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Comment Re:Nihilistic Philosophy (Score 1) 418

The philosophy of simulation would seem to inherently mandate that neither argument from Christians or humanists is in the least bit relevant, as our existence is nothing more than a lie. I have to believe that Nick Bostrom is likely a very depressed human being who proferred a notion that fits with his world view but is unable to support it with any verifiable evidence.

Maybe our simulation serves a higher purpose we can't know/understand, like finding the cure for god-AIDS for example ...

Comment Blockly (Score 1) 312

If you are truly starting at the beginning and need to understand basic concepts like conditionals, loops, variables, etc I recommend Blockly.

By the time you can solve level 10 of this tutorial you'll have a fair grasp of some fundamentals.

The best part is it automatically converts to JavaScript and Python, two good languages to move on to after you've master the basics.

Comment Re:IT and CS need to be split up (Score 1) 647

The pretty mediocre state university I went to had this split. There was a CS and a CIS degree standing for Computer Info Systems. It was considered an applied science degree. It did not force a mandatory math minor like the CS degree and focused more on solving business problems. This was back in the early 2000's.

Comment Or ... (Score 1) 168

... use an OS and as many apps that you can fundamentally trust (open source) to not allow unauthorized access to your webcam. Next make sure you buy hardware from a vendor you can trust. Finally practice some good computer use habits like not clicking on every attachment.

Covering your webcam is like closing the barn door after the horses escaped. If someone can monitor your webcam, they can also access all your files and basically do anything else they want to your computer.

Comment Re:Nope, no wealth inequality here (Score 2) 177

You and I might be able to run out of money but society can't run out of money. At this point it's just a electronic ledger controlled by the Federal Reserve. Creating more money is simple as adding some zeroes to a column in some fancy Excel sheet. This happens all the time, but currently it's put into circulation through loans to corporations. A top down approach.

Giving money out to individuals through some sort of UBI system would be a bottom up approach. That money is going to be spent on goods and services from companies anyway. Also taxed the whole way back up. The trick is obviously doing this in a way that doesn't drastically increase the rate of inflation.

Bottom line there needs to be some sort of balance in, not how we redistribute wealth, but in how we distribute the opportunity to gain wealth.

Comment Re:Senile? (Score 1) 951

It's not that we don't understand the rules of quantum mechanics, it's likely they are truly unknowable, at least, by beings living in our universe. From our perspective, and that's the only perspective we have, the universe is non-deterministic. Once you accept our universe is non-deterministic then it's not a big leap of logic to accept free will.

Again, this is from our perspective, not some hyper dimensional god/programmer/being who can see the dice being rolled and might think our notion of free will is silly.

Comment Re:10 years was a decent rest (Score 1) 438

The Xindi arc had it's problems (time travel for example) but at it's heart was a good old Star Trek style social commentary. The whole plot was a mirror on the US's reaction to 9/11. I liked how the Enterprise crew left space dock with an idealistic view of the Universe only to have to take less than noble actions when faced with realities. It was good stuff.

Comment Gravity ... (Score 5, Insightful) 242

The force, not the movie.

I was hoping this would be the first sci-fi movie to get the gravity right on Mars.

I have no idea how they could have accomplished this from a SFX perspective and maybe it wouldn't have added to the story. I was disappointed with the scene where he was disassembling the MAV and the pieces were falling to the surface at a very Earth-like speed. Seemed like a easy place to add a little SFX magic to mimic Mars gravity.

Great movie overall though!

Comment Re:The downside is taxpayers... (Score 1) 283

If I want to take my hypothetical basic income check and spend it on crack, why do you care? At least I'm not out on the street robbing people for the money. If I spend my check on fancy clothes and can't afford my rent, why do you care? I'll learn my lesson real quick when I get evicted.

Or maybe I'll take my check and use it to start a small business and bootstrap myself into a better life.

I couldn't do that with food stamps, and housing vouchers.

Comment Re:Look to the past (Score 1) 257


In 1990 Windows 3.0 came out, which can still run in a VM today. Considering today's slower pace of change in computing technology, I think it's a safe bet any modern OS will run, in a VM, on future computers.

Just pick a popular and open VM container format so you're not tied to a vendor. OVF for example.

You might want to also consider visualizing the version control system as well. Source history may be important to future developers making changes. Use a decentralized VCS like git, so version history gets archived with the development machine automatically.

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PL/I -- "the fatal disease" -- belongs more to the problem set than to the solution set. -- Edsger W. Dijkstra, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5