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Comment: Re:I LOVE READING PROPAGANDA (Score 1) 803

by lgw (#47931573) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Life is not black and white. Actions are not ever wholly good nor evil. There is always evil associated with war, or violence in general, which is why deterrence is so much better. But ISIS is pretty damned close to "wholly evil", and military action against them could well be better on balance than giving them free reign.

To quote John Kerry, recently taking Code Pink to task for protesting a military response to ISIS:

âoeyou ought to care about fighting ISIL because ISIL is killing and raping and mutilating women. And they believe women shouldnâ(TM)t have an education ...

Thereâ(TM)s no negotiation with ISIL, thereâ(TM)s nothing to negotiate. And theyâ(TM)re not offering anyone healthcare of any kind. You know, theyâ(TM)re not offering education of any kind. For a whole philosophy or idea or a cult, whatever you want to call it, that frankly comes out of the Stone Age, theyâ(TM)re cold-blooded killers, marauding across the Middle East, making a mockery of a peaceful religion.

And thatâ(TM)s precisely why we are building a coalition to stop them from denying the women and the girls and the people of Iraq the very future that they yearned for.

It would be a great moral flaw for us to simply let ISIS do what it wills. They are the worst sort of theocracy: the sort that's willing to ignore the moral code of their own religion, using it only as a crutch for power.

Comment: Re:I LOVE READING PROPAGANDA (Score 2) 803

by lgw (#47930357) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

In 1953 the percentage of GDP from manufacturing was 28%. In 2012 it was at 12%. I'd call that a drop.

Were you really confused by this, or are you just trolling now?
In 1953 US GDP was ~$2.5 T in 2009 dollars. Today it's ~$16T in 2009 dollars.

Can you see now that US manufacturing has grown significantly? The rest of the economy just grew faster, shifting our focus over the years. Much the same happened with farming before that. Technology is neat that way.

What real threat do any of these nations pose?

Again, appearance of strength is important. People who are a threat seeing the US as weak and starting a war would be a catastrophe from any moral perspective. We do get judged, like it or not, by whether minor player can shake their fists at us without consequence. Was is a surprise to you that Russia is getting froggy again (occasionally hopping across its borders) over the past decade?

Geopolitics aside, some would say that a strong man who sees a horrific crime that he has the strength to stop has the moral responsibility to do so. ISIS has conquered territory by force of arms - do we want to allow that sort of thing to be acceptable on the world stage again? The way ISIS is treating their conquered subjects is horrific and appalling, and we should probably put a stop to it.

Comment: Re:I LOVE READING PROPAGANDA (Score 2, Insightful) 803

by lgw (#47929187) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

For decades, we have moved away from producing goods to a service providing nation. Granted, this is starting to improve a bit but it's nothing to celebrate, yet.

The manufacturing capacity of the US has never dropped decade-over-decade. The manufacturing jobs are all gone, never coming back, but automated manufacturing has been replacing people gradually over the years. Because the economy has grown so much since WWII (recent extended downturn non-withstanding), we've also exported a lot of manufacturing (now coming back as the robots keep getting better), and grown into a primarily service-oriented economy, on top of that consistent manufacturing capability.

The US government has been doing this for decades as well. Every few years we find a new enemy, rally cry and release the hounds of war.

Like most nations in history since the first clan grew large enough to be considered a nation? It's worth remembering that almost every historical nation that doesn't exist today was conquered. The appearance of strength is all-important to continued peace. We've certainly made our share of mistakes as a nation, but there is a legitimate reason to project force around the world even though we're not interested in conquest ourselves: deterrence is morally better than fighting and winning.

Comment: Re:Too Bad (Score 4, Informative) 87

by ranton (#47928851) Attached to: Interviews: David Saltzberg Answers Your Questions About The Big Bang Theory

Too bad the show doesn't portray any intelligent person as normal as those you receive "support" from.

In the scientific crowds I have been a part of, Leonard is on par with the more "normal" people I have known. He still has quite a few geeky quirks, but overall he can blend in as well as most geeky guys can. He has a hard time with some of Penny's brain dead friends, especially when watching sports, but overall he seems pretty normal to me.

Leonard has always struck me as that one normal guy which is quite common in many geeky cliches. They can't have too many of their characters be well balanced or else why would the show be fun to watch?

From another angle, take a look at Two and a Half Men. You have a womanizing morally bankrupt millionaire, an incompetent brother, and a brain dead son. If I were a millionaire playboy, divorced middle aged man with career problems, or a teenager who struggled in school, I wouldn't want any of those characters to represent me. While each of them may get laid more than the character on BBT, I wouldn't consider any of them to be "normal" either. Abnormal people simply make for great television.

Comment: Re:Is it COBOL or the people? (Score 2) 250

by ranton (#47928349) Attached to: College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

After reading the article, the $10k difference they are using was between those who took the COBOL class and ALL Business Computer Information Systems students. That degree is more of an IT degree than a software development related degree (at this school). It is a very bad comparison.

I would be more interested in how those students who took COBOL compared to the university's Computer Science and Engineering students.

Comment: Re:Dual degrees (Score 1) 389

by ranton (#47928195) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

Anthropology and Sociology are not typically considered STEM but "social sciences."

Social Sciences are part of STEM, it even has the word Science in there to help clear any ambiguity.

Most organizations such as universities and scholorship programs use the National Science Foundation's (NSF) definition of STEM. This is apt considering the term originated from the director of the NSF. Here is a list of degrees that are considered STEM which was compiled by the US Immigration and Custom Enforcement agency, who revised its definition of STEM to more closely align with that of the NSF in 2012. It clearly shows many social sciences as being part of STEM.

