Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Our "tech savvy" kids (Score 1) 205

most kids won't be up to learning to sound out words at 4 let alone reading and writing in any kind of language. Amazing what they can do without language skills though.

I have a feeling that being bright is mostly having parents that care. Most kids in my family started reading early, not because my family has good genes but because they saw lots of books around, received books as gifts, and were read to. So, sure, 4 or 5 is a little early for learning C (I assumed that was a joke) but not by much. The biggest obstacle would probably be that the kid would have better things to do, and coercing him into learning programming wouldn't be a good way to raise him.

Comment Re:only 15k people? (Score 1) 205

That's because buying stuff gives you a feeling of power. When you're poor, you can't buy a new suit or a new car, so you buy cheap stuff. A new wallpaper makes you feel like you have a new phone.

When you're richer, buying cheap wallpapers or changing the defaults doesn't do anything to your feelings of power; you'll just buy the next iPhone when it comes out.

Comment Re:Destroying cancer cells is bad. (Score 1) 98

No mater how stupid you may thing a brain storming idea is, you don't disregard it.

Yes you do, because funding is limited. There has to be a credibility threshold before you start doing experiments. Anyway, we're not speaking about science here, but about how to react when you read such a claim on an internet forum. Any post claiming "scientists are doing it wrong and the cure is actually very simple" has "quack" written all over it.

Comment Re:Destroying cancer cells is bad. (Score 1) 98

Yes, of course, and AIDS can be cured by drinking lemonade. Dumb scientists!

This is bullshit, but what happens when someone reads this, decides scientists are much less knowledgable than your average grandma, and doesn't go to a doctor because sodium bicarbonate cures everything? At the time I'm writing this, the OP is modded +2 interesting. However good rule of thumb would be to disregard any post that claims to have found a very simple and natural solution to a problem that has been baffling scientists for decades.

Comment Re:Kill it Oracle (Score 1) 338

I didn't describe Perl as unsafe, but as difficult to use for bad programmers, and requiring skill to be used properly. That's also the case with C, but for historical reasons and because C is closer to the hardware. Perl was designed that way.

The rest of your message is rephrasing what I meant, so I agree... but maybe I wasn't very clear in my post.

Comment Re:Alright, I know how to be now. (Score 1) 473

I would never suggest to anyone to change who they are just to find a date. That would be losing all integrity

I used to think that myself, until I read that quote by Joss Whedon: "be yourself, unless you suck".
Come to think of it, there's nothing wrong in changing who you are if you truly believe it's an improvement.

Comment Re:Kill it Oracle (Score 0) 338

Ah yes. The old "blame the language for the lack of a developer's skills" ploy.

Well, the thing is, one of the goals of Java was to deal with bad programmers by putting safeguards, not having features like multiple inheritance that are useful but require you to have a brain, and forcing you to either catch an exception declare that it can be thrown, among many examples. These are useful, but frustrating if you're prototyping, and not mecanically implementing a well designed specification. Anyway, all those safeguards mean a bad programmer may be able to write some working code in Java.

On the other hand, take Perl. It was meant for good programmers, has no safeguards, and in many ways relies on the programmer using it the sane way. For example, it doesn't enforce public/private access, but instead relies on you to be polite and not access private stuff. No bad programmers could ever be productive in Perl, but a lot of decent-to-good programmers found it very helpful (before Python and Ruby came).

So, in the end, you'll have more bad Java developers than bad Perl developers, just because Java is more friendly to them. Of course, if Java died, its bad developers wouldn't magically become good developers by switching to another language, but they'd either find another dummy-proof language, improve their skills, or change jobs. Just like if PHP died, a lot of crappy web developers would have to either find a replacement that still allows them to write websites without learning to code, or change hobs.

Comment Re:Working on the right features, I see (Score 2) 403

I'm not so sure single-window is an improvement on small screens. I remember much frustration while using Inkscape on a netbook a while ago, because its single window didn't fit in my resolution, and my window manager had strange ways of dealing with that.

With a Gimp-like UI I would just have move the toolbars to another desktop and switched between desktops with a keyboard shortcut.

Comment Re:Allegory (Score 1) 1014

If you want to make real decisions then those decisions have to have real consequences. Having free will means living in a world where you at times when you have to deal with suffering. That's the whole point of the story.

I think "Spiderman" is a better story, with more or less the same message. We should replace the Bible with it. And maybe in a thousand years people will have forgotten that it's a fiction.

Comment Re:Double Standard (Score 1) 775

totally random chaotic interactions which favor chaos instead of order. Thus it is far more likely to not have an organism "evolve" than for it to evolve.

This is a complete misunderstanding of darwinism, not a flaw in it. Evolution does not happen when random chaotic interactions happen, it happens when three things are there:
- we have "stuff" that can reproduce itself (heredity)
- there are random mutations when the reproduction happens (changes)
- there are limited resources, so not every "stuff" has a chance to reproduce (selection)

Note that 1) it doesn't only apply to organisms but also to molecules, so even random chaotic interactions among atoms form stable structures and 2) the random mutations are only part of the process; without selection there is no evolution.

You may think it's unlikely that evolution via natural selection is the cause of our existence, but there is no doubt that the process of evolution happens and can create complex stuff from seemingly random interactions. It's easy to simulate on a computer. That'll never prove the process happened on earth, but that proves that the process does work as we thought it did.

People act like science is perfect, but one new fact could totally change everything scientifically. Does that sound like a good position to be in?

That sounds much better than the other option: a position where a new contradictory fact couldn't change anything would be blind faith? Science is a quest for truth. If you're searching for truth, you must be able to change your mind. Blind faith, on the opposite is hoping that truth fits your beliefs, and disregarding facts that are contradictory to your beliefs. Is that a better position to be in?

Slashdot Top Deals

fortune: cpu time/usefulness ratio too high -- core dumped.