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How To Teach a 12-Year-Old To Program?

mechsoph Re:Python (799 comments)

LabVIEW makes easy things easy and hard things impossible. Those responsible should be drawn and quartered. Matlab sucks too.

more than 3 years ago
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Racist Facial Recognition Software

mechsoph Don't be quick to complain (49 comments)

When the robot wars come, then we'll see who's laughing...

more than 4 years ago
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Nvidia Waiting In the Wings In FTC-Intel Dispute

mechsoph ARM licenses, not fabs (143 comments)

What exactly are you trying to infer from the trading volumes? It just looks like more people are trading Intel because Intel is a bigger company. Also, the link to ARM you posted is for an ADR, so Google might not even be including the numbers from the native exchange. And above all the, the only thing a heavily traded stock should mean is a low bid-ask spread

Finally, ARM doesn't sell any chips. They design them, and license the cores to companies that fab them, ie TI, Nvidia, and even Intel.

more than 4 years ago
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Project Aims For 5x Increase In Python Performance

mechsoph Re:Too many levels of translation? (234 comments)

LISP and Self are highly dynamic languages, yet they're compiled. If they can be compiled, then so can Python.

The difference between Lisp and Python (aside from kludgey syntax) is that Lisp records are not hash-tables. Structures in Lisp are actually vectors, so a field lookup is one pointer dereference and an add over directly having the object reference (same as Java). I'm not sure how you'd do similar things in Python. Maybe caching the most recently accessed field at each access point would help.

more than 5 years ago
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Good Robot Projects For K-5?

mechsoph Re:Labview plug (136 comments)

What are you, an NI shill? Dataflow programming models suck for all but a very small domain of problems, and those problems are pretty damn easy to solve in conventional languages.

more than 5 years ago
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Hope For Multi-Language Programming?

mechsoph Re:So you want to learn object oriented now? (371 comments)

Object Orientation is just a method of organisation for procedural languages.

Do you realize that closures and OOP objects are semantically identical? Both are a function(s) and associated state. The only differences are syntactic (ignoring the unforgivable lack of GC in some languages claiming to be object oriented)

more than 5 years ago
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Earth May Harbor a Shadow Biosphere of Alien Life

mechsoph Organic life should be more common (267 comments)

It seems like organic life would be most likely since its made of up lighter molecules which are more common in the universe, ie there's are lot more carbon around than there is silicon.

more than 5 years ago
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What will Obama change most in the first 100 days?

mechsoph Re:Different pockets, same taxpayers' money (1026 comments)

What agency of the government is run efficiently? What agency could compete against any private business if it had to?

USPS competes rather well against UPS and Fedex. They haven't received subsidies for a number of years now. I guess you could argue something about nobody else being able to open mailboxes, but that doesn't seem like a big point for package delivery, at least.

Also, there have been studies showing that Medicare has a much lower overhead than private insurance.

But we also have boondoggles like Amtrak, which unlike private boondoggles, will never die like a failed business should.

more than 5 years ago
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What will Obama change most in the first 100 days?

mechsoph Re:Missing option - His campaign promises. (1026 comments)

because it's far too easy for the bank to abuse.

It's not like you can't read the contract before you sign it. If you don't like the terms, you can always refuse the loan.

That should not affect your rate.

Yes, it should. A longer time horizon for a loan means greater risk for the lender. If rates go up in the future, the lender loses out on the greater gains that could be made at the time. If rates go down (more than slightly), the borrower refinances and the lender will have to reloan out the money at the lower rate. Unexpected inflation will also cost the lender, and that's more likely than deflation.

By letting the rate on the loan adjust, the lender can reduce the interest rate risk for the loan. Reducing the risk allows them to offer a lower initial rate. If you only expect to hold the loan during that initial rate period, an ARM will probably be a good deal.

ARMs are for the bank's benefit, not yours. Unless you're a banker, or can ONLY get an ARM, you're being screwed.

Nobody's ever going to force you to take an ARM. I'm looking for a house right now that I fully expect to live in for no more than six years. If I could get a 7/1 ARM with a lower rate than a 30-year fixed, I'd be a fool not to take it. If there's a chance I'll still be in the same spot eight years from now, then any motivation to get out is a good thing.

You're completely right that the banks are in business to make money, not to be your friend. If they can't make money on a loan, they won't make the loan. You can "convince" banks to make unprofitable loans with subsidies, ie FHA, mortgage interest deduction, but since those are partially responsible for the housing bubble, that tactic seems somewhat questionable.

