Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Obvious ruling (Score 4, Interesting) 187

"It's the smaller US companies that are probably going to take the brunt of this - the one that don't currently have any servers in the EU."

Actually I'm not sure that that's the case. If a company operates only in the US (e.g. is headquartered there, only makes money there, only has staff there), but an EU citizen gives them their data, then the EU citizen is effectively accepting that their data will be held under the US' weaker data protection regime.

The problem here is that Google, Facebook et. al have set up European subsidiaries for tax dodging purposes and so EU citizens are interacting with EU subsidiaries who are held to EU data protection standards. Those subsidiaries cannot make the decision for users to send their data to weaker data protection regimes - only the users themselves can opt to do that.

Comment Re:And you call the Americans anti-science (Score 1) 320

It's not even that, if this crop gives a real edge to a business then other farmers are going to have to use it too, and then we end up with a monoculture whereby we lack the diversity in our crop system and any disease impacting Monsanto's variant will rapidly spread and wipe out the crop. It could be years before they can get another variant that's resistant to the newly adapted disease in widespread production to satisfy global demand and so we're stuck without this important staple crop as you suggest.

But I'm not sure about the wiseness of insect killing crops in the first place. Insects exist for a reason, and it's unlikely they can make this target only invasive species across the globe, as what's invasive in one place, will be native in others. Killing off a key part of the ecosystem is an insanely bad idea, because it wont take long before it filters through to the parts of the ecosystem that actually matter to us (just as with bees and CCD).

Comment Re:Please ... (Score 1, Funny) 221

Well I was intrigued by the $15,000 annual average salary figure for the year, because yes, that's a shit salary in the US, but we all know these things are relative.

From what I could find in terms of statistics in Mexico on this, $15,000 is almost double the average annual income for Mexico as a whole, so they surely aren't be that poor relative to the rest of their country.

Are they poor compared to countries with some of the highest personal average incomes in the world? Yeah, sure. But if this spaceport is even partly responsible for making this area twice as wealthy as the average across their country as a whole then I don't really see what the complaint is the much higher levels of income in this area compared to the rest of the country imply that something is definitely going better for them than elsewhere in Mexico.

Comment Re:Admiral Ackbar (Score 2) 43

Yeah, it may well be. I'm intrigued to know what's in this for Google. Are Android phones still being artificially inflated in price by Microsoft's frivolous patent shakedowns against all Android manufacturers?

The whole reason Google retaliated was because of that idiocy, and if Google is ceasing it's retaliation to halt Microsoft's counter-retaliation then Microsoft has won, and Google has lost hard. Anyone know if Microsoft is giving up on the billions it rakes in from those Android shakedowns? If it isn't then it's hard to see how this is anything other than a humiliating defeat for Google.

Comment Re:Because it was written in Seastar or C++ (Score 1) 341

"Simply learning C or C++ won't point out exactly why those languages are so much faster than managed languages. You can write nearly the same code in C++, Java, and C#, and you'll see C++ win performance benchmarks - at least in all but the most contrived examples."

And that's really part of the problem. Too many people who vehemently defend C/C++ against managed language performance are doing so having just written or run a brief managed language application and said "See!".

But it's not a fair comparison, talented C++ developers can write good, performant C++ applications because they understand the language, they understand the compiler, and they understand how it all interact so that they can write that performant code in the first place.

Managed languages aren't magic, if you want an optimised application you still have to understand the platform - in something like .NET that means understanding GC generations, the impact they have, what should reach gen 2, what shouldn't pass gen 0, and how to make sure it doesn't pass gen 0. Unless you understand your runtime, be it the CLR, or the JVM as well as you understand your C++ compiler, you can't rationally compare the two and claim one is better than the other.

