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Comment Re:Old School Linux (Score 1) 539

Yes, it was a pain to install Linux compared to the out-of-the-box experience with a Windows PC. But look what you got in return. I feel that Linux has received very little credit as an educational tool for computer scientists. It was the only way you could take a look into the internals of a full-fledged operating system. All those who managed to boot Linux from floppies know in detail all the issues in bootstrapping up to a fully running OS. Changing the scheduler or writing a serial driver became standard assignments in OS courses. I got used to UNIX permissions, system processes, inter-process communication. I appreciated memory management when I learned about compiling kernel drivers as modules. I can't think of how students saw all of these concepts implemented in a working system - you would just have to imagine it from the descriptions in textbooks or work with simulators.

Comment Re:Pretty Pictures (Score 1) 146

This point should be modded up. I am ambivalent about the ethics of animal testing. When I see photographs of animals, especially ones that are quite similar to us such as monkeys, drugged, confined, with probes all over its body, I do shudder. On the other hand, scientists seem to have a good idea of the amount of pain these procedures cause (as remarked by one of the posters) and can minimize it to a small level.

It is clear that we are going to see increasing amounts of research into brain-machine interfaces. Hence it best that the issue of animal testing ethics is brought up during such news reports. We could all learn more about animal testing practices. We could then form an informed opinion about what is acceptable and not feel guilty every time we benefit from such research.

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