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Google Fiber To Launch In Austin, Texas In December

Dimwit I live in the Northeast part of Austin... (88 comments)

...and I'm never getting fiber internet. Certain parts of the city are completely ignored for infrastructure upgrades. We just spent $10 million putting bicycle repair kits and air pumps in the richer parts of town, while delaying the sewer installation in my part of town (we were annexed by the city in 2007 and were supposed to have sewers hooked up in 2012...it's 2014 and now they're saying they "hope" it'll get done by 2015). We spent another $1-2 million on "sharrows", which are little arrows that go in the roads to show that we should share those lanes with bikes. We also just spent something like $30 million finishing a bicycling bridge over Town Lake.

In other words, rich people in the south and southwestern parts of town get whatever they want on the taxpayer dime while people in the north and east have to put up with roads without sidewalks, failing sewer systems, and lackluster police protection. Yay.

4 days ago
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KDE Releases Plasma 5.1

Dimwit Re:Does anyone still use Gnome? (56 comments)

KDE is too "busy". There's drop shadows everywhere and HUGE icons and constant distracting animations. Plus, it's the only desktop I've ever stat down at and couldn't immediately understand how to use it. What's an "Activity"? Is it a workspace? Without trying, I was able to get myself into a situation where I had zero controls on the screen and no idea how to get out of it. GNOME "just works".

5 days ago
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Living On a Carbon Budget: The End of Recreation As We Know It?

Dimwit Re:Communism Inspired Tyranny (652 comments)

As opposed to Libertarianism and "Fuck you, I'll fuck up all of the things we share because fuck you, I got mine"?

about two weeks ago
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Conservative Groups Accuse FCC of Helping Net Neutrality Advocates File Comments

Dimwit Conservatives and hearing the people (283 comments)

For a group that just loves to scream "democracy!" and "republic!" they sure don't want the wrong sort of people having a say in their government, what with fighint tooth and nail to reduce early voting, vote-by-mail, and now, apparently, making it harder to file opinions with government agencies.

about two weeks ago
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Remote Exploit Vulnerability Found In Bash

Dimwit Terminal vulnerabilities (399 comments)

My favorite of this sort of thing is CVE-2009-1717, which was a bug in Apple's terminal emulator in Mac OS X. Sending certain escape sequences to it caused it to blow up and potentially execute code. What was fun is that putting a "telnet://" link in a web page would automatically cause Mac OS X to automatically open a terminal and connect to a remote host with no prompting by the user. It was a pretty neat vulnerability.

about a month ago
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Reanalysis of Clinical Trials Finds Misleading Results

Dimwit Drug companies and profit motive (74 comments)

Let's compare two companies that depend on science - IBM and GlaxoSmithKline.

Let's say IBM discovers a new method of lithography for building microchips. They publish their results, and their results are replicated. More importantly, IBM gets a new, presumably better way of making microchips.

GlaxoSmithKline makes a new drug that treats a psychological illness. To some degree, because there are no objective physical tests for most psychological illnesses, the determination of effectiveness is made subjectively.

Both companies want the science to turn out right, because it makes them money. One of them has a much easier time massaging the results of any studies.

about a month ago
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Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

Dimwit The web of life... (211 comments)

I blew my wife's mind the other day when I pointed out that we are literally just a small component of a single, globe-spanning, four billion year long chemical reaction. A single, very long running checmial reaction. It's pretty neat when you think about it.

about a month ago
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Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

Dimwit Re:Oh it'll happen... (727 comments)

This is a much bigger deal than people seem to think. I tried getting my father set up on Linux not that long ago.

"I need help, this says GNOME needs updating, I thought I was running Linux?"
"You are, Linux is the kernel, but GNOME is the desktop environment."
"Well, what's Debian? It says Debian needs updating."
"You're running the Debian distribution of Linux."
"I thought it was GNOME?"

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do About the Sorry State of FOSS Documentation?

Dimwit Re:Big problem: Linux won (430 comments)

No, I think it's a good thing. I just think the Linux community (and the wider modern OSS community) need to realize it and write their documentation accordingly. Very few people today know how to use traditional Unix tools, so why does GNU's documentation still only document the differences?

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do About the Sorry State of FOSS Documentation?

Dimwit Big problem: Linux won (430 comments)

A huge amount of documentation for various projects like GNU groff, GNU nano, Vim, and others, have implicit assumptions that users are familiar with those tools' traditional Unix counterparts. 'man nano' for example, doesn't describe any of the keybindings for the editor, instead assuming that users already know pico. The groff documentation in places explicitly states that it only documents the difference between groff and Unix troff.

Linux has won. Most Linux users have never used a traditional Unix, and most never will.

about 3 months ago
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Improv Project, Vivaldi Tablet Officially Dead

Dimwit KDE, Canonical, Mozilla, and GNOME (71 comments)

KDE, Canonical, and GNOME have all made this huge push into stupid design decisions lately. Canonical with Ubuntu Phone/Tablet and Mir, GNOME with GNOME 3 and treating the desktop like a tablet, Mozilla with FirefoxOS, and KDE with this sort of stuff.

