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Comment: Re:Um.... (Score 2) 120

by swilly (#47412841) Attached to: A Box of Forgotten Smallpox Vials Was Just Found In an FDA Closet

According to Wikipedia, this is not quite true. Chinese did discover the practice in the 10th century, and reports on the practice were given to the Royal Society in 1700, but no action was taken.

The Ottomans learned it before the early 18th century, but we don't know for certain how or when it got there. They also reported on it to the Royal Society in 1714 and 1716, but nobody paid much attention until the wife of the British Ambassador to the Ottomans witnessed it and introduced it to Europe's ruling elite. It was introduced to America in 1721 by the Puritan minister Cotton Mather (of the Salem Witch Trials fame). He had heard of it from a Sudanese slave, but he was also familiar with the Royal Society reports and had been trying to get physicians to attempt the procedure.

We don't know when the procedure was introduced to Africa, but it was introduced via the Muslim world. We also don't know when it was introduced to India, who may have discovered it independently (but probably not).

What did we do before Wikipedia?

Comment: Re:you can't judge a theory by its quacks (Score 1) 339

by swilly (#47113609) Attached to: The Singularity Is Sci-Fi's Faith-Based Initiative

Jules Verne wrote Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea in 1870. Submarines had been under development since the 17th century. The first military sub is usually credited to an American sub that failed to attach explosives to British ships during the American Revolutionary War. The first sub to sink another ship was a Confederate sub during the American Civil War, which was apparently too close to the explosion, causing it to sink as well.

The Confederate sub had ballast tanks, screw propulsion, and used a "torpedo" that was towed behind it. Everything was human powered, but very much recognizable as a precursor to modern submersibles.

I don't want to take away from Verne's accomplishments, but he didn't invent the sub, all he did was extrapolate and determine what a futuristic model might look like.

Comment: Re:If you haven't read The Myythical Man-Month... (Score 1) 352

by swilly (#47005605) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Should Every Programmer Read?

If you you do is write code, then you aren't a Software Engineer, you are a Programmer. An engineer is involved in requirements, specifications, design, and testing. On a good team, the experienced Software Engineers should also be consulted for process improvement, QA, and DevOps.

Comment: Re:Situation is a Shambles (Score 1) 239

by swilly (#46711313) Attached to: Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability: A Technical Remediation

This has little to do with any C-specific. If you were re-using a buffer in some managed runtime, you would still see the same problem.

Most managed runtimes perform bounds checks, C does not. As a result, the same bug couldn't happen in Java or C#. Of course, bounds checks come with a cost, and one that most people wouldn't want from low level code, which means that C/C++ developers must be extra vigilant.

Comment: Re:I found they were for me (Score 1) 161

by swilly (#46318325) Attached to: The Neuroscience of Computer Programming

The problem is probably with lexical analysis, when you break the stream of sounds or letters into words. When a language is fluently spoken there are few if any pauses between words, your brain adds those. It's possible to be familiar enough with a languages grammar and vocabulary to read without difficulty, but not yet familiar enough for your brain to subconsciously break sounds into words.

Comment: Re:In the name of "Allah" ... (Score 5, Interesting) 79

by swilly (#45592543) Attached to: 1.5 Million Pages of Ancient Manuscripts Online

The Library of Alexandria caught fire several times.

The first may have been when the Romans conquered Egypt. The Romans burned their own ships and much of the city caught fire, and the library may have been partially destroyed at this time.

A branch of the library may have been burned with the destruction of pagan temples when the Roman Empire outlawed paganism, but nobody knows how many (if any) books were lost. The main building was apparently not affected. And by the time paganism was made illegal in the Roman Empire, a concerted effort had been made to have copies of important documents in other libraries, including the worlds largest library at Constantinople. These other libraries were not burned (though it's entirely possible that some books in them were destroyed).

And it was finally destroyed by the Muslim army. There is a story that the Caliph ordered the burning of books stating that if they contradicted the Quran they are heretical, and if they did not then they are redundant. There are no contemporary sources for this story, so most historians doubt it. Whether or not this burning was deliberate, the destruction was complete and library was lost to history.

Comment: Re: Historically inefficient OS is Inefficient (Score 1) 558

by swilly (#45195341) Attached to: Why Does Windows Have Terrible Battery Life?

What model Zenbook do you have? I have a UX31A, and Linux gets about the same battery life as vanilla Windows 7, which is much worse than Windows 7 after installing all the ASUS drivers. I suspect that ASUS is doing something proprietary in regards to power savings, and I would love to get Linux Mint to have similar battery life.

Comment: Re:2013 Year of the Linux Network (Score 4, Informative) 192

by swilly (#45185181) Attached to: Your Next Network Operating System Is Linux

sudo rm -rf / won't delete anything.

POSIX rules state that you cannot remove any parent of the current directory. The GNU rm command doesn't fully check this, but it does make sure that you don't remove / or .. (but if you give the path to any other parent directory, it will let you remove that). Try it for yourself and see (in a VM of course).

Comment: Just lost my first SSD (Score 1) 512

by swilly (#44837759) Attached to: SSD Annual Failure Rates Around 1.5%, HDDs About 5%

Talk about timing. I'm right now recovering data from my first SSD failure (an almost three year old OCZ Vertex 2). As failures go, this couldn't have gone better. I'm able to read the drive, but I can't write to it. I wish all drive failures were this nice. I'm having Newegg overnight me a Samsung 480GB SSD as a replacement. I should probably think about replacing the two SSDs that are older than the one that failed, just in case.

Just this year I've lost two 1TB hard drives, and one of them somehow corrupted my (thankfully backed up) RAID 5 making it unrecoverable. So, I decided to replace the older consumer grade 1TB drives with 3TB WD Red drives (supposedly enterprise grade), and what do you know? One of them is dead on arrival. WD replaced it with a "recertified" drive, which is annoying, but at least it works.

I also lost a Blu-ray drive, so it hasn't been a good year for my storage devices, but so far my anecdotal experience has SSDs with better reliability than mechanical drives. YMMV.

"The Amiga is the only personal computer where you can run a multitasking operating system and get realtime performance, out of the box." -- Peter da Silva