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Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

goose-incarnated Re:Modula-3 FTW! (478 comments)

For a beginner, curly braces may seem more readable. For an experienced programmer, Python wins. Curly braces lead to ambiguous interpretation, whereas indentation guarantees a single interpretation and stands out well.

To both beginner and experts alike, making invisible characters, such as whitespace, possess significance is too much of a religious thing ;-)

2 days ago
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Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

goose-incarnated Shameless plug (808 comments)

Literature for motorheads :-)

Free from Smashwords.

Full disclaimer, I'm the author.

5 days ago
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Gender and Tenure Diversity In GitHub Teams Relate To Higher Productivity

goose-incarnated Re:tl;dr version (106 comments)

So, basically if you use a completely BS measure of "productivity" (# of commits) teams that are more diverse and with longer tenure tend to be slightly (1% to 2.5%) more "productive".

Where do I sign up for grant money to produce crap research like this?

It's worse than you think - If X and Y are responsible for 2.5% of $FOO, X could be zero while Y could be 2.5%. It's very telling that they cannot give the correlation numbers for either exclusively X or exclusively Y in their paragraph, it has to be given as a sum, because then you can't tell which of them actually has the measured effect.

Poor research (again!) - 2/10 for trying. Good troll though - 10/10 for all the baffling numbers that most people are unable to see through.

about a week ago
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Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

goose-incarnated Re:This guy hasn't done his research. (643 comments)

I'm really confused as to how this works: at least if I understand what you're saying correctly, that certainly would break the principle of least astonishment. Is there a more thorough explanation of the topic that I could look through?

Yes. As an amateur language (lisp-ish) designer myself I was curious. The explanation is as follows (as far as I can tell from the mess that is the reference implementation for 2.3):

Python implements variables as dictionaries. Each scope gets a new dictionary created. When encountering a reference to a variable that must be read the engine traverses the stack upwards until it finds the variable name in a dictionary. If it reaches toplevel without finding a name an exception is thrown.

When encountering a reference to a variable that must be written the engine only searches up to the nearest stack pointer, at which point if the variable is not found it is then created and assigned. Hence the reason swapping around the LHS and the RHS in an assignment changes the scope of those variables, which (usually) loses data if the variable exists in a higher scope. This is the reason for using a global keyword when you want to write a variable but not when you want to read it - the global keyword was a hack around the dictionary implementation. The dictionary may be gone but the hack remains.

My informal discussions with the python community results in "this is pythonic - and besides, if you forget the global keyword you deserve to lose data silently" (you can search stack overflow for this exchange). Python really is the only language that has these (and other) warts. Unfortunately, because I've maintained a ton of python in the past I've run into almost all the gotcha's - it has more than C :-(, which is a pity as it might have been a really great language if only a little language design went into it rather than (like PHP) it having evolved from "runtime config management for C".

about a week ago
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Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

goose-incarnated Re:Lower Level != "Complex" (643 comments)

You want them to learn the abstract concepts of programming. With C, you quickly get bogged down in memory management, notions like pointers, the complete lack of object-oriented programming, awkward functions and weird workarounds like variadic functions. You can learn that stuff after you've understood what a loop is and how variables work.

You don't have to get bogged down, use a library! Anyway, why would someone learning python learn how to construct a linked-list (the basic structure of most CS fundamental concepts)? What C misses is a library, but there are plenty for your taste [shameless plug] - here's one that I work on when I have the time and/or the inclination.

You most definitely don't want to teach a language where all the things that happen are "magic" under a hood that no one can open. C is perfect for teaching engineering students. Not so much for CS students - for them use SICP. For neither student do you want to perform vocational training. You want to educate thinkers, not train drones.

about a week ago
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Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

goose-incarnated Re:This guy hasn't done his research. (643 comments)

I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Are you talking about switching the values of two variables? Python can do that in one line: "a,b = b,a" (no quotes).

Or is this some kind of syntactical thing where you're asking to write "b = a" and having it mean "a = b"? I don't think Python can do that, but I don't know how you do it in VB either.

