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Comment Bugs mistaken as features? (Score 3, Funny) 161

| Last night Larry Wall unveiled the first development release of Perl 6, joking that now a top priority was fixing bugs that could be mistaken for features.

Sounds good.

| The new language features meta-programming — the ability to define new bits of syntax on your own to extend the language, and even new infix operators.

Hey Larry, I found a huge bug which could be mistaken as a feature!

Comment And in Lisp, you do nothing but that (Score 1) 91

> GPL means you can't extend the language without the extensions being under the GPL.

| This is possible because, like in Lisp, programs are data. ELIoT has no keywords, and program constructs such as loops or if-then-else are defined in the library rather than in the language. This makes the language very flexible and extensible, so that you can adapt it to the needs of your application.

There's little difference here, the code of the 'language and libraries' merges with yours assimilating your code with its GPL cooties/holiness.

When all you have is a lispy piece of (goo), all problems look like they can be solved with (goo (goo))---for some future modification of (goo (goo (goo))) to be implemented by somebody else..

Comment Re:There is clearly more going on here (Score 1) 249

The fact that climate changed 8200 years ago from natural causes does nothing to disprove that humans are causing climate change now. If you're an ER physician and you see a patient with a hole in his heart and a bullet, do you say "my diagnosis is natural causes, the last 10 people with heart problems all had atherosclerosis"? Only on global warming do people buy into such foolishness.

In fact, in both cases, we know what the specific physics is:

a) Milankovitch cycles causing a maximum of effective solar driving & change in North Atlantic heating & circulation {we are now in the decreasing forcing phase of the cycle} We are NOT on an upturn now, we are on the downturn.

b) fossil greenhouse gases added to atmosphere much faster than they are being sequestered resulting in higher infrared forcing.

The specific details of the attribution of the latter mechanism are based on MUCH more than just armchair "oh we're seeing warming" --- it's what climateology has been working on for the last 40-50 years. For instance, poles warming more than equatorial regions, stratosphere cooling, night warming more than day, and not only that but direct observation of change of atmospheric infrared properties correlated exactly with the chemical changes and resulting physical effects as predicted from lab experimentation.

There's tremendous observational evidence connected to specific physical mechanism.

Comment Re:Cheap hardware. Smart Software (Score 1) 86

The problem is when managers want to replicate this with cheap commodity developers and cheap commodity IT support on top of unreliable hardware infrastructure instead of the expensive, and rare, high-end personnel and internal resources that Google and Facebook have.

Since most companies won't be able to hire the top 1% of those people, might it be more worthwhile to buy more reliable and expensive hardware?

Comment Re:Today's computer science corriculum is practica (Score 1) 154

| We have hired, and let go, 3 "computer science" majors who didn't know how to calculate a range of IPs given a single IP and a netmask. Two of them didn't even know what the netmask DID!

Were they still incompetent after googling "What is IP netmask", and most importantly, be able to read and understand the results?

Comment Re: Paywall (Score 1) 154

I found GUI programming with Angular & Javascript substantially more opaque, odd and unpredictable, than anything else I've worked on.

In reality, success in college and further degrees are 'g' (what psychologists call 'IQ' in the academic literature) filters. Software systems are complex and difficult and only some have the mental capacity to succeed well in them.

The study topics in computer science and other technical degrees at a significant school is generally difficult all-around in many cognitive areas similar to the tasks necessary in industry. Graduate school and academic scientific research is more intellectually difficult than industry programming.

Comment Re:Renewable versus fossil - where is nuclear? (Score 0) 292

| On the other hand, $2bn in renewables will have a measurable effect.

But only incremental progress, not breakthrough, because you're profoundly limited by laws of thermodynamics & energy/entropy density.

There's no Moore's law for energy. Less is less, not more.

In the 1960's when microelectronic chips started, the state of the technology was many orders of magnitude away from the fundamental limits, i.e. the size of the atoms. There was tremendous unused headroom to grow into. {now those limits are starting to bite}.

