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Comment Re:Slashdot in Greek (Score 3, Insightful) 42

To those interested in the implementation of programming languages, it is immediately apparent that this is a fundamental change in the compiler behind the GNU Guile system which implements the Scheme programming language, inasmuch as it now has a virtual machine based on the register model instead of the implied stack model, along with an intermediate language in its compilation path that is based on continuation-passing style.

I think that the lesson here is for everyone: There are many segments of nerd culture, and it is very unlikely that any randomly-selected Slashdot reader understands and appreciates all of those segments. For example, the earlier headline today "Why Transivity Violations Can Be Rational" has no meaning to many readers, even after the title was corrected to spell transitivity correctly. After reading a little about that topic, I see that it is an area of of obvious interest to many nerds.

That being said, there are plenty of topics Slashdot poorly reports on which are not of interest to any segment of nerd culture, at least not beyond the overlap between nerd culture and the mainstream news where we already read the same information three days earlier except through the words of a literate, competent reporter with real editing before it hit the press.

Comment Re:The farmer's recourse is to sue to sell (Score 1) 579

Assuming that there are negative effects of the current patent system in terms of seeds, there is still another side to the coin. Without patent protection, would Monsanto have developed Roundup Ready (TM) soybean seeds? Or, for that matter, Roundup (TM) herbicide? Without these complementary items, soybean production would be much lower. (Due to decreased production by using other means of weed control and/or increased cost of weed control.) Maybe both products would exist without the seeds being protected by patent law, but if, on average, the total production is increased by the availability of such protections, they give society a net gain.

Comment Re:I wonder if New Zealand can do other tricks too (Score 2) 175

Keep in mind this is an extradition matter. At an extradition hearing, the issues are basically limited to (1) whether you are the person being sought by the other jurisdiction and (2) whether the charges in the other jurisdiction are the type of charges for which a person can be extradited. I am not as familiar with international extradition as I am interstate extradition within the United States, and certainly there will be specific rules spelled out in an extradition treaty between New Zealand and the United States (possibly by way of the UN, for all I know). But those are the real issues: are you the right guy and are the charges extraditable. The extradition hearing is held in and under the procedural law of the court in New Zealand.

Once arraigned in the court where the charges are pending (the United States federal court), the issue becomes whether you are guilty of the offense charged. And the evidence against you is relevant to that issue. The evidence is largely not relevant to whether you can be extradited. And that's essentially what it sounds like the New Zealand court concluded.


Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Language With Access-Controlled Sandboxes

ari_j writes: I often find myself in need of a programming or scripting language with good access control. For instance, a multi-user game where each user's code and data should have only the access to other users' code and data that is expressly granted. Basically, I want the kind of access control one would expect from a good database system except I want that access control to apply to objects and method calls rather than to tables, rows, and columns. I also tire of rolling my own language. What are my turnkey or near-turnkey options?

Comment Re:Why would that be the first step? (Score 4, Insightful) 206

It's also proof of concept. If you can launch a nuclear missile from Earth and detonate it on or near the surface of the moon, particularly if you can get reasonably close to a specific position on the surface of the moon, then you can likely do the same in reverse. If you can't nuke the moon from Earth, then you can't nuke Earth from the moon.

Comment Very Good Discussion (Score -1, Troll) 238

I really enjoyed reading all the comments so far. The submission itself was nice and hyperbolic. You can tell it's good journalism because of all the exclamation points and strong bias. There's just nothing quite as insightful, though, as a discussion by people with strong feelings and almost no understanding about what is right or wrong with this news.

Frankly, I hope nobody bothers to educate himself about any of this. Indeed, the shareholders of BP should all be in prison for life. And BP should also write a check for 120% of its total equity ... to ... um ... I don't know, maybe the dolphins? Anyhow, it should be illegal to enter into a plea agreement on criminal charges. If you are charged with a crime, you should be found guilty and sentenced to ... well, maybe the death penalty. You're a corporation? Then .. well ... oh, I know, let's kill the shareholders. But if there is any dispute over your guilt, you should not have an opportunity to reach a plea agreement. It should be all or nothing. And your guilt should be decided by the jury! Wait, no, not the jury, because the jury system is broken. How about a judge? No, he could be bribed and was probably put on the bench by corrupt politics in the first place. So, your guilt should be decided by ... a duck!

Because, if anyone bothered to read the article, understand the situation, understand the system at play, educate himself on the reason things work the way they do, and so forth, how else would I get any entertainment without having to pay for cable TV?

Comment Re:even more revolutionary idea (Score 1) 387

How would such disputes be resolved? You have to assume that a fair, negotiated agreement is not possible because, when it is, jury trials already do not happen. You are talking about replacing what happens when a fair settlement cannot be reached. And who decides which disputes can and cannot be understood by "street people"?

Right now, if a party believes that the assumed layperson jury needs expert help to understand an issue, the party can present expert testimony to explain it and other parties can present their own expert testimony as well. Almost every civil case that is actually filed makes use of expert testimony because there is some issue that the average person off the street will not be able to understand without some explanation. That can take the form of anything from how a user interface is designed (something that I, a lifelong computer programmer, would want explained to me) to how a person's spine gets broken in a head-on collision.

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