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Comment Pair programming is highly productive... (Score 1) 186

I've personally written half a million lines of high quality code. Not to create code, nor to reinvent wheels; rather, I regard each line of code as something I have spent to get a job done, and which adds to debugging and long-term maintenance loads. And I've supported/debugged/maintained a lot more software. Much of this was done working with a few other hot programmers. We used a mix of pair programming and code reviews, and you'd have had to pry these tools from our cold, dead fingers before we would have stopped using them. Why? We were deeply and personally committed to being as productive as possible, and getting more than one set of eyes on the code sped us up.

We thought about it like this: the stuff you understand how to do is fast and easy, and takes just a few percent of your time at the computer. It's the other things, the ones you have to think about, that slow you down. Empirically, the chances are strong that your partner will see a way how to get past something that stumps you. and vice versa; the likelihood of you both being stuck on the same problem is small. So pair programming resulted in much greater productivity than the same programmers working apart could achieve. The same benefits accrued to the overall design of the software, not just its implementation: we produced not just a lot more, but a lot better code.

Your mileage may vary - but having seen pair programming and code reviews work over and over, it's hard to give much credit to people who haven't tried these techniques talk about how they can't work.

Comment Re:Not the real problem (Score 1) 1051

A shit ton of non-vaccinated illegals flooding into the public schools is driving the spread of whopping cough and EV-D68.

A credible citation is indeed called for. Physicians appear to disagree with you; see, for example, an NBC News article in July, 2014 debunking the idea that immigrants are diseased. With respect to measles - the subject of the parent comment - Mexico vaccinates 99% of children, and the U.S. 92%.

Comment The placenta is NOT sterile (Score 1) 297

The old dogma that the body is sterile (with respect to microbes) if it is healthy seems more and more likely to be just an old dogma, not to be confused with truth. Here's a recent article in Nature about the unexpected discovery that a healthy placenta has an associated microbial population:

Comment Re:Dubai is a Disneyland. Only bigger. (Score 1) 265

I'd have no problem with building a high-tech nation within a few years, if I'd actually be seeing some real progress, but I don't. I'm seriously sceptical of Dubai and its likes gaining critical mass and actually building sustainable societies

The prince of Dubai would be well advised to use all that money of his of building universities, implementing basic human rights and getting a modern society going and perhaps building a modern armed force to defend it. Since it doesn't look that way, I'm not placing my bets to high on this whole Dubai thing.

Eh? Dubai's leadership has been doing exactly the things you say you would like to see. Well, except militarizing their economy - and this is arguably a good thing. Progress since independence from the British in 1971 has been astounding: when the British left in 1971, illiteracy was >70%, life expectancy a bit over 50 years, and there were no universities. Illiteracy is now 7.5%, life expectancy is 76.7 years, and Dubai has between 50 and 60 colleges and universities. Oil revenues now contribute less than 7% of GDP, and the country has become a huge international financial and transshipping center. Development of luxury (and non-luxury) skyscrapers, hotels, and vast artificial islands, etc., is almost unbelievable. There are about 25 free trade "innovation zones", where the government is working to get critical masses of private companies - they are in fact highly capitalistic - to work together to create the same magic that we saw in the US in Silicon Valley and the Route 128 areas. The government is one of the most stable in the region, and it is showing remarkable and sustained insight in how to drive progress. Plus there is a lot of tolerance for Western ideas - in fact, Western civil law is used in the innovation zones, not Sharia law. There are, I am sure, things to criticize about Dubai, just as there are about many other countries. But they are getting far more things right, and in a big way, than most other places. The best reason to visit is that it will blow away your preconceptions; I recommend this highly.

Comment Re:News for Nerds? (Score 1) 586

There are 2.4 Doctors per 100,000 people in the US.

The number of doctors per 100,000 people in the US is a bit higher than this. Per the Kaiser Family Foundation, there were 834,769 professionally active physicians in the US in November, 2012. The US population at the time was 314.8 million (per the US Census Bureau's Population Clock), making the number of doctors per 100,000 people a more reasonable 265. Here's a graph showing the number of physicians per 10,000 (note - not 100,000) people in the US.

