Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment Re:That must be a joke. (Score 1) 1067 1067

NaN is a reasonable "Default" value for 1/0, and has the advantage that it propagates without you checking for it.

Or disadvantage that it propagates. Many years ago I spent weeks banging my head against a pile of 10,000 lines of badly structured Fortran on CDC equipment that I had inherited responsibility for. That hardware cheerfully allowed division by zero, storing the equivalent of NaN as the result. At a relatively enormous distance away in both source code and execution, the NaN was used in an addition operation and at that point the machine generated a fault. Ultimately the problem was an off-by-one upper limit in a DO loop, but finding it made me crazy. It would have been far easier to find if the divide-by-zero had generated a fault.

Ever since, I have been rabidly of the opinion that divide-by-zero is an error condition, and that execution can proceed only if the programmer has provided some sort of try/catch structure that catches the fault.

Comment Re:See how it is already done (Score 1) 257 257

The Buffs still in the air are newer than that, dating only to the early 60s. While much of the airframe may be original kit, everything else in them (including avionics and other electronics) has been replaced multiple times, the electronics with all-new designs. The most recent upgrade cycle started in 2013.

Comment Re:The kernel was tied to the culture (Score 4, Insightful) 469 469

Consider the following anecdote:

Around 1994 or 1995 I was starting an applied research project that needed an oddball sort of network widget. I e-mailed Alan Cox, whose group was handling most of the Linux network staff at the time, describing what I was trying to do. I got an e-mail back the next day that was basically: "Sounds cool! Ethernet sockets might be able to do the job (draft documentation attached). If not, let me know and we can discuss the best place for you to add a hook to the IP stack." Ethernet sockets were sufficient; I had a basic version of the widget up and running after a couple of long weeks; it was impressive enough that mgmt let me run with.

No way any of the other kernel projects were going to treat me that well.

Comment Re:No, but... (Score 1) 109 109

I know a small group of people who have developed a software package that, among other things it can do in terms of reading, can score essays. The license fees are quite steep, but the customers seem happy. From casual conversation, there were a number of properly designed studies that showed the software was somewhat better than people hired to score essays on a piece-work basis (the typical arrangement for large national tests). That was a few years ago; the software has probably improved more than the human readers since then.

Comment Re:Idiotic (Score 1) 591 591

Indeed. I used to be a budget analyst for the state legislature in my state, and the cost for the various procedures that are followed in the event the prosecutor is asking for a death sentence runs about a million dollars. The extra costs cover a very thorough audit of the process, from initial investigation through final sentencing, and the costs of the appeals up through several levels of courts. State prison costs run about $35K per year per inmate, so that million dollars would cover almost 30 years of incarceration. The entire legal process from beginning to end typically takes ten years, so the state will pay for 10 years incarceration in addition to the million.

The death sentence is seldom sought. We do have one case in progress now where the prosecutor is seeking the death sentence; the accused killed 12 and injured 70 in a mass shooting. I can fairly safely say that the accused did it, as he offered, through his attorney, to plead guilty if the sentence was life without parole. After almost three years, the case has reached jury selection. The trial will be a travesty of dueling experts arguing over whether the accused was insane at the time or not. I figure there's a fair chance the verdict will be not guilty by reason of insanity, and he'll still get life without parole despite all the bills the prosecutor is racking up.

Comment Re:Energy use (Score 1) 332 332

I'm a westerner, and biased, but the West has more cause than other regions to say, "Let's watch and see if this next-gen stuff works somewhere else before we try it." Ranging from open-air nuclear tests in Nevada to Hitachi screwing up a billion-dollar repair to New Mexico fining the feds $54M for sloppy practices at WIPP, and a whole bunch of things in between.

Comment Re:Energy use (Score 1) 332 332

For various reasons, added nuclear is a political non-starter in the American West broadly and California specifically. The states in the Western Interconnect are down to six commercial reactors. If it were put to a vote, Washington would almost certainly close the reactor at the Columbia Generating Station; similarly, California would likely vote to close the two reactors at Diablo Canyon. PG&E, the operator at Diablo Canyon, has put the license renewal on hold while they look at the impact of California's new thermal pollution standard. Since conforming would likely require adding (large unsightly) cooling towers at a price of $2-4B, I suspect that the renewal application will eventually be withdrawn, and Diablo Canyon will shut down when its current licenses expire in 2024 and 2025.

Comment Re:Lies, bullshit, and more lies ... (Score 4, Insightful) 442 442

A friend of mine who works as a high school counselor is telling people to go business, accounting, or law.

The job market for new graduates from anywhere but the big name law schools is terrible, has been getting worse for years, and shows no sign of improving in the future. Word is getting back and enrollment at lower-tier law schools has fallen off so much that the schools are getting desperate. Many have lowered their admission standards, and they've started lobbying to make the state bar exams easier.

Comment Re:HOWTO (Score 1) 1081 1081

As the article notes, no medical personnel would have to be involved. So the prosecutor who sought the death penalty could be required to throw the switch/open the valve/whatever. I've always thought that prosecutors would be much more reluctant to ask for the death penalty if they were the ones who had to do the killing.

Comment Re:this isnt an "obamacare" thing. (Score 1) 130 130

Medical practices, especially small practices, who haven't followed the changes to HIPAA that have occurred outside of the context of the ACA, will be in for a rude surprise if they're sloppy enough about their security practices ("willfully negligent") and have a breach. The civil fines have gotten much higher, are easier to impose, and it's much harder for the medical practice to hide behind service companies.

Your good nature will bring you unbounded happiness.

Working...