No, I'm talking about the pythonic way of losing and/or changing scope of the variables x and y when the statement:
x = y
is changed into:
y = x

No other language that I know of changes the scope when the LHS and RHS variables are changed - it breaks the law of least astonishment. The 'x' and 'y' that you access when you do 'x = y' is not the same 'x' and 'y' that get's accessed when you do 'y = x'. The end result is that you silently lose data 'cos no errors are thrown.

(What's really ironic is that I'm actually writing some python code now to do string processing - ideal time to bitch about a language is when you're using it :-))

about a week ago
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Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

goose-incarnated Re:This guy hasn't done his research. (643 comments)

I'd love to see *any* "complex construct" that C can do, that Python cannot do in a general computer science/algorithm sense.

More to the point, I'd love to see any "complex construct" that VB can do, that Python cannot.

Handle assignments without scope changing if you switch the lhs and rhs of the assignment? Last I checked, python could not do that.

about a week ago
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Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others

goose-incarnated Re:What a load of rubbish (219 comments)

The more women, the better. I suppose that's why there are so many successful "all-women" companies out there.

I'm starting to wonder if all you jokers read the same paper FTFA as I did, and not just the article. The paper points points out in no uncertain terms that the inverse correlation between group performance and participation dwarfs the (almost insignificant by comparison) correlation between number of women and group performance.

Is there a correlation between number of females and group performance? Yes, but it's only marginally stronger than the correlation between the highest-IQ of the group and group performance. The inverse correlation (-0.41,0.001) between group participation and group performance is a good deal larger AND highly statistically significant compared to the extremely weak correlation between number of women and group performance (0.23,0.007) which is merely statistically significant. And really, a p-value of 0.007 when they only tested 600 odd people (not 600 odd groups)?

They call this science?

about a week ago
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Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others

goose-incarnated Re:I have grown skeptical of these experiments. (219 comments)

For Agile to work well, you need to have experienced, capable team members, who can manage themselves.

If you have that then why would you use Agile? If you have experienced and capable members with the maturity to manage themselves then trying to micromanage them ala Agile is counter-productive. Agile is almost exclusively for poor and/or inexperienced teams who lack the maturity and self-discipline to manage themselves, which is why they have to be micromanaged and reminded once/twice a day about what they are doing.

about a week ago
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Lies, Damn Lies, and Tech Diversity Statistics

goose-incarnated Re:8chan in the House! (335 comments)

Did you just point out that those people insulted men twice as much as they insulted women?

Women who weren't there. The men were there.

When women are present in the discussion, the numbers skyrocket.

This is not getting better for you - you have just stated that no women were on the forum to be harmed, but plenty of men were. You've just stated that more men are the recipients of abuse on that forum than women! And to think that you were insulting the intelligence of others :-)

Nevertheless, I'm reposting this the next time /. is assaulted with a non-story by the "you-hurt-my-feels" brigade - PopeRatzo's preliminary research shows that men are twice as likely to be abused by gamergators as women are. All your own research, mind - I've never been on a chan forum :-)

about a week ago
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Lies, Damn Lies, and Tech Diversity Statistics

goose-incarnated Re:8chan in the House! (335 comments)

The word "autist" or "aut" appears 17 times.

The word "nigger" appears 8 times

The word "faggot" appears 26 times

These are the words they use when addressing each other. But when it comes to referring to women, they lose all creativity.

"Cunt" appears 12 times. "Slut" appears 5 times. "Pig" appears 3 times (in reference to a woman). "Whale" appears 5 times (again, in reference to a woman's appearance).

Did you just point out that those people insulted men twice as much as they insulted women? Clever - you deserve an award for that.

I feel I should save a link to this post so that anyone who goes on about gamergate being against women can have a read. Well done for the research.

about two weeks ago
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Lies, Damn Lies, and Tech Diversity Statistics

goose-incarnated Re:8chan in the House! (335 comments)

You're not getting it. I'm not talking about gestures

$300million is a pretty broad gesture. With other companies following suit.

And yet, even with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of persuasion, not to mention all the coddling and discriminatory policies in favour of females, nothing has changed. You want to be in tech in a majority, then be a nerd, because that's who's in tech in large numbers. If girls don't want to be nerds it's because of people like you who think it is okay to pick on nerds. Somewhat ironically, the treatment that nerds get from society as a whole is probably contributing to females not wanting to be a nerd.

