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The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

ColonelPanic von Neumann probes (391 comments)

A real head-scratching conundrum about the universe is explaining why it's not already overrun with self-replicating robots. Because if it's possible to send self-replicating interstellar probes, all it takes is one launch, plus a few million years, to get the galaxy overrun with them. So are they not possible? nobody's launched one yet? here, but not detected? The implications boggle the mind.

about a month and a half ago
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Interviews: Rachel Sussman Answers Your Questions

ColonelPanic grr, "tenants" (24 comments)

I've been hearing and reading this one more and more. It's "tenets", people.

And yes, it matters.

about 2 months ago
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Mark Zuckerberg And John Doerr Donate $1M To Expand The Hour Of Code Campaign

ColonelPanic Learn to code in an hour? I'm in! (24 comments)

Sixty minutes from now, I'm going to be an expert in Haskell comonads. This is awesome.

about 3 months ago
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Complain About Comcast, Get Fired From Your Job

ColonelPanic First amendment? (742 comments)

"Be careful next time when you exercise your first amendment rights."

Are we sure that the First Amendment guarantees a right to complain about a cable company without reprisal?

about 4 months ago
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Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

ColonelPanic Job vs interview (387 comments)

You may not get to use much Haskell on the job at Google, but I guarantee you that really knowing Haskell is one of the best ways to *get* the job.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

ColonelPanic cmp %rdi,%rax (729 comments)

Goddamn AT&T assembler syntax with its reversed operands. Quick, you want to compare two registers, and jump if %rdi %rax. Which order do you place the operands to the comparison, and what's the predicate to use on the jump? Drives me nuts.

about 5 months ago
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Texas School Board Searching For Alternatives To Evolutionary Theory

ColonelPanic Don't worship the spackle (763 comments)

Religious superstition fills in the gaps of our knowledge, like plaster filling holes in a wall. But when knowledge expands, the spackle isn't needed any more.

about 2 years ago
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What Knowledge Gaps Do Self-Taught Programmers Generally Have?

ColonelPanic Algorithms, data structures, systems (396 comments)

If you know your algorithms and data structures, and have a firm grasp of the architecture of modern computer systems, you'll be way ahead of a depressingly large proportion of people with degrees in CS that come past me in interviews.

The most informative and entertaining book I can recommend on algorithms is Bentley's "Programming Pearls".

more than 4 years ago
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Mediterranean Might Have Filled In Months

ColonelPanic Re:5 million? (224 comments)

A wonderful deleted scene in "The Life of Brian" has shepherds in the fields around Bethlehem wondering "is it AD yet?"

more than 5 years ago
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Vatican Debates Possibility of Alien Life

ColonelPanic Re:Tell me again why... (721 comments)

I love being lectured in logic by a person who ritually cannibalizes a god's zombified offspring because a talking snake tricked a mud-man's rib-wife with magic fruit.

more than 5 years ago
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Vatican Debates Possibility of Alien Life

ColonelPanic Tell me again why... (721 comments)

... we're supposed to treat these clowns with respect and allow their weird Sunday-morning social clubs to have tax-exempt status in the US?

And the Catholics are supposed to be the *smart* ones, too!

more than 5 years ago
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Up To 90 Percent of US Money Has Traces of Cocaine

ColonelPanic Re:Stop trolling with numbers (441 comments)

Did you really just spell "ceased" like that?

more than 5 years ago
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Visualizing False Positives In Broad Screening

ColonelPanic Re:Think you understand these things? Try this... (365 comments)

I explicitly said that they have at least one child named Mary. They could have two; it still works out.

Yes, I assume that not every girl is named Mary.

more than 5 years ago
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Visualizing False Positives In Broad Screening

ColonelPanic Re:Think you understand these things? Try this... (365 comments)

Okay, if you don't get the problem (and yes it is correctly stated), there are three things you can do to improve your understanding.

1) Write a simple computer program in your language of choice to generate a billion random two-children families and count the ones that meet the conditions.
2) Draw a Venn diagram.
3) Read up on Bayes' theorem.

more than 5 years ago
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Visualizing False Positives In Broad Screening

ColonelPanic Think you understand these things? Try this... (365 comments)

A family with two children is chosen at random from a large population.

If I tell you only that they have at least one daughter, what is the probability that both children are girls?

Most people can get that one (it's 1/3), but fail miserably on this question:

If I tell you only that they have at least one child named Mary, what is the probability that both children are girls?

Assume the obvious: the boy/girl ratio is 50-50 and only girls are named Mary.

Most people insist that this is the same question with the same answer, but no, it's not, and the answer is actually 50%.

If you don't get this puzzle, you don't understand conditional probability.

more than 5 years ago
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What Free IDE Do You Use?

ColonelPanic Re:Emacs (1055 comments)

What else would I need? A decent text editor that interacts well with the Unix environment around it. I use aoeui.

more than 5 years ago
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Ancient Fossil Offers Clues To Primate Evolution

ColonelPanic Creationists have responded (311 comments)

Christians know that "it was a small, tailed, probably tree-climbing, and now extinct primateâ"from a kind created on Day 6 of Creation Week."

You know, I'd hate evolution too, if it had done to me what it has done to the godtards.

more than 5 years ago
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Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 "Lenny" Released

ColonelPanic Re:Thiemo (386 comments)

The word "tragic" has an actual meaning, you know. If the accident were the ineluctable consequence of a character flaw -- and I do not suggest that this be the case -- then the usage would be correct and informative.

more than 5 years ago

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