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Comment Re:Lies? (Score 1) 507

The idea is you have logging that tells you what happened. If necessary that will include a stack trace that indicates exactly where the error occurred.

Computers do not read logs, nor do they parse stack traces. If you're at the point you're reading a log or stack trace, then there's obviously a serious problem with your code. Subtle problems are likely to never appear.

Do you often find yourself looking at a catch block and needing to know what throws to it?

Alas. Yes.

If so, why?

Because structurally it encourages developers to hide issues rather than handle them at the time. Exceptions are rarely exceptional, they're thrown over common situations such as files not existing or servers not responding with data over a network.

Really we need to rethink what we use exceptions for - and, indeed, if we should have them at all.

Comment Re:Women even better off in industry (Score 2) 507

Outside of Silicon Valley women are usually treated well and as equals

Meh, I've witnessed awful treatment of women in the industry and never worked anywhere near SV.

Remember that stat, that 25% of women in colleges have been sexually assaulted? How initially it seems unbelievable because, hey, you wouldn't, and I wouldn't, and most men you know wouldn't, so how can that be?

The reason it's likely true is that it doesn't a huge proportion of men to be assholes for a disproportionate number of women to be affected. If, say, 2-5% of men in college think it's OK to touch women inappropriately and non-consensually in environments in which they can get away with it, and you assume each of them gets away with it, and so assaults multiple women, then, wow, you're up to 25% of college women being sexually assaulted pretty quickly.

And the same is true in businesses. Leaving aside institutional and structural problems - which exist everywhere - it doesn't really take a lot of male employees to be assholes, showing a level of disrespect for women they'd never show to men, for women to be disproportionately affected.

One office I worked for had such a person. As in every male member of the programming team knew he hated women, and that the extremely qualified, hard working, smart woman working with him was being treated like shit solely because she was a woman, and neither young nor blonde enough to make him at least be chivalrous to her as compensation.

To my and my coworkers shame we never did anything about it. We didn't talk to him about it, we continued to treat him as a - distant, perhaps - friends. We didn't talk to management about it. "G is strong", we told ourselves, "She doesn't put up with his bullshit", and, well, yeah, but bullying is bullying, and working in that environment wears down the strongest of all of us.

It's getting a lot of press in SV right now because SV is the hub of the tech industry, and has sizable number of progressives involved in it. But the idea it's limited to SV is absurd, that'd be to assume either that base human behavior (because there'll always be sexism) somehow is under control elsewhere, or that management skills have developed to a remarkable level outside of SV.

Comment Re:Lies? (Score 2) 507

I honestly can't remember the last time I used an explicit GOTO. That said, exception handling in most programming languages seems to actually be worse and I've used that.

Some time ago, someone proposed a spoof programming language, whose name temporarily escapes me, that included just about every bad idea possible. This included a "COMEFROM" structure that replaced GOTO - instead of marking where you wanted the jump at the location of the jump, you instead marked at at the location you jumped to.

Guaranteed unreadable. Worse than GOTO. And, hey, guess what, that's pretty much what exception handling is in 99% of implementations. The only way around it is to put one statement, and one statement only, in your try { ... } block, and who does that?

Comment Re:So to sum up (Score 1) 634

No, it wasn't. He was kicked out because his sexual proclivities include the domination of women, specifically. To quote Buytaert word-for-word:

Then he's a fucking moron, and he's going to be in for a shock when he gets condemned by the wider social justice community. Acting out Gorean fantasies doesn't mean you believe, in real life, in the subjugation of women any more than acting out Star Wars fantasies means you believe in The Force.

You are correct that traditionally it'd be conservatives making a stink about someones sexual proclivities. That has changed, and is no longer true

Conservatives still seem to be where the majority of attacks on sexual activities, especially non-"normal" sexual activities, comes from.

Do liberals do it? You'll find one or two, just as you'll find any large community has its outliers. But in reality, it's telling that the major schism that lead to the end of Second Wave Feminism and the birth of Third Wave was sex, and the degree to which Second Wave leaned towards prescribing right and wrong sexual behaviors, something unsustainable given human needs. Third Wave is known as "Sex positive", and it was the result of a sizable amount of debate involving everyone from sex workers to the BDSM community that drove Third Wave in that direction.

To put it another way: it's always been the case that the two groups have had people within them that want to control other people's sex lives. Liberals have traditionally done that less than Conservatives. And Liberals are less prescriptive than they were, not more.

Comment Re:So to sum up (Score 1) 634

Except if you are into BDSM involving fantasies of sexual slavery of women

That's right. Women and men acting out fantasies which are entirely consensual and, by definition, involve no real transfer of power, in private, are entirely fine, because nobody is subjugating anyone else.

