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Comment: Dpends on the program (Score 1) 1064 1064

by ebcdic (#49939603) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Harm In a Default Setting For Div By Zero?

If the worst that can happen is a wrong pixel in a computer game, then that's fine. But if I'm analysing data to be published in a scientific paper, dividing by zero means an error in my program, and I want to know about it and fix it. It doesn't really matter whether it gives a nice error message or a core dump, but it must be noticed.

Comment: It has worked (Score 2) 297 297

by ebcdic (#49006143) Attached to: Canadian Climate Scientist Wins Defamation Suit Against National Post

At least in the UK, the discrediting of Andrew Wakefield does seem to have worked. MMR vaccination rates have recovered, and are now at their highest ever level. Of course some people still believe him or have other reasons to continue the fraud, but the decisive judgments and associated publicity have changed public opinion back.

Comment: Nothing to do with peer review (Score 1) 170 170

by ebcdic (#48366933) Attached to: What Happens When Nobody Proofreads an Academic Paper

According to the article, the comment was added in revisions after peer review. It should have been caught before publication, but it's not the reviewers' fault.

One other thing: to catch this reliably, you need to have someone read through it who knows that it's the final version. Otherwise they may well assume that it's still an active question, waiting for views. And of course, you should always word your notes more politely!

Comment: The whole function exporting mechanism is a bug (Score 1) 208 208

by ebcdic (#48009593) Attached to: Apple Yet To Push Patch For "Shellshock" Bug

The whole idea of inspecting the contents of arbitrary variables is a bug. Variables can contain any data the user chooses, and the fact that it happens to look like a function definition is none of the shell's business. Bash should have defined a single variable for the purpose in which all the function definitions are packaged up, or at least have defined a class of variables (e.g. BASH_FUNCTION_*) for the purpose.

Comment: No previous independence referendum (Score 3, Informative) 474 474

by ebcdic (#47946019) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

There has never been a referendum on independence in Scotland before. There were two referendums on devolution: the one in 1979 was narrowly in favour but failed because it did not reach the required 40% of the electorate, and the one in 1997 succeeded, establishing the Scottish Parliament.

"It is better for civilization to be going down the drain than to be coming up it." -- Henry Allen