Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 211

by demonlapin (#48891855) Attached to: At Oxford, a Battery That's Lasted 175 Years -- So Far
It's the frequency of an alternating current supply that causes fibrillation, not the current or the voltage. Cardioversion ("shocking the heart") is a blast of DC that works by making all the cells of the heart contract at once, so that the standard recovery period after a contraction is long enough to prevent the aberrant conduction from being propagated.

Comment: Re:This guy hasn't done his research. (Score 2) 648

by demonlapin (#48856883) Attached to: Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming
I'm a doctor, not a coder, but I did take C++-based CS101/102 in the late nineties, and I've played a little bit with the teach-yourself-Python courses. I'm fairly certain that I, having written next to zero code over the past 18 years, could write a piece of software in Python that cleanly accomplished everything the CS102 capstone project did, and in less than a week. Possibly in a day. Someone who knew their stuff could probably write it in thirty minutes.

Granted, that's partially missing the point - our project was meant to teach concepts like using doubly linked lists, how to export them into a file and read them back in, choice of algorithm, hashing functions, etc., not just banging out code. But in terms of something that would be useful to the average person who might want to write a snippet of code here and there to simplify their life, as opposed to someone who plans to make it their life's work, Python is amazing. Python lets students build useful programs right away because it can do the heavy lifting until they're ready to learn how the sausage is made. Maybe you'll spark curiosity in someone who would never have given it a shot. Maybe all you get is a person who has some appreciation for what writing software actually entails. Either way, aren't we all better off? The serious students are going to learn serious languages soon enough.

Comment: Re:It depends on where you are in life (Score 1) 249

by demonlapin (#48809385) Attached to: Education Debate: Which Is More Important - Grit, Or Intelligence?
I'm a fan of negative income tax. I'm marginally in favor of limited free tuition, although it's the sort of thing that encourages colleges to take the money and run, and it does little to alleviate the lack of income associated with being a full-time student. Single-payer universal health care (aka Medicare) is a fine concept, but the American people aren't willing to pay the taxes or cut the available services to make it work.

Comment: Re:It depends on where you are in life (Score 4, Insightful) 249

by demonlapin (#48792389) Attached to: Education Debate: Which Is More Important - Grit, Or Intelligence?
Risk and reward. Poor kids are much better off pursuing low-risk, moderate-reward strategies rather than high-risk, high-reward strategies, because in the event of failure, they don't have anything to fall back on. The children of the upper middle class can aim for the stars, knowing that they won't end up in the mud if they miss. Climbing the ladder takes generations.

Comment: Re:the whole things an editor if you're brave enou (Score 1) 114

by demonlapin (#48771377) Attached to: Text Editor Created In Minecraft
Creative potential? It would be intellectually trivial to build a 6502 or Z80 in Minecraft - a simple matter of translating logic to redstone. Doing so would be an enormous amount of work akin to creating such a processor out of discrete transistors, but the creativity involved would be minimal and mostly involved with problems like how to allow circuits to cross paths.

There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about. -- John von Neumann