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Comment Re: I am not a physicist but... (Score 4, Interesting) 169

An interesting trend to watch, even if this one doesn't turn out to be verified, is that China is where most of the the significant energy research is happening.

The US will be buying most of its advanced energy tech from China in just a couple decades. A couple decades ago that would have seemed unconscionable.

Say what you want about the relative historical value of the two governments, but one stymies progress with fear-based regulations and denial and the other takes the engineering approach to solving problems. Only one of those can drive prosperity - the leads to despair.

Comment Re: Rajiv.. (Score 1) 162

They don't care if you can get a new job on short notice. They're planning to lay you off anyways.

From what I have been able to piece together, many Indian people's first language is an Indian English dialect, which is more different from the US/UK/Aus dialects than they are from each other. It can make for some "interesting but stupid" exchanges. What's worse, they are worse than the American stereotype of expecting non-Indian speakers to be able to follow their "crisp" Indian English dialect. They've even got a peculiar notion about self-promotion. What any other person would call self-promotion, they would say is not unless it fits into a strict set of circumstances I'm not particularly clear on.

Comment Re:Important Stuff (for the discussion) (Score 1) 41

* Please try to keep posts on topic.
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Comment Re:Energy in? (Score 1) 103

Methanol is a well known starter compound for numerous synthetic pathways. I believe that in WWII it was used in Germany to power cars (though how often I don't know.)

I will agree that methanol would be a terrible jet fuel. It is not only low in energy density, it absorbs water like a sponge.

OTOH, many model aircraft used to use methanol for fuel, so it not totally unreasonable as a drone fuel.

Comment Re:Energy in? (Score 1) 103

In a different article (possibly about a different project) it was explicitly stated that the cost would currently be prohibitive, but that if oil ran out this could be a useful replacement.

I would be very surprised if the same caveat didn't apply to this project, presuming it's not the same project.

Comment Re: What's the viable alternative? (Score 1) 155

That's basically the goal, that we can create cheap code domestic instead of sending the work abroad. What good that would do, well, you can divine by gauging the quality of code you get from abroad.

In the end I can reassure you that it will not work out. Programming is not just a skill you can pick up by drilling it into the heads of people. It's at the very least as much dependent on a certain state of mind (lacking a better term). You will certainly create a few people who will be more or less capable of slapping together some code, mostly in a cargo-cult, copy-paste fashion. And their programs may actually work. Sometimes. And that "sometimes" is exactly the problem. Because these people don't know how to take special cases into account in a way that they don't fuck up the result.

And this is critical. Because the main reason companies want to use computers is to create results fast and without human work. And that entails that it is mission critical that you can rely on the results to be correct. Because if you can not, that advantage you want to get is null and void because you still have to put a human there to at the very least check the plausibility of the results, and in the end you might end up with wrong results which can be VERY expensive to clean up afterwards.

And that's the huge problem here.

With many other things in life you can hire cheap amateurs and if they fuck up, you notice it quickly and can fix it. If your plumber fucks up, you notice it quickly with the huge puddle forming in your basement. An electrician creating a mess usually means that the power is gone. Hopefully nothing worse. A programming error may surface after years, leading to costly all-night repair sessions from experienced programmers who tend to cost an arm and a leg. A security hole in a software you use can easily lead to even worse damage. And again, damage you might not notice until it is far, far too late to mitigate it.

Comment Re:The one lesson developers should learn (Score 1) 39

Contracts aren't necessarily worth any more than the paper they are written on. What are your enforcement powers? How expensive is it to enforce the contract? Do you trust the party that wrote the contract to honestly tell you what it means? (Do they even know?) Etc.

Once you make yourself dependent on someone else, you are dependent on them. A contract *MAY* give you the tools to damage them somewhat if they disregard it, but that won't give you back your lost time and effort. It may well not even pay your attorney's fees.

Comment Re:FTFY (Score 1) 39

While you are technically correct, people who are not invested in a company won't follow the details of internal fact those are usually hidden even from those that do, so as a short-cut technique for figuring out how much to trust a company you attend to its externally visible actions. This does require that you treat the company as an entity, and ignore the details about who decided what...but that's usually secret anyway.

So yes, this is an invalid way to think about a company. It is, however, a useful tool. And if corporations can be ruled to be legally persons, it seems improper to castigate someone using that same shortcut in a non-detrimental to citizens way.

Comment Re: What's the viable alternative? (Score 1) 155

No, but wasting time thinking on where the keys are is. I can't even imagine programming sensibly if I had to actually look at the keyboard and ponder where to find the letters I want to write.

I can concentrate on writing code. You have to concentrate on writing itself. Personally, I'd consider this a huge disadvantage.

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