Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:One very quick thought ... (Score 1) 236

"...the distorted *tails* of the few storm-tossed fishermen..." --this is what happens when you're too long out with the mermaids!

I've started to think we've underestimated when civilization started... earlier today I was looking at pics of GÃbekli Tepe, and I'm thinkin' ... this is no hunter-gatherer tribe; this is the work of settled people who are not beginners at it and don't have to follow migratory herds, either.

Comment C++ should be the introductory language (Score 1) 630

I did my own research on this, and went through the top 10 computer science universities and looked at what they taught in their introductory CS classes. Python and Java made up 100% of them, with only one (Stanford) having a C++ option.

Personally, I think C++ should be the introductory language for computer science majors. (Non-CS majors? Sure, teach them Python or Javascript.) Why? Because CS majors all have to learn computer architecture and usually assembly programming is part of learning architecture. It's way, way easier for people to go from C++ to ASM than it is to go Python to ASM or Java to ASM. So a lot of assembly classes I've gone through have backed away from teaching ASM and instead teach C with a touch of ASM in it, which means that their education gets compromised by an attempt to make the introductory class easier.

But research in computer science education shows that you can learn basic computer science principles pretty much equally well regardless of language taught, so we're sacrificing educational quality for no real benefit.

I think most opposition to C++ came from people that learned it back in the day with square bracket arrays and char* strings, none of which really should be used any more now that we have vectors and strings. (And have had for a very long time, really.) Modern C++ is a very enjoyable language to code in.

Comment Re: They simply remember your UDID (Score 1) 115

>Who would have ever thought that a company founded on the principle [sic] of breaking the law in multiple jurisdictions would ignore and circumvent the terms and conditions, to which they agreed, of an entity with which they do business. Whodathunkait.

They're adding functionality that Apple refuses to do. If you cheat in a Steam game, your device and account gets banned. On iOS, apparently, you just uninstall and reinstall and then you can fraudlently order cars all over again.

Might violate the Apple TOS, but they're in the ethical right on this one.

Comment Re: Macintosh doesn't have apps! (Score 1) 66

The first version of the Macintosh System software had folders, just not folders within folders (due to a file system limitation that was swiftly fixed).

DAs were kind of like TSRs. But I don't remember stickies being among them until well into System 7, at which point they were ordinary applications.

Comment Re:Payment vs Service (Score 1) 903

>As the average net work in a bar jumps the moment Bill Gates walks into it. You wouldn't pretend that Bill Gates has the same standard of living of someone making $7.25 an hour, so why pretend there isn't an enormous gap between schools in wealthy districts and poor ones? There's a reason why no one talks about "failing public schools" in Westchester or the Hamptons.

Which is why teachers around here get paid more to work in bad schools. It doesn't help, though, the research shows. The best teachers still bail out of the schools because they want to work with better kids.

>You know perfectly well that teachers don't start and stop school when students do.

Sure. So do software engineers. How much time do software engineers spend coding on their own free time? More time than teachers spend prepping for class, especially after they've been teaching the class for a while.

>it would be more than balanced by working 50-70 hours a week when school is in session.

On the clock? Hah. No, teachers unions would eat such a proposed workweek alive. If, again, you're taking about other stuff, again, so do software engineers.

>Reasonable? The people claiming this wouldn't touch a teaching job for less than a six figure salary.

Ah, there's the ad hominem. Except you'd be wrong. I taught at a high school just last year, in fact. In addition to running a software consulting business.

>Earning a masters degree, having tens of thousands in student loans to pay off, being salaried and invariably working far beyond 40 hours a week...and that's before even getting to the students. How much would you want to get paid per hour, per kid for being a babysitter, disciplinarian, nurse and social worker.

A master's degree? Are we talking a community college instructor, now?

>And that's before even getting to the actual teaching part, where your performance reviews

What performance reviews? I suspect you're unfamiliar with how the education system actually works.

>Not for a penny under six figures.

You think a person with a bachelor's degree in any subject should make six digits out of college? That's hilarious. You're talking pharmacist-level salary, and pharmacists are a hell of a lot more educated (and attendant student debt) than people with a BS or BA.

>Until they can't find a job that pays off their student loans, at which point it's time to sneer at them for taking on risk they couldn't afford.

How could you even type this? Doctors will take on six digits of student debt because they know they'll be able to pay it off in 10 years and then be very comfortable thereafter. To get a BS around here, it'll cost you about $10k for the first two years in a community college, and about $20k to go to a CSU. $30k in debt can be retired by a teacher off their salary. If they somehow go to Harvard to become a K-12 teacher, then they sign up for one of dozens of debt-forgiveness programs and go work in the ghetto for a while and all their student debt gets bought off by the government.

