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Comment: Brains ain't all there is to it (Score 1) 93

by surd1618 (#49148651) Attached to: Xeroxed Gene May Have Paved the Way For Large Human Brain
We can do a tremendous variety of things with our hands. Witness my typing for an example of the incredibly sophisticated and dextrous manipulation of my physical environment that I can effect with training and practice (especially considering how crappy the keyboard on my laptop is). I think that having a large terminal bundle of neurons is great, but you have to be able to do a lot of different things with it in order to learn to be a good learner.

One thing I have spent some time pondering: creatures that have stepped up to higher cognitive plateaus live in more 3-dimensional environments. For instance, horses and cows basically live on surfaces that we can hike, whereas our ancestors lived in forest canopies. Dolphins live in several different levels of aquatic environments. Birds get full overhead space, but they are hampered by weight considerations.

Comment: just putting this out there (Score 1) 289

This is a pretty positive thread, but I just want to speak on this one real quick. My brother is autistic, like he talks, graduated high school, but is a ward of the state and kind-of far from functional. At school I've heard CS students saying stuff like "No I wouldn't build a red-brick calculator in Minecraft, I'm not autistic." This kind of talk makes me really upset. I'm not even exactly sure why, but I don't like it. I guess, I watched pretty closely as my brother struggled and struggled through life, to still end up in a very marginalized position. I think this had as much to do with poverty and my parent's religious practices as his condition. But I got really upset about this the other day, and I want to encourage you all to be really nice, and refrain from making fun of people with behavioral difficulties. I'm not pointing my finger at anyone specifically as much as just feeling that this is somewht of a problem in the tech community, and we can be nicer. This might be somewhat off-topic.

Comment: Re:That's like ... (Score 1) 779

by surd1618 (#48966291) Attached to: WA Bill Takes Aim at Boys' Dominance In Computer Classes

Girls are much more social than boys even from a very young age. They have no interest in staring at a screen all day by themself.

The human race would probably be better off if a lot fewer people stared at computers all day. But CS would be better off with more females, if for no other reason than equal opportunity (although I think there are other reasons, it's a touchy subject). Overall, we could use a lot fewer people doing a better job of using computers to accomplish things.

Comment: Re:In other news... (Score 1) 307

by surd1618 (#48950995) Attached to: The NSA Is Viewed Favorably By Most Young People
I don't think it takes a Turing-level thinker to see that we need to get away from fossil fuels, produce less waste, and find ways to communicate that are more expressive and less disastrous than guns and money. It used to be, that you could take a job like e.g. killing cows with a sledgehammer, or you could starve or turn to crime in desperation. But these days, we have an over-abundance of most everything. I what the masses can do is push fewer buttons, refuse to participate in this parade of capitalist bullshit, and express their real needs, rather than the sucking up the toxic swill that sociopathic businesses keep pumping into our cages. I think we can expect that much from almost anyone, provided the word gets out.

Comment: Re:So.... (Score 1) 265

David Quammen postulated that mosquitoes protect forests from us. According to him, undisturbed forests have few mosquitoes, but once we start fucking them up, they swarm. I think this is all the more reason to poison their bloodline; if their abundance is a side-effect of our habitation, then we should reduce our footprint.

Comment: Re:instant disqualification (Score 1) 648

by surd1618 (#48866337) Attached to: Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

print sorted(set(range(2,n+1)).difference(set((p * f) for p in range(2,int(n**0.5) + 2) for f in range(2,(n/p)+1)))) Now do this in VB.

Parent didn't say, "This is beautiful. Do this." Parent said (paraphrasing) Python is powerful. This is a good example of that. It's dense and it's awful, but (nested) list comprehensions are nothing if not powerful.

And its not going to make one iota of difference what language you learned those fundamentals on in high school when you get to university.

If it's not going make a difference, then why use a language that only works on one platform, rather than an open one, like Python or Ruby?

Are you having fun yet?