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Comment: Re:Python for learning? Good choice. (Score 3, Insightful) 394

by dbc (#47410763) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

I only wish python didn't have semantic whitespace. That's it. Otherwise i like it just fine.

I'll disagree on that. We use white space to communicate our programs' block structure to other humans. Why should we use a different syntax to tell the compiler the same information? Computers should conform to the needs of humans. Full. Stop. Python eliminates that source of bugs and redundancy by having the compiler's view of the significance of what space match a human's view of significance of white space. Please join us in the 21st century. I'm old enough that I did undergrand homeworks with punch cards, and just missed being taught intro to programming using FORTRAN. One thing I've learned over the years is to recognize progress when I see it.

Comment: Re:What's old is new again. (Score 4, Interesting) 42

by dbc (#47346171) Attached to: On the Significance of Google's New Cardboard: An Idea Worth Recycling

Actually, you make me reflect on how advanced their code really was. I'm not sure where the code was from. It would process X-Ray scatter data, and plot stereo images of crystal structures showing lots of little pen-plotted circles for atoms. The 3D view was quite remarkable, although you only got one angle. Changing view angle required another plot. Considering Ivan Sutherland's line clipping algorithm dates from the 60's, the crystalography code was quite advanced for the time -- there was a lot of hidden line removal going on to render the atoms correctly.

The plots were really slow... but the plotter was mesmerizing. I used to watch it through the window while waiting for my homework to come back after handing the card deck across the counter. Now, pardon me while I find my walker, damn kids on the lawn again.....

Comment: What's old is new again. (Score 3, Interesting) 42

by dbc (#47345359) Attached to: On the Significance of Google's New Cardboard: An Idea Worth Recycling

I remember back in the 1970's, the X-Ray crystalography researchers at my university would burn up lots of compute time (on an IBM 360/65, 1 MIPS, 4 mega-bytes of core) computing stereo images that were rendered by writing a mag tape that was then taken to a CalComp pen plotter. Two images, about 8 x 8 inches, were plotted, and then they would lay them on a table and use an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of cardboard from a used-up paper tablet to make a baffle between their eyes.

Comment: Re:consent (Score 2) 130

by dbc (#47344913) Attached to: In 2012, Facebook Altered Content To Tweak Readers' Emotions

That's the first thing that popped into my mind. After having spent many hours over the past week helping my daughter do paperwork so that she could submit her extremely benign science fair project to the county science fair's institutional review board, I'm wondering how FB can get way with this? I guess that they can get away with it because no one will call them out on it, unless some victims file a lawsuit.

That's the modern world -- a 15 year old kid doing something demonstrably harmless has to do hours of paperwork to demonstrate a device to a dozen people, but a multi-national corporation can psychologically manipulate thousands of people with the intention to see if they can alter their mood with no oversight.

Comment: Re:Computer Science curriculum (Score 1) 293

by dbc (#47246097) Attached to: Average HS Student Given Little Chance of AP CS Success

My daughter just did it. It is a Java-based introductory programming class. Supposed to be equivalent to a first semester programming class. You need to be able to read and code basic Java classes, understand Java scoping rules, and basic iteration and vectors. The AP test uses a case study called "Bug World" which involves instances of different classes of bugs, rocks, and I think flowers (I might be mis-remembering) and as part of the AP class you become familiar with the corpus of code to get experience reading a larger program. On the AP exam, you are asked to extend and modify Bug World.

Every kid I have talked to about the CS AP exam found it dead easy and the class not very stimulating. I have a hard time seeing how the avarage high school student would have so much trouble with it.

Comment: Re:section 242: send them to jail (Score 1) 163

by dbc (#47237171) Attached to: Man Arrested For Parodying Mayor On Twitter Files Civil Rights Lawsuit

The Civil Rights Act of 1871 was signed by President Grant to deal with the Klan and others in the aftermath of the civil war. So, yeah, if the sheriff is at the front of the pack wearing a white sheet when somebody gets hanged for trying to vote, that might get the death penalty for the sheriff.

Comment: Let's hope its a section 1983 suit (Score 5, Interesting) 163

by dbc (#47234545) Attached to: Man Arrested For Parodying Mayor On Twitter Files Civil Rights Lawsuit

Section 1983 lawsuits for deprivation of civil rights under color of authority allows piercing the immunity of public officers and going after their personal assets. In this case, the mayor, and any of the police that participated. Their. Personal. Assets. Not the taxpayers.

Comment: Re:Beating the Chicken-or-Egg Problem (Score 1) 230

by dbc (#47197427) Attached to: Musk Will Open Up Tesla Supercharger Patents To Spur Development

The issue was not charging stations at either end, it was the dearth in between. You can go ahead and pretend that charging stations are as ubiquitous as gas stations, but they are not. In some places, like my neighborhood, they are more than sufficient. Out of town, not so much. Anyway, go ahead and believe what you want -- I gave you two data points. You gave me zero, and some arm waving. I am *not* anti electric car, we're shopping for a Leaf, and two neighbors have Leafs. This is a great town in which to own a Leaf. But I stand by my assertion -- road trips with an electric car require advanced planning with respect to recharging, where as a road trip in an ICE vehicle largely does not require advanced planning with respect to refueling.

And is charging really free in small-town Oregon? Here, many of the charge stations, including those in employer parking lots, are debit-card activiated.

Comment: Re:Beating the Chicken-or-Egg Problem (Score 1) 230

by dbc (#47196917) Attached to: Musk Will Open Up Tesla Supercharger Patents To Spur Development

Well, range is still a concern. I drove to a convention where two Tesla-owning friends also went. I lisented to their discussion about how to manage the range issue of driving to a place that is just beyond a single charge, how they had to plan their recharging stop, how it limited their choices for a lunch break. None of us gasoliine vehicle drivers had that discussion. So it is still not only a concern, they find range interesting dinner conversation. Range is getting better, surely, but stll is above the "have to think about it" threshold.

Comment: Re:Did it come out of their pockets? (Score 2) 216

by dbc (#47186209) Attached to: $57,000 Payout For Woman Charged With Wiretapping After Filming Cops

That requires a Section 1983 lawsuit, "Denial of civil rights under color of authority." Then you can pierce immunity and go after the personal assets of the goverment official. Getting a ruling like this one, where a federal court has stated quite clearly that people have a 1A right to film police is a key step. Now that it is clearly established that people have a 1A right to film, the *next* cop to get sued over this is wide open for a 1983.

Comment: Re:It's a 1A issue, not a 2A issue. (Score 1) 354

by dbc (#47159845) Attached to: 3D Printed Gun Maker Cody Wilson Defends Open Source Freedom

Look people, this is NOT a 2A issue, this is a 1A issue. When does censorship stop? Why can't gun plans be published?

This may be a first amendment issue, or perhaps it is a second amendment issue, but that will be up to a court to decide. What you fail to understand is that like many Americans (I am American too, so I"m allowed to say that), you think that all rights are absolute

Nope. Didn't say that. Go re-read what I posted. Stop putting words into my mouth so that you can argue with them. Argue with what I *actually* said, not with some strawman that you made up from whole cloth.

What part of preventing the publishing of plans is not censorship? Look as hard as you like, I don't think you will find a part of preventing publishing that is not censorship.

When do national security interests trump anti-censorship? That question will keep thoughtful people debating for a long time. But somehow, I don't think 3D printed gun plans cross the line to national security.

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes. -- Dr. Warren Jackson, Director, UTCS