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Military Drone Attacks Are Not 'Hostile'

dirkdodgers Re:Yep, not the change I voted for (892 comments)

Right on, man. We have had great results to show for backing Islamist guerrillas in the past. What could go wrong?

No. Unmanned drones dropping laser guided bombs delivers one thing: death. Not peace. Not justice. Bloody, awful, indiscriminate, pointless death.

Get off your high horse about fucking torturing people. Your man is fucking killing people. All on his own. Without consulting the Congress. He just decided he could go start fucking killing people. If you want to say that it's ideologically justified killing, then you can be my guess to stand hand in hand in that position with George W Bush.

more than 3 years ago
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Military Drone Attacks Are Not 'Hostile'

dirkdodgers Hope and Change (892 comments)

What a lying, conniving, son of a bitch. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. Bush was a power hungry, interventionist, war monger. And so is Obama. Democrats are burying their heads in the sand and putting their fingers in their ears because they can't accept that they were lied to, and bought it hook, line, and sinker. Democrats are no different than Republicans in putting "their team" over the country and over principle.

Four years ago we had a growing anti-war sentiment in this country, supported by the Democrats and the Libertarians and the major national media outlets. But now that Democrats and big media got their candidate in, they have shifted from supporting anti-war sentiment to supporting the war mongering policies of this administration with nothing more than lip service to its opposition. Blood is on their hands. We are backing the next Osama bin Laden in Libya. We are bankrupting ourselves.

Go ahead. Vote for a Republican or Democrat. Go ahead and throw your vote away.

more than 3 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Adventure Game To Start With?

dirkdodgers King's Quest series (480 comments)

Different angle than what you're asking for, but I think a better game for a child than a mind-numbing hack-n-slash.

Probably best to start with King's Quest V for the semi-modern graphics. Earlier than that might turn a kid off to the series.

more than 3 years ago
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CS Profs Debate Role of Math In CS Education

dirkdodgers Continuous math is not critical for most (583 comments)

A majority of programmers are employed in developing business software (e.g. inventory, benefits, medical, insurance), government service and policy software (e.g. dmv, food stamps), and cots software (e.g. Windows, Office).

Logic is important. Discrete math is important. Stats is important. You can be a successful programmer without formal knowledge in these areas, but formal knowledge in these areas is important to be an excellent programmer.

But continuous math just isn't important even to being a successful programmer for the majority of career paths. Yes it comes in handy, and yes it opens up opportunities for you that you wouldn't otherwise have, but it just isn't critical. It won't make or break your career.

Given that most professional programmers aren't going to have more than 4 years of post secondary education, better to use that time for what's most important. Those who want to pursue an academic computer science career or a career in a science or engineering field can go to a research institution or double-major in math, biology, physics, etc.

more than 3 years ago
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Miguel de Icaza On Usability and Openness

dirkdodgers So go buy a certified linux laptop (349 comments)

It's pretty simple. Hardware vendors make sure their hardware works with Windows. Most hardware vendors don't care whether it's easy for people to make their consumer hardware work on Linux.

So what do you do? You do exactly what Windows consumers do. You buy your system from a system builder, only one that certifies their systems for Linux, i.e. you pay money for someone to make sure that your flavor of Linux works on your hardware, so that you don't have to do it yourself. These aren't old systems. They are current gen systems.

I don't have any affiliation with any of these vendors but it was easy to find them:
http://www.linuxcertified.com/linux_laptops.html
http://www.system76.com/
http://www.emperorlinux.com/

more than 3 years ago
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Firefox 4 Web Demos: Web O' Wonder

dirkdodgers Crazy Flash-like shit is not content (145 comments)

Look, look with your special eyes:
https://demos.mozilla.org/en-US/#dashboard

I don't know what to do here. I don't even know what I'm looking at here. I move the mouse around the screen and things glow and whir and slide, but none of it makes any sense to my mind. HTML 5 apparently means "Hey now I can do that crazy shit I used to do with Flash, right in my HTML."

Yeah, and now instead of that crazy Flash shit being isolated to a little box of your page that I could disable, now your entire page is rendered a confusing mess of utter unusability to anyone over the age of 30.