>You do realize, right, that the reason why doctors salaries are so high is because only wealthy families can risk the six figure cost of a medical degree

No. Again, I don't think you comprehend how student loans work. If you're a poor kid, for one thing, you'll pay close to zero to actually go to college through your bachelor's, and then you'll take on student debt for medical school, which you can work off quickly. Anyone can get a medical degree regardless of financial status.

You're stuck in some sort of 1950s mindset of how education works. I suggest you educate yourself as to how college works these days.

>Uh huh. Found a reason yet for why countries that do far more "meddling" in health care or education than the United States cover all or most of their population for a fraction of the cost?

Are you confusing the tuition paid by students in these countries for the actual cost to educate them? Or the nominal tuition price at a US college with the average price paid? I suspect you are.

Comment Re:The game is too one-sided (Score 1) 423

Here's an idea: Prepend a couple minutes of ads to your movies, and release them on torrent yourself, in several popular DRM-free formats and qualities. Charge your advertisers according to how many downloads each gets, and do your best to spread them far and wide. Everything becomes available for "free" for a minimally-invasive give-back (the ads) and it becomes not worth the bother to chase down actually-pirated content (which remains an incentive to keep your ads non-annoying), yet the content owner still gets paid.

Not like I want more ads in the world, just trying to come up with a win-win that won't annoy consumers into finding an alternative and doesn't require any new infrastructure or delivery method.

Comment Re:Payment vs Service (Score 1) 903

>Our public education system is woefully underfunded

You think so? We spend about $13,000 per student per year, nationwide. (

Average teacher salary is $55,000. (, but this varies pretty wildly by state.

That's a pretty reasonable amount, IMO, considering you only work 9 months a year and get pretty significant benefits.

>higher education is very costly

Anyone *can* go to college, that's how the system is currently set up. Even if it makes no economic sense, the federal government will subsidize your education.

>It would be nice if everyone smart enough to be a doctor or an engineer could just decide to go to school.

You do realize, right, that the reason why doctors salaries are so high is because we impose artificially low quotas on how many people can go to medical school each year?

If you look at costs over time, the two areas that have been spiraling out of control, cost wise, are medicine and college. This is the direct result of government meddling in the field trying to be more fair and just, but really just fucking over the vast majority of Americans.

Comment Re:Electric jet? (Score 1) 163

You don't have to burn fuel to have a jet - you just need something to spin a compressor. Gas turbines just happen to be an easy way to do this with impressive power to weight and power to volume density. I know there is lots of research into electric compressors, but I didn't realize they were getting that competitive; I've been out of that industry for a while.

Comment Mitigation (Score 1) 620

I say we forget trying to sequester carbon. Instead, we should create artificial hurricanes. This will have two effects: more transfer of heat from the surface to the upper atmosphere where it can be radiated to space, and since hurricanes are massive heat engines, we can just use them as power plants.


I'm only half-joking.

Comment Re:Barrier of entry? (Score 1) 149

'Safe' vs 'unsafe' I think is the wrong dichotomy.

Consider that the world actually needs 'unsafe' tools - for instance: knives, saws, fire. But what you want in tools like this is they always act in a nice deterministic way so, if you treat them with respect, you can obtain useful work from them.

Code is essentially the same thing. What is necessary is the proper amount of respect for the damage your tools can inflict, not suggesting everyone to use safety scissors (except where it's appropriate of course).

Comment Re:Mythbusters (Score 1) 422

>It costs money to administer it all. Can that money be better spent elsewhere?

Yes, and if it costs a dollar, it would be well worth it, but if it is a trillion dollars it is not well worth it. So the question is how much? At the Department of Education, they do something similar and the overhead is between a tenth and a hundredth of a percentage point. So yeah, it's well worth it to make a public database. Especially since a lot of people will dig into the datasets for free on their own time, like I do. And if you find something damning, hey, you get a free paper out of it, which is great.

Frankly, your attitude that scientists won't go after replication because they want to chase after new stuff all the time is basically exactly the problem that we have. It's not as sexy as chasing after new research, but since new research is based on old research, this crisis means we're building giant edificies on foundations of sand. We're talking hugely influential, highly cited papers being unable to be replicated. This is a very, very serious matter. We're essentially wasting our money when we get research that we don't know is accurate or not. So our national priorities should change to fix that.

If you think it is career killing to replicate other people's work, I will just say that if the NSF funds these efforts, you'll see replication centers springing up at universities all over the country as they chase that sweet sweet money. Being a professor isn't just about publishing papers, it's about publishing papers and getting grant money. (Teaching? What's that?) New tenure track professors live and die based on grant money, so if you build it, they will come... and fight tooth and nail for it.

Slashdot Top Deals

One good reason why computers can do more work than people is that they never have to stop and answer the phone.