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Comment: Great when you're in school (Score 4, Interesting) 146

by MrEricSir (#47572571) Attached to: Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

While you're taking CS courses in a university, ACM membership is great! But in the corporate world there's often not a good reason to join.

I was president of my university's ACM chapter at one point, but I've let my membership lapse. The value proposition just isn't worth it to me at the moment.

Comment: Re:Tricky (Score 1) 152

by Xtifr (#47553637) Attached to: What percentage of your media consumption is streamed?

We're talking about streaming media

Who's "we"? Looking throught the comments, I see a lot of people expressing confusion about the point.

Oh, and I'd say that a web-page counts as streaming text. And a lot of people might consider Project Gutenberg's offerings (for example) as more-or-less streaming, if you read them online.

Comment: Re:Not sure... (Score 1) 152

by Xtifr (#47540047) Attached to: What percentage of your media consumption is streamed?

Thanks. Hadn't thought of that, since it's way, way down on my list of priorities, but that makes a lot of sense. I can't actually moderate, since I've already commented, but please accept this virtual +1 interesting. :)

Still, the fact that there are relatively simple workarounds doesn't mean there aren't region restrictions.

Comment: Re:Not sure... (Score 1) 152

by Xtifr (#47529149) Attached to: What percentage of your media consumption is streamed?

I watch a fair amount of YouTube stuff (and appreciate the complete lack of stupid regional restrictions).

It's not actually a complete lack. I haven't been able to watch the last couple of seasons of QI, because the BBC allows them on YouTube only with regional restrictions, and I'm not in the UK, and the BBC hasn't arranged for any other form of distribution of the show in the US. But in general, yeah, it's better than a lot of the alteratives.

(I could probably snag them off some torrent site somewhere, but I don't do that sort of thing in general.)

Comment: Re:Tricky (Score 4, Insightful) 152

by Xtifr (#47529109) Attached to: What percentage of your media consumption is streamed?

How about minutes of media? Text doesn't count, as it isn't media.

Text isn't media? You've got a really bizarre definition of media! Even accepting that the word now has a separate meaning aside from its meaning as the plural of medium, the phrases "mass media" or "mainstream media" have always included newspapers and books. Which are, generally, text.

Comment: Tricky (Score 4, Insightful) 152

by Xtifr (#47525803) Attached to: What percentage of your media consumption is streamed?

Most of my video, but almost none of my music. But I'm not sure how those two compare percentage-wise. And what about books? Do those count as media? I certainly don't stream even e-books. (Except, arguably, through O'Reilly's Safari program, which might count.) But then there's news media, which is almost entirely streamed. If you count visiting web-pages as streaming.

Honestly, I'm really not sure. Depending on how I measure, I might be able to come up with a number anywhere from 20 to 80.

Comment: Re:Great (Score 1) 151

by Goaway (#47467875) Attached to: Mt. Fuji Volcano In 'Critical State' After Quakes

Oh, you want to be pedantic? Let's be pedantic, then!

Scandinavian languages don't have "umlauts". "Umlaut" is a concept from German, where vowels are modified into different forms and marked with an umlaut mark. Other languages, however, just borrow these typographical forms to represent vowels with similar sounds. However, while German considers the vowels a and ä to be variations on the same letter, Scandinavian languages consider these to be separate letters entirely, and place them differently in alphabetical orderings.

Thus, there is no "umlaut" in Eyjafjallajökull, there is merely an "ö" rather than an "o".

Comment: The actual study has somewhat different conclusion (Score 2) 157

by Xtifr (#47441923) Attached to: Chimpanzee Intelligence Largely Determined By Genetics

Some meta-analysis of the actual study, along with some examination of how the media has generally thoroughly misrepresented the study, is available at Language Log.

Thus Component 1 (23.6% of test variance) was significantly heritable — h2 = 0.538. The symbol h2 is used to denote "narrow-sense heritability", which is the ratio between the variance due to average effects of alleles, and the phenotypic variance as a whole:

$$h^2 = \frac{Var(A)}{Var(P)}$$

In other words, about half of the variance in a PCA component accounting for about a quarter of the variance in test results was accounted for by genetic variation.

