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Comment: Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (Score 3, Informative) 190

by adonoman (#47196613) Attached to: Study: Male Facial Development Evolved To Take Punches
The explanation I've heard for useless showy features (a la peacock) is that the ability to put resources into giant shiny feathers show that you have the ability to gather enough food to live, and have leftover energy to devote to impressing the ladies. It's not so much the particulars of what the feature is, but rather having resources (or money) to burn indicates that you're successful enough to be a good mate.

Comment: Re:Why use it? (Score 1) 435

by adonoman (#46882105) Attached to: C++ and the STL 12 Years Later: What Do You Think Now?

Resource handling. Lower-level languages require you to manually release any resource you acquire. Every piece of heap allocated memory needs to be freed. Every file you open needs to be manually closed. Every network connection, mutex, or handle needs to be released. It's feasible to do, since you don't have to worry about exceptions. But it does require an incredible fastidiousness to make sure that you always clean up after yourself.

When you get to the higher level languages, you get garbage collection which means never having to manually release memory again. But everything else is stuck being released manually. You can't do it reliably in regular code, since exceptions get in the way, so they introduce things like finally or using. But again, you're relying on the people using the class to remember to clean up every single time they use it.

In C++ you can rely on stack-unwinding to clean up after you. I haven't checked in a "delete" in over 10 years of C++ coding. Every C resource we use gets a wrapper class that automatically releases it when the object is destroyed. It's really the biggest thing I miss when working in other languages.

Comment: Re:So... Parmenides was right after all? (Score 1) 530

by adonoman (#45216599) Attached to: First Experimental Evidence That Time Is an Emergent Quantum Phenomenon

Fair enough, and judging by some of the other responses, you were justified in your interpretation. I guess I overestimate /.'s rationalism. To be clear, I don't attribute Parmenides with any great insight into the quantum nature of the universe, anymore than I think that Democritus had any clue about what we've come to call "atoms". That being said, the line of reasoning on "what is" vs. "what is not" does have some interesting things to think about if time is indeed an emergent phenomenon.

Comment: Re:So... Parmenides was right after all? (Score 1) 530

by adonoman (#45214675) Attached to: First Experimental Evidence That Time Is an Emergent Quantum Phenomenon
He obviously wasn't "right" in the sense of having anything useful to say about the world in any scientific sense - I would have thought that goes without saying. I just found the parallel amusing. You're reading a bit too much into an off-hand comment.

Comment: So... Parmenides was right after all? (Score 1, Interesting) 530

by adonoman (#45212011) Attached to: First Experimental Evidence That Time Is an Emergent Quantum Phenomenon

This sounds a lot like what he was saying 2500 years ago.

From Wikipedia:

In "the way of truth" (a part of the poem), he explains how reality (coined as "what-is") is one, change is impossible, and existence is timeless, uniform, necessary, and unchanging. In "the way of opinion," he explains the world of appearances, in which one's sensory faculties lead to conceptions which are false and deceitful.

Comment: Re:the most basic data structures (Score 1) 598

by adonoman (#45073193) Attached to: What Are the Genuinely Useful Ideas In Programming?
I've interviewed for a company that required you to write out a stack implementation in C++ from scratch during the interview. It's a great problem, since it's quite easy to define, nearly everyone knows what is required, but it's complicated enough that when coding by hand on paper, every entry-level programmer is going to make a mistake, and you can see how they think when you tell them there's a mistake. Even when they get it right, you get a lot of insight into their problem-solving style by listening to them defend the design.

Comment: Re:I'll go ahead and say it (Score 2) 200

by adonoman (#44620027) Attached to: China Plans To Stop Harvesting Organs From Executed Prisoners

If a right can be forfeit, then it's no longer a right - it's a privilege. In a democracy, the ability to vote has to be one of THE fundamental rights that can never be taken away. Otherwise, you end up with the situation the US currently sees where large chunks of people are disenfranchised, and the government loses its claim to be representative of its citizens.

Whether you firearm ownership is a fundamental right, a secondary right that must yield to other more fundamental rights in a conflict, or a privilege that the government has the ability to revoke, makes a big difference as to whether you feel that any level of gun control is acceptable.

Comment: Re:Remember the one hour equals three hours rule. (Score 1) 217

by adonoman (#44555955) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Med-School Note-Taking?
I can't say that any of my university classes were so dense that there was three hours of information packed into a single lecture. I'd say half of them were about 10 minutes of information packed into an hour-long lecture and obfuscated to make it seem like there was more content that there was.

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_