When will web site designers learn that people don't come to their websites for their crazy Flash shit or really anything they do. They come to their web site for their CONTENT. Content doesn't mean what your web site designer does. Content means what's between the covers of a book. Content means a video. Content means user discussion boards.

Great technical browser implementation, guys. You're doing good work, but this crazy Flash-like shit shouldn't be the poster child for your work.

more than 3 years ago
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Microsoft Shows Off Radical New UI, Could Be Used In Windows 8

dirkdodgers Re:Mod Parent Up (403 comments)

Why is interoperability so important? You're putting the cart before the horse.

Let's figure out where we can go and where we want to go, and only then worry about standardizing to let competitors and the little guys play.

But why should we wait for competitors and the little guys? Let's go now. Let's standardize later once the state of the art is a commodity.

more than 2 years ago
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Microsoft Shows Off Radical New UI, Could Be Used In Windows 8

dirkdodgers Re:This works, if EVERYTHING is streamline, the wo (403 comments)

I'm going to disagree.

If sticking to a small set of Microsoft endorsed products is what it takes for them to deliver that kind of integrated experience, then I want them to go for it. Because the alternative is not being able to offer it at all in the next 3 years.

Everyone's still trying to figure out what the right ecosystem of devices, products, and services is. Until that comes together, and in order to innovate, big companies or tight networks of partners are going to have to deliver top to bottom ecosystems themselves and not worry about whether Manufacturer X or App Developer Y are going to come to the party. Don't wait for Sony and HP to agree. Don't wait for Walmart's house brand television to support your vision.

If Microsoft can offer this, then I'm happy to go out and buy a Microsoft phone, tablet, laptop, htpc, router, and cloud services.

But right now Apple looks nearest. Although Aitrix looks like the start of something important.

more than 2 years ago
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Microsoft Shows Off Radical New UI, Could Be Used In Windows 8

dirkdodgers Drop the bubbles and just copy OS X Lion (403 comments)

This is wildly unexciting. Want to build excitement about an OS, Microsoft? In my opinion at this point in MS's life the best thing is to go back to the playbook and lift some ideas from Apple.

Launchpad: An overlay of application launch icons right, sorted how I want them, just like on your mobile device. Not buried in menus or folders. Proven interface. Just give me a touch screen in my macbook now.

More Gestures: Unlike Windows that ships to most users on 2nd and 3rd rate hardware with a USB two button mouse, OS X ships on high quality hardware with an amazing multitouch gesture pad, or available to desktop and home theatre users via the bluetooth magic trackpad. Windows will continue to be built for the least common denominator hardware until MS gets a clue.

Air Drop: Finally. Transferring files between devices without cables and without a fucking "Sync Wizard"

Built-in Version Control: Finally. Integrated RCS for your documents at no cost to you in a consumer OS. Yes, its been done on Linux but never this end user friendly and never this well integrated.

Resume on Reboot: Finally. Done right in a consumer OS. Yes it was done on Unix 20 years ago, but application support for it on Linux was mostly allowed to fall into disrepair over the years where application state really wasn't saved as part of your session. No more spending 20 minutes to get all applications and windows back how they were after work after rebooting for a security patch or turning it back on after being packed away for a trip.

Mission Control: Better than Expose, task bar, and alt+tab combined. No MS, stacking task bar windows is not an improvement.

more than 2 years ago
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After MS-Nokia Pact, Many Nokia Workers Walk Out In Protest

dirkdodgers They have only themselves to blame (601 comments)

MeeGo apparently just wasn't ready to go. They had years to ready maemo/meego for the mass market with apparently little to show for it. Maemo SHOULD have been Android. Give up on C++/QT already guys. The clear path forward is a sandboxed, garbage collected environment for standard "app" development, with low level access for game development.

