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Comments

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Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

ConceptJunkie Re:"For Computer Programmers" (213 comments)

And programmers were all women, because code entry was seen as akin to typewriting... women's work.

Of course, I doubt those women were composing most of the code, with the obvious exception of Grace Hopper.

about a month ago
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Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

ConceptJunkie Re:It Costs Money (213 comments)

You can keep getting your snippets of VB code from the internet, and I'll keep reading latest research on AI and email the actual researcher with questions.

1998 called and would like its internet back.

If you need access to the latest AI research, etc., then it sounds like ACM is a good deal, but don't pretend there isn't a lot of good info outside its paywall. No one gropes for code snippets when StackOverflow.com is available.

about a month ago
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NASA Tests Microwave Space Drive

ConceptJunkie Re:oh great (201 comments)

Sometimes I think China is run by 5 year olds.

As opposed to the U.S., which is clearly run by 6-year-olds...

about 1 month ago
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NASA Tests Microwave Space Drive

ConceptJunkie Re:Sensationalism at its worst (201 comments)

If the thing works, it's not that it violates conservation of momentum, it's that it's doing something we don't understand, which appears to violate the conservation of momentum because we don't know how it works.

I'm sure many people would love to see this turn out to work because it would be a really cool real-world effect based on some of the the really bizarre and incredibly abstract physics going on these days. Like many people here I'm sure, I'm fascinated by the advances in modern physics in the last century, but a lot of it, especially in the past 30-40 years, seems to bear no connection to the world we see and experience. I know it explains how matter and energy work, but I'm talking about allowing us to do things we couldn't do before.

Plus, who isn't looking at this and wondering if it couldn't be the basis, assuming it can be improved umpty orders of magnitude, to Jetsons-style anti-gravity devices. Let a nerd dream...

about 1 month ago
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NASA Tests Microwave Space Drive

ConceptJunkie Re:From the pdf... (201 comments)

which is currently from a physics stand point pure gobbledygook

Dr. Alcubierre would beg to differ.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A...

The warp drive in Star Trek was based an earlier incarnation of this theory, which is based on results from Einstein. Warp drive FTL travel might not be possible, but the idea is definitely not "pure gobbledygook".

about 1 month ago
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Ridley Scott to Produce Philip K Dick's The Man In the High Castle

ConceptJunkie Re:Considering his history... (144 comments)

"Blade Runner" one of the very few instances were the movie is better than the book it's based on, but it still owes a lot to the book.

about a month ago
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Ridley Scott to Produce Philip K Dick's The Man In the High Castle

ConceptJunkie Re:Considering his history... (144 comments)

Google "slit scan". It was an amazing process used to create the Stargate sequence, especially amazing because of the crazy amounts of manual work it took. Another iconic example of slit scan filming is the old opening sequence for "Doctor Who".

This forensic reconstruction of the original gels used in "2001" is a fascinating bit of movie archaeology: http://seriss.com/people/erco/...

about a month ago
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Ridley Scott to Produce Philip K Dick's The Man In the High Castle

ConceptJunkie Re:Considering his history... (144 comments)

I'm not one of these purists who thinks only practical effects are good, but "Blade Runner" is one of those movies that shows you don't need CGI to make a visually stunning movie. The only good CGI is CGI that doesn't look like CGI, or when you say, "I only know this is CGI because that can't be done in real life."

I just remembered that "District 9" was a good recent SF movie, and I thought the effects in that movie were excellent. Just enough to make it believable, not enough to look like you're watching someone playing a video game.

about a month ago
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Ridley Scott to Produce Philip K Dick's The Man In the High Castle

ConceptJunkie Re:Considering his history... (144 comments)

Yeah, I think the terms are used interchangeably these days.

There was, for all intents and purposes, no CGI in 1981. Computer effects at the time of Blade Runner were negligible and amounted mostly to wireframe 3D in computer displays. I mean "Tron" was was watershed of computer effects, and 95% its effects were hand-drawn animation and a crazy amount of compositing. It was an amazing triumph of visual effects, but it owes much more to the ground-breaking art direction than to the actual use of computers.

