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Comment Re:No harm done (Score 1) 630

Nope. America is not an armed society in the sense Heinlein meant. Yes, Americans own a lot of guns, but those guns are generally locked up in a safe in their closet. The armed society Heinlein referred to is one where the majority of people have a weapon on them at all times, and that is definitely not how it is in the US.

Comment Re:No harm done (Score 1) 630

But the "armed society is a polite society"? Look at US politics, the Tea Party, road rage shootings, Trayvon Martin, and countless other situations, and tell me that the USA isn't a counter-example to Heinlein's assertion.

Too many people get a feeling of power from wielding a gun, and let it get to their heads.

You're missing a very important point here: the vast majority of Americans AREN'T armed. I won't disagree that being armed gives one a sense of power, but I suggest that the reason it goes to peoples heads is that they can reasonably be 99% certain that the other person is NOT armed.

Comment Re:Does *any* industry start a new union anymore? (Score 1) 761

The government's own auditor says Medicare / Medicaid has $60B a year of fraud.

Ok, now let's see your numbers for fraud committed against private insurance companies. Until you give us some for comparison, and thus actually prove that the private sector solution is more efficient, the rest of your post is just the standard meaningless Randian drivel and handwaving.

Also, I'm pretty sure the GP meant Medicare, not Social Security. Medicare's administrative costs are 2-3%, while Social Security's administrative costs are less than 1%. So that would be a typo, not a straw man.

Comment Re:This is what's fucking wrong with patents (Score 1) 221

Right, as long as you ignore all the documented use of fixed wing gliders and various experiments in powered, fixed-wing, heavier than air flight going back as far as 1825.

The Wright brothers certainly did a better job of implementing the technology than anyone else at the time, but they certainly weren't the only one's to come up with any of it.

Comment Re:Paging Mr. Roark (Score 1) 616

But that's kind of my point. They don't care to make money on an operating system because they know it's a losing game - the market will continue to drive the cost of an operating system to zero and Apple wants no part in trying to fight an inevitable trend.

Sorry, but I don't follow this line of argument. The only things that really differentiate Apple computers from PCs are the design of the case and the OS. Of the two, only the OS is actually relevant to the functionality of the machine. There's certainly nothing stopping other manufacturers from taking the exact same hardware and slapping it into a similar case. As far as I can tell, Apple really is an OS company, they're just doing a fantastic job of hiding it.

Also, when considering desktop Linux, I think it's important to consider places outside the first-world. I'm willing to bet, in a couple decades, if traditional operating systems are still used, Linux will run on the most computers in the world. Maybe some Unix system, something like Hurd that actually works, but whatever it is it'll be free and based on expired patents.

What makes you think the rest of the world gives even a single shit about software patents? Most of the world doesn't recognize them as being valid, and a significant portion of the world doesn't even recognize copyrights as being "a thing". In China, Windows is just as free as Linux in the monetary sense.

Comment Re:So you've invalidated his patent and then him? (Score 1) 503

Does your TiVo allow you to edit sections of video files? No? If so, then the patent isn't "essentially a TiVo."

That functionality existed in professional video servers, which are very similar to a TiVo in every sense that matters for this functionality, long before TiVo existed. See the Tektronix Profile PDR, for example, which first shipped in late 1995, IIRC. Adding that functionality to what is essentially a consumer version of a professional video server would be obvious to anyone familiar with TV or other video production.

Now, how it was actually implemented is not necessarily obvious, and this guy's method could very well be patentable, assuming there wasn't an extant patent sufficiently broad to cover all possible implementations.

Comment Re:The questions developers ask (Score 1) 249

Does developing modding tools cost me?

If your producer and project lead are not complete fucking morons, and actually have a clue about managing an efficient and effective development pipeline, then you've already developed most of the modding tools before you even started to get serious about creating the game content, and the rest got made during the course of development as the needs were discovered.