Or you're a muslim

I've yet to hear a single so-called SJW argue that Muslims are right to subjugate women.

What almost everyone on the left believes is that simply being a Muslim doesn't mean you're deserving of hatred, that you should be dehumanized, that you should be blamed for terrorism, that you should be attacked, or that you should be forced to live in countries governed by extremists.

Kinda like we'd defend conservatives too if we were told they all inherently support terrorism, or that they shouldn't be allowed in this country if they're trying to escape a fascist regime.

Comment Re:While its not my cup of tea (Score 1) 634

Bondage, Discipline & Domination, Submission & Sadism, Masochism. (The "&"s are where the same letter is shared, not any linking of the two concepts.)

It's a generic name for all that stuff where something resembling power is exchanged in the context of a sexual relationship, in much the same way as LGBT(*) is a generic term for sexual relationships where gender/sex norms are unusual.

Within the BDSM communities, you'll find they usually use the letters "SSC", which stands for Safe, Sane, & Consensual - essentially do what you want with one another, but make sure everyone consents and that lines of communication remain open so if consent is withdrawn it can be communicated, practice safety at all times (it's relatively easy to accidentally injure or even kill someone if you restrain them, for example), and, well, snuff scenes are probably not sane.

Contrary to the grandparent's assertion, there's no opposition to BDSM from the majority of people interested in social justice - in fact, attempting to suppress someone else's sexuality is generally frowned upon by social justice types.

Comment Re:While its not my cup of tea (Score 1) 634

The term SJW proves, yet again, to be meaningless. You'll find precious few people who believe in social justice - which once upon a time were the "SJ" in "SJW" - agreeing with the notion that other people's private, consent based, sex lives are justification for discrimination.

If the article is a fair description of what happened (and that's a big if) then this is an example of puritanical conservatism run amok. Discriminating against people for what they do in private, behind closed doors, involving consenting adults only, should have no place within the development community.

Comment Re:Self-contradictory (Score 2) 119

I suspect by physical interface they mean something you interact with physically, rather than directly - ie you push buttons with your fingers on a keyboard, you receive images via a monitor that converts them into photons, etc. It's awkward language, but I'm not sure there's a "correct" way beyond calling the brain link something awful like "really, really, direct."

Comment Full article (Score -1, Troll) 119

Ok, so neither of those links were included in the summary when this was posted, but here is the full article:

Elon Musk Launches Neuralink to Connect Brains With Computers
Startup from CEO of Tesla and SpaceX aims to implant tiny electrodes in human brains
Neuralink is pursuing what Elon Musk calls 'neural lace' technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts.
by ROLFE WINKLER
March 27, 2017 3:24 p.m. ET

Building a mass-market electric vehicle and colonizing Mars aren't ambitious enough for Elon Musk. The billionaire entrepreneur now wants to merge computers with human brains to help people keep up with machines.

The founder and chief executive of Tesla Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has launched another company called Neuralink Corp., according to people familiar with the matter. Neuralink is pursuing what Mr. Musk calls "neural lace" technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts.

Mr. Musk has taken an active role setting up the California-based company and may play a significant leadership role, according to people briefed on Neuralink's plans, a bold step for a father of five who already runs two technologically complex businesses.

Mr. Musk didn't respond to a request for comment. Max Hodak, who said he is a "member of the founding team," confirmed the company's existence and Mr. Musk's involvement. He described the company as "embryonic" and said plans are still in flux but declined to provide additional details. Mr. Hodak previously founded Transcriptic, a startup that provides robotic lab services accessible over the internet.

Mr. Musk, 45 years old, is part businessman, part futurist. He splits his time between Tesla, which is under pressure to deliver its $35,000 sedan on time, and SpaceX, which aims to launch a satellite-internet business and a rocket that can bring humans to Mars. He is also pushing development of a super high-speed train called Hyperloop.

Somewhere in his packed schedule, he has found time to start a neuroscience company that plans to develop cranial computers, most likely to treat intractable brain diseases first, but later to help humanity avoid subjugation at the hands of intelligent machines.

"If you assume any rate of advancement in [artificial intelligence], we will be left behind by a lot," he said at a conference last June.

The solution he proposed was a "direct cortical interface"--essentially a layer of artificial intelligence inside the brain--that could enable humans to reach higher levels of function.

Mr. Musk has teased that he is developing the technology himself. "Making progress [on neural lace]," he tweeted last August, "maybe something to announce in a few months." In January he tweeted that an announcement might be coming shortly.

He hasn't made an official announcement, but Neuralink registered in California as a "medical research" company last July.

