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Comment: coding should be taught as coding (Score 2) 203

by dominux (#48913837) Attached to: Why Coding Is Not the New Literacy

I want people to understand loops. Loops that happen a number of times, loops that run at least once and end on a condition, loops that are entered on a condition and may never run. I want people to get an understanding of how fast computers are at calculating things. I want people to understand functions, datatypes and recursion. These are all completely academic topics, nothing harder than long division. There is no reason not to teach this stuff. You can do it all with block based languages (scratch/blockly) or with various text languages. That doesn't matter. It is the fundamental concepts that everyone needs to be introduced to, just like everyone gets to do a bit of algebra and a bit of chemistry and a bit of geography.

Comment: I read the report and was perplexed (Score 1) 118

by dominux (#48629875) Attached to: Grinch Vulnerability Could Put a Hole In Your Linux Stocking

being an Ubuntu user I don't have a wheel group, but this seems to be related to the fact that local users don't need root to install packages from the repositories. If there is a bad package in a trusted repository, then an untrusted local user could install it and the bad package could give that user root access. This is expected behaviour, I don't think you can install local packages through this rule (if you can then there is a vulnerability, create your own deb package with an install script that gives you root, then install it) but the point of trusted repositories is that you trust them, so you can install updates and new packages without admin access. The report seemed more concerned about talking about wheels and grinches than actually explaining the vulnerability.

Comment: Re:it can be air filled (Score 2) 200

by dominux (#48618679) Attached to: NASA Study Proposes Airships, Cloud Cities For Venus Exploration

fair point, I don't think putting humans in the Venus atmosphere is a massively good idea until it is a viable place for full time colonisation, which it could be. If we are going to colonise another planet it is better than Mars in terms of energy and resources. I think in the shorter term airship probes would be good, as well as solar powered fixed wing flyers.

Comment: it can be air filled (Score 4, Interesting) 200

by dominux (#48617195) Attached to: NASA Study Proposes Airships, Cloud Cities For Venus Exploration

earth atmosphere air is a lifting gas on Venus, the airship could be full of normal air, and the people live inside it, not slung under it in a gondola. The pressure inside would only be a little different to the pressure outside, so a small hole in the skin of the airship wouldn't be an explosively big problem, air would just mix with the corrosive and fairly nasty outside atmosphere. It would need fixing, but it is nothing like a hole with a vacuum outside. Venus is a fairly nice place overall, lots of solar, interesting chemicals in the atmosphere. The only problem is that the ground is too far down.

Comment: it is fine, but not a great idea (Score 1) 74

by dominux (#48276841) Attached to: Charity Promotes Covert Surveillance App For Suicide Prevention

The privacy thing is utterly overblown, it is a tool for users to pick out interesting bits of the tweet streams they have access to, on criteria in this instance relating to depression. It could equally look for other sentiments and trends, analysing data available to you isn't a violation of anything in particular. It also isn't a particularly good idea. I know right now who would trigger it off for me. It would keep bleeping at several people I follow who are chronically depressed and possibly suicidal, who also live thousands of miles away and don't know me well enough for me to be in any way involved in any kind of productive intervention or words. We are not friends, we are not really acquaintances, I just follow them because they sometimes tweet interesting technical stuff and they seem like interesting people. This might kinda work for people who follow geographically close friends, maybe a school or university where you follow lots of people you actually know by sight, and have a decent chance of seeing. I am just not convinced that many people use twitter like that, and are going to be able to usefully support a friend with a problem that they wouldn't notice some other way.

Comment: advice from people who are wrong might be wrong (Score 1) 111

by dominux (#48159475) Attached to: Adobe: Click-to-Play Would Have Avoided Flood of Java Zero-days

a zero day vulnerability does not become less zero dayish because you need to click to execute it. This is some executive who has misunderstood what his underlings actually do, and what they mean when they say they are dealing with a zero day issue.
He ends up being right, for all the wrong reasons, and he is just saying words he doesn't fully comprehend.

Comment: I got my tax yesterday, no problem (Score 1) 145

by dominux (#48044827) Attached to: UK Government Tax Disc Renewal Website Buckles Under Pressure

the website was a bit screwed in the morning, and I had the wrong reference number with me (a SORN number doesn't work, you need the V5 number, or the renewal if you haven't SORNed it) it was for a car I don't use much and it failed the MOT last month, so I got it fixed and parked it off road to tax this month without the disc. I kinda thought it would be more exciting as one of the first cars without a disc, but if you have a taxed car you can now just throw away the disc, so my 16 year old Fiesta is not as exclusive and exciting as I thought it would be.

Comment: wrong planet, try Venus. (Score 1) 549

by dominux (#48041895) Attached to: Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

Floating cities in the upper atmosphere of Venus would be much more inviting. Venus is a lovely planet, just the ground is a bit too low down. Loads of solar energy, air is a lifting gas, you could live in a bubble of regular air floating in the atmosphere (if the outer atmosphere doesn't melt your bubble due to being a bit sulphuric acidy) The sulphuric acid can be used for things, add copper oxide and you get copper sulphate plus water, it contains oxygen and you have loads of solar energy, so splitting things with electrolysis is viable. There are probably interesting resources on the surface (perhaps freed up nicely by all the acid rain) which robots could go down and extract.
I think it is the second best planet in the solar system.