Anyhow, I'll still get what I want out of it. They're going to put out a MeeGo geek toy by end of 2011. If selling WP7 to the masses is the price of being able to do that, then that's fine by me.

more than 3 years ago
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Ski Lifts Can Could Help Get Cargo Traffic Off the Road

dirkdodgers The point of the submission... (225 comments)

The point of the submission isn't that rope is replacing rail. Rail can do 7 times or more than the capacity cited in the article:
http://www.ugpti.org/pubs/html/dp-170/pg4.php

The point is that seeing how our engineering forebears across the ages moved stuff around by elaborate rope and pulley systems, is freaking cool, and so is the fact that it's still incredibly useful in specific applications today.

more than 3 years ago
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The Prospects For Lunar Mining

dirkdodgers Satellite construction as viable space industry (348 comments)

Building, deploying, and maintaining satellites in space, primarily from resources in space, is the best possibility I can think of as an industry that could be self sustaining and based in space while still providing the major economic benefit to the homeworld needed to bootstrap it. Sending satellites into space is so expensive today that valuable and potentially profitable services aren't mass market viable due to the cost of transporting people and things into space. Example: satellite phones. Imagine if there were a self-sustaining space-based satellite industry. In 100 years our descedents could be born in an asteroid-based, moon-based, or space-based sattelite complex colony.

We should start building up space-based industrial capacity from what's already available in space, which means rebuilding nearly from scratch. We should treat it as a variation on the sci fi theme "how would we rebuild modern industrial capacity in a post-apocolytic world after a massive depopulation event?" It needs to become self sustaining.

We should mine the moon and asteroids for raw materials, and build from there. I mean from the basics. Let's start by mapping out the asteroid belt exhaustively and identifying sources for all of the materials we need. We need to smelt ore in space. We need to start large scale biomass creation and harvesting in space. Because right now the moon is the most accessible source of water we know of in space, the moon is a critical early component of this.

Given the choice between establishing a foothold of the human race off of Earth, and eliminating poverty or cancer, give me space any day.

more than 3 years ago
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Cassandra 0.7 Can Pack 2 Billion Columns Into a Row

dirkdodgers And Oracle supports EXABYTE sized databases (235 comments)

So I can appreciate that this announcement sounds like News for Nerds, but can someone why it Matters that Cassandra can support 2 billion columns?

The article basically says "because you can't execute SQL you need lots of columns". OK, great, why would I want that? The article doesn't tell me. The Cassandra website sure doesn't tell me.

Oracle 11 supports up to 8 fucking EXABYTES of data in an RDBMS that I can execute SQL against. What Cassandra puts in columns, I put in rows.

I've scoured this thread like all the other ones on Cassandra for the killer feature, for the "you can do this with Cassandra that you can't do as well with an RDBMS" and I can't find it.

The best I can come up with is "I want to store lots of indexed data, I don't care about transactional integrity, and I don't want to pay Oracle". Is that it? That's fine if it's it, Oracle doesn't come cheap and that can be a deal breaker for new companies, but I just wish someone would spell out that this is the justification for Cassandra's existence.

more than 3 years ago
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US Scraps Virtual Fence Along Mexican Border

dirkdodgers We can put real live guards on it 24x7x365 cheaper (437 comments)

Let's do the math.

The US Mexico border is 1,969 miles. Stationing on average 4 guards per mile gives us 7,876 guards. 4 shifts to give us 24x7x365 coverage gives us 31,504 guards.

31,504 guards would give us 4 guards per mile of US Mexico border, 24x7x365.

Assume generously that each guard costs us $150,000 / yr for pay, benefits, equipment, logistics, training, and administration.

BOTTOM LINE: For a price of 4.75 billion USD per year we can have 1 well paid, well equipped guard stationed on average every 1/4 mile along the entire 1,969 miles of the US Mexico border.

No, that doesn't include facilities and infrastructure to support the operation, but building guard towers, barracks, and administrative buildings is one of the few things that the government excels at.

Like government make-work programs? This is among the best I can think of in terms of jobs created per $$$ because it puts real people on the ground doing what real people do best. Rather than giving billions to some contractor who will employ 1,000 people, we are CREATING 31,504 NEW JOBS, and they are good hard working outdoor jobs, in the service of our nation, that most Americans would be proud to do and to pay for.

