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Comment There is always a reason. (Score 1) 71

There's really no logical reason that famous film stars are also billed prominently for animation, and yet that's what we have.

The vocal performance and personality of the actor shapes and defines the animation of the character.

Disney understood that from the beginning, which is why three generations of stars from film, radio, television and theater have recorded for Disney. Try imaging the animated Aladdin without the manic improvisation of Robin Williams.

For bonus points, try re-casting the voice of Rocket Raccoon and see if you if you still have a CGI and motion capture character that audiences will actually give a damn about, help anchor a new franchise and deliver a billion-dollar pay-off at the box office.

Comment Re:Privacy (Score 1) 71

I'm guessing that sure, a lot of folks wouldn't care, but I would posit that the majority of the populace using social media even is NOT aware of the massive information collection going on, nor how it is used.

I doubt the difference is awareness so much as caring. Germany, in particular, is extremely sensitive to privacy reasons. What's more interesting is why the populace of some countries care so much more than others. German motivations seem obvious... but Russians would seem to have almost as much motivation and they're heavy users of social media.

Comment Re:Why is this surprising? (Score 1) 71

Gabbing, food-plate moneyshots, selfie-admiration and laughing at animals does not necessarily lead to productivity.

You're implying a causal relationship, which is contradicted by the existence of many other high-performing economies -- including the most productive countries -- that do have heavy social media usage.

Comment Re:This reminds me of the nuclear boy scout story. (Score 1) 178

Actually, I meant what I said.

Then you're just wrong, because decisions like this guy made have basically nothing to do with any sort of intelligence, and certainly not social intelligence (not by any definition of that phrase that I've ever seen). They do have something to do with motivation, but it's about the goal of the motivation, not the degree.

It's perfectly possible to have high intelligence across every category, including social intelligence, and still be foolish.

While this may be true, I think it is impossible to anticipate someone's actual social reasoning performance from any measure of social reasoning capacity to any useful degree.

Likely true, but irrelevant.

Comment Re:This reminds me of the nuclear boy scout story. (Score 1) 178

Actually, I meant what I said.

Intelligence is a generalized measure of capacity, but actual intellectual performance depends strongly upon motivation. Thus, an obsessed person with an IQ of 100 can sometimes accomplish feats that would elude people with significantly higher IQ. It's a mistake to underestimate the potential intellectual performance of someone because he is relatively dumb.

It's perfectly possible to have high intelligence across every category, including social intelligence, and still be foolish.

While this may be true, I think it is impossible to anticipate someone's actual social reasoning performance from any measure of social reasoning capacity to any useful degree.

Comment Re:This reminds me of the nuclear boy scout story. (Score 2) 178

The moral of the story is that even a stupid human being can be pretty smart. Particularly a sufficiently motivated stupid person.

That's an odd thing to say, since stupid is the antonym of smart. I think what you meant to say is:

The moral of the story is that even a foolish human being can be pretty smart. Particularly a sufficiently-motivated fool.

Foolishness is the opposite of wisdom, and the foolish/wise axis is roughly orthogonal to the stupid/smart axis.

Of course it also helps that intelligence comes in different flavors. Some people are good at spatial reasoning, others are good at verbal reasoning. But we often overlook social reasoning because it's not part of the traditional IQ tests. I think another reason that Social IQ testing hasn't caught on is that there is good reason to believe that social reasoning ability isn't fixed. Changes in attitude can strongly impair or enhance an individual's ability to process social information.

I don't think this has anything to do with social intelligence. It's perfectly possible to have high intelligence across every category, including social intelligence, and still be foolish. Wisdom/foolishness is in how you think about things more than in how your are able to think about things. Wise people consider the consequences of their actions carefully. I'm sure this guy was fully capable of thinking through what would happen if he got caught... he just didn't bother to do it.

Comment Re:I like functions... (Score 1) 379

Yes, it means your functions aren't allowed to have side effects (i.e., all parameters are passed by value and the only result is the value returned to the caller).

It's quite a bit more than that, at least if you're talking about pure functional programming. You also have to get rid of most all of your old notions of flow control. Imperative programming is about defining sequences of steps, some of which are conditional. Functional programming is all done with nested transformations; there are no sequential steps, there are no branches, there is no iteration.

If this sounds freakish and impossible to someone raised on imperative programming paradigms... yes, it is. Functional programming requires thinking in an entirely new way. It's a very powerful tool. I'm not sure it's the best tool for the systems I build (though I'm also not sure it isn't), but at a minimum it's a useful way to think about code construction. Every programmer should spend some time learning it.

Comment Re:"Like"? (Score 2) 379

I don't get what you mean by "like".

Procedures are procedures, period.

Indeed they are. And purely functional programming languages don't have procedures.

The grafting of functional programming constructs onto imperative languages is interesting and useful, but every programmer should spend some time learning to program in a purely functional style, even if they then go back to imperative languages for their everyday work. It opens up a whole new way of thinking about code.

Comment Re:It has its uses (Score 1) 379

At some point, the complexity of the task the program is executing requires complex code.

This is a more profound statement than it appears at first. I'd say that the minimal complexity of the code necessary to accomplish a task defines the complexity of the task itself.

As for GOTO the issue isn't GOTO per se, but implicitly building other control structures like loops using GOTO as a primitive -- a legacy of the very earliest machine languages in which you implemented algorithms using a very limited instruction set. The flexibility of GOTO makes it a good choice if you have only a few control structures to work with; but that same flexibility imposes the cognitive load of figuring out what the original programmer (possibly yourself) meant.

But even if more structured (i.e., limited) control structures available, there are problems where GOTO is the natural way to express them. State machines for example. I've seen them implemented with long if-then-elseif chains or case conditional constructs, but that's just thoughtless programming that obscures what is going on. A state machine is much more clearly implemented with GOTOs, although tail recursion can be a reasonable alternative.

Comment Re:It has its uses (Score 1) 379

There's two big things that have come out of the recent move towards more functional programming which are really important.

You missed the biggest one: Eliminating mutable state makes code inherently safe for concurrency. Not an inconsiderable issue, since the direction of hardware progress seems to be towards ever more cores.

Of course, pure functional programming eliminates mutable state by creating massive numbers of copies. Actual functional programming languages (e.g. Haskell) are quite clever about optimizing out nearly all of those copies, but the result of that is that the generated code has mutable state. Still, this may very well be the best way forward... automatic parallelization of imperative code is very hard. It may well be that it's easier to automatically decide how to split work up by analyzing data copying, and then apply copy optimization to each thread.

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