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Comment: Re:Humility? (Score 1) 915

by cgaertner (#43164269) Attached to: New Pope Selected

I'm against homosexual marriage and especially against homosexual adoption. I don't think it is good for kids to be told that they don't need a mommy and a daddy, that mommy and mommy are fine and we don't need a daddy. I think it is harmful on a level that will not manifest itself for a long time, but will eventually. Kids do need both a Mommy and a Daddy, that is optimal. It is sad when we don't strive for Optimal because of selfish desires of people in a relationship that is destined to be sterile.

Personally, I suspect exclusive parenthood by biological progenitors might do more harm then good. We're herd animals, and it's best if there's a whole tribe that takes care of our young. That there's a male and female in privileged position is just an artifact of how reproduction used to work, and science has fixed that.

Comment: Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 379

by cgaertner (#42725373) Attached to: Perl's Glory Days Are Behind It, But It Isn't Going Anywhere

And you can't make an object-oriented successor to C because there's already C++, right? Look at Objective-C,

That one was developed in parallel to C++.

And a hypothetical Perl5++ would be developed in parallel to Perl6. Just because C++ was officially relased first did not stop adoption of Objective-C.

D,

That one is explicitly meant as "successor" to C++ ("successor" in quotes because it's actually a quite different language, which is neither C nor C++ compatible).

D is not meant as a successor of C++, but a replacement. The relationship between Perl5++ and Perl5, Perl6 and Perl5, Perl5++ and Perl6 would be pretty close to the relationship between C++ and C (mostly compatible superset), D and C (new language with cleaner semantics, more comprehensise featureset but still close in spirit), C++ and D (siblings with shared heritage) except for the fact that Perl6 would predate Perl5++.

Vala

I never heard about that before.

A C#-inspired language leveraging the GObject object system that compiles to C.

ECMAScript 4

I hope you're not trying to imply that this is a successor to C. It is a very different language.

ES3:ES4:ES5 == Perl5:Perl6:Perl5++, except that Perl5++ is a pipe dream right now and Perl6 not dead.

Comment: Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 379

by cgaertner (#42724681) Attached to: Perl's Glory Days Are Behind It, But It Isn't Going Anywhere

Main obstacle for Perl's advancement and progress is the Perl6.

That's a pretty bold claim

You can't change the Perl5 because a lot of stuff depends on it.
You can't make new version of Perl out of Perl5 because Perl6 is already out there.

And you can't make an object-oriented successor to C because there's already C++, right? Look at Objective-C, D, Vala, just to name the more popular ones: Language evolution is not linear. Also, ECMAScript 4.

All in all, I strongly believe that it is the miserable failure of Perl6 what's killing any potential progress the Perl could have made.
Right now, the best thing which could happen to Perl IMO is a fork of the Perl5. Yet, since user/developer base is declining, I very much doubt that would haphttp://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3415413&cid=42724475#pen.

There are two efforts under way right now to do just that.

Comment: Re:Gut feeling on genetically modified crops (Score 1) 758

by cgaertner (#42482939) Attached to: Anti-GMO Activist Recants

My point is that science advances by trial and error, and you'll only know after the fact that it was a bad idea.

Radioactivity? Totally safe, have some glowing toothpaste. Lobotomy? Revolutionary treatment, have a Nobel prize. Asbestos? We know it's deadly, but it's big money and we need those warships, so let's not tell anyone.

Look at what happened to Biosphere 2, the gene flow from engineered crops into the wild and the suspected contribution of MON810 to the demise of polish bees. Even if you accept that the big corporations act in good faith (and given the evidence, that's a pretty big assumption) the fact remains that science cannot really answer the question of innocuousness beforehand, so don't begrudge me my feelings of unease about global-scale bioengineering projects in the name of progress and capitalism.

Comment: Re:better explanation (Score 5, Informative) 264

by cgaertner (#42473881) Attached to: Quantum Gas Goes Below Absolute Zero

It seems this is a very specific quantum mechanical perversion, and no classical systems can reach the state quantum physicists call "negative temperature".

This is by no means a quantum perversion, just a natural consequence of the definition of temperature as 1/T = dS/dE. There's nothing mysterious about negative temperatures from a thermodynamical point of view, it just happens that calssical systems don't exhibit this property because they do not come with an upper limit on energy, whereas there are quantum ones that do.

The common interpretation of temperature as average energy per degree of freedom comes in via the equipartition theorem, but breaks down in various edge cases, eg when the energy levels cannot be approximated by continuity (eg heat capacity of diatomic gases) or for non-ergodic systems (some plasmas, I believe).

As to the problem of infinite temperature: In a sense, thermodynamic \beta = 1/kT is the more natural measure of hotness and coldness and has a pole at T = 0. Coming from T > 0, this corresponds to infinite coldness, whereas coming from T < 0, this corresponds to infinite hotness.

Comment: Re:powers of ten - or powers of randon numbers? (Score 1) 909

by cgaertner (#42460063) Attached to: USMA: Going the Extra Kilometer For Metrication

Actually, I can imagine such a system working quite well. Just like gradians, the day would be divided in 400 units (let's call them grad for now as well).

A centigrad would end up being 2.16 seconds, the grad is 3 minutes 36 seconds, ten grad or one decagrad is 36 minutes and a day 40 decagrad. I believe this would cover the various use cases reasonably well.

Comment: Re:don't you know? (Score 1) 302

by cgaertner (#41274951) Attached to: Science Wins Over Creationism In South Korea

There is something endearing about a human being's deep-seated need for meaning which creates such extraordinary stories and beliefs.

Considering the amount of propaganda and descriptions of atrocities committed in the name of God, I find the Bible (as well as many other historical scripture) mostly disturbing and sometimes amusing (the penalty for having sex with livestock, ridiculous claims of old age probably due to mistranslation, ...).

Also, taking into account the number of past and present religious belief systems as well as the amount of modern fiction, I don't consider these stories particularly extraordinary, but I agree that this deep-seated need for meaning you mention is fundamental to human nature:

We are not Homo sapiens, Wise Man. We are the third chimpanzee. What distinguishes us from the ordinary chimpanzee Pan troglodytes and the bonobo chimpanzee Pan paniscus, is something far more subtle than our enormous brain, three times as large as theirs in proportion to body weight. It is what that brain makes possible. And the most significant contribution that our large brain made to our approach to the universe was to endow us with the power of story. We are Pan narrans, the storytelling ape.

- Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, Science of Discworld II

As an aside, I find it quite surprising that a lot of people self-identifying as Christian (as in: follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ) aren't as disturbed by the Bible as I am. Frankly, I don't cosider such people Christian at all, as they have made the Bible their golden calf instead of heeding the word of their living god.

Comment: Re:don't you know? (Score 1) 302

by cgaertner (#41272463) Attached to: Science Wins Over Creationism In South Korea

While not considering himself an atheist, Einstein's views on the Judeo-Christian religion are pretty explicit:

The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still purely primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. ... For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstition. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong ... have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything “chosen” about them.

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold

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