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Comment: Learning BASIC using the Sinclair XZ80. (Score 0) 215

by jwbales (#49206575) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Strategies For Teaching Kids CS Skills With Basic?

I first learned to program in BASIC in 1980 on a Sinclair ZX80 computer. I learned very fast because on any given line it would not let you enter an unexpected character nor would it let you do a newline-carriage return on a malformed statement. Granted, in 1980 I had been programming in Fortran for almost 20 years, but the immediate feedback offered by the ZX80 made learning BASIC a breeze. I still have my ZX 80 although it no longer boots up. I think its approach to teaching BASIC was clever and sound.

Comment: Outdated air traffic control systems (Score 0, Insightful) 72

by jwbales (#48153503) Attached to: Designing Tomorrow's Air Traffic Control Systems

The US government should sell the air traffic control system to the highest bidder. That would probably be a consortium of the major airports and airlines. Any system run by bureaucratic management will necessarily be way behind the times technologically. The air traffic control system needs to be operated as a business, not a bureaucracy.

Comment: Re:As a private citizen (Score 1) 213

by jwbales (#47893951) Attached to: Congress Can't Make Asteroid Mining Legal (But It's Trying, Anyway)

I'm with spy handler. Anyone with the technology and the ability to mine the moon, Mars, asteroids, etc. satisfies the basic requirements of ownership. But it is also important for the US or other government to guarantee property rights in an orderly, lawful fashion. The alternative is anarchy, where no ones rights are recognized or protected. And the gods forbid that the band of outlaws called the United Nations ever get involved.

Comment: Climate skeptics are not 'anti-science.' (Score 1) 661

If tobacco companies sponsored research showing that tobacco was good for ones health, one would be skeptical. But what if 97% of all research by dozens of tobacco companies showed that tobacco was good for ones health. Would it be fair to call the skeptics 'anti-science?'

The public is skeptical of climate science for the same reason. Since most of the research is funded ultimately by governments and since governments tend to prefer results which justify an increase in government power, people are skeptical of government funded climate research. People who favor greater government control of economic matters will tend not to be skeptical and those who oppose increases in government power will tend to be more skeptical.

There is no mystery here and there is nothing 'anti-science' about climate science skepticism.

Comment: The FDA's mission to save idiots from themselves (Score 1) 146

by jwbales (#45624099) Attached to: After FDA Objections, 23andMe Won't Offer Health Information

Although 99.9% of us have the common sense to get a professional opinion if some test bought on the internet delivers bad news, the FDA denies us access to such tests on the off chance that some idiot will take rash action without consulting a physician. Were that to happen, which I seriously doubt, the worst result would be a slight improvement in the gene pool.

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson