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Submission + - Announcing HTML 6, the New Version of the Web

Shlomi Fish writes: The World-Wide-Web Consortium (W3C) is excited to announce HTML 6 ("HTML Sicks"), the new version of the Web standards, that will supplant and succeed HTML5, and will feature many new features and innovations. Do you find it exciting as well?

Comment Re:Where are these photos? (Score 1) 336

Here’s the thing - why should posing naked matter? Not only that, but why should starring in a hardcore pornographic film ("XXXXX...." to infinity) or even doing prostitution (= selling sexual services for money or goods) be considered wrong, or disrespectful? And the answer is that it isn't because a man or a woman are allowed to do all that, and still should be treated as a gentleman or a lady - with respect and admiration and friendliness.

Mark my words - if tomorrow one of the great living men or women who are well-known (celebs, e.g: actors, film makers, bloggers/writers/authors, scientists, singers, YouTube personas, even models and reality T.V. show contestants), or alterantively people I personally know, like my siblings, or cousins, and which I admire, and draw a lot of inspiration from, turned out to do all that - I would not think any less of them, because it's ultimately their body and their life.

I feel a lot for the poor people whose privacy was violated. I wouldn't want people to publish my private email messages or instant messaging utterance or IRC, either. But what I would do if I were them is after sulking a little (and realising one should not feel bad about bad) is make the stance that it should not reduce their reputation or their ability to act as a role model, or that of any other people's.

A little more - the standards for what is considered sexually acceptable varied a lot in time. For example, after Miranda Kerr got separated from her husband (= actor Orlando Bloom), she's been boasting in interviews about all the "great sex" she's been getting from various willing men, and all this is without being negatively labelled as a "slut" or "bimbo" which is what would happen a few years ago. Furthermore, there are now many openly homosexual men and women and celebs, while they were persecuted some decades ago.

(This post is based on an earlier attempted post of mine to some subreddits.)

Comment Why I Think Maths Has Been Unpopular Among Women (Score 2) 75

First of all, congrats to Ms. Mizrakhani for her award, and it is indeed notable. That put aside, there are a few important reasons why I think Maths education is f***ed up in university which prevents more girls and women from doing it. These reasons are:

  1. While learning maths, the tests are given without an open material, and often require memorising proofs of many pages. This is while a good mathematician can easily look these up and does not need to keep them in his resident mind and that a mathematician or other real scientist is more about deducting and inventive thought than about memorising.

    Finishing a maths degree requires a complete buyout into the system, which risks transforming the students into Captain Nemos who are cynical, destructive, people who think they are a "nobody", which is what "Nemo" means in Latin. Also see what I wrote about it in a different context.

    Now girls are by their nature, have been more unwilling to become Captain Nemos, and also realise that in this day and age, being an amateur, who are people who love (= 'aime') what they do, and/or who cut corners and disobey the rules, or are willing to produce somewhat less stellar results, is much better than being a professional, which is a mostly 20th century fad. It is well known that in many fields of endeavour some people who are underage, and/or inexperienced, and/or less professional can beat the pros at their own game: software development, music, acting and film making, martial arts and other combat fighting, modelling, writing (blogging, novelling, etc.), being a waiter/waitress/shop clerk/shop vendor/etc, cooking, even sports. And yet maths education in our f***ked-up university system believes that a mathematician should be a "Captain Nemo"-like professional than a happy, well-rounded, polymath, amateur (a.k.a a "geek").

    You can also see what I wrote about amateurs and hackers (a.k.a "Action heroes" in a different ccontext.).

  2. Another problem is the fallout from Euclid's reported “There is no Royal road to Geometry” adage. Thing is, when teaching maths, you can and should skip some stuff and show the cool stuff. There is no need to teach the very basics and instead one can skip stuff. I recall that we didn't learn the Jewish Bible from its beginning to its end, and we also skipped eras when studying history, and stuff like that. A lot of the material I had to learn in my Electrical Engineering degree, such as the physics of semiconductors proved of zero utility to my work as a software developer, and later on as a writer/entertainer/philosopher, which is what I am now.

