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The Strangeness of the Mars One Project

abies Re:Agile (246 comments)

But at least they're trying eh?

Are they? What of the thousand obstacles which are in the way of this flight they have actually _solved_? Can you point to any tangible technical advancement or solution which came out of this group? Not as a fancy animation with no details, but as a real item.
Imagine kid who wants to send his garden rocket into space. He gather materials, research, fire off 10 prototypes, but best of them raised only to 1000 meters. He gives up. Yes - you can say 'at least he has tried'.
Now compare it with other kid, who has done a cryon drawing of rocket in space and goes around asking his parents, friends and strangers to fund his rocket - and he spends that money to buy more crayons. Producing even 1000 cryon drawings of his rocket does not count as 'he has tried'. Producing a full autocad diagram of it and failing to put it together because of lack of manual skill - maybe, but not cryon drawings. And this is all this group is doing, they just do marketing and nice looking 3d animations without any backing in reality.

about two weeks ago

How To End Online Harassment

abies Big difference (834 comments)

There is a huge difference between things like
rape threats,
'I wish your mother die of cancer',
'if you open you mouth again, I'll find your house and burn it'

things like
"Women have less IQ than men and you are best example of it"
"I could answer you question, but you are too dumb to understand it anyway"

and things like
"I think that all muslim people are terrorists"
"Whoever believes in God is stupid beyond saving"
"Immigrants have 7 less IQ on average and are gaming social benefit system"

There is a difference between personal threat, personal offense and generic not politically correct statement (even if it is wrong). But I have a feeling that all of them fit nicely under broad term of 'hate speech' and while first category is used as a driving point, it is all about shutting up third category - making it illegal to make any generic statement which can offend anybody imaginary world. Of course, people will argue that statement "All muslim people are terrorists" really mean "we should deport/waterboard/kill all muslim immigrants", which can easily fall into first category... but same way you could interpret facebook post "I don't like my math teacher" as "let's buy guns and go Columbine on him"

My personal opinion is that direct, person _threats_ should be punishable/forbidden. But I will defend my right to say to other person that he is stupid because of the things he said, things he believes in and I want to be able to make it generic ("All people believing in homeopathy are dumb").

about two weeks ago

Long-term Study Finds No Link Between Video Game Violence and Real Violence

abies Let's wait till Hatred goes gold (250 comments)

I'm wondering how Hatred will be commented by games-cause-violence community
It is a bit like selling reverse crosses, pentagrams and virgin blood packaged with D&D rulebooks in 80ties would be ;)
I'm generally quite tolerant game-wise, but I must say that Hatred crosses some line for me. But same is true for some movies (Saw, Human Centipede etc), which seems to be 'ok' for mass distribution, so probably something is wrong with me in this case.

about two weeks ago

Labor Department To Destroy H-1B Records

abies Re:80 Billion IT budget??? (190 comments)

Entire Department of Labor budget is around 12 billions.

I suppose that 80 billions (if true) would come mostly from Department of Defense - I can easily imagine IT costs of various top-end fighters/bombers/missiles etc being quite high.

In any case, it doesn't really matter. Costs of storage is not an issue here. Legal reasons, maintenance, politics - but certainly not cost of few tapes/harddrives.

about a month ago

Birth Control Pills Threaten Fish Stocks

abies Re:Birth control pills signifcant contributor? (147 comments)

Do you only drink well water? Cuz guess what: bottled water is tap water.

Bottled water from male-only communities. Drinking water bottled by women will make you grow soft.
Seriously, is rain filtering out that stuff? If yes, then bottled water from mountain regions should be reasonably clean. Especially from Brokeback Mountains...

about a month and a half ago

NASA Study: Ocean Abyss Has Not Warmed

abies Re:Thermal capacity of rock? (295 comments)

Until recently, solar panels used more energy to produce than they were providing. They make perfect sense for moving energy producing into isolated places (sattelites, middle-of-nowhere lamps/lights, autonomous devices etc etc) - but they were not a solution for getting rid of coal. Still, 'tree hugging hippies' were pushing them as a solution to everything even tens of years ago, without doing any cost/benefit analysis. Not to mention my friends putting them on roof of their houses in north of Germany to be 'nature friendly'.

