Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Prep for the CompTIA A+ certification exam. Save 95% on the CompTIA IT Certification Bundle ×

Comment Re:Buggy software is buggy (Score 1) 233

I get a strong urge to slap programmers who use the simplified evenly divisible by four rule to calculate leap years. It just so happens that 2000 was the 1 in 400 XX00 year that is a leap year so it works a couple of decades either way. The problems start when your code is applied to a longer or historical data set. This can happen when you don't have full knowledge of how your code is going to be used or just when you fall into your old bad habit of ignoring the function for your simple and wrong divisible by four rule and don't even see the problem coming, Symptoms include days of the week out of sync, computations involving date/time functions and the hand rolled divisible by four rule start to give odd results, your monthly and yearly averages are out, that very pretty graph dives from a narrow range in the thousands to zero at the end of February 1900, throwing the whole graph out of scale, and you get to find out how graciously or otherwise your system handles being asked about a date that doesn't exist, or if you're really, really lucky like I was - all of the above. I don't know who wrote the wretched code but I had to fix it. Most languages have a decent set of date/time functions - use them unless you have a really good reason not to.

Comment Re: Great. Let's sit here and wait for the next wa (Score 2) 422

I'm pretty sure both of these researchers were in still in grade school 25 years ago. Do you understand how the ship became trapped or the difference between land and sea ice? Having said that I'm very impressed with the variety of materials you've used in your straw man collage.

Comment Re:Atom? The shittiest text editor around? (Score 1) 72

I could open 2 MB files no problem in Notepad when I was running Windows 95 on my 75 MHz Pentium, with only 4 MB of RAM.

I don't mean to disrupt your rant but either your memory is failing or mine is. My recollection was that there was a 64k limit on notepad files until either Windows Mistakes Edition or Win2k.

Comment Re:Wanna put an end to it? (Score 1) 112

This is why I like preferential voting. You get to vote for your preferred candidate and if that person isn't elected your vote still counts toward what you consider the lesser evil. You number your candidates in order of preference. If no candidate gets an absolute majority the candidate with the least primary votes is eliminated and their votes distributed to the next preference and so on until a candidate has an absolute majority.

Comment Re:How would this have protected the USS Cole? (Score 1) 142

And unless the state has specifically permitted this by legislation or given you an ironclad immunity deal (let's face it, not many countries are going to be happy to give foreign navies the right to point large guns at their civilians without recourse) such actions would be highly inadvisable. If you point a gun at another vessel and demand it cut its engines while in port you better be able to make a very strong case that it was the threat otherwise you may be spending a lot longer on shore leave than anticipated. In my own jurisdiction those actions would likely have you on the hook for assault and false imprisonment

Comment Re: climate change (Score 0) 162

While I am not a fan of the Catholic church it must be said in fairness that they also advocate monogamy which, if practiced, would probably significantly slow the spread of HIV/AIDS. It's no more fair to blame them for people following half their teachings than it is to blame the auto manufacturer of your choice because you drained the oil as recommended in the users manual but didn't bother to refill it before you drove off. I think their stance on contraception is wrong for a number of other reasons but let's not overreach.

Comment Re:Rights tariffs, then? (Score 4, Informative) 322

Uh, you do understand we're talking about tariffs, not sanctions, right? Sanctions are generally restrictions on trade and/or financial transactions. I suspect Iraq is the example you're thinking of. Tariffs are simply are tax on export. or (more commonly) imports. I honestly don't know where sanctions stand constitutionally in the United States but any argument that tariffs are unconstitutional is utter crap. Pretty much the first piece of major legislation passed after the introduction of the constitution was the Tariffs Act.

Comment Re:Don't. (Score 1) 408

As someone who has used both cutting methods very recently this seems a little implausible.

If you put a spinning blade into a metal safe it is going to make a hell of a racket which is probably not an ideal situation for a thief

Now a plasma cutter is one of the power hungriest tools I have ever used. I wouldn't count on even being able to run it off a standard household point. In addition you're going to need an air compressor which is hardly a quiet beast. Making a racket and then coming out of someone's house carrying a plasma cutter and dragging an air compressor will make even the least curious neighbour inquisitive.

Comment Re:Why do these people always have something to hi (Score 1) 348

Documents of a proprietary nature could include documents that disagree with the published findings.

Irrelevant. Let us say that I privately compile useful data and sell it to recoup the costs incurred in collecting it plus a little profit for my trouble - that is, I own data of proprietary nature. Now if I sell (or give because I believe in the value of the research) a copy to a public scientist that does not mean they get to put my data on the public record the first time they get a FOIA - effectively dropping the value of my data to zero.

So, if you want to force public scientists to release proprietary material you can choose between:
(a) public scientists not being able to gain access to private data sets which will stifle their research
(b) public scientists being sued into oblivion which will really stifle their research

Comment Re:Looks like they're taking the high ground (Score 1) 313

My back of the envelope calculations suggest that even for a straight line shot from the moon with no other forces in play a one degree change in any direction would result in you missing the earth entirely. Now when you take into account gravity from at least three bodies, what atmospheric conditions will be like in X time when your shot actually reaches earth (keep in mind that for most shots you'll likely be going through atmosphere on an angle), I'd be very impressed if you landed your shot in the right country.

In addition your shell has to not burn up in the atmosphere. Even if you get all that right there's going to be a significant time lag between when you fire your shot and when it arrives so you're only good against very stationary targets. Even if you fire at Mach 10 a competing bomber crew is probably going to have taken off, destroyed the target with an accurate, guided solution, and be home in bed by the time your shot arrives.

In short, an interesting exercise but there are probably quicker, cheaper, and more reliable ways to hit stationary targets.

If you steal from one author it's plagiarism; if you steal from many it's research. -- Wilson Mizner