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Comment Bradley Manning is subject to US law (Score 1) 915

I suspect that Manning will be convicted and spend several years in prison. He seems to be a sympathetic pathetic character to me. If, as what I read suggests, he broke the promises he made to get a clearance, broke the law, and his action damaged US interests and endangered lives, then serious punishment is appropriate.

US claims against Assange seem less clear. I don't know what US law he violated and I don't know how the US can claim jurisdiction. I found reference to a rumor of an indictment at wikipedia, but I'm not sure that the US has charged him. The Swedish charges seem plausible and unrelated.

I have more sympathy for Manning than Assange, perhaps because the case against him looks clearer and more serious.

Comment You are right (Score 1) 407

I picked up a paper copy of it yesterday by chance and quit reading after the first page or so. The article was effusive about the great creative years of Microsoft. I think they became rich by exploiting a monopoly that they inherited from IBM and imitating existing products in ways that precluded interoperation. I quit reading the article because I thought the author understood neither the history nor the technology.

Comment How carefully did Intel think about this? (Score 3, Interesting) 176

I've been watching Intel since the 1970's, and I've been impressed with their technical skill and business judgment. I didn't like what the Wintel duopoly did for computing/science/culture, but it made Intel rich. When Andy Grove canned employees at Intel Supercomputing for using Apples, I took it to mean that he believed that his company's future was tied to Microsoft.

Do you think the decision to join LibreOffice was made at the highest level at Intel? If so, I think it is an important shift.

Comment Re:Other than [...], It beat DEC documentation (Score 1) 73

Unix was so much easier to comprehend and had such nice tools compared to the DEC RSX OS and documentation that it replaced on PDP-11s. Just to know where to find something in the DEC documentation, you had to have read it before. I finally simply read all four feet of that stuff. (I think it was in orange 3 ring binders.)

Comment Re:Right to Read (Score 1) 419

He has been awfully good at forecasting and at figuring out how creative people can organize for their mutual benefit. When I saw the headline, Stallman's "Right to Read" was the first thing I thought of. I expected it to be cited in an early posting.

As a professor for 15 years I grew to dislike publishers of journals and textbooks. I hope that free journals and textbooks replace current publishers. Perhaps the money that authors of popular texts make will stand in the way, but there are already some good texts available on line.

Comment ad hominem (Score 1) 122

I don't like Noah Shachtman or his work. I last thought about him when he wrote something about Los Alamos, NM, which I know well. His article was misleading and had a misplaced sense of excitement and drama. At the time, I checked out some of his other work and found that it was similar.

I put him in with Dvorak. I ignore what he says.

Comment I used the first edition but have Beazley now (Score 1) 163

I learned python out of the first edition of Lutz and Ascher. I just pulled out my copy for the first time in years. The last page number is 366. I use Beazley's "Python Essential Reference" almost daily. Not having taught python and not having learned it twice from two books, I don't have much to say about what would be a better introduction. I recommend python the language and Beazley's book. I never found Lutz and Ascher's book (first edition) useful as a reference.


Man Uses Drake Equation To Explain Girlfriend Woes 538

artemis67 writes "A man studying in London has taken a mathematical equation that predicts the possibility of alien life in the universe to explain why he can't find a girlfriend. Peter Backus, a native of Seattle and PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, near London, in his paper, 'Why I don't have a girlfriend: An application of the Drake Equation to love in the UK,' used math to estimate the number of potential girlfriends in the UK. In describing the paper on the university Web site he wrote 'the results are not encouraging. The probability of finding love in the UK is only about 100 times better than the probability of finding intelligent life in our galaxy.'"

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