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Comment Re:And, I might start buying more from them again. (Score 1) 182

Same here. In fact what happened is that if Amazon was going to ding me for shipping, I promptly went off to eBay, located the same item (usually from the same seller!!) offered with free shipping, and after a few iterations stopped bothering with Amazon entirely.

So yeah... stop trying to make your profit on shipping, make the threshold realistic for smaller purchases, and you'll get me back.

Comment Re:Political fallout (Score 1) 457

The high-speed rail was also funded by a state bond measure (which I voted against, back when I still lived there). What it got from fed money I don't know. Regardless, CA is always whining about no money for critical stuff, then spending it wildly on stuff no one needs... not the best way to get my sympathy as a taxpayer.

Per aerial view, it doesn't look like the dam is really in danger -- the washed-out part is a good ways from the dam proper. What might be getting undercut or supersaturated due the breach and suddenly slump is another matter, but assuming it was built from the local rocky ground, probably not a big risk.

Comment Re:Political fallout (Score 1) 457

In California, not exactly. The money that's been used so far for the high-speed rail to nowhere could have rebuilt the dam from scratch. And what's their latest wacky idea? Build beach cottages for low income vacationers, at taxpayer expense, I shit you not. But budget to maintain critical infrastructure, like a dam? Nope.

CA dams have had 30 years of neglect, because 1) they had decided the drought was permanent (apparently having forgotten the last time CA had floods, in the 1990s) hence dams are no longer needed, and 2) the envirowhacks want all the dams torn down anyway, so why bother to maintain them?

You want critical infrastructure maintained, pass state legislation requiring funds to go there FIRST, not as a maybe-afterthought like it's been done in CA for the last several decades. And unless you want lots of graft and corner-cutting, don't let the work out to private contractors (watched that become a debacle there too).

Comment Re:Like everything else start with the basics (Score 2, Informative) 312

I like Java, C++, C#, and Python, and think they all work great as introductory languages. C++ gets shit on a bit because there's a lot of bad memories from the 80s and 90s when you had to do a lot of things by hand, but modern C++ is a joy to code in. In fact, if it was up to me I'd say that colleges should teach C++ as their intro language for three reasons:

1) It's as powerful and expressive as Java and Python (with some notable exceptions like split() which you need to invoke Boost for). Smart pointers (instead of raw pointers), vectors (instead of C style arrays) and range-based for loops (to never have out of bounds errors) allows for very fast and safe programming.

2) It is a lot easier to go from C++ to Java/Python than vice versa. Java programmers tend to have a vague grasp on how memory actually works.

3) C is only one step away from assembly. C++ is two steps away (due to name mangling). Java and Python are three or more steps away. Assembly programming, while rare enough these days, is still the gateway to really understanding computer architecture and writing code that works with your architecture instead of against it. Success in assembly should be the goal for a lower-division computer science program.

I also agree with you that most languages take their cues from C++/Java in that they either follow the conventions or deliberately break them. So learning C++ or Java is a really good choice for new programmers for that reason as well.

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