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Comment Re:So no word of the year this year? (Score 1) 151

What quality separates a series of lines that resemble something in the real world from a series of lines that represent abstract concepts that, when strung together, represent something in the real world? Emoji aren't words because they are more concrete than letters? Personally, I hate emoji. However, having codified meanings for the things that my coworkers use to fill the chat that I am obligated to watch since it occasionally contains work-related content would mean I would spend a lot less time with three of those abstract characters (W, T and F) running through my head.

Comment Where was Anonymous a year ago? (Score 1) 318

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad for anyone willing to take on ISIS. My question is why did it take the Paris attacks clue in Anonymous and the rest of the world to how bad ISIS is? Hundreds are now dead or injured in Paris, but thousands of civilians have been tortured, raped, beheaded and crucified by ISIS in the middle east. Paris was absolutely a tragedy, and I don't mean to make it out to be any less so, but let's not claim it's the most brutal thing they have done in the last year and a half. I fully realize that state players like the countries making up N.A.T.O. can only have limited involvement in a crisis that doesn't directly involve a member state, but that's not what Anonymous is. They could have responded to the atrocities that have been committed against Yazidis and Shiites? It just feels to me that so many people finally taking action, Anonymous included, are sending the message that western lives are worth more than others.

Comment Benchmarks don't matter... (Score 2) 184

Most people don't make their choice of OS based on any sort of relevant information, including benchmarks. Windows fanboys will shout "I told you Windows was better!" FOSS evangelists will claim it's good enough, and worth it to 1) not have to pay for an OS and 2) not have to support a corrupt corporation. MAC fanboys will say "You two and your little fight are cute. I'm going to go pay a lot of money to purchase something that's exactly the same as the last one I purchased". Technology holy wars are no better than politics. Vet all data against your preexisting beliefs, and ignore everything that doesn't match them.

Comment Not even the moon, much less Mars! (Score 1) 367

The comments here are boring. I was hoping for a conspiracy theorist that would point out that it's unfathomable for us to have been to Mars, since even our moon landing took place in a studio on Earth. On a side note, this is my favorite argument against the faked-moon-landing theory:

Comment Re:/. is getting more and more unbelievable !! (Score 5, Informative) 217

... a notoriously difficult language to learn and particularly, to speak

If the Chinese language is really such a notoriously difficult language to learn (and to speak) there ought to be no one using it anymore, right?

I dunno about you, but I do think /. has gone way too hyperbole !!

Actually, it is considered a notoriously difficult language for westerners to learn. I don't think that is hyperbole. "The hardest language and nearly impossible to learn" would be hyperbole. As someone who did learn Mandarin and spent a couple years in Asia speaking Mandarin with people on the streets pretty much all day every day, I can tell you it's about as different from English as you can get. Having also studied French, I can tell you it's much more difficult than picking up a Romance language. If you wanted to pick apart a section of the quoted text as inaccurate, it would be "particularly, to speak". You could pick apart the fact misplaced comma, or you could just look directly at his meaning. That implies that of the parts of learning the language, speaking is the most difficult. This couldn't be more wrong for Chinese. If you break language into four tasks: speaking, listening, reading and writing, then speaking is by far the easiest. Reading an writing in Chinese is something that most foreigners I met in Asia never even attempted.

Comment Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 839

Easy way to make a progressive consumption tax: Exclude groceries and rent/mortgage on primary housing. For poor people who pay nearly everything they have to those two categories, their effective tax rate is 0%. For those who make more (and therefore can afford to spend more on non-necessary items), their tax rate would effectively be higher.

Comment Nobody claims open source software has no flaws (Score 1) 265

Nobody claims there are no vulnerabilities in open source code. But I bet you'd see some interesting differences if you compare the time between when an open-source vulnerability is reported and when it is fixed to the same interval for a commercial, closed source alternative, you'd see that known vulnerabilities exist for a much shorter time in a well-supported open source product. No, I don't have any source to back that up, just my experience with how long known vulnerabilities go unpatched in Windows, Adobe products, etc.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: What is the best country to live in? 1

chubs writes: I keep seeing news articles about the myriad ways the U.S government is trampling on peoples rights and privacy. I see similar stories about other countries as well. Stories of spying, censorship, intimidation and violations of basic human rights seem to be all over the world. Therefore, my question is this: if I were to want to live in a developed country that actually respects its citizens' rights, where would I go? Let's assume there are some basic criteria I would want a candidate to meet. First, they don't spy on their own citizens without suspecting them of committing a crime. Second, they allow free speech, from the right to publicly disagree with government actions down to the right to post a negative review about a restaurant. Third, government officials are elected and there is a fair degree of confidence that this is done by the people and not just paid for by the donors with the deepest pockets.

Comment Re:I am shocked! (Score 1) 144

There are plenty of people in the world who will maintain your vehicle for a reasonable price. Same with your computers.

Yes, and so long as you either 1) don't rely on your vehicle or 2) always schedule your vehicle's problems for times and locations where such a person is available, then relying on them is great. However, if you are driving on a freeway and have your car overheat in an area where there is no cellular coverage (I know there are a lot of urban dwellers here who will never visit a place without cell coverage, but I live in a more rural area where it's spotty at best), and you can't even locate the radiator cap, much less figure out how to add fluid, then you are SOL. Everyone should know how to do basic troubleshooting on anything that they rely on. If an item breaking down is just a minor inconvenience, then it's fine to rely on 9-5 service centers. However, if the item breaking down will seriously disrupt your life or business, then assuming it'll always just work when you need it and giving it no further thought is just reckless.

Comment Re:Linux, cryptography, HTML and JavaScript. (Score 1) 144

But the course is titled "an introduction to computer science". Why then does the curriculum of the course not introduce the students to any topics in computer science (except, of course, cryptography). We're not saying an introductory course should go in-depth about any topic in computer science, but it should introduce the field.

If I were a freshman and unsure if I should go into CS or CIT, I would want to take an introductory course for each and have them be sufficiently different for me to make an educated decision on which I would prefer.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito