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Comment: Bigger issues (Score 1) 1089

by photonic (#49295843) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US
I am neutral to mandatory voting. I believe they have this in Belgium, but it is not strictly enforced with sanctians, so the polical system works similar to neighboring countries. America has bigger political issues: 1) too large influence on politics of big money: by rich people via superPacs and by corporations via lobbying or outricht corruption. 2) Effective two party system, where everything is decided on a single left-right axis, so that non-issues like gun rights and being patriotic or christian enough decide all national politics. Fix these two issues first., then we can discuss mandatory voting.
Programming

Was Linus Torvalds Right About C++ Being So Wrong? 757

Posted by Soulskill
from the harsh-language-about-a-harsh-language dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes: Perhaps the most famous rant against C++ came from none other than Linus Torvalds in 2007. "C++ is a horrible language," he wrote, for starters. "It's made more horrible by the fact that a lot of substandard programmers use it, to the point where it's much much easier to generate total and utter crap with it." He's not alone: A lot of developers dislike how much C++ can do "behind the scenes" with STL and Boost, leading to potential instability and inefficiency. And yet there's still demand for C++ out there. Over at Dice, Jeff Cogswell argues that C++ doesn't deserve the hatred. "I've witnessed a lot of 'over-engineering' in my life, wherein people would write reusable classes with several layers of inheritance, even though the reusable class wasn't actually used more than once," he wrote. "But I would argue that's the exception, not the norm; when done right, generic programming and other high-level aspects of C++ can provide enormous benefits." Was Linus going overboard?
Sci-Fi

Harrison Ford's Plane Crashes On Golf Course 117

Posted by samzenpus
from the kessel-run-practice dept.
First time accepted submitter dark.nebulae writes Harrison Ford's PT-22 crash landed on a golf course in Los Angeles. From the article: "Actor Harrison Ford was hospitalized Thursday afternoon after a single-engine plane he was piloting crashed onto a Venice golf course shortly after takeoff. Just before 4:30 p.m. a family member confirmed to NBC4 that the actor is 'fine' and suffered a few gashes. Aerial footage of the minutes after the crash showed the small single-engine vintage World War II trainer plane crashed on the ground at Penmar Golf Club, and one person being treated by paramedics and being transported to a hospital. Firefighters described his injuries were described as 'moderate.'"

Comment: Wolfram Alpha (Score 1) 210

by photonic (#49074953) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Stephen Wolfram a Question
I am not sure if we will get some personal answers out of this guy, I guess he will just forware every single question into one of these websites that claim to know everything. Serioudly, though, what do you think of Elon Musk's fear of A.I., and when do you think that Wolfram Alpha will become self aware?

Comment: Re:The Secret of Nim (Score 2) 520

by photonic (#49061029) Attached to: Nim Programming Language Gaining Traction
I completely disagree. I have worked extensively both with Matlab and Numpy, and I much prefer Python's 0-based indexing and half-open intervals over Matlab's 1-based indexing and closed intervals. Edsger Dijkstra, the famous computer scientist, explained why this is a good idea. E.g. splitting the first n items off an array in Matlab is head = x(1:n); tail = x(n+1:end) , while in Python it is head = x[:n]; tail = x[n:] . Even worse is when doing some computation over blocks within an array, in Matlab you do for i=1:n; y(i) = fun(x((i-1)*m+1:i*m)); end , while in Python it is for i in range(n): y[i] = fun(x[i*m:i*m+m]) . In Matlab, you always have to think careful about the extra +-1, which causes many off-by-one errors, while in Python you just write it down intuitively.

Comment: Re:Twitter: Ran out of Hydralic fluid (Score 1) 213

by photonic (#48782005) Attached to: SpaceX Rocket Launch Succeeds, But Landing Test Doesn't
The fact that he can make this claim only half a day after the fact (so I assume they had no time to piece together the debris) means that they did recover the most valuable part: the telemetry. Overall, they achieved probably 95% of the required challenges. With around 5 successful retro burns, 1 low-level flame out due to loss of roll control, 2 soft water landings, 1 bullseye impact on a boat and around ten successful low altitude tests with grasshopper, only extremely bad luck can stop them from making a good landing in the next few attempts.
Television

Dish Pulls Fox News, Fox Business Network As Talks Break Down 275

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-fox-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes Fox News and Fox Business were pulled by Dish Network over the weekend, as both continue to argue over a fee agreement. From the article: "Dish said in a statement early Sunday morning that 21st Century Fox had blocked access to the two networks after Dish balked when rates for other networks owned by the media conglomerate were made a part of the negotiations. Tim Carry, executive vice president of distribution at Fox News Channel, countered in a statement that "Dish prematurely ceased distribution of Fox News in an attempt to intimidate and sway our negotiations. It is unfortunate that the millions of Fox News viewers on Dish were used as pawns by their provider. Hopefully they will vote with their hard earned money and seek another one of our other valued distributors immediately."

Comment: Make fun of them as much as possible (Score 2) 182

by photonic (#48625071) Attached to: US Links North Korea To Sony Hacking
Some years ago, an advertisement for a Dutch insurance company made fun of some Stalinist dictator, without mentioning North Korea by name. As far as I know, this did not cause any large-scale hacking warfare against the involved company, but Korean diplomats were not amused. Watch it here while you still can. This regime cannot be ridiculed enough, Sony should just release the whole movie for free.

Comment: Too expensive (Score 3, Interesting) 36

by photonic (#48592523) Attached to: OpenMotics Offers Open Source (and Open Hardware) Home Automation
With 50 euro for a power supply, 100 for a sensor conditioning module (without the sensors!), 300 for a base station and 800 for a complete starter pack, I don't care if it is open source or not, it is way out of budget for the casual hobbyist. There are already enough different alternatives, most of which appear to be vapourware. Home automation seems easy enough that many people who follow the IoT hype start their own project. But we don't need more standards, we need less. The best would be if one of the existing protocols (not necessary that one) would win, so that people could mix and match their own components, which don't have to be more fancy than some arduinos and RPis thrown together.

Comment: Advantage of x-wings over normal fins? (Score 1) 96

Can some aerospace engineer enlighten me about the advantage of these tennis-racket shaped x-wings over some standard steerable fins which you see e.g. on a guided missile? I could imagine that the grid-shaped 'louvers' could be seen as many small fins in parallel, but intuitively I would think that one big fin would have more effect. Is it something related to hyper-sonic aerodynamics? Or is it mechanically stronger?

Comment: Russian propaganda for the home audience (Score 4, Informative) 340

by photonic (#48393935) Attached to: Alleged Satellite Photo Says Ukraine Shootdown of MH17
For a decent debunking go to the Bellingcat blog. Also saw some graphic somewhere that clearly showed that the perspective was wrong by an order of magnitude, either the plane was 1 km wide or the satellie was orbiting at 20 km or so. This fake is so bad, that I think the only target audience is the Russian public, most of whom believe everything that Putin's propaganda machine feeds them. I have a Russian colleague, whom I normally regard reasonably high, that believes some really strange facts about this incident. She probably gets all her info from Russian websites.

"There is such a fine line between genius and stupidity." - David St. Hubbins, "Spinal Tap"

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