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Comment Re:Great idea! (Score 1) 938

Here's a study by the Virginia Tech Transport Institute which says talking on the phone isn't at all dangerous for truck drivers and is only has a tiny risk for car drivers. Based on real life (cameras logging near misses in actual cars and trucks), so it might be a little more accurate than the video games other researchers use.

Comment Re:Planet of the Parrots (Score 1) 225

Isn't it the other way round? 5 million years ago intelligent parrots genetically engineered some apes with smart bird characteristics : they walked on 2 legs (like birds), they vocally talked (no other ape species can), feathers were too hard so they settled on a molted appearance. Naturally our ancestors revolted and destroyed their entire civilisation.

Comment Re:Perversion of Capitalism (Score 1) 791

account.balance += account.balance + account.balance << 3;

Sadly, I'm afraid the average /. poster (or recently graduate CS'tist for that matter) wouldn't even understand the code refactoring you just proposed. Everything here is "blah, it's easy, I'm awesome, let me show you how", and then they drop a naive turd as an example.

The thing is they're right : shift has lower precedence than adding so what you're really doing is
account.balance += (account.balance + account.balance ) << 3;
which actually multiplies your balance by 17.

Comment Re:Missing option - Universal Translator (Score 1) 633

The Universal translator is the most absolutely needed tech here and in Star Trek's future. Who wants to go visit hundreds of new civilisations and not understand any of them.

Imagine you're a french captain on where all the other gadgets only understand English. You could yell "Je voudrais un vin rouge, s'il vous plaît" at the replicator all day and it would never ever give you that cup of earl gray tea hot.

The universal translator would translate your battle speech "Retraite! Retraite! Retraite!" into something your English crew could understand like "The line must be drawn here! This far and no further! And I will make them pay for what they've done! Attack!"

Comment Re:implausible? it's magic! (Score 1) 258

Is it really surprising that it seems implausible to a man who doesn't even understand the concept of "peak speed"?

You could actually explain terms rather being an elitist know it all. I asked a couple of people I know about peak speed and got two different answers, so I still don't know

Keitha said that Peak Speed is like Peak OIl. That network speeds will increase for a few years before reaching a peak and continue to decline after that. We can push back the date of peak speed further into the future by conserving network speeds with 200MB download limits. This will allow future generations of Aussies an internet so fast that all their slashdot posts will be first posts.

Bruce said that Peak Speed is like Peak hour traffic, its when everyone gets on the internet at the same time and the data packets crawl along at on tenth of their normal speed. You can get your downloads to speed up by beeping (pinging) your horn and swearing at the data packet in front of you.

Comment Dome sweet dome (Score 1) 274

Just get your city councilors to dome your city. If you get a double-glazed dome then your house doesn't have to keep in heat, or keep out rain, or not fall over in a strong breeze; so you could easily build the walls from paper (recycled of course) and the frame out of cardboard. Domed cities don't just mean cheaper housing : you never to carry an umbrella, you don't have increased car accidents when it rains.

Comment Re:The blame game (Score 1) 220

but in a general sense unless the actual source of the problem, a complete lack of laws protecting our privacy, is brought to light, I do not expect any real change.

I'm pretty sure there a plenty of laws protecting real privacy. Facebook users seem to have a different definition : not about protecting their personal individual information but protecting their clique's information. Protecting cliquishness is probably a bad thing. You'll eventually have a nation sized clique gossiping (in facebook defined privacy) about how awful neighbouring nations are.

Comment Re:NASA tested this a while back (Score 1) 673

What that story really implies is that there was an ash cloud from an icelandic volcano over europe in February 2000. No air space was shutdown. And noone crashed (including the Nasa plane). They found some "scary" engine damage by examining their engine with a microscope.

(By the way, your link is dead, here is the google cache)

Comment Re:Interesting (Score 1) 984

those who know how big a MB actually is will continue knowing, and will quickly (and eagerly) find the ways to make their computers show sizes correclty.

How big is a megabyte?

Does any binary-ist really know without reaching for their calculator? I date back to 1980's microcomputers and could recite all the powers of 2 upto 2 to the 16th (65536). I gave up after memory sizes went beyond that. I hand assembled Z80 machine code by looking up their hex codes in an opcode table. We don't live in the world where we deal directly with binary any more.

I've been a decimal-ist for a few years and early on I actually almost finished a decimal file manager (there weren't any at all back then). It used resistor notation (where k/M/G isnt at the end of the number, but in the middle replacing the decimal point [period]). It showed all the digits in the filesize, but only the first four were in black, the rest were ghosted down to gray. That way you could easily read the approximate size, or look harder and read the complete number. Eg 314159265 would appear as 314M159265

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Today I changed a light bulb.

Comment Re:Might be a mistake but not where Rob is pointin (Score 1) 436

Well unless there is something else going on Rob needs to go back to school too. A simple quicksort algorithm with the comparator replaced with a random choice becomes a recursive random partition of the array. A simple inductive argument shows that this will not produce the unbalanced results he found. So the problem is elsewhere (most likely in the RNG seeding or a bias in the pivot selection, if he is running it in a tight loop and the seed is something like, current second, then the same seed may appear several times).

You do realise that quicksort is whole family of algorithms? Most library routine writers consider it a bug if you sort the same data twice and it comes up in a different order, so they tend to avoid random pivot and use median of 3 or 9 pivot instead. These will give biased shuffling. They also also switch to insertion sort for small subarrays which will lead to biased shuffling.

Closing the walls partitioning takes 1/2 to 1/3 times as many swaps as the Lomuto partitioning (which is a simple left to right for loop) so it's usually the preferred method to partition. Lomuto also goes quadratic for equal valued elements. Most closing the walls partitions use the pivot as a sentinal, but with a random comparison the indexes can walk right past the end the subarray and generate an array index error.

Comment Re:Frankly, I was disappointed (Score 1) 544

Red matter isn't that big a stretch from today's science. Strange Matter has fairly strong theory behind it and red is just another type of quark.

Besides I vaguely remember all the star trek episodes and definitely vaguely remember a series finale where Captain Bristow has to stop a big red matter ball from turning a whole city into zombies.

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