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Comment Why I watch in the cinema (Score 3) 294

Watching in the cinema is a completely different experience. Going out of the house and making a journey somewhere builds up the sense of occasion, especially when it's combined with a nice meal somewhere beforehand. Watching a film as part of a large audience is also a better experience than watching at home. Sure there are certain audiences that are annoyingly chatty, but for the most part I have a good experience with fellow film-goers. Watching as part of an audience helps you to pick up on things that you wouldn't notice otherwise. Also, the inability to pause means that you have to put your phone away and give the film your undivided attention. Watching at home leaves you prone to more distractions.

Comment Re:Unfortunately no and I have a reason (Score 1) 379

CLRS is no picnic for people who aren't very good at math

That's true. The first chapters wade into big O notation, in ways that don't match the standards of clarity of the rest of the book. You shouldn't need calculus to understand big O. It's good to show how to apply calculus to these problems, and calculus is a natural fit for the necessary math, but the student shouldn't be pushed into a refresher course in calculus to comprehend the basic concepts. The authors try to fill in some of the mathematical knowledge they apply in the next sections, rather than restrict themselves to basic algebra.

Comment Re:Unfortunately no and I have a reason (Score 1) 379

How about a car analogy? Algorithms is like engine and transmission design. That the driver can easily drive the car over a cliff or into a wall, that driving takes considerable skill and constant attention to keep the car on the road, is not the concern of the motor designers, nor should it be.

About as far as engine design can go to enhance safety, apart from ensuring that the engine doesn't blow up or make an oil slick on the highway and cause an accident, is stuff like limiting the maximum output, and therefore speed, and add means for mechanical and computerized control that can be used by safety features, but need not be.

Comment Re:Unfortunately no and I have a reason (Score 4, Interesting) 379

CLR is Introduction to Algorithms by Cormen, Leiserson and Rivest. The S in CLRS is for Stein, who joined the team for the 2nd edition. When CLR came out in 1990, it was hailed as the best algorithms textbook ever, and what an algorithms textbook should be, a huge jump in readability and clarity over the not wholly satisfying existing algorithms textbooks. It uses pseudocode, instead of a real programming language. Allowed the algorithms to be presented cleanly, without any boilerplate code, overhead, or worries about limitations, no need for tedious checks for array out of bounds, numeric overflow, or out of memory, or invalid input. Don't have to declare any variables, or figure out how many elements an array needs.

The Abelson and Sussman textbook, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, uses LISP (actually Scheme). There are quite a few LISP fanatics who passionately feel it is still the best programming language made, citing such reasons as the simplicity of writing an interpreter for it. However, that textbook is pretty difficult. The authors didn't appreciate how hard recursion can be for many students to understand, and LISP and functional programming in general uses recursion so heavily it's the proverbial hammer for every nail of a programming problem.

Since then, programming languages have improved. Still not good enough for the textbook, but closer.

Comment Re:Fold a shirt in 10 minutes? (Score 1) 139

I think studies show that women spend nearly as much time on domestic chores as ever.

Yes, washing without a machine was a long and laborious task, but it may shock you to learn that people didn't wash 1-2 full changes of clothes a day in the time before the washing machine.

Bunkum. I'm old enough to remember my mom leaning over the bath scrubbing clothes on a washboard for a family with five children. Her first automatic washing machine was a godsend. Now with families getting smaller I have my doubts about your studies.

Comment Re:Fold a shirt in 10 minutes? (Score 5, Insightful) 139

I don't understand the idea of making kids do chores.

YOU chose to have them and they didn't get a say in it - why should they have to work for you?

Because they are not your customers and you are not their servant. They are your children who have to learn that they are not the center of the universe, that the world does not owe them a living, and that there's no way you'll get by in this life without working. Chores are the first act of learning to be a good citizen.

Comment Re:Fold a shirt in 10 minutes? (Score 3, Insightful) 139

This single task robot has nothing better to do. It is silly to spend money to make it faster just so it can have more idle time.

A washing machine has a single task and nothing better to do. So does a tumble drier. Modern appliances speed up and simplify the task of cooking and performing laundry. Labor-saving devices in the home liberated women from a life of domestic servitude. It has been one of the most significant social and economic changes of our time. Nothing "silly" about it.

Comment Re:Just switch to Natural Gas (Score 2, Insightful) 147

The UK switched to gas years ago. It was Thatcher and her successor John Major who phased out the British coal industry since it was uneconomical. Odd that in America the preservation of coal is seen as a conservative ideal, whereas in the UK it was the left that was trying to keep it alive in the interests of the workers. I guess the definition of conservative in America must require anything that beats the crap out of the environment whether it pays its way or not.

Comment Re:What Hollande says (Score 1) 328

Number of deaths is a poor measure of risk. By that reckoning, a bus accident earlier this year in Ghana is a worse disaster than the 1992 Hurricane Andrew, because 71 died in the bus accident and only 65 died from the hurricane. Andrew caused $26 billion in damage. A bus and a truck are worth what? Less than $1 million.

You have to look at total damages. Many sq km of Japanese land that can't be safely used for centuries is a loss of hundreds of billions. Land is very, very expensive in Japan. Expected increase in medical work to deal with all the cancers is more millions. Cleaning up the mess is another huge cost. And, Fukushima is still not over! It's still leaking radioactive material into the Pacific Ocean.

Submission + - Using Cloud Computing to Prevent Another Titanic Disaster

fiannaFailMan writes: The International Ice Patrol was established in 1914, two years after the Titanic disaster. It began tracking icebergs using surface ships, later flying patrols, and now a combination that includes Earth Observation (EO) satellite data. Predicting the path of bergs demands a lot of computing power, which has now been simplified using a cloud computing solution that was initially developed for the European Space Agency. No ship captain that has heeded warnings from the patrol has ever struck an iceberg, and demand for the service is expected to increase as the melting Northwest Passage opens up to commercial shipping.

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