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Comment: Re:Same old, same old. (Score 1) 790

When I was nine, a classmate who had been bullying me for a couple years came up behind me during recess one day and started choking me. I'd had enough at that point, turned around, kneed him twice in the stomach and he dropped to the ground. I was given a detention, threatened with expulsion if it happened again and sent home. My parents were livid and had a very heated argument with the principal.

The school's policy was simple: all parties in a fight are punished equally, regardless of circumstances. That evening, my parents explained just how fucked up that rule was, and gave me a very simply lesson: if someone hits you, don't give them a chance to hit you again.

Comment: Re:Voting Schmoting (Score 2) 80

by rainmaestro (#42183195) Attached to: Facebook Users Voting On Privacy, Instagram, Other Issues

Nah, real friends don't give a fuck if you have Facebook (for reference, I don't). If they want to do something with me, they call, email, text, IM, whatever.

The real problem is with dating. Apologies to Artie Lange for tweaking one of his jokes: Tell a 25-year-old girl you just met who's trying to FB stalk you that you don't have a FB account, and she'll look at you like you're wearing a Revolutionary War outfit.

Comment: Class of '02 - Magnet Program (Score 1) 632

by rainmaestro (#41580769) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Were You Taught About Computers In High School?

I went to a magnet program ( so my experience isn't exactly representative of the typical public school curriculum. If I remember correctly, the breakdown was:

Freshman year: basic usage (Office, Photoshop, etc) and "intro programming" (Karel)
Sophomore year: Fortran, Pascal, intro C
Junior year: C++ (AP Comp Sci A)
Senior year: No required programming courses, but I took an elective course in OpenGL 1.2

We also had a fairly comprehensive math program to go with it. Algebra II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus and either AP Calc AB or AP Calc BC depending on your performance in Pre-Calc.

It was a pretty sweet program. The research lab there was better equipped than some of the engineering labs I used in college.

Comment: Re:But that's not the real problem. (Score 1) 1651

by rainmaestro (#41525503) Attached to: To Encourage Biking, Lose the Helmets

Amen. Down here, it isn't the casual cyclists that people hate, it is the massive clusterfuck of 200 "cycling enthusiasts" that take up the *entire* westbound lane of the road leading out to the beaches every Saturday morning. A 10-minute drive just became a 30-minute drive because it is impossible to pass a group of bicyclists that's the length of a city block without impeding traffic going in the opposite direction.

Comment: Re:What happened to the setback and trajectory reg (Score 1) 338

by rainmaestro (#37431638) Attached to: James Gosling Report of Reno Air Crash

Interestingly enough, Reno's buffer zone appears to actually be wider than required. Further reading in that FAA doc (AC 91-45C, the current FAA regs for Air Events) turns up this passage from Section 54.b:
"The unlimited racing class (or other new classes with speeds in excessof 250 miles per hour) requires a spacing of 1,000 feet between the spectator and the showline."

The showline being defined as "The edge of this raceway closest to the spectator area is generally the showline over which no aircraft is permitted to pass while racing."

So in theory, spectators can be as close as 1,000 feet to the flight path of the aircraft during an unlimited race. In the case of slower races where speeds are 250mph, this buffer zone is reduced to 500 feet.

Pretty close, but then I suppose that's the whole appeal of attending. Without the danger aspect of being so close to the action, most races would be pretty darn dull (watching planes and cars turn left for four hours isn't really my idea of a fun time).

Comment: Re:What happened to the setback and trajectory reg (Score 1) 338

by rainmaestro (#37430436) Attached to: James Gosling Report of Reno Air Crash

Except for the fact that the minimum safe distances DON'T account for that. Have a look at page 23 of the following PDF, that's the unlimited race course for Reno. Notice the safety buffer at the closest point: 1534'. You know how long it takes a plane going 450mph to travel 1534 ft? About 2 seconds.

