He is a fuckwit that raises the point ; what if this is just a dastardly plan to get public orgs to pay for an upgrade to Office 2013? It could be regarded as the low-risk option - and lower versions do not support ODF 1.2.
More like ODF is readable without having to buy software. Software that will read ODF is available for free - and without installation either, since you can upload files to a web renderer now.
The theory being that requiring people to purchase software from a particular vendor disenfranchises those that cannot afford it and those that choose not to do business with that vendor.
Yeah, this is because Office reuses so much of Windows, not just limited to basic API calls to get files and use control widgets and such, but rendering of fonts, etc.
LibreOffice has a much better chance of consistent document rendering on multiple platforms.
The Cabinet Office announcement does make a distinction between documents for collaboration and those for viewing ; PDF/A and HTML should at least have a reasonably consistent rendering (depending on how fancy you get with stylesheets in the case of HTML - IE, is of course, still a total arsebasket in terms of compatibility).
The main reason you might want a human readable format is for collaboration ;
So many of my customers have collaborative content editing requirements as follows
* All changes to be auditable
* Changes to be peer reviewed before going into the released content
Which basically screams out to be put in a version control system ; the problem is that merging sucks for binary blob formats.
You can close the gap either by creating better merge tools that understand your blobs, or moving the document structure to line-based text that merges well ; for a document of any complexity, you're going to need the improved merge tools, but line-based text makes sense for those who can read it without the GUI tools.
As programmers we fill the role of that improved merge tool for the content that we manage ; we forget that for most people, parsing and grokking even something as simple as nicely prettified HTML is akin to reading Sanskrit blindfolded from stone tablets wearing gloves.
I agree though, I want to move most of my technical authors to Markdown so that I can have an easy platform for converting their content to multiple formats for consumption.
OOXML wasn't designed as an exchange format at all ; every indication is that it's just an XML serialization of the internal data structures of Office. (The "Strict" version that nothing can write was produced after removing some of the more egregious kludges that have accumulated over time in Office).
The only thing it was designed to achieve was to provide some reasonable doubt that it might be an "open format", at a time when open formats were starting to become all the rage.
Because it gave that reasonable doubt, people were able to shy away from the difficult problem of how to migrate to a different office suite. Because Office allegedly "supports" ODF, that reasonable doubt is sadly still there.
The last time I tried it, Excel ruined ODS documents with any kind of complexity... like... formulas. Almost like it was on purpose.
Well, efficiency informs us on cost. Let's couple those costs with efficiency and use the same fuel source.
Natural gas power stations vs hydrogen (from reformed natural gas)
Gas power station = 60% efficient 
So a battery vehicle powered by electricity generated from natural gas :
Gas turbine efficiency * transmission line efficiency * battery cycle efficiency
0.6 * 0.94 * 0.95 = 53%
Fuel cell vehicle powered by hydrogen reformed from natural gas
Natural gas is primarily methane. Methane releases 810kJ per mole  on burning, and contains 4 moles of hydrogen atoms which would form 2 moles of hydrogen gas. Assuming we remove the carbon from a mole of methane, we get 2 moles of hydrogen molecules. Energy of combusion of hydrogen gas is 286kJ/mol , so that's 572kJ/mol per mole of methane or just over 70% of the energy. I'm going to be very generous and assume that steam reformation costs no energy and that no hydrogen is lost in the process.
Methane reformation to hydrogen efficiency * fuel cell efficiency
0.7 * 0.5 = 35%
Therefore starting with the same fuel as an energy source, storage tank to wheels, the fuel cell car requires at least 50% more fuel. Therefore it costs more per mile, and that's before any of the other engineering considerations.
Please don't try to tell me that the cost of electricity produced from natural gas is completely decoupled from the cost of hydrogen produced from natural gas.
The horse is still high enough. Twice as high as the pony that fuel cells rode in on, at the least.
Making electricity from a power plant with a traditional thermal conversion cycle (40% efficiency, at best) and making hydrogen by electrolysis (50% efficiency) and using it to power your fuel cell car (again, about 50%) yields
0.4 * 0.5 * 0.5 = 0.1 or 10% efficiency for the fuel that went in. That's half the efficiency of a traditional internal combustion engine.
Efficiency of an ICE averages about 20%. And I'm being generous with that because that does not take into account the losses from refining raw fuels (like coal, which can be burned unrefined).
