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Astronomers Find Planet Barely Larger Than Earth's Moon

mcgoohan That's no moon (71 comments)

It's an exoplanet-sized object.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Good Low Cost Free Software For Protecting Kids Online?

mcgoohan OpenDNS (646 comments)

Try OpenDNS. It's got good granularity for filtering criteria and you can either filter at your router, or on a per-computer basis.

Plus, their founder has a /. UID of 17.

more than 2 years ago

JRR Tolkien Denied Nobel Due To Low Quality Prose

mcgoohan Too bad the criterion wasn't *quantity* of prose (505 comments)

... or he'd have been up on a Swedish stage singing,
"Helm holm! Stockholm! Alfred Nobel-lo!
Ring a ding! Thanks, King, for the medal-lo!"

And after the 17th verse, the audience would be trying to summon a Balrog.

more than 2 years ago

Should Undergraduates Be Taught Fortran?

mcgoohan APL (794 comments)

I have fond memories of Fortran from the only programming course I took in college 25+ years ago. Warm, fuzzy, marshmallow-scented memories. That will sound weird until I tell you that the *other* language we had to use in that class was APL. That wacky-charactered, right-to-left, overstruck, array-spouting beast was the unholy spawn of Greek and Chinese psychotics, raised by ancient Egyptians. While marveling at the power available in a single dense line of APL code was fun (for certain values of "fun"), when we were allowed to use Fortran we felt like subsistence hunter-gatherers visiting McDonalds. "You mean you just *tell* it what to do and it does it? And these words actually mean what they say? Wow!" These days when I dabble with Linux and work on social science software syntax files, I'm grateful for two things from that long-ago course: the general programming concepts I learned in Fortan, and the fact that I don't have to touch APL. Mailbox! Open Mailbox!

more than 5 years ago

Court Rules Autism Not Caused By Childhood Vaccine

mcgoohan Re:Public Health vs. Personal Rights (1056 comments)

Yeah, here in Wisconsin (USA) you can sign a form opting out of the school vaccination requirement for reasons that are religious or due to "personal conviction". While I think a parent who does that should get a conviction of a different sort, if we're going to allow that stupidity, here's how it oughta work.

You have a personal conviction that your kid should be allowed to put my kid at risk? OK, sign that form and we'll have to let your kids in school. We'll post their names on a bulletin board by the front door so that the responsible parents can make their own informed decision about who our kids play with. Their names will also be available to other schools whose teams might play yours, and be grounds for forfeit if any of those parents object to involving your kids with theirs.

Oh, you're worried about them being ostracized? You're saying that this violates your right to medical privacy? Tough. Your right to swing your little disease-harboring darlings around ends where the bodies of mine begin. If you stick your crackpot "personal conviction" into the spokes of sensible public policy, we'll route around you.

Why yes, I *do* have a child about to start kindergarten. How did you know?

more than 5 years ago

Circuit City Closes Its Doors For Good

mcgoohan Re:Main mistake they made? (587 comments)

Linens'N'Shit is closing...

I've always called it "Sheets-N-Shit".

more than 5 years ago

Using Microwaves To Cook Ballast Stowaways

mcgoohan No, no, no (186 comments)

It's supposed to be The Cold Equations!

more than 6 years ago



Robert X. Cringely Ends PBS Column

mcgoohan mcgoohan writes  |  about 6 years ago

mcgoohan (593793) writes "Robert X. Cringely (a.k.a. Mark Stephens) has posted his 603rd and last I, Cringely column at PBS.org. He says the decision was his, not the network's, and he'll continue writing at cringely.com. I've enjoyed reading him since his InfoWorld days, particularly the annual predictions; although often wrong, he's quick to admit mistakes and good for some entertaining speculation. Notwithstanding the fun value, I don't get why PBS published him in the first place. Cui bono? The only ads on the page were for PBS itself and his TV specials haven't been on for years. Perhaps Slashdotters would know what PBS got in return for its bandwidth."
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