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Comment Probably (Score 1) 437

Rust can give you precise control of memory layout, and supports inline assembly as well as calling C functions. So it ought to have everything you need for controlling hardware.

Rust the language is young but stable (code you write now should continue to work in newer releases). And it sounds like this is a relatively small project that shouldn't need a ton of 3rd-party libraries, so the maturity of the library ecosystem isn't as big a concern.

My experience was that Rust took a little getting used to but it's a pretty nice language. In addition to the safety guarantees, it gives you a lot of expressiveness compared to C++ and (especially) C -- algebraic datatypes, very nice iterators, lambdas, generics, etc. And I expect that any well-rounded developer with a good grasp of C could learn Rust pretty quickly.

Comment Re:Umm, why? (Score 1) 88

Apparently a lot of the rat addiction studies are flawed, in that they keep the rats in cages without social interaction or other forms of entertainment, so whatever drug/electrical stimulation the researchers provide is their only possible source of pleasure. Rats kept in more stimulating environments are much more resistant to addiction. (Source:

I recall reading recently that a similar effect can be seen in humans. People who can get their jollies elsewhere mostly don't become addicated to drugs.

Comment Re:fMRI? (Score 4, Interesting) 52

Interesting article. But I don't think it reaches the conclusion that you're suggesting.

Some people like to use the salmon study as proof that fMRI is woo, but this isn't the case, it's actually a study to show the importance of correcting your stats.

So basically fMRI studies are only as good (or as bad) as the statistical analysis you do of the data. Which is probably the case for a large portion of modern science.

Comment Re:"Undead" doesn't mean vibrant, though. (Score 1) 283

But my editor can do the indentation for me based on the braces. And if I change the control flow (for example, moving a block of code into an if), the editor can easily reindent the whole block. So using whitespace for indentation doesn't save me any work and in some cases takes more work (when I have to manually adjust indentation because the editor can't figure it out).

It's a relatively minor annoyance, and I'm actually a big fan of Python. But I sometimes wish it had an "end" keyword like Lua or Ruby.


Oracle Attacks Open Source; Says Community-Developed Code Is Inferior 394

sfcrazy writes "Oracle has a love-hate relationship with open source technologies. In a whitepaper (PDF) for the Deparment of Defense, Oracle claims that TCO (total cost of ownership) goes up with the use of open source. They're essentially trying to build a case for the use of their own products within the government. 'The skill required to successfully and economically blend source code into a commercially viable product is relatively scarce. It should not be done directly at government expense.' Oracle also attacks the community-based development model, calling it more insecure than company developed products. 'Government-sponsored community development approaches to software creation lack the financial incentives of commercial companies to produce low-defect, well-documented code.'"

Submission + - First Gear Mechanism Discovered in Nature (

GameboyRMH writes: A gear mechanism has been discovered for the first time in nature in the nymph of the Issus, a small plant-hopping insect common in Europe. It uses the gears to synchronize the movement and power of its hind legs, forcing the legs to propel it in a straight line when jumping, which would otherwise be impossible for the insect if it had to control the timing and force of its leg muscles independently. The journal paper is paywalled but you can read a summary at

Laser Fusion's Brightest Hope 115

First time accepted submitter szotz writes "The National Ignition Facility has one foot in national defense and another in the future of commercial energy generation. That makes understanding the basic justification for the facility, which boasts the world's most powerful laser system, more than a little tricky. This article in IEEE Spectrum looks at NIF's recent missed deadline, what scientists think it will take for the facility to live up to its middle name, and all of the controversy and uncertainty that comes from a project that aspires to jumpstart commercial fusion energy but that also does a lot of classified work. NIF's national defense work is often glossed over in the press. This article pulls in some more detail and, in some cases, some very serious criticism. Physicist Richard Garwin, one of the designers of the hydrogen bomb, doesn't mince words. When it comes to nuclear weapons, he says in the article, '[NIF] has no relevance at all to primaries. It doesn't do a good job of mimicking validates the codes in regions that are not relevant to nuclear weapons.'"

Roku Finally Gets a 2D Menu System 80

DeviceGuru writes "Many of us have griped for years about Roku's retro one-dimensional user interface. Finally, in conjunction with the release of the new Roku 3 model, the Linux-based media streaming player is getting a two-dimensional facelift, making it quicker and easier to access favorite channels and find new ones. Current Roku users, who will now begin suffering from UI-envy, will be glad to learn that Roku plans to push out a firmware update next month to many earlier models, including the Roku LT, Roku HD (model 2500R), Roku 2 HD, Roku 2 XD, Roku 2 XS, and Roku Streaming Stick. A short demo of the new 2D Roku menu system is available in this YouTube video."

Comment Re:Netflix (Score 1) 336

I'm using a VirtualBox VM for Netflix streaming and it actually works pretty well for me. Haven't had to boot into windows for a few months now. The only issue I had was some audio lag which turned out to be caused by PulseAudio.

What problems have you run into?

Comment Re:It isn't that complicated (Score 5, Insightful) 517

20 year copyright term limits are very reasonable. The current term limits + options to extend are absolutely unreasonable, and they drive people to rebellion.

I mostly agree with you, and I definitely favor shorter copyright terms. But I doubt that 20+ year-old works make up a significant chunk of online piracy. People are largely downloading recent movies, games, and music, and limiting copyright to 20 years probably won't put much of a dent in it.

Comment Re:Games (Score 1) 1880

I can see where the GP is coming from. I suppose it depends on your definition of productive -- there are lots of things in life that can produce feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction even if you don't make any money at them (playing music, studying martial arts, hobby coding, etc). I personally classify those as "productive" activities.

Gaming can be a good way to relax or kill time if you're bored, but in the long run I don't find it as rewarding as my other hobbies. On the other hand, if I'm a bit tired/unmotivated, and have a good game at hand, it's easy to spend all day playing it. But at the end of the day I'll be less happy than if I did something "productive".

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