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Comment: Re:Wait, did $Deity announce a do-over? (Score 1) 304

by david_thornley (#47420063) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

Let me give you a clue.

Antarctic sea ice has increased, for some reason. When we're talking about sea level, sea ice is almost completely irrelevant. Drop an ice cube in a glass of water, mark the level, and the level won't change after the cube melts.

Antarctic land ice has decreased, and is going to continue to decrease. That will raise sea level. Get a glass of water, and put an ice cube where it isn't floating, and where the ice will melt into the glass. Mark the level, and it will change.

Comment: Re:Greenpeace founder says he was dishonest about (Score 1) 304

by david_thornley (#47420013) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

The radioactive cesium released by Fukushima has a half-life of about forty years. That's short enough to be a real problem and long enough to take centuries to mostly go away. (Heck, radium's about sixteen hundred years, and nobody wants to handle that directly.) The radioactive iodine has gone away, every single atom of it. While there's a certain amount of truth in what you say, there are radioactive substances that are quite dangerous for long periods of time.

Comment: Re:Or (Score 1) 304

by david_thornley (#47419969) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

Nobody builds Chernobyl-type reactors any more. That simply can't happen with most reactors.

Fukushima really wasn't that bad. Other energy sources have killed far more people and have also rendered areas uninhabitable. It was as bad as it was because (a) it was an old design, and (b) there was this tsunami that killed twenty-five thousand people going on, disrupting a whole lot of things.

Comment: Huh? (Score 1) 495

by david_thornley (#47417831) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

If you've got a computer and net access, you can set up a good and well-documented development environment for free. You can access a vast array of knowledge in the field. You can get people to answer your questions. This is exclusionary only in that it requires a computer and net access, and while those are generally inexpensive and very common they aren't universal.

Once you actually get into the field, you'll find that you're in a fairly meritocratic community (it does have its prejudices, but TFS doesn't seem to focus on them). If you can code, you can be accepted socially. It can be more difficult to get a job, but that's true in every field.

Nor does it require being on the autism spectrum, or total dedication. The developers I know have strong outside interests and other priorities, and most don't seem to be on the autism spectrum. I'm successful in the field, and have been working and studying in the field for decades, but I don't remember any grueling training.

Edwards is, very simply, writing about a fictional situation. He may have a legitimate complaint, but I'd like to see how it relates to the real world before I address it.

Comment: Today, I would never have learned programming (Score 1) 495

by david_thornley (#47417579) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

One thing to consider is the nature of the programs they use. Back when I bought my first home computer, the applications took keyboard input in well-defined ways and displayed characters and some very primitive graphics on a 16x64 screen. If you could program, and had a decent idea, you could write a program that looked about as good as anything out there. Alternately, you could change an existing program without breaking it (that's how my wife got into programming). A talented adolescent could produce something worthwhile, and get a feeling of accomplishment.

Nowadays, look at what's on my phone. Touch-sensitive, with high-quality graphics. The typical programmer simply can't do those graphics, and event-driven programming is harder to dive into than the old program-based control flow. The fact that these don't usually come with source code, and it's some work to build a development environment doesn't help, but I think these are secondary.

I've thought about simple programming environments (probably Python-based), but there's no way the average talented teenager is going to be able to produce decent graphics and sound, so they simply won't be able to make anything like what they can get for 99 cents or even free. What we really need is

Comment: Re:Modern Day Anti-Evolutionists (Score 2) 322

Scientific consensus was never that the world was flat. They laughed at Columbus because he was counting on the planet being smaller than any educated person knew it was.

For the rest, you're talking about theories about observations, not the observations. Global warming has been observed in many ways. I don't think the vast majority of scientists have ever been that wrong about observed fact, although obviously they've often been at least somewhat wrong on the theory.

Comment: Re:Not new (Score 1) 252

by david_thornley (#47417053) Attached to: US Tech Firms Recruiting High Schoolers (And Younger)

It's much easier to get an education at a good university than on your own. You're guided by people who know a lot more about the whole field than you do, and know what's important to know. You get introduced to it at a reasonable pace, and there's plenty of people to ask questions of. The structure is very useful to many people, who would otherwise procrastinate on the stuff they didn't like.

Comment: Re:Java or Python (Score 1) 390

by david_thornley (#47416483) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

Back when I last used it (maybe twenty years ago), the standard language was pretty darn useless. Any practical implementation needed a good many extensions. The language was designed to be easily parsed using recursive descent in one pass, and that had some unfortunate implications for program organization. The "for" loop was very restrictive. There were no data initializers. The language was verbose, and had a B&D philosophy.

Basically, Wirth simplified Algol on a CDC 6600 using a very easy-to-write parsing technique, and the idiosyncrasies carried through into the standard. (You could not reliably write "set of char" in a conforming implementation, since originally a set fit into one of the 6600's 60-bit words, and the 6600 had 64 possible characters.)

It's telling that it was pretty thoroughly eclipsed by C, which has more idiosyncrasies per line of standard than any other language I've ever seen. It may have been improved since then, and there have been good implementations, but its problems hindered it at the time it could have dominated.

"But this one goes to eleven." -- Nigel Tufnel