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Comment a fair price for a biased product... (Score 5, Insightful) 270 not a worthy goal. Robert McMillen is essentially saying "the market is historically uncompetitive" (and thus broken) "but that's not the point" (i always love it when people tell me that their point is the point) "you should be able to receive [only] that broken product at a fair price". If he actually believes and understands what he's saying then he's promoting a system of government supported monopolistic and anti-capitalistic cronyism. (i'll leave it to Godwin to apply a label to that system)

Comment i'm so *old* i recall when hacking meant... (Score 1) 56

...making something functional with less than optimum resources (cf MacGyver, bodge-up, gerryrig, uzw). which preceded the notion of "one who gains unauthorized access to computers" by oh... perhaps a whole !@#n seven years.

here's another current worthy tome which supports that earlier notion, and thus causes undue confusion: Hacker's Delight, which gets down to the hardware bits with some amazing cycle optimizations

Comment Re:yes really (Score 1) 634

yep. along with all the rest of the BLAS, EISPACK, CERNLAB, MINPACK, SOFA, ATLAS, EIGEN, ... and even the comparatively more recent Bioinformatics cores.. BLAST, BLAT, ...

I really don't understand the "scientific computing .. almost all new software is written in C++" comes from. It's all become Python (and Perl before that) calling old libraries at the scientific meetings i've attended. (but i suppose YMMV)

Comment Re:It's the right tool for the job (Score 5, Insightful) 634

mod the above up please (i'm fresh out of mod points), because that's it in a nutshell. Fortran was designed for science/engineering work. And here's something that a majority of computer-science mavins never seem to grasp. In academia, at least, the use of a program is often relatively ad-hoc, and for the life of the publication. they need to have lots of numerical stuff down by easily references libraries, then handed off to their (poor) dost-docs/grad-students to study for their own one-off programming purposes. That is, the next vital program will have little to do with the previous except for those same well referenced peer-reviewed linked-to numerical libraries. Does that sound like a perfect use (model) of Clojure or Haskell to you? (yes yes you in the back, i know you brush your teeth with monads, but you're the rare case). Haskell and friends force you to think a lot up front for gains at the rear-end, but with much of academic programming there's no rear-end.

Comment Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (Score 2) 54

this is what it does: It provides the necessary software to support a private, possibly semi-secure, social network. Think: Facebook, but small and secret, presumably to protect your membership from an oppressive large authority.

(this post is a traditional trick to get someone who actually can answer this sensible question to become so enraged by this incorrect reply that their activation energy is achieved and we get a good answer. so take what i've written up there as false bait. (this works particularly well when one wants a clear definition to obscure technical terms. just get yourself on a Haskell board, and write: "monads? simple! they're factory objects that provide closures for a formal lambda expression" then watch the horror and outrage and eventually you get the correct answer from the former lurker class))

Comment be there, done that, barely survived... (Score 1) 452

If your boss has any basic science education try to sell them on the "a monoculture is at more risk to attack" approach. that's not entirely false, but mostly it sounds good and pointy-hairs tend to swallow it.

Then choose some version of Ubuntu or Red-Hat, but be ready to suffer all the horrors of dealing with the document, spreadsheet, calendar exchange formats. Those issues, more than any other, will spell failure. (just one middle-level moron who can't open your LibreOffice 'power-point' stack and you're toast) So, far more important than distribution is to be ready (practice!) your corporate compatibility two-step. (once saved my bacon by showing that my 'beamer' stack made everyone's powerpoint stack look like crap)

Beware of the vindictive IT staff who don't want to learn one more thing beyond their 'microsoft certification' merit badge. They will make your life a living hell. good luck!

Comment Re:Evolution at BYU (Score 1) 100

that reply is of the "but Einstein believed in God" sort. whereas i stated that religion is based on faith and faith is inconsistent with science. i did not state that someone who currently is willing to believe that a god is possible (even probable) cannot do good science; just that they cannot hold this belief in the face of contrary evidence, which is to say faith. faith accepts no evidence and cannot be placed aside for evidence. so "real science" (as you introduce the term) is entirely inconsistent with "real faith" (as you introduce the term). they are philosophically orthogonal concepts.

Comment Re:Evolution at BYU (Score 1) 100

"testimonies"? that some specialized mormon terminology like being 'sealed' rather than married? i've read endless screeds about how one can make religion and science happily co-exist. but in the final analysis, it can't happen; at least not with standard faith-based religions. science essentially demands that nothing can be taken on faith; and religion essentially demands that anything important (the root of one's philosophical tree, if you will) must be taken on faith. if you're a faithful you cannot be a clear-minded scientist. i know this will be tediously countered, but faith is anti-science, and faith is the basis of religion.

Comment shape at the end of the recursive series (Score 2) 87

so if one scanned what was printed, printed that, scanned that and printed for N cycles (optionally including a grind-it-up for media source for the next generation) then the series convergence no matter if one started with the venus-de-milo or a sierpinski-tetrahedron would be a sphere?

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I cannot conceive that anybody will require multiplications at the rate of 40,000 or even 4,000 per hour ... -- F. H. Wales (1936)