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Comment Re:Plot Hole (Score 1) 179

Someone making authoritative comments on Slashdot, and yet not well-versed in the Tolkien lore? How could this be? :)

Galadriel was not a Firstborn at all, she was of the royal house of the Noldor, being a daughter of Finarfin.

Saruman was certainly a maia - how is that unclear? It says so in the Unfinished Tales.

Comment Re:Goal Post: Mysticism (Score 3) 285

The way I interpret the test is that the output must not be intended to be produced by some pre-programmed process. Not that you couldn't debug it which would obviously be impossible on anything short of a quantum computer.

On the other hand, I claim that if I train a neural network on some sheet music, it would be able to produce a new melody. And that melody would not be in any way pre-programmed (like a child learning from experience is not pre-programmed), and it will be original. Where can I collect my prize?

Comment Re:I wish they'd cut it out (Score 1) 276

I live in the Silicon Valley, and I had a choice of moving to NYC, and chose not to. Basically for the same reason - not a great place to raise a family. In the valley, your huge companies aren't all on top of each other and their employees aren't always competing over the same one-mile-radius from the center. You have Google in Mountain View, Apple in Cupertino, Yahoo in Santa Clara, Facebook in Menlo Park, etc. That makes commutes saner and housing cheaper. And each of these cities has its own little "cultural" thing, and you can go to one of the larger cities for bigger events and places.

Comment Re:George Orwell would approve (Score 4, Interesting) 373

In 1953, when Stalin died, the Great Soviet Encyclopedia was in the middle of being published. In the reshuffle the chief of State Security, Lavrentiy Beria, was declared a spy, but his article was in the B volume which was already published. As a result, an update was sent to all libraries in the form of a page be glued on top of his article, and the encyclopedia has an unexpectedly long article on the Bering Sea.

Comment Scary (Score 3, Informative) 99

So I looked at the Perl5To6 Manual, and it gave me a headache. Really, I had to get some medicine just now. There used to be 10 ways to do anything in Perl 5, and in Perl 6 there's 20. And operators are approaching APL in obscureness and number. It has ways of being even more terse at the expense of the maintainer's head possibly exploding. Some changes are very nice and clean up some weirdness, but they compensated for it with a vengeance.

There's macros, and more contexts (where function returns different things depending on how its value is getting used), and meta-operators, and operator overloading on never-before-seen scale, and weird variant types, and ways to embed an enum into any object, even more complicated regular expressions, and so on ...

Comment Re:Differenciation (Score 1) 680

This is a great approach, but it has a big drawback: it relies on students' ignorance. If the class has anyone remotely interested in math, he'd know about this topic way before it's done in class. I learned basic calculus in 7th grade because I was curious about integral signs and what not. That was 3 years before I saw it in class. And there were several other kids in class who already saw it at that point. In fact we've discussed it in Physics (velocity, etc) before we talked about it in Math.

Comment Re:Like Father Like Son (Score 1) 155

Interesting, Sergey's father faced the problem of having to compromise by abandoning his faith and culture in order to get the job he wanted (astronomer) or stay Jewish and be reduced/stunted in a select set of careers.

Actually, you have no clue. It was impossible to become non-Jewish in Soviet Union. Most Jews tried, I think. If it were possible, I think many would have succeeded. It has nothing to do with faith anyway, most people were atheists. It had to do with ethnicity, whether you parents were Jews.

Comment Re:One suite, two suite... (Score 1) 262

You have to be careful about generalizations. They may all be amoral (or not, I don't especially care), but they happen to vote in certain predictable ways, different for each one, so by supporting a certain politician over another, you can in fact get different results. Just don't fall in love with them.

Comment Re:Dead man walking (Score 5, Insightful) 176

I think you are forgetting that the man is appealing to Putin, not against him, and very respectfully, too. It's an old Russian tradition - to appeal to the czar against evil officials. Putin rather likes playing rescuer, swooping in and punishing the evildoers. So it may well turn out allright for him.

United States

Discuss the US Presidential Election 1912

We made it. It's election day. Tomorrow we'll know. So for today's election discussion story, I'm throwing it wide open: let's discuss the election itself. Who are your picks and why. And also what about your actual experience voting today? Did Diebold eat your vote or did everything go off without flaw?

If I have not seen so far it is because I stood in giant's footsteps.

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