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Comment: Re:suspend GPS? (Score 1) 522

by dmgxmichael (#46992113) Attached to: Russia Bans US Use of Its Rocket Engines For Military Launches

I was experimenting with these things at the University of Kentucky back in 97 or so, and the professor at that time said a few feet. That accuracy has improved since then doesn't surprise me. It would surprise me to find a unit from '97 or so that was accurate to the inch, but I could believe it. I am not an expert in the technology though - just giving the general reason why ground stations are important.

Comment: Re:suspend GPS? (Score 4, Informative) 522

by dmgxmichael (#46991299) Attached to: Russia Bans US Use of Its Rocket Engines For Military Launches

GPS is normally only accurate to within a few yards, and when the system was opened up to civilian use in the late 90's the military put in a discrepancy to the civilian signals so that they'd be off by a few dozen yards.

Then someone hit upon the idea of checking GPS against a known good reading.

GPS base stations do this. They know where they are, exactly. They listen to the GPS satellites report of where the satellites think they are, then broadcast the margin of error out to nearby GPS receivers. As a result, the accuracy of the readings can be gotten exact down to a few feet.

So successful was this that the military eventually discarded the idea of putting in an intentional margin of error for civilian signals.

Comment: Even easier solution (Score 4, Insightful) 123

by dmgxmichael (#46920747) Attached to: Mozilla Offers FCC a Net Neutrality Plan With a Twist
Obama should grow a pair. Instruct the FCC commissioners to reclassify, or be dismissed. If they call as if he's bluffing, fire all of them and replace them with commissioners that will do the reclassification. These snots serve at the pleasure of the President and, in turn, the people. It's high time someone blew up their perceived fiefdoms.

Comment: Re:Religion doesn't care at all about "why" (Score 1) 220

by dmgxmichael (#46543195) Attached to: How Did Bill Nye Become the Science Guy?

To my mind religion is fundamentally about power and money and influence.

Then you know nothing beyond what your prejudice limits you to.

Religion is like a virus of the mind to which we have built insufficient vaccines for. I'd modify that to say only small minds need a god at all.

Small minds aren't limited to theists. Gnostic atheists display small minded bigotry all the time, as you have just have.

Personally, I'm agnostic, but unusual in that I am an agnostic theist. The Gnostic question (Can God's existence be proven?) and the Theist question (Does God exist?) are too often conflated by laypeople. To anyone who has done even a cursory study of theology, the conflation is as absurd as confusing RAM for diskspace because both are measured in bytes.

Most people who label themselves agnostic simply don't understand the question or are trying to avoid it. An agnostic (under the correct definition of the term) believes an objective proof of God doesn't exist. This is a separate question from whether God exists. I do believe God exists, but the proofs of his existence are subjective and not verifiable by science. A leap of faith is required. God cannot be objectively proven because he doesn't want to be objectively proven.

Most theists are gnostic theists, and most strident atheists are gnostic atheists -- they believe they can prove their belief in 0. We are all computer scientists here - surely if any group understands null and 0 are not strictly equal it would be us yes? The charge of the government is to proceed upon the religion question as null. Usually, but not always, that will turn out in the atheist's favor - just as after all in most computer programs the course of action for the program for 0 or null is the same. But there are times when they are not - calls to destroy churches or make the propagation of beliefs illegal are just as onerous as any other call to set up a single state religion and just as illegal in the United States under the first amendment.

Comment: Re:His debate (Score 5, Interesting) 220

by dmgxmichael (#46542141) Attached to: How Did Bill Nye Become the Science Guy?

There is nothing incompatible with Intelligent design and evolution. If there is a God that created the universe then, that God also created evolution and therefor science is simply discovering Gods work.

I've never heard intelligent design described that way before. Intelligent design is the idea that biological organisms required an intelligent entity to create them, that it is unlikely that complex organisms could exist without a designer, which is an idea fundamentally contradicted by evolution. It sounds like you are describing deism, not intelligent design.

That's essentially the approach the modern Catholic church takes. Broadly speaking: Religion (overall) attempts to subjectively answer 'why?' Science attempts to objectively answer 'how?'. Objective and subjective reasoning methods are largely incompatible to begin with, and anyone used to thinking objectively at all times should find subjective reasoning infuriating and off-putting at best - but it's at the heart of the logic within theology.

Personally, I see evolution as part of the creation, a mechanism no more consequential to the question of God's existence than the rainfall. Besides, if we are truly made in God's image, it should only be natural that we should attempt to understand how we were made on all levels of that question.

The problem I think is small minds need a small God. Every time science pushes the boundaries of what we know about the size and complexity of the universe, ignorant rats scuttle about to stick their heads in the sand and deny the truth of what is observable in the universe, so that they may preserve their small God. If God did indeed make the universe, then the universe itself is the ultimate testament to truth (whatever that is) - not a book - for the universe alone was authored by the hand of God. To deny it is to call God a liar.

