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Comment Re:Who Has EVER Trusted Government Data? (Score 1) 210

Who trust government data? Anybody who uses a USGS map. Or a weather forecast that uses satellite data. Or who uses a GPS (both the satellite signal and the base map, which is compiled by private companies from government sources).

Now any statistic is capable of misleading, if you choose to misinterpret it. Take unemployment. I think that figure is accurate, it just doesn't mean what people think it does. By 2016 unemployment had recovered to where it was before the Great Recession, but if you think that means the government is fraudulently telling you that the job picture is good, that's you misinterpreting what it means. The low unemployment rate masks (a) relatively low labor participation and (b) disastrously low job growth and labor participation in certain regions of the country -- particularly rural and small to middle-sized cities. How do I know this? Well, government data, obviously.

You are conflating "data", with "information" and "opinion". The Food Pyramid is opinion, not data. If you think for yourself and drill down into the facts a bit, you'll find that government data is pretty useful. Opinions, less so.

Comment Re:You just now started worrying? (Score 1) 210

If you think that the Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility I suggest you go back and look at the changes in Federal deficits by fiscal year when they are in charge. Note that if a president takes office in FY X, FY X+1 is the first budget he submits and FY X+2 is the first budget that fully reflects his priorities.

Comment Re:Distances (Score 1) 93

Japan's maglev system is proven technology, already at the low end of the Hyperloop speed range and projected to reach over 900km/h in time. Hyperloop is expected to hit around 1200km/h, so I just can't see the benefit being great enough to outweigh the disadvantages.

The reason to choose Hyperloop over Maglev isn't speed, it's projected cost. Musk thinks he can build the things for $11 million/km. That's about a quarter of what maglev would cost -- assuming that Hyperloop even works.

There isn't a lot to choose between 30 minutes LA to San Francisco and 45 minutes. Over longer haul routes the technology is supposed to eventually go much, much faster than maglev, but the key in the near future will be to beat maglev on cost over medium distances. And to actually work.

As for comfort, Hyperloop proposes to turn intercity travel into something more like a cross city subway ride. In fact (assuming it works) you'll be able to get from New York to Washington DC in less time than it takes to cross Brooklyn on the MTA.

Comment Re:Contrast this with the incoming administration (Score 1) 226

Solar is getting no where near to the price of coal. We're still paying 0.528kWh for solar here in Ontario, the price we were paying for coal when the last plant shut down was 0.043kWh.

Of course when you're shutting down coal power plants the price of coal is going to drop. Canadian coal demand dropped by 45% in the ten years prior to Thunder Bay shutting down, you have to look at those prices in the context of a collapsing domestic market. Coal prices would have been much higher with stable or growing domestic demand.

Latitude and climate also affect the cost of solar, and last time I checked most of the population of the US (which is the country we're talking about here) is south of Ontario. Solar is much, much cheaper in Florida for example. But even where I live in Massachusetts (same latitude as SW Ontario) you can get rooftop solar panels for US $2.50 / watt (6.25 Canadian) if you pay for them yourself and your house is favorably situated. That means to beat the Can $0.043/kwh benchmark, solar panels here in Boston have to run for about ten years. Solar panels have an expected service life of thirty years.

Of course when you get into realistic economics things get complicated. But a lot of my engineer friends have chosen to pull the trigger on rooftop solar, and they aren't afraid of doing ROI calculations. It's not for everyone yet, nor is it a solution for everything. But it's economical for some people in just about every part of the continental US, and that's a significant development.

Comment Re:Deliberately missing the forest for the trees (Score 1) 379

The weather comment was meant as a joke. I should have put a smiley in to make that clearer.

What I wear has no bearing on this discussion.

The simple fact is that when a place has expensive housing costs, it's because there is a lot of competition for that housing. And the reason for a lot of competition for housing is that a lot of people want to live there. And believe me, people have reasons that they want to live in a place, it's not "peer pressure" or whatever reason you're making up because you can't think of one.

I'm genuinely happy that you like where you live and that it's an inexpensive place to live. Many young people, especially those who are "upwardly mobile" because they work in a high paying industry, really want to live in an urban place with alot of "action". When they get to be old guys many of them lose interest in that and the equations change, and they move elsewhere. I'm quite certain that you've seen this pattern already even if you don't recognize it.

You sound a lot like my dad, who I feel is very lucky to have the mindset he does: he really loves living in one of the cheapest places in the U.S. (northeastern Ohio). His cost of living is absurdly low and he was able to retire to a comfortable life of doing whatever he wants, alot of which involves outdoor activities like boating, fishing, and hunting that are plentiful and cheap in that area. It's the lucky person who naturally wants to live in the place that many other people are fleeing, because their cost of living will be so low.

Well he bought a house in Florida recently because he couldn't stand Ohio winters any more, but half a year in Ohio and the other half in Florida really is the best of both worlds for him, and it's all doable because of the low cost of living of the areas he lives in.

Now I could spout off about how I cannot comprehend how someone would want to live in a place where the housing is cheap because it mostly sucks there, but I won't. I recognize that different people like different things and I'm not going to assume that other people are unjustified in their choices. That feels alot like a superiority complex trying to get out.