That's where you're going wrong - you're suggesting that code written to be optimal in C++ should be inherently optimal in Java, or C#, and that's a completely false assumption. It's also why you're right about something - that the GP is completely wrong. Learning C wont make anyone a better programmer in a managed (or even interpreted language), it's a different platform, and the rules are different. Probably what someone means when they say they should learn C first is actually that people should understand their platform first - they should understand the intricacies of the JVM, or the CLR, or their C++ compiler, or even the underlying OS and hardware. I disagree though, I think you learn those things best through programming, though some people certainly never really learn them, and that's a problem.

"Among the more significant differences are that C++ compilers are extremely good at optimizing, and C++ code generally compiles down to better cache-coherent structures than other languages. The difference is in the language itself, which adheres to a zero-cost principle, in that you don't pay for features you don't use. A lot of C++ abstractions are eliminated *entirely* at runtime, and are only used to protect the code's integrity during the compilation phase."

But even then they're not as good at optimising as JIT compilers, simply because additional compile time information always inherently means better optimisations can be performed - this is an inescapable fact, the more information a compiler has, the better it can optimise, and a JIT compiler on the specific execution machine will always have more information than a C++ compiler compiling for a target architecture (rather than a specific machine) - the JIT compiler has full hardware and OS information (and not merely rough architectural information - something pretty broad like x86, or x64), and it can also gather runtime information to optimise around runtime patterns. Yes, C++ compilers have gotten very good over the years, but unfortunately it's an inescapable fact that JIT compilers will always inherently be able to do better - it's just the nature of the beast, and there's no getting away from that bar C++ applications being able to self-optimise at installation or runtime.

"We were told for years that native-equivalent performance was just around the corner or even already here, and it just never really happened outside of small, contrived benchmarks."

It's been here for quite some time, but if developers don't know how to achieve it then it might as well not be. Great developers are doing great things in managed languages - many of the big boys have those staff on board, companies like eBay, Amazon, Google, and just about all the banks et. al. but similarly they also have great C++ developers doing great things too.

But the thing is, that's not really where the managed advantage is, it's a reasonable question that if you have to be a knowledgeable expert to reach native performance on a managed stack then why not just be a knowledgeable expert that is competent enough to do it in C++? I agree - and IMO the strength of such languages is in the fact that amateur to moderate developers can write better code faster in them than they can C/C++. So whether to use them is about as you say, using the right tool for the job - if it's just an experienced high end developer or team of working on the project then you can probably go full C++, if you've got a bunch of juniors or moderates in the mix then you may be better throwing in that managed safety net and let the expert focus on performing macro (i.e. being active in the overall architectural design), and micro (i.e. optimising algorithmically the code of other developers) optimisations of the overall solution. There are also the more obvious reasons - sometimes it's just a question of what the client has asked for.

So I mostly agree with what you say, regarding using the right tool for the job, and regarding C being a poor language choice, but I don't think you have enough depth of knowledge of any managed stacks to write code necessary to fairly test and understand why managed code can perform - you need to invest as much time in learning how to write optimised JVM or CLR code by understanding those stacks, as you probably have invested in learning how to write optimised C++ code.

Comment Re:Lies! (Score 1) 341

Your professor may well have been a time traveller, as in 1997, Java was still interpreted, and it was only in 1999 that they switched to JIT compilation.

Also, Javascript has nothing to do with Java other than being a hastily cobbled together PoS designed to cash in on the hype surrounding the Java name in its early days.

In 1997 Java WAS slow, but it was also a completely different platform back then.

Comment Re:why? (Score 1) 26

When the UEA was hacked and the "Climategate" e-mails leaked, it was just before and important global warming conference involving pretty much every country in the world.

Rumour at the time was that it was either Russia, or Saudi Arabia, both significant petro states with a firm interest in trying to keep everyone consuming oil and put a stop to this talk of moving to renewables and green energy.

If true, it's possible that Saudi hacking actions and ambitions reach far beyond merely oppressing their own populace and subverting their human rights. Such a purchase could've been as much about crippling their arch enemy Iran's critical digital infrastructure, carrying out actions to manipulate oil prices as much as dealing with people internal to the state.

