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Comment Re:We Wish (Score 1) 663

The hidden assumption here is that no substantial amount of oil is being placed *into* the ground. This is certainly the dominant opinion, but definitely not the only one, and while we know a great deal about the geology of the first few miles of the earth's crust, there is a great and increasing amount that we don't know as we go deeper and deeper therein. There may be processes as yet unexplained that account for some, perhaps even much, of the oil in the ground. I don't think it would be wise to count on that; I think it is safest to assume that oil is a finite and non-renewable resource. But there is a small but nonzero chance that it is not, and, if it should turn out that it isn't, we may need to explore other reasons and benefits (of which there are many) for encouraging the development of other sustainable energy production and storage technologies.

Comment Re:Only true for a small portion of the world (Score 1) 417

Unfortunately in NE Ohio (Cleveland and its sprawling, yet half-empty suburbs and exurbs), it is hard to find decent food in a supermarket that does not take the better part of 2 hours to get into and out of, because of, among other reasons:
  • Narrow aisles filled with very generously sized people, many too big to walk or stand without assistance, and thus driving motorized carts.
  • Very few of them polite enough to merely occupy most of each thin aisle rather than all of it.
  • The selections are very unhealthy, almost all being saturated with salt, high fructose corn syrup, saturated fats, and unpronounceable additives.
  • The produce is flavorless, costs 5-10x what it would cost at a farmers' market, and is doctored to look healthier and fresher than it actually is.
  • The lines are often an hour long or more, and it's not unusual for people to leave them once they get close to the front in order to purchase frozen items that otherwise would have thawed while they are in line.
  • People either don't know how to use the self-service lanes, or try to cheat them, resulting in their frequent closure, but the checkout lanes that actually are manned are usually worse. Even here, in one of the poorest cities in the industrialized world, $15 an hour isn't enough to attract people who actually give a crap about customer service.

Corner stores are rare even in the very urban part of town I'm in (Lakewood) and typically sell primarily booze, cigarettes, snacks, and lottery tickets, not anything that a person hoping to live another decade would actually want to consume.

Big-box, warehouse type stores like Costco offer better and fresher produce options, but require very long drives out into the suburbs and are typically at least as congested (both the stores themselves and the shopping centers they're in) as grocery stores in the inner suburbs.

Poor inner-city neighborhoods have even fewer options than the ostensibly middle-class areas like mine - sometimes, unless one can borrow a car or take 2 buses that run at best hourly, none whatsoever.

In short, trying to find decent food is a nearly unbearable ordeal here compared to most other places I've been, even within the U.S., and that probably goes a long way toward explaining why we're among the fattest and least healthy cities in a country not particularly known for leanness nor for good health to begin with.

Comment Re:Yes, we need 1,000 warheads (Score 1) 615

Destroy enough of lower Manhattan, and: (a) more Americans would die within a month from starvation, thirst, or disease than not; and (b) even more people would die outside the U.S. as a result than in it. Most Slashdotters have absolutely no clue how dependent all industrialized countries are on the smooth functioning of the global economy, from which they derive every essential of life except for air (but most definitely including clean water, the lack of which kills almost as many people around the world TODAY as everything else combined). This is gradually changing; the world is becoming more decentralized financially and otherwise. But we are still a long, long way off from a time in which most people can have food and clean water without first having money and jobs, and, hence, at least some, at least indirect, access to the world financial system.

Comment Re:de Icaza (Score 2) 815

I have sometimes been critical of Mr. de Icaza. I do not believe I have ever attacked him personally. If I have, my bad, and thank you for pointing that out. I believe that anyone who contributes to Free Software is entitled to some respect and gratitude and as a result if I must disagree I will try to do so respectfully.

Comment Re:This is a true statement (Score 1) 815

I've found that using a source-based distro (in my case, Gentoo) allows for great long-term library stability, at the possible expense of occasional short-term breakage. Basically, anytime anything is updated, everything depending on it directly or indirectly gets rebuilt, then the whole thing gets checked to make sure nothing was missed (as can happen with a bad ebuild or for various other reasons). Once in a while, a bug in an upstream package or an ebuild (the spec for building the software, akin to a BSD port) causes a package to break, and this can be a big problem if it is an important package such as X or glibc upon which many others depend. But these are usually corrected fairly quickly. What does *not* happen with any regularity is the "shared library/DLL hell" that can happen with any system premised on the idea of binary, rather than source, compatibility. Anything that manages to compile will generally "Just Work," at least to the same degree it would on a binary distro, but with much less chance of future breakage as a result of updates to its dependencies.

Comment Re:I'll second that. (Score 2) 815

My understanding is that Mr. de Icaza is, always has been, and generally has conceded himself to be, a pragmatist. He values software freedom for the practical benefits that it brings. I can respect that to a point. However, like Mr. Stallman, I am an idealist. I believe that freedom is valuable primarily for its own sake, that suppressing it is a bad thing even if it is alleged to bring "practical" benefits, and that encouraging it is a good thing even if it comes at the price of some (usually temporary) inconvenience. Pragmatism, unfortunately, often leads to compromise, and to the abandonment of ideals that prove difficult or inconvenient. Idealism on the other hand motivates people like RMS to continue to try to address the problems with, e.g., free software on the desktop, not by abandoning freedom, but by trying to fix them.

