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Comment Who's going to build a community for me? (Score 2) 233

As a reader of various online forums, I would like a community where I can read a broad spectrum of polite, well-thought out responses to current events. Leading up to the election, I wanted to hear from the Trump supporter, the Hillary supporter, and even the Sanders/Johnson/Stein supporters.

What I don't want is (1) spam, (2) astroturfing, (3) straight-up lying ["fake news"], (4) personal attacks, (5) abusive language, (6) people who can't follow context, and (7) simplistic/repetitive comments that don't add anything new.

I'm not looking for a bubble or a safe space or an echo chamber, but neither do I want to swim thru the sewers.

Comment Re: Not a good idea... (Score 1) 248

This. If I knew nothing else about the candidates, just comparing reddit's /r/politics (which mostly posts pro-Hillary articles) with /r/The_Donald would convince me that one of the two must be pretty crazy to have attracted such consistently rabid fans. The Internet's always struggled with civility (and proper use of caps lock), of course. Scary to see so much of it gathered behind candidate though.

Comment Re:Open.... (Score 2) 287

I wouldn't be completely surprised if they did open source Windows, but in a way that leaves out key drivers, subsystems, and applications.

We've entered the age of OPINO: open-source in name only. Android teeters on this boundary, because you've got to install the Google Play spyware to access most applications. (Tip-o-the-hat to the F-droid guys here... they almost make it possible to avoid Google.)

Comment Yeah... no (Score 1) 552

My first thought was revulsion: people don't want to be treated like children. They will start bringing decoy phones or even box cutters.

Then I saw that they're also being marketed toward schools. Treating children like children makes more sense.

Also, it's better that we have technology like this instead of denial features getting baked into the phones (as has been proposed in the past) by law or by corporate collusion.

Comment Re:The desire for religion (Score 1) 1042

Yep. The next step is to capitalize on it. Claim to be a representative of The System. Explain that The System is a lab experiment, and good little Sims will be reborn in The Final Iteration where a perfected humanity will live in perpetual happiness. To be a good little Sim, you just need to live according to The Tenants, especially the one about The Tithe. :-)

Comment Re:Rust gets it right (Score 1) 89

Unfortunately, habituating your developers to call .unwrap() on everything (with the tacit "oh I know it's bad, but..." approval) doesn't really put you in a better place.

What you have with Result<T,E> and especially Option<T> is the concept of null delivered in a purposefully non-ergonomic form, with the theory being that the extra explicitness will drive developers to write better code by default. However, that unwrap() escape hatch is mighty convenient; time will tell if the theory was right or not.

Comment Re:Do away with them (Score 1) 89

Failure is the best default. It's a harsh path that leads to stronger guarantees about data and behavior.

Sentinel values (like 1900-01-01) generate hard-to-find bugs and threaten the trustworthiness of your data. If you can't remember to check for null, you're certainly not going to remember to check for a sentinel value.

The recent shift in language design to favor non-nullability by default is probably a good thing: if you don't need null, it's nice to let the compiler/database enforce that for you. However, if you do need null--if the value of a variable/field can be unknown, for instance--it's best to use it and do the extra work. Muddle things with a sentinel value only if the inevitable consequences are acceptable.

Comment Re:**Anything** can be used as money (Score 1) 87

"Anything can be used as money." => Nope, not really. The item must be in suitably common supply while still being somewhat scarce; it must be hard to forge; the recipient must be able to readily trust the authenticity and denomination of the item; it must be be fairly divisible; it must be durable/preservable, transportable, and convenient to exchange. And of course, it must be accepted by a critical mass of commercial participants.

Comment Re:duh.... (Score 2) 121

in time developers will be glad Angular went this route

Many technologies have gone this route (breaking backwards compatibility to achieve "perfection"), and most have failed. Consider Perl 6, D 2, Python 3 (which is slowly working, but it's taken a very long time), KDE 4, Gnome 3 (slowly working, maybe). And those technologies don't move at the pace of the JavaScript ecosystem.

Maybe since Google's backing this, it will ultimately succeed. Corporate backing seems to trump everything.

Comment Re:I'm just here (Score 5, Insightful) 303

This ain't really my cause, but here goes...

The climate change proponents ask for a lot.

They ask us to decrease emissions, research carbon sequestration, and invest more in researching/exploiting renewable energy sources. Yeah, it costs money and sometimes comfort/convenience. How much do hurricanes like Katrina and Sandy cost? (Hint: $108b and $65b.) How much does a 1/2 meter or 1 meter rise in sea levels cost (billions to hundreds of billions, just for the U.S.). How much do forced migrations, famine, and war cost? Pay now or let your children pay later... either way nature can't be fooled.

There is virtually no investment of any kind in fusion research.

But there could be, if we were serious about addressing climate change. That could have been Bush's legacy, for instance, in a world where $2000b seems better spent on solving energy insecurity than bombing Muslims on the other side of the globe. And fusion is not our only option: smart grid, smart appliances, renewables, and good old fission are within our grasp. (Granted the NIMBY/anti-nuke groups aren't helping the big picture here.)

Governments are also not showing much interest in other possible ways of reducing climate change.

Voters haven't given them much reason to.

"The science" is actually a mass of utterly impenetrable papers - tens of thousands of them

You're complaining about too much science? After years of saying we need more research? That's rich.

Comment Re:Refuse to support Rust (Score 2) 131

I was going to ream you for choosing your web browser based on its underlying programming language. After all, if you're not having to interface with it as a plugin-developer, what does it matter?

Then I remembered: security. Relying on a human programmer to get every memory allocation and deallocation right every single time has proven to be a security nightmare for the past 20 years the internet has been accessible by the general public. The more safety checks you can push down into the underlying platform/language/runtime/API, the fewer security holes you'll have.

And if you need proof that your standard, mature languages aren't cutting it, look no further than Symantec's recent debacle. If kernel programmers at the world's premiere security firm can't get it right, who can?

Comment Re:Rushing things to market that can KILL YOU (Score 1) 379

Humans are terrible drivers. We drive emotionally, we get fatigued, we get bored, we drive too fast, we zone out, we fall asleep at the wheel, we have wierd medical mishaps like heart attacks and epilepsy and fainting spells. To top it all of we voluntarily impair ourselves with alcohol, drugs, text messages, and staring at ads/women/wrecks/houses/scenery.

How old will you be in fifty years? As you get old and decline in skill and health, do you truly think there won't come a point where it's smarter to trust your life to the algorithms instead of your own failing mind and body?

Self-driving cars will be a blessing for humankind. Not only will they save you from yourself, they'll also save you from all those other dumbasses out on the road. They'll give the elderly their freedom back, and open up new transportation options for children, the blind, the inebriated. They'll likely transform cities in ways we can't even imagine: probably some balance between easing congestion and allowing parking lots to be re-purposed.

But we have got to go thru an intermediary period first. Tesla was the first manufacturer with the gumption to release such a feature; others will eventually follow. As with commercial aviation, each death will be learned from and used to make the systems progressively better... it won't be a big wasted opportunity like the ~30,000 fatalities/year we currently have in the U.S.

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