You know what I want out of an open source desktop? A DESKTOP! Seriously. I need a good desktop environment for my COMPUTER where I do actual work. I can't write code on a tablet. I can't write papers on a tablet. I can't do serious design work (anywhere, because I'm not a designer, but specifically also not on a tablet).

If I want to use a tablet, I want to use it to play games and watch movies, and Ubuntu/KDE/GNOME tablets aren't going to have Civilization Revolution, Ticket to Ride, Netflix, or Amazon Instant Video any time soon, so any tablet running those operating systems is going to be just a really crippled computer and a useless tablet.

about 4 months ago
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Artificial Pancreas Shows Promise In Diabetes Test

Dimwit Measure blood directly (75 comments)

It seems as though the big problem with this technology is that it's not measuring blood directly. What are the barriers to placing a sensor more-or-less permanantly inside the body that can test blood directly and the send, via radio or whatever, commands to an external insulin pump to dispense insulin?

I'm guessing "blood clots" is the problem here, but I don't know.

about 4 months ago
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FWD.us: GOP Voters To Be Targeted By Data Scientists

Dimwit Re:This will hugely backfire... (422 comments)

The Republican Party publishes an official platform. Two of the issues on the official platform are restricting access to abortion (i.e. interfering with a woman's rights to her own body) and opposing same-sex marriage (i.e. interfering with two consenting adults' rights to choose whom they marry)...

So, no, I didn't pull it out of my ass. It's right on their official website.

about 4 months ago
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FWD.us: GOP Voters To Be Targeted By Data Scientists

Dimwit Re:This will hugely backfire... (422 comments)

Your average GOP voter strongly values their own privacy, but not the privacy of women, homosexuals, Muslims, or immigrants.

about 4 months ago
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Can Cyborg Tech End Human Disability By 2064?

Dimwit Emotional? (121 comments)

What a brave new world that will be.

about 5 months ago
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Is It Really GPS If It Doesn't Use Satellites?

Dimwit Durability? (298 comments)

Existing GPS systems can be essentially all solid-state. There are no moving parts, and the temperature tolerance can be made to handle pretty extreme tempteratures.

Existing technology isn't going to make something like this durable. I don't know enough abou laser cooling, but that might be the best bet and even it probably has a lot of fairly-easy-to-encounter failure modes.

about 5 months ago
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Mathematical Model Suggests That Human Consciousness Is Noncomputable

Dimwit Re:Retrieving memories causes decay? (426 comments)

It's not true that it has to be supernatural to be noncomputable, unless you agree that physics itself is computable. The jury is still out on that one (although I believe that it will turn out to be true).

about 5 months ago
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Astronomers Calculate How To Spot Life On an Alien Earth

Dimwit Re:Chlorrophyll makes a big assumption (46 comments)

It's not so much a big assumption as it is a starting point. There is probably a biosphere somewhere in the Universe that uses a red or yellow pigment for photosynthesis. The problem is that detecting it at a distance is much harder, because while we might see the spectral signature we couldn't be sure that it's life.

Looking for a biosphere that is very similar to that of Earth makes it much more likely that we'll be able to detect that it is in fact "life" and not something else. While we may miss 99% of the life in the Universe with this approach, if/when we do detect it, our confidence will be much higher.

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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Practical mathematics for programmers?

Dimwit Dimwit writes  |  about a year ago

Dimwit (36756) writes "The best part about programming is that I can decide that I want a new text editor or a new video game or a new multiprotocol router, and I can write it, and when I'm done, I have a new text editor or video game or multiprotocol router. Mathematics has never been that way for me — I never sit and think "I sure would like to find the area under a curve!" and then come up with a way to do it. So what's a good path for the practical programmer to take towards mathematics? One with goals and problems to solve that aren't the same old boring word problems?"
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Mathematics for Programmers

Dimwit Dimwit writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Dimwit (36756) writes "The best part about programming is that I can decide that I want a new text editor or a new video game or a new multiprotocol router, and I can write it, and when I'm done, I have a new text editor or video game or multiprotocol router. Mathematics has never been that way for me — I never sit and think "I sure would like to find the area under a curve!" and then come up with a way to do it. So what's a good path for the practical programmer to take towards mathematics? One with goals and problems to solve that aren't the same old boring word problems?"
Link to Original Source
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A New Scheme in the Heavens!

Dimwit Dimwit writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Dimwit writes "The R6RS electors have cast their votes, the Steering Committee has counted them, and the results are in: there is a new Scheme out there! Major improvements include a formalized module subsystem, new syntax (you can use square brackets now for clarity!), and many others. It sure made my day."
Link to Original Source

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