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Wikipedia Blocks 'Disruptive' Edits From US Congress

dbc Re:Sad (165 comments)

There used to be a time where you could politically disagree with some but still be great friends, or at the very least amicable colleagues. Nowadays, the other political side is just filled with inhuman enemies that need to be degraded and driven into oblivion.

Indeed. I recall when Hubert Humphrey retuned to the Senate floor after months of cancer treatment. He was terminal, in the last weeks of his life, but he found the energy to return one last time. Barry Goldwater, a man he had run against during a presidential election, a man who was always on the opposite side of any debate, crossed the aisle and embraced Humphrey in a bear hug that lasted a least two minutes, Senate decorum be damned. On national television. These two men, decade after decade, made the case for their beliefs, debated vigorously, but never lost each other's respect. Where has that gone?

5 days ago

Autonomous Sea-Robot Survives Massive Typhoon

dbc Re:Is this an achievement? (47 comments)

It is impressive. First off, most of the waveglider is on the surface. It has a passive submerged propusion unit on a cable. Secondly, it has a lot of sophisticated electronics and antennas in and on the surface unit. It survived a nasty test very, very well. Maybe the reason I am extremely impressed and you are not has to do with the fact that I actually build robots, and you don't have a clue about what it takes to build something that can live in an office for 6 months without breaking, much less on the ocean in a major storm. As we say in the local robot club when some newbie comes with a grand scheme of how to solve all of our challenges: "Talk is cheap. Show me your working robot."

about a week ago

Australian Electoral Commission Refuses To Release Vote Counting Source Code

dbc My perennial comment on this topic (112 comments)

Whenever the topic of whether or not the source code to voting machines should be inspected, I always point here: and ask: 1) What do you think would happen to your slot machine if you told those guys you weren't going to show them your source code? and 2) Why not let these guys look at the voting machines, too. Seems like a transferable skill.

about two weeks ago

New Raspberry Pi Model B+

dbc Re:More power to the USB ports? (202 comments)

I assume you mean 4 x 500mA, or 500mA per port. So do you really have 500mA peripherals plugged into *every* USB port? Or are you expecting the Pi to support the USB charging spec? 'Cuz there are better ways to charge your phone...

about two weeks ago

Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

dbc Re:Python for learning? Good choice. (415 comments)

I only wish python didn't have semantic whitespace. That's it. Otherwise i like it just fine.

I'll disagree on that. We use white space to communicate our programs' block structure to other humans. Why should we use a different syntax to tell the compiler the same information? Computers should conform to the needs of humans. Full. Stop. Python eliminates that source of bugs and redundancy by having the compiler's view of the significance of what space match a human's view of significance of white space. Please join us in the 21st century. I'm old enough that I did undergrand homeworks with punch cards, and just missed being taught intro to programming using FORTRAN. One thing I've learned over the years is to recognize progress when I see it.

about three weeks ago

On the Significance of Google's New Cardboard: An Idea Worth Recycling

dbc Re:What's old is new again. (42 comments)

Actually, you make me reflect on how advanced their code really was. I'm not sure where the code was from. It would process X-Ray scatter data, and plot stereo images of crystal structures showing lots of little pen-plotted circles for atoms. The 3D view was quite remarkable, although you only got one angle. Changing view angle required another plot. Considering Ivan Sutherland's line clipping algorithm dates from the 60's, the crystalography code was quite advanced for the time -- there was a lot of hidden line removal going on to render the atoms correctly.

The plots were really slow... but the plotter was mesmerizing. I used to watch it through the window while waiting for my homework to come back after handing the card deck across the counter. Now, pardon me while I find my walker, damn kids on the lawn again.....

about 1 month ago

On the Significance of Google's New Cardboard: An Idea Worth Recycling

dbc What's old is new again. (42 comments)

I remember back in the 1970's, the X-Ray crystalography researchers at my university would burn up lots of compute time (on an IBM 360/65, 1 MIPS, 4 mega-bytes of core) computing stereo images that were rendered by writing a mag tape that was then taken to a CalComp pen plotter. Two images, about 8 x 8 inches, were plotted, and then they would lay them on a table and use an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of cardboard from a used-up paper tablet to make a baffle between their eyes.

about a month ago

In 2012, Facebook Altered Content To Tweak Readers' Emotions

dbc Re:consent (130 comments)

That's the first thing that popped into my mind. After having spent many hours over the past week helping my daughter do paperwork so that she could submit her extremely benign science fair project to the county science fair's institutional review board, I'm wondering how FB can get way with this? I guess that they can get away with it because no one will call them out on it, unless some victims file a lawsuit.