Comment Re:As someone with a masters in this -exact field- (Score 1) 282

If you are a true master, you should be able to explain concepts in a way that even a child can understand

This is, in a word, horse pucky. It's the same reasoning my niece uses to justify her anti-vaxxer beliefs: the quacks and charlatans she listens to are more credible than epidemiologists and immunologists because they're easier to understand. This is the real-life equivalent of the joke about searching for the $20 bill under the street light because where you actually lost it is inconveniently dark.

If it were true that a child could understand anything, there wouldn't be a need for education. You'd just find a "true expert" to explain, say, fluid dynamics to a random bunch of people off the street and then set those randos to work designing aircraft. Or cryptographic systems.

There's an unfortunate cultural trend to devalue anything that requires mental effort and dedication to understand as elitist bullshit. This is a dangerous development, especially when combined with our national vanity: ever since the Moon landing we see technological and scientific leadership as a birthright. It's not. It's something we have to earn, and continue earning every day by dint of hard labor.

The humbling truth is that real understanding in many things requires trekking a long and arduous road. It's a near certainty that you don't actually understand General Relativity; crude analogies about balls and rubber sheets notwithstanding. General Relativity is like a mountain that looks easy to tackle from a great distance, but the fact is it takes years of toil before you can even grasp how arduous the foothills of Mount Einstein are.

Comment Re:Deliberately missing the forest for the trees (Score 1) 379

"Yes, the weather is generally nice"

You're a liar. You've never actually been to San Francisco.

Also, why do you think it's worth your time to pontificate on why you don't understand why someone else likes something that you don't? I mean if you're really "just another old guy" surely you've gathered enough wisdom in your time on earth to realize that a lot of different people like a lot of different things, and if you can't understand why someone likes something, the reason is probably NOT because they are deluded, but it's actually because you're just not familiar enough with the thing to know it's good qualities, or maybe it's just fundamentally not your cup of tea.

I mean, seriously. I think your entire post was just to make yourself fell better about your house payment. That's how it reads anyway.

Comment Re:One obvious improvement (Score 1) 190

Yeah but at least with Add I know that a function is being called, whereas overloaded operators are exactly and specifically designed to make operations that have "normal" functionality pre-defined as part of the language, actually do something else, without any indication at the point of usage that this is occurring.

Sure if you are intimately familiar with the types involved you will not be caught off-guard very often. But "it doesn't usually bite you if you know what you're doing" is not a great argument for a language feature if you ask me.

I have written code with matrix math and I actually found it clearer to spell out what's going on more explicitly than to use overloaded operators. But that's a personal choice for sure.

Comment Re:One obvious improvement (Score 1) 190

The index() form makes it very clear that a function is being called.

Overloaded [] does not.

Pretty simple really.

The worse of all is overloaded ->, which is an operator which can normally be applied to a dereferenceable type, so you would really have no idea to even look for an overloaded operator to see if something unexpected is happening, versus [] which if you know the type is not a C style array, must be an overloaded operator.

In my experience, if there are bad paradigms available in the language, people will use them, even celebrating their ability to do something "clever" and obtuse, and eventually they will make their way into the code base. Very often it may not even be in your code base, that you have control of, but in some open source software that you have to read and understand.

Absolutely, the intelligent and rational use of language features is the responsibility of the programmer; but it's pragmatic to recognize that in a world of imperfect programmers, it's better to not have language features that generally lead to hard to understand code.

Comment Re:One obvious improvement (Score 1) 190

a + b for complex types isn't really the trouble, since we know that the compiler can only accept that syntax if the + operator has been overloaded.

What's worse is overloading [] or -> and competely fooling the programmer who has no way of knowing, without exhaustively scanning all source files, whether or not those operators are doing something unusual.

Information hiding. It's bad.

Comment Re:One obvious improvement (Score 1) 190

"so why does Nim need a feature only useful in video game inner loops"

yeah that is a bit of a straw man, I admit. We never established that operator overloading is a feature only useful in video game inner loops.

But I will say that I think it's generally only useful in a narrow and small subset of programming problems: those for which mathematical constructs already exist and for which math operators are meaningful. Most people don't write code using quaternions and matrices. General control logic and data flow algorithms are far far more common.

The worst kind of overloading in C++ is overloading for things like brackets and parenthesis and dereference. You're taking an operator which implicitly only has meaning within the language, since these are not mathematical operators, and allowing the meaning to be changed. I can buy that in narrow circumstances there is value in overloading the math operators, but the rest of them, forget it. Way more rope than necessary to hang yourself and anyone else who is unfortunate enough to read your code.

Comment Re:One obvious improvement (Score 1) 190

That's only because of some weird syntactical rules of the functional language you are using in your example.

So in:

'let a = 5 if a = 2 else a'

the variable 'a' from that point on in the scope will I guess refer to this *new* 'a' introduced by the let expression, instead of the 'a' that was passed in? That's freaking confusing.

And the 'a' in the right hand side of the let expression is the function parameter 'a', not the 'a' being introduced in the left hand side of the let expression?

Sorry that's just obtuse.

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