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Comment: Re:The Betrayal (Score 1) 368

by tylikcat (#49754509) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever

A research student was just by talking to members of our lab, and this is pretty much the argument I made. (And I wasn't making a Java bashing session, I was making a joke, though the two are not mutually exclusive.)

I'm not fond of Java, but it's a perfectly serviceable language and I'm not against writing code in it. I think I'm a little suspicious of the instructional language model, just because my observation has been that for most people it's around language three that they start realizing that learning new programming languages isn't hard and that it's not the language per se that's important. (I really realized this when I heard that Python was being widely adopted. I actively like Python - and I'm really dubious about it being a useful instructional language in a classroom setting. Even though I have run a Python club at times.)

Comment: Re:The Betrayal (Score 1) 368

by tylikcat (#49754417) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever

Mm, yes and no.

The U of WA was my home institution - but it was also where my father taught, and I didn't take my degree in CS. Partially because so many people had known me since I was cutting my teeth on the department machines when I was five, partly because I wasn't super keen on the curriculum... and I had other interests as well. But then it was the the mid-nineties, and my fiance wasn't big on following me around the world, and so I acquiesced to my destiny and became backend server girl at Microsoft. (Until I was the right combination of vested and bored that I returned to research. I'm now doing Neurobiology, via Computational Biochemistry, which is less profitable but awfully entertaining.) ...but there were courses I would have taken were not Ada a prerequisite.

Comment: Re:The Betrayal (Score 3, Interesting) 368

by tylikcat (#49749947) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever

*grin* I weirdly managed to completely miss Pascal. Cut my teeth on Fortran* because it was what my father's grad students were using - though I then picked up Modula2, out of a book written in German, which I didn't speak because my father was convinced it was the Next Big Thing and figured if I learned it I could teach him (thanks, Dad). My undergrad institution was all about Ada ridiculously late, though... Picked up C++ at the beginning of my professional life, back in the mid-nineties, though these days I use more Python than anything else. I've written my share of Java. It wasn't horrible, I was more amazed that it kept being kind of subliminally annoying without being downright awful.

* Which keeps still being relevant - okay, I'm in the sciences now - though I often deny knowing it. I think I took it off my resume in '96.

Comment: The Betrayal (Score 2, Insightful) 368

by tylikcat (#49749809) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever

"...turning on a generation of coders."

I'm glad to hear someone finally having the courage to admit this. Especially considering how widely it has been adopted as an instructional language and how many young people were betrayed by their institutions and communities at the very start of their programming careers.

But I'd also like to hear more from the many people who've risen above these challenges and gone on to become developers even so. It may be hard. It may be traumatic. But it's good to remember that it's possible to rise above it.

Comment: MS OLAP (Score 1) 94

by tylikcat (#49706921) Attached to: In-Database R Coming To SQL Server 2016

I'm curious whether it will be exposed via OLAP - when I was doing some proteomics work with MS OLAP some years back, the retrieval speed was stellar, but the math libraries were pathetic, which seemed pretty sad for something allegedly aimed at analytics. (Yes, I know, most people assumed business analytics, but there's an awful lot of potential for scientific analysis, especially with large, messy datasets.)

Comment: Re:But why? (Score 1) 634

by tylikcat (#49568755) Attached to: How To Increase the Number of Female Engineers

And multiple effects might be in play. The content might be cool enough to encourage women to try out a field which is stereotyped as being unfriendly to women - but then, if they get there and there are enough women that the stereotype doesn't hold, that might be a large part of why they're staying there.

Comment: Re:My two cents (Score 1) 538

1. I'm not convinced on term limits. I'm willing to be convinced, mind you, but, I'm not sure that forcibly bringing in new blood makes the process less corrupt, rather than simply more dysfunctional. Certainly, it needs to be applied uniformly, as congress-critters tend to acumulate power over time, so any state that imposes their own term limits will be putting themselves as a disadvantage.
2. Can we say "compact" rather than square-like? Circles, hexagons and so on would be perfectly fine by me.
3. Yes.
4. The individuals, or the parties?
5. As in, no private funding? The money in campaigns is seriously out of hand.

