you grants you immunity from airstrikes, that increases the incentive to kidnap westerners.

There's no winning the hostage game -- if you ignore the hostages you lose the PR war, if you play to the hostages then you encourage future kidnappings. It's a lose-lose game. The same is seen for the millions of Euro paid by various European nations as ransom -- some of that money goes right back into funding more hostage-taking missions.

There is no way to time-consistent way reconcile the interests of the current hostage in not getting bombed/beheaded with the interests of future hostages in not being kidnapped in the first instance. It's a repeating game, we cannot evaluate each iteration separately but at the same time we cannot evaluate them all together.

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