Not sure what the efficiency of making hydrogen with steam reformation is, but logically you're throwing away a lot of the chemical energy in the original compound, because in a combustion cycle you'd be burning the carbon as well as the oxygen, and if you want the "green" benefits you also have to spend resources sequestering the carbon byproducts so produced. If it's above 80% efficient (which would seem on inspection to be impossible because of the lost carbon), then you have a vehicle that is clean at the tailpipe but just barely more full-cycle efficient than an ICE based vehicle, all other things being equal. Which they aren't because of the expensive platinum catalyst, heavy cryogenic high pressure tanks, etc, etc, etc.
Battery cycle is about 95% efficient. So even if you burn fossil fuels (40% efficiency) and suffer transmission losses (in the US, 94% efficiency), you still get a car that is more efficient than both ICEs and fuel cells.
0.4 * 0.94 * 0.95 = 35% efficiency
So at less than twice the efficiency of ICEs, electric cars are not the magical panacea that they are painted to be, but they are much better than ICEs and fuel cells. The major play available is in the first stage - the electricity generation. When you start replacing those coal fired power stations with other sources of electricity, they start to get much much greener. And they don't demand the construction of an entirely new fuel distribution infrastructure with difficult engineering challenges.
I remain certain in my position that hydrogen energy is primarily an investment of the fossil fuel industry, designed to help prolong the market for "vintage biomass" as long as possible, either by actually putting hydrogen cars on the road, or diverting investment away from battery technology.
The parts of our brain structure that are most associated with our cognitive abilities evolved from the parts that processed smell. Whales clearly communicate using their song, so what's to say that the parts of their brains that process sound (which would be the bulk of their sensory needs) aren't undergoing the same transition?
And the retroreflecting prism arrays sent to the moon, that anyone with a big enough laser can bounce a beam off and determine what the distance of the moon is at the moment, were presumably put up there by Elvis on his way home. Hell, it's just a few pairs of his rhinestone trousers that fell out of his trunk.
"I'd hit that.... with a roll of 13 or more."
i) They aren't fish, they are mammals
ii) They have social grouping activity, the thing that separates the smart animals from the dumb ones, and the thing responsible for the growth of humans into the dominant species
70% of US corn is fed to livestock. Because of all the economic subsidy that corn receives this means the price of meat in the US is artificially low.
US meat consumption is multiple times that of the next nearest nation ; even if you cut your meat consumption by half, you'd still be eating a lot of meat, and you'd free up vast tracts of agricultural land to grow other crops.
To expand on the sibling's post about Saddam switching oil sales to Euros :
The economy of the US is propped up by a vast debt. We're not talking loans to banks, or China. We're talking petrodollars.
The de-facto currency that oil is traded in was for a long time, the US dollar. Which meant that nations speculated in it, hoarded it, retained reserves of it for the purpose of trading oil.
This meant that the US printed more dollars with impunity, as long as oil markets expanded, meaning the government enjoyed the ability to spend vast amounts of money backed not just by US wealth and productivity, but the wealth and productivity of the whole world.
Then it was proposed that it would be a good idea to start trading for oil in currencies other than the US Dollar. The US financiers were terrified by this.
If the nations of the world no longer needed their dollars to buy oil, they would seek to exchange them for other things of value. And if the nations of the world no longer needed US dollars to buy oil, they would no longer want to accept them in exchange for things of value, so the bulk of the balance would have to come home to the US to be exchanged for things of value there.
This would cause US inflation, devaluation of the US dollar, and vast tracts of US interests suddenly being owned by foreign nationals. The incumbent administration (or rather, their financier friends) could not permit this, so they made an example of one of the countries that dared to make noises about trading their oil for Euros.
i mean why have 6,8,or 10 children? when you can only feed 2 or 3(without assistance)?
Historic precedent, based on two factors -
* High levels of infant mortality
* The need to provide for one's retirement
These countries don't have functioning social care systems. Your children are the only care you're going to get in your dotage. That, combined with the historic trend of high infant mortality, means that high numbers of children are perceived as a form of great fortune. They don't have the career driven lives of the West that are leading our populations to shrink because we're producing fewer than one child per person. Even if the healthcare systems improve and infant mortality rates drop, there is some time before the culture catches up.