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Comment: Re:Energy-matter synthesis (Score 1) 223

This is a good point. If we ever get to the point of being able to efficiently convert matter into energy with negligible loses, then science fiction becomes far more believable. The "scarcity" of resources equation hard wired into our biology would be irrelevant. The physics is simple, but the engineering is a real bugger.

Comment: Large-Scale C++ Software Design by John Lakos (Score 1) 352

by Puff_Of_Hot_Air (#47007175) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Should Every Programmer Read?
If every university simply taught this book, software development would be called software engineering. Written in 1996, and still we have not learned the lessons. Flawed. Wordy. Partially out of date. And yet, if you understand and apply the concepts in this book, you will design applications and systems of the standard that everyone actually expects software to be at (rather than where it is).

Comment: Re:Q: Why Are Scientists Still Using FORTRAN in 20 (Score 1) 634

by Puff_Of_Hot_Air (#46966611) Attached to: Why Scientists Are Still Using FORTRAN in 2014
To be fair, you basically set this kid up for failure. What you describe is a significant engineering challenge, and you gave it to a computer science graduate, with no experience. If you gave this to someone with 10 years under their belt, I'm sure they could create a lovely maintainable package; but as it is, you should start over. You may as well have asked him/her to design the Golden Gate Bridge. Computer science does not teach engineering, there is no way this kid could have had the necessary skills.

+ - Is there a place for me in this world?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I'm mildly autistic and in my mid 30s. I know I'm not the smartest person ever — not even close — but I'm pretty smart: perfect scores on SAT, etc., way back in high school and a PhD from a private research university you've heard of. I don't consider intelligence a virtue (in contrast to, say, ethical living); it's just what I have, and that's that. There are plenty of things I lack. Anyway, I've made myself very good at applied math and scientific computing. For years, without ever tiring, I've worked approximately 6.5 days a week all but approximately 4 of my waking hours per day. I work at a research university as research staff, and my focus is on producing high-quality, efficient, relevant scientific software. But funding is tough. I'm terrible at selling myself. I have a hard time writing proposals because when I work on mushy tasks, I become depressed and generally bent out of shape. My question: Is it possible to find a place where I can do exactly what I do best and keeps me stable — analyze and develop mathematical algorithms and software — without ever having to do other stuff and, in particular, without being good at presenting myself? I don't care about salary beyond keeping up my frugal lifestyle and saving a sufficient amount to maintain that frugal lifestyle until I die. Ideas? Or do we simply live in a world where we all have to sell what we do no matter what? Thanks for your thoughts."

+ - There's got to be more than the Standard Model

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "The Standard Model of particle physics is perhaps the most successful physical theory of our Universe, and with the discovery and measurement of the Higgs boson, may be all there is as far as fundamental particles accessible through terrestrial accelerator physics. But there are at least five verified observations we've made, many in a variety of ways, that demonstrably show that the Standard Model cannot be all there is to the Universe. Here are the top 5 signs of new physics."

Comment: Re:No, this is not what the developing world needs (Score 5, Insightful) 89

The whole point of this, the whole point, is to make specialized idiot-proof diagnostic tools. Did you watch the Ted talk? It's short and informative. If you see the vid, you'll see that many of these places have a fancy microscope already that no one can use. With this thing they can create a specialized single use malaria detector for example. Very little training is required to insert slide, look at image, malaria? Yes/No. That's the point of this, that's what they are trying to achieve. It's a good idea, and it could transform diagnosis in the third world.

Comment: Re:farming vs. hunter gatherer (Score 1) 351

by Puff_Of_Hot_Air (#46728391) Attached to: Isolated Tribes Die Shortly After We Meet Them

It seems to me that you delight in being wrong. Australian aboriginals worked, on average, 6 hours per day. Australian history is quite recent, this statement is not in dispute. I'm not trying to suggest that this was the case for any other hunter-gatherer society (I'm quite ignorant outside of this area), but the idea that Australian aboriginals had a relatively easy life is neither minority view nor controversial.

On the "life span" topic, you seem to indicate that people are uniformly dropping off in their 30's, which was simply not the case. You were quite likely to die in childhood (particularly infancy), but if you got through that, quite likely to creek on past 50. Why present this as if people are dying in their 30's, ground down by poor diet and harsh conditions? Simple nonsense.

Comment: Re:farming vs. hunter gatherer (Score 1) 351

by Puff_Of_Hot_Air (#46724753) Attached to: Isolated Tribes Die Shortly After We Meet Them
More ignorance. Life spans were not in the "low 30's" for indigenous or Europeans. Average life expectancy was predominantly impacted by infant mortality rates. Once out of childhood, you could reasonably expect to hit late 50's or 60 odd. Leisure time is again something you are simply wrong about. From all evidence, including first person accounts from early explorers; life was easy. In fact, there is a reasonable argument to be made that this is why such little advancement was made over 40000 years. If life is easy and food is plentiful, why do anything different? But continue on, I'm interested in what other sweeping statements you will make inspite of all evidence to the contrary.

Comment: Re:farming vs. hunter gatherer (Score 1) 351

by Puff_Of_Hot_Air (#46722439) Attached to: Isolated Tribes Die Shortly After We Meet Them

How and when people died in pre-contact populations is pretty well established, and we can determine it from skeletons.

Ignoring your ridiculous attempts to paint me with various motivations or political leanings, this is about the only comment you have made that is not completely wrong. If you can be bothered to find the studies, you'll find that the life expectancy and general health of Australian aboriginals prior to colonization was better than that of the average European at the time. But never let bothersome facts get in the way of good uninformed diatribe.

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