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Comment Re:This is a bit absurd... (Score 1) 211

My gods, programmers have gotten lazy. What's next, extra CPU consumption for bold text? The system slowing down every time it beeps?

Or, we could at least allow for the possibility that the behavior was unintentional. If you've never written a program that inadvertently spins a core rather than correctly blocking while waiting for the next event in the event loop, then feel free to cast the first stone, but I imagine most programmers have made that mistake.

Comment Re:As usual, more detail needed (Score 1) 120

Generally speaking you should never, ever change your behavior based on the results of a single study -- even a controlled, double-blind study, much less an epidemiological survey. You should wait for a comprehensive literature review paper in a high-impact peer reviewed journal before you consider a result reliable.

That said, correlation is still quite valuable -- to researchers. Science doesn't have the resources to come up with quick, definitive answers on a question like this, involving a complex system that is expensive and ethically tricky to monkey with. So science spends a lot of time doing safer, more affordable stuff like looking for epidemiological correlations, until it can justify spending a lot of rare research dollars on something more probative. And those dollars are about to get a lot rarer too.

Comment Re:Similar (Score 1) 190

Kiribati is going underwater. Does anyone else care? *sigh*

I could rob you and beat you to pulp. Would anyone else care? The answer is that wise people would care, because they'll know if I get away with that I'll be getting away with a lot more.

Same with climate change. Yes, Kiribati may disappear. But the Kiribatians aren't the only people who will pay; in fact most people in the world will end up paying. The way this works is that we all get some up front economic benefit from unregulated carbon emissions and we all pay for the consequences later, but the trick is that the benefits and costs aren't spread uniformly. Some people make a killing on cheap fossil fuel and then can move the bulk of the resulting assets out of the way of climate change. The worst hit are those whose wealth is in land -- the Kiribatians obviously, but also farmers in places which become unsupportably arid.

Comment Re: Oh well (Score 1) 190

I don't think it's greed. I think it's wishful thinking.

And it absolutely would be great if there were no downsides to burning all the fossil fuels we can lay our hands on. Most people on this site are too young to remember the smog we had in the 1960s and 1970s; they're imprinted on a time when gas was cheap, air was clean, and anthropogenic climate change was (as far as the general public was concerned) undreamt of. Who wouldn't want that to be true?

Comment Re:The Lemming Society is pathetic. (Score 1) 363

You get five stars for being over-the-top judgmental and insulting -- apparently that's a requirement on the Internet -- but unless you have the time and money to see every movie, try every restaurant, etc, then you have to decide which ones to try and which to avoid based on something. What you're advocating is either making random decisions (which can be fun occasionally but also leads to wasting a lot of time and money suffering through crap), or making decisions based on other, less relevant criteria (such as which movie has the most competent advertising team, or which restaurant happens to be located in front of your eyeballs when your stomach rumbles).

If you want to make your decisions based on subconscious reasoning that you don't even understand yourself, go ahead, but don't blame others for trying to make an informed decision.

Comment Re:Poor business (Score 1) 363

The problem is that any given reviewer wont "mesh" with what *YOU* like. Or what *I* like.

That's the point of aggregation sites like RottenTomatoes. Any given particular reviewer might have tastes that differ from yours or mine, but if 999 of 1000 reviewers all say the movie stinks, then it's very likely the movie stinks. Sure, you might be the rare exception whose tastes are similar to the lone holdout, but that's not the way to bet.

Comment Re:So, it's not only the Russians that hack, huh! (Score 2) 110

Prior to this, I'd have thought America and especially its government agencies do not hack.

Why would you have thought that? Spying has been going on since pretty much the dawn of time. It's what spy agencies do, and hacking computers is one way that they do it. Being surprised that the CIA does hacking is like being surprised that the Army shoots people.

I guess I was wrong. What troubles me is that the media only talked about the Russians, yet the act was taking place in our backyard!

What makes you think this spying was taking place in our backyard? The fact that the CIA was installing spyware doesn't mean that the CIA was installing spyware on the property of US citizens. (it doesn't mean they weren't, either -- but as a matter of law, they are not legally allowed to spy inside the US)

Comment Re:Huh? I use these all the time. (Score 1) 262

This gets down to something that used to be a common UI design principle before software became so feature-ful it became impractical: manifest interface.

