Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Doesn't surprise me (Score 1) 170

by shoor (#49692307) Attached to: John Urschel: The 300 Pound Mathematician Who Hits People For a Living

I remember reading years and years ago about this. The San Diego Chargers were a football team way down in the cellar of the rankings, so they hired a psychologist to try and figure out what was wrong with the team. He noticed that the defensive players had messier lockers. He ended up giving a personality description of the typical players in each position. The only one I remember is that he described the safeties as 'assassins'. I remember that because I always kind of felt that if I had become a professional football player (not that that was ever going to happen), the position I'd probably have wanted was safety, partly because they seemed to be the most 'individualistic' players on the field, opportunists, reading the situation and reacting rather than following a set script. (Yeah, I know, the coach or captain may call for something like a safety blitz, but relatively speaking, they seemed to be the most independent players on the field.)

Comment: Re:A nuclear power plant -(actually hydroelectric) (Score 1) 403

I saw one of those documentaries about what happens if humans disappear, and, as part of the show, they visited a hydroelectric plant to find out what would happen there. It seems that one of the problems hydro plants have is shellfish growing on the turbine shaft. As I recall, without regular cleaning and removal it would stop turning after a few months.

Comment: Re:Meh ('Community's better with less freedom?) (Score 1) 469

by shoor (#49633643) Attached to: Why Was Linux the Kernel That Succeeded?

Hmmm, a "community" being worse off because of more freedom. Interesting thought. I would say 'communities' always enforce some restrictions, laws and customs. They have to work out how to resolve the inevitable conflicts with many people living together. Granted, they can carry this too far and be stifling. (People leave small towns for the big city to get away from everyone minding everyone else's business for instance.) So, there has to be a balance, and a careful evaluation of what freedoms to respect. (Freedom of speech is very important, but some Supreme Court Justice said that it doesn't give you the freedom to yell 'Fire!' in a crowded theater.)

Other submitters have given plausible reasons why the 'freedom' of the BSD license means people don't contribute back and that weakens the whole. I had never thought about the issue before, but now, reading them, those arguments make sense to me.

I've noticed that abstractions like 'Freedom' often seem to break down when you look at them very carefully and think about edge conditions, so that when people advance an argument solely on the basis of an abstract principle, I tend to be a bit cautious.

Comment: A drawing on the left side of the brain thing? (Score 1) 425

by shoor (#49623403) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

There was a book years ago called "Drawing On The Left Side of the Brain". Now, I was always able to draw. In grade school I was the kid the teacher would get to draw posters and stuff. But my brother couldn't draw. I gave him this book, and, a couple of days later, he could draw. I think what the book taught was not to put too much into the image. One of the tricks was to try drawing from a picture of a person that was upside down. That way the student concentrated on the lines that create the nose instead of the nose itself for instance.

I wonder if people who have trouble programming aren't, in a way, trying to put too much into it, making something that should be simple, hard, because for instance, they don't break a problem down in to simple enough steps.

Maybe it's all just about those who 'get it' and those who don't, and nobody has figured out what to tell the ones don't.

Comment: Re:Depends how you evaluate the curve (Score 1) 425

by shoor (#49623339) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

Well, you had me scared after reading about fizzbuzz. How many slashdotters besides me had to try writing it? I wish I'd timed myself but I think it was less than 5 minutes. I think it was the first program I've written in at least a year. (Had to do a sudo apt-get install build-essential to even get it to compile.)

Comment: I remember him From Usenet as quite a gentleman (Score 4, Informative) 138

by shoor (#49588395) Attached to: Paul Hudak, Co-creator of Haskell, Has Died

I posted on one of the Usenet groups (probably sci.lang.functional or sci.lang.haskell) about his book The Haskell School of Expression. It's been awhile, but I vaguely remember posting about a mistake or typo, and he replied right there on Usenet acknowledging the error. He was generally very generous and helpful on the newsgroup.

Comment: Re:me dumb (Score 1) 157

by shoor (#49547067) Attached to: Wormholes Untangle a Black Hole Paradox

EPR is 'spooky action at a distance'. Two things are somehow connected in that if you do something to one, the other is affected, and the effect gets there faster than light (FTL). You can't communicate FTL though, because you can't set up something in advance with another party where you're going to affect one particle in a way that the other party, watching the other particle will know you did it to send a message.