There are other problems with the academic world: instead of collecting donations at the end of the lectures or otherwise getting a motivation to be popular (like philosophers did at ancient times), the so-called scientists/philosophers are getting tenured positions, and don't want or need to try to improve (which makes their students unhappy). Currently, the world's best philosophers (or in their modern name: "scientists") are the various entertainers of the world: actors, screenwriters, authors, bloggers, models, musicians, T.V. celebrities, YouTube/etc. artists, talk show hosts, etc. etc. 50 or even 20 years from now, people are more likely to remember a famous actor, directory, blogger, or even - model - than a university professor of philosophy, which I cannot name a single one, and do not care to remember any one of them. And many more people are likely to read or watch an interview with Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Watson, Candica Swanepoel, or even - Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales etc. than they are with an obscure, and likely boring, contemporary professor of philosophy.

This does not have to be this way.

Comment Sounds like a stupid strategical mistake (Score 1) 163

Arresting a man for parodying a local politician on Twitter sounds incredibly stupid. I'm glad the politician in question did the right thing and resigned after that, and if I were the blogger in question, I'd stop being vindictive and make peace with the politician. Hopefully, he can later help pass a law protecting people similar to him from future abuse while remaining on good terms with his target of criticism.

As a citizen and resident of Israel, I should note that something like that seems highly unlikely to happen here. I have been a humorist, writer/blogger and amateur philosopher for a long time, and my site and other sites and mediums where I've blogged features a lot of positively blasphemous stuff (or stuff that was formerly considered blasphemous) including: jokes about the holocaust, a reflection about holocaust denial, racist or nationalist cliches, sexism, sexualism, critiques of local politicians, critiques of a lot of the constitutional foundation of Israel, an in-your-face Illuminaty/Elders of Zion pan-historical conspiracy theory, and many parodies and criticisms of Judaism (including the Old Testament, the Oral Torah and later additions). I left almost no stone unturned.

And almost nothing happened to me except some people who told me I Was being out-of-line (Often truly) or some threats from non-officials, or getting myself removed or banned from some Internet forums. The USA may wish to consider how much of a free country they are compared to other parts of the civilised world. The 2001 bombings made many Americans paranoid and paranoid people are miserable, and miserable people are insecure and unsafe. So if you want to be safe, be happy and don't be afraid. Israel now has much laxer national security, which makes us safer in the long run. And as opposed to popular belief, most of Israel since 1990 was never really a warzone, and certainly isn't now, and I believe that Jews, Palestinians and non-Jews mostly live in peace and even friendship even in the occupied territories. There's still a long way to go for close-to-100% harmony here, but we're much closer than before.

Cheers from Tel Aviv, -- Shlomi Fish (a.k.a "Rindolf").

Submission + - Summerschool at the NSA (Reloaded)

Shlomi Fish writes: An article on Advogato on the “Summerschool at the NSA” meme, including them depicted getting their ass kicked by two famous Hollywood actresses. Among other things, I propose the fact that most of the NSA workers have lost their minds, and are now mentally ill and delusional which may explain some of the hard-to-believe findings by Edward Snowden"

Submission + - The FSF Announces New Versions of the GPL.

Shlomi Fish writes: The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has decided to contribute to the noble cause of free and open source software’s licenses proliferation and following their popular announcement of version 3 of the GNU General Public License, or the GPL for short, which is incompatible with its version 2, they have now announced even more versions of that popular licence. Which GPL will free and open source software developers choose?

Comment Why I recommended IRC and StackExchange (Score 1) 5

Hi iamhigh! Thanks for your comment.