Comment Re: Have u thought about.. (Score 1) 524

You're not a programmer are you? There's no such thing as bug-free code. Just like no writer can proof read his own novel, no programmer can truely find every bug in his own code.

It is a sad commentary on programmers as a group that statements like this are posted, and worse that they garner so much support from the chattering masses. Excellent programmers always strive to write code with few bugs; and sometimes they succeed. I personally wrote a package of high-precision arithmetic calculations that was used for many years by a prominent Wall Street firm, and am quite sure (for a variety of sound reasons, not just "belief") that this software (about 4,000 lines of C) is bug-free. For examples that are more publicly known, consider the 420,000 lines of code in the space shuttle, which had a total of 17 detected bugs in 11 major releases (see Good Question – How does NASA write perfect code for the space shuttle computers? by Marshall Brain, May 27, 2009); the whole system is not perfect, but major subsystems are.

Comment Re:increase wasn't apparent in overweight (Score 2) 70

The evenness of the cutoff's in standard BMI interpretation (nice, round numbers like 25 and 30) is a really good clue that these are not scientifically-validated numbers. There are a lot of studies on BMI vs. mortality; here's a peer-reviewed article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, and a crucial slide. Note that the model-derived curve supports the usual interpretation that BMI in the 18.5-25 range is optimal; the bars showing actual data, though, show that BMI between 27 and 28 is optimal.

A summary recommendations for your patients: for men, BMI of 23-30 looks healthy. For women, BMI of 18.5-30 looks healthy.

For all patients (as I am sure you already know): exercise! The data showing health benefits from even moderate exercise are compelling, and exercising more is better for you, within a very broad range.

[Sorry - I just accidantally posted the text above as Anonymous Coward - not my intention.]

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 625

I can't figure out if you're trying to make a point by being silly, or really believe what you've written.

Re 2: we often hear "Government does not create [drive?] innovation" repeated, as if enough repetition will constitute proof that this is correct. It isn't. For a humorous video showing numerous benefits and innovations we receive from our government, I recommend Socialism is BAD! on YouTube.

Re 3: the U.S. Constitution reserves education for the States, so you have a perhaps-unintentional point here. That notwithstanding, there are lots of examples of things the Federal government has done for education, including Pell grants, Brown v. Board of Education, and (to some eyes, at least) "No Child Left Behind".

Re 4: dropping the minimum wage will not increase demand for manufactured items, so is highly unlikely to spur manufacturing in the US - there is widespread agreement among those who have studied it that the US economy is suffering from a shortage of demand, and fixing this problem is part of what must be done to increase in-US manufacturing.

Hubble Accuracy Surpassed By Earthbound Telescope 87

randuev writes "A high-speed adaptive optics system helped the Large Binocular Telescope (on Earth) to beat the accuracy of the Hubble Space Telescope's observations. 'A special sensor detects atmospheric distortions in real time and controls the mirror to adjust its position to compensate, effectively canceling out the blurring. The mirror can make adjustments every one-thousandth of a second, with accuracy to better than ten nanometers.' Now, that's what I call real-time. This nifty trick multiplied the Strehl ratio (optical quality) of the LBT by about 80 times. The new system was tested in May and June, so hopefully we'll soon see more space around us in higher resolution on Google Sky."

Fair Use Generates $4.7 Trillion For US Economy 160

Hugh Pickens writes "The Hill spotlights a study released by the Computer & Communications Industry Association, which concludes that companies relying on fair use generate $4.7 trillion in revenue to the US economy every year. The report claims that fair use — an exception to the copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted materials — is crucial to innovation. It adds that employment in fair use industries grew from 16.9 million in 2002 to 17.5 million in 2007 and one out of eight US workers is employed by a company benefiting from protections provided by fair use (PDF). Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) says the reasonable fair use of content needs to be preserved; otherwise, content owners will control access to movies, music, and art that will no longer be available for schools, research, or web browsing. Lofgren tied the copyright issue with the question of net neutrality. Without net neutrality 'content owners will completely control and lock down content. We're going to be sorry characters when we actually don't see fair use rights on the Web,' says Lofgren. 'If we allow our freedom to be taken for commercial purposes, we will have some explaining to do to our founding fathers and those who died for our freedom.'"

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