Comment Re:And.. (Score 1) 449

I don't think your pet theory really matters, at the end of the day by just about every metric I'm doing better than most members of society (whether it's a purely selfish metric like salary, or a more philanthropic metric like charity giving, or socially beneficial metric like net tax contribution). If I had to reach that point in spite of the teachers, rather than because of the teachers, then the odds are there are a lot of people who didn't do it in spite of the teachers. That is, objectively, failure on their behalf.

But I don't really need to argue it, god only knows the amount of businesses and universities unhappy that schools are churning out drones that are capable of A* grade repetition and incapable any kind of actual thinking for themselves are pretty well documented. Similarly, the idea that learning by repetition is the only way to learn, much less the best way to learn is also very widely rubbished by people who have actually been successful in improving teaching.

So like it or not, it really doesn't matter if I was or wasn't lazy (I doubt I was given that I also studied another degree full time whilst working full time- that's not something a lazy person manages), it doesn't change the fact that the teachers in question failed all the same, and it doesn't change the fact that this is a problem that's being repeated by universities and businesses all across the West.

But perhaps you're one of those hopeless teachers, and you just don't want to admit failure, because that'd mean you'd have to do something more than just turning up at 8:30am and going home at 4:30pm in between your 13 weeks off a year and throwing down a textbook to each of the kids, telling them to get on with it whilst you get back to dicking around on Slashdot rather than, you know, actually teaching.

Comment Re:Of course the Air Force didn't adopt it (Score 2) 320

"You let me know when one F-35 can out compete four A-10's for air to ground combat."

I'm a massive fan of the A-10, but I can think of one situation - when they're up against a fairly modern radar guided missile battery. In that scenario the F-35's stealth is going to let it survive when the A-10s fall out of the sky like rain.

Now I think the A-10 still has it's place. It's exactly the type of aircraft, alongside the Harrier that we needed over Afghanistan and Iraq in the last 15 years precisely because it hasn't been up against modern missile batteries there. But if say we hypothetically had to hit an Iranian nuclear program, bomb Assad in his compound, or wanted to help Ukraine destroy some of those "Rebel" Buk missile batteries, then the F-35 is the jet you want in play.

I'm more worried about what we're doing in the UK, than what the US is doing. Even if your Air Force fucks up you still have a Navy and Marine corps with substantial and sensible air assets. In the UK we seem to be getting jammed into a two plane setup across all services, Eurofighters, and F-35s. Both are ridiculously expensive aircraft to be throwing out on missions destroying individual ISIS fighters firing mortars from the middle of an empty undefended desert. Losing the Tornado as we're due to, and selling our Harriers for less than the cost of a single F-35 (We sold 72 Harriers to the US for $180million, whilst a single F-35 now has an average cost of over $400million) are both absolute travesties in ensuring we have what we need to fight the type of wars we're primarily fighting - those against insurgencies.

We can still do it with the Eurofighter and the F-35 of course, but the cost of doing so would be drastically more than the price we sold our entire Harrier fleet for, which is frankly fucking absurd.

Comment Re:And.. (Score 4, Insightful) 449

"Some rich parents have this attitude, that if their children don't do well in school, there must be a problem with the school. They can't accept that their children just don't do well in math, biology, Latin, or whatever. "

I'm not sure it's necessarily wrong though. My parents aren't rich, but I didn't do well in math at school. I did however end up getting a first class honours degree in maths all the same though.

The problem is that there was a massive disconnect between how the school taught and how I learnt. Throwing a textbook at me and telling me to solve 40 meaningless problems achieved nothing and I learnt nothing. When I eventually sat down in my own time however and wanted to figure out how to build me a 3D engine, suddenly all the calculus and stuff had a purpose, it meant something, it could achieve something.

