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Comment Basic version == Spaghetti (Score 2) 64

Over the years, I have had several goes at rewriting Ham(m)urabi, in an attempt to make it comprehensible. I just wanted to be able to tweak it, and it has defeated me (got bored and gave up) every time.
The BASIC code is the most appalling spaghetti, and would make an excellent illustration for any CS student of How Not To Code.

Comment Brainpower shows (Score 4, Interesting) 73

"Is this more evidence that we in the science and tech fields undervalue art and pure creativity?"

No, it shows that the better your brain functions, the more attention span you have to pay attention to many fields. Those of us who have to work our brains hard for those occasional flashes of brilliance don't have enough ooomph left over for "frivolities".

Comment Nothing New Under The Sun (Score 2) 234

Those who do not pay attention to the world around them, are doomed to reinvent the wheel (or in this case, balls covering water).

Thirty years ago, I was living in Sweden, where it was already nothing new that you cover an outdoor swimming pool with ping-pong balls to prevent heat losses and related evaporation. How come this was news, and a great stroke of genius, in California?

As an aside, they don't interfere with the use of the pool at all. You can dive in through them.

Comment Riddle me this... (Score 1) 142

Why does anybody, anyone at all, still believe in this "cloud" thing? Any person or company that stores anything personal/private/confidential/valuable in "cloud space" is Just Asking For It.

I speak as a person with 50 years experience in IT. The lesson of those years is - You cannot, must not, trust Other People with your precious jewels. The human race does not just have malicious individuals; it is 80% composed of lazy incompetents who don't pay attention and can't keep promises.

Comment Re:1 year may have been enough (Score 3, Informative) 137

Yes, but UK gov does not have any of those "smart as on Slashdot" IT pros. The UK gov outsourced all its IT to Big-Name-and-Big-Billing suppliers, and got rid of its own IT-literate employees. Now that the BNaBB suppliers have got UK gov over a barrel, the charges they invoice are extortionate. Remember the scandal over the lost CDs containing the entire Dept of Work and Pensions database (IIRC)? That was caused by the relevant dept being unable to write a simple SQL SELECT, and the supplier wanting £5000 for 20 minutes work.

Comment "made from aircraft-grade aluminum" (Score 1) 128

Has anyone told him what sea water does to aluminium? Or mentioned that's why almost nobody operates flying boats commercially any longer? The constant corrosion? The constant leaks? The constant repairs?

Reminds me of those clowns who set out to cross the oceans in a small boat without no radio or nav equipment, and only a school atlas. Other people have to risk their lives to rescue them.

Let's hope the USCG makes him post a bond big enough to cover the cost of the rescue before he departs. That should slow him down a bit.

Comment Re:Obvious Usefulness (Score 1) 157

Are the pulsars and quasars distributed in any useful way? Maybe in a sparse but heavily-trafficked area you might want add a beacon or two? Second, the quasars are red-shifted - does that not mean their light gets preferentially absorbed by dust/gas etc, which makes them useful only at quite short ranges? (Short is of course a relative term for a starship navigator).

Then, of course, there are those captains that can't bothered follow the rules or even keep a lookout.

Comment Obvious Usefulness (Score 1) 157

When you do a hyperspace jump of any worthwhile length, the navigational inaccuracies accumulate, and you come out somewhere that you don't know exactly where you are. How long will it take you to work out where you are and get a position accurate enough for the next jump? Could be days if you are looking around for stars, trying to match their absorption spectra against a database, observing long enough to determine their real motion, etc etc.

What you need is a lighthouse. Preferably two-three so you can triangulate. Get a position in minutes.

We humans, setting out to use the trackless seas of our planet, with crap navigational instruments - one of the first nav aids we built were lighthouses, for instance the Pharos at Alexandria, more than 2,000 years ago.

I wonder if this star is anywhere near a hazard? That would confirm it in my mind.

1: No code table for op: ++post