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Showing posts from September, 2015

This ex-libertarian endorses Sanders

I have less than billionaires, or even the wealthy millionaires, but more than most people. What I have, I built "myself": this is to say, with much personal effort; but also with critical, non-negligible components of luck, and considerable help and work done by the right other people. My own personal work has been indispensable – but on its own, it wouldn't have been enough.

From my little perch, it seems to me that claiming one's little empire and yelling "I built all of this myself!" is nothing short of hypocrisy and egocentrism. There's no way one person builds an empire. Hundreds, or even thousands of people build it. The leadership provided by one person or several is critical, but you are not yourself building the empire. Other people are building it for you, with your partial guidance.

For there to be thousands of people who can help you build your empire, there has to be infrastructure before your business even starts. There have to be schools…

When monospace fonts aren't: The Unicode character width nightmare

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Some things haven't changed since the 1970s. Programming is still done in text files; and though we have syntax highlighting and code completion, source code is still best displayed in monospace.

Other aspects of computing work best with monospace, also. The Unix shells; PowerShell; the Windows Command Prompt. Email is still sent with a copy in plaintext, which has to be wrapped on a monospace boundary. Not least, this persists because HTML email is excessively difficult to render securely, and there are user agents that still work better with plaintext.

In all of these situations, the problem presents itself that the originator has to anticipate how text will be rendered in advance. You cannot just send text and expect the recipient to flow it. You have to predict the effects of Tab characters correctly, and word wrap the text in advance, often not knowing the software that will be used for display. In terminal emulation, e.g. xterm via SSH, when the server sends the client a cha…

C++ Relocator proposal

Last month, I spent two weeks working on the following formal proposal for a new C++ feature:

Relocator: Efficiently moving objects

After incorporating much feedback in the C++ Proposals forum, I believe this proposal represents not only my ideas; but close to a consensus of everyone who expressed interest in this feature. I believe the document is fairly polished. I have submitted it as proposal P0023 via Ville Voutilainen, chair of the Evolution section of the ISO C++ working group (WG21).

It so happens that Ville is also the person who most vocally disagreed with my observations last month about problems in C++ standardization – to the extent of us colliding in a somewhat fiery altercation:

Ossification and Hawaii: Impressions of a C++ working group

When I submitted this proposal, Ville reiterated his position that I need to find a champion to represent it in the next WG21 meeting in October in Hawaii. This is how the Working Group goes about its work.

So far – despite considerable p…

Acetaminophen (paracetamol, Tylenol) more toxic than thought

Study:
Real-time monitoring of oxygen uptake in hepatic bioreactor shows CYP450-independent mitochondrial toxicity of acetaminophen and amiodarone

Prediction of drug-induced toxicity is complicated by the failure of animal models to extrapolate human response, especially during assessment of repeated dose toxicity for cosmetic or chronic drug treatments. [...] Importantly, exposure to widely used analgesic, acetaminophen, caused an immediate, reversible, dose-dependent loss of oxygen uptake followed by a slow, irreversible, dose-independent death, with a TC50 of 12.3 mM. Transient loss of mitochondrial respiration was also detected below the threshold of acetaminophen toxicity.I posted previously about a paper suggesting that acetaminophen may cause autism and ADHD in vulnerable children.