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Comment author: [deleted] 21 August 2016 07:02:04PM *  0 points [-]

Why do you think "harmful for the environment" means "leading to global warming"? Lots of things are harmful for the environment. Drying swamps to make railroads harm it. Holidaying leads to decreased "old habitat" biodiversity. Building power plants on small mountain rivers leads to decreased biodiversity, too. Yes, these things are good for us. It just has no bearing on whether they are good for nature.

Comment author: SilasBarta 29 September 2016 01:52:03AM 1 point [-]

My favorite one: burning wood for heat. Better than fossil fuels for the GW problem, but really bad for local air quality.

Comment author: SilasBarta 07 December 2013 10:28:53PM 2 points [-]

To your alternative approaches I would also add Bruce Schneier's advice in Cryptographic Engineering, where he talks a little about the human element in dealing with clients. It's similar to the Socratic approach, in that you ask about a possible flaw rather than argue it exists.

Bad: "that doesn't work. Someone can just replay the messages."

Good: "what defenses does this system have against replay attacks?"

Comment author: buybuydandavis 02 October 2013 12:28:38AM 4 points [-]

As the son of a company VP said after he observed his elders pontificating on politics:

It's fun to talk about things you can't do anything about.

Comment author: SilasBarta 04 October 2013 04:03:18AM 1 point [-]

Case in point: the weather.

Comment author: gwern 01 October 2013 08:45:59PM 3 points [-]
  1. No.
  2. See #1.
Comment author: SilasBarta 04 October 2013 04:01:15AM *  3 points [-]

Why is a mere statement of contradiction voted up to five? Something I'm missing here? I could understand if it was Clippy and there was some paperclip related subtext that took a minute to "get" but ...

Comment author: [deleted] 02 October 2013 03:58:39PM 1 point [-]

How does this stop them from using their brains?

Admittedly no one's ever been charged under the ADA, but there are plenty of examples of people being disciplined for violating it. I've been temporarily laid-off before -- they're not joking about not being allowed to work. At all.

Nothing there is going to stop them from continuing to think about their work, mentally desigining new experiments or new hypotheses.

Even granting that our hypothetical scientist is willing to take the risk of being admonished for working during shutdown -- what exactly are they going to do without institutional support? No journal access, no computing resources, no facilities? Navel gazing only gets one so far.

Comment author: SilasBarta 03 October 2013 09:28:36PM 2 points [-]

Admittedly no one's ever been charged under the ADA, but there are plenty of examples of people being disciplined for violating it.

Thinking about your experiments does not (in itself) involve expenditure of government money, so I don't see how they would prosecute you under the ADA for that. Yes, managers have to be very clear to workers not to use resources, just to keep them away from edge cases, but even with that level of overcaution, managers can't actually stop you.

Even if you came back and (for some reason) said, "Hey boss, I totally thought about this experiment from the couch when the shutdown was going on", they still don't have grounds unless you were using up resources. Now, they could fire you just for the defiance (maybe), but if they're that trigger-happy in the first place, then ...

Comment author: RolfAndreassen 03 August 2013 08:52:29PM 0 points [-]

Hmm, interesting! Maybe the simplest approach would be to just implement a class with 16 (or 32, whatever) booleans, and do the underlying bit-pattern math. Then on printing, interpret as powers of two, or two's-complement, or whatever you like.

Comment author: SilasBarta 03 August 2013 09:58:32PM 2 points [-]

... and that is what being a big fish in a small pond feels like ;-) That is, most of them there won't even make it that far. At least, that was my experience.

(My approach was the cruder one of just taking a remainder modulo max size after each operation.)

Comment author: RolfAndreassen 03 August 2013 04:57:29AM 1 point [-]

It's just as well this is a stupid-questions thread, but: Doesn't Ruby already have C-style integers? What is it you mean by this phrase which Ruby doesn't have?

Comment author: SilasBarta 03 August 2013 06:23:25PM *  0 points [-]

C-style integers = integers with a fixed possible range of values and the corresponding rollover -- that is, if you get a result too big to be stored in that fixed size, it rolls over from the lowest possible value.

Ruby doesn't implement that limitation. It implements integers through Fixnum and Bignum. The latter is unbounded. The former is bounded but (per the linked doc) automatically converted to the latter if it would exceed its bounds.

Even if it did, it's still useful as an exercise: get a class to respond to addition, etc operations the same way that a C integer would. (And still something most participants will have trouble with.)

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 31 July 2013 02:31:18AM 19 points [-]

+1 for acknowledging the inconvenient (without regard to subject matter).

Comment author: SilasBarta 01 August 2013 07:50:30PM 7 points [-]

+1 for a (+1 for acknowledging the inconvenient) on a subject you dislike discussion of.

Comment author: CronoDAS 01 August 2013 09:30:02AM 9 points [-]

I want to find an appropriately-sized "small" pond to be a big fish in. Any advice?

Comment author: SilasBarta 01 August 2013 07:19:07PM 1 point [-]

Depends on what you intend to get out of it, but you can go to an amateur hack night ("we're going to implement C-style integers in Ruby", "we're going to implement simulated annealing)", where almost everyone but you will have trouble conceptualizing the problem.

Comment author: mwengler 01 August 2013 06:19:33PM 1 point [-]

Build your own pond. That is, start your own business, work for yourself.

Of course, you will need customers, but as long as you don't think of them as fish, you'll be fine.

Comment author: SilasBarta 01 August 2013 07:17:38PM 9 points [-]

Non-thinking-of-customers-as-fish is not a business plan.

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