Comment Re:Life is tricky for flash (Score 1) 267

Iraq can get hotter than that outdoors (record temp of almost 53C was set in Basra 3 years ago). But an enclosed space in any inhabited part of the world can get much hotter if exposed to sunlight. Here in Cleveland, on the Canadian border, we rarely see 40C outdoors, and get very little sunlight most days; yet the inside of a car may well be 15-20C hotter than the outside, any time of year, if it is directly in the sun. In most months this means hot enough to melt plastic, or to cause water to evaporate almost on contact. 85C, I don't know, but I wouldn't consider it implausible even here, much less someplace where it is both much hotter to begin with, and much sunnier.

Comment Re:Why change the interface at all (Score 1) 537

MANY 3 year olds CAN read. Some can't, and that is not an indication of lesser intelligence or ability; some kids just develop differently than others, and some kids are exposed to letters and words and books earlier than others. But there are many, many 3 year olds, and even some younger children, who can.

My wife, myself, and my 2 older sons were reading at 3. My third son, who is just short of his 2nd birthday, knows his ABCs, and can read some words by sight (I'm not sure he understands what they mean yet, but he recognizes and says the word). He is ONE, he is not potty trained, and he does not speak in sentences longer than one or two words, but, for whatever reason, he learned. Our oldest, who has mild Asperger's, was able to read and understand long sentences and relatively complicated ideas, before he was able to grasp those same thoughts and ideas audibly; for some reason his brain was wired to understand things he saw in print better than things he would hear audibly. He also did not speak at all until around the same time he was beginning to read, although his verbal abilities are exceptional now.

BTW . . . a lot of their early literacy was enhanced with computers and educational videos. Pediatricians almost unanimously recommend against computers and TV at that age, and there are plausible reasons for that, but we did carefully choose what we would buy or rent and what sites we would open up for them, and, so far, I think it has worked well for us.

Comment Re:US will never go broke (Score 1) 999

Heavy inflation and/or a falling dollar will make oil, food, electronics, and other things crucial to the U.S. economy largely unaffordable to the average person. It won't be a particularly great thing for holders of U.S. bonds either, of course, but, since they are the ones calling the shots, NOT the people, you can be very sure they will be protected from the worst of what's coming, somehow, while the rest of us are about to get screwed good and hard.

Comment Re:What if... (Score 2) 136

I had a lot of trouble learning to do TDD well because for a long time I confused it with unit testing. They are related, and complementary, but separate disciplines, and it is best not to confuse them. The way I approach TDD right now is to try to gather testable (though not necessarily complete) requirements, write tests to verify them, design smaller components that will implement these requirements, write the tests and then implementation, and continue to divide the problem into smaller pieces until the implementation is complete. The unit tests validate the functioning of the individual components, but they do not drive the overall design; functionality tests do. The functionality tests tell you if you've broken something in a refactor or redesign or in whatever other way. The unit tests, ideally, help you to find the broken piece(s) quickly. Both kinds of tests help to ensure that your architecture and design is testable, and thus verifiable, and thus far less likely to break. Mocking can be used to simulate the behavior of other systems outside of one's control (e.g., databases, legacy systems, etc.), including error conditions these systems may encounter or errors connecting to them, so that the software within one's control can respond in an intelligent manner if things beyond it go wrong. I've been accused of being a TDD skeptic, and, indeed, I don't think it's appropriate everywhere, but it is broadly useful in many areas of software development and it helps to teach and enforce other good architecture, design and coding practices. Unit testing is great but it's only one component of TDD, and, often, much less important than comprehensive behavior and integration testing. It should still be done where possible, because seemingly small changes and refactorings can cause subtle breakage that the unit tests can catch quickly, especially if they are automated as they should be, possibly before an integration build is even attempted.

Comment Re:laws (Score 1) 1127

Respectfully disagree. Some adults do in fact have trouble figuring out what constitutes socially acceptable behavior. That would include people like me with Asperger's and related conditions, who happen to be grossly overrepresented in IT and related fields.

I manage most of the time by always erring on the side of being cautious and keeping my mouth shut, which can make me seem unfriendly and antisocial, but not (usually) offensive.

Comment Re:laws (Score 1) 1127

I'm sorry to say it, but we guys can be real jerks sometimes in an environment where there are no women around to help to "civilize" us. In bigger companies, there tend to be enough women, and sufficient emphasis on avoidance of anything that could be reasonably interpreted as sexual harassment, that the problems are minimal. However, I now work in an all-male office. They're great guys, but I promise you, the average woman would NOT be comfortable with some of the language and attitudes and generally low-brow culture here. If we had a female suddenly show up, we would have to adapt, and so would she. It would happen, I'm sure, but not without some effort, on both sides.

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