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Comment Re:10:1... Really? (Score 2, Informative) 752

PHP's primary issue in the database department is it doesn't have a clean way of say, maintaining prepared statement declarations across connection instances. Which is frustrating. APC's handling of shared memory is not the best, either, and the memcached extensions for it need polish. Don't get me started on how PHP treats constants.

Where PHP really fails, however, is in memory usage. It takes up dozens of times as much RAM as a well-built C program would. Facebook would not reduce their computer count by a factor of ten because PHP is that much less efficient at its job, but because more memory would be available in a given machine to handle more instances at once.

Note: PHP 5.3 addresses a lot of this, but though I haven't tested it, I doubt the memory efficiency of PHP is going to get far into the double-digit percentiles of C++ in one shot.


The Perfect Way To Slice a Pizza Screenshot-sm 282

iamapizza writes "New Scientist reports on the quest of two math boffins for the perfect way to slice a pizza. It's an interesting and in-depth article; 'The problem that bothered them was this. Suppose the harried waiter cuts the pizza off-center, but with all the edge-to-edge cuts crossing at a single point, and with the same angle between adjacent cuts. The off-center cuts mean the slices will not all be the same size, so if two people take turns to take neighboring slices, will they get equal shares by the time they have gone right round the pizza — and if not, who will get more?' This is useful, of course, if you're familiar with the concept of 'sharing' a pizza."

Comment Re:laughable (Score 1) 647

You could even consider such basic human decency to be an investment. If you give the guy without a coat one, he'll be a more productive worker in turn. And if he like you is not an asshole, you may get something out of it.

Health care is a particularly blatant example: we could insure every uninsured for the cost of denying insurance, several times over. The rest of the money would be sufficient to pull the US out of recession, merely through having enough of an edge in labor efficiency to eliminate our trade deficit.

None of those calculations make any assumption about having a more efficient work force along with a healthier work force. Every hour a poor person spends in agony is an hour they are not working to their fullest potential.


Super-Earths Discovered Orbiting Nearby, Sun-Like Star 242

likuidkewl writes "Two super-earths, 5 and 7.5 times the size of our home, were found to be orbiting 61 Virginis a mere 28 light years away. 'These detections indicate that low-mass planets are quite common around nearby stars. The discovery of potentially habitable nearby worlds may be just a few years away,' said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UCSC. Among hundreds of our nearest stellar neighbors, 61 Vir stands out as being the most nearly similar to the Sun in terms of age, mass, and other essential properties."

Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System 88

Theosis sends word that an astronomer at the University of Rochester and his colleagues have made the surprise discovery that Alcor, one of the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, is actually two stars; and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the four-star Mizar system, making the whole group a sextuplet. This would make the Mizar-Alcor sextuplet the second-nearest such system known. The discovery is especially surprising because Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. The Mizar-Alcor system has been involved in many "firsts" in the history of astronomy: "Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's protege and collaborator, first observed with a telescope that Mizar was not a single star in 1617, and Galileo observed it a week after hearing about this from Castelli, and noted it in his notebooks... Those two stars, called Mizar A and Mizar B, together with Alcor, in 1857 became the first binary stars ever photographed through a telescope. In 1890, Mizar A was discovered to itself be a binary, being the first binary to be discovered using spectroscopy. In 1908, spectroscopy revealed that Mizar B was also a pair of stars, making the group the first-known quintuple star system."

Building Left 4 Dead Maps With Google Sketchup 44

notthatwillsmith writes "If you're a fan of Left 4 Dead and you've ever wanted to build a zombie-filled map of your hometown, office or grocery store, Maximum PC just posted a how-to that shows you how to convert photos of real-world locations into ready-to-play L4D 1 or 2 maps. It's everything you need to know in order to kill zombies with your friends — in the comfort of your own backyard."

Comment Re:he said (Score 3, Insightful) 103

i know that i matter. that you believe you don't matter is your own intellectual failure, not mine, and your resignation to your self-imposed helplessness is a resignation that only affects your sorry ass, and has no bearing on my rights and abilities as a free man of a liberal western democracy, which i fully comprehend, appreciate, enjoy, and practice. if my society fails into fascism, it will be no fault of mine, but by the unfortunate proliferation of weak spineless pessimistic fools like yourself who have already given up before any battle has even been fought

I would offer a correction. -You- don't matter. Your friends, connections, and the relationships you have built matters quite a lot. The article demonstrates that rather well - a lot of attention was generated very quickly. Never fight alone. More of the world is with you than you think.

Comment By Guaranteeing their pay (Score 1) 1698

The reason that deciding who gets healthcare on the basis of ability to pay is that what when demand for medical services goes up, the best way to get more providers of medical services is to increase what they get paid. Under this law, how will they increase the number of medical providers?

Nothing about public insurance prevents private operators - we don't want Canada's system after all - but there are real economic benefits to cutting people who do nothing but run interference against our own productivity out of the economy. Basic math: A rescission worker uses her own labor to interfere with the labor of both the doctor and the patient. Even ignoring the loss of efficiency due to ill laborers, and even assuming the doctor is not spending any time on hold (ha!), every unit of work you pay the person authorizing care interferes with a minimum of two people, for effectively no gain.

This ignores the moral problems involved in paying companies to deny care - denying a straight A surgical student preventative care for cancer, for example (a friend of mine). That only makes sense if you intend to restrict care to society.

Plenty of money available for health providers after we slaughter the hogs in the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. There could easily be a 15% gain in efficiency and a 15% gain in efficiency turns America into a net exporter again.


Gigantic Air Gun To Blast Cargo Into Orbit 384

Hugh Pickens writes: "The New Scientist reports that with a hat tip to Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon , physicist John Hunter has outlined the design of a gigantic gun that could slash the cost of putting cargo into orbit. At the Space Investment Summit in Boston last week, Hunter described the design for a 1.1-kilometer-long gun that he says could launch 450-kilogram payloads at 6 kilometers per second. A small rocket engine would then boost the projectile into low-Earth orbit. The gun would cost $500 million to build, says Hunter, but individual launch costs would be lower than current methods. 'We think it's at least a factor of 10 cheaper than anything else,' Hunter says. The gun is based on the SHARP (Super High Altitude Research Project) light gas gun Hunter helped to build in the 1990s while at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California. With a barrel 47 meters long, it used compressed hydrogen gas to fire projectiles weighing a few kilograms at speeds of up to 3 kilometers per second."

Ted Dziuba Says, "I Don't Code In My Free Time" 619

theodp writes "When he gets some free time away from his gigs at startup Milo and The Register, you won't catch Ted Dziuba doing any recreational programming. And he wouldn't want to work for a company that doesn't hire those who don't code in their spare time. 'You know what's more awesome than spending my Saturday afternoon learning Haskell by hacking away at a few Project Euler problems?' asks Dziuba. 'F***, ANYTHING.'"

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