They are indeed a lot more efficient now - but it is still not a real solution for the majority of energy. We need stable, 24/7, continous energy generation. Solar (outside possibly really specific regions), should be used as convinient, portable, non-connected low-power generation, rather than being a main source of energy.

about a month and a half ago

NASA Study: Ocean Abyss Has Not Warmed

abies Re:Thermal capacity of rock? (295 comments)

By all means yes. But let's switch to 4th generation nuclear (and work on fusion in background), rather than hippy tree-hugging solutions like wind and solar.

about a month and a half ago

Past Measurements May Have Missed Massive Ocean Warming

abies Re:please no (423 comments)

It doesn't matter by how much you multiply it. Orders of magnitude do not care about size of numbers. If vaccine kills 10 million out of each 1 billion, then disease would need to kill at least hundreds of millions out of 1 billion to talk about _orders_ of magnitude better. Probably only Yersinia pestis is anywhere close to that, most of other vaccines prevent a lot less virulent diseases.

My point is not that vaccination is bad. My point is that 99% is absolutely not enough for vaccines and not going to be accepted unless we are in end-of-world pandemic scenario. And if vaccine would be 99% safe only, anti-vaccine groups would have a major point in raising concerns - which they don't, because vaccines are orders of magnitude (this time really _orders_) safer than 99%, which we probably cannot say about quality of AGW climate models. So comparing AGW denialism to anti-vaccine based on percentages is not really valid...

about a month and a half ago

Past Measurements May Have Missed Massive Ocean Warming

abies Re:Say "No more!" to Climate Posts (423 comments)

This is car travel in a nutshell. Aren't you glad that the government mandates safety belts, airbags and car seats for children?

Just because something is not 100% does not mean we should not protect against it. I feel like using some ad hominem against you but I will refrain today.

Except people are not advocating putting seatbelts. They are advocating:
- switching to bikes
- breeding more horses for the carriages
- avoid investment and research into trains, because there used to be train accident once as well
- in meantime, reducing car traffic as much as possible by adding huge car and fuel tax, profits from which will be used for plugging in random budget holes and possibly putting marble floor in House of Traffic Victims Association

about 1 month ago

Past Measurements May Have Missed Massive Ocean Warming

abies Re:please no (423 comments)

No, 99% safe vaccine is not ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE better that disease. It is not even better than disease itself. Will you get yourself vaccinated against AIDS if it has 1% of chance giving you AIDS in first place?

Vaccines are safe to 99.9999% or more. And you always have to put it into context. If Ebola will spread to billions, 99% safe vaccine might be acceptable. If AIDS is perfectly preventable in normal case, even 1:million safety might be not enough. But please be careful with 99% and 'orders of magnitude' in same sentence - there are not that many orders of magnitude in 1:100.

about 1 month ago

Linux 3.17 Kernel Released With Xbox One Controller Support

abies Re:Linux games (114 comments)

System Shock 2? You are serious giving it as an example of how good non-windows gaming is? Release dates from wikipedia
August 11, 1999 (Win)
June 18, 2013 (OS X)
April 1, 2014 (Linux)
15 years late exactly - as OP claimed and you tried to disprove.

Most of the other things you mentioned are also quite old. Maybe preparing a list of 10 really good games from 2013-2014 would be better than hundreds of games from 2-15 years ago. Or maybe even better - take 20 best selling games of last 2 years and see how many of them are available under linux natively.

about 1 month ago

35,000 Walrus Come Ashore In Alaska

abies No more clubbing baby seals (292 comments)

"change the lives of those who rely on the Arctic ecosystem for their way of life"? You mean guys who are clubbing baby seals to death with strange looking polearms?
Out of all the arguments which could move me, they have picked one which makes me cheer for global warming...

about 2 months ago

Rosetta Code Study Weighs In On the Programming Language Debate

abies Re:Bad code (165 comments)

Average Go programmers.
Maybe it tells something about maturity of language (wide knowledge of best practices - or even existence of them), availability of skilled programmers rather than runtime performance.

And in real world, it might be a lot more important how fast/readable/maintenable code will be written by people you can hire rather than how fast/readable/maintenable it could possibly be in most idealized situation.

about 2 months ago

Nvidia Sinks Moon Landing Hoax Using Virtual Light

abies Re:Global illumination is easy, just not for games (275 comments)

CGI also has a huge requirement for being fast. It is different kind of fast - maybe 15 minutes instead of 15ms per frame, but you cannot just implement trivial brute-force algorithms everywhere and hope for things to work well. Good algorithms will cut your processing time by factor of 100 in CGI environment - and I assure you, everybody enjoys seeing their scene rendered overnight instead of waiting a month for that.

about 2 months ago

Link Between Salt and High Blood Pressure 'Overstated'

abies Re:Water Retention? (291 comments)

Hmm and if you fart, your blood pressure decreases? Because it is obvious that that compressed gas in bowels was getting your 'generally more pressurised'? There can be even a correlation between holding your fart in public getting your blood pressure higher ("Not now, not now, she will think I'm horrible").

about 2 months ago

Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

abies Re:Supply vs demand not popularity which matters (387 comments)

I'm not saying anything of that. I was saying that:
- it is a job for a programmer, not for trader
- that is is possible to get neccessary experience in just few years to qualify for such job (if you are good)
- that key part here is that you know the domain (investment banking), rather than C# itself
I think that we agree on all that? And this is point I want to make - instead of learning C+-%&^!, train into well paying industry and utilize whatever skills you already have.