I'm not saying schools should teach 3D engine programming, but the point is that schools do very often get it wrong, they do an incredibly bad job of teaching for lots of kids. Mindless repetition of meaningless equation solving works well for kids who are capable of doing boring, repetitive tasks without asking, but some kids have a thirst for understanding and explanation, they want to know that what they're doing has some meaning, what it's for, where they'd use it. Statistics is an obvious one - teach boring stats for the sake of teaching boring stats and you'll have a problem getting through to many kids. Create a scenario whereby they're running a business selling shirts, and they need to figure out what sizes are going to optimise profit letting them know how much the overhead penalty is for creating additional sizes, and give them a bunch of data on measurements of people and you'll teach them not just the stats, but about business, about problem solving, and optionally even about team working.

So I do agree with what you're saying, but I think we should also be careful not to give bad schools and bad teachers (which for subjects like Maths is the vast majority of them in my experience) a get out clause for their incompetence. I did well in maths in spite of my teachers at school, not because of them. It was only at university where the teachers really seemed to get how to teach, and even that wasn't a universal truth.

Comment Re:Wasn't the noise an issue? (Score 3, Interesting) 124

I'd be surprised it's an issue given that the UK has seen many such projects over the years, one which has had a succesful view years and is now at it's end is the Vulcan to the Sky project.

I imagine if they can get permission to dick around in a cold war era nuclear V-bomber that first flew in 1952, then the slightly more modern Concorde wouldn't exactly be too big a deal.

The Civil Aviation Authority in the UK is fairly pragmatic about this sort of thing, and if there are concerns usually deals with it with restrictions rather than a blanket ban. For example, the Vulcan was allowed to fly with the stipulation that it could only be flown by RAF/ex-RAF personnel who had flown it as part of their service in the RAF - i.e. no one previously untrained in handling it was allowed to fly it. If there is a concern about it going supersonic for example, they'll just stipulate that it can fly, but not break the sound barrier.

Comment Re:For Ritual Read ... (Score 1) 126

".. however, when it is used by ARCHAEOLOGISTS in an ARCHAEOLOGICAL context, that is not what it means. (Incidentally, "context" is another term that has a noticeably different usage in archaeology to common English.)."

So maybe that's the problem? that archaeologists have invented their own language that isn't English because it has completely different definitions for words? Again though, that's clearly a problem with archaeology than everyone else if it insists on making up it's own definitions. You can't blame everyone else for wondering why you use terms like ritual all the fucking time even when it's unfounded and meaningless to everyone else. You can't blame TV that has to broadcast to a general audience for talking in the language of the general audience rather than yours.

"Your surveying protocol. Let's start with a field. You do not have a compass. You do have an abundance of string, and as many sticks as you want to drive into the ground. And as much astronomical ingenuity as you want. What is your first step?"

You don't even need that, just stick a bunch of reasonable sized stones in a field - large enough that the wind can't blow them over, small enough to carry or at least with a couple of people. Place them in a field in a rough circle, put enough in for whatever base you want and that is natural to you, maybe 10 like your fingers and thumbs, or 12 like a 12 hour clock, 24 like a 24 hour or whatever seems to make sense to you. Whatever feels natural. Watch how and where the sun hits throughout the day and even through the year, and adjust them round depending on where you want the sun to hit. With enough adjustment you'll be able to get it appearing at certain points against your monolith as and how you want it. You can even etch marks vertically to measure height of the sun through your rocks to help determine time of year. Eventually, you can replace with much larger stones if you really want to.

Why do you think you need any complex geometry for a problem that can be solved trivially with a bit of trial and error over time?

"Look up "metaphor". It's a Greek word, so you may not have hear it before."

No it's called hyperbole, and it was unnecessary hyperbole in an attempt to distract from the point. It's also a word of Greek origin, but it's also firmly entrenched English now, but perhaps you also have your own pointless definition that makes no sense to anyone else, hence why you didn't call it what it is. If it was a metaphor then I'm intrigued to know for what, maybe your academic mate believes they had an alien clock instead or something?