You're part of the problem, not the solution. Girls look at the way you, and the other current SJW's treat nerds and say "Oh no, I don't want to be treated like that!"

about two weeks ago
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Lies, Damn Lies, and Tech Diversity Statistics

goose-incarnated Re:8chan in the House! (335 comments)

Men in tech are just pitiful. Reading these mewling, whining comments, one does not need to wonder why big tech companies are trying to encourage diversity.

Leave us level-headed folk out of your self-loathing.

The funniest part is that male Slashdot readers actually think their opinions matter on the topic of diversity. So, just for the record, nobody cares what you think.

Reality says something different. For all the money and effort being poured into changing the diversity numbers, for all the media coverage and sexist -exclusionary BS, they haven't changed a single damn thing. You are free to say that the layman/laywomans opinion on this doesn't matter, but reality would say that you are wrong. The common person isn't being fooled yet.

The industry is trying to recruit women because you are so awful to be around, and you are not half as irreplaceable as you think.

It's no wonder shit's so messed up. Look who's been in charge. Big white manbabies.

Like I said, your self-loathing - your problem. You appear to be annoyed that other men don't share your self-loathing. I'm sorry - not everyone buys into faith-based reasoning. Maybe if the diversity people have some sort of, you know, evidence of something other than non-diversity? Evidence of skewness is not evidence of discrimination.

Oh, and by the way, I'm not white you ignorant rascist fuck.

about two weeks ago
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Lies, Damn Lies, and Tech Diversity Statistics

goose-incarnated Re:I don't think it'll ever really happen (335 comments)

Gamergate was a result of rich entitled women, who had nothing better to do but complain about bullshit.

And it made you so sad that you and your anon buds felt you just had to put a stop to it, right?

So much for ethics in journalism, you entitled overgrown child.

I'm not anon, and I did no such thing. I do, however, tend to ignore the distress calls of the most privileged and well-off demographic in the world - trust-fund crybabies.

about two weeks ago
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Bitcoin Volatility Puts Miners Under Pressure

goose-incarnated Re:Hmmm ... (290 comments)

I do it because I'm only one link in that chain. I'm not the guy with a bunch of BTCs wondering who I can sell them to, I'm just doing a single transaction that involves converting to the local currency before making my purchase. In this particular situation, using dollars isn't an option in the first place when BTC is the only currency accepted.

From what I said above:

Outside of a few outlier cases, exactly why would anyone want to use perfectly good money to buy something to barter with when they can simply skip that step and use the perfectly good money to buy the goods with?

Where are all these places where the seller refuses money but accepts barter? Sure, one or two who share your ideology would probably refuse money to stand by their statements, but because their numbers are so small that they are not just statistically insignificant those percentages may actually be unmeasurable to any reasonable degree of accuracy. I'm quite comfortable standing by my original argument if something like 6 billion merchants accept local money and 1 person does not.

about two weeks ago
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Systemd's Lennart Poettering: 'We Do Listen To Users'

goose-incarnated Re:Just keep it away from Gentoo and I'm good (551 comments)

Every fucking neckbeard over the age of 35 who complains because they purport to be "grand old system administrators who know what they're doing...bla bla..." sure do lack the skill to look something up.

That, in fact, is the actual problem. We have looked it up. We know how it works. We know why it was designed the way it was. We still disagree that systemd is objectively superior to the stuff it is replacing. Cross-dependencies are, in fact, "monolithic". Many of us have actually written stable systems in the past. Most of us would be ashamed of having anything like pulseaudio in our CV. The problem is not that we don't understand systemd, the problem is that we understand it too well.

When logically distinct modules A, B, C and D have build+run dependencies such that A depends on B+C and B depends on A+D and C depends on B+A we call that "monolithic". When logically distinct modules A, B and C all depend on D, then we call D a library, such as glibc.

This new argument getting thrown around this thread using glibc as an analogy is, frankly, stupid. Glibc does not depend on a logically distinct module that also depends on Glibc. Systemd components do depend on each other in this manner.

The neckbeards that you so casually denigrate know all about UNIX systems, we have written and built various unix-ish systems and come to hate all of the flaws sysvinit had in various incarnations. This perspective makes us ideally placed to point out an init systems flaws. Unfortunately, from what I gather, Lennart has never actually used a unix system other than Linux. What makes his naive and inexperienced perspective so important that it needs to devour an entire ecosystem?

