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Comments

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The Grumpy Programmer has Advice for Young Computer Workers (Video)

mcswell Re:First sentence (120 comments)

No, but he thpeakth with a Lithp.

about three weeks ago
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The Grumpy Programmer has Advice for Young Computer Workers (Video)

mcswell Re:First sentence (120 comments)

Well, that was my reaction, too. This guy is old, and he must have started programming when computers were really new. So he's unique. Then I realized that I'm over 60 (64, in fact) and that I (afair) was in my teens (19) when I took my first computer programming class (Fortran and PL/1). So either he's not so old, or I'm really old. But I'm only grumpy when I'm awake.

about three weeks ago
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Interviews: Dr. Andy Chun Answers Your Questions About Artificial Intelligence

mcswell Re:Samantha (33 comments)

Machines will never fly, for all the analogous reasons. 1) We don't know exactly how birds, bats, flying fish, or insects fly. 2) Machines are machines.

about a month and a half ago
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Interviews: Dr. Andy Chun Answers Your Questions About Artificial Intelligence

mcswell Re:Samantha (33 comments)

My dog and cats seem to have senses of identity, although I can't be sure.

about a month and a half ago
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Interviews: Dr. Andy Chun Answers Your Questions About Artificial Intelligence

mcswell Re:The Curse of AI (33 comments)

Lots of programs search for some value of a variable, with conflicting criteria. They know when they have reached an answer (conclusion); whether it is the right answer, or only a local minima, is not always clear, either to the program or to the person using it. But then people commonly arrive at erroneous conclusions concerning an answer, too. And for that matter, if the criteria are conflicting, then by definition I don't think there is a *right* answer--the answer that's best depends on how you weight those criteria. Some of these programs are conceptually quite simple, e.g. we have one we use to search for possible correctly spelled words, given a possibly misspelled input. It outputs a list of answers that are above some threshold of "rightness", as measured by how likely the correction(s) are under some notion of a likely error. You might consider the top answer to be "truth" (although it's not always unique). I would not call this program intelligent.

about a month and a half ago
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The Man Who Invented the 26th Dimension

mcswell Re:Crazy Parakeet Man (259 comments)

Darn! You made me choke on my coffee laughing!

about a month and a half ago
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The Man Who Invented the 26th Dimension

mcswell Re:Crazy Parakeet Man (259 comments)

Did the trash can keep accepting his apology? Even if it didn't, I don't suppose it complained.

about a month and a half ago
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New Display Technology Corrects For Vision Defects

mcswell Re:You've lost me (28 comments)

Um - no. I'm farsighted, and like all farsighted people, I can see things at a distance (other cars, say, or the cell phone in that driver's hand) just fine. It's the text on my own cell's gps that I can't see without my reading glasses. (I have 20-14 vision, meaning I can see at 20 feet what the average person needs to stand 14 feet away to see. I just can't focus up close, meaning a foot or two away.) So no, I do NOT need my glasses to drive. And unlike you, I'm not lost.

about 2 months ago
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Siberian Discovery Suggests Almost All Dinosaurs Were Feathered

mcswell dinosaur history (139 comments)

"in dinosaur history": really? There are historical documents written while dinosaurs were around? Ok, I admit I'm being a bit pedantic...

about 2 months ago
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Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

mcswell Re:Cry Me A River (608 comments)

What? You mean HTML isn't good enough?

about 2 months ago
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Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

mcswell Re:You Insensitive Clod (608 comments)

...spoiled youngsters that never... know which end of a saw to hold

Well _that_ explains something!

about 2 months ago
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New Class of Stars Are Totally Metal, Says Astrophysicist

mcswell Re:So, it's true (119 comments)

Sure. And if you subscribed to the Ptolemaic model of the solar system, then I suppose you'd have some other theory of atoms.

about 3 months ago
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Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop

mcswell Re:Why didn't they just listen to users? (681 comments)

Here's a theory: VS 2012 (and likewise Office 2013) were written by people who write in the Perso-Arabic, Hebrew or Hangul scripts, which have no upper/lower case distinction. (And the Ribbon itself was written by people who use hieroglyphics.)

about 3 months ago
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Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop

mcswell Re:Tradition (681 comments)

Reminds me: on rare occasion I need to use Internet Explorer (like to edit some doc on sharepoint--sometimes that works with Firefox, sometimes not). I can't ever find IE in the Windows Start menu, not as iexplorer, internet explorer, or anything else I can think of. Had this experience on several computers, and had to open Windows Explorer and navigate to C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\something. Why?

about 3 months ago
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Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop

mcswell Re:One switch to rule them all? (681 comments)

Figured it out, yes; like it, no. I've figured it out like I've figured out death and taxes.

about 3 months ago
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Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop

mcswell Re:It's even worse than the ribbon. (681 comments)

(replying to myself--yeah, I talk to myself, but at least I don't lose arguments with myself) I noticed today that the status bar at the top of the Outlook 2013 preview panel has three lines of junk, all of it (except for some useless icons) copied from the line in the message list above. Think you can hide that? In 2010 you could, but they took that tweak away in 2013.

about 3 months ago
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Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop

mcswell It's even worse than the ribbon. (681 comments)

Office 2013 (which we just switched to at work, over my objections after being one of our office's "beta" testers) is even worse than 2010, which was worse than 2007. In 2007, they introduced the non-conforming title bar, so you could barely tell by looking whether an Office app had the focus. (It changed to slightly darker, but only slightly. I had to look at my other apps and by process of elimination figure out whether Office had focus.) In 2013, the title bar changes *not at all* when Office receives/ loses focus. It's always white (or always light gray or a slightly darker gray). I finally found a work-around, using a high-contrast "theme" in Windows forces the title bar to change color depending on focus. Of course everything else looks rather ugly, but I'm gradually tweaking what I can. And Office 2013 has the ugliest icons and buttons I've ever seen. Looks like it was designed for a VGA screen, or maybe CGA... If you don't believe me, google "microsoft office 2013 ugly".

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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unwinding vertebra

mcswell mcswell writes  |  more than 2 years ago

mcswell writes "Daniël Noordermeer and Denis Duboule, two researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the University of Geneva claim to have discovered how vertebrae get build in sequence in embryos (and by extension, how ribs, arms and so forth wind up in the right place). The story is that the DNA strands contain a linear series of HOX genes, and that the strands slowly unwind over a period of two days, successively exposing each HOX gene, thereby allowing it to be transcribed to form the segments of the vertebra.

Snakes, it seems, have a defect that causes the system not to shut down; eventually it "runs out of steam."

The same process is said to apply in many invertebrates, including worms (presumably segmented worms) and insects.

The report is coming out in the journal Science (behind a paywall)."

Link to Original Source

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