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Comment: Re:MatLab is not really a good programming languag (Score 1) 205

by orzetto (#48203683) Attached to: The One App You Need On Your Resume If You Want a Job At Google

You might have noted I wrote, "OO support as C++", where I meant "well thought-out OO support". There is OO in Matlab, but it's just like claiming Fortran has OO support. Technically true, but added as an afterthought, and most code out there does not use it.

you somehow missed that semi-colons are not statement terminators

Why yes you could write without them, but then you would get an echo on every assignment on the prompt. No sane person would do that in production code. In practice, all statements in M-files need to be semicolon-terminated.

You should have known this if you had actually worked with even a modicum of MatLab script.

FYI I was on Matlab/Simulink several years (before moving to Scilab, Octave and C++), and I actually held a course in Matlab for undergrads at a Max Planck Institute when I worked in Germany.

Comment: Re:About CVS Only! Not SVN! (Score 1) 245

by orzetto (#48193895) Attached to: Help ESR Stamp Out CVS and SVN In Our Lifetime

[...] because those files are binary and very large

No VCS is meant to do this, neither Git, SVN and certainly not CVS. Those files don't belong in a VCS because you cannot make a diff between them. Small binary files (e.g. icons in a website) are a small nuisance, but there is no point in storing large binary blobs in a VCS regularly. What you need is a backup system, not a version-control system.

(2) permanently delete those files that I know I will no longer need

SVN allows to do this with svndumpfilter (and I was unaware CVS had any way to do this). And no it should not be made any easier, no one should be allowed to monkey around with the repository history with any less than admin rights. If you find yourself regularly removing files from a VCS, it means you have been adding too many useless files. Again, you want backup for this, not VCS.

Comment: MatLab is not really a good programming language (Score 5, Interesting) 205

by orzetto (#48175477) Attached to: The One App You Need On Your Resume If You Want a Job At Google

MatLab is an old, crufty, feature-creeped script engine that I try to hold myself away from as much as I can. As a researcher and academic (got up to post-doc), Matlab is indeed ubiquitous in academia, but it's mostly due to entrenched positions. I see fewer and fewer people using Matlab these days, and that's a good thing.

Matlab is by all means not a fourth-generation programming language: it is procedural just like Fortran, which it supplanted in academia, but it does not have type-checking as C, it does not have OO support as C++, it does not do away with semicolons as end-of-line markers like Python; true, it has some advance features like OO and some functional programming, but (almost) nobody uses them, and most Matlab code is a horrible cruft made by self-not-so-well-taught academics. There is nothing in Matlab you cannot do better in Python with scipy, numpy, matplotlib and pandas. Or with declarative PLs like Modelica.

Matlab is also known for outrageous prices, leveraging on the fact their customer base are universities with big pockets and small administrative brains, and large corporations: they split their code base in many small chunks, and for each you need to pay more and more: as the saying goes, In Matlab you cannot do shit unless you buy a licence for the Toilet Paper toolbox.

Long story short: Matlab is the Perl of academia.

Comment: Original link has more data (Score 3, Informative) 403

by orzetto (#48091253) Attached to: Fuel Efficiency Numbers Overstate MPG More For Cars With Small Engines

The study is by Emission Analytics, and here is the original link (as opposed to TFA from The Telegraph).

Note some misleading elements from TFA: they show only the three smaller classes for UK cars, seemingly indicating that small cars are the worst gas guzzlers, whereas cars with higher engine sizes are actually much worse according to the original study (see the graph). So the lesson is: still buy a small car, just not a very small one for best fuel efficiency.

Another interesting bit that is not in TFA is that the data for US cars is different: there, cars between 1 and 3 liters in volume (I assume this is the large majority of the car pool) have less than half the mileage. Also, the smallest US cars are actually the most efficient of any class, even though their efficiency is below UK average.

Comment: Re:Simple answer (Score 1) 942

by orzetto (#48036199) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

Water freezes at zero and boils at one hundred. What could be simpler?

0 is a cold winter day, and 100 is a hot summer day.

Yeah right, with your system you need to wait at least six months to calibrate a thermometer.

Besides, different places on Earth have different extreme temperatures. The same place on Earth has different extreme temperatures from year to year.

Water is a good reference because it freezes and boils at the same temperature everywhere, with minimal deviation for atmospheric pressure (that can in any case be easily compensated for), and the test can be arranged with the simplest tools; any kitchen can marshal ice and boiling water within minutes.

And in any case, the right temperature unit is the kelvin. Why is anyone even considering negative temperatures? Molecules cannot move with negative velocity!

Comment: Re:In other news... (Score 2) 216

Think of [Hambach Tagebau] as an anti-nuclear exclusion zone, like Fukushima but getting bigger instead of being cleaned up..

Quite ridiculous proposition: you cannot get cancer by entering the mine, nor is it incompatible with human life, and once depleted the mine reverts to normal soil on which you can grow crops. See the map of open-pit mines near Cologne that you mentioned, and compare the satellite images of the same area. Notice how the areas of previous development (Frechen, Zukunft-West, Bergheim) have been re-converted to agriculture.

Try doing that in Chernobyl, smartass.

Also: I know Muricans have issues with proper units of measure, but the size of the Fukushima exclusion zone is a semi-circle with a 20 km radius. That gives 3.14*20*20/2 or 625 square kilometres, 13 times the size of Garzweiler.