The idea of a manifest interface (which also is a principle in language and API design) is that if the software has a capability you should be able to see it. You shouldn't have to root around to stumble upon it. Tabs follow this principle; there's enough visual and behavioral cues to suggest that you need to click on a tab. The little "x" in the tab also follows this principle.

But context menus you access by right-clicking break this rule, which means that there may be millions of people laboriously clicking on "x" after "x", unaware that they can make all the extraneous tabs in their browser disappear with just two clicks.

This, by the way, is why Macintoshes were designed with one button on the mouse. But even Mac UI designers couldn't get by with just single and double-click, so you have option-click too, bit by in large you could operate most programs without it.

Anyhow, to make sure people know about this kind of feature, your program is going to have to watch their behavior and suggest they try right clicking. But that way lies Clippy...

Comment Re:All too true (Score 2) 266

Sayeth the noob who didn't think about how long testing the change would take...

Agreed that replacing tested/working code with new "more efficient" code does incur a re-validation cost.

On the other hand, that's also an argument for writing the more-efficient implementation the first time, rather than waiting until some later release. Since you know it's all going to have to go through the testing cycle at least once, why waste your QA group's time testing slow/throwaway code, when you could have them spend that time testing the code you actually want your program to contain? (Assuming all other things are equal, which they often aren't, of course)

The shortest distance from A to B is a straight line.

Comment Re:Good news! The grays do not want to eat us! (Score 1) 307

Many people think Trump is an idiot. He is not. He knows exactly what to say in order to make enough people vote for him.

A non-idiot would also know when it is time to stop campaigning for votes and start governing. (or, if his plan was to retain support by remaining permanently in campaign mode, it isn't working)

Comment Re:Making NASA Great Again (Score 5, Informative) 307

Actually the Wikipedia article on the National Aeronautics and Space Act has an interesting list of the legislation's priorities, starting with priority #1:

The expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;

Historically speaking the act, which was signed into law in July of 1958, was a reaction to the "Sputnik Crisis" created by the Soviet launch of an artificial satellite eight months earlier in October of 1957 -- an act which filled Americans with awe and a little dread, knowing that a Soviet device was passing overhead every 96 minutes.

So arguably NASA was founded to achieve preeminence in Earth orbit, not necessarily manned space exploration, which isn't mentioned at all in the legislation. Yuri Gagarin's Vostok 1 flight was still three years in the future, and JFKs Rice Moon Speech followed a year and a half after that. That speech is well worth watching, by the way, if all you've ever seen is the "We choose to go to the moon" line.

Manned exploration of the outer solar system wasn't really what the founding of NASA was all about; in fact manned spaceflight has only a single mention in the unamended 1958 text:

... the term "aeronautical and space vehicles" means aircraft, missiles, satellites, and other space vehicles, manned and unmanned, together with related equipment, devices, components, and parts.

The main focus of NASA at its founding was to provide a single agency to coordinate space and spaced-based research, which at the time would have been largely (although not exclusively) Earth-focused.

Comment Re:Something stinks (Score 1) 380

Well, at present Putin's facing a financial crisis that is going to force him to drop military spending from 69 billion to 48 billion dollars. Germany is raising its defense spending to 40 billion, and if you factor in it doesn't need to defend vast terrain or have a multi-ocean blue water navy, Germany alone should be more than a match for the conventional forces of Russia.

Things may have looked different ten years ago when Russia was riding on high energy prices -- one of the reasons that the Obama administration was so pro-fracking: to contain Russian power. But today Europe really doesn't need the US to defend itself. Sure it'd have to shift some of its defense spending away from things that support US military operations to things that replace them.

In fact support of US power has been a major reason for continuing NATO since the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. The multinational force in the Iraq War wouldn't have been possible without NATO, although it wasn't a NATO operation per se. Afghanistan was a NATO operation; in fact it is the sole time in the history of the organization that the Article V mutual defense provision has been trigger -- by the US in response to 9/11.

Comment Re:TLDR: UN says more whites = happiness? (Score 2) 380

Well, you can prove anything if you get to make up the categories, but seriously, lumping Europe with Asia? 60% of the world's population lives in Asia, and 15% of the world's population lives in Europe. So it's hardly amazing that if one of your categories comprises 75% of the people on the Earth that there there doesn't appear to be a lot of diversity. Your friends could include a Pakistani, Tibetan, Uygher, Eskimo, Finn, Scot, Basque and Serb and they wouldn't be a "diverse" group.

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