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Comment: Re:Old git speaking here... (Score 1) 942

by EnglishTim (#48035309) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

The thing is, I'm not sure the vast majority of people do still use those imperial units. UK schools have taught in metric units for the last 40 years, and all food and drink (with the exception of draught beer and cider) has had to sold with metric labelling for the last 20 years. I'm 41, and although I have a good idea of what an inch and a foot is, I have no particularly intuitive feeling for a pound or an ounce, so I always have to the mental conversion to grams or kilograms first, and I grew up at a time when imperial measured labelling was more common.

Comment: Re:This is not government policy (Score 1) 942

by EnglishTim (#48035149) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

The thing I find interesting is that David Cameron is probably among the last set of people in the UK to have been taught any imperial measures in school - in fact he would have been eight years old in 1974 when using metric units in schools became compulsory, so it's possible he could have been taught both imperial and metric (Unless private schools were exempt from such rules, I guess).

Certainly anyone aged 44 or under in the UK will have grown up with the metric system in school.

Comment: Re:But it failed (Score 1) 54

Yeah, that bit was pretty alarming. Imagine being encased in that suit, unable to move your arms and suddenly a spark gets in and sets your clothes or hair on fire. I'd be interested to know if he had any kind of alarm he could press to get people to run in with extinguishers and the like.

Comment: Not a planning issue in this case. (Score 1) 127

by EnglishTim (#47683791) Attached to: Switching Game Engines Halfway Through Development

There are several comments suggesting that they had simply planned badly at the start of the project, which had resulted in a bad engine choice.

He actually mentions it in the article; Unreal Engine 4 only became available at a feasible price when they had started the project.

Comment: England is pretty bright (Score 1) 55

by EnglishTim (#46911835) Attached to: How To Find Nearby Dark Skies, No Matter Where You Are

Looking at the map in the UK, the vast majority of England is coded yellow or worse (5.6 - 6.0 - suburban sky). In some places you can can get green coded (6.1 - 6.5 - suburban / rural transition), and there's only four areas coded blue (6.6 - 7.0, rural), which are along the border with Scotland, a chunk of Cornwall, a very small bit of the North Norfolk coast at Wells-next-the-sea, and a bit at the border with Wales. Wales in general fares better with some proper dark places through the central and western of the country, as does Scotland in the highlands and along the border with England. Northern Ireland has a few spots of 'blue' in the north and southwest of the country.

Anyway, for me a it's a little disappointing - It'd be many hours drive to get to anywhere rated 'blue' or darker, and over an hour to get to the only place in the whole of the southeast rated 'green'.

Comment: Re:and what about the welfare for the people autom (Score 1) 216

by EnglishTim (#46355797) Attached to: Rolls Royce Developing Drone Cargo Ships

Just because occupations have popped up to replace these lost jobs in the past doesn't mean that they will in the future.

As machines become more and more capable, they can accomplish more and more of the things that previously only people could do, and will presumably tend towards being able to do anything a human could do. As we get closer to that point, it's quite possible there will be increasingly large sections of the population who find themselves effectively unemployable as there's very little they can do that cannot be done more cheaply by a machine.

It's nice to think that the new occupations will pop up to give us all something to do, but I think to believe that is basically an article of faith. I don't see any evidence that suggests it's guaranteed.

Comment: You can get a taste of it with Kinect + Oculus (Score 3, Interesting) 59

by EnglishTim (#46111979) Attached to: 30 Minutes Inside Valve's Prototype Virtual Reality Headset

I've been experimenting with using the Kinect for body positioning - allowing you to walk around a virtual room by walking around a real one. There are two big problems: First, the fidelity of the Kinect isn't great, so positioning is a bit inaccurate and gets jumpy with distance. Second, I had to make a cord bundle extension to give me room to walk about and you're always worried about tripping over it.

Comment: Trouble in the UK (Score 1) 159

by EnglishTim (#44573647) Attached to: Is Europe's Recession Really Over?

Recent figures suggesting (very) modest growth in the UK have been greeted with enthusiasm, but I still think as a country we're in trouble, and a big part of that I think is that wages have not in any way been keeping up with the huge rises in house prices over the last 20-30 years.

The government is encouraging banks to lend to house buyers by guaranteeing a portion of the mortgages, but it seems to me to just be encouraging another bubble.

The average full-time, permanent employee salary in the UK is around £24,500; the average house price is around £230,000 and rising; it'll be more in the South and less in the North, but even so, the average house price is nine times the average salary. It's just not sustainable.

"Any excuse will serve a tyrant." -- Aesop