Component 3 (10.8% of test variance) was also significantly heritable, with h2 = 0.335. Thus about a third of the variance in a PCA component accounting for about a tenth of the variance in test results was accounted for by genetic variation.

The genetic relationships of components 2 (11.7 of test-score variance) and 4 (8.2% of test-score variance) were not statistically significant.

A quarter plus a tenth of the test results were shown to be related at all (not in whole, but at all) to heritable traits. The grand total overall was just under 16% (a half of a quarter, plus a third of a tenth).

Now, I don't know about you, but I wouldn't describe 16% as "largely". I'd describe 16% as "partly", or "mildly", or "somewhat". But of course, reporters for Nat'l Geo and The Independent and the like aren't big on math.

It's still an interesting and intriguing study, of course, but so grossly misreported that it boggles the mind. We need a better grade of chimpanzee writing science articles for the general public! :D

Comment: Re:another language shoved down your throat (Score 1) 415

by Xtifr (#47434707) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

In your non-Python language of choice, how do you tell the difference between an error in indentation and an error in marking the beginning and ending of blocks?

Difference? There is no difference! I don't indent! I mark the beginning and end of blocks, and the code is automatically indented to match. I can, with some difficulty, defeat this mechanism, but I can't think of any reason why I'd want to.

Comment: Re: another language shoved down your throat (Score 1) 415

by Xtifr (#47434575) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

You're free to dislike the way Python handles blocks and white space.

Thank you. Not that I needed your permission, but I shall indeed continue to consider it an idiotic design.

But if it actually substantially affects your productivity, you're simply not a very good programmer, because it's not a big deal in practice.

Agreed. However the fact that it doesn't noticably harm my productivity doesn't mean it's a good feature.

In any case, we're discussing its potential use as a teaching language here, and people who are just starting to learn to program are, pretty much by definition, not good programers. So its impact on not-good-programmers is still very relevant.

Comment: Re:Well out running the police ... (Score 1) 443

by Xtifr (#47434449) Attached to: The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

Except there are people who survived crashes at much higher speeds.

There are people who have survived jumping out of "perfectly good" airplanes without a functioning parachute. Doesn't mean you should take up skydiving-without-a-parachute as a hobby. :)

There's a reason cases like you mention make the news: surviving a crash at those speeds is an impressive and newsworthy feat. (The reason this case made the news was not the fact that the driver died, but the fact that a Tesla was involved. Otherwise, it seems like a pretty unremarkable story.)

Richard Hammond of Top Gear UK fame survived a crash at 288 mph

And I bet he was buckled in. Remaining in the vehicle during a high-speed crash greatly increases your chances of survival. Exiting a vehicle at 100+ mph is generally contraindicated! (Tip for future reference.) ;)

Comment: Re:another language shoved down your throat (Score 4, Insightful) 415

by Xtifr (#47411369) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

Have you ever been fooled by incorrect indentation that didn't compile the way it looked?

Nope. My editor takes care of indentation for me, in every common language except Python, and when I have to deal with a batch of code written by someone else, I run it through indent(1) first. So, in fact, it's just the opposite: when the indentation doesn't match what I expect, I know there's an actual problem in the code!

With Python, on the other hand, I'm actually more likely to have an error in the indenting, because there's no easy way to see how many blocks I'm terminating when I outdent by an arbitrary amount. Which is a real PITA when you're refactoring.

Of course, things may be different if you're using crappy tools. But professionals shouldn't be using crappy tools.

Brackets, begin..end, and semicolons are crutches for compiler writers not programmers.

No, they're tools to make my job easier. Whatever the historical reason for them may be, they benefit the programmer! They make me more productive.

Now, I'll grant that Python is a remarkably good language despite its horrible flaw of relying on indentation. And many of its good features also make me more productive. But that doesn't mean that relying on the indentation isn't a horrible flaw.

"Falling in love makes smoking pot all day look like the ultimate in restraint." -- Dave Sim, author of Cerebrus.

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