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Comment Re:I should be? (Score 3, Informative) 235

I'll bite. The video describes the problem of a 4C increase in temperature that then causes methane trapped as ice in the permafrost and oceans to melt and go into the atmosphere. It's a positive feedback loop that results in at least a 10C increase (methane being a much more efficient greenhouse gas than CO2). The first step is warming by CO2, which then results in warming by methane. Several scientists are predicting a 20C increase by 2050 if the methane is allowed to escape into the atmosphere, which is essentially a planetary extinction event. The only thing that seems likely to prevent this scenario is total economic collapse, immediately. More details available in the second link. Hope that helps.

Comment Here's a Good Summary (Score 4, Informative) 235

If you aren't concerned about this subject, you should be. It is possible that a 4C increase would lead to a 10C increase, wiping out nearly everyone and everything. A good BBC summary of the Permian mass extinction can be found here:

For a really unsettling update:

Submission + - Unlimited Detail - The End of the Geometry Race? 3

TeachingMachines writes: An interesting video is making the rounds, although its claims seem somewhat difficult to believe. In the video (also available here, at the developer's website), a graphics display technology demo is presented that seems to render (no pun intended) the current battle between graphics card makers ATI and NVidia somewhat pointless (again, sorry about the puns). This is because unlimited detail is exactly that: unlimited graphic detail, without polygons. Graphics are instead produced through search algorithms, similar in function to those used by search engines. Pixels presented on the screen, and based on the search algorithm, are based on points rather than polygons (the idea being that each point is equivalent to a screen's pixel, in terms of the colors that are presented to the user). The video demo itself is somewhat, well, alarming, considering that the demo is running in software...

Comment Proves Conclusively? (Score 1) 587

No self-respecting behavioral scientist would say that they have proven something conclusively with their research. It's just not how research works, and we don't start out with the assumptions that we can "prove" anything. The data support one hypothesis, but the way that this is stated is that the researchers have failed to reject the alternative hypothesis: video games produce [violent] behavior. The null hypothesis was rejected (video games have no effect on [violent] behavior.

In the article, the researchers say, "And the effects are that exposure to violent video games increases the likelihood of aggressive behavior in both short-term and long-term contexts. Such exposure also increases aggressive thinking and aggressive affect, and decreases prosocial behavior."

It's correlational data from a metanalytic study, but it is quite possible that the metanalytic study covers several true experiments. In any case, we should probably state that the evidence is mounting for causal link between violent video games and violent behavior.

Comment Buggy (as Hell) (Score 1) 578

I tried to use this language/RAD environment. Kept getting hit with show stopping bugs. There's a million of them. For starters, the plugin for web content apparently runs continuously as a process in the background. Don't know if they fixed that yet. Of if they will. Uninstallers and updaters didn't work (uninstaller corrupted my Windows registry for version 3.5). The memory management is awful, and leaks abound when using externals (for example, databases and browsers). The list goes on. And on. Right now this is a very pretty package, but it's not ready for the big leagues. The underlying code needs to be vetted. I'd recommend sticking with open source alternatives such as wxpython or Tcl/Tk if you want to avoid these issues. There is nothing more frustrating than having a show stopping bug and having to deal with a commercial vendor that won't give you the time day or treats you like a child. I think "opacity" is the word that describes them.

A big problem here is that there is a niche of programmers that wants/needs to create commercial applications, especially for entertainment and education needs, but the RAD tools have really gone to hell from the commercial vendors. I started out using Authorware in 1998, which was quite lovingly "discontinued," but was very stable. Then came Macromedia Director, which was god damned rock solid through MX 2004 (although essentially abandoned for Flash by Macromedia; they had like one engineer working on it at the time of the sale to Adobe). Adobe took Director and sent the code base to Bangalore, India, to a bunch of engineers who've made a complete mess out of things from what I can tell. I don't think its a coincidence that the CEO of Adobe is a graduate of the universities of India himself. Anyway, they're stuck at version 11.5, which is an unholy pile of junk (and it will cost you a cool grand, btw). Director, the program that built Macromedia, is essentially dead and along with it just about the only commercial programming alternative for the unwashed masses without computer science degrees.

The fact of the matter is that RunRev doesn't "dumb down" anything except the programmer. It's a complete struggle to use, but really only because it's not a stable programming environment. If it worked as advertised, we would be awash in RunRev apps. In my opinion, and it's just my opinion (as the owner of an Enterprise license from RunRev), Runtime Revolution is amateur night in the programming world. On the other hand, Tcl/Tk has a totally whacked syntax (upvar anyone?) but it is very fast and very very stable. Especially version 8.4 (you can get it from ActiveState for Windows). wxPython is probably the best choice, however, and you can create binary apps if commercial is your thing.

Is it just me, or is commercial development software in general becoming more buggy?

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