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Comment: What is really happening here? (Score 1) 799

by Bruce Perens (#47930483) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children
We are in a War on Faith, because Faith justifies anything and ISIS takes it to extremes. But in the end they are just a bigger version of Christian-dominated school boards that mess with the teaching of Evolution, or Mormon sponsors of anti-gay-marriage measures, or my Hebrew school teacher, an adult who slapped me as a 12-year-old for some unremembered offense against his faith.

Comment: Re:Anti-math and anti-science ... (Score 1) 799

by Bruce Perens (#47930331) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Hm. The covenant of Noah is about two paragraphs before this part (King James Version) which is used for various justifications of slavery and discrimination against all sorts of people because they are said to bear the Curse of Ham. If folks wanted to use the Bible to justify anything ISIS says is justified by God's words in the Koran, they could easily do so.

18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.
19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.
24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
26 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Comment: Is that a serious question? (Score 4, Interesting) 799

by Sycraft-fu (#47928601) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Because if it is, you need to pull your head out of your ass and go and do some extremely basic, cursory, research on the situation in the US. There are for sure some loud fundy Christian that like to whine about science, evolution in particular. However they have had little and less success in pushing their agenda and the US remains a powerful center of scientific research.

Trying to equate the US to ISIS is beyond stupid.

Comment: Farmers != Farm Workers (Score 0, Troll) 113

The headline says farmers. The text says farm workers. Very much not the same thing. A farmer is the owner of the farm. A farm worker is generally a hired hand, often (though not always) a migrant, and if so typically from Mexico or farther south.

The story suggests that the multi-drug-resistant bacteria are the result of antibiotic treatment of the animals at the farm. This misses another possibility:

In Mexico, most antibiotics are over-the-counter, much like asprin here in the US. People who feel ill or have some infection often buy and take them. Typically they use them until they no longer show symptoms - then stop, rather than taking a full regimin and killing off all the bacteria. (Why take more of the non-free drug once the symptoms are gone? Waste of money, right?) This is a recipe for creating drug-resistant bacteria.

Of course if an infection is resistant to one antibiotic, a paitent is likely to try another, and another, and so on until they find one that works. THAT's a recipe for maintaining and improving the bug's resistance to the front line antibiotics while breeding resistance to others.

As a result, a substantial fraction of the workers arriving from south of the Mexican border are carriers of multi-drug-resistant baceria.

Meanwhile, a farming operation is likely to give a limited number of antibiotics continuously, so non-resistant infections are wiped out before they can develop resistance, and if they do develop resistance it will be to the particular drugs used, rather than the universe of antibiotics.

Of course, infected workers can infect livestock, just as livestock can infect workers. And infected workers can trade infections around, just as livestock can. (More so, since the livestock tends to be kept separated, to reduce both disease spread and breeding by unintended pairings, limitations that farmers can't impose on their workers - and would be unlikely to try even if they could.)

So it seems to me that responsible researchers would go a bit farther before reporting: Like by doing genetic testing on the strains of bug in the various workers and the livestock, and running models on the results to try to identfy whether the bugs are from the herd or the workers.

I don't see any such work alluded to in this popularized reporting. It seems to just assume that the bugs were developed on the farm and spread to the workers. I hope this is a disconnect between the actual research and the report, rather than an accurate characterization of the research.

Comment: Re: Government s a crappy investor (Score 2) 62

by TheRaven64 (#47918687) Attached to: Funding Tech For Government, Instead of Tech For Industry
Not really. They've increased a bit above inflation, but the amount I'm spending on electricity has remained pretty constant, increasingly slightly below inflation (increases in device efficiency offsetting increase in costs). The amount I'm paying for gas has gone up a bit more.

Comment: Re:If there was only one viable choice ... (Score 1) 154

by TheRaven64 (#47918667) Attached to: Court Rules the "Google" Trademark Isn't Generic
I switched to DuckDuckGo and haven't looked back. They used to be noticeably worse in results quality, but Google has gone a long way downhill. Occasionally I don't find things with DDG and try Google. When I do, I have to wade through pages of totally irrelevant stuff to find that there are no matches, whereas at least DDG tells me straight away that it can only find half a dozen possibly-relevant things. I especially like the way DDG integrates with a number of domain-specific search engines.

Comment: Re:What for? (Score 5, Interesting) 178

by TheRaven64 (#47915739) Attached to: Why Apple Should Open-Source Swift -- But Won't

I maintain the GNUstep / Clang Objective-C stack. Most people who use it now do so in Android applications. A lot of popular apps have a core in Objective-C with the Foundation framework (sometimes they use GNUstep's on Android, more often they'll use one of the proprietary versions that includes code from libFoundation, GNUstep and Cocotron, but they almost all use clang and the GNUstep Objective-C runtime). Amusingly, there are actually more devices deployed with my Objective-C stack than Apple's. The advantage for developers is that their core logic is portable everywhere, but the GUIs can be in Objective-C with UIKit on iOS or Java on Android (or, commonly for games, GLES with a little tiny bit of platform-specific setup code). I suspect that one of the big reasons why the app situation on Windows Phone sucks is that you can't do this with a Windows port.

