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Comment Re: Innovation? (Score 1) 361

Software should be copyrighted (but never patented) just like books, music, and movies.

Each of those things are potentially very costly to produce, but trivial to copy. That asymmetry is why copyright exists. By contrast, making a 7th wrench is not particularly cheaper than making the first. Sure, there are some economies of scale, but it never gets free the way copyrightable things do.

Now, maybe you can make an argument that in order to gain copyright on software, the source code needs to be released as well. Maybe you can make the same argument that all the unedited file for a movie must be released for it to be granted copyright status. And any notes an author makes while writing a book. I don't think that makes sense; and I'd be surprised if many people did, though.

Comment Re:shipping java scientific software for 15 years (Score 4, Insightful) 577

Not just can be, it usually is faster. At least, once it's been JITed. We just ran some XML serialization/deserialization tests, and the java implementation was much faster than the C++ one...eventually. The first several hundred iterations it was slower, but after that the Just In Time compiler optimized it, and it easily won.

For long running computations, like scientific calculations for instance, Java is really good. The problem is we perceive how fast something is based on our wait time. Every time you boot a java applications it takes a long time for it to get started relative to a C++ applications. A quick command line java application might be orders of magnitude slower than a comparable C++ one. And that delay kind of permeates our intuitions about which is faster.

Comment Re:Java won't die. (Score 1) 577

Bzzzzt, wrong!

Java is still alive and kicking because it's an enterprisy kind of language in a world where all the hip new languages simply aren't that. As much as someone might love them a ruby or python, those languages are not controlled by the kinds of entities who are hesitant to break 12 year old software with new releases, nor are they backed by the kinds of major players who could force a language through the entire industry.

If you just look at languages that either have enthusiastic big money backers or importance due to legacy, you are generally limited to C/C++, C#, and Java. Companies like IBM, Microsoft, Sony, Google, Oracle, Facebook, or even Amazon don't put an effort behind a language like ruby, which is at least one reason it's more niche. And if you look at what's out there, most of those companies are wedded for one reason or another to one of the languages already in broad use.

Now, if Google ever made a serious effort to push go, perhaps it would gain traction in a serious enterprise kind of way. Likewise, if Facebook were to ever decide to push a language, they might have the clout.

And so, we have C/C++, C#, or Java. Neither Java nor C# fill the niches that C/C++ do, so those aren't even direct competitors. So if you want to use a language designed for large software systems with a lifecycle potentially in the range of decades, and you want garbage collectors, you're probably going to choose between which devil you prefer (Oracle or Microsoft).

Comment Re:What do lambdas provide that anon classes do no (Score 1) 189

I haven't read through the entirety of the new Java spec, but the most general answer to your question is that to support lambda expressions, a language usually needs to support functions as a first order feature. Right now, if I want to make my class execute some operation provided by the caller, I need to write an interface (or worse a base class). The caller then needs to implement that interface, and so on and so forth.

By contrast, a first-order function doesn't require me to tell the caller anything beyond what they must know. I just write a function that has a return type and parameters, and anything they can squeeze into that pattern they can pass in. For instance, threads right now require runnable with a run method. What if I have a void exec() method already? I still need to write a void run() method. With functions, I don't have to create so many new (and redundant) methods.

Comment Re:Decontamination (Score 1) 780

Congratulations. You have announced yourself as a whacko.

Certainly, the Seattle Times leans left. I would expect their editorial to be biased. I would also expect that they would be more likely to spend the time investigating the environmental impact of shooting ranges than say the Kansas Whatever. At the same token, if you invalidate their reporting merely because you are right biased and they are left biased, that is your bias showing through, not theirs.

Fox News is famously right wing, and you can't believe ANYTHING produced by their editorial division (which includes the radio talking heads and shows like Fox and Friends), but just because I lean left doesn't mean I can ignore every legitimate investigative news story they report on. Perhaps I don't think a story about a HS principle limiting the rights of students to pray during their lunch break is important news, but when Fox reports something like that I generally believe it is a true report.

Go ahead and opine that the environmental/health costs of a gun range are unimportant to you, but don't shove your head in the ground.

Comment Re:Decontamination (Score 1) 780

That's an interesting take on it. Ironically, if you live in an urban area you actually receive more in per capita from the government (on average) than urban dwellers. Children go to school everywhere, and largely that money comes from state/federal government. Also, a road costs about the same to build if 5000 people use it or 250,000 use it. Not to mention, the urban phone bill has a special tax applied to it just so rural phone lines can be subsidized.

What it really boils down to is that in the USA, we have too many people living in rural areas. It drives down both their standard of living (worse health results and lower wealth) at the same time that they require subsidy to live there. It makes sense for farmers and lumberjacks to live rurally. And you need some people to sell those people groceries and clothes. But we also have a lot of people who live rurally just so they can buy a larger home. So we subsidize the roads to that home, we subsidize the mortgage on that home, and we subsidize the phone lines out to that home all so somebody can use more gasoline...

