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I'm curious what "complex constructs" the teacher thinks are missing from python that can be done in Visual Basic, or C for that matter. I haven't done VB in a long time, but I have significant experience in C and Python. The only construct I can think of that exist in C and not in Python is pointers, and I'd be surprised if they are covering pointers in VB in an intro class.
Any ideas what is being referred to?
Looking at a random page from the book, the manuscript is clearly nonsensical
Yeh, you're right. The world's greatest linguists, historians, and cryptographers have been studying this for a century and are still undecided about the nature of the work, but you "looked at a random page" and have a pretty solid grasp on it.
Yeh, and for a long time, SSL was considered "good enough".
But honestly, getting two people to assure you that "yes, this is solid, the NSA isn't trying to trick you and certainly hasn't recruited me to play along" is hardly "good enough". A dozen experts, maybe. A hundred independent experts from different institutions around the globe is getting close to "good enough". But I hardly think two people is sufficient.
But from whom do you learn the math? A teacher? A textbook? Unless you derive it all yourself from base axioms, you do have to trust someone at some point. Math is logic, pure and simple: that's true, but it is subtle enough and complex enough, especially at the level of cryptography, that you could be taught something which is false and yet verifiable (i.e., internally consistent, but externally incorrect). And of course, beyond outright misinformation, there is the very real possibility that the math is sound but someone has discovered a technique for busting right through it.
But I think the more important point is that our entire society breaks down instantly without trust. Specialization is the basis for all of human advancement, and trust is the basis for specialization. You don't learn to build a car yourself, you trust an auto mfr to do it for you. You don't spend time growing or hunting your own food, you trust the food industry to provide you with safe and sufficient sustenance. If you didn't trust anyone, you'd spend all your own time and resource attending to your most basic needs.
The same goes for cryptography and software: everybody uses crypto these days (TLS, for instance), but the vast majority of people don't have any where close to the expertise to verify even the algorithms, let alone the implementations. Sure, we could have a society of crypto experts and everyone could independently verify every algorithm and every piece of code that they use. But whose going to build the the cars and grow the food?
I'm concerned primarily with the last point:
...how the world could be sure Syria had handed over its entire stockpile
If Assad makes a big show of turning over his stockpile, but manages to hang onto some anyway, he'll have a good alibi if another attack occurs.
There's basically nothing you can do that isn't bad for some part of you. Living produces wear and tear on your body.
I switched to a primarily standing desk about three years ago and, anecdotally, it's been going great. I don't think I lost any significant amount of weight because of it, but my back doesn't get tired, and I generally feel less lethargic at the end of the day. I also feel like it helps my working because I can more easily pace around my office when I need to work through a tough problem.
Most people who recommend standing recommend alternating between standing and sitting every few hours, to avoid the kinds of issues you mention. But I think part of it has to do with your general fitness level. If your legs are strong, your knees are in good shape, and you're not carrying around too much extra weight, you'll probably hold up a lot better to extended periods of standing. Then again, if you're not really in shape, you may have even more reason not to sit all day.
Personally, I sit while I eat my lunch, I typically sit a bit more on Mondays, and I just generally sit when I feel tired, but I spend most of my work day standing. And you don't need a fancy convertible desk, just a set of cinder blocks to elevate your desk, and a high chair to sit on when you feel like it (the kind you find in electronics labs).