Mr. Musk has discussed financing Neuralink primarily himself, including with capital borrowed against equity in his other companies, according to a person briefed on the plans.

Neuralink has also discussed a possible investment from Founders Fund, the venture firm started by Peter Thiel, with whom Mr. Musk co-founded payments company PayPal, according to people familiar with the matter.

In recent weeks, Neuralink hired leading academics in the field, according to another person familiar with the matter. They include Vanessa Tolosa, an engineer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and an expert in flexible electrodes; Philip Sabes, a professor at the University of California in San Francisco, who studies how the brain controls movement; and Timothy Gardner, a professor at Boston University who is known for implanting tiny electrodes in the brains of finches to study how the birds sing.

Reached by phone, Dr. Gardner confirmed he is working for Neuralink, but declined to elaborate on its plans. Dr. Sabes declined to comment. Dr. Tolosa didn't respond to a request for comment.

It is unclear what sorts of products Neuralink might create, but people who have had discussions with the company describe a strategy similar to SpaceX and Tesla, where Mr. Musk developed new rocket and electric-car technologies, proved they work, and is now using them to pursue more ambitious projects.

These people say the first products could be advanced implants to treat intractable brain disorders like epilepsy or major depression, a market worth billions of dollars. Such implants would build on simpler electrodes already used to treat brain disorders like Parkinson's disease.

If Neuralink can prove the safety and efficacy of its technology and receive government approval, perhaps it then could move on to cosmetic brain surgeries to enhance cognitive function, these people say. Mr. Musk alluded to this possibility in his comments last June, describing how humans struggle to process and generate information as quickly as they absorb it.

"Your output level is so low, particularly on a phone, your two thumbs just tapping away," he said. "This is ridiculously slow. Our input is much better because we have a high bandwidth visual interface into the brain. Our eyes take in a lot of data."

Others pursuing the idea include Bryan Johnson, the founder of online payments company Braintree, who plans to pump $100 million into a startup called Kernel, which has 20 people and is pursuing a similar mission.

Mr. Johnson said he has spoken to Mr. Musk and that both companies want to build better neural interfaces, first to attack big diseases, and then to expand human potential.

Facebook Inc. has posted job ads for "brain-computer interface engineers" and other neuroscientists at its new secret projects division. And the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is investing $60 million over four years to develop implantable neural interface technology.

The technology faces several barriers. Scientists must find a safe, minimally invasive way to implant the electrodes, and a way to keep them stable in the brain. It also isn't yet possible to record the activity of millions of the brain's neurons to decode complex decisions, or distinguish when someone wants to eat a bowl of spaghetti or go to the bathroom.

Then there is persuading people to get elective brain surgery.

In comments published by Vanity Fair on Sunday, Mr. Musk said "for a meaningful partial-brain interface, I think we're roughly four or five years away."

If Mr. Musk indeed takes an active leadership role at Neuralink, that would raise more questions about his own personal bandwidth.

Tesla is building the largest battery factory on the planet to supply its forthcoming Model 3 electric vehicle, and it will need to produce hundreds of thousands of cars to meet its goal and justify its lofty market capitalization, which is approaching that of Ford Motor Co.
SpaceX has struggled to launch rockets fast enough to send satellites into orbit for its customers. Ultimately it wants to launch an internet-access business powered by more than 4,000 low-earth orbiting satellites, ferry space tourists to the moon and then bring astronauts to Mars.

Even so, Mr. Musk has proved many naysayers wrong. Traditional auto makers said he could never sell a popular electric car. Military-industrial graybeards scoffed at the idea he could even launch a rocket.

Write to Rolfe Winkler at rolfe.winkler@wsj.com

Comment Re:You don't want this to succed (Score 1) 344

Leaving aside the fact it's rarely the case you can just sign away liability..

The GPL only applies if you decide to accept its conditions. Just installing Ubuntu doesn't mean you've agreed to the GPL and, as such, Canonical has anything to point at if your Nuclear Reactor has a meltdown because a bug in Unity swapped the "Drop fuel rods/Raise fuel rods" buttons by accident.

Sure, you might give up your right to sue if you subsequently redistribute Ubuntu to others. But even then... like I said, it's rare you can just sign away liability.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 344

Scrollwheels used to work fine. Then some idiots at Canonical and GNOME decided to redesign the scrollbar, on the grounds we don't need it any more because we have scrollwheels, despite the fact that, actually, no, quite often we don't, and in the course of effing up the scrollbar they managed to eff up the mousewheel at the same time.

I still don't know why they didn't just revert to how things were. They fixed a problem that doesn't exist, and appear to be too stubborn to admit they made a mistake.

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