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Comment: Re:Ada (Score 1) 211

by roca (#49408027) Attached to: Rust 1.0 Enters Beta

Rust offers manual memory management with automatic safety checking --- the language guarantees you don't leak memory, and you can't access an object after it's freed (assuming you don't opt into unsafe code). No other mainstream language, including Ada, offers that.

Comment: Re:Don't forget Firefox Hello! (Score 1) 147

by asa (#49125077) Attached to: Firefox 36 Arrives With Full HTTP/2 Support, New Design For Android Tablets

Videoconferencing from any device on the planet without installing any special software is bloat?

YES, in the same way that every user on the planet would probably want a calculator once in a while but that doesn't mean the browser needs to add one!

Firefox comes with a couple of calculators built in. It has since before it was called Firefox.

Comment: Completely reasonable (Score 2) 740

by roca (#48964109) Attached to: New Jersey Gov. Christie: Parents Should Have Choice In Vaccinations

Even the quote Slate cherry-picked to drive their click-bait headline is innocuous. Parents *do* have a right to decide what's best for their children. That right must be balanced with public health concerns, so it makes sense to make vaccination mandatory (or mandatory-for-public-schoolers) in some cases, but surely not *all* cases as you move down the scale of public health impact. In particular there will be cases where the public interest would be served (a little) by forcing everyone to be vaccinated, but that interest doesn't outweigh the additional dilution of parental rights. That seems to be all Christie said here.

Comment: Re:No, you really havent avenged anything. (Score 5, Insightful) 1350

by BZ (#48754721) Attached to: Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

Unfortunately, Stephane Charbonnier is one of the people who were killed in this latest attack. I really hope you're right that Charlie Hebdo will keep going, but it's a lot easier to recover from physical damage to offices than it is from having the staff that make the magazine what it is killed. :(

Comment: The response isn't all that good (Score 1) 556

Just because it's from a reputable scientist doesn't make the response brilliant.

The argument that in a universe with different values for constants, life could exist --- just not as we know it --- is weak. Evolution requires heritable traits subject to selection pressure. A serious argument for "life, but not as we know it" needs some thought experiments suggesting how evolution could work in alternative universes, e.g. universes where hydrogen is the only element that can exist. I've read widely in this area but not found such thought experiments. In their absence, it would have been better to leave this argument out.

IMHO by far the biggest problem for the claim that life must be abundant in the universe is Fermi's paradox. Such claim must be accompanied by an explanation for the absence of evidence (not unlike many religious claims!). There are various possible explanations for Fermi's paradox, but the credibility of the life-everywhere hypothesis depends on them so they have to be made. That wouldn't fit into a short letter-to-the-editor rebuttal, which means a short-letter-to-the-editor rebuttal is not a good format for addressing this issue.

Comment: Massively patent-encumbered (Score 5, Informative) 377

by roca (#48570937) Attached to: Bellard Creates New Image Format To Replace JPEG

The problem here is that H.265 and by extension BPG are heavily patent-encumbered. These are not just latent patents but patents that the H.265 contributors are using for a revenue stream.

Bellard suggests "just use the licensed hardware decoder you probably already have" but a) that doesn't make technical sense in lots of cases and b) most people don't, in fact, have such a thing currently and c) the encoding situation is even worse.

All programmers are playwrights and all computers are lousy actors.

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