Personally I would like to see open borders and see us eliminate the uneconomical policies that drive us to fight the free flow of people and ideas, but that's not going to happen, so let's secure the damn thing.

more than 3 years ago
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New Laser Makes Pirates Wish They Wore Eye-Patches

dirkdodgers Need Letters of Marque and Reprisal (645 comments)

Are you listening Obama? Do you care about jobs?

Then authorize Blackwater (Xe) and Dynacorp to go after these scallywags in exchange for bounties put up by shipping companies. Pay out $100,000 an ear.

It will stimulate the economy, create jobs, and provide gainful employment for ex-military facing challenges reintegrating into the domestic laborforce. I see no downsides. It will cost the taxpayers nothing.

Then the next time these pirates approach a merchant vessel, they'll see a gunboat coming around the stern of the ship flying a US flag and ready to kick ass and take names.

It will be the economic gift that keeps giving. Just wait until the movies start to come out. "Pirate Hunter", "Pirate Hunter 2: With a Vengeance", "Rambo V: Arrrr!". America could become known worldwide as the finest mercenary exporting nation since the middle ages.

more than 3 years ago
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Congresswoman and Staff Gunned Down

dirkdodgers Re:Ban guns (2166 comments)

I'm sorry but the line you're claiming is so clear just is not. Yes there are some weapons that are primarily intended for self defense and some that are primarily intended for hunting, but naive approaches like you advocate are the reason we had politicians in the 90s banning one rifle because it had a black stock that looked like "scary" to a bureaucrat but putting essentially the same rifle with a nicely finished wooden stock. The line is hazy at best.

What this man accomplished could have been accomplished with a pump action or semi automatic shotgun, which are both very common hunting weapons and home defense weapons.

Or take the m1 garand, the primary service rifle of WWII and korea. It's a simple semi-automatic rifle. It's essentially equivalent in capability to a modern semi automatic hunting rifle.

A shotgun or rifle is easily modified to be concealed under a coat or loose clothing. Shortening the stock and barrel will compromise accuracy, but that doesn't matter when you're a madman targeting a crowd at close range.

So where do we draw the line? Bolt action? WWI was fought primarily with bolt-action rifles. Even a bolt action rifle can do an enormous amount of damage. Fuck, Kennedy was assasinated with a bolt action rifle. Single shot? It only takes a single shot to kill a person. Initial reports at that the congresswoman was shot at close range.

No, if you combine mental illness and firearms of any kind, you will have dead people. If you then expose that individual to radical political rhetoric, you'll have dead politicians or a dead mentally ill individual or both. Mental illness needs to be identified and treated and those who are mentally ill need to be prevented from possessing firearms. Even the NRA agrees with this.

more than 3 years ago
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Democrats Crowdsourcing To Vote Palin In Primaries

dirkdodgers Re:Further reduces influence of independent Americ (1128 comments)

And let us vote None of the Above. If None of the Above wins, a do-over is called and the parties need to come back with candidates who aren't hacks.

more than 3 years ago
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Democrats Crowdsourcing To Vote Palin In Primaries

dirkdodgers Further reduces influence of independent Americans (1128 comments)

This will just lead to more state parties moving to closed primaries. This means independents, most Americans, will have even less say in who our leaders are.

The 20% of the population who are hardcore partisan douchebags like these make me sick. What we need is a process that let's the other 80% of the population - most of who are so disgusted by this that they don't even vote - have more say, not less.

more than 3 years ago
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Can Movies Inspire Kids To Be Future Scientists?

dirkdodgers Only with opportunity and nourishment (298 comments)

I remember after seeing the first Indiana Jones I was interested in archaeology and medieval history. All I could find in my school library about archaeology was a 30 year old book in a discard bin. All my teachers could tell me was something I could study after finishing a college degree. Sure, there was history: timelines and name lists from 1492 onward.

I'll always be left to wonder how my life would have turned out differently if I had someone in my life at that time to help me explore the interests provoked by that movie all those years ago. Probably poorer. Maybe happier.

Public education in the USA is an employee factory. That's its history. That's why it was created. That's what it's for.

We will never succeed in making education not an employee factory until we succeed in bringing about a society that does not depend upon a majority of the working age population being employees. We have the technology to satisfy our basic needs with less per capita investment of time than at any point in recorded history.

more than 3 years ago

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