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Comment Good tool support needs "good" languages (Score 3, Insightful) 279

It seems to me that you need the languages with the right features to be able to implement good tool support. Consider the excellent IDEs that have been created for Java (Eclipse, IDEA, NetBeans) with extremely advanced refactoring capabilities, code navigation, and inline compilation with meaningful error messages. Such support requires the ability to do static analysis, which you can't do properly in some of the newly popular languages like JavaScript.

Comment Humanities not science? (Score 1) 564

The article seems to imply that the humanities are not science, but helping the real science (and lists engineering, of all things). I completely disagree!

Science is a way of thinking, an approach --- you can and must apply it to everything: Humanities as well as Natural Sciences as well as Engineering. It includes rigorous work, sceptical thinking, an open mind, etc. --- and it is necessary for ALL scientists to follow, regardless of their field.

Comment Re:Fraud (Score 4, Insightful) 240

Here's the rub. A lot of people show up at the doctor for things which will take n days to go away - with or without treatment. The common cold, for example. They won't accept NOT getting any prescription and will hop from doctor to doctor until they get one.

Now the best thing would be educating the public about this issue. This is very, very hard to do. Barring that, it is actually better for the patients and cheaper to just prescribe placebos - they DO work in this case! (up to the placebo effect, as any other medicine would).

Unfortunately there is another issue involved: Most placebos (at least in Germany) are homeopatic. This lends credibility to the whole homeopatic industry, and THEY are nothing but quacks. And THAT is a bad thing.

So - either way you lose.

Comment Re:Please read "2052" (Score 3, Interesting) 462

Apparently, not so bad:

I have not read the 1972 book, but I think the main point was that economic growth has to stop at some point (because the planet won't support it) and we have to go for a steady-state economy. The problem with that is, while it is perfectly possible to do, it apparently still just doesn't fit into the heads of the people responsible.

Comment Please read "2052" (Score 3, Interesting) 462

I recommend reading "2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years" (

It is written by the same guy who co-wrote the 1972 report "The Limits Of Growth" and deals with what humanity will likely do (globally) in the next 40 years (not what we SHOULD do, but what we will most likely do).

It is very interesting (and actually quite easy) to read and deals among other things with the expected results of climate change.

Comment Keeping away the teens - with light (Score 4, Interesting) 353

I read about a clever piece of work by some town officials in a German town to drive away teens hanging around a certain area at night (drinking and harrassing people).

What they did was install a light usually used by dermatologists which highlights unclean skin -- pimples and the like.

The teens stayed away.

Comment Re:Same atoms (Score 5, Informative) 75

It seems the point is that "matter outside our solar system [...] seems to be deficient in oxygen compared to neon." (from TFA). The newly found matter seems to be distributed differently: 74 oxygen atoms for every 20 neon atoms compared to 111 oxygen atoms for every 20 neon atoms within the solar system. I still don't understand the "material what we're mad from" part...

Submission + - Dunbar's Number: We're Limited to 150 Friendships (

joshuarrrr writes: The odd reality is that we are actually not capable of managing more friendships than you typically see on Facebook now. Across the primate order as a whole, there is a general relationship between the size of the brain's neocortex and the size of the average social group, and this relationship predicts a group size for humans of 150. This value is now known as Dunbar's Number, because I was the first to point it out, in 1992. The number pops up surprisingly often in human organizational life, not least in the military, where it defines the key unit on which everything else is structured, namely the company. It is also the average size of a personal social network—the number of people with whom you have some kind of reciprocated relationship.

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