Comment: Re:PROFILED (Score 1) 582

by rainmaestro (#36584154) Attached to: TSA Has 95-Year-Old Remove Her Diaper For Screening

Exactly. The likelihood of another suicide mission on a plane ever succeeding is very unlikely. The passengers know that you can't just sit back anymore.

My plumber was out last week, and he was telling me about a flight he was on a few years ago. Some guy (mentally unstable) freaked out and started running around the plane screaming. Three passengers tackled him and beat the shit out of him. That's the reality nowadays. 9/11 was a one-shot deal, you don't get to pull that off twice.

Comment: Re:what I did (Score 1) 510

by rainmaestro (#36556482) Attached to: Learning Programming In a Post-BASIC World

Definitely agree with Python.

In addition to all the points you made, there's one other that I find to be a great help for newbies: the sheer volume of libraries available. When 99% of the low-level stuff can be done with existing libraries, it allows the newbie to focus on the big picture and slowly work down into the details.

Comment: Re:Not much of a tooth brusher (Score 1) 116

by rainmaestro (#36511670) Attached to: The Iceman's Last Meal

Well, what they told you is partly wrong.

Human teeth weren't perfect by any means. Cavities did occur, and when they did it frequently ended in abscesses and eventual loss of the tooth. What the records do show is that the number of cavities per capita was much less than your typical agrarian society (even the British have fewer cavities than Americans, despite the GP's tired crack).

The basic process of cavity formation is this: two types of bacteria feed on the sticky carbohydrates (corn-based products are particularly sticky), extracting simple sugars (sucrose, glucose, etc) from the deposits. The byproduct of metabolizing these sugars is the release of acid which lowers the pH on the surface of the tooth. When the pH drops below a certain point (5-6 IIRC) the teeth demineralize and a cavity begins.

Pre-farming, a typical human wouldn't be consuming many carbohydrates, so there would be less food for the bacteria to feast on. Consequently, you would likely have fewer cavities. You can find references to a lot of the studies on the correlation between agriculture and cavities in the abstract from this paper:

Early humans did practice basic dental hygiene, though. Simple tools like chewing sticks (miswaks, neems, etc) are very effective at removing plaque when used properly (

Comment: Re:Let's see if I've got this right (Score 3, Informative) 470

by rainmaestro (#33355032) Attached to: 'Leap Seconds' May Be Eliminated From UTC

On the other hand, modern studies such as:

(don't have a link to the article they published, sorry)

These imply that the savings are negligible or, in the case of Indiana, *increased* electric usage. There is no clear answer, since the results depend heavily on the breakdown of electric usage (A/C, eletronics, etc), which varies depending on your region.

Comment: Re:This will be interesting.... (Score 1) 451

by rainmaestro (#32627176) Attached to: Stem Cell Tourist Dies From Treatment In Thailand

Given that serious risks and side effects involved, there's no reason why a untrained person, especially an fool that believes that their lack expertise and training means they know better than experts should treat themselves.

What *I* do to *MY* body is *MY* choice. The government shouldn't be in the business of protecting me from myself. Risks and side effects of medications should be publicly disclosed, but at that point only *I* can decide if I am okay with those risks. And if I am, it is not the government's responsibility to refuse me access because they disagree.

Comment: Re:Article makes wrong assumption about software. (Score 1) 773

by rainmaestro (#32621456) Attached to: Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names

Oh, I agree with you there. It is almost criminal for software to not handle Unicode nowadays. But there comes a point where you have to say, "sorry, we don't support that". The presence of a tribe somewhere that speaks in a pop-click language and has no written language doesn't mean my software needs to support audio files for names.

Your software should seamlessly support the majority of users, and quasi-support most of the remainder, but there will always be fringe cases where you have to flat-out reject them.

Most of the article's points should be common sense. Not supporting numbers, caring about case, not supporting Unicode, etc. That's just lazy coders. And few things piss me off more than secret questions that are case sensitive. Three years after creating the account, what's the likelihood of me remembering if my favorite teacher was written as Mrs. Smith or mrs. smith?

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.