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Comment Re:NULL is there. Use it! (Score 2) 108

1) That specific value is a number

No, it's not. Don't take my word for it: play with SQL and realise that NULL doesn't behave like a number when used in operations and functions.

2) It's not always unambiguous, hence this story.

It's definitely unambiguous. Again, don't take my word for it, take e.g. a TINYINT and try to figure out which of its possible values is ambiguous with NULL. (Read: SELECT x = NULL results in True, hint: there is no such value).

The story is *not* about NULL having an ambiguous representation: it's about the programmer *not* using NULL to represent the concept of "missing information" (which is exactly why it exists in SQL) and instead (ab)using a specific numerical value.

Comment Re:NULL is there. Use it! (Score 1) 108

Hint: the specific internal representation is absolutely irrelevant in the context of the discussion: the point is that whatever representation is used for NULL, it's a different representation from any other valid value. Yes, this means that e.g. if you have in-DB a nullable TINYINT (1 byte number), you have *more* information than what is representable in a C or Java variable of type 'byte' (primitive).

How you'll need to define your programming data model to accurately map all informations you read from the DB is a completely different issue and doesn't change the fact that the DB *does* provide a specific value which represent unambiguously the concept "information is unknown".

Comment Re:NULL is there. Use it! (Score 1) 108

Check again. We're talking about a database: "the answer is unknown" is definitely not the same as "the answer is known and is 0". NULL exists as concept exactly to differentiate between the two. From the summary it's pretty clear the answer is not known, so it should have been represented with NULL.

Comment Re:For the last time... (Score 1) 490

You are confusing "republic", which is a very specific form of government, with "representative democracy", which is a more generic concept. Britain is not a republic, it's a constitutional monarchy, but it's still a representative democracy. The USA are a constitutional republic, which is too a form of representative democracy.

Comment Re:Bad Idea (Score 1) 490

If you are not knowledgeable enough, trusting a representative is the quick, simple and wrong solution. The correct solution is to educate yourself so that you can form an educated opinion on the matter. Not being knowledgeable enough is not some immutable condition and you need to form your educated opinion anyway even with representatives, otherwise you wouldn't be able to effectively evaluate whether a they are good or bad.

This is especially true since on most issue there is actually a pretty good agreement about how society should look like, but diametrically opposite theories about how to actually reach that.

Comment Re:Republic vs Democracy (Score 1) 490

Switzerland has only a semi-direct democracy: basically it's still a representative democracy but with much stronger powers given to the citizens, which have instruments to influence or even force their elected representatives to act in a specific way on top of very strong safeguards against laws going in force without their approval.

Comment Hzone is run by complete idiots (Score 2) 105

From the article:

No, we didn’t notify them. If you will not publish them out, nobody else would do that, right? And I believe you will not publish them out, right?"

They assume only DataBreach has the data, which is something they actually don't know for sure. On top of that, they assume that DataBreach will not publish the data or sell it to the black market. I believe they will not, but if you are responsible for personal informations and the data gets into the hands of a third party you cannot just assume the third party will behave the way most convenient for you just because the alternative makes you unconfortable.

Comment Re:Clerks II nailed this a long time ago (Score 2) 175

No, that's nit correct. The Lord If The Rings was actually done with an *extremely* agile process too: Fran Walsh described writing the script for the production as "laying the track down in front of a moving train". As example Aragorn was originally supposed to be played by Stuart Townsend, but during the first month of filming it was deemed too young and Viggo Mortensen became his replacement just before filming Aragorn's first scene. There are also many instances of unplanned stuff getting thrown in, like the orcs stomping their lances during the siege or Aragorn deflecting a knife with his sword.

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