Just because some unscrupulous lenders push specialized loans onto people who shouldn't really be using them doesn't mean that there aren't valid uses for those products, though. As long as you pay attention to what you're signing, the banks can't screw you without saying so first.

more than 5 years ago
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What will Obama change most in the first 100 days?

mechsoph Re:Missing option - His campaign promises. (1026 comments)

adjustable mortgages need to be outlawed

Now why would you do that? If I know that I'll only be living in my house for 5 years, and the bank feels that it can offer a lower rate for a 5/1 ARM than a 30-fixed, then the ARM is better. Just cause some people cut themselves doesn't mean we ban knives (unless we're the UK...).

more than 5 years ago
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What will Obama change most in the first 100 days?

mechsoph Re:Well it won't be transportation infrastructure (1026 comments)

Which would be a disaster right now. Getting a tax cut when consumer demand has crashed and unemployment is high will only increase the size of your deficit without any benefits.

Just about every semi-mainstream economist would disagree with you. The only real open question is whether tax cuts or spending increases have more effect on an ailing economy.

more than 5 years ago
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What will Obama change most in the first 100 days?

mechsoph Re:"Hoarding" is investment (1026 comments)

Depends upon where you live. I've seen purified silicon spring up out of the desert with little more than sand and lightning as inputs.

Even if you have the silicon, are you going to etch it with your fingernail? And you better have that pattern memorized. No using google to look things up, or pencil and paper to derive equations.

And furthermore, the economy is not zero-sum.

Unproven assertion. I've seen many people try to argue this, but in a finite universe, all economic systems are finite.

There is no law of conservation of wealth. If I combine flour, sugar, and eggs to make cookies, and the cookies are worth more than the constituent flour, sugar, eggs, and energy required to produce them, I have "created" wealth. This process of wealth creation is why the economy is not zero-sum. And I suppose I could conversely destroy wealth by smashing something expensive.

Not always- sometimes more production just ends up creating a bubble of overproduction followed by a crash in which the industry disappears entirely.

Obviously it's pointless to produce more than people want at a price they won't pay, but could you give an example of an industry actually disappearing? In the current financial market, I can still access consumer credit and get a mortgage for 5 times my income, though perhaps that is largely due to government bailout and subsidies. The "US" auto producers may die out, but they will only give way to more efficient "foreign" producers (who assemble cars in the US). The passenger railroad industry is mostly dead, but that was mostly because of an oppressive union, government mismanagement, and competition from the more heavily subsidized automobile and faster airplane.

more than 5 years ago
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What will Obama change most in the first 100 days?

mechsoph Re:"Hoarding" is investment (1026 comments)

Alright buddy, you go out and just try to make a microprocessor with only the parts God gave you. You'll give up before you even get something resembling silicon.

And furthermore, the economy is not zero-sum. Yes, you will have less efficient producers pushed out of the market, but generally, more production means there's just more to go around.

more than 5 years ago
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What will Obama change most in the first 100 days?

mechsoph Re:Different pockets, same taxpayers' money (1026 comments)

Well, the rationale there is that the net growth created by the bailout will more than offset its cost, resulting in a net win for our grandchildren. Whether that's true or not is another story entirely... The other rationale is that our grandchildren will have flying cars and plasma-troids, so the actual cost of the bailout to them will be trivial, right?

more than 5 years ago
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What will Obama change most in the first 100 days?

mechsoph Forgetting the American Dream (1026 comments)

Can you name some people you know personally who started poor and wound up rich? Can you even name ONE? "Rags to riches" happens occasionally, but it is extremely rare. Show us your unicorns if you insist they exist.

Look at some of the immigrants about your age, especially the ones from Asia. Plenty of them grew up shoeless and hungry. They may not be filthy rich, but a lot have certainly done quite well. Just because the native born have forgotten the American Dream doesn't mean it's not still out there.

more than 5 years ago
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What will Obama change most in the first 100 days?

mechsoph "Hoarding" is investment (1026 comments)

  • Rich guy buys GE bonds
  • GE uses bond money to build assembly line
  • GE assembly line produces toasters for next 10 years
  • Profit
  • Society has more toasters, GE pays back bond, everyone's happy

Or some such Capitalist nonsense like that. There's only so much you can make with the parts God gave you. Anything else requires some type of investment, and that's why savings is so important.

more than 5 years ago
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EEStor Issued a Patent For Its Supercapacitor

mechsoph Re:So, where's my nuclear car? (603 comments)

They sort of tried that, way back in the Atomic Age. Maybe one of these small-scale fusion guys will eventually get something energy positive, though.

more than 5 years ago
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Tools & Surprises For a Tech Book Author?

mechsoph Re:Tools Can be a Trap (325 comments)

After all, when was the last time you read a book and though "Wow, the page layout in this book *rocks*?".

I've thought the opposite. The Circuit Problems Book Which Shall Not Be Named looked like someone just vomited a bunch of text and figures into MSWord. It was appallingly awful.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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FCC C-Block Auction beats $4.6 Minimum

mechsoph mechsoph writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mechsoph (716782) writes "The FCC's auction of the 700 MHz spectrum has passed its $4.7B minimum for the nationwide C-Block and reached $13B total, beating its $10B estimate. This means that the Google-lobbied open access provision for the C-Block will remain. The only, though perhaps unimportant, question is who will end up with the spectrum when the dust settles."

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