Comment: Re:I do not understand (Score 1) 538

"...with their main difference being whether economy should be free or regulated."

And a freakish obsession over people's sex lives.* Which I realize might not seem super important if it's not your sex life on the block - I mean, really, it *shouldn't* be a big deal I get that - but holy fuck.

* I am including in this all the increasing weirdness about prosecuting women for having miscarriages and other crazy shit.

Comment: Re: I do not understand (Score 1) 538

When my father spent time in Hungary, Usa (Usan in its adjectival sense, at least around our house) was a pretty common term, and I've always liked it because of its specificity. Imagine how confusing it would be if citizens of German called themselves Europeans, and citizens of any other country in Europe winced and gave their country of origin if anyone called them European?

"American" for US residents may be common usage, but common usage is in this case stupid and confusing.

Comment: Re:Rationing takes money out of the equation (Score 1) 417

by tylikcat (#49318859) Attached to: How 'Virtual Water' Can Help Ease California's Drought

I can't speak to the Australian situation at all, but if the current models have anything going for them, then California generally is even under non drought conditions looking at a decrease in winter snow and more rapid melt off. In addition, with severe droughts likely to become common in the inland southwest, competition for water is most likely going to rise.

So there may well be a reasonable long term plan for desalination. (May, mind you - it tends to be a pretty godawful expensive solution.)

Comment: Re:hmmm (Score 1) 135

by tylikcat (#49255715) Attached to: Wikipedia Entries On NYPD Violence Get Some Edits From Headquarters

I would add that not only are they two different techniques, but even were it two names for the same technique, to someone without a martial arts background "arm bar" isn't going trigger any concern that choking is involved. Substituting in a less alarming sounding name to make something dangerous sound safer can be pretty problematic.

That, of course, is getting away from the point that the techniques don't really have much to do with each other. (Really, they are more families of techniques, especially arm bars - there isn't just one way to do it.) You (generic you, not aimed at OP) might go to good images and look up "arm bar" and then look up "choke hold".

Comment: Re:Surprise level: 0 (Score 3, Insightful) 135

by tylikcat (#49255669) Attached to: Wikipedia Entries On NYPD Violence Get Some Edits From Headquarters

It's certainly not about evidence tampering.

But there are two issues here, and conflating them with press releases is misleading. One is a failure to uphold Wikipedia's conflict of interest standards. That's an internal to the community manner, to some extent (I value wikipedia, and it matters a lot to me). This is the same kind of shennanigans that has had IPs of congressional staffers banned after making politically motivated edits. Yo, this isn't supposed to be your platform for spin doctoring, and if you're too close to the subject, step away a bit.

The other is propaganda. Look, if they are sending out press releases, one hopes they will be clearly marked as such.* But this is why the conflict of interest problem should matter to the rest of us - because this is a way of retelling the story from a particular point of view without marking clearly whose point of view it is. There's certainly plenty to wrestle with, trying to come up with a reasonable unbiased account. And people who are police officers, and people who are sympathetic to the pressures police officers are under should be part of the conversation - just people who are a step removed from the specific subjects being discussed.

* Yes, it's not unheard of for press releases to get printed as straight news. Stinks to high heaven, but there you are.

Comment: Re:c++ (Score 1) 407

"Nowadays, you can write C++ and be assured that you'll rarely have to even think about explicit memory management or leaks."

Crazy talk.

I am not saying this isn't true - I am just remembering that at one point a huge part of my job was auditing other people's server code for, well performance, scalability, reliability and disaster failover recovery. And "Okay, we're going on the magical mystery tour and find all the memory leaks you swore up and down did not exist," was a thing. A really common thing. Ugh.

Seriously, working as a performance analyst for very high traffic highly distributed internet applications... is kind of what brought to biology, really, via non linear dynamics systems theory. As the systems got complex, sometimes their behavior got really weird - and that was so much more interesting than the rest of my job, by that point. (And now, in a rather impoverished ivory tower, I mostly use Python. Heck, half of my rig code is written using PyGame, because I was in a hurry and it got the job done, and it continues to get the job done well enough that I keep modifying rather than replacing it.)

You can fool all the people all of the time if the advertising is right and the budget is big enough. -- Joseph E. Levine

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