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Comments

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Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

dmgxmichael Re:Bank accounts for the poor (753 comments)

You suspect wrong. Australia has powerful laws to control what banks can charge for written to protect its citizens. The US has powerful laws to grant authority to banks to charge for anything written to exploit its citizens.

about two weeks ago
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Google, Detroit Split On Autonomous Cars

dmgxmichael Until there is Tort reform... (236 comments)

...there will be no automated car. The legal system is so screwed up right now no company, even one 100 times Google's size, could hope to absorb the lawsuit costs.

about a month ago
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Russia Bans US Use of Its Rocket Engines For Military Launches

dmgxmichael Re:suspend GPS? (522 comments)

I was experimenting with these things at the University of Kentucky back in 97 or so, and the professor at that time said a few feet. That accuracy has improved since then doesn't surprise me. It would surprise me to find a unit from '97 or so that was accurate to the inch, but I could believe it. I am not an expert in the technology though - just giving the general reason why ground stations are important.

about 2 months ago
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Russia Bans US Use of Its Rocket Engines For Military Launches

dmgxmichael Re:suspend GPS? (522 comments)

GPS is normally only accurate to within a few yards, and when the system was opened up to civilian use in the late 90's the military put in a discrepancy to the civilian signals so that they'd be off by a few dozen yards.

Then someone hit upon the idea of checking GPS against a known good reading.

GPS base stations do this. They know where they are, exactly. They listen to the GPS satellites report of where the satellites think they are, then broadcast the margin of error out to nearby GPS receivers. As a result, the accuracy of the readings can be gotten exact down to a few feet.

So successful was this that the military eventually discarded the idea of putting in an intentional margin of error for civilian signals.

about 2 months ago
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Mozilla Offers FCC a Net Neutrality Plan With a Twist

dmgxmichael Even easier solution (123 comments)

Obama should grow a pair. Instruct the FCC commissioners to reclassify, or be dismissed. If they call as if he's bluffing, fire all of them and replace them with commissioners that will do the reclassification. These snots serve at the pleasure of the President and, in turn, the people. It's high time someone blew up their perceived fiefdoms.

about 3 months ago
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How Did Bill Nye Become the Science Guy?

dmgxmichael Re:Religion doesn't care at all about "why" (220 comments)

To my mind religion is fundamentally about power and money and influence.

Then you know nothing beyond what your prejudice limits you to.

Religion is like a virus of the mind to which we have built insufficient vaccines for. I'd modify that to say only small minds need a god at all.

Small minds aren't limited to theists. Gnostic atheists display small minded bigotry all the time, as you have just have.

Personally, I'm agnostic, but unusual in that I am an agnostic theist. The Gnostic question (Can God's existence be proven?) and the Theist question (Does God exist?) are too often conflated by laypeople. To anyone who has done even a cursory study of theology, the conflation is as absurd as confusing RAM for diskspace because both are measured in bytes.

Most people who label themselves agnostic simply don't understand the question or are trying to avoid it. An agnostic (under the correct definition of the term) believes an objective proof of God doesn't exist. This is a separate question from whether God exists. I do believe God exists, but the proofs of his existence are subjective and not verifiable by science. A leap of faith is required. God cannot be objectively proven because he doesn't want to be objectively proven.

Most theists are gnostic theists, and most strident atheists are gnostic atheists -- they believe they can prove their belief in 0. We are all computer scientists here - surely if any group understands null and 0 are not strictly equal it would be us yes? The charge of the government is to proceed upon the religion question as null. Usually, but not always, that will turn out in the atheist's favor - just as after all in most computer programs the course of action for the program for 0 or null is the same. But there are times when they are not - calls to destroy churches or make the propagation of beliefs illegal are just as onerous as any other call to set up a single state religion and just as illegal in the United States under the first amendment.

about 4 months ago
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How Did Bill Nye Become the Science Guy?

dmgxmichael Re:His debate (220 comments)

There is nothing incompatible with Intelligent design and evolution. If there is a God that created the universe then, that God also created evolution and therefor science is simply discovering Gods work.

