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Submission + - Documentation as a Bug-Finding Tool (madebyknight.com)

Sekrimo writes: I recently came across this excellent article on an interesting advantage to writing documentation. While the author acknowledges that developers often write documentation so that others may better understand their code, he claims that documenting can also be a useful way to find bugs before they ever become an issue. Taking the time to write this documentation helps to ensure that you've thought through every aspect of your program fully, and cleared up any issues that may arise.

Submission + - Death to Word (slate.com)

walterbyrd writes: "It took years for me to get to this point. I came of age with Word. It’s the program I used to write my college papers, overcoming old-fashioned page counts with its magical font-switching technology: Times, tightly justified, if the writing was running too long; airily monospaced Courier if things were too short. In those days, Word was an obedient and resourceful servant. . . Today, it's become an overbearing boss, one who specializes in make-work."

Submission + - Laws of physics trumps traffic law. (physicscentral.com)

HeLLFiRe1151 writes: Here's a practical application for your physics education: using math to successfully beat a traffic ticket in court. Dmitri Krioukov, a physicist based at the University of California San Diego, did just that to avoid paying a fee for (purportedly) running a stop sign.

Krioukov not only proved his innocence, but he also posted a paper detailing his argument online on the arXiv server http://arxiv.org/pdf/1204.0162v1.

Comment Re:Anti-Gay? (Score 1) 1069

Do straight men use women?

Thanks for bringing up the bit about "using" women, because I looked it up in Strong's to see what the actual Greek words used were. I am not a biblical Greek expert, although I have studied it a little, so I encourage you to check my work. "Natural use" (see Strongs number 5540) appears to be a kind of euphemism the King James translators used for the Greek (because obviously, you couldn't write the word "sex!"). The original Greek ( [XRH=SIS]) means "employment, i.e. (specially), sexual intercourse (as an occupation of the body)..."

Thus, the Greek isn't about using women like a sack of potatoes, or abusing them, or any such thing. It's rather about the act with a woman.

We then see that verse 26 states that the women perverted the sexual act among themselves, and verse 27 notes the men, leaving sex with women, instead did it among themselves. That's the problem.

Comment Re:Anti-Gay? (Score 1) 1069

Technically, it's not just in Leviticus. Romans 1:26-27 states, "...for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet."

That seems like a clear description of homosexuality to me.

Comment Re:At Least... Your quote is incorrect (Score 1) 286

No, because Washington (nor anybody else in the capital), wrote the treaty. Washington wasn't even president at the time; John Adams was.

Remember, this is 1796. They're still using sailing ships. An emissary from the capital, by the last name of Barlow, was sent to negotiate the treaty. According to the Wikipedia article, which I sent you, he did a really crappy job of translating between Arabic and English.

By the time the U.S. Congress saw the treaty, in 1797, it had already been signed twice, first in late 1796 in Tripoli and then in early 1797 in Algiers. It got to the U.S. Congress in mid-1797. The U.S. Senate passed it unanimously, true, but I'm not sure if it would have made much difference if they had not wanted to ratify it. Barlow had already signed the treaty, "as agent plenipotentiary" for the United States, according to the treaty. According to the definition, he had full powers to sign a treaty. And, if they hadn't passed it, but wanted to renegotiate, it might have pushed the final signing off until 1798 or 1799, Atlantic travel being what it was.

And, the Wikipedia article notes:

Neither Congress nor President Adams would have been able to cancel the terms of the Treaty by the time they first saw it, and there is no record of discussion or debate of the Treaty of Tripoli at the time that it was ratified.

So no, Washington never said, wrote, or signed it. Barlow's the one who wrote it, and the U.S. Congress (and President John Adams) are the ones who signed it.

Comment Re:At Least... Your quote is incorrect (Score 2) 286

No, Washington is often quoted as saying that, but it actually comes from the first Treaty of Tripoli, which goes back to the Barbary Coast pirates. American ships were being attacked by pirates, and thus, the U.S. Marines went to Libya to go take care of it. (That's why the Marine's Hymn goes, "From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli.") What resulted was the first Treaty of Tripoli, which ended the war. It was signed in 1796 by the Tripolians, and in 1797 by the U.S. Congress. In the English version, which was the version signed by the Americans, Article 11 of which stated that the United States of America is not a Christian nation:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen, [Muslims]—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Interestingly, this was not in the Arabic version, which was the version the Tripolians would have been looking at. Even more strangely, there was no Article 11 in the Arabic translation at all. So then why was it put in the English version?

Even more interestingly, when the second Treaty of Tripoli was signed several years later in 1815 (the pirate problem persisted), neither translations stated anything about the U.S. being or not being a Christian nation. The closest is Article 15:

As the Government of the United States of America has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility of any nation, and as the said States have never entered into any voluntary war, or act of hostility, except in defence of their just rights on the high seas, it is declared by the Contracting parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of Harmony between the two nations; and the Consuls and agents of both nations, shall have liberty to Celebrate the rights of their respective religions in their own houses.

For more information, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Tripoli.

Comment Re:and thus (Score 2) 178

I think there are two different approaches to looking at the problem of corporations lobbying governments: you can blame the corporations, or you can blame the governments.

Let's look at blaming the corporations. On the one hand, we don't want our legislators being bought with nice trips to Tahiti and such. However, can we truly prohibit companies from speaking their views (assuming they aren't bribing legislators)? As we're a country founded on freedom of speech, it seems strange to say that some entities *cannot* speak. (I will not subscribe to the theory that corporations are people, though.)

Let's look at blaming the governments. Shouldn't we expect our legislators to remain above reproach? And if they don't, shouldn't we vote them out? Finally, let's say we managed to stop all lobbying by corporations. Couldn't our legislators be bought other ways by other people?

While I'm not saying we should have companies buying gifts for legislators as a way to influence votes, I think we should blame our legislators for not resisting. Imagine a legislator caught in a sex scandal. Us blaming the corporations would be like the legislator blaming the prostitute for asking him if he wanted sex. As citizens, we should expect our legislators to exercise some self-control, whether the situation involves prostitutes or trips to Tahiti.


Submission + - Digital Manipulation of Birth Certificate Shown (youtube.com)

samcan writes: "I really thought with President Obama's release of his long-form birth certificate, this "birther" nonsense was finally over. However, orangegold1 has put together a video showing how the PDF provided by the White House (http://whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/rss_viewer/birth-certificate-long-form.pdf), when imported into Illustrator, is actually composed of layers, which reveal digital tampering. While I don't have Illustrator, I was also able to pull apart the PDF using Inkscape. Is there some right-wing conspiracy I'm missing?"

Submission + - Will Nintendo's Next Wii Be the Last Game Console? (foxnews.com)

Velcroman1 writes: Dedicated machines like the Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 currently rule the gaming world. But they may be the last of their kind. Evolving consumer demand, falling prices, and smartphones that play a whole lot more than Brickbreaker threaten to completely change how consumers play games at home and on the go.

“I actually think consoles are a thing of the past,” avid gamer Mark Ormond said. He confessed to playing more games on his iPhone these days than on his Wii or Xbox 360.

As non-traditional gaming platforms expand, can Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft keep doing business as usual? Do consoles even have a place in the future? Not in the traditional sense, says outspoken gaming analyst Michael Pachter. “Gaming will move to the cloud,” he said. And that’s a body blow for console makers, who make money on not only their own games, but hardware sales and licensing fees.

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