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Comment Re:Look to history (Score 1) 296

If you want to understand the difference between Americans and Russians, compare GPS with GLONASS.

With GPS, each satellite transmits the ephemeris data for all satellites. That way, each receiver can track the satellites, so they know exactly where they are at any time, and also which part of the elliptical orbit they're in, so that they can correct for the fact that satellite is travelling faster at aphelion than perihelion, which affects the atomic clock speed due to relativistic effects.

With GLONASS, each satellite broadcasts X, Y, Z, X', Y', and Z'. That's pretty much it.

The difference between Americans and Russians is that Americans know how to build powerful consumer electronics which can do complex calculations, and Russians know how to inject a satellite into an almost perfectly circular orbit.

Comment Re:Node.js is terrible (Score 1) 133

So you see nothing wrong with blobs of callback after callback with making your own threading and scheduling from scratch?

JavaScript has been accused of many things, but "threading" isn't one of them.

I don't mind blobs of callback in principle. Continuation-passing style doesn't scare me at all (especially in a language like Scheme or Haskell). But I agree with you. The more I used Node.JS, the more I realised I really wanted Erlang.

Comment Re:Fakable, and probably fake (Score 1) 45

I'm not saying that they haven't made real progress in running the algorithms quantum computers are claimed to do so well, I'm just saying there's no proof that any "quantum computing" is actually going on.

Not true. Pretty much everyone who researches quantum computing is now convinced that the D-Wave machine does something that can reasonably called "quantum computation" because it matched a theoretical prediction. To a physicist, that's the best kind of evidence.

It's still not really that useful, of course.

Comment Re:This won't help solving real world problems (Score 4, Interesting) 45

Here's a slightly more neutral answer:

Because D-Wave is a decade ahead of every other competing technology when it comes engineering and systems integration. D-Wave machines do actually work on real-world problems. They do not work as well as carefully-tuned classical approaches, but they do work.

It's possible that the D-Wave approach may be an evolutionary dead-end for quantum computing. Most people who understand the technology and are outside D-Wave (including Google and Lockheed) would probably put the odds at greater than 50% that D-Wave isn't the most promising approach. Nonetheless, we owe it to ourselves as an industry to test it because it's the only one that's here now.

Comment Re:Ignorance, mainly. (Score 1) 133

All of OO is a shitty hack.

I know what you're saying, but I dissent ever so slightly. Simula's object model is a shitty hack, and it shows in any language which uses it (C++, Java, C#, Python, etc).

There are a few nice object systems out there. See Smalltalk/Newspeak, O'Caml, Eiffel/Sather, and Haskell's type classes if you want to see what a principled object system looks like.

Comment Re:Ignorance, mainly. (Score 1) 133

Is it a pure delight for the intellect like lisp, or an unbreakable workhorse like Ada?

Pure it is not, but most don't know just how close JavaScript is to Scheme. We joke about:

var f = function() { }

because the syntax is clunky, but the semantics are extremely clean.

I guess this is the thing that most people don't realise: Whatever your first programming language is, there's a bunch of stuff that you have to unlearn when it comes time to use your second. It would be wonderful if everyone started off with Haskell, but until that day comes, JavaScript is one of the best choices for a first language. Compared to 8-bit interpreted BASIC (like many old-schoolers, that's what I started on), PHP, or Python, JavaScript will teach you fewer bad habits. In that sense, it is a very good gateway drug. The transition from JavaScript to Scheme is much less painful than BASIC to C, or Python to anything else.

I hated node.js when my employer forced me to use it. I still hate it. The more I use node.js the more I realise that I really want Erlang to do the kind of jobs that node.js does; if you're going to do event-based programming, at least do it right.

Comment Re:Regressive Leftist? (Score 1) 397

Trump's political positions are mostly a magic 8-ball and it was certainly too early to place him squarely on any political spectrum before the election. He frequently flips his stated positions on a whim.

You, sir or madam, have it exactly right.

Trump is silly putty, taking the shape of whatever container he is in yet fracturing easily with the slightest impact. He is a Rorschach test; you see what you want to see in him. He is a snake oil salesman, saying whatever it will take to make the deal, then laughing at you for believing him.

Comment Re:Wikileaks (Score 2) 211

I am not the above person, and I don't know if it's trolling or just ignorance of the facts.

I don't know which Slashdot you've been reading, but the way I remember it, most people on Slashdot supported the diplomatic cable leak (some objected to the way it was done, because JA was acting like an arse, but few objected to doing it) and don't recall anyone at all complaining when they released the transcript of Clinton's paid talk to Wall Street.

I know it's hard to remember how things were before GamerGate and when the comment section became a game of duelling morons, but it wasn't so long ago that most Slashdotters were generally against government secrecy in a nonpartisan way once upon a time.

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