ER is wormholes, a way to send stuff around faster than light (FTL again) except there are gotcha's with it so you still can't communicate FTL. So, the idea is, that the spooky action at a distance happens because the particles are connected by a wormhole and that's how they do their FTL dance.

Sorry, no car analogy, and maybe I've got it wrong since IANAP.

Comment: Re:what is there left to buy? 88 Toyota hoses (Score 1) 289

by shoor (#49521367) Attached to: Robot Workers' Real Draw: Reducing Dependence on Human Workers

Hey, I bought a brand new Toyota Tercel in 1988. I finally sold it off after about 21 years because the carburetor was going bad. (At least I think that was the problem. I couldn't find anything else that could be causing the mileage to go down.) I asked a mechanic about replacing the carb and he said it would cost more than the car was worth. I asked about rebuilding it from a kit and he said I might be able to find somebody who would do that. I decided to say goodbye to the car and just live a car free lifestyle. But you know what really impressed me? The car still had the original hoses! I did replace the timing belt after about 100K miles though. And I had to replace the clutch plate and a brake cylinder and a few other things at one time or another. Oh, and I never had to replace door locks. Somebody jimmied open the trunk one time and afterwards that never worked quite so well but at least it did work. (I guess having hand powered locks helped, huh.)

As somebody who had owned many a clunker going back to the 1960s, I was very impressed by that car.

Comment: Basic English as Auxiliary Lang (Score 1) 626

If you're looking for something as an auxiliary language that allows people everywhere to communicate, and want to leverage what's already out there (English as a widely known lingua franca,) then it's already been tried http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_English/ and there's even a version of the wikipedia in it. http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

The same sort of thing has been tried with Latin, Latino Sine Flexione (Latin without inflexions, since the main PITA with Latin was learning all the inflexions of 5 Declensions of nouns with 5 cases, 3 genders, singular and plural, 4 conjugations of verbs, not counting deponent and semi-deponent, then there's all the pronouns....) Latin is what they call an inflected language. Whatever you do, DON'T create one of those.

If you want something different from the Indo-European style of languages, I was stationed in Japan for a couple of years and, while I never got good at it, and at first it seemed really weird, I eventually came to feel that Japanese grammatical structure is rather neat, so you might take a look at that. I've read about ergative languages. Modern English has picked some ergative features. I think employee from the verb employ is supposed to be an example. If I were designing a language, I think I'd want to have that.

Comment: Re: Really (Score 1) 211

by shoor (#49407735) Attached to: Rust 1.0 Enters Beta

the portable assembler c is not the only option.

Glad to hear it.
I never had the honor of working at unisys or hp; 'the portable assembler c' is the only thing besides assembler itself that anybody was ever willing to pay to code in, but I know other languages were used for things, even Forth in embedded systems I think. (Shoot, even Basic got used in embedded systems didn't it?) I also vaguely remember hearing stories about Burroughs doing something with higher level languages, but for me those are anecdotes. Are there any old timers with real experience in any of that stuff willing to comment?

Comment: Re:Really (Score 1) 211

by shoor (#49405461) Attached to: Rust 1.0 Enters Beta

How many spoken languages does the average person know? Yet when it comes to programming, we are all supposed to learn a new languages every week.

Well, Rust is supposed to be a new Systems Language, not a language for the average person but something for Systems Programmers. I was a Systems Programmer back in the 1980s using C and various assembly languages, so maybe I'm biased, but I do think Systems Programming is kinda important. C was a big improvement in productivity over assembler not only because it was portable but also because it took fewer lines of code to write something and was therefore easier to read and somewhat less likely to have bugs (though it certainly had warts, how many times has somebody written "if (a = b)" when they meant "if (a == b)"? Bugs in systems programming can be very expensive in the commercial world, expensive to track down and fix, and expensive in the damage they do when they manifest themselves in a commercial environment, so it's worth a lot of money to come up with something that is a viable systems language (it gives precise control over the underlying hardware), is productive (You can write a program that does what you want in fewer lines of code and the code is readable by a human), and that is less likely to have quirks that lead to bugs.

The ideal voice for radio may be defined as showing no substance, no sex, no owner, and a message of importance for every housewife. -- Harry V. Wade