It's a shame the same can't be said of the sequel, which minus a couple of short scenes had absolutely nothing of interest to look at. OK, Olivia Wilde and absolutely nothing of interest to look at. In my house, we joke that the Futurama spoof of "Tron: Legacy" had better effects than the movie, and we're only half joking. It seems Big Hollywood has reached the limit of what can be done with CGI, not the limit of what can actually be done, but what their narrow tunnel vision and arrested creativity can provide.

about a month ago
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Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

ConceptJunkie Re:Radicalization (868 comments)

Since you posted anonymously, it is sufficient to declare that almost everything you are stating is false.

about a month ago
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Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

ConceptJunkie Re:Radicalization (868 comments)

If you consider this a disproportionate response, consider two things. First, one side is deliberately targeting civilians. The other side does everything it can to use its own civilians as shields. The fact that there is any debate about this after 70 years of this nonsense goes to show how effective it is to callously sacrifice the lives of your own people for the purposes of propaganda.

If no rockets had been launched in the first place then those 1000 Palestinians would still be alive. Period.

about a month ago
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Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

ConceptJunkie Re:Radicalization (868 comments)

Whoops. Don't start introducing facts into evidence. Nothing good can come of that.

If someone declares their intent to kill you, then I think they are fair game. I'm all for taking people at their word.

about a month ago
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Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

ConceptJunkie Re:Radicalization (868 comments)

Your rhetoric would carry a little more weight if there hadn't been a systematic attempt to destroy Israel since the year it was formed by the UN.

If your neighbor is constantly firing rockets into your country, targeting civilians, you might see things a little differently. If the Palestinians didn't have weapons, there would be peace. If Israel didn't have weapons, there would be no Israel. The "annexed" territory was land captured as the result of war of aggression started against Israel. In any other situation, people would recognize this, but it seems that anti-semitism is still deeply ingrained in the popular consciousness, especially on the Left.

Regardless of whether they sometimes go over the line in defending themselves, there's no denying that this situation was not started by and is not perpetuated by Israel. The "Palestinian" problem would disappear overnight if one of the many Muslim countries in the area would allow them to relocate. Israel didn't create itself. It was created by the UN, one of the very few useful things the UN ever did, and has fought several wars initiated by neighbors to defend its territory. But no one ever seems to care that the country is surrounded by a large number of people who are dedicated to its annihilation and the world seems to put people with this intent on the same moral level as a people who are simply trying to maintain their security. It's kind of hard to negotiate in good faith with people whose charter declares that their goal is to drive you into the sea.

The real "Palestinian" problem is that the Palestinians are pawns in a propaganda war against the Jewish people, and the world has been falling for this transparent trick for 70 years.

about a month ago
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Ridley Scott to Produce Philip K Dick's The Man In the High Castle

ConceptJunkie Re:Considering his history... (144 comments)

I know this may be blasphemy for a lot of folks, but I wasn't that impressed with "Do Androids Dream?". I think "Blade Runner" was a superior story, and of course, it's an excellent movie all around. I hope I don't have to turn in my Nerd card now.

about a month ago
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Ridley Scott to Produce Philip K Dick's The Man In the High Castle

ConceptJunkie Re:Actually read the book! (144 comments)

I read this as part of a "Science Fiction" course in college about 30 years ago. I don't recall much about it except that I really dug the alternate-history aspect of the book.

I hope the movie happens and it turns out good. We need more good science fiction movies, because there haven't been many in the last 20-some years. I liked "Europa Report" but the format was pretty cliched, and the movie was almost the same as "Apollo 18", but less improbable. To be honest, I have a hard time remembering any really good SF movies since "Contact". I never saw the remake of "Solaris", but the original was amazing.

