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Comment "surface discontinuity" major shipping route (Score 1) 109

The statement was "there is no surface discontinuity". There is in fact a major shipping route separating Africa from Eurasia at Suez. Yeah at Suez the water isn't very deep, so it's handy that the claim was "SURFACE discontinuity".

More importantly, if we touch our fingertips together, that doesn't make us one person. That makes us two different people touching at one small spot. Prior the mid-1800s, Africa and Eurasia were two continents touching at one small spot. Now they are 100% separated by water.

Comment Balance, for one. See recent Slashdot story (Score 1, Insightful) 288

Slashdot recently had an article regarding a law suit against Apple. The summary went something like this:

Google's lawyers said blah blah blah on Friday in the appeal they filed ABC's to law suit. Google says they blah blah blah. According to Google's lawyers, they are right because blah blah blah.

Not a single word about what the other company's position is. Does that sound like a fair and objective story?

Does such reporting *work*, does it strongly influence opinion? ALL of the comments posted on Slashdot were based purely on the claims in the summary (Google's claims) and therefore supportive of Google. I'm the only one who pointed out that Google made these in an APPEAL - the jury, after listening to evidence from both sides, had already decided that the other company was right. Therefore the other company most likely has a fair point or two - no mention in the Slashdot summary of what the other company said (and the court ruled was correct).

In almost all disagreements, both sides have a point, or a legitimate concern. One side may have a *stronger* point, but there *are* two sides - otherwise there wouldn't be a dispute. If a source fails to present both sides of an issue they are reporting on, it's probably a source of opinion, not news.

Comment Newspapers used to be named Austin American Democr (Score 5, Interesting) 288

I don't think it was ever more objective, certainly not since William Randolph Hearst in the 1890s. Newspapers used to be more honest about their political leanings. For example, the Austin American Statesman used to be called the Austin American Democrat. Similar names can be found in smaller cities, the newspaper will be named Middletown Liberal Times or whatever.

  The LA Times had a very clear policy of simply not reporting anything that didn't support their political leanings. In 1884 the ignored Grover Cleveland's election to president for several days, pretty much pretending it didn't happen.

Comment Mediterranean Sea (Score 2) 109

> as there is no surface discontinuity between Europe, Asia and Africa, the notion of "continent" as we understand it was completely arbitrary

There's a rather large surface discontinuity between Africa and Eurasia, comprised of the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Prior to 1869, these two separate landmasses used to touch, but just because I touch you with my finger doesn't make us one body.

Comment Reactors can lift themselves (just barely) (Score 1) 285

> And how do you intend to lift your nuclear reactor to orbit? Nuclear reactors are pretty heavy.

*Current* reactor designs produce just barely enough energy to lift themselves. You'd need rocket assist to lift everything else. Of course you'd also need to do the engineering to convert the nuclear power to thrust efficiently, but on it's face it's not impossible.

Comment That's an issue. One reason for the difference (Score 1) 186

I agree it's an issue. The difference in penalties may be too great in many instances. There are of course a couple of reasons sentences are, and should be, different.

Keeping closest to the viewpoint you brought up, many things are dangerous. Heck, MOST things involve some risk. Consequences should fit the actual risk. Suppose I shoot off some fireworks in the middle of some soccer fields, full of short green, moist grass (which doesn't burn). Another person shoots off fireworks in their apartment complex. We've both committed the offense of shooting off fireworks within city limits. One of us was a much greater danger than the other. One method of measuring the actual danger posed is that my action did not in fact burn even a blade of grass, his action burned down an apartment building - with people in it. You can tell that his action truly could have killed people if it truly did kill people. Since my action actually did no harm, probably it wasn't really that dangerous.

If my brother has two or three drinks, you probably would never know it by having a conversation with him. Yet, his BAC is probably over 0.08%. My wife is the opposite. Three drinks and she'd probably wreck before she got out of the parking lot. The blood test doesn't measure the risk. What DOES demonstrate the degree of actual danger is if my wife actually plows through a crowd of people. Both drove over the limit - one drove without so much as running a red light, the other ran into people. Clearly, one is more of a danger to society than the other.

You mentioned murder vs attempted murder specifically. Buying a butcher knife with the intent to use it on someone is attempted murder (one can argue whether it *should* be, but it is). Someone who does that is a danger to society. Someone who actually stabs people to death, successfully, is clearly a greater danger.

Secondly, crime and punishment isn't all about the criminal, it's also about the victims (or potential victims). If somebody got plastered and ran over your child, after having been warned about the danger via a previous DWI charge, you'd probably want to kill the motherfucker who ran over your kid. As a society, we don't want parents, spouses, etc acting as judge, jury, and executioner, taking vengeance on the criminal - so we offer a better way. Victims can (hopefully) see justice done without taking justice into their own hands. If someone drives drunk and does *not* hurt anyone, you probably don't have the same urge to kill the motherfucker - society can see justice done with a lighter sentence if noone is harmed.

You might say "we shouldn't want justice, you shouldn't want to kill the motherfucker who ran over your kid." Perhaps so, perhaps not, but it's how we are. We can't "should" that away.

