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Comment Re:Commitment to stability (Score 2) 149 149

Your last sentence sums it up nicely. If you stick to the safe subset of Rust (which is almost the entire language, and enough to write almost all of a high-performance Web browser in, for example) then you can't trigger undefined behaviors, and references that claim to be non-null are guaranteed to really not be null. Escaping from that subset requires you to write the "unsafe" keyword.

OTOH C++ has nothing like that. It's very very easy in practice for C++ code to accidentally trigger undefined behaviors that can cause anything to happen, and there's no way to tell at compile time whether the code is safe.

Comment Re: Rust made a mistake in going C++-syntax (Score 3, Insightful) 149 149

C++ provides no safety guarantees: there's no subset of C++ that can be statically checked to be safe, that's rich enough for C++ programmers to use in practice. As soon as you use pointers or references you have the possibility of the underlying object dying and leaving a dangling reference.

Comment Re:Ada (Score 1) 211 211

Rust offers manual memory management with automatic safety checking --- the language guarantees you don't leak memory, and you can't access an object after it's freed (assuming you don't opt into unsafe code). No other mainstream language, including Ada, offers that.

Comment Completely reasonable (Score 2) 740 740

Even the quote Slate cherry-picked to drive their click-bait headline is innocuous. Parents *do* have a right to decide what's best for their children. That right must be balanced with public health concerns, so it makes sense to make vaccination mandatory (or mandatory-for-public-schoolers) in some cases, but surely not *all* cases as you move down the scale of public health impact. In particular there will be cases where the public interest would be served (a little) by forcing everyone to be vaccinated, but that interest doesn't outweigh the additional dilution of parental rights. That seems to be all Christie said here.

Comment This sabotages user education (Score 4, Insightful) 163 163

One big problem here is that when "legitimate" services present invalid certificates, it teaches users to accept browser-provided "broken SSL" UI as a normal thing that they should just ignore. This is very harmful to Internet security in general.

Comment The response isn't all that good (Score 1) 556 556

Just because it's from a reputable scientist doesn't make the response brilliant.

The argument that in a universe with different values for constants, life could exist --- just not as we know it --- is weak. Evolution requires heritable traits subject to selection pressure. A serious argument for "life, but not as we know it" needs some thought experiments suggesting how evolution could work in alternative universes, e.g. universes where hydrogen is the only element that can exist. I've read widely in this area but not found such thought experiments. In their absence, it would have been better to leave this argument out.

IMHO by far the biggest problem for the claim that life must be abundant in the universe is Fermi's paradox. Such claim must be accompanied by an explanation for the absence of evidence (not unlike many religious claims!). There are various possible explanations for Fermi's paradox, but the credibility of the life-everywhere hypothesis depends on them so they have to be made. That wouldn't fit into a short letter-to-the-editor rebuttal, which means a short-letter-to-the-editor rebuttal is not a good format for addressing this issue.

Real programmers don't bring brown-bag lunches. If the vending machine doesn't sell it, they don't eat it. Vending machines don't sell quiche.

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