Comment Re:You would think. . . (Score 1) 303

Parent post completely misses the point. Sure, rotational grazing is a much healthier (for the animals) and many would say more humane way to raise cattle. If we could meet 100% of demand for beef this way, then I'm sure nearly everyone would support it over feed lots.

But you're not comparing feed lot beef to grazed beef. You're comparing grazed beef to lab grown. Right now, for every pound of meat we consume, requires about 10 pounds of vegetation. The number vary quite a bit based on what you're eating (beef is different than chicken), but it's a good estimate.

Suppose it took just 2 pounds of vegetable input to produce a pound of lab-grown "beef"? You could take literally millions of acres of farmland offline without sacrificing capability to feed people. That farmland could either be used as part of a much larger rotation (so more land is fallow each season), which would improve overall land quality. Or, it could be returned to nature, which would be even better for desertification and topsoil coverage. And if the lab-beef can be made from non-food "crops", like say something indigenous, you might not need to really farm at all. Maybe all you do is harvest grass a few times a year, and dump it into your beef-o-matic.

With increasing wealth in Asia, in the long run, it's either something like lab-meat, crickets (as the UN suggests), or we all eat about 1/3rd the animal protein each day as we do now.

Comment Re:Better plots? (Score 1) 1029


You see this exact comment (like a bad sequel) on every discussion board about how XYZ has really gone down hill since 19XX. For the most part, the music, movies, art, or whatever was not better in the 19XX. You just don't remember all the bad stuff, or you were 15 back then and everything seemed new. I came of age in the 1990s, so somewhere in my head, anything released between say 1995 and 2000 was edgy, new and innovative. The Matrix was clearly amazing; who cares about Ghost in the Shell. Futurama is way better than the Simpsons, it plays off the cliche's from that show in new and unexpected ways. So on and so forth.

The 1980s had no shortage of terrible movies. Sure, if you compare every movie in 2013 against Back to the Future, there might only be two or three that are on the same level (or better). But you forget that in 1985, the same was also true.

As they say, 90% of everything is garbage. It's true today and it was true in whatever your golden era was as well. I'm disappointed with Hollywood right now too, but when you compare all the entertainment options available today (Hollywood, independent movies, cable serials, etc) we are so much better off than we were 30 years ago that it's laughable.

Comment Re:The day human beings become rational ... (Score 1) 1029

None of that is what's really changed. What changed is if you've got a 60" TV in your living room, the theater experience is no longer quite as mystifying as it was when you had a 25" screen. That's the big difference.

When Jurassic Park came out, you had to see it in the theater because if you didn't catch it in those first three months, all you'd be able to do is rent it on VHS nearly a year later. And seeing those dinosaurs pan across the screen at home was just not the same experience at all. Today, when the Lone Ranger comes to the theater, why rush? If you don't see it in the first three months, you should be able to stream it to your home by Thanksgiving. The video and sound quality will each be about 80% as good as in the theater, which is good enough for most people, and it'll only cost $3 for the whole family. That's what changed.

Ironically, at the same time that special effects have become less of a compelling reason to rush to the theater, major studios have tripled down on the technique. Twenty years ago, maybe two special effects heavy movies were released a year. Those were usually must see. The rest of the summer was filled with more conventional action movies, comedies, romantic comedies, dramas, etc. Water World was not a good movie, but it was still an event movie at a time where such movies stood out. I believe Water World basically broke even. Now...?

Comment Re:Better plots? (Score 1) 1029

What are you talking about?

People always wanted to be entertained. It's just that prior to recording/replay devices, it was hugely difficult and expensive. If you wanted to enjoy some "hit" song, you had to get together some roving band of musicians and pay them to play it for you. If you wanted to watch a Greek play, you got 30 guys together and they spent weeks rehearsing.

Of course, we still have those things, but there's a reason why you can watch a special effects driven extravaganza at your local theater for $10 and a fireworks laden live performance costs at least $100.

Wait, rereading your post... Sports? Exercise? Group Outings? You're not thinking of all of human history, are you? You're thinking of what childhood was like in the 1960s?

Comment Re:Not for me: (Score 1) 395

That's fine to say, but the overall point is that people must "prefer" "cities" due to the fact that people are moving to them. And that's all people. From all over the world. Not long ago, the earth's population was predominantly rural. That's not true any longer. People are free to have their own preferences, but it's pretty clear that for an ever increasing percentage of the population, things like art, culture, restaurants, nightlife, mass transit, and jobs more than compensate for the reduction in privacy.

Also, the complaint about too many people is really the strong point about cities. With more people, you can find someone who has your same esoteric interests. You might be able to find a club of such people. You might be able to find a club of such people who like to meet on Tuesday evenings after work. They might even be a couple of miles from your home.

I'll agree with the cement complain though. I really wish there were some cities, even just a few trial ones, that completely banned auto traffic. Put in enough pavement to walk/bike, and then build a very dense and walkable center. Use the money that would have been spent on roads and apply that to some monorails or something. Take all that land that would be devoted to paved roads, and make it into some form of parks or green belts. It'd be a little bit like a typical college campus in a way actually.

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