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Comment: And now for the nerdery. (Score 5, Informative) 171

by thechao (#34762266) Attached to: Reverse Engineering <em>Doctor Who</em> Into Color

So the article was devoid of anything of particular interest other than some jargon. The jargon, on the other hand, led to fascinating little technique about reconstructing the color of the grayscale image from "chroma dots". The actual method was discovered by a BBC engineer, and you can read more about it here: colour-recovery.wikispaces.com.

Comment: Re:From the No-shit-sherlock department (Score 1) 716

by thechao (#34323978) Attached to: Oxford Scientists Say Dogs Are Smarter Than Cats

I've trained all three of my cats. They can and do respond very well to positive feedback (usually a small treat or being petted). As opposed to a dog which you can "handle", i.e., by pushing down on their hindquarters, lifting a paw, etc., with a cat you have to wait for them to perform some part of the trick you want. Then you reinforce that behavior. After they learn the "partial trick" you keep adding on until they have the entire thing down. It takes a lot more patience and a lot longer. Also, cats will "revert" and decide to do some simpler thing, which forces you to start all over.

I'd have to say, that while there are some smart cats, dogs are definitely better learners and much more engaging. In my experience, dogs pick up & retain new behaviors a lot better than cats (given that I've only had three dogs & three cats, take this as the anecdotal evidence it is). I don't really know what you mean by "communicate with them on a fairly deep level" ... sounds a little ... mystical to me. My cats love attention, love food, and love to be "trained" (which is a combination of the previous two).

Comment: Re:It's also nonscience because it leads nowhere (Score 1) 989

by thechao (#33033162) Attached to: Louisiana, Intelligent Design, and Science Classes

My problem with "religion in school" is the same problem I had with the "partial course on religion" taught in during the "world history segment" in a public Texas school I went to: ~6 weeks of Christianity, one lecture on Judaism, and one lecture "on the rest of the pagan world" with commentary like "and the crazy Hindus believe that you are reincarnated as a cow." I guarantee you that a mandatory religious course will look like this very soon after it is instituted. So I think your "teach a religion course" is a total BS idea and I don't want to pay for it.

Comment: Re:is "delete" really an option? (Score 1) 249

by thechao (#33032992) Attached to: Facebook Adds Delete Account Option

It works; a bit of a PITA, but it works. Basically, you have to log out of Facebook (everywhere); also clear all your cookies. This keeps affiliated sites from logging you in. Then you have to stay out of Facebook for >2 weeks. I haven't logged in in 20-or-so days; just went to just it out and I got a "your email doesn't appear to be in our system" message.

Comment: Re:Choices, choices (Score 1) 546

by thechao (#32419198) Attached to: GCC Moving To Use C++ Instead of C

I've never bothered to read the FQA; however, this time, I decided to jump in. It certainly is a lot of vitriol and hyperbole, isn't it? I'm not exactly sure what the author(s?) want, but just from the "summary" it sounds like he would like to use a strongly, statically-typed, garbage-collected language (with "management") that has a number of "high level, built in" types with a reflection system and a module system, etc. I'm certain there are many (supposedly well-implemented; btw, unless it is machine verified C, OCaml, or SML, the language implementation has bugs) languages with those properties; why doesn't he use one of those?

The weird part of the FQA is the feeling I get that he thinks C++ is somehow flawed as a language due to its cruft. However, from a type-system or systems-programming point-of-view it doesn't seem to have an practical (or theoretical) problems. Is he claiming that C++ is not turing complete? That it doesn't compile to efficient code? That it is impossible to write large applications in the language?

Comment: Re:Already settled? (Score 1) 698

by thechao (#32256906) Attached to: ACLU Sues To Protect Your Right To Swear

I would go further and say that any agent (this means the person and their management chain) directly or indirectly representing the government (in any capacity; I'm thinking of "bad legislation" and "bad interpretation of law" as well) should be a felony with minimum imprisonment of, say, 5 years and a 10% fine of total gross assets+income for each violation.

A graduated punishment mechanism is more reasonable, but the basic idea is that it is a *crime* not a civil-infraction to violate my rights.

Comment: Re:Note to the President (Score 1) 857

by thechao (#32238004) Attached to: California Moves To Block Texas' Textbook Changes

Texas is net-negative to the Fed in terms of income taxes (of course, so are most states). It has the 2nd largest GDP of any state (behind California). On a personal note, the public high school I went to was one of the finest schools in the country (public or private): almost all of my teachers had masters or doctoral degrees. Also, for some reason "South == racist" even though the most prevalent (and strongly racist) individuals I know come from the Midwest and the Northeast. Perhaps the few hundred/thousand people I know in Texas/Oklahoma/Louisiana are exceptional.

Little known fact: Texas was a Democratic state from the 1870s until the 1990 census (by then only 40% of Texans were Democratic, but the Democrats had been gerrymandering the voting districts; although ... the Republicans aren't any better on this score, either).

C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]

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