We are basically asking a full-time windows user to design a boot process; is it any surprise that all he can come up with is a windows-type process? That is all he knows, after all.

about two weeks ago
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Bitcoin Volatility Puts Miners Under Pressure

goose-incarnated Re:Hmmm ... (290 comments)

I think you missed my point. If I want to buy $200 USD worth of goods, and I want to pay in bitcoins, I go out and buy $200 USD in bitcoins (however many BTC that works out to be at the time), I do my transaction, and that's it. [...] I buy them, and immediately transfer them back out. [..]

I think that it is you who may have missed the point. If you want to buy $200 worth of goods, you first go buy $200 worth of a commodity, then barter that commodity for $200 worth of goods with the merchant, who then takes your $200 worth of commodity and instantly sells it for $200, to someone who buys it to barter for $200 of goods with a merchant who then immediately turns around and sells it for $200 to someone who wants to barter for $200 worth of goods... ad infinity.

Outside of a few outlier cases, exactly why would anyone want to use perfectly good money to buy something to barter with when they can simply skip that step and use the perfectly good money to buy the goods with?

about two weeks ago
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Intel Pledges $300 Million To Improve Diversity In Tech

goose-incarnated Re:why the hate (341 comments)

Well, it's your hypothesis, so you should bring the evidence (did you not yet see the parallels between your argument and the one for creationism?)

Nope. You asked me a question, I provided a hypothetical answer. What's your answer to your own question?

I didn't pretend to know the answer. I do know what it is not, however. Falsifiability FTW :-)

Where did I attack the authors?

When you said: can't tell because the authors refuse to do a proper study that does provide a fitment test.

Which implies the authors are actively trying to impede something or other.

I accuse them of doing widely acknowledged poor research. That is not an attack.

And, believe it or not, there have been scientists in the past who've made this very same error - they set out to see if something (say radiation) exists, found it, published it and then got egg all over their faces when it was discovered that the radiation was simply background radiation

I have no idea whay you're referring to. Background radiation is radiation. If they wanted to find radiation, they found it. So job well done, eh?

they had to do was show us the comparison.

No, you keep asserting this but that does not make it any less true. They set out to see id descrimination existed in area X. Then comparing it to descrimination in subject area Y has no bearing on whether it exists in subject area X.

Then why did you compare it to IT? If you really believed that discrimination in Y has no bearing on X, then why did you drag it into X?

If you believe that discrimination is as simple as vectors (i.e. they can cancel each other out) you better be able to provide some reference.

And if you believe it never works out like that then you also need to provide some evidence.

I never said I believed that - all I did was say that there is overwhelming research that discrimination is much more complex than that. I didn't propose a opinion one way or another, just alerted you to the fact that there's a lot of research that contradicts your "simple as vectors" hypothesis. You can go ahead and read the research, but since I am not proposing a hypothesis (just rejecting yours) I need not provide any evidence. You propose the hypothesis, you provide the evidence.

I pointed out that having some descrimination in the opposite direction can cancel out some of the underlying discrimination.

Which you failed to provide evidence for. You spent the whole thread arguing that the research in area X should not be compared to area Y, so you now cannot supply evidence of discrimination in area X and say it applies to area Y without at least facing the possibility that you are holding two contradictory positions inside your head.

about three weeks ago
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In Paris, Terrorists Kill 2 More, Take At Least 7 Hostages

goose-incarnated Re:Besides the blantant bloodshed... (490 comments)

whoosh

That's one fast vest!

He said fast

Woosh?


You see "hybrid" means a cross between two things, and the whole "he escaped in a vest" statement.... ah you know what, nevermind.