Comment Two options (Score 1) 86

> If you're finding things wrong during QA at the end of an agile sprint, there's something seriously wrong

Suppose QA is blended into your four and a half days of planning, research, development, and testing. Somehow (magic?) you're testing the changes you've not yet finished against everyone else's unfinished changes. Obviously you're not testing how your changes work with the other guy's changes before you've decided how to write either change. So that gives you max maybe 7 hours integration testing and validation, spread throughout the last two days of the week. Do you *really* think a a couple hours of each (at the most) can replace several weeks of each? Really? If so, maybe you're the reason we catalog 100 vulnerabilities in other people's software *per day*.

With Scrum and Agile generally you have two options:

A) Knowingly trade faster development at the cost of quality assurance.

B) Unknowingly trade faster development at the cost of quality assurance.

Those are the choices. Do you have any idea what "release early" means? It means release before it's thoroughly tested, in the case of Scrum specifically, it generally means nobody has ever tested it at all - nobody other than (maybe) the developer has tried out the feature to see if it works correctly, and integrates correctly with everything else. Paying customers do alpha testing. (And no, automated unit tests (while useful) in no way replace beta testing, alpha testing, and validation. So you get speedy development but at a cost. Again your two choices are:

A) Knowingly trade faster development at the cost of quality assurance.

B) Unknowingly trade faster development at the cost of quality assurance.

You can either know what you're giving up, or not know. But nothing is free, there is a definite cost. If you think thorough testing is for chumps, perhaps you're the guy who wrote "goto fail".

Comment Reckless endangerment (Score 5, Informative) 186

The offender wasn't *trying* to kill Krebs. So not attempted murder.

  Krebs didn't die, so not manslaughter.

The offender did act in a way to create a dangerous situation with no regard for the fact that Krebs, other people in his home, or police officers could be seriously injured. That neatly matches the definition of "reckless endangerment".

Had someone actually died, it would match the definition of "depraved-heart murder", which is second-degree homicide in many states. Depraved-heart murder is killing someone through actions not actually *intended* to kill them, but by reckless disregard for their safety.

Comment I thought you knew. Scrum by the book 1-2 weeks (Score 1) 86

My (mod funny) comment was a bit of a caricature of Agile, of course. Still, I'm surprised you said what you did, rather than chuckling. I thought you'd been doing professional development for a number of years. Perhaps I'm remembering wrong.

Agile emphasizes *automating* testing. Automated testing is a good thing. It sometimes catches regressions and fatal errors that completely break the build entirely. That saves your alpha and beta testers from dealing with some of the easy, dumb mistakes.

Scrum by the book says sprints should be 1 week preferably, up to 2 weeks, and you should have a release (or a minimum a releasable product at the end of each sprint (each week). If you're going to plan it and build it in a week, that doesn't leave more than a few hours for QA. Traditionally high quality software spends a few weeks in alpha testing and a few weeks in beta testing before it moves to limited release. If you follow Scrum as originally written, release comes at the sprint - alpha testing is done after release, by customers in production. That's advantageous in that customers get the cutting edge new features right away, and it also means they are getting alpha-grade software. Much like the difference between Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Many people like Fedora, which is cutting edge, on their desktops. Virtually nobody wants that on their production servers, they want the reliability of Red Hat or CentOS Enterprise, which has been tested for at least 18 months. Fedora is basically the beta test for RHEL, and that beta test takes 18 months, not 18 hours.

I would also think you'd know that an essential, fundamental concept behind Agile is that we don't know what the future holds, requirements change -- so long-term planning is basically pointless. That makes perfect sense - to everybody who hasn't yet been taught how to determine what the *real* requirements actually are. Certainly sitting in a meeting the users' boss's boss doesn't tell you what the users' actual needs are, but there are methods to determine the real needs, and plan for them even years in advance. Agile rejects that notion, though for those who have been shown how to do it, it's a proven fact that you *can* learn the requirements, and the likely future requirements. You just have to be taught how to do so.

Comment The following statement, the next statement (Score 2) 86

I mean the following statement. This works okay:

SELECT 1
SELECT 2;

This doesn't:
SELECT 1
THROW

The latter is equivalent to:
SELECT 1 AS THROW

I had originally written "the preceding or proceeding statement". That's reasonably clear, I think, though it stretches the definition of "proceeding". Then I realized that changes to the PRECEDING statement won't affect anything, so long as if that preceding statement is properly terminated with a semicolon. So I ended up with "the proceeding statement", which is poor wording.

Comment == vs =, | vs ||, variable/pointer dereference (Score 5, Insightful) 86

> A one character bug? Really?

Sure, I've seen many single-character bugs, and created a few. I imagine MOST experienced programmers have done this at least once:

if (a = b) {

When they meant:
if (a == b) {

Every language I can think of has a common single-character bug. Many Microsoft SQL users routinely leave off the semicolon which terminates a statement. Sometimes that results in buggy behavior right away, sometimes not until two years later when a change is made to the *proceeding* statement.

> What about the tests?

This is crypto-currency, the hot new thing tests are for old fogeys who still use dollars. Get with the times, young programmers are Agile, they don't plan and test their work, they release early and often. They release the Minimum Viable Product (minimum piece of shit they can get away with for a moment), it's illegal now to even think about corner cases and make code robust.

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