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NYC Loses Appeal To Ban Large Sugary Drinks

AlanObject Re:Let them drink! (532 comments)

Intelligent people can fall prey to addictive substances including heroin, narcotics, and nicotine. Sugar is addictive and it has been shown to be on par with cocaine that way. How else do people down 44 ounces of liquid in a single serving?

Beyond simple sucrose/glucose, high-fructose sweeteners used by the soft drink industry have additional negative health consequences even beyond weight gain that aren't readily apparent to consumers. The sugar-water companies reap huge profits -- as big as any the tobacco industry ever did -- selling this stuff.

We regulate dangerous consumables, so why not sugar and HFCS? If I had my way minors wouldn't be able to buy this stuff.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?

AlanObject Language? What Language? (466 comments)

My personal experience is I spend 10% of my learning curve learning whatever language and 90% of my learning curve learning the available libraries for that language.

So I tend to want to use Java for everything not because the language is better than some other (it isn't, but arguing about it is pointless) but because I am proficient in a lot of class libraries that come with it. Also it has a defacto-standard project structure pretty much enforced by Apache Maven.

Most recent case in point for me is learning Objective-C to do IOS applications. Learning the language itself is not that big a deal even if you do stumble a lot (at first) over the square-bracket syntax of its message statements. The only thing that makes it usable at all is Xcode's excellent IDE support for the library documentation always just a context-sensitive click or two away.

That, to me is the biggest problem with Javascript. The language itself is pretty cool in some ways yet full of pitfalls and more prone to abuse and misuse than almost any other language I can think of. Netbeans does a decent job of making a debugging platform workable but the class libraries alway require web searches for examples and tutorials. Until you are proficient (months of coding maybe) it is really slow going.

BTW, if you really want to go the Javascript route but still yearn for Python you should look into CoffeeScript.

about a month and a half ago
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Tesla Releases Electric Car Patents To the Public

AlanObject Re:What about the shareholders? (211 comments)

The plaintiffs would have to demonstrate how the company lost value by them doing that. If Tesla somehow lost significant value and a lawsuit against management were initiated for some other reason, this issue might be appended to the lawsuit to try to build the case for mismanagement. The defense would counter that since the shareholders did not vote as a majority to replace the BoD with one that would appoint officers (not Musk) that would not do such things, the BoD was simply following the will of the majority of the shareholders in their own best judgement. There used to be a lot of law firms around that would try it, but while the company's stock value is up there simply is no way to claim damages.

about a month and a half ago
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Snowden: NSA Spied On Human Rights Workers

AlanObject Re:Outrage fatigue (230 comments)

If you spy on every damn thing then there is no way you can adequately cover the important things.

I don't agree with this -- they are taking the same approach that I would have taken given their mission statement. They want to collect everything then go through it later when a need arises. This is sound engineering and it can be effective law enforcement. Anyone can think of many scenarios where it would be desirable if not vital to track back what an identified person has been doing for the last 30 days.

The flaw is their assumption that nobody should mind having everything about them recorded as long as nothing but a computer program looks at it. After all I have to show my ID to police on request and the requirement on their side is that they don't do it arbitrarily. The NSA officials see what they are doing is the exact same thing. The flaw with that is of course I have no idea what NSA is doing or has done with the data they have already taken with me. Nor do you. Nor anyone. Their "internal procedures" to prevent abuse have been shown to be not trustworthy.

So NSA is on a track where they are sound technically, but way off legally and ethically.

about 4 months ago

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