Comment: Re:Edge routers are expensive (Score 1) 83

by dgatwood (#47924071) Attached to: Why Is It Taking So Long To Secure Internet Routing?

I keep thinking that if an ISP really wanted to cut costs, they could proactively monitor their network for problems:

  • Provide the CPE preconfigured, at no additional cost to the customer. (Build the hardware cost into the price of service.)
  • Ensure that the CPE keeps a persistent capacitor-backed log across reboots. If the reboot was caused by anything other than the customer yanking the cord out of the wall or a power outage, send that failure info upstream. Upon multiple failures in less than a few weeks, assume that the customer's CPE is failing, and call the customer with a robocall to tell them that you're mailing them new CPE to improve the quality of their service.
  • Detect frequent disconnects and reconnects, monitor the line for high error rates, etc. and when you see this happening, treat it the same way you treat a CPE failure.
  • If the new hardware behaves the same way, silently schedule a truck roll to fix the lines.

If done correctly (and if clearly advertised by the ISP so that users would know that they didn't need to call to report any outages), it would eliminate the need for all customer service except for billing, and a decent online billing system could significantly reduce the need for that as well.

Comment: Re:Dual degrees (Score 2) 389

by ranton (#47923517) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

The thing that really makes me chuckle, though, is that they don't seem to believe that someone with strengths in the arts could ever be an autodidact, in spite of the fact that most good geeks have this capability as a defining trait.

But if anyone ever suggested that I fill my software shop with nothing but STEM grads, I would laugh them out of the room. No offence, all you engineers, but there's a whole raft of software design and development issues that you guys suck at.

The thing that really makes me chuckle is the hypocrisy in the two statements I quote above. I actually think the entirety of your post is brilliant until the last couple sentences, where you go from making very enlightened points showcasing a different point of view to just being someone with a chip on your shoulder.

While filling your whole software shop with nothing by STEM graduates on purpose is nothing to be proud of, it wouldn't be a tragedy either. STEM degrees range from Computer Science, Mathematics, Engineering, Physics, and even social sciences like Anthropology and Sociology. Thinking that you absolutely need an English major in there is just as silly as thinking an English major doesn't belong there.

To be honest I am personally giving you the benefit of the doubt because of how insightful you seem to be, but I think you went completely overboard with your last statements.

Comment: Re:The protruding lens was a mistake (Score 1) 406

by Blakey Rat (#47922545) Attached to: Apple Edits iPhone 6's Protruding Camera Out of Official Photos

My Lumia 1020 has one, I was wary at first, but honestly it's not a big deal at all. (Having one, that is. Lying about it on the website-- not good.)

It also takes better pictures than my dedicated camera, which is only a few years old. I think it's worth the tradeoff.

Comment: Re:Article shows fundamental lack of understanding (Score 2) 178

by dgatwood (#47921615) Attached to: Why Apple Should Open-Source Swift -- But Won't

They won't see people switching to Swift uniformly. There are trillions of lines of code written in Objective-C, and programmers already know it and are comfortable with it. There are no tools for migrating code from Objective-C to Swift, much less the hodgepodge of mixed C, Objective-C, and sometimes C++ that quite frequently occurs in real-world apps, so for the foreseeable future, you'd end up just adding Swift to your existing apps, which means you now have three or four languages mixed in one app instead of two or three, and now one of them looks completely different than the others. I just don't see very many developers seriously considering adopting Swift without a robust translator tool in place.

I do, however, expect to see Swift become the language of choice for new programmers who are coming from scripting languages like Python and Ruby, because it is more like what they're used to. In the long term, they'll outnumber the Objective-C developers, but the big, expensive apps will still mostly be written in Objective-C, simply because most of them will be new versions of apps that already exist.

BTW, Apple never really treated Java like a first-class citizen; it was always a half-hearted bolt-on language. My gut says that they added Java support under the belief that more developers knew Java than Objective-C, so it would attract developers to the platform faster. In practice, however, almost nobody ever really adopted it, so it withered on the vine. Since then, they have shipped and subsequently dropped bridges for both Ruby and Python.

Any implication that Swift will supplant Objective-C like Objective-C supplanted Java requires revisionist history. Objective-C supplanted C, not Java. Java was never even in the running. And Objective-C still hasn't supplanted C. You'll still find tons of application code for OS X written in C even after nearly a decade and a half of Apple encouraging developers to move away from C and towards Objective-C. (Mind you, most of the UI code is in Objective-C at this point.) And that's when moving to a language that's close enough to C that you don't have to retrain all your programmers.

Compared with the C to Objective-C transition, any transition from Objective-C to Swift is likely to occur at a speed that can only be described as glacial. IMO, unless Apple miraculously makes the translation process nearly painless, they'll be lucky to be able to get rid of Objective C significantly before the dawn of the next century. I just don't see it happening, for precisely the same reason that nine years after Rails, there are still a couple orders of magnitude more websites built with PHP. If a language doesn't cause insane amounts of pain (e.g. Perl), people are reluctant to leave it and rewrite everything in another language just to obtain a marginal improvement in programmer comfort.

Comment: Re:WAAAHHHH!!! (Score 1) 169

by lgw (#47920305) Attached to: Quickflix Wants Netflix To Drop Australian VPN Users

I think the plant metaphor he was looking for was: "and the Maples formed a union, and demanded equal rights; the Oaks are just too lofty, we will make them give us light". Not a story that ended well.

I'm ashamed to admit it took me 20 years to make the connection between "Maples" and "Canadian band".

"Just think of a computer as hardware you can program." -- Nigel de la Tierre