Comment: Re:Does calling a method really count as 2 lines? (Score 1) 216

by dmgxmichael (#46370773) Attached to: Wolfram Language Demo Impresses

To find an example where PHP beats Java significantly in code compactness will be very very difficult.

Let's start with Hello World shall we? Here's the whole PHP program.

<?='Hello World'?>

18 CHARACTERS. PHP was a template engine long before anyone grafted 1,001 other crazy uses to it. In the job it was designed for - fulfilling HTML requests from webservers - few things can touch it for simplicity or development speed.

In fairness to Java, it scales better to large applications than PHP. PHP does little to discourage its largely newbie programmer base from making bad to outright catastrophic design choices. Java has its uses and it's place. It isn't a panacea though, not by a long shot.

So drop the Java fanboi act - it makes you look foolish. There are tasks which it is not the best tool for the job, or even close to the best tool.

Comment: Re:Does calling a method really count as 2 lines? (Score 1) 216

by dmgxmichael (#46369513) Attached to: Wolfram Language Demo Impresses

When you make a statement like: "travelling salesman in 4 lines of code", it generally means the entire problem in 4 lines of code, not a function call to some built in function and a couple of array initializers.

Where does the line get drawn? Hell, an echo statement must look up the character code for each letter in the string and send that along to the graphics driver for further processing before even one letter is shown on the screen to the user.

The article demonstrated the language itself being able to present a solution to the traveling salesman in 2 lines of code. I personally find arguments about how many underlying function calls the language had to go to while it turned it's instructions into something the computer can understand to be useless asinine pendantry. It doesn't matter to the end user working in this language what goes on any more than it really matters to a video game programmer what exactly goes on in the GPU when a graphics call is made, or to a windows programmer exactly what the GUI must do to place the letters on the screen.

My first impression of this language and library is its a powerful new tool at a level of abstraction even further removed than current high level scripting languages like Javascript. In the field of data gathering and presentation - to which it seems to be aimed - it probably will find a lot of jobs to do. That doesn't mean other languages won't still have their place.

For example: people use PHP often because it can do in a couple lines what might take several pages of code to do in Java - and there are tasks that PHP needs several pages of code to do that Python can deal with in a few lines as well. That's the nature of programming languages. This is another tool to put in the tool case, and that's a good thing. I will admit that the article tries to write this up as a universal panacea, but I have my severe doubts on that. There's likely going to be certain tasks to which this language will prove to be poorly suited and need very long scripts to do that current languages can do fairly quickly.

Comment: Re:Not so sure about the language... (Score 3, Interesting) 216

by dmgxmichael (#46368927) Attached to: Wolfram Language Demo Impresses

Hi. I'm a 15 year old script kiddie. I just love those thousands of hideous functions because deep inside a significant fraction of them lies an exploit so obvious that three of my friends figured a half dozen of them out in a two hour Redbull and Cheetos hacking session (which consisted mostly of Googling pictures of naked 16 year olds and occasionally looking for PHP vulnerabilities).

That hardly debunks my point. Rather, it reinforces it - people choose languages on the basis of work getting done quickly - all other concerns go out the window pretty quickly.

Comment: Re:Not so sure about the language... (Score 4, Insightful) 216

by dmgxmichael (#46367877) Attached to: Wolfram Language Demo Impresses

As much as I would like to be impressed, what I see is quite underwhelming: a functional application language with some interface to "facts" and "databases" with a pattern matching engine might make some analysis easier but ... the principles of the language are mostly what you come to expect if you have seen lisp once or any modern functional language,e.g. haskell.

I can see it as being useful, but as another commenter pointed out, "FindShortestTour" is a library function (which might be handy), but definitely not an example of how concise the language might be; the same could be said about "EdgeDetect" or the like. The power of the language can be measured in how easily it can be extended or non trivial algorithms can be implemented ... not in how many functions are offered (even if this could be more convenient none-the-less).

Hello. My name is PHP. I'm the most ugly hideous language known to man, but man do I have thousands of functions to get work done. And that's why I rule the server side processing world :D

Function libraries and ability to get stuff done quickly counts for a lot.

Comment: Re:Does calling a method really count as 2 lines? (Score 3, Insightful) 216

by dmgxmichael (#46367865) Attached to: Wolfram Language Demo Impresses

All I see there is calling some method to do something complicated. It's not 2 lines of code of the actual meat is hidden somewhere.

Do you count the code that drives the compiler or interpreter as part of your program? What about the code that drives your database?? If it's abstracted away into the language then it's not "actual meat" as far as the programmer doing the work is concerned. It is two lines. And unless you're writing all your code in machine language you have no right to claim otherwise.

Comment: Re:Its sad, but they're only cars... (Score 2) 97

by dmgxmichael (#46238225) Attached to: Sinkhole Swallows 8 Vehicles Inside Bowling Green KY Corvette Museum

I don't see how the depth of the hole matters at all. The width, however, matters a great deal.

Sinkholes better than 100' wide are not unknown in that area. The largest cavern system in the world, Mammoth Cave, runs under that city and stretches out to the northeast.

Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced. - John Keats