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Comment A few suggestions (Score 1) 278

Here are a few of my favorites; I also suggest checking up reviews on e.g. Amazon to see what's really right for you. The "Customers Who Bought this Item Also Bought" section on Amazon for any of these might provide some great inspiration as well.

Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics, by John Derbyshire
Very engaging account of the history of the Riemann Hypothesis, which is central to prime numbers especially but if proven is known to imply a great number of other results. Got into enough actual mathematics to be a great read for me.

The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved: How Mathematical Genius Discovered the Language of Symmetry, by Mario Livio
Recounts a lot of the history of the development of group theory and its application to proving that general quintic equations do not have algebraic solutions. Much lighter on the math and heavier on the human interest which was okay with me as there are some pretty colorful characters involved.

Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem, by Simon Singh
Covers the history surrounding Fermat's Last Theorem. I read it quite a while ago so I'm hazy on the details but it was written after the theorem was proven and I think devotes two chapters to the story of the proof. This is the story of the proof, not an explanation as such a thing would be way beyond the realm of popular literature.

Comment You have your work cut out for you (Score 1) 362

If the company is a start-up, then they need to get some process fast or they are one disk crash away from oblivion. If they've been around long enough to know better then you might want to move on now. Either way you can try to encourage them to adopt some process first, then if it just isn't going to happen look for a new job. They absolutely must have a source control system and offsite backups. It doesn't matter what's normal, not having source control is like not having toilet paper in the bathroom. Even a one-person development team should use it. Offsite backups are literally your fire insurance. The other things you mentioned are all good to have, and their presence or absence may give you some idea of the relative maturity of the business, but version control and backups are absolutely non-negotiable. Java versions are a little different. There, you may be forced to develop in an older version to support a customer that's slow to change their client configurations. This can be true especially when your clients are businesses rather than individuals. At one job I was developing in Java 1.1 for a long time because our biggest customer was running Netscape 4 on OS/2 at 6000 locations and that was the latest version they could handle. The software still worked fine for folks with newer browsers and JREs, I just didn't get to use Swing and a host of other niceties.

Comment Re:Foiled (Score 2) 645

This is then foiled when pirates spend $10-20 on a pair of tinted glasses that filter out red light.

Except that it's a green laser. If they can find a pair of sunglasses that filters out the right frequency of green light without filtering out the rest of the light they'll still need to see and operate, then that could be a countermeasure. At the least it would force them to change their mode of operations somewhat.

Comment Source check (Score 1) 325

For what it's worth, the review appears to be a verbatim copy of the first review on, by one "Gary Sorkin, Pacific Book Review".

Pacific Book Review, in its profile on, describes itself as follows: "We review books for well known authors and emerging authors, and enabling many first time authors to reach the publishers with a recognizable review. We help you get the exposure you need to market your book effectively. We review both published and unpublished books. The only wish we have is for your success as an author."

It appears that they are a buzz generator.

Comment Once you learn some radicals... (Score 2, Interesting) 237

you'll find that some though not all Chinese words are meaning-sound combinations: for instance, many words that are pronounced "zhong" have one radical that is also pronounced "zhong" by itself though perhaps in a different tone.

My wife and I have had success with making our own flashcards, each with a different character or compound word.

Comment Re:Poor choice of options... (Score 1) 465

Perhaps the point of the poll was to examine data *only* about people who are living very close to their birthplace and to examine trends within that population. I for one was surprised that 1-3000 was such a popular answer, at less then 3.5 miles for most people. Perhaps it tells us something about movement patterns in small towns.

Or, maybe the poll designers were just bad at math.

Comment Re:San Diego (Score 1) 451

Yup, here in San Diego winter means it rained recently enough that we can use the barbecue without worrying about setting the parched back lawn on fire. And the weather report is "Early morning low clouds along the coast burning off to hazy afternoon sunshine, highs in the upper 70's, overnight lows in the mid-60's." Put it on a loop recording and let it play every day and you're right most of the year.

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