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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: 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.

Comment: Massively patent-encumbered (Score 5, Informative) 377 377

The problem here is that H.265 and by extension BPG are heavily patent-encumbered. These are not just latent patents but patents that the H.265 contributors are using for a revenue stream.

Bellard suggests "just use the licensed hardware decoder you probably already have" but a) that doesn't make technical sense in lots of cases and b) most people don't, in fact, have such a thing currently and c) the encoding situation is even worse.

Comment: Re:Anti-math and anti-science ... (Score 1) 981 981

Christians throughout history have understood that the laws God prescribed for Israel in the Old Testament are not mandatory outside that context, and in particular are not to be applied wholesale to gentiles (i.e. almost everybody). This isn't some modern opportunistic innovation, it's explicit in the New Testament (e.g. Acts 10-11,15).

Work expands to fill the time available. -- Cyril Northcote Parkinson, "The Economist", 1955

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