:-)

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Ask Slashdot: What options are there for cheap Home Automation

goose-incarnated goose-incarnated writes  |  about three weeks ago

goose-incarnated (1145029) writes "I'm looking at cheap and simple home automation. Unfortunately I'm not too clued up on what my options are. There are such a wide array of choices, none of which seem (to me) to be either cheap or simple. I'd like to:

Turn switches on/off (lights, wall sockets, general relays, etc)

Read the status of on/off switches

Read analog samples (for example, temperature sensors)

"Program" switches based on analog samples/existing switches; for example program a relay to come on at 30C and go off at 25C thereby controlling the temperature

Similarly, program switches to go on/off at certain times

Record the samples of analog or digital inputs for a given time

I'd like to do the above using smartphone+bluetooth (for when I'm in the vicinity of the room), or smartdevice+WiFi (for when I'm in the house, somewhere), or even in a pinch, using HTTP to access a server at home from 600km away (which is what I'm willing to do). I'm definitely not willing to stream all my requests/data/responses through a third-party so third party cloud subscription solutions, even if free, are out of the question.

Finally (because I know the Slashdot crowd likes a challenge :-)), I'd like something that is easily reprogrammable without having to compile code, then reflash a device, etc. What languages for embedded devices exist for home automation programming, if any. A quick google search reveals nothing specially made for end-users to reprogram their devices, but, like I said above, I'm clueless about options. If it exists I probably wouldn't find it anyway without your help."

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Reference Management in HTML

goose-incarnated goose-incarnated writes  |  more than 2 years ago

goose-incarnated writes "Blog writing should be just as well researched as real writing. It should be well-referenced with proper citations. Unfortunately, I did not find any such library that will easily make linked citations to a references database that can be used when writing material for the browser. So, I wrote my own, at lelanthran.com.

Feel free to use and distribute — it works well in WikkaWiki with the raw html mode turned on (not a problem, as my particular Wikkawiki is private)."

Link to Original Source
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Google with egg on their face?

goose-incarnated goose-incarnated writes  |  more than 3 years ago

goose-incarnated writes "Google Android Developer Challenge motivates devs to write for iPhone instead. See my short blog post about the Google mixup that got Google motivating me to come up with a new and novel mobile "killer-application" that will soon be deployed on iPhones.

Does anyone know if Apple lets African devs sell their apps in the Apple App Store?"

Link to Original Source
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Aid in conception, gender choice of foetus

goose-incarnated goose-incarnated writes  |  about 4 years ago

goose-incarnated writes "As an aid to conception (and gender selection of the resulting offspring) I offer up this tiny project here. Note that it is still in beta stage, as funding hasn't come through to complete the data gathering (hence no privacy implications until it is modified and recompiled). The proposal paper over here has a bit more detail on what is intended.

Feel free to download and use."

Link to Original Source
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FIFA owns South African Flag IP

goose-incarnated goose-incarnated writes  |  more than 4 years ago

goose-incarnated (1145029) writes "IP Laws going overboard in SA, where a national carrier has been warned off using the South African National flag in it's advertisements by FIFA for the upcoming world-cup event. Reading somewhat like an Onion story, ""They said we cannot depict the Cape Town stadium, we can't use soccer balls, or the word 'South Africa', and the depiction of the national flag is not allowed," said marketing manager Nadine Damen. "

From the "all-your-base" dept."

Link to Original Source
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Smoking and Caffeine May Protect Against Parkinson

goose-incarnated goose-incarnated writes  |  more than 7 years ago

goose-incarnated (1145029) writes "Apparently, there can be some benefits for smokers, if you look hard enough. http://www.physorg.com/news95354576.html is one of many articles available that summarises some of the hard research done into tobacco and nicotine. A quick google search http://www.google.co.za/search?hl=en&q=alzheimers+parkinsons+smoking&btnG=Google+Search&meta= shows that this news is not exactly a secret anyway.

"Smoking lowers your chances of alzheimers" — they should put that on the packet of cigarettes :-)."

Link to Original Source

Journals

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Advertising

goose-incarnated goose-incarnated writes  |  more than 5 years ago Saw this on the side of my screen today:
As our way of thanking you for your positive contributions to Slashdot, you are eligible to disable advertising.
Lovely :-)

I decided to tell slashdot how grateful I am to be able to do this, and why I will not actually do it, but could not find any email contact ... hopefully someone in charge will get the message below

To Slashdot
As my way of thanking slashdot for the free news service, and allowing me to read and partake in various discussions, I won't be disabling advertisements on slashdot. I will, however, read each one I see and attempt to make purchases if an advertisement is for a product I want.

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