First of all, I should note that I tried to cover the general method for finding help online with an issue you've run to (especially a technical one). My target audience also doesn't include ultra-laymen who cannot figure out how to adjust their screen resolution. Arguably, I may have been too encompassing in the scope of the article (like we say in Hebrew “Try to catch a lot - and you shall catch nothing.” (or “ ” in Hebrew)), but I didn't want to write similar guides that will essentially say the same thing.

Anyway, I recommended the Freenode IRC network and the StackExchange network (not only StackOverflow mind you - it has other sub-forums like the English StackExchange and many others), because from my experience, they are both relatively friendly and the quality of the answers there tends to be very high. I hesitate to recommend someone to get help on a random Internet web-forum (though I'm sure many of them would be OK).

That put aside, I noticed that many IRC clients are hard for inexperienced people to figure out, but I think there are some easy to use ones, and some IRC networks also provide web-interfaces.

Regards, -- Shlomi Fish.

Submission + - How to Get Help Online (2013 Edition) 5

Shlomi Fish writes: The document How to Get Help Online (2013), aimed at inexperienced and not too net-savvy people, aims to summarise and spread the knowledge, of where and how to get help with one’s problems (especially technical and software-related ones). While many Slashdot visitors will not gain many new insights from it, it may be useful for them to recommend less experienced people to read it. Furthermore, its Creative Commons licence (the CC-by-nc) allows others to reuse it and build upon it. And comments and suggestions for improvements are welcome.

Comment Not all Lingua Francas were akin to Aramaic (Score 1) 185

Hi Tenebrousedge,

I am familiar with the term “Lingua Franca” but not all Lingua Francas are made equal. To quote my link, Aramaic was spoken and written by many people, stretched into all directions, incorporated many foreign words, and developed dialects, sub-dialects and personal idioms. On the other hand, Hebrew as a Lingua Franca (among Jews in their diasporas) was much less vibrant and lively, and didn’t really evolve or grow as much as Aramaic did in ancient times.

As a result, I favourably compared English to Aramaic, rather than to any Lingua Franca.

Comment Re:Logo (Score 1) 185

Logo is a horrible language to start with because it doesn't trust you with responsibility. You are stuck in a la-la-land where the only thing you can do is draw pretty pictures. Beginning programmers, and even children, want to be trusted with responsibility, and feel like they are in control of their environment. So I suggest avoiding pedagogical languages and instead opt for practical languages.

Comment You should teach her English (Score 5, Insightful) 185


I may be dismissed as an imperialistic pig for saying that, but I've written on why it is important to avoid localised programming languages because it is becoming more and more important to learn English as soon as possible. Just for the record, English is not my mother language (I am Israeli and my mother language is Hebrew), and yet I think that learning English is an increasingly important skill, and also communicate primarily in English in my Internet interactions, and most of home-site and blogs are written in English. Whether you like it or not, I believe English has been becoming what Aramaic was in the Near East from the time of the Neo-Babylonian Empire up to Arab times.

I suggest you invest the time in teaching your daughter English first, which is of far greater utility than programming, and is also absolutely necessary for learning to program (or for most other fields of science, technology and endeavour).

Comment As a Linux user, I'm boycotting Nvidia (Score 1) 123

For a long time, I have decided to boycott Nvidia (which I have nicknamed as “Hang-vidia” due to the fact their drivers frequently caused my machine to hang) due to their positive hostility for Linux, and open source, and what not (lack of support for open source efforts, no specifications released, legal threats against open source efforts, dropping support for old cards, etc.), and the low quality of their binary-only offerings (frequent hangs and crashes), and their general incompetence. I will never buy Nvidia until they release SPECs and make their driver open source. See my old petition about that.

After using an old GeForce 4 card where neither the "nv" driver nor the "nvidia" driver worked properly, I switched to an ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro card, and it served me extremely well, and was rock solid. Now I have the built-in Intel graphics on this Core i3 machine, which causes some problems, so I may opt to buy a new (and probably better) ATI/AMD card. But I'd rather be hanged than buy hang-vidia.

