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Comment: I remember him From Usenet as quite a gentleman (Score 4, Informative) 134

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.

Comment: I lost weight too, but for some it's hard (Score 1) 496

by shoor (#49327849) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds

I've gone through the drill of losing weight by dieting, then gradually putting it back on again a few times.

I'm in my late 60s now. In my early 60s I was overweight by about 20 pounds. In my last go at it, I lost the weight slowly over a period of years, and I've kept it off for a couple of years now, without ever 'suffering' (much). Mostly all I did was think before I ate something, asking myself do I really want this food? Since my metabolism has apparently slowed down, I can't go by old habits. I've learned not to eat meals at night, just something very light (some nuts, or a slice of toast with olive oil, something like that) at night if I'm really bothered by an empty stomach.

I don't know what's different this time that I'm keeping it off, except maybe practice makes perfect. Also, I'm old enough now that I get serious feedback (backpain, hard to sleep at night, sciatica) if I don't take care of myself. I see other people my age who are out of shape and I don't know how they can stand it. Maybe they are actually tougher than me intrinsically and that's why they can endure it. I don't consider it to be a question of will power or character on my part.

Comment: The appeal, different for different people? (Score 1) 169

by shoor (#49205887) Attached to: NBC Thinks Connected Gloves and "Bullet Time" Can Make Boxing Cool

I'm not a sports fan myself, though I might be something of a meta sports fan in that I find myself intrigued by the phenomenon so to speak. I liked the movie Moneyball for instance.

So, I reckon some people probably like the fact that boxers are actually hurting each other (and some of them may be appalled by pure torture, and only like the act when it is between consenting adults), and others merely like the conflict, while still others genuinely appreciate the athleticism and skill of the 'sweet science'.

There's something primal about a fight, a no holds barred struggle to decide who is best, who would triumph in a desparate primitive situation. The problem is the damage of course. In a no holds barred with eye gouging and choke holds even the winner may come out with a permanent injury, so they have to have rules, and then it's a matter of who is best at working within the rules.

Some people like the fantasy version, professional wrestling with all its kayfabe. I'm sort of intrigued by the idea of robot fighting where it's OK if one contestant is totally destroyed, but from what I've seen, the technology is still too primitive for me to stay interested.

Sumo wrestling has a certain appeal because the individual bouts are very short, which makes it a little more viewer friendly than standard western style wrestling (legit wrestling that is), though the ceremony of entering the ring, scattering rice, glowering at each other while waiting for the ref to start the match, can take awhile. Also, as far as I know, serious injuries in Sumo are rare, but Sumo wrestlers tend to have short lives because of their diet. I sometimes think someone should design a form of combat where the matches tended to be very short, like Sumo, but designed to favor people who are all round athletic, but also with little chance of serious injury.

Comment: Is it measuring result of exercise or ...? (Score 1) 134

by shoor (#49182545) Attached to: Treadmill Performance Predicts Mortality

From what I read, they looked at people who took a stress test, and the ones who did well tended to live longer. What I'm wondering is, were the ones who did well people who were exercising diligently to get there?

There's a presumption that the people who didn't do well, if they worked out and lived healthier lives generally so that they improved their scores, would automatically be as healthy as the ones who were already doing well. But were the ones who did well from the getgo doing well because they had been exercising etc?

I'm not trying to say that exercise and eating right isn't a good idea. I'm just thinking that what is measured isn't only the result of a good lifestyle but also something more intrinsic, maybe genetic.

Comment: Re:real cost benefit new language (Score 1) 520

by shoor (#49068317) Attached to: Nim Programming Language Gaining Traction

The cost of a new language is that programmers have to take time to learn it and develop an infrastructure for it, things such as software libraries to do math, communications, user interfaces, etc. Not every programmer will learn every language, and, in particular, learn every language well, which may be a handicap for employers as they have a smaller pool to hire their programming teams from in their chosen language.

Companies have to spend time deciding which language to use, with a lot of people pitching this language over that one, and developing the languages will include a lot of duplication of effort.

The benefit is that new languages may improve productivity, with emphasis on 'may'. There's a lot of controversy about how good some languages are that have been widely deployed for a long time. Ideally, there will be a shakeout and the best languages will win, but I'm not convinced that's the way things happen. More likely it's whichever language gets the best salesmen out there selling it, and, to paraphrase Mae West, 'goodness has nothing (or little) to do with it.'

The earliest writing systems were complex and required years to learn. When easier to learn alphabets came along, the old scribal class would resist because it meant they couldn't command the high pay and respect they were used to. I suppose that might also exist to some extent with programmers and programming languages. It's hard to know who is being genuinely fair in judging languages.

The holy grail for employers and people who just want to use their computer to get work done, as opposed to people who make a living writing code (and I was one of those people who made a living writing code for over 20 years), is to have an artificial intelligence program where you can just explain what you want to it in human language and it will generate an optimal block of binary code to do it (after clearing up any ambiguities in your human language specification).

The fancy is indeed no other than a mode of memory emancipated from the order of space and time. -- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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