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Comment Re:Gun-free zone? (Score 1) 1136

Right, in the world. Amongst developed nations, it's certainly number 1 in that sense, by miles and miles.

Only if you count Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago, and New York as part of any "developed nation".

Take the gun violence from those locations out of US statistics, and where would the US be?

Probably in the same position as before if you take the two or three biggest/most violent cities of those other countries out as well.

Comment Re:Worse than the space station? No. (Score 1) 683

Well, if you were one of the sailors on the first circumnavigation of the world (Magellan, 1519-22), the probability that you wouldn't come home alive was about 92%, breathable air or not. That's certainly higher than any conceivable Mars trip today would incur (unless you count in the proposed one-way mission profiles). In fact, I'm pretty sure if you make a serious and educated estimate of how likely it would be to die on such a trip and put that in a historical context, you wouldn't have had that good a chance of surviving an intercontinental sea voyage until the mid or late 18th century or so. By that time however, thousands upon thousands of people routinely made such trips, and contrary to space travellers today, not all of them did it voluntarily, and most of the others were low-paid sailors who were forced by serious economic pressure and would've had no income if they refused to participate.

Comment Re:Brussels to Sydney (Score 1) 221

I got no idea where all that came from, except possibly as an Australian Government misinformation campaign because they were having to reject too many American applicants and the Americans were getting nasty about it but I mean seriously grizzly bear versus koala bear which would you rather meet out in a forest or mountain line versus Tasmanian devil, sure the devil sounds worse, much worse but not really a problem.

Yeah, but then whenever I'd discover one of these in my room I'd have to burn the house down and be homeless afterwards, which is not so convenient in a place with so many free-running monsters.

Comment Re:Free money isn't free (Score 1) 1291

Technological progress trumps all redistribution schemes when it comes to standard of living, because the former is exponential growth, while the latter is a constant.

Who's to say you won't have technological progress once you have basic income? The question would rather be, who gets to participate and reap the benefits of that progress when there are no jobs for more and more people. And this is a real possibility, contrary to what many free-market enthusiasts think. There's almost no job that absolutely couldn't be automated. Even the job of doing the automation, and even creative jobs, might be automated some day. And you can always reduce the argument to the extreme: What happens if/when we achieve technological singularity? By then at the very latest, the concept of having to work in order to live seems absurd.

And technological progress isn't exponential, btw. The changes in the technology world from 1960 to today have been less pronounced than those between 1905 and 1960. The biggest "recent" change was probably the internet, but all in all our world isn't so much different from the one in the 1960s, whereas at the beginning of the 20th century there were no airplanes (let alone air travel for everyone), no TVs, no washers, no penicillin, no computers, almost no telephones, and not even any electricity in households.

Comment heavenly origins (Score 1) 622

Brian Booker writes at Digital Journal that carbon dating suggests the Koran, or at least portions of it, may actually be older than the prophet Muhammad himself, a finding that if confirmed could rewrite early Islamic history and shed doubt on the "heavenly" origins of the holy text.

Umm, I actually have doubts about the "heavenly" origins of anything. Did someone actually write the above in a scientific paper? What test result would have confirmed the "heavenly" origins of that book? Those researchers seem to assume that the C-14 dating period should have started the moment that Koran was "handed" to Mohammed. That would imply that this heaven/god thing makes books out of carbon fetched from living things or the upper atmosphere, at the moment it hands them down to us. That would be kind of pedestrian, wouldn't it? Shouldn't He have instant access to all the carbon resources of the universe? Like, if He made the Koran out of carbon fetched from the Martian atmosphere or from some stellar core, there would be no C-14 in that, so C-14 dating would give "infinite"/undefined results.

Comment Re:Ubuntu _is_ primarily a desktop OS... (Score 1) 167

Debian does releases. They also provide a rolling release, but that isn't the only option.

testing and unstable are rolling releases. stable is a fixed release, but it's too old for most people to use. So if you want to have a halfway recent Debian with fixed packet versions, you have to roll your own or use one of the ones that other people (like Ubuntu) already provide.

They also provide security updates for their releases, so normally "patching in" security updates is done using apt-get.

I know, but if you're running your own fixed-release Debian, you'd have to build those packages yourself.

Comment Re:Ubuntu _is_ primarily a desktop OS... (Score 1) 167

It's almost as bloated with junk as the desktop version. I've been telling our developers to use debian over ubuntu. A base minimal container with Debian is under a 100 megs. With Ubuntu it's close to 700 megs.

Debian is a rolling release distribution, with no direct commercial support. You can't use it to achieve repeatable rollouts and provisioning unless you set up and support your own Debian mirror with all package versions freezed at some known-good, conflict-free state, and patch in security updates as necessary, while still ensuring and testing that the whole system still works. If you DON'T want to do all this yourself, there are companies who will do it for you and provide commercial support. Ubuntu is one of those companies.

Comment Re: Oracle's monopoly? (Score 1) 457

Any API reimplementation is built for the purpose of interoperability.

No. To take the present example, Google's Java API is clearly not interoperable with the original Java code.

Yes it is. You can compile and run source code that uses the common subset of Google's and Sun's APIs for both Google's and Sun's VM. That's not accidental, it's intentional, because the thing was built for the purpose of interoperability.

Every nonzero finite dimensional inner product space has an orthonormal basis. It makes sense, when you don't think about it.