Comment: Re:article summary is wrong (Score 3) 51

by orzetto (#47746163) Attached to: Aussie Airlines To Allow Uninterrupted Mobile Use During Flights

That is correct, but other companies do offer mobile coverage on board: I have flown with SAS planes with on-board GSM, and whereas I did not try it (waaay too expensive rates, it's the new iteration of the airplane phone) I got signal on my device.

You still have to put the device in flight mode for take-off and landing, I assume because a few hundred mobile phones moving at several hundred km/h can overload or confuse ground stations.

WiFi is also made available only when cruising over 3000 metres, I assume because the Internet connection travels over the same data channel the GSM. You can't really play Youtube over the slow connection, but checking mail and reading newspaper is OK.

Comment: Re:Safety margins (Score 2) 299

by orzetto (#47375029) Attached to: Site of 1976 "Atomic Man" Accident To Be Cleaned

Of course you can be exposed for a short period of time to 500 times the legal concentration of most chemicals. The "legal limit" is usually designed so that regular, 8-hour daily exposure has no long-term health effects, just like the legal radiation limits. Granted, legal limits back then were less conservative.

Then of course it depends how you are exposed. ingestion is not the same as having skin contact. Methanol has a legal limit of 200 ppm, but I can put my hand in liquid methanol (by definition 1 million ppm, 5000 times the legal limit) for a short time and suffer no consequences.

Comment: Re:US has imprisonment badge - BS (Score 1, Interesting) 56

by orzetto (#46659683) Attached to: Oxford Internet Institute Creates Internet "Tube" Map

You can't go to jail in the US just for illegal use of the internet.

Yes you can, google up Justin River Carter. He made a hyperbolic, sarcastic comment on Facebook, and he's looking at up to 10 years in jail. Another case is Cameron D'Ambrosio's. The magic word is terrorism: if anyone is scared by what you say or says they are, you are fornicated.

You can for looking at kiddie porn, or threatening somebody, but those things were illegal before we had an internet.

Same you can say about any country with the imprisonment mark. It was illegal to mock Mohammed in Pakistan before the Internet, and now too. The imprisonment icon means, "you can go to jail after unwarranted, sweeping wiretapping of your Internet connection".

Comment: Re:I dont get it (Score 1) 551

by orzetto (#46571939) Attached to: Russians Take Ukraine's Last Land Base In Crimea

[...]made open threats against the west, repeatedly defied the United Nations, refused nuclear weapon inspections, and ultimately defied UN resolution 1441.

You realise that if you change "West" with "Iran" and make "resolution 1441" into "a bunch of UN resolutions" you get a description fitting Israel, right? And if you change "West" with "India" it becomes Pakistan? With "South Korea" it becomes North Korea? With "Taiwan" the PRC (well not the UN part since they have veto right)? The world is full of militaristic nations threatening neighbours and defying UN resolutions. Cannot see any invasions there, possibly because these countries are either allies, or pose a credible military challenge, or are not sitting on a bunch of oil.

This is why Iraq was invaded by a coalition made of mostly the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Australia, Poland, Portugal, and Denmark with 33 other countries providing some form of troop support.

You are either disingenuous or a complete fool. Iraq was invaded because it was an easy prey, rich in oil resources and with a nonexistent defense capacity. Generals could be bribed off the field. It was an overwhelmingly US operation, with some support from a subservient UK, and only nominal support from a bunch of countries thrown in only for the effect of inflating the number you quoted. Some of these countries did not even have an army (Iceland, Palau, Micronesia, Solomon Islands), others were countries looking to appease the US (most Eastern European countries) or failed states whose leaders could be bought (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan).

The casus belli was that Saddam Hussein was manufacturing WMDs for Al-Quaeda; at least according to Colin Powell. That was a big, fat lie by the US. It was even less credible of a Polish invasion of Germany in 1939 (at least Poland had an army: Saddam Hussein had neither WMDs nor Al-Qaeda), and the execution of the invasion was a textbook war of aggression, the punishment for which in Nuremberg was death by hanging.

Comment: Re:Are we not advanced enough to use UTC Time? (Score 1) 310

by orzetto (#46453049) Attached to: Daylight Saving Time ...

If employers|government really cared why don't they just say 'our office hours are 8am-4pm from October to March and 9-5 the rest of the year' or whatever?

Because the government or companies cannot simply dictate when people or companies should work, that is usually written down in employment contracts. It is much more convenient to centrally move one reference clock one hour ahead or back than renegotiating millions of contracts every six months.

Are people such sheep that as long as the number on the clock is the same as yesterday they'll blindly get up whenever you want but if you ask them to get up at a different time they'll revolt?

Most certainly yes. Changing the common time guarantees that we can go on living our lives as normal, and follow the same schedule. There are no synchronisation issues since everybody switches at the same time.

More than sheep, we people are sloths, we don't like doing useless stuff. If the office hours change, we will keep our private schedule identical and still meet with friends at 20. The point of DST is to make sure people use more daylight and save power, so it needs to influence the habits of people in their leisure time as well.

Comment: Re:And Modern Chinese have no Native Cheese (Score 4, Informative) 64

by orzetto (#46367013) Attached to: Ancient Chinese Mummies Discovered In Cheesy Afterlife

Indeed that is correct, Chinese do not like cheese. However the mummies are from the Xiahoe tomb complex in the Xinjiang, whose name in Chinese means "New Frontier". People there are more central Asian than Han Chinese, and China gained control of the area only in the 17th century. Still today, Chinese characters are used side-by-side with Arabic in street signs and such (see Urumqi train station for example).

Point being, culture there is different, and was not even in contact with Han Chinese at the time of the mummies.

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