But we need more SF films. Most "SF" films today are just action movies or horror movies in a SFal setting, which is a fine way to do things, but it's not really SF.

about a month ago
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Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

ConceptJunkie Re:Server 2012 already looks like Windows 8. (322 comments)

I always thought "hipster" was used to describe someone who does something in an inferior way just to be different.

about a month ago
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People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

ConceptJunkie Re: user error (710 comments)

That doesn't matter. He's saying that if the "EC Econoboxes" were driven like US cars are, the fatalities would be much worse. Around here, a lot of people commute on the Washington Beltway, which is a pretty crazy road to commute on. I once had someone pass me on the left when I was in the left lane. In other words, I was doing 60-ish mph in the left lane approaching a left exit and someone was so impatient he passed me on the shoulder. Do as many people in the UK drive on these massive and complicated interstate-style highways? That would make a difference. If I'm driving 1000 km back and forth to the market, it's probably going be less dangerous than 200 km in 120-kph rush hour traffic and rampant road rage.

I'm not saying he's necessarily right, but he didn't disprove him own point. Maybe the UK just has much, much safer drivers and cars than the rest of Europe (since most of the worst countries listed are in Europe). Maybe it's driving on the left. Maybe it's the better beer. [shrug]

about a month and a half ago
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Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

ConceptJunkie Re:pointers (415 comments)

having a generation of students that don't know how to use pointers seems, rather scary to me.

We've managed to get along with the first one, so another one won't be much worse.

about 2 months ago
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Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

ConceptJunkie Re:"Top Learning Language" ...OR... (415 comments)

You know, for things like memory allocation, pointers, and so on?

Compared to Java? I think it would hold its own.

I think there are good arguments for being exposed to C early, but I wouldn't say it necessarily should be a first language.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

ConceptJunkie hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

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Viruses

ConceptJunkie ConceptJunkie writes  |  about 11 years ago

This whole "viruses/virii" argument is so stupid. First off, there are the Latin speakers who will argue 37 different reasons why such a word would or would not exist. Then there are the people who insist that virus is simply an English word and takes English pluralization.

Here's how it works. Hacker slang (or jargon, as in the "Jargon file") allows for the Latinesque construction of plurals by replacing "us" with "i", or "um" with "a" (or Anglo-Saxonish pluralization like "vaxen" or Hebrewish pluralization by adding "-im". Is this grammatically correct Latin (or Middle English, or Hebrew)? It doesn't matter... it's a play on words. The only point is that it is consistent with similar words.

What I find incredibly annoying is that people insist on using the "ii" suffix even though there is no precedent in real Latin, fake Latin or anything in between, presumably because it looks cool, or they have heard the word "radii".

Anyhow, that's my rant, and I'm sticking to it.

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Microsoft Rules

ConceptJunkie ConceptJunkie writes  |  more than 11 years ago

I like Microsoft rule #3 so much I hate to change my sig to #4.

These are certainly not real rules, but are rules that Microsoft appears to follow by their actions.

Here are the others I've come up with:

Microsoft Rule #1: Every app must be expanded until it can be used as a vehicle for a virus that can trash the system. (In fact, no app is useful _unless_ it can be used as a virus vehicle. If MS wrote edlin today it would have scripting that could be used to access kernel functions via TCP/IP.)

Microsoft Rule #2: Flexibility in UI is acceptable, but defaults must confuse new users and frustrate experienced ones.

Microsoft Rule #3: GUI standards are no longer necessary. Shiny objects are always user-friendly.

Microsoft Rule #4: No useful thing can be designed unless by committee. Consistency and clarity are not signs of maturity. Simplicity is for amateurs. (Breaking up Microsoft would have about as much effect as asking a blind guy if he would not look over people's shoulders during the final exam.)

Microsoft Rule #5: Security has less "gee-whiz" factor than skinning and is therefore a less important feature. (Plus it's just too darn much trouble to check each memory buffer copy, especially when we'd rather spend time making the media player look like eyeballs.)

Microsoft Rule #6: Dominating a market is the same as excelling in a market ("Economic might makes right", or more simply "A monopoly means God smiles on everything you do.").

Microsoft Rule #7: Change is improvement by definition. (But this is universal among software companies...)

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