In energy that wasn't the case and still isn't.

Comment Re:you never hear of having USN nuclear problems (Score 1) 292

| It has never been possible for privately owned terrestrial nuclear power plants to make a profit. NOT EVER. This is an independently verifiable stone cold FACT

Sure, because it's competing against coal and gas which pass their externalities of wrecking the planetary ecosystem at zero cost to everybody else and their descendants.

If coal and gas had to sequester their output as much as nuclear, nuclear would obviously be cheapest because it's much easier to capture a small amount of solid waste instead of immense amounts of gas.

Comment Re:Kids don't understand sparse arrays (Score 2) 128

I think the poster above clearly understood the problem domain, in that the most common uses for "sparse array" is a "sparse matrix" for numerical computations.

And moreover, as is the case, the problem domain of matrix computations is known to be deep and problem-dependent, with a wide variety of representations and solution categories.

| But by all means, go ahead and implement your own formats for each of the various types of sparse matrices you are likely to encounter. Then optimize operations for each. Then implement complex algebra (eigenvalues, svd, QR, the works). In the end, hope that your brand spanking new wheel has no corners and works for enough use cases to justify not employing a standardized wheel. A smarter person than me said something along the lines of premature optimization and evils, but I suppose it does not apply to your brand of genius.

I see an unjustified insult against the previous poster.

The various cases and solvers have already been implemented in many important software packages for different domains, and given the centrality of matrix operations in high performance computing, this is not a premature optimization but rather the essential, core implementation and algorithmic optimization flowing from the proper mathematical treatment of the problem.

And his point was not at all to re-do everything yourself, but to be aware that there are in fact many varieties of sparse matrices in various settings and that this is not just a software-abstraction problem but a key mathematical problem, and there is no simple over-arching software abstraction that works well universally. The post described well-established problem domains with high-quality solutions.

Simply being aware of this not-always obvious fact is an example of scientific maturity.

Comment cost of lithium? (Score 2) 214

Where does cost of lithium end up $300 / lb, i.e. ~ $660 / kg ?

I'm seeing prices of bulk lithium carbonate at $6000 per metric ton, i.e. about $6 per kg.

Molecular weight of lithium carbonate is about 74, which has two lithiums in it at about 6.9 each, so total lithium is ~13.8 of the 74,
so cost of elemental lithium ignoring reduction costs is ~ $32 per kg.

Where do you get anything near $300 / lb?

Comment Re:He chose to not exercise his 5th amendment righ (Score 1) 510

| It may be that the statute of limitation on the original crime has expired and these follow on crimes are what is still possible to prosecute. Obviously I don't know what the prosecutors are planning but I'm pretty sure there is a good reason. I doubt they would be worrying about these lesser charges if statutory rape were a charge they could use.

That would be a state crime, not a federal crime. The state would have to prosecute him for that one unless there was some kidnapping/sex trafficking crime involved.

The problem with that is the supposed victim would have to testify, and then be open to charges of blackmail himself.

If Hastert's lobbying career is over, he may find it worthwhile to sue the blackmailer to get his money back.

Comment Re:Good talk about this at popehat (Score 1) 510

| He could have just made one large wire transfer, documented it, paid the gift taxes, and had the whole thing be over.

The problem with that is that when the blackmailer decides it isn't over. Hence, need for ongoing payments to motivate both sides.

I'm pretty sure that blackmail is a Federal offense as well, and hence wanted cash.

Comment Re:sampling bias (Score 2) 405

| One of the reasons politicians took the Tea Party members seriously is because

their attitudes were useful to advance the desires of the exceptionally wealthy and powerful who sponsor politiicans

But you think it's really the haircut? If they just cleaned up a bit then substantial efforts to restrain the privileges of the powerful would materialize?

My computer can beat up your computer. - Karl Lehenbauer