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Comment Re:Depends on the math (Score 1) 6

10 scraps of paper are labelled 0 through 9 and tossed into a hat. How many combinations of numbers can you get if you randomly pick 4 scraps of paper from the hat? That's combinatorics. It helps you understand the size of the data sets your code may need to process so that you can choose a reasonable approach.

You need basic algebra and boolean algebra for any code beyond the most simplistic scripting or web hack job. Given the quality of most device drivers, I can believe they were written by people without those skills. If you want to architect a software system that scales, you'll need at least some understanding of linear algebra as well.

Comment Depends on the math (Score 1) 6

Can't live without algebra. Combinatorics is critical for computer science. Statistics is very helpful.

Unless you go into scientific computing, you'll almost never run in to a computing problem for which calculus gives a boost. The math computers work with just doesn't relate.

Differential equations was my bane as well. I failed it several times and ended up not correcting an error when I transferred schools and they assigned credit for it as a result of a different course I'd taken. Now I earn near $140k and I'm the go-to guy at the office when there's a particularly complex data handling or networking problem to be solved.

Submission + - Missile test creates huge expanding halo of light over Hawaii

The Bad Astronomer writes: A Minuteman III missile launch from California early Wednesday morning created a weird, expanding halo of light seen from the CFHT observatory on Hawaii's Mauna Kea. The third stage of the missile has ports that open and dump fuel into the near-vacuum. This cloud expands rapidly as a spherical shell, shock-exciting the air molecules and causing them to glow, creating the bizarre effect.

Comment worst place (Score 2) 524

One of the worst places I've worked had a well stocked break room. Sodas, chips, ice cream, everything short of a full meal. They patted themselves on the back about how well they treated their employees. And failed to treat them well in the areas that matter.

Submission + - Google's House of Cards 1

theodp writes: In The Design That Conquered Google, The New Yorker's Matt Buchanan reports that "cards" — modeled after real cards — are set to become one of the dominant ways in which Google presents certain types of information to users. The power of a card as a visual-organization metaphor, the secret of its infiltration, said Matias Duarte (lead designer of Android), is that "it makes very clear the atomic unity of things; it’s still flexible while creating a kind of regularity." Hey, maybe that Bill Atkinson was really on to something with that dadgum HyperCard software of his back in the '80s!

Submission + - Larry Page's Vocal Cords are Partially Paralyzed

theodp writes: Last summer, unspecified voice problems caused Google CEO Larry Page to miss Google's Annual Shareholder Meeting, the I/O conference, and a quarterly earnings call. Now, Page has come forward and revealed that he suffers from partial paralysis of each of his vocal chords, an 'extremely rare' condition. Not unlike what Sergey Brin and his wife are doing with Parkinson's research, Page and his wife will be funding and overseeing 'a significant research program' led by Dr. Steven Zeitels of Harvard Medical School.

Submission + - 400 parts per million CO2 breached (

symbolset writes: Over the past month a number of individual observations of CO2 at the Mauna Loa Observatory have exceeded 400 parts per million. The daily average observation has crept above 399 ppm, and as annual the peak is typically in mid-May it seems likely the daily observation will break the 400 ppm milestone within a few days. This measure of potent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere should spark renewed discussion about the use of fossil fuels. For the past few decades the annual peak becomes the annual average two or three years later, and the annual minimum after two or three years more.

Comment Re: One person (Score 1) 86

Virginia considers you not merely to be a citizen of the country and of the state but also a citizen of your locality within the state.

Section 5. County, city, and town governing bodies.

Whenever the governing body of any such unit shall fail to perform the duties so prescribed in the manner herein directed, a suit shall lie on behalf of any citizen thereof to compel performance by the governing body.

Comment Re:One person (Score 2) 86

The overwhelming majority of classified documents are classified because they were derived in part from some other document that was classified and were written by a government contractor who is not authorized to declassify any portion the prior document marked classified.

Even if that weren't true, it has no bearing on a state government's response to FOIA requests. Classification is purely a Federal government thing where Federal FOIA rules apply.

Comment Re:One person (Score 2) 86

And in case it wasn't clear, I don't want some dope from California wasting my Virginia tax dollars on some paranoid quest to find out what Virginia knows about alien abductions. If you can't at least find a like-minded Virginian to sign his name to the request, something is seriously wrong with the request.

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