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Comment Re:Why different in America? (Score 2) 700

Personally, I think home schooling is a bad thing for kids since it doesn't teach them the proper socialization they will need as adults.

I had a pretty abysmal public school experience through elementary. And, quite frankly, I didn't start actually socializing with other kids until my parents started homeschooling me. Admittedly, it was only for a couple years, and I went to a public high school, but all of the friends I made while homeschooling had zero problems developing normal nerd-level social skills. Socialization isn't really something you can teach, considering it's so deeply instinctive to us as humans. Albeit, under extreme circumstances, kids struggle with it, but I wouldn't worry. Maybe someday it'll just make for a good story.

Comment Re:Why bother? (Score 1) 421

Oh, well then your comment adds absolutely nothing to this thread. This is something we all already know. C# (and .NET, and CLR) is the new kid on the block, of course it's not going to have the same market presence as Java. But I'd argue that that's the primary impetus behind opening it up: the common excuse for why people don't use .NET is because it's tied to Windows.

Comment Re:Why bother? (Score 1) 421

Given that Java is older than C# by more than a decade I have problems accepting your assertion that C# has historically been years ahead of Java at nothing.

And there's the irony: Java got successful enough to rest on its laurels in lieu of external competition. Then it got tossed around around between companies, so it hasn't had a smooth existence. For instance, C# has had lambda expressions since 2007 ( Java finally got lambdas literally just this year. Now, admittedly, they are two very different languages when it comes to design philosophy, but their markets do overlap, and these features are incredibly useful in those markets.

Comment Re:Typo/misread? (Score 1) 625

... [A]mericans are blabbering imbeciles. There's no other way to put it.

But the question remains: are they imbeciles in Science education (the subject of the survey itself), or reading comprehension? I'm willing to bet there's a healthy mix of both, skewing towards the latter if you sample the Slashdot crowd ;)

Comment Re:save us from *all* pseudo-science (Score 1) 674

The pure state is the absence of religion. Once you accept that completely obvious point, everything else follows.

Is that an axiom? Or a conjecture?

I'd argue that (if we're going down the path I think you think you're trying to go) a "purer" state is the absence of opinion or naïveté. But that never lasts very long, now does it? So, what fills that innocence? The worldly wisdom of *insert philosopher here*? Or the still, small voice of a real-actual God?


FSF Responds To Microsoft's Privacy and Encryption Announcement 174

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft announced yesterday their plans to encrypt customer data to prevent government snooping. Free Software Foundation executive director John Sullivan questions the logic of trusting non-free software, regardless of promises or even intent. He says, 'Microsoft has made renewed security promises before. In the end, these promises are meaningless. Proprietary software like Windows is fundamentally insecure not because of Microsoft's privacy policies but because its code is hidden from the very users whose interests it is supposed to secure. A lock on your own house to which you do not have the master key is not a security system, it is a jail. ... If the NSA revelations have taught us anything, it is that journalists, governments, schools, advocacy organizations, companies, and individuals, must be using operating systems whose code can be reviewed and modified without Microsoft or any other third party's blessing. When we don't have that, back doors and privacy violations are inevitable.'"

Comment Re:Privacy please (Score 1) 845

Yes, better they covertly film, than overtly wear something that could covertly film.

Yup, exactly!

Restaurants, for the most part, are in the business of more than just serving food, they're also in the business of a hospitable, cultural experience. If said cultural experience is disrupted by something--even if it's as innocent as the natural curiosity that goes with seeing something as novel as Google Glass headset--then it's in their best interest to mitigate that disruption. Why do you think they say "no shirt. no shoes..." in the first place? Obviously, there is no law against walking barefoot, but, in most western cultures, it's considered rude to do so. Of course, this pattern changes depending upon cuisine/culture, so don't be offended if you're asked to remove your shoes when entering that authentic Japanese restaurant.

tl;dr: Google Glass headsets will be considered rude until they've been integrated into a culture as normal. If you're not sensitive to that culture's norms or etiquette, then you don't deserve to enjoy it.

The Military

Lockheed Martin Developing Successor To the SR-71 Blackbird 160

Zothecula writes "When the last SR-71 Blackbird was grounded in 1998 it was a double blow. Not only did aviation lose one of the most advanced aircraft ever built, but also one of the most beautiful. Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works has now revealed that it is building a successor to the Blackbird: the SR-72. Using a new hypersonic engine design that combines turbines and ramjets, the company says that the unmanned SR-72 will be twice as fast as its predecessor with a cruising speed of Mach 6."

Comment Re:bbc? (Score 3, Insightful) 429

This is not an "important step" towards anything. The NIF system cannot be used as the basis for a power plant, something everyone, including the NIF, is very much aware of. It is an experimental system for studying matter at high densities, and not even very good at that.

It is incredibly important. At the very least, it's proof that the problems associated with fusion power are solvable. But most importantly, this news will funnel more cash towards further fusion research, further accelerating progress towards real actual power plants.

Comment Re:Hello Gattaca! (Score 1) 171

Okay, admittedly, that came off a bit more abrasively than intended...

The only validity IQ has, in my mind, is that it could possibly loosely correlate to a more accurate metric such as active cerebral neurons, or something of that sort. Anything more than that is comparing apples and oranges: it's a bit simplistic to place a brilliant composer in the same category as a Nobel laureate, as both are quite valuable to society in very different ways.

Comment Re:Hello Gattaca! (Score 1) 171

Since the IQ figure of 170 essentially means (almost) acing the more advanced tests, I suspect that if that day ever comes, the society will be so much different by then that trying to extrapolate what they will be striving for would be futile.

Yup, obliviously splitting hairs.

The results of many IQ tests tend to highly correlate with the g-factor. Given that, I don't see how dismissing them as "antiquated BS" can be justified.

Yes, the argument is, in fact, justified.

P.S.: Yes, I'm aware anyone with half a brain can simply link to Wikipedia. I just don't feel like reiterating widely-known arguments.

Comment Re:Hello Gattaca! (Score 1) 171

Where would all the sub-50th-percentile people disappear?

To give you the benefit of the doubt: the parent is using the 170 IQ points figure relative to the current average intelligence of people.

Of course, if you're actually splitting hairs, then we could start talking about how the IQ metric, to begin with, is antiquated BS. But, of course, we won't have to go there, right?

Comment Re:42 (Score 1) 600

I see your point, and tend to agree, however saying...

a simulation at a higher level of complexity will suffice

...kind of makes your original argument a bit moot, considering the proposed mathematical model really only applies to QM interactions ;)

So, to reiterate, is the Singularity near? A little more so than it was yesterday, but that's just about it.

P.S.: Sorry if it seemed like I was stealing your fire. I, too, have to wonder what feats this and other related new Maths are capable of accomplishing.

Comment Re:42 (Score 1) 600

You miss the point: until we can violate the current model of relativity (i.e. somebody invents a Tachyon-based computer), or something equally as wild, there is no way to "shortcut" our way into simulating interactions at that level with that kind of scale without spending orders of magnitude more, in this case, space-time.

To put it another way: you can't use Newton's Law of Gravitation to derive a general solution to a problem set up by that very equation.

Or, to stretch the analogy even further: you can't use a word in its own definition.

Promising costs nothing, it's the delivering that kills you.