Comment Re:Here I come. (Score 1) 732

Actually, according to paper I read recently from the New England Journal of Medicine, health insurance company "administrative costs" represent 10-25% of medical costs in the US, plus up to another 10% administrative overhead on the part of the providers to deal with all the paperwork, negotiations, and other nonsense the insurance carriers introduce into the system to try and avoid paying anything out. On average, over 30% of US medical bills goes to administrative paper-shuffling.

That's pre-"Obamacare" though, so we'll have to see if/how things change. I agree with your points regarding the pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers, but let's not go around spreading the misinformation that the insurance companies are honest businessmen just trying to make a living by providing quality service.

Comment Re:Another reason... (Score 1) 1030

Right... because enterprise IT managers are just chomping at the bit to roll out Windows 8...

I can't think of a single reason why I'd want to bother with the host files on my user's PCs, but I will say this: when I set something it better fucking stay set! Any OS that ignores my explicitly stated wishes will earn my ire.

Comment Re:Field dependent requirement (Score 1) 1086

So how much math are you going to require a liberal arts major to take?

I was required to take 9 units of upper division humanities (for "Lifelong Learning" and "Cultural Diversity") in order to graduate. Turnabout is fair play, I say. It would do those fields no end of good to see what actual rigor looks like.

Comment Re:Field dependent requirement (Score 1) 1086

Video game programming is mostly trigonometry, but there's some calculus in there too. Physics engines of course use calculus and a lot of matrix math. You may use those as packages, but I think if you want to do something the library designers (who are mostly focused on physics and execution speed) didn't conceive of, it would be good to know the math that gets you there.

Actually, graphics is pretty much all matrix math. Yes, there are packages, but you're going to be quite screwed if you try to use any of them for anything beyond what could easily be accomplished with WinForms without knowing matrix math. You'll also understand quaternions and afine transforms, since that's the basis of the most common execution speed optimizations.

There's a reason why that stuff is on the programming test of every single game company that I know of. You probably won't even get an interview if you don't know it.

Comment Re:Field dependent requirement (Score 1) 1086

I've gone all the way up to calculus 3 (vectors, multi-dimensional functions, and doing differentials and integrals therein) and I've yet to see calculus applied by any programming. I am curious how one actually implements it though, in what (limited) programming I've done, I haven't seen any clear way to calculate say an integral using something like c++ or c#.

Doing real math on a computer is actually surprisingly complicated. The topic is usually referred to as Numerical Analysis, and if you're looking to take a class in it you'll find it in the upper division course work of the Applied Math degree track, and you'll almost certainly be expected to have had at least an introductory course in Differential Equations (essentially, Calc 4) first.

You may also find an introduction to the topic in the lower-division math requirements of most CS degrees, in classes typically titled as Discrete or Finite Math.

That said, yes there are libraries, although the folks who are serious about that stuff are more likely to use dedicated packages/environments/languages like MatLab, Mathematica, or R.

I will also say that I think there's a level of dishonesty when people say they aren't using math as programmers or software engineers. Sure, I'm not solving quadratics or writing proofs, but I am certainly using the concepts that I learned on a daily basis. Graph theory, group theory, set theory, number theory, linear algebra... all of these things matter when you're trying to create software that actually does something useful. Just because it doesn't look the same as it did on the final exam of that class doesn't mean it isn't the same kind of math.

Comment Re:yes (Score 2) 1010

I'm betting that, while obtaining your math degrees and teaching it at the university level, you never had the opportunity to actually work in a trade... which is why you think the people who should be going to trade schools wouldn't benefit from Algebra. If you've ever wondered why construction projects so frequently go over-budget, I can tell you from first hand experience that you generally need look no further than the workers who don't have at least an intuitive understanding of basic Algebra and Geometry. (it should come as no surprise that pieces don't fit together right when they aren't cut at the correct angles, and it logically follows that additional resources will need to be expended in order to fix that mistake.)

Having spent 10 years in construction, 2 years as a machinist, and 4 years as an electronic technician, and feel fairly confident in proclaiming that Algebra is, in fact, useful in many, if not most, trades.

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