I've never heard intelligent design described that way before. Intelligent design is the idea that biological organisms required an intelligent entity to create them, that it is unlikely that complex organisms could exist without a designer, which is an idea fundamentally contradicted by evolution. It sounds like you are describing deism, not intelligent design.

That's essentially the approach the modern Catholic church takes. Broadly speaking: Religion (overall) attempts to subjectively answer 'why?' Science attempts to objectively answer 'how?'. Objective and subjective reasoning methods are largely incompatible to begin with, and anyone used to thinking objectively at all times should find subjective reasoning infuriating and off-putting at best - but it's at the heart of the logic within theology.

Personally, I see evolution as part of the creation, a mechanism no more consequential to the question of God's existence than the rainfall. Besides, if we are truly made in God's image, it should only be natural that we should attempt to understand how we were made on all levels of that question.

The problem I think is small minds need a small God. Every time science pushes the boundaries of what we know about the size and complexity of the universe, ignorant rats scuttle about to stick their heads in the sand and deny the truth of what is observable in the universe, so that they may preserve their small God. If God did indeed make the universe, then the universe itself is the ultimate testament to truth (whatever that is) - not a book - for the universe alone was authored by the hand of God. To deny it is to call God a liar.

about 4 months ago
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Time Dilation Drug Could Let Heinous Criminals Serve 1,000 Year Sentences

dmgxmichael Re:Doing it wrong... (914 comments)

Or more likely he's not willing to admit he needs a drug to make her think he lasted 2 hours instead of 2 seconds.

about 4 months ago
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The Earth As a Gravitational Wave Detector

dmgxmichael Re:Use the Moon instead (70 comments)

Yes, during the Apollo missions.

about 4 months ago
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Wolfram Language Demo Impresses

dmgxmichael Re:Does calling a method really count as 2 lines? (216 comments)

To find an example where PHP beats Java significantly in code compactness will be very very difficult.

Let's start with Hello World shall we? Here's the whole PHP program.

<?='Hello World'?>

18 CHARACTERS. PHP was a template engine long before anyone grafted 1,001 other crazy uses to it. In the job it was designed for - fulfilling HTML requests from webservers - few things can touch it for simplicity or development speed.

In fairness to Java, it scales better to large applications than PHP. PHP does little to discourage its largely newbie programmer base from making bad to outright catastrophic design choices. Java has its uses and it's place. It isn't a panacea though, not by a long shot.

So drop the Java fanboi act - it makes you look foolish. There are tasks which it is not the best tool for the job, or even close to the best tool.

about 4 months ago
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Wolfram Language Demo Impresses

dmgxmichael Re:Does calling a method really count as 2 lines? (216 comments)

When you make a statement like: "travelling salesman in 4 lines of code", it generally means the entire problem in 4 lines of code, not a function call to some built in function and a couple of array initializers.

Where does the line get drawn? Hell, an echo statement must look up the character code for each letter in the string and send that along to the graphics driver for further processing before even one letter is shown on the screen to the user.

The article demonstrated the language itself being able to present a solution to the traveling salesman in 2 lines of code. I personally find arguments about how many underlying function calls the language had to go to while it turned it's instructions into something the computer can understand to be useless asinine pendantry. It doesn't matter to the end user working in this language what goes on any more than it really matters to a video game programmer what exactly goes on in the GPU when a graphics call is made, or to a windows programmer exactly what the GUI must do to place the letters on the screen.

My first impression of this language and library is its a powerful new tool at a level of abstraction even further removed than current high level scripting languages like Javascript. In the field of data gathering and presentation - to which it seems to be aimed - it probably will find a lot of jobs to do. That doesn't mean other languages won't still have their place.

