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Comment Re:Why put tabs in code anyway? (Score 1) 390

Sorry for the late reply.

--tuple = (x,
-- y,
-- z);

Put the x on its own line, like this:

--tuple =(
--- x,
--- y,
--- z);

Now the x, y and z line up.

a_long_named_variable_x =

Start the long expression on the line after the variable, indenting one additional level from that which the variable is indented at. If you break up the long expression onto multiple lines, indent them the same as the first line of the long expression, unless you want to add more for clarity of sub-expressions. The resulting paragraph of code will still resemble the similar paragraphs y and z.

Or, keep the long expression on a single line and let the editor's word wrap handle it.

Comment Re:The important part of the article (Score 1) 268

I mind... The last grovernment that tried to use genetics to modify it's society of illness didn't have the technology, so they just resorted to gassing millions of the "unfit" to protect the chosen.

I don't think that government was the last one. Compulsory sterilization for eugenic reasons occurred more recently than that in the United States, and it wouldn't surprise me to find out that some countries have it today.

Comment Re:Why put tabs in code anyway? (Score 1) 390

Spaces work better than tabs because the code is always formatted properly.

No, because there is more than one way to properly format code, and different situations require different formatting. I sometimes edit the same code in a 24x80 terminal window and in an IDE maximized on a WUXGA screen. Sometimes the same code is edited by people with different levels of visual acuity.

You cannot have your indent be two and me with 8 and have the code line up properly, especially when lining up complex if or math statements (where you may be using the level of indent to help with showing how the parens or operators nest).

Sure you can. This comment shows how. I'm open to a counterexample though; can you provide an expression that cannot be made to render properly in a variable indentation width environment?

Comment Re:The only way to maintain sanity (Score 1) 390

On a large enough team over enough time, people who use tabs will start to mix tabs and spaces for alignment. Once that starts happening you'll get code / comments / ascii art diagrams all misaligned when viewed in someone else's editor who doesn't have the same tabwidth. The only reliable way to solve this for everyone is to force tabs-as-spaces (:set expandtab).

The superior solution is to force everyone to use tabs for indenting, and then let people adjust their editors to display whatever tab size they prefer.

Comment Re:Confounding Variables (Score 1) 334

So how on earth would eliminating medicare improve the quality of mental health services given to the poor?

It depends on the details, like what you replaced it with, if anything, and if/how Medicaid were to change as well. Under no worldview that I am aware of is Medicare the best way to implement a single payer health care system.

Comment Re:Middle Classes Under-Medicated? (Score 1) 334

Under medicated? In the US? I'll eat my hat if that is the case.

The post you reply to provides examples of that: the anti-vaccination and homeopathy people.

The subtext of this story is that medication is not a replacement for other forms of therapy.

The previous poster's point is that that subtext is wrong: medication is frequently superior to other forms of therapy. If one wants to claim that there are specific times where medication is not a replacement for other forms of therapy, it is better to say that explicitly, and why, than to imply that various anti-evidence medical movements are correct.

Personally, I don't know if too many kids are being treated with antipsychotic medication. If they were, it would fit my assumptions and biases about the world, but those are not always correct.

Comment a good thing (Score 1) 1747

Hard science, alongside medicine, was one of the few things left accorded automatic stature and respect by most untrained lay persons. But the average person reading accounts of the East Anglia emails will conclude that hard science has become just another faction, as politicized and "messy" as, say, gender studies.'

That would be a good thing, because "hard science" is not a single anthropomorphic entity but a collection of disparate opinions, equations, experiments and hypotheses. Ideal scientists are skeptics, willing to change their minds to follow the evidence, but actual scientists are flawed human beings subject to the same cognitive failures as you and I. The Feynman quote from this Megan McArdle column illustrates it well:

We have learned a lot from experience about how to handle some of the ways we fool ourselves. One example: Millikan measured the charge on an electron by an experiment with falling oil drops, and got an answer which we now know not to be quite right. It's a little bit off, because he had the incorrect value for the viscosity of air. It's interesting to look at the history of measurements of the charge of the electron, after Millikan. If you plot them as a function of time, you find that one is a little bigger than Millikan's, and the next one's a little bit bigger than that, and the next one's a little bit bigger than that, until finally they settle down to a number which is higher.

Why didn't they discover that the new number was higher right away? It's a thing that scientists are ashamed of--this history--because it's apparent that people did things like this: When they got a number that was too high above Millikan's, they thought something must be wrong--and they would look for and find a reason why something might be wrong. When they got a number closer to Millikan's value they didn't look so hard. And so they eliminated the numbers that were too far off, and did other things like that.

Since the goal of the scientific method is greater understanding, how is it a bad thing for the general public to have a greater understanding of it? Scientists are not high priests. When ordinary people set aside their blind "faith in science" in favor of a more realistic understanding of what it takes for a hypothesis to survive in the shark tank long enough to be called a theory, it's not a bad thing, it's a good thing.

Comment Re:What exactly is nuanced? (Score 1) 411

"Ignorance of the law is no defense" made sense when the law closely resembled the common set of morals and ethics shared by 99% of society. Clearly that is no longer the case, and I wonder how long it will be before, at least in some cases, ignorance of a law that reasonably couldn't have been known or understood ahead of time does become a valid defense.

Comment Re:Well Then (Score 1) 754

That holds true for correct (or not seriously wrong) decisions. In the general case, a Darwin award is a far more probable outcome.

I think what you call "not seriously wrong" is the majority case. When trying to avoid being eaten by a saber-toothed tiger, false positives (fleeing when unnecessary) have few drawbacks. In that situation a Darwin award comes from false negatives (thinking there's no tiger when there is), which over time removes from the gene pool those less likely to jump to conclusions.

In practice we think we see patterns everywhere. If the first two librarians I meet are nice, I'm more likely to think that librarians in general are nice.

Comment Re:Forget the books (Score 1) 1146

Intelligent people do not need the kind of rubberstamp advice you find in self-help books.

Not all self-help books contain rubberstamp advice. There are people who know a lot about marriage, and some of them write books about it.

In my opinion the goal is to reach a state where each partner is unilaterally putting the other person first, trying to elicit and meet their partner's needs regardless of how well their own needs are being met. Nobody can do this all the time, but as long as one or both people do it bad times will generally be minimized.

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