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Comment Re:Curly braces = good. Indents = bad. (Score 1) 173

Very late post but I still have to add my $.02. I feel like your objection here is too strong and artificial.

I've used both Python and C-style languages including Go for a long time now (15 and 30+ years). I don't really mind either block system. I've had problems with editors doing unexpected things with Python code blocks, and I have to be watchful of that. But in practice I agree with the gp -- it's very rarely a problem except with beginners.

Curly braces are good for auto-formatting, and gofmt really seems to fit with the philosophy of Go in general, so I disagree with what Have is attempting to do in this case since I don't see how gofmt can do its job in this case. But I've also seen some really bad code with curly-braces. Recently I've had to work with a large (million lines) C++ code base that's completely inconsistent, mixing tabs and spaces with no one tab width making sense even within a single file. Every developer had their own editor and settings. Reading that was a major PITA and literally dozens of bugs ended up being wrong-code-block (indent level) types of bugs. And how often have you found yourself counting braces, brackets, and parentheses to find that balancing problem? That doesn't go away with Python, but it helps a little.

I also kind of hate this style that's so popular:
if (stuff)

Reading lots of code written this way is significantly more taxing for me than the more compact styles, especially as outer blocks stretch out over multiple pages of text.

So: You have to be careful when editing indent-sensitive code like Python. But you also have to be careful when editing code with block delineators. Both styles can be bug-prone and are sensitive to accidental editor actions as well as mixed-developer consistency issues. For me the pros and cons of the two are closely balanced.

Comment Does it work for copper too? (Score 2) 75

While I'm sure getting a terabit to the home would be wonderful, the real-world situation is most people are going to continue to have copper to the home for years/decades due to regulatory capture.

Is the Probabilistic Constellation Shaping concept also applicable to twisted pair/coax copper? Because being able to get some people decent DSL would be a major advance. My parents still can't get 1990's-vintage 200 kbs DSL because in 20 years, AT&T still hasn't run fiber *to their own fucking cabinets*, much less the home.

I know AT&T already has, but that's one of those things that's mostly only useful for short distances and "demonstrations", the actual real-world speed isn't much better than DSL after so many hundred feet, and it would have required the same AT&T who has refused to spend money on fiber to spend money to upgrade their existing cabinets.

Comment It's a bold strategy Cotton, but how about... (Score 1) 210

... making phones with replaceable batteries? The 6 year old Evo 4G I gave to my mother has a replaceable battery, and is still in use (with a fresh install of Cyanogen Mod) today.

With Moore's Law rapidly dying, there is less need to upgrade for a "faster" phone, since CPU's aren't getting faster anymore. And I just want to make calls, texts, emails, and occasional FB with my phone. I'm not trying to play Crysis 3 on it.

But that's only half the problem. Apple and Google/Android need to start supporting their phone OS's for longer than 2/3 years. Otherwise, it opens a niche for a competitor who will.

Comment Have they re-enabled Miracast? (Score 3, Interesting) 164

I spent a few hours trying to get Chromecast working on a TV on a subnet at a large university, and it simply cannot do it. Chrome cast will only work on a /24. Miracast will, but Google disabled it on their Nexus line, for no greater reason than trying to push Chromecast.

So Google, do you care about making your customers happy, or some random mid-level MBA at the Googleplex who thought they were Dr. Evil when they came with the idea of reducing functionality?

Comment Re:Depends on your definition of "life" (Score 1) 250

That goes a bit in hand with my #3 theory. I suspect that once a species is capable of interstellar traffic, they may have a different definition of "prime real estate" than a planet orbiting a star. Maybe they start congregating near the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy for abundant energy, materials, and easy gravity slingshots to anyplace/anytime they want.

Comment Re:Depends on your definition of "life" (Score 1) 250

So we only have evidence that life started only one time in earth's 4.5 billion years of existence. To me this is profound.

I don't believe it's as profound as you think. Life probably evolved quickly once it was created, and any subsequently created life was quickly out-competed by earlier lifeforms who had a better foothold.

For all we know, new life may be arising on earth today, but it would have a hard time surviving, let alone dominating, against bacterial and viral species who were survivors of a few billion years of survival of the fittest.

Comment Depends on your definition of "life" (Score 4, Interesting) 250

Bacterial life appeared on this planet basically the instant asteroids stopped bombarding the planet. For all we know, life was created and destroyed several times before the Late Heavy Bombardment ceased. So it appears that simple bacterial/viral life may be commonplace throughout the cosmos. Indeed, there are tantalizing signs that Mars and Titan may harbor some form of life.

On the other hand, complex multicellular life only appeared in the last billion years, which suggests that the leap from single-cell -> multicellular life is somewhat difficult. Our sun won't be conducive to life in another billion years, so complex life "barely" made it here.

I would love to be wrong, but given the fact that planets appear to be commonplace throughout the cosmos, and we have yet to hear from anyone, it starts to shift the odds towards one or more of:

1) Complex life is relatively rare and widely separated in space and time.
2) Complex life doesn't survive long-term (nuclear war, grey goo)
3) Complex life does survive, but for some reason doesn't communicate or colonize other worlds (a "Prime Directive", or perhaps they "sublime" in the Ian Banks/Culture sense)

I actually lean a bit towards 3 myself, but humanity will eventually find out, one way or the other.

Comment Much better nowadays! (Score 3, Informative) 351

I tried my first veggie burger about 20 years ago, and I remember wondering when the FDA started considering sawdust a vegetable...

Now, I eat Gardein teriyaki chick'n and a few others quite regularly. I'm still waiting for the whole "cheaper than meat" part to kick in though.

If you haven't had them yet, give them a try, you'll be surprised, and once they get costs down, it'll change the world.

Comment Re: That's the state of the universe then... (Score 1) 268

I think I can partially answer my own question. The protons and neutrons in the nucleus can be described as being in a sort of quantum fluid with essentially no viscosity. So Although in some sense the nucleus is hard and almost incompressible, it's more like a superfluid than it is like a crystal. So I'm guessing that the "pear" shape is an unexpected nucleon wave function. Again I'm no nuclear physicist but maybe the situation is something a little bit like that?

Comment Re: That's the state of the universe then... (Score 1) 268

I am not a nuclear physicist, but I still don't get the distinction here. Nuclei are formed through processes that are full of asymmetries. For example, two nuclei collide, or a neutron is captured, or whatever. Is there some theory that asserts that nuclei must obey certain symmetries regardless of the constituent parts? These are unstable nuclei to be sure. Maybe they are an excited state that decays via gammas to a more symmetric one (which could be even less stable)? I'm not sold here but hoped some slashdotter could help illuminate this better.

Take snowflakes for example. They aren't all perfectly symmetric even though the bonds have a certain symmetry. The history of their formation manifests in the shape of the snowflake and causes deviations from the prevailing symmetry.

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