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Comment: Re:Ceres it's cold out there (Score 2) 78

by Fortran IV (#49683177) Attached to: Dawn Spacecraft Gets a Better Look At Ceres' Bizarre 'White Spots'
Interesting question. The explanation for ice skates I was taught as a kid (weight of skater forces surface of ice to melt, making it slippery) appears to be discredited. Still, I'd expect any loosely-bonded water molecules between skates and the ice would boil away instantly in near vacuum. Has anybody ever tried skating at very high altitude?

Comment: Visual effects (Score 4, Insightful) 152

by Fortran IV (#49681877) Attached to: How Responsible Are App Developers For Decisions Their Users Make?
From TFA:

The goal is absolute clarity and lack of ambiguity so that decisions can be made quickly. Visual effects can obscure the facts and misrepresent proportions and ratios, thus leading to incorrect conclusions.

Of course! That's why every damn application I use these days has its own "skins" and its own custom layout. Using a standard, familiar window layout would allow me to actually get some work done without having to search for the menus and buttons. Can't have that, can we?

Comment: Re:Word swap? (Score 2) 114

Ditto the part about "persistently and without reasonable cause makes use of a public electronic communications network"—again, that only applies if it's for the purpose of causing annoyance etc. Despite what the first (more hysterical) linked article says, refreshing Facebook every 10 seconds won't violate this law.

(Unless, of course, you're doing it to deliberately annoy or inconvenience Facebook.)

Comment: Re:Perfect security (Score 3, Interesting) 460

by Fortran IV (#49423689) Attached to: Planes Without Pilots
Same for the Air Canada flight that ran out of fuel halfway to its destination. It had Boeing's new "glass cockpit" with computer screens for everything, and guess what? When the engines died for lack of fuel, so did the computers. The crew were left with a handful of the most basic instruments; something like artificial horizon, airspeed, and altimeter.

As I recall, the pilot landed that one safely because the plane had a mechanical backup system (an air turbine) that gave him minimal hydraulic power—and also because he was an experienced glider pilot who probably got more miles out of his starting altitude than most professionals (or computer systems) could have.

Comment: Re:Now? Or back when I used to write code? (Score 1) 220

by Fortran IV (#49400509) Attached to: How would you rate your programming skills?
This! My /. nick isn't chosen randomly, but I haven't written a useful line of FORTRAN in nearly 30 years. (I'm not sure anything I wrote in COBOL could ever properly be called "useful".)

These days, I'm a programming god to my children for screensavers written in QuickBasic, fairly skilled in some specialized stuff, sort of an amateur in Python and JS, mostly baffled by PowerShell, and utterly ignorant of C, C++, C#, Visual C-minus, C for Dummies, Hi-C.....

The only perfect science is hind-sight.

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