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Comment Re:What's a virus? (Score 1) 79

There could NEVER be a good reason for a virus to be written for research or private use, and with this law juries can rightfully just assume the ill intent of the creator.

What about the situation where a software developer creates a tool for some legitimate purpose, that some lowlife then decides to co-opt for malicious purposes?

To be sure, the guy on the stand is the ne'er-do-well, but the creator who had nothing but good intentions could get unnecessarily tied up in this somehow.

Comment Re:yes but... (Score 1) 1251

Researching tabletop fusion isn't what makes them crackpots. I think it's understood that the crackpots are the ones that claim to have succeeded, but can't reproduce their experiments. So as long as your colleagues don't fall into that category, I think they were not the intended targets of that particular barb.

Thank you.

Comment Re:Eat fewer cows, more kale (Score 0) 570

we need to eat both in order to be healthier.

False. I'm vegetarian and I'm healthy. My girlfriend is vegan and she's healthy. Carl Lewis was vegan when he won Olympic gold in the 90s. There are tons of vegetarian/vegan athlete communities across the web. Your argument just doesn't hold water.

I couldn't personally care less about the eating habits of others, and I'm the last person to try and talk someone into giving up meat or taking up vegetarianism or whatever, but this widely held belief that meat is somehow essential to human health is wholly unfounded.

Comment Re:yes but... (Score 3, Insightful) 1251

Can they even do a whole course on Creationism? I think they'll be all out of evidence/arguments in the first lecture...

Absolutely they can! In the theology department where content of that nature belongs.

I have no qualms with religion being studied as it is an undeniably vast and rich area of human sociology and history. But it is not a science in any sense of the word.

I don't think universities should discriminate against the nature of an applicant's work, but they without a doubt should be able to discriminate based on the rigor and relevance of that work. We trust in that process to smack down crackpot tabletop fusion physicists. Why can't we trust it here? Show me a prof with scientific evidence of god (that passes muster in the scientific community) and he can teach science all day long. Kind of like when Rembrandt said "show me an angel, and I will paint you one."

Comment Re:Computer science... (Score 1) 564

My high school only offered one computer science class, and it was at the AP level. That being said, it was an exceptional introduction to programming in an object-oriented language. Day 1, our teacher listed poor reasons a student should stay in the class. Among his reasons he listed: "I'm really good at video games.", "I can type really fast.", "I know how to do HTML and have a Geocities page.", and "My parents said I can get rich by coding.".

A bunch of people transferred out of the class after that, but I think the 15 or so of us who stayed all got 5s on the exam.

Comment The Scientific (Publication) Process (Score 3, Insightful) 152

Wait, wait, wait. The whole point of publication is to open up your results so that other scientists can poke holes in it and the science can be redone and improved upon. Isn't it kind of a bogus statement say something like "this paper shouldn't have been published"? And with outrage, no less. Could the science really have been that bad and still be approved for publication to begin with? It must have been subject to at least a bit of peer review prior to its release. How come no one was outraged about the guy who reinvented integration (!

Submission + - NASA-Funded Study Finds AS-Based Life on Earth (

egyptiankarim writes: "Evidence that the toxic element arsenic can replace the essential nutrient phosphorus in biomolecules of a naturally occurring bacterium expands the scope of the search for life beyond Earth, according to Arizona State University scientists who are part of a NASA-funded research team reporting findings in the Dec. 2 online Science Express."

Comment Re:Recession? (Score 1) 688

As far as the belief stuff... No, that doesn't work for the individual, but that's not what the majority of the 'Tinkerbell' people are talking about. They're talking about the national/global economy where fear is allowed to drive supply, demand, and the general flow of money. If those things take a hit because of fear (doesn't matter if it's rational or not), then the economy will suffer and we have created a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Exactly! Spending habits, at large, are easily manipulated by what gets broadcast by the media. It's true that certain markets did fail on their own due to risky practices (and that did hurt a lot of people), but these ongoing financial troubles are more the result of otherwise financially healthy people panicing and pulling all of their cash out of circulation to prepapre for the forcasted doom and gloom.

While the GP's post hints at a bit of conspiracy theory-- in terms of the media simply playing this situation so that it can later reveal how Obama miraculously fixed everything-- I do think that enough people do "believe" in Obama that any efforts on his part to resolve the situation will lead to significant increases in consumer confidence.

Comment Re:Install Ubuntu (Score 1) 823

I'm not really sure how you got modded insightful by avoiding the question (how to configure a Windows PC for older people), but then again I'm not exactly sure while I'll be modded flamebait for simply saying the following:

I recently gave my parents two little netbooks with Windows XP installed. I set myself up with a password protected admin account, and then gave them vanilla XP "limited user" accounts. Asked them what resolution they liked the best. Made sure they had desktop icons for their most frequently used apps and websites. Explained to them that they should probably call me up and ask if any download sites they happen to visit are reputable, and to be weary of what their friends send them in emails. I set them up with GMail accounts and configured the spam filtering for them, and then had little cards made up that they could give to their friends with the address on it. I install updates, patches, and whatever they seem to think they need/want whenever I happen to come by for a visit (every couple of months).

That being said, it's been about a year or so now and neither one of them has done anything to damage or slow down their computers. They use their computers daily to check emails, chat on Skype, instant message, listen to music, etc, etc. My dad even does some bookkeeping on his. My mom plays Sodoku and subscribes to the icanhazcheeseburger feed. Most of the time I can help walk them through "complicated" things like adding contacts to their address book with a short phone call. No fuss, no muss.

I don't really understand why people seem to have such a hard time with Windows.

Comment My Personal Favorites (Score 1) 517

"Programming Pearls" by Jon Bentley has long been one of my favorites. The first two chapters or so are especially interesting because every other page hits you with an "AHA!" solution to some seemingly complex problem.

"Computer Ethics: A Cautionary Tale" by Forester and Morrison is pretty interesting, also; though, it's not really technical at all, just thoughtful.

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