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Comment: Re:Any materialized predictions? (Re:Sudden?) (Score 1) 222

You know, reading through that stuff, I see that models are doing pretty well. There is a discussion of the slowdown of observed warming, including speculation on where the extra energy could be. Overall, it looks like a good scientific discussion, with confidence levels and admissions of anomalies, and it comes out concluding that models have improved since 1990.

Comment: Re:Sudden? (Score 1) 222

Hey, you hire some of the unemployed people to go around throwing rocks at windows and the rest to fix the broken windows. Everybody's got a job, they can afford their drugs and alcohol, and the prostitutes can charge more. Everybody wins! Or maybe we shouldn't set people up permanently with makework, when what they're doing isn't useful any more.

Anybody who would draw up a detailed plan for everything you say would be an idiot, since most of that is better done by the market. Government can help out the structurally unemployed with their problems, and everything else works reasonably efficiently.

Comment: Re:So long as you are doing batch processing (Score 1) 333

by david_thornley (#49754837) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever

Raw pointers work nicely as non-owning pointers. If the raw pointer goes out of scope, normally or through an exception, nothing happens to the data pointed to. In many situations, this is what you want.

In my code, there are raw pointers, but no explicit use of "delete" outside of destructors.

Comment: Re:Easier to learn != easier to use (Score 1) 333

by david_thornley (#49754733) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever

Operator overloading is very useful, when done properly. It can make things much easier to read and write. It's really easy to abuse, and then it can make things unreadable. In general, it takes a lot more knowledge and experience to use C++ safely than to use Java safely, but it's possible to express things better. (C++ has become much easier to use properly with C++11 and C++14 features, also.) One of Stroustrup's design principles was to keep features on the basis of how they could be used, not how they could be abused.

I really, really can't get excited about automatic getters and setters. Getters and setters are bad for encapsulation and promote unhealthy dependence on internals. I have no problems about writing them when I need them. (I do like the C# feature that allows me to have a virtual variable that has programming logic behind it.)

Comment: Re:Plant? (Score 1) 333

by david_thornley (#49754555) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever

There isn't much that Java is "very good at", but overall it is a good language for some purposes. It is a decent procedural language slanted towards O-O programming (nominally it is an O-O language, but it's easy to use as a procedural language). It's something of a B&D language, so mediocre programmers are unlikely to mess things up too much. It has too much C syntax (including the stupid switch statement), so it looked familiar. It had a lot of advantages in the 90s, being early to implement garbage collection and to provide a very large standard library. It got a leg up with Java applets on the web (although that use is pretty well dead, it helped Java get popular).

It's not a great tool for expert programmers, but it's adequate and fairly safe for mediocre programmers. In general, it's a good business-oriented language.

Comment: Re:Filibuster? (Score 1) 327

The US Federal government is set up to require a broad agreement to make laws, either a majority of both houses and presidential approval, or two-thirds of both houses. The filibuster is a mechanism for a single Senator to impede the progress of a bill, provided he or she is willing to keep standing and talking for a very long time. This gives Senators a chance to express extreme opposition to a bill, as long as they're willing to do the work.

Comment: Re:why the quotes (Score 1) 327

The compensation program has a couple of purposes. First, pharma companies make very little on vaccines, so any legal trouble would likely drive them out of the business, and we'd have no vaccines. Second, in the rare case that somebody has a problem with a vaccine, it is possible to compensate them without going through the ordeal and delay of a lawsuit. Since any medical procedure has dangers, the government should be ready to help out people who were hurt by a mandatory procedure.

Comment: Re:Sadly not much (Score 1) 327

Sure, the people distrust the media. That doesn't really help.

Given one unreliable source for facts, and nothing conflicting, people drift into believing the unreliable source even while they note its unreliability. Read some ancient history if you like; the field is rife with accounts of events that have no conflicting accounts extant. Check on how many people repeat the story about the 1.7 million strong Persian army invading Greece because, although Herodotus was obviously wrong, there is no other figure from ancient sources.

Comment: Re:More than PR (Score 1) 327

Ultimately, the liberal philosophy is that everybody gets the chance to be what they can be, without regard for sex, race, parents, whatever, and that government, however flawed, is very important in this. This probably involves taking care of pretty much everybody at some time or other, since very few people are consistently strong and empowered throughout their lives. This is pretty much your definition of conservative, much as approximately everyone is in favor of keeping government as small as possible, not just libertarians.

The difference between conservatives and liberals in philosophy is that conservatives are much more tolerant of inequality, particularly of opportunity. They also seem to want to regulate individual behavior. Liberals want the government to assure good medical care, and don't care who marries whom. Conservatives want to leave medical care up to individuals, not making it a government responsibility, and want to ban same-sex marriage by law. (These are sample issues for illustration only, and I know there's lots of individual exceptions.)

Obviously there are a lot of people who don't fit any of the camps, or talk a much better line than they walk, and so forth.

Comment: Re:More than PR (Score 1) 327

You left out the people currently selling illegal drugs, the kingpins anyway, who stand to make considerably less if the War on Drugs winds down. They have money, and like the way the US government suppresses competition for them. They'd be very hard hit by legalization of popular currently illegal drugs.

Comment: Re:OK, we've seen this before (Score 1) 364

Also, this is one thing happening. What we know from this is that one school principal is an idiot and has no clue about copyright law. If you'd asked me if that was the case last week, I'd have suggested we probably have lots of them, given that there's about 100K K-12 schools in the US.

Multiple independent similar acts are important, as are single actions by government agencies, since it means some of us are likely to run into them. Individual people not acting in accordance with policy are unimportant. They also seriously distort our perceptions of the world, since people who read the story suddenly have more expectation that principals are stupid and arrogant and arbitrary (look up "availability heuristic").

Unfortunately, as long as they're good for clickbait, we'll have them.

Comment: Re:Quite the Opposite (Score 1) 256

by david_thornley (#49753129) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Career Advice For an Aging Perl Developer?

One of my colleagues was recently promoted to management. I got a look at his schedule. I don't WANT a job with that many meetings when I can be spending time programming. Fortunately, I haven't had to worry about age discrimination since I started dying my hair. My oily complexion gave me a real acne problem decades ago, but seems to have kept my skin looking fairly young. Walking fast seems to make me seem younger, also.

Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. - Isaac Asimov