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Comment It is useful heuristic (Score 5, Informative) 302

I have seen it few times in big corporations I worked in. Somebody sends email to wrong group by accident and then we have 3 waves of attack:

1) Clueless people hitting 'reply all' asking for removal from mailing group
2) Even more clueless people hitting 'reply all' asking people to not 'reply all'
3) "Champions" trying to save a day by putting all in BCC and telling people to not reply all, unless you put it in BCC [1]

And then, few hours later, next timezone wakes up and things start again.

Why is it useful? After it is obvious what is happening, you create folder called 'idiots' and redirect all these emails into that group by outlook/whatever rule. After that, if you need to deal with somebody in your organization, first check if he/she is in idiots folder and approach accordingly.

BTW, 120 replies seems very low. I have seen mailstorms with group of 10k recipients (it was not 'all' group, just some subset of company) generate over 600 replies total in these 3 waves. 120 replies from 1.2 million looks to be technical limitation (or, maybe, there was some hero in IT department who pulled the plug fast enough...)

[1] - My favorite is self correcting champion, which first sends 'reply all' and then does reply to that with everybody in BCC saying he should have put everybody in BCC in first place...

Comment Re:Lack of Jupiters considered harmful (Score 1) 69

Thank you for insighful answer.
I tried to look for some 'reputable' sources talking about importance of gas giants, but best thing I was able to find so far is something like http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_..., with "Two NASA astronomers recently suggested[...]" "life-bearing planets may be rare" and other quite vague statements.

Comment Lack of Jupiters considered harmful (Score 1) 69

I was under impression that Jupiter-size planets are useful in in star systems where you hope to get life. They catch a lot of space debris (up to moon size), preventing some (most?) of it with colliding with rocky, life-bearing planets. Avoiding serious extinction events or even blowing up entire atmosphere looks like healthy thing for fragile, growing life.

Here we read about 'planetary systems characterized by a paucity of Jupiter-mass planets', but there is no mention of space guard role they fulfill. Is it overrated or we just don't know enough about their importance to put it into scientific paper?

Comment Re:Please use 'bokeh' in a more useful way (Score 1) 50

Reminds me a bit of discussion of wine connoisseur. Obviously, wine quality differs, it is just that blind tests give very different results than tests where they can see the label. I wonder how recognizable will be 'fake-bokeh' to lens experts versus expensive real lenses and how they will rate the 'quality of bokeh' in proper blind test.

It would be quite sad if two 10$ cameras and bit of software can produce better perceived 'bokeh' than 1000$ lens given expert bought few days earlier...

Comment Re:When did "The Matrix" become a religion? (Score 1) 1042

I would risk saying, that https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... tackles the problem of living inside a simulation a lot better than Matrix (both came out in same year). Which in turn is based on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... from 1964. Yes, Gnosticism and Descartes were certainly first, but Putnam seems to be recycling ideas which were already heavily explored in s-f for long time. I expect Matrix creators had a lot better inspirations than Putnam.

Comment Re:Java is not C-based (Score 1) 401

The only thing that is relatively C-like in Java is the syntax

...and if you take that as the definition of "C-based" then every language mentioned in TFS is "C-based" apart from Python.

R is even further away than Python. I would still consider Python being close in mindset to C. Compare mental gymnastics required for C/Java programmer to switch to Python, versus moving to Lisp, Haskell or Prolog.

While we can discuss how far Python is exactly from others in that family, Java is really, really similar to C++. Especially old java to old C++. Real difference starts when you start going into non-trivial template programming in C++ (visible in boost in some places), but your 'normal Joe' run-of-the-mill code is really same thing. Biggest difference in everyday use (memory management) is NOT what differentiates family of languages.

Comment Re:Self-selection sampling bias (Score 1) 112

This would be true if you would, for some unkown reason, try to compare smartness of general population, to answer a question "if I take random person from US (versus China or Poland), how good programmer he could make after training?". But who cares about that? What most people will be probably a lot more interested in is "If I take random PROGRAMMER from US (versus China or Poland), what are the chances they are good?"

So no, this doesn't mean that people in US are on average less 'smart' (assuming 'smart' is what you need to be a good hacker) than any of top hacker countries. But it does mean that a lot of people who are NOT 'smart' are taking programming in US and you will have to weed through 10x more candidates to find somebody useful there.

And, to be honest, I think that India is a lot more interesting result than US. People are not outsourcing programming to US...

Comment Re:That could have been some astronaut's head (Score 2) 225

https://www.quora.com/Spoiler-...
"Testing for NASA's helmets included dropping an 8 lb steel ball from 6 feet."

As for the micrometeoroid - let's assume it is 1g, travelling at 40000 km/h. This is 11111m/s. This means around 61kJ
For comparison, 5.56 bullet is around 4g and travels below 1000m/s. We are talking about less than 2kJ
Steel ball will reach around 4.5m/s at point of impact, which gives 36J (not kJ)

Fracture process is complicated and depends on many factors, but from what I understand it depends more on kinetic energy (as given above) as opposed to momentum (where steel ball still loses to micrometeoroid, but wins with bullet).

From above, micrometeoroid seems to be many time more dangerous than point blank shot from m4 rifle. I would obliterate the helmet from what I can understand. It wouldn't neccesarily go much futher (like 10 astronauts in row) due to destruction of meteroid itself.

What is bit surprising is that 11.1km/s is considerably larger than escape velocity in near Earth orbit (7.something km/s). This would suggest it was of external origin, rather than part of orbiting debris?

Comment Re:Major features are complementary (Score 3, Insightful) 427

Yes, it looks like garbage, this is why some people are switching to java dialects (still fully compatible with all libraries and java APIs both directions, but considerably shorter). My favorite, xtend, would have

def getLastFour(Optional employee) {
    employee.flatMap(primaryAddress) .flatMap(zipCode) .flatMap(lastFour) .orElseThrow[new FMLException("Missing data")];
}

or, without Optionals and exceptions, old school, embrace nulls

def getLastFour(Employee employee) {
    employee?.primaryAddress?.zipCode?.lastFour
}

You can get similarly short code in groovy, scala, koitlin and whatever else. Java strength lies in ecosystem (frameworks, interoperability, portability etc), not because of language syntax.

Said that, there is a lot of overdesign and monstrosities in popular frameworks as well, but there you have a choice of using something more lightweight.

Comment Re:Maybe he writes from an Amarican POV (Score 1) 203

There are similar reasons for such restrictions in Europe. Point here was that US is not that different from Europe in regards to building rights, not that we should be able to build anything anywhere.

In my area, there is a limit of height of buildings, because it is on landing path for local airport. One of buildings there is 5 meters too high and they got order from local county that they need to dismantle two top floors (and it is multi family, condo building). People are already living there, paid for apartments, original building developer went bankrupt because of other investments. No idea what is going to happen there, who will pay for it, where these people will live, how this is going to happen technically (dismantling two top floor while there are number of occupied floors below is certainly not safe). All that because somebody was not 'oppresive' enough to control the building while it was being created (original plans called for few less floors AFAIK).

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