For example: people use PHP often because it can do in a couple lines what might take several pages of code to do in Java - and there are tasks that PHP needs several pages of code to do that Python can deal with in a few lines as well. That's the nature of programming languages. This is another tool to put in the tool case, and that's a good thing. I will admit that the article tries to write this up as a universal panacea, but I have my severe doubts on that. There's likely going to be certain tasks to which this language will prove to be poorly suited and need very long scripts to do that current languages can do fairly quickly.

about 4 months ago
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Wolfram Language Demo Impresses

dmgxmichael Re:Not so sure about the language... (216 comments)

Hi. I'm a 15 year old script kiddie. I just love those thousands of hideous functions because deep inside a significant fraction of them lies an exploit so obvious that three of my friends figured a half dozen of them out in a two hour Redbull and Cheetos hacking session (which consisted mostly of Googling pictures of naked 16 year olds and occasionally looking for PHP vulnerabilities).

That hardly debunks my point. Rather, it reinforces it - people choose languages on the basis of work getting done quickly - all other concerns go out the window pretty quickly.

about 4 months ago
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Wolfram Language Demo Impresses

dmgxmichael Re:Not so sure about the language... (216 comments)

As much as I would like to be impressed, what I see is quite underwhelming: a functional application language with some interface to "facts" and "databases" with a pattern matching engine might make some analysis easier but ... the principles of the language are mostly what you come to expect if you have seen lisp once or any modern functional language,e.g. haskell.

I can see it as being useful, but as another commenter pointed out, "FindShortestTour" is a library function (which might be handy), but definitely not an example of how concise the language might be; the same could be said about "EdgeDetect" or the like. The power of the language can be measured in how easily it can be extended or non trivial algorithms can be implemented ... not in how many functions are offered (even if this could be more convenient none-the-less).

Hello. My name is PHP. I'm the most ugly hideous language known to man, but man do I have thousands of functions to get work done. And that's why I rule the server side processing world :D

Function libraries and ability to get stuff done quickly counts for a lot.

about 4 months ago
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Wolfram Language Demo Impresses

dmgxmichael Re:Does calling a method really count as 2 lines? (216 comments)

All I see there is calling some method to do something complicated. It's not 2 lines of code of the actual meat is hidden somewhere.

Do you count the code that drives the compiler or interpreter as part of your program? What about the code that drives your database?? If it's abstracted away into the language then it's not "actual meat" as far as the programmer doing the work is concerned. It is two lines. And unless you're writing all your code in machine language you have no right to claim otherwise.

about 4 months ago
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Sinkhole Swallows 8 Vehicles Inside Bowling Green KY Corvette Museum

dmgxmichael Re:Its sad, but they're only cars... (97 comments)

I don't see how the depth of the hole matters at all. The width, however, matters a great deal.

Sinkholes better than 100' wide are not unknown in that area. The largest cavern system in the world, Mammoth Cave, runs under that city and stretches out to the northeast.

about 5 months ago
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Sinkhole Swallows 8 Vehicles Inside Bowling Green KY Corvette Museum

dmgxmichael Re:Its sad, but they're only cars... (97 comments)

Sinkholes are common in that area, but it really doesn't matter if you have a 12' thick concrete slab foundation if the sinkhole drops 100' or more.

about 5 months ago
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Oldest Known Star In the Universe Discovered

dmgxmichael Re:Knowledge (141 comments)

There is only ONE book you need. The Holy Bible. King James translation.

The original 1611 printing, or the 1820's printing currently in most wide use?

As for the fallacy of such divisive faith - in 1611 there was one Anglican protestant church. Now there's well over 1,000 denominations due to squabbling over interpretations of the text and the sinful pride of "ministers" who will not submit to any authority at all. In that same time frame there still is only one Roman Catholic Church.

The difference? The true church does not subscribe to the heretical teaching of Martin Luther known as sola scriptura. Our faith is in God himself, not the idolatry of a book.

about 5 months ago
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Chinese Search Giant Baidu Launches International Sites

dmgxmichael Re:Good news (38 comments)

While Google needs competition, I sincerely doubt a search engine under the control of Chinese censors will make any headway in the free world.

about 6 months ago
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White House Reportedly Dismissing Key Healthcare.gov Contractor

dmgxmichael Re:CGI? 1994 called... (284 comments)

CGI stands for "Common Gateway Interface." It's not a programming language. Many web services are or at least can be run using this interface, such as PHP. While its true native webserver modules offer better performance, if you have a reason to write a webpage using C the like you'll most likely need to use CGI to do it.

In the future, when you go for the "funneh", try to know what you are talking about.

about 7 months ago
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AT&T Quietly Adds Charges To All Contract Cell Plans

dmgxmichael Anyone stupid enough to use AT&T (338 comments)

deserves what they get. Worst Telcom in history (and that's an achievement considering how rotten all of them are.).

about a year ago

Submissions

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AT&T to acquire T-Mobile

dmgxmichael dmgxmichael writes  |  more than 3 years ago

dmgxmichael writes "In another sign that both political parties have sold out and the Sherman Anti-Trust Act has been swept under the rug and forgotten, AT&T has announced they will acquire T-Mobile pending (now non-existent) regulatory oversight approval. If this goes through 99% of all wireless accounts will be in the hands of 3 carriers (Verizon, Sprint and AT&T)."
Link to Original Source
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How to get things back under control?

dmgxmichael dmgxmichael writes  |  more than 3 years ago

dmgxmichael writes "At my company over the course of a year we've lost good version controlling of our software. Right now we have different deployments to eight clients. We are down to two programmers, myself and one other, due to a higher than normal turnover rate of employees (17 in the last 2 years).

I'm trying to devise a means to get our code back into reliable release pattern instead of hot fixing production servers.

The production versions are relatively stable. Trunk in subversion is a bloody mess. Sandboxes for myself and my coworker are stable, little else is. I'm guessing I can merge the production codebases into each other one at a time, but it will take awhile.

I estimate this will take longer than it would take to replace the software, but management cannot be convinced. If anyone has any ideas on how to better make that argument I'm all ears. In the meanwhile the first step is to at the least get some modicum of sanity and only have one active deployment of the software instead of 8.

If it helps our version control system is subversion and our bug tracker is Mantis. The codebase is in PHP and like many PHP apps this thing has grown without any design or stable API's thought of. The code is theoretically MVC Object Oriented, but in practice it is so poorly implemented the work of MVC is just added onto the things to do list when writing pages. In all about 4000 files not counting the fact nearly every class has an interface that is used only once — for that class. Sections of the code haven't been touched in 6 years and are PHP 4. I have found several severe security breaches in my 9 months here and can only imagine how many more exist.

I need help (retorts to 'find another job' aren't help)"
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Two asteroids to make a flyby in one day.

dmgxmichael dmgxmichael writes  |  more than 3 years ago

dmgxmichael (1219692) writes "Two asteroids in unrelated orbits are expected to fly by the earth within the orbit of moon with the closest passing within 79,000 km. A single rock of the size of these two is expected to pass close daily — what makes this incident so interesting is that we managed to spot both quite early and that they are going to pass by at about the same time. The incident shows our ability to spot incoming asteroids is improving, but also shows it's got a long way to go. At the neighborhood of 15 meters each, these rocks are about 1/5th the size of the impactor that made Barringer Crater in Arizona."
Link to Original Source
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States rooting out Cyber-bullying.

dmgxmichael dmgxmichael writes  |  more than 3 years ago

dmgxmichael (1219692) writes "The website Topix.com has reached an agreement with 34 states and territories to "improve consumer protections and more effectively police cyber-bullying by halting a fee charged to expedite review of inappropriate or abusive Internet posts.""
Link to Original Source
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Patent Troll attacks Nintendo over Wii

dmgxmichael dmgxmichael writes  |  more than 5 years ago

dmgxmichael writes "According to Wired.com, "Hillcrest Laboratories, based in Rockville, Md., has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington D.C., and a patent infringement lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Maryland against Nintendo Corp., the company said in a statement Wednesday."

When will the patent troll madness end?"

Link to Original Source
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Gary Gygax, co-founder of D&D, has passed away

dmgxmichael dmgxmichael writes  |  more than 6 years ago

dmgxmichael (1219692) writes "According to sources close to his family Gary Gygax has passed away at the age of 70. Along with David Arneson he created the Dungeons & Dragons role playing game which in turn gave rise to the entire genre."

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