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Comment Multiple reasons (Score 2) 294

Part of the problem is that most scientists are not journalists, and most journalists are not scientists. If a journalist takes enough time to become an expert in the scientific field he is reporting on, it isn't likely that he will ever come to market with his product, the reports, in a timely enough fashion to actually make a living on it.

Part of the problem is that many scientists lack the literary skill to communicate effectively with laypeople, and have to rely too much on journalists who don't have the competence needed to report on the subject material.

Another problem is that the proletariat crave the truth... the conclusions. As a mathematician, I reject the notion that empirical science determines truth. Yes, you can craft an experiment with reproducible results, but your results will still be just empirical observations. If you do a study, and find out that there is approximately a 78% correlation between wearing blue sweaters and getting hives, and that this result was reproduced three times given blah blah , then report that. Don't report that blue sweaters cause hives. Oh wait, the only thing the public cares about is what caused the hives... they have no appreciation for the results being what they are. The public wants to extrapolate conclusions only.

I like mathematics. Assuming a few axioms, prove something. What you then have is truth.

Comment I agree with Steve. (Score 1, Interesting) 121

I spent part of the last 3 years (about 20% of it) developing and maintaining an iOS app (hybrid web app - UIWebView + a GWT/Java server side). It predated Swift. I come from a Pascal/C/C++/Java/C# background, and I hated every day of Objective C. I recently got a taste of Swift, but... why the hell can't Apple use a language with more typical syntaxes?

We did iOS first, because among our particular customers, they had better than 80% market share.

The business case recently came up to need to port it to Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld to support a couple of particular devices. WHAT A JOY. I had this app up and running on two real devices in four hours. C#, Visual Studio Community 2015... no Xcode developer profile / provisioning profile / whatever issues. I can debug the app and use the barcode scanner at the same time because, unlike iThings, the device will debug and let you use a wired peripheral AT THE SAME TIME (haven't been able to do that since Lightning).

The sad truth, though, is that Microsoft is late to the party. It was already too late when Steve started chanting "developers". They were already gone.

Microsoft is going to have to do something very wine-esque to just get apps on their platform. They have single-digit market share.

Comment Re:I didn't know had names (Score 1) 304

This begs the question: are they really different operators, or are you just writing the same operator in a different orientation? The fact that we type them differently is perhaps an artifact of the way we encode text on computers. We don't represent characters as a codepoint+rotation duple; instead, we can only record different characters, with a different glyph for every orientation.

"=" is the only relational operator which is commutative. a = b implies b = a.
= (Slashdot filters out the single glyph representation of this operator, U+2264) is not commutative. a = b does not imply (or preclude) b = a.

Is there a name for the property of "" which is that a b implies !(b a)? You could call that operator "anti-commutative", perhaps?

Comment Sets and operators (Score 1) 304

The state of set operators is terrible. In a lot of languages, you have to do crap like MyHaystack.Contains(MyNeedle). SQL has set operators, but not much better. I have always hated SQL predicates of this sort:

WHERE Orders.OrderNumber >= 6 AND Orders.OrderNumber < 56;

It's just so much to type. Wouldn't it be much nicer if we could just use the set operators we learned in algebra?

FROM Orders
WHERE OrderNumber [6,56);

-- Argh! Slashdot... there should be an "element of" operator (epsilon) there after OrderNumber...
-- but alas, you have filtered out the &isin; entity.

See here for what should really display above.

I do most of my SQL in the Watcom dialect (SAP SQL Anywhere) . You can do:

FROM Orders
WHERE OrderNumber BETWEEN 5 AND 10;

which is nice... but I like the idea of being able to express (shortly) both open and closed intervals.

You can also say:

FROM Orders
WHERE OrderNumber IN (5,10);

but that means in the set {5,10}, not the open interval (5,10), which I find to be confusing.

Part of the issue is that the set operators (e.g. epsilon) are not on 101-key standard US keyboards and are hard to type. The other issue is that the set and interval delimiters (, ), {, }, [, and ] have been misappropriated as code block delimiters. My first commercial-grade high-level language was PASCAL, and I thought BEGIN and END were just fine (they persist in Transact and Watcom SQL today). I also like Python's group-by-indent approach.

Comment Copyright needs reform (Score 1) 93

If anything, the digital dissemination of copyrighted works, on the whole, increases the speed with which they depreciate, since more people who desire to purchase a legal copy of a copyrighted work can do so much more quickly than was previously possible, and since legal copies of copyrighted works don't degrade in quality over time (if you have a good cloud to store them in). I think that copyright term should be reduced to account for this.

Comment Postgres hands down (Score 4, Informative) 320

I come from a Sybase SQL Anywhere shop. It never ceases to amaze me how stuff that can be elegantly expressed in a couple of queries in Watcom-SQL typically takes four times as much code in MySQL's dialect. I love Sybase's support for the ANSI standards, subqueries, Java/.NET/C/PHP/Perl stored procedures when they are the right tool for the job (ever needed to resize raster images in an INSERT trigger coming from some third-party application?), and great drivers. I shouldn't have to spend 10 minutes trying to figure out why MySQL doesn't support the standard casting string concatenation operator by default (||), or why subqueries don't work like they ought, etc.

Having used Postgres, all of the worthwhile MySQL features are there, most of the SQLA features are there, and the pain level is much, much lower in Postgres than MySQL for someone coming from a full-featured commercial RDBMS.

What really sucks is all of the applications that are so coded around MySQLisms that they don't run on ANSI-compliant engines.

Comment It's a hard problem (Score 1) 134

I don't think Facebook is competent to decide whether or not a church's refusal to recognize the legitimacy of homosexual couples is hate speech, or whether or not the state of Israel is a terrorist organization, etc.

I'd rather them stick to standards that are not so subject to interpretation, like no depictions of one person's genitalia in contact with another person where either person is not of the age of majority. Let the nation states decide what those ages of majority are. Those sorts of standards are much less subject to interpretation.

Comment Some ideas (Score 2) 107

My first programming language (5 years old, 1985) was Apple BASIC. Online interpreter:


When I was in 3rd grade, we programmed in LogoWriter. Looks like there is a web-based LOGO interpreter here:


Next, I learned PASCAL.


None of that stuff is OOP (although imperative is still a very important paradigm).

Once you want to move past kiddie stuff, I'd set her down with a C# IDE (the free-as-in-beer Visual Studio edition or the free-as-in-really-free MonoDevelop) and some YouTube tutorials.

Comment Andi Graph (Score 1) 359

Andi Graph is the bomb... you can switch between any TI-8x ROMs. The only thing I miss about it is the tactile keys.

I own a TI-85. Therefore, I have no remorse about using the TI-85 ROM on my Android devices, as I'm not letting anyone use my calculator at the same time. I paid for the software.

In conjunction with BlueStacks on my Samsung ATIV Pro 900T, I can even project and take screenshots of the whole calculator without any special TI hardware.


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