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Comment: Why not run with it? (Score 4, Interesting) 203

by istartedi (#49183667) Attached to: <em>Star Trek</em> Fans Told To Stop "Spocking" Canadian $5 Bill

Why not issue commemorative $5 notes? Commemorative coins are issued in the US, although actors aren't usually on them. There is, AFAIK, no commemorative US or Canadian note like that. Stamps are more liberal in that regard. I'm sure a lot of conservatives would hate it, say it's "undignified", blah, blah... It's Canada so they might even have to get permission from the Queen; but if they don't, then why not innovate? Come on Canada. You're so cool in many other ways. Make it happen.

Comment: Article summary (Score 1) 203

by istartedi (#49128619) Attached to: What Happens When Betelgeuse Explodes?

Worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, as bright as a quarter moon for a while, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry, worry.

There would be considerably more worrying were it not for Slashdot filters.

Comment: Re:why? (Score 1) 677

by istartedi (#49043301) Attached to: Empirical Study On How C Devs Use Goto In Practice Says "Not Harmful"

Ditto. Any significant C I've written had "cleanup:" at the end of many functions, and "goto cleanup" wherever you had to bail out of the middle of such functions. Once I got over the "never use goto" mentality that was drilled into my head, I realized it was the most maintainable way of dealing with things that had to be released such as file handles, graphics contexts, memory, etc. Anybody who analyzed my code should have quickly picked up on the fact that this was an idiom for something like destructors in a language that doesn't have them.

Comment: Re:prison is as prison does (Score 1) 176

Isn't the point of prison to separate criminals from the general population?

This; but with some very important caveats. First, the separation must be as humane as practical. Why? Well there's the obvious "don't be a sicko and mistreat anybody, even a prisoner because it's immoral" argument. There's also the "hey, they might be innocent" argument. Everybody, even the most hardened "tough on crime" person should understand this. Every single one of us is potentially a victim of mistaken imprisonment. What, not me? Yes. You. If you disagree, please refer back to the definition of "mistaken imprisonment". Thus, we all have a personal stake in safe, humane treatment of prisoners.

Second, we should carry out this humane separation only when necessary, and in a way that isn't too costly.

The policy as described in the article summary seems neither humane, nor necessary. In the long run it will be costly too. Extended solitary can lead to severe mental conditions. Severe mental conditions are costly to society, either because of new crimes when released, or the need to turn the prisoner over to an expensive psychiatric facility for the rest of their lives.

If they're concerned about people running gangs from prison, they could monitor their networks. Collect all the information and trade it with your friends... then collect their friends and put them in the same cell. Of course there'd be less of this if we weren't waging a war on drugs; but that's a separate rant.

Comment: Re:Electroplating in college dorms (Score 1) 690

by istartedi (#49018967) Attached to: Free-As-In-Beer Electricity In Greece?

Now I really want to know how many C-64s, Apple ][s, Osbourne's, or other contemporary machines available to students we would have needed to have a 95% chance of mining a coin before the semester was out. That's assuming that crypto currency existed in 1987, which it didn't. I suspect we would have overloaded the breaker panel and not have had much of a chance. These machines struggled to render one crappy low-res image of the Mandlebrot set.

A more plausible technique back then would have been to steal cycles from an academic computer. I don't know what they had in the 80s, but when I returned to school after dropping out there was an RS6000 and a Sun cluster to which we had access, and possibly more that we could have found and compromised. Not sure how much computing power could have come from pooled student accounts. It might have been more plausible; but the ability to run unattended jobs was often restricted. Computing privileges at a university generally aren't worth risking for such nonsense...

Comment: Electroplating in college dorms (Score 1) 690

by istartedi (#49012579) Attached to: Free-As-In-Beer Electricity In Greece?

Electricity was not metered in our dorms. A lot of us joked about electroplating. AFAIK, nobody did it. This was in the 80s when most weed was ditch from Jamaica or Mexico. People weren't hip to hydro there. If you offered college students free electricity now, grow-ops would definitely be their first thought.

Of course this is Greece we're talking about here, so they'll just end up with rolling black-outs if they aren't doing it already. It's hard to run a grow-op, server farm, or anything when the juice is only on for a few hours a day.

Comment: Re:inert gas (Score 1) 378

by istartedi (#48932611) Attached to: Why ATM Bombs May Be Coming Soon To the United States

Too much of a fire hazard. I don't see any local fire marshal wanting to sign off on such a thing. I'd go with a gas detector that sounds an alarm and releases CO2 into the chamber. It would rapidly displace whatever they managed to pump in. The cold steam hissing out of the box would also give them one heck of a startle.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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