Said that, few more points:
- it is a lot easier to get into such positions starting from good IT background and then learning finance on the job rather than having financial background and learning how to program
- there are positions where they will accept good people without financial background for money which is still considerably bigger (2x?) than anything in web-programming
- there are positions where they will accept very good people without financial background for exactly same money (I was hiring for one few months ago, where we were looking for soft/hard-realtime programmers, paying normal investment banking daily rates)
- it is not just 8-5 job in many cases, but it is not as scary as stories about game development crunches (unless you get into small hedge funds, but then you are asking for that...)

From my experience, biggest issue to overcome for people from 'outside' is not lack of financial knowledge, but rather mindset. A lot of programmers enjoy living in walled garden, with requirements coming in controlled agile fashion, well defined sprints, not caring about final deliveries after unit/integration tests have run, not having to face end users pointing your mistakes to you and abstracting away clients to be far away evil. But that is separate story.

about 3 months ago

Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

abies Re:Supply vs demand not popularity which matters (387 comments)

I can read. It is C# job for programmer, not for trader. It is C# frontend development, most probably to display UI for risk metrics for daily trading. Yes, you need to have experience with working in investment banking, same way as you won't get accepted into certain jobs without knowing browser quirks, physics or whatever is needed in given environment. As for getting accepted without finance background for similar jobs - indeed it might be hard, but everybody starts somewhere, people are not born with that knowledge. There are offers which accept good programmers even without background in that area (not contracts, but still good money) and in few years you already will get the experience.
You might be confused with some job offers which call for quants - these are indeed quite different profile, where programming is secondary requirement (but it will be mostly C++, not java/C# and it will mention quantitive finance somewhere in requirements). Plus they pay better.

In any case, it is what I'm talking about. Experience in proper domains will earn you a lot more money than experience proper languages. I know about investment banking and game companes, so I gave these examples, but similar discrepancies might exists in other industries. You just need to get out of the mindset of "I'm programmer so I can code in A whatever you throw at me with no knowledge of domain" to "I'm expert in domain XYZ and can code that in any language you ask me for (with preference for A and B)"
And no, HTML or J2EE is not a 'domain' in my understanding. Investment banking, 3d games, biotechnology, nuclear simulation, GIS etc is what I mean.

about 3 months ago

How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

abies Re:Pseudoscience (770 comments)

Wieslaw Maslowski. He later defended it with "I was very explicit that we were talking about near-ice-free conditions and not completely ice-free conditions in the northern ocean". In any case, we are quite far from near-ice-free conditions as well.

about 3 months ago

Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

abies Supply vs demand not popularity which matters (387 comments)

I would probably avoid looking into Clojure or Scala to make money based on popularity. Problem is that these languages are 'cool' which means that there is considerable amount of good programmers playing with them in free time and willing to take a job where they could code in that. Let's say that there are
- 2 million java programmers
- 2.1 million java jobs
Doesn't look good? But if you compare it to (completely random numbers)
- 50k Clojure programmers
- 1k Clojure jobs
Then the fact that there is 40 times less Clojure that java programmers is not going to help you much.

If you are trying to game the popularity, you need to find languages platform which are in some demand, skillset is rare and they are horrible to work with. With that, you may get into job which you will hate, but you will be paid a good money and have job security.

Look what is happening with game development. So many people want to work there that you work very long hours and pay is very low. I knew some people who were willing to get pay cut to switch from Java to Scala. They weren't learning Scala to earn more, but to have fun again.

From my experience, domain you work in has a lot bigger factor in salary than platform. Investment banking people will earn same money, regardless if they code C#, java, C++ or python, but might get considerably different packages based on domain knowledge and actual skill. Game developers will be paid badly regardless if they do Flash, Android (talking about salaries, not indie games) or C++.

Switching language in same industry can give you maybe 20-30% salary increase? Switching industries can double or triple it.

C# developer with 5 years experience in banking
600-700 GBP per day (which gives 130-150k yearly)
plus plenty of other 500-600 GBP per day jobs.

Web C# jobs outside banking (same city)
30-50k GBP yearly
and no offer for daily contracts.

Learning Scala just to move from 30k to 35k job is not worth it. If you want money, go for proper industry. Learn languages/platforms if you want to have fun in work - but then base it on what you want, not what is best paid.

about 3 months ago


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