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Comment: Re:Line length and eye movement error (Score 1) 566

by zmooc (#48579963) Attached to: The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait

I've read that too, but it's not science and it's not correct. While it's true that after 80 columns or more people have more trouble "carriage returning" their eyes, which leads to the subjective idea that long lines are not efficient, it is not; the advantage of having longer lines nearly always outweighs the disadvantages of having more trouble skipping to the next line. Longer is better. Always.

Also, it's totally ridiculous we're having this discussion. HTML allows content to scale with the screen. Fixed column widths are ridiculous. They do serve a purpose, however: they hide the fact that most news items nowadays are in fact just oneliners:p

Comment: Don't (Score 4, Interesting) 566

by zmooc (#48573119) Attached to: The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait

So because web designers fail to properly design the web and thus leave me with ridiculously narrow columns, I should rotate my monitor? That's rubbish. Scientific research has shown again and again that we can read longer lines much more efficiently than we can read short lines, even though our subjective experience is often to the contrary. Just fix those websites and keep your monitor in landscape. Thank you.

Comment: So what about the men?! (Score 1) 310

There quite a lot of violence against men in the game as well. Probably much more so than violence against women. Not too long ago, while I was playing Trevor, I was kidnapped by some guy who beat me up, drugged me, raped me in the ass and then left me naked and unconscious in the railroad tracks. So why isn't that a problem according to Target? Either Target is a bunch of sexist assholes or they believe women are fundamentally weak and in need of protection like this, which would make them ... o yeah. Sexist assholes.

By the way, I've never managed to really sexually assault a woman in the game. Is that even possible?

Comment: Poor girl (Score 1) 584

by zmooc (#48521045) Attached to: Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?

"larger society keeps forcing sexist stereotypes on her"

While that may be somewhat true, it's not the whole story. Babies only a few days old already display typical male or female interests that result in this girl wanting to be a princess. In countries where emancipation has come much further and woman and man are absolutely free to choose their jobs, they tend to pick (stereo)typical male or female jobs than in other countries!

Point is, a big part of gender-stereotypical behavior is not "learned". It is congenital. If you believe otherwise, please don't bother your child with it.

Also, please watch this awesome documentary on the subject:

Comment: Re:Yes (Score 5, Informative) 409

by zmooc (#48513249) Attached to: Is Chernobyl Still Dangerous? Was 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda?

"it appears that humans are worse drain than the radiation"

Only if you look at photogenic large mammals like we always do. But nature is much more than that. Fungi, microbes, spiders and insects are doing very bad, so bad in fact that dead trees are hardly decaying. Birds have very small brains compared to birds from more healthy regions. And trees are not growing as fast as they should.

Bottomline: large parts of the natural cycle are not working and we don't know very well what the long term effects will be. What we DO know, is that abnormal amounts of flammable biomass is accumulating in the area. A forest-fire could cause huge redistribution of radioactive materials.

Comment: Age doesn't matter (Score 3, Interesting) 376

by zmooc (#48492433) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: IT Career Path After 35?

Age doesn't matter - I've had multiple rather old people on my team of software engineers. Age really doesn't matter.

However, as you get older and your knowledge and experience grows, you will get parasites. Instead of applying your knowledge and experience developing software like you used to, you will be answering all kinds of questions, performing little chores etc. because you happen to know how to because of your experience... to the point that you can no longer just be a software engineer. Research has shown that after each interruption it takes about 17 minutes to get back to the job. On average. For complex coding jobs, this time may be much longer and just a single question about something important but not directly related to your job may get you out of the flow for the rest of the day.

You may need to switch jobs to avoid this; once you start getting more than a handful of such requests that are not part of your coding job, run.

Also, consistently being an asshole may prevent this. But that's probably similarly detrimental to you career...

Comment: Don't fear the singularity (Score 1) 455

by zmooc (#48447569) Attached to: Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

I don't think the technological singularity - if there's such a thing - should be feared. You may, however, want to fear widespread pseudo/artificial/whatever intelligence. Or just call it plain automation. Because it's going to take your job well before there's a technological singularity. And the challenges that need to be overcome to get us there are much easier than copying an amoebe. You don't need to be able to copy an amoebe in order to be able to do just about anything a human does better than a human.

We don't need to be able to copy amoebes for technology to take over the jobs of the drivers of all kinds of vehicles, all logistics personell, most IT personell, most construction workers, most car mechanics, all fast food personell, most military personell. You name it. And we're getting there fast; in fact replacing all these people would not really be so much of a technological challenge; it's now simply a matter of economics.

Prepare for a job in entertainment, (health) care, science or automating the hell out of anything or be without one in a decade. For quite some time, humans may still compete on the job market with general purpose robots, maybe they always will, but those jobs will inevitably be plain dull; computer tells you what to do, you do it, repeat. And there's all the reason to fear that...

Comment: Re:Temporary (Score 1) 488

by zmooc (#48371435) Attached to: Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

I don't agree. There's enormous potential for storage, either by those wind power producers themselves or by independent market parties. The situation is temporary in the sense that these storage capabilities need to be built and this takes time. Existing storage solutions (most notably pumped hydro) show that this is both technologically and economically feasible. In fact so much so that dedicated international powerlines (e.g. the NorNet cable) are built specifically to get cheap power to those storage facilities.

That's the large scale. On the smaller scale, many European countries are updating local infrastructure (e.g. electricity meters) to enable households to plan their electricity use when the most power is available (e.g. make the fridge extra cold, charge your car, start the washing machine, fill the boiler or simply charge your own electricity storage). And the other way around is possible too: at times when electricity demand is high, empty your cars' batteries or dedicated storage, turn off the fridge or increase your CHP output and and mane some money.

Also, even those large scale "grey" power plants can still be economical. However, their electricity will be much more expensive, obviously, since keeping an expensive plant on standby is not cheap. This is also a great incentive for those power companies to start working on storage.

Also note that while this may be true for some countries (e.g. Germany), "(...) make renewables profitable legislators had to massively shaft everyone else with punitive measures (...)" is not true for all countries and was not a requirement for getting all this "green" power online at all.

Comment: Temporary (Score 3, Interesting) 488

by zmooc (#48366549) Attached to: Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

This can only be a temporary problem. If those guys have a properly functioning electricity market, energy storage companies will bite. Obviously, this would work much better if end-users/suppliers were actually billed the actual electricity price instead of some kind of average. That way, they could change their behavior to match it or even consider storing their self-produced electricity. This could get a major boost if the electricity prices would be available in real-time to your fridge, washing machine, car charger and solar batteries.

What could also help tremendously, is if the countries around them shared the same ambition. If not, they will keep stuffing the hole until a major electricity dip comes around sometime mid-winter and the Danes will blackout.

Comment: But what do you need? (Score 4, Insightful) 147

by zmooc (#48339509) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Data Warehouse Server System?

Sounds like you're very good in the buzzword-department but have no idea what you're doing at all.... What kind of data are we talking about? Lots of writes? Lots of reads? Is the data suitable for splitting up? What kind of queries will you need to run? Do you need uptime? Or consistency?

Also if you're looking at MSSQL or Oracle, you obviously DO NOT HAVE Big Data. Big Data is data that cannot be dealt with using regular RDBMSes. Do you really have or plan to have multiple terabytes of data? If not, you don't have big data.

Based on the information you've given us we cannot give you any advice at all apart from stopping what you're doing and hiring an expert.

Physician: One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well. -- Ambrose Bierce