Comment: Re:it is all going to go horribly wrong (Score 1) 494

by dominux (#47931535) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

It is for Scotland to decide! They can apply for membership any time, just like Turkey, for instance.

sure, they can apply the day they become independent.

Errr... Ever heard of the Czech and the Slovaks?

Czechoslovakia split in two (peacefully) and both halves joined the EU right away, and were welcome with open arms, if memory serves well.

memory doesn't serve that well, they finalised the split in 1993 after the velvet revolution and then in 2004 both the Czech Republic and Slovakia joined the European Union.

I don't see why Scotland would be rejected, especially since the UK has been a pain in the arse ever since it joined the EU. As a matter of fact, many countries in the EU would welcome Scotland just to piss off the Brits. And even more so since the UK is set to vote on leaving the EU in a couple of years!

this is a reasonable point.

The Euro is not the EU, and vice-versa. There is a ton of countries that are EU members, but still have their national currencies. But don't take my word for it, click here instead

yeah, I know, but it is now the case that a commitment to joining the currency is a condition of joining the union.

You are not making any sense - again, the currency you use is totally independent from EU membership itself.

well we will find out in due course if there is a yes vote. I just can't see the rest of Europe being particularly excited about a region wanting to split out and join but not wanting to have the euro, pay it's debt or have it's own central bank. Right now Scotland is just looking like a smaller and more annoying version of the UK.

Comment: Re:it is all going to go horribly wrong (Score 1) 494

by dominux (#47930707) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

you have to be an EU member to join the Euro, but to be an EU member you have to commit in advance to joining the Euro when you meet the criteria. You can't join and say you don't have a committed intention to join the currency. The UK has an opt-out negotiated some time ago. The yes campaign seems to think they can go independent and have the Bank of England as their central bank and have their share of the national debt underwritten by the UK treasury.
This is kinda like a teenager who lives at home and has free use of the family car pretty much whenever they want. Teenager decides they are leaving home, getting their own place and taking the car. That isn't the deal.

Comment: it is all going to go horribly wrong (Score 4, Interesting) 494

by dominux (#47926075) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

The yes campaign is telling people they can keep the pound and join Europe. Not gonna happen, it isn't for Scotland to decide. 28 countries have to decide they are totally cool with a bit of the UK splitting off and joining Europe. That means 28 countries have to want to set a precident for bits of themselves splitting off, declaring independence and joining Europe. They have to also decide that they are totally cool on Scotland having an opt out on the Euro that nobody else apart from the UK has and nobody else likes.
The rest of the UK doesn't particularly want a currency union with Scotland, and it wouldn't be popular with the Eurozone countries to have a more formal sterling zone (they don't care about the small overseas territories, but a second full size country in a currency union would be a big deal).
The No campaign says independence would be bad for Scotland and bad for the rest of the UK and everyone else.
The Yes campaign says independence would be good for Scotland and bad for the rest of the UK and everyone else.
They both agree that independence would be a massive pain in the arse for everyone outside of Scotland, and they are 50:50 on how much of a complete and utter pointless pain in the arse it will be within Scotland.

+ - Proton Beam therapy for removing unwanted stuff from brains->

Submitted by dominux
dominux (731134) writes "The story of Ashya King, a kid who's parents didn't like the radiotherapy on offer locally, has been widely reported recently. His parents wanted Proton Beam therapy from a clinic in the Czech Republic, and ended up taking Ashya out of hospital and being chased across Europe, arrested and put in prison for a few days. This is widely considered to be unusually harsh treatment for someone wanting to explore options beyond the NHS. Drama aside, proton beam therapy is possibly the geekiest healthcare intervention ever. It involves a substantial cyclotron (smaller than CERN, but still quite impressive) and the particle beam target is someone's head."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Can someone clarify the state of BitCoin? (Score 1) 134

by dominux (#47863041) Attached to: Paypal Jumps Into Bitcoin With Both Feet

I think the way to get bitcoin is to sell products or services that people want to purchase in bitcoin. Just like any other currency, you get it by doing stuff for people who have it. Not everyone in the real economy gets money by digging gold out of the ground to buy stuff with. The currency has to circulate to be of value. Mining and banking and currency conversions are niche edge activities and you have to be both buying and selling to be circulating (otherwise you are stockpiling or running out)

Comment: put the documentation in with the code (Score 1) 199

by dominux (#47673275) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should You Invest In Documentation, Or UX?

Hi Fabian o/

many of the modules have really really little documentation, just a fairly small description string in the file. It is great that this is now in markdown format, but they are nowhere near long enough in the modules. I would like to see each and every module being like a chapter of a book. If you take it out of the file and move it to a in the module then it would also render on github I think, people could then use screenshots and so on in it. This would also separate documentation updates (easy and safe, nobody should be scared, can be done on github with the github markdown editor) from editing a .py file with potential for breakage.
In terms of how the documentation is written, some modules like CRM use the description string to sell the module to you, others use it to describe what it does, I don't really need the sales pitch, but I do need to know what problem it solves, and what kind of business situations that the author had in mind when it was written. Plus of course, what it does, how to use it and anything it conflicts with, any downsides to installing it.

Computer programmers do it byte by byte.