Submission + - Fiction: "Summerschool at the NSA" - the NSA getting schooled on security

Shlomi Fish writes: In the fictional story Summerschool at the NSA , the Hollywood actresses Sarah Michelle Gellar (of Buffy fame), and Summer Glau (notable for being featured in xkcd), conspire to kick the ass of the NSA (= the United States National Security Agency) using special warfare that is completely non-violent, thus teaching it an important lesson about security.

For extra geek points, Summerschool at the NSA is under a Creative Commons licence (CC-by-sa) and is maintained in a GitHub repository. Share, enhance, and enjoy!

Comment Heroic people make any job they take awesome. (Score 1) 489

I'll put it on the table: I have a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc. - 4 year degree) in Electrical Engineering (more like a CE/EE/CS degree) from The Technion in their Haifa, Israel Campus, and graduated cum laude, and I have a qualified engineer certificate which theoretically allows me to write software for guiding missiles (or other flaw-free software) and give my signature that it is flaw-free. Nevertheless, right now I'm looking for part-time jobs as a seller/vendor in icecream parlours, candy/snack stores, cafés/restaurants/bars/etc. or even as a street sweeper. Lots of places in Tel Aviv, Israel are now advertising for this, and this seems like a good way to earn some money, as well as interact with other people and get inspired which will really help me with my creative writing and my essays. And I can buy an Android smartphone (nothing really better now and some people have successfully installed GNU/Linux chroots there) so I can type stuff for later incoporation into my desktop and laptop devices.

So why not work as a software developer? I don't mind getting a job as a software developer or a hardware developer or whatever, but lately employers in Tel Aviv and vicinity have become extremely picky: you go to an interview, answer most technical questions nicely, and don't get hired. Furthermore, even if they like you they are often very domineering: don't work from home, work 10-12 hours a day, only full time, don't play computer games at all (I only played some card Patience/Solitaire and Sokoban and not for long and still got flack), don't go to Facebook/Twitter/Google-Plus, we don't want you accessing imgur.com (too muchu traffic to there so let's firewall it) etc. etc. Thing is - the junior developers are kings (see the link for the Joel article), and you should leave them alone to their elements to get shit done at their own pace, and using their own resources instead of being a control freak. If, as a boss, my developer watched porn for 6 hours a day, while still being available on the forums for questions, and spent 2 hours creating great code that is functional and beautiful, I would be happy, and give him a full salary. But finding such enlightened employers is a big problem.

Software was the first field where workers were in constant demand, but now it seems that other fields are headed the same way here in Tel Aviv and other major centres of commerce worldwide: the food outlets, the music industry, photography, and soon - writing, acting/drama/film and then hopefully also modelling, and then if we can get past the normal and silly legal barriers - also more brick-and-mortar industries. Right now I've decided to make a transition from a software developer to a writer/Internet-entertainer/amateur-philosopher - a field where I feel I produce better results and also something that people will find cooler and sexier (although like I note in the article, the fact that I wrote a Freecell solver has impressed some really cute and intelligent chicks), and will have a larger influence. I still see knowing programming and other software development as an absolutely necessary means for that, just like I can no longer survive without knowing how to read and write English. Everyone should know at least HTML/XHTML/etc.

What I'm trying to say is that one should avoid Fatalism. People can improve for the better. I spent six and a half year doing my Elec. Eng. degree in the Technion and it cost me a lot of frustrations, but I'm still alive and have constantly become a better person - more competent, more able, smarter, wiser, and with a greater capacity for love and friendship. As long as you're not dead and still have some health in you, you will do fine. My suggestion to someone who got a Ph.D. in literature is to realise that that may make them a really awesome programmer , or a bartender, or a candy store vendor, or a secretary, or a sys admin, or anything else that they will find a job at. Don't think "I'm too good for that" because like they say in Hollywood "There are no small roles - only small (= small-minded) actors." You can be an awesome superheroic person even if you're just a factory worker.

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