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Comment: Re:I created a game with my SIster's kids (Score 1) 315

by _anomaly_ (#49447011) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Introduce a 7-Year-Old To Programming?

There's something to be said for starting with something that's already written, and hacking away at it.

That's how I got my start mainly: I'd get some of those old DOS games on a 5.25" floppy... you know the kind, that actually included the BAS source files. I'd browse through it and just start making changes to do something different... to change colors, change text prompts, etc. Before I knew it, I was using the existing game or program as a launching point to piece-meal together an entirely different game. Learning by example like this greatly reduces the intimidation factor when starting out to program. You don't have to know a whole lot to get started, like program entry points, dependencies, etc, you just have to understand some basic logic and flow control (and most 7-year olds will understand "if this, then that"), and you're ready to start hacking at it, learning as you go.

After you've hacked away at it little by little for a while, you'll want to start looking things up and learning how to do more complicated tasks, so a readily-available online reference would also be a big plus.

I'll also add that, like others have mentioned, having immediate feedback is also crucial. That was easy with BASIC where the "IDE" and compiler/interpreter was readily available on all DOS machines. Find something like BASIC where making these little changes is easy and quick feedback is available. Maybe look into some online IDEs?

Comment: Re:Do the math: that is stupid! (Score 1) 421

by _anomaly_ (#49413903) Attached to: Powdered Alcohol Banned In Six States
You make excellent points, and I agree with your main point: this "powdered alcohol" is in no way the most efficient way to transport ethanol.

But what you miss is that's not the point. It's all about practical transport. In the specific case of hiking, yes, you could take something like Everclear. However as others have pointed out in comments (user Rei mainly), containers used when hiking aren't designed to transport liquids that are that highly concentrated in ethanol. They're designed to be light and space-saving (i.e. thin, collapsible, plastic containers). I personally wouldn't trust anything I'd use to transport liquids (water) while hiking to be able to withstand transporting something like Everclear, especially when it's really hot outside.

Even if there were a container that can hold up to that kind of a liquid in those conditions, I'd still argue it's not the most efficient for hiking. It still contains a lot of weight for the water that it still contains. When hiking, water is first and foremost for drinking by itself. If you're able to secure a sufficient water source (or brought enough and have reached your destination successfully) only then would you say "ok, now I can use some of that water for celebrating". Until then, that water contained in the Everclear, or whatever alcohol you're packing, should be reserved for sustaining life.

Comment: Wear Sunscreen (Score 1) 698

I *strongly* urge you to read the essay "Wear Sunscreen" by Mary Schmich. Or, as most of us heard it the first time, listen to the spoken word song by Baz Lurhman "Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen)".

To this day, when I listen to it, the advice, and how it's conveyed, makes me tear up a bit.

"Do one thing EVERY day that scares you..."

Just one powerful line from a powerful essay/song.

Comment: OT: one-way (Score 3, Interesting) 349

by _anomaly_ (#48696151) Attached to: United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info
Not really related to the skipping-a-leg-for-cheaper-airfare, but I booked one-ways for a trip to Jamaica (from the US).

Not for bonus points or miles, but because it was cheaper and provided more convenient flight times. We booked with Delta on the way down and US Air on the way back. It takes a little more work because you're shopping for plane tickets twice, but I'd bet in most cases, it's worth it.

Comment: Re:youmail (Score 4, Insightful) 237

by _anomaly_ (#48663349) Attached to: The Slow Death of Voice Mail
Exactly this! If you've got voicemail, take the courtesy to listen to it before calling someone back. If someone has voicemail, I'm going to assume it's for a purpose: so I can leave information of lower importance, assuming you'll get it eventually. If you're going to break this social contract, and you can't be bothered to check your own voicemail before calling someone back, then disable your voicemail already!

Comment: Re:It's too bad, really (Score 1) 223

by _anomaly_ (#48377757) Attached to: Overbilled Customer Sues Time Warner Cable For False Advertising
I think you're onto something here.

How many times do you think there has been a legitimate lawsuit that should be filed and tried but never saw the light of day or was seen to the end because the plaintiff didn't have the resources to keep it funded to the point they had their day in court?
I suspect it's a lot.

Make all lawyers like public defenders... paid for through taxes, with bonus incentives for winning cases or something. So, when a lawsuit is filed, both the plaintiff and the defendant get assigned a lawyer, or lawyers.

But, IANAL and my knowledge of the justice system and how lawsuits work is very limited, to be honest.

Comment: Re:This is related (Score 2) 294

by _anomaly_ (#48269271) Attached to: Ebola Forecast: Scientists Release Updated Projections and Tracking Maps

"Testing negative" and "no symptoms" is essentially meaningless in this context.

Sorry, but no, it's not meaningless. Do the current test methods provide a definitive answer as to whether or not someone is infected with the virus? No, the current methods are difficult and prone to cross-contamination and human error. However, you're forgetting that the general consensus is that someone infected is not considered to be contagious until they're symptomatic. Therefore "no symptoms" carries a lot of meaning.

Frequent, early testing is useful for early diagnosis if she contracts the disease. But the fact that she has tested negative doesn't say anything about whether or not she needs to be quarantined.

Wow. So you're saying that people should be quarantined without any evidence of infection? Or maybe you think that anyone who has traveled to Africa should be quarantined? That's a severe misuse of public health care resources and would be severely detrimental to our ability to keep the disease from spreading in the U.S.

And FYI, I'm not opposed to any form of quarantine, but doing so only with circumstantial evidence would be a Bad Thing.

Comment: Re:my thoughts (Score 1) 372

by _anomaly_ (#48220747) Attached to: NY Doctor Recently Back From West Africa Tests Positive For Ebola

These are people who take all available precautions, realize there is still a danger, and still try to save lives. These people are heroes.

No doubt. I think some of the posters above need to look up altruism, and realize that some people in fact exhibit altruistic traits, to the benefit of everyone.

The decision doesn't have to be logical; it was unanimous.

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