It would be great for these people to have an open source Swift that integrated cleanly with open source Objective-C stacks. Let's not forget that that's exactly what Swift is: a higher-level language designed for dealing with Objective-C libraries (not specifically Apple libraries).

Objective-C is a good language for mid-1990s development. Swift looks like a nice language for early 2000s development. Hopefully someone will come up with a good language for late 2010s development soon...

Comment: Re:If there was only one viable choice ... (Score 2) 154

by TheRaven64 (#47915717) Attached to: Court Rules the "Google" Trademark Isn't Generic

It wasn't just about interface. People tend to forget how search engines did an absolutely horrible job of intelligently ranking the sites you wanted to see.

I find it pretty easy to remember - I go to Google today.

The UI was what made me switch both to Google originally and from it some years later. When I started using Google - and when Google started gaining significant market share - most users were on 56Kb/s or slower modem connections. AltaVista was the market leader and they'd put so much crap in their front page that it took 30 seconds to load (and then another 20 or so to show the results). Google loaded in 2-3 seconds. The AltaVista search results had to be a lot better to be faster. I switched away when they made the up and down arrow keys in their search box behave differently to every other text field in the system.

Comment: Re: Government s a crappy investor (Score 2) 62

by TheRaven64 (#47915703) Attached to: Funding Tech For Government, Instead of Tech For Industry
My 'precious electronic toys' use about a tenth of the power that the ones I was using a decade ago for the same purpose did. Even lighting power consumption has dropped. My fridge, freezer and washing machine are the big electricity consumers in my home - efficiency has improved there, but nowhere near as fast as for gadgets.

Comment: Re:Tricky proposition (Score 1) 62

by TheRaven64 (#47915695) Attached to: Funding Tech For Government, Instead of Tech For Industry

There's a lot more to government than military intelligence gathering and law enforcement (although it would be a good idea for someone to remind most current governments that those are two things, not one). And most government projects end up spending insane budgets. This isn't limited to the US. It amazes me how often government projects to build databases to store a few million records with a few tens to thousands of queries per second (i.e. the kind of workload that you could run with off-the-shelf software on a relatively low-spec server) end up costing millions. Even with someone designing a pretty web-based GUI, people paid to manually enter all of the data from existing paper records, and 10 years of off-site redundancy, I often can't see where the money could have gone. Large companies often manage to do the same sort of thing.

The one thing that the US does well in terms of tech spending is mandate that the big company that wins the project should subcontract a certain percentage to small businesses. A lot of tech startups have got their big breaks from this rule.

Comment: Re:why? (Score 1) 182

by TheRaven64 (#47907301) Attached to: Oculus Rift CEO Says Classrooms of the Future Will Be In VR Goggles
Add to that, about 10-20% of the population get motion sick using the kind of VR in Oculus Rift (myself included - I can use it for 2-5 minutes, depending on the mode). It's ludicrous to imagine building a school that would exclude 20% of the potential pupils on some random criterion. You might as well make schools that didn't let in gingers...

Comment: Re:intel atom systems keep 32 bit systems around (Score 1) 129

by TheRaven64 (#47907067) Attached to: Chrome For Mac Drops 32-bit Build
Apple already ships 64-bit ARM chips and a lot of other vendors are racing to do so. The Android manufacturers that I've spoken want 64-bit for the same reason that they want 8-core: It's a marketing checkbox and they don't want to be shipping a 32-bit handset when their competitor is marketing 64-bit as a must-have feature. ART is in the top 10 worst-written pieces of code I've had to deal with and is full of casts from pointers to int32_t (not even a typedef, let alone intptr_t), but it should get a 64-bit port soon.

Comment: Re:The ones I witnessed... (Score 1) 129

by TheRaven64 (#47907057) Attached to: Chrome For Mac Drops 32-bit Build
64-bit is here for a while. A lot of modern '64-bit' CPUs only support 40-bit physical addresses, so are limited to 'only' 128GB of RAM. Most support 48-bit virtual addresses (the top bit is sign extended, so all 1 or all 0 depending on whether you've got a kernel or userspace address), limiting you to 'only' 32TB of virtual addresses. If RAM sizes continue to double once every year, then it takes another year to use each bit. We currently have some machines with 256GB of RAM, so are using 41 bits. 64 bits will last another 23 years. RAM increases have slowed a bit recently though. 10 years ago, you always wanted as much RAM as possible because you were probably swapping whatever you were doing. Now, most computers are happy with 2GB for programs and the rest for buffer cache. As SSDs get faster, there's less need for caching, but there might be more need for address space as people want to be able to memory map all the files that they access...

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."

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