That's the modern world -- a 15 year old kid doing something demonstrably harmless has to do hours of paperwork to demonstrate a device to a dozen people, but a multi-national corporation can psychologically manipulate thousands of people with the intention to see if they can alter their mood with no oversight.

about a month ago

Freecode Freezeup

dbc Static? A news site? WTF? (62 comments)

OK, so Freshmeat... er Freecode was a site with an up-to-the-minute listing of the latest source updates. It's value was in the freshness. And the site is going static.... *boggle*... what part of this am I not getting? A static version of Freecode is a waste of a good IPV4 address.

about a month and a half ago

Average HS Student Given Little Chance of AP CS Success

dbc Re:Computer Science curriculum (293 comments)

My daughter just did it. It is a Java-based introductory programming class. Supposed to be equivalent to a first semester programming class. You need to be able to read and code basic Java classes, understand Java scoping rules, and basic iteration and vectors. The AP test uses a case study called "Bug World" which involves instances of different classes of bugs, rocks, and I think flowers (I might be mis-remembering) and as part of the AP class you become familiar with the corpus of code to get experience reading a larger program. On the AP exam, you are asked to extend and modify Bug World.

Every kid I have talked to about the CS AP exam found it dead easy and the class not very stimulating. I have a hard time seeing how the avarage high school student would have so much trouble with it.

about a month and a half ago

Man Arrested For Parodying Mayor On Twitter Files Civil Rights Lawsuit

dbc Re:section 242: send them to jail (163 comments)

The Civil Rights Act of 1871 was signed by President Grant to deal with the Klan and others in the aftermath of the civil war. So, yeah, if the sheriff is at the front of the pack wearing a white sheet when somebody gets hanged for trying to vote, that might get the death penalty for the sheriff.

about a month and a half ago

3D Bioprinters Could Make Enhanced, Electricity-Generating 'Superorgans'

dbc Re:They need a better market research dept. (69 comments)

Soooo.... turn the liver into an alcohol powered fuel cell? So the only way your phone has enough charge to send a text is if you are drunk on your @ss? Do you really want to live in a world like that?

about a month and a half ago

Man Arrested For Parodying Mayor On Twitter Files Civil Rights Lawsuit

dbc Let's hope its a section 1983 suit (163 comments)

Section 1983 lawsuits for deprivation of civil rights under color of authority allows piercing the immunity of public officers and going after their personal assets. In this case, the mayor, and any of the police that participated. Their. Personal. Assets. Not the taxpayers.

about a month and a half ago

Musk Will Open Up Tesla Supercharger Patents To Spur Development

dbc Re:Beating the Chicken-or-Egg Problem (230 comments)

The issue was not charging stations at either end, it was the dearth in between. You can go ahead and pretend that charging stations are as ubiquitous as gas stations, but they are not. In some places, like my neighborhood, they are more than sufficient. Out of town, not so much. Anyway, go ahead and believe what you want -- I gave you two data points. You gave me zero, and some arm waving. I am *not* anti electric car, we're shopping for a Leaf, and two neighbors have Leafs. This is a great town in which to own a Leaf. But I stand by my assertion -- road trips with an electric car require advanced planning with respect to recharging, where as a road trip in an ICE vehicle largely does not require advanced planning with respect to refueling.

And is charging really free in small-town Oregon? Here, many of the charge stations, including those in employer parking lots, are debit-card activiated.

about 1 month ago

Musk Will Open Up Tesla Supercharger Patents To Spur Development

dbc Re:Beating the Chicken-or-Egg Problem (230 comments)

Well, range is still a concern. I drove to a convention where two Tesla-owning friends also went. I lisented to their discussion about how to manage the range issue of driving to a place that is just beyond a single charge, how they had to plan their recharging stop, how it limited their choices for a lunch break. None of us gasoliine vehicle drivers had that discussion. So it is still not only a concern, they find range interesting dinner conversation. Range is getting better, surely, but stll is above the "have to think about it" threshold.

about 2 months ago

$57,000 Payout For Woman Charged With Wiretapping After Filming Cops

dbc Re:Did it come out of their pockets? (216 comments)

That requires a Section 1983 lawsuit, "Denial of civil rights under color of authority." Then you can pierce immunity and go after the personal assets of the goverment official. Getting a ruling like this one, where a federal court has stated quite clearly that people have a 1A right to film police is a key step. Now that it is clearly established that people have a 1A right to film, the *next* cop to get sued over this is wide open for a 1983.

about 2 months ago

FTC Lobbies To Be Top Cop For Geolocation

dbc Where does it limit the .gov's use of GPS data? (39 comments)

So, according to the summary, it puts limits on commercial use of GPS tracking data. Where does it limit government use of GPS tracking data?

about 2 months ago

US Secret Service Wants To Identify Snark

dbc Re:why not... (213 comments)

It's for the children

about 2 months ago


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