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Comment Why can only humans read and write? (Score 1) 72 72

Can someone explain to me why none of the great apes that supposedly share so much with humans in terms of cognitive ability can be taught how to read and to write, not merely as a parlor trick that the creature utilizes so that it will receive some reward that might satisfy an immediate physiological craving such as hunger, but as a technique that the animal might use to communicate its own thoughts and ideas to others (can an ape write a creative story with a beginning, middle, and end, for example?), and in particular, be able to teach this ability to successive generations of apes who may then even surpass the ability of their own instructor? An ape that could read could then teach itself how to do many more things than what it currently knows simply by reading about them, rather than having to be explicitly instructed by someone else... it could learn the rules to a game like chess, for example.

Practically any human being can typically be taught how to read and to write by the time they are six or seven if the education is available to them. Can somebody tell me what, if anything, is so unique about the human mind that no other creature on the planet can be taught this?

Comment Prices need to come down, range needs to go up (Score 1) 719 719

The money you can save each month on gas doesn't mean squat when the difference in monthly payments on the cost of an electric car vs a conventional vehicle of similar size can often be more than what you'd spend on gasoline. You can mitigate the issue by extending the duration of the car loan to lower monthly payments, but long-period loans on something like a car doesn't tend to make a whole lot of financial sense.

Also, the effective daily range really needs to go up on most EV's.... (that is, how far you could reasonably expect to be able to go in one day, including any time spent recharging, travelling in absolutely any direction that there are roads in the first place). Sure the range on EV's right now is practical for about 90% of all driving, but when that bloody 10% is going to be a recurring problem, you still feel like you need to have a regular car at your disposal too. But not everyone has the luxury of being able to have two cars... one for commuting and the other for longer trips, especially if they are paying more money for the electric car in the first place.

When EV makers can make a vehicle that is actually priced on parity with what you'd spend on a conventional engine car of similar size plus the cost of gasoline, I will start to consider it... when they can allow me to go absolutely anywhere I want to, and drive a thousand km in a day if I want to, including time spent stopping for a recharge, and not charge me a premium of more than double what I could spend on a conventional engine car of similar size and otherwise comparable style (I'm looking at you, Tesla), then sign me up.

Comment Extend this.... (Score 1) 306 306

... are they suggesting it should eventually become illegal for people to simply *remember* anything embarrassing that somebody else did when they were kids?

That'd really be a downer for "open mike" at weddings, where opportunities to embarrass the bride and groom abound.

Comment Re:It'll sure save HP money, just like Yahoo (Score 1) 470 470

All that remains are the employees who either lack the confidence in their skills to feel that they are employable elsewhere... or those employees who lack the skills.

While I can certainly see how the first one would happen, if one actually lacks the skills to do their job, then shouldn't they have been fired already? Not being productive enough *is* a reason to let someone go.

Comment Their lawns must look fantastic (Score 2) 470 470

Apparently dressing well improves the holistic ambiance of a brain struggling with esoteric things like coding.

With fertilizer like that, I'm sure their lawns are looking great in spite of the drought. On a scale of 1 to 10 on the shittitude meter, that's probably like a 12 or 13.

Comment Re:just kill eval (Score 1) 56 56

Javascript's eval can be very useful in general, and in fact, the most useful form of it is when you *are* invoking it on dynamically generated code that simply cannot be as concisely expressed in any other way. That's not to say it's impossible, but it can often be a darn sight more convoluted to not use eval in Javascript to get a particular job done than it would be to write it using statically compilable code. Some may argue that this is a flaw in the design of the language itself, but I would personally be reluctant to quickly discard the feature entirely simply because of its potential for abuse in this particular way. I would suggest that there are almost certainly other ways to achieve the desired ends, but they most probably involve much more complex intermediate goals.

Blocking eval itself isn't generally a solution anyways, since javascript within the browser could invoke 'document write' to place additional code into the page where it is executing, and then simply directly call a function that it dynamically added to the page using such a technique to achieve the exact same thing as what could be done using eval.

I suspect the longer term solution is for browsers to sandbox javascript pretty tightly.... malicious code that detects such sandboxing as an attempt to evade detection as such may not get detected by the browser as problematic, but still won't be able to accomplish anything because it will still be inside of the sandbox, and when the code tries to do something that is prohibited, it can be immediately flagged at that time rather than just trying to detect it at page load time.

Comment Re:2 time the gravity thought (Score 4, Informative) 134 134

from TFA, mass of the planet is 5x Earth Mass.

I'm not sure what you were reading.... From the page linked to the summary:

Scientists do not know if Kepler-452b can support life or not. What is known about the planet is that it is about 60 percent larger than Earth, placing it in a class of planets dubbed "super-Earths." While its mass and composition are not yet determined, previous research suggests that planets the size of Kepler-452b have a better than even chance of being rocky.

So I'm not sure where you got 5 times the mass from.

In fact, if we assume composition similar to earth, a planet 1.6 times the size of earth would have 4.096 (1.6 cubed) times the mass of earth

Because gravitational pull falls with the square of the distance, we could divide 1.6 cubed times the mass of earth by the square of 1.6 gives us exactly 1.6 times earth's gravitational pull at the surface of the planet. Thus, assuming identical composition, surface gravity scales linearly with diameter. While it probably doesn't have absolutely identical composition to Earth, there is not yet any compelling reason at this time to speculate that its composition would be drastically different either. Certainly if its density were 25% heavier than that of earth, then the mass (and surface gravity) would be exactly as you described. According to the page, we do not know that information yet, however.

"Virtual" means never knowing where your next byte is coming from.

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