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Comment: RoboRally first (Score 1) 315

by dltaylor (#49442869) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Introduce a 7-Year-Old To Programming?

It's a program AND it teaches how to deal with Murphy (nothing worse than getting bumped and watching the rest of your program walk you into a pit or heavy laser fire).

After that, it depends on the child's interests. Robots? Mindstorms.

"Real" computers? Pick up an old Apple II or Amiga and use the Basic to access the display.

Comment: testing method? (Score 4, Interesting) 82

by dltaylor (#49389381) Attached to: Verizon Subscribers Can Now Opt Out of "Supercookies"

I can set up a WiFi port to capture the data over that medium (really nice switches that allow port mirroring), but how can I test that 3/4G data requests not only no longer have the "supercookie", but have no new flavor of tracking tag? I'm concerned that they might have one that gets stripped except for special destinations, such as paying businesses, so I couldn't test it against my own web server.

Comment: typical ignorant American (Score 3, Informative) 198

The diesel sold in Europe is much better fuel than the one we dump into trucks and trains. Lower sulfur, for one thing, although we are catching up. Most environmentally friendly motor fuel is diesel (no, it is not the remote-polluting electrics; look at the output of, for example, the Four Corners power complex). Modern biodiesel burns clean and has a very low carbon footprint. Soot traps take care of the particulates.

Additionally, diesel fuel has much more energy available by volume or mass, is less flammable, and hygrophobic (doesn't pull water from the air into the fuel tank) than the lighter hydrocarbons (gasoline, methane, ethanol), or hydrogen (unless fused, of course)

I wish I could have purchased the turbo-diesel version of my Jaguar XJ, rather than having to settle for an XJ-R.

Comment: old servers as desktops (Score 1) 180

by dltaylor (#49222837) Attached to: Exploiting the DRAM Rowhammer Bug To Gain Kernel Privileges

So I'm not (quite) a paranoid nutcase for running server-class hardware, including always using ECC DIMMS. Current desktops are older Dell T3500s, with nearly top bin Xeons, upgraded supplies and graphics, plus, of course, 24GBytes of ECC RAM.

First big splurge on a desktop had a Tyan mainboard with the ServerWorks chipset (since Intel's were pathetic, at the time), dual P-IIIs, PCI-X, PLUS an AGP slot. Awesome, for its time.

Comment: and when they don't? (Score 1) 127

by dltaylor (#49177413) Attached to: Physicists Gear Up To Catch a Gravitational Wave

There's as much knowledge to be gained from a well-designed experiment that fails, as one that succeeds. They should ALREADY have found gravitational waves with the multiple space- and Earth-based experiments that have been run, particularly with all the big number-crunching on old data that is happening now.

What do we learn about the nature of the Universe when THIS experiment also fails to provide evidence of waves of gravitational force propagating through it?

Comment: Re: Get some money (Score 1) 164

by dltaylor (#49156181) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Whiteboard Substitutes For Distributed Teams?

It rains in both places, and snow, although not so much on North Shore. The rain is just a bit colder in Amsterdam, but that's a reason to stay indoors and avoid sand in "naughty bits" (as a Californian, I learned, a long time ago, some techniques for that, but they're harder to remember when "under the influence").

Comment: non-rational scientists (Score 3, Informative) 196

by dltaylor (#49156155) Attached to: One Astronomer's Quest To Reinstate Pluto As a Planet

Even people in science careers are not immune to significant irrationality (I know, hardly Earth-shattering news).

When my grandmother was young, there were only eight planets, plus a few largish asteroids, then someone discovered another. As our instruments improved, we found many, many more "wanderers". We also learned how how their composition varied, and that there were more-descriptive categories to apply to the various bodies not only in this stellar system, but others.

It is utterly irrational to continue to collect Pluto into the same category as the eight other major rocky/gassy/icy Sol-orbiting bodies (the traditional "planets"), and NOT include the dozens of KBOs, TNOs, etc. that also orbit Sol

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.