"At this moment, they align with some astronomical phenomena"

Yes, and back then too. Neither the sun nor the earth have adjusted suitably for that to not be the case.

"Incidentally, what is the fucking use of marking a solstice?"

But it doesn't just mark the solstice does it? Knowing when you've reached the high point of the year, and the low point of the year in terms of daylight is incredibly useful, because you know you have half the time remaining until the worst of it, or have finished the worst of it and that it'll soon be improving. Other markers allow you to determine points through the rest of the year.

"And if your neighbours, literally two hours walk away come up with a completely different answer to the same question, that raises one weird circumstance. Or if they were answering a completely different question, that's another different set of questions for interpreting the sites. (how far apart are parishes in your community? Here they're about miles in the country, and a few hundred metres in town. There are 4 parish churches between my house and the supermarket, of which three are abandoned and derelict, or deconsecrated and up for rent.) "

I literally have no idea what tangent you're rambling off on, you seem to be creating a pet theory and trying desperately to fudge reality to fit your theory whilst missing the blindingly obvious, which is exactly the sort of poor quality historical "research" I'm being critical of. All you need to determine time of day and year are some markers, it doesn't matter if those markers are interpreted differently between communities providing the people who make use of that information know can make use of it and pass that knowledge on to anyone else who comes along and wishes to, there was no "Global Consortium on Henge Standardisation" back then.

"unless you want to pick a fight with the whole archaeological community (which will take the rest of your life, and probably fail) then you're not going to see it change"

Or that community could shut the fuck up and stop whining when people look down on them for stupidly trying to redefine a term with no will to correct it, and not scorn TV history for interpreting the term they use exactly like the entirety of the general population does and the fucking dictionaries do. I don't need to pick a fight because it's not my problem - it's theirs, so they'll just have to live with the consequences of that if they're not willing to change.

Comment Re:I don't give a damn but.. (Score 1) 414

I know he is, but that still doesn't mean we need to get rid of our nuclear deterrent altogether - it was just making the point that Trident is relatively cheap compared to some of the projects we've done and have planned over the years - even it's £100bn cost is spread over 40 years (so £2.5bn a year - we spend more filling the gap in statutory maternity and sick pay every year - you could save that cost simply by legislating companies to always pay this cost, pay for Trident, and still have £50 million left over each year. For reference we spend £650bn on benefits every year), and it's not clear that cost is even remotely plausible - it was created by Corbyn and his friends at the CND and takes into account things like staffing costs of military personnel over the same time period, whilst not being terribly clear that we wouldn't still have those personnel anyway but in different roles.

The actual cost of the proposed submarines and deterrent is in the £15bn to £20bn range, which is peanuts compared to HS2, and not even double what the Olympics cost at the low end and that was ultimately just a 2 week entertainment event.

So again as I said, I'm not saying there aren't cost savings, I'm also not saying we should definitely keep a deterrent, but I think the probable most sensible solution is to keep a deterrent, whilst scaling it back. My point is simply that Trident isn't that expensive - we happily blow far more and get far less for our money elsewhere - it's not the absurdly unaffordable thing those who are adamantly for complete unilateral disarmament claim.

Hence, my suggestion is, if we're going to put forward an argument against it, it needs to be something other than simply cost - i.e. more compelling evidence that we wont ever need it than mere "We wont, because I say we wont". At least some effort to liaise with other nuclear states and get a broad ranging agreement that they will at least reduce their arsenal also if we disarm - if CND folks at least offered disarmament as a condition of a global nuclear reduction programme it would be something but most the arguments seem to be the same paranoia over the word "nuclear" as we see against nuclear power plants, and those arguments simply aren't based on a firm understanding of the issue.

Put simply, I think we can get a far better deal or solution than simply disarming because some people vehemently go after anything with the word nuclear in it due to paranoia.

A sine curve goes off to infinity, or at least the end of the blackboard. -- Prof. Steiner