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Comment: Re:If you wanted us to believe your Op-Ed... (Score 1) 547

by Garfong (#48106213) Attached to: Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

My objection to this feature is that (as far as I know) emacs is the only editor that has it. So if you're in a mixed vi/emacs/whatever shop you quickly get a tab-space soup. Worse, unless you're careful you can easily start introducing whitespace-only changes to portions of a file you're working on, making merging changes between branches unnecessarily difficult.

Comment: Re:If you wanted us to believe your Op-Ed... (Score 1) 547

by Garfong (#48104185) Attached to: Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

Really? This has to be something specific to how he had emacs configured, because as a long time emacs user this certainly isn't the default.

On the other hand, emacs has the equally insane default behaviour of assuming tabstops are 8 characters, and if you have more than 8 characters of initial whitespace it will fold it down into the minimum number of characters by replacing spaces with tabs. Fortunately there's a setting which will turn this behaviour off and force emacs to always use spaces.

Comment: Re:Discovery? (Score 1) 742

by Garfong (#48084629) Attached to: Complain About Comcast, Get Fired From Your Job

Getting a lawyer to send a nasty letter is cheap. Filing a lawsuit and going through discovery is expensive.

If you can get what you want from a letter, why bother with the lawsuit. On the other hand, if the letter doesn't work, you can always escalate to the lawsuit with little money lost. The letter probably also puts them on notice they need to preserve evidence.

Comment: Re:Capture it (Score 1) 54

by Garfong (#48041117) Attached to: Earth Gets Another Quasi-Moon

Not this again.

I'm assuming you're just trying to be funny, but the usual formulas for gravity as a strictly attractive force apply only in an inertial frame. But it's possible, using calculus, to change the co-ordinate system to derive comparable laws of physics for a system which follows the Earth. In this frame of reference, gravity is much more interesting. So it's entirely possible, that from the point of view of an observer on the Earth, Earth's gravity is pushing this asteroid away.

And for what it's worth, as far as I remember we've never made enough 0 net charge antimatter to directly measure the force of gravity between antimatter and matter, but the assumption is that antimatter and matter attract. Otherwise funky stuff like time travel and warp drive would be possible.

Comment: Re:Is this technically impossible - no. (Score 1) 191

by Garfong (#47920759) Attached to: Tim Cook Says Apple Can't Read Users' Emails, That iCloud Wasn't Hacked

Fair enough. As I said, I suspected this was not actually what Apple was doing.

I was responding to GGP claim that services like Lavabit were logically impossible, which clearly isn't true: Lavabit existed. But as you say, Apple is obviously not doing the same level of encryption.

Comment: Re:Is this technically impossible - no. (Score 1) 191

by Garfong (#47918639) Attached to: Tim Cook Says Apple Can't Read Users' Emails, That iCloud Wasn't Hacked

I can read my mail, so can he. It's only logical.

Not true. They could be encrypting your emails with a public key as soon as the email hits their server, and have the private key encrypted based on your password. Then you could only access at most the email of users who were currently logged in.

But I think it's more likely that they don't have any tools to read user's emails, but they're still stored on the server essentially in the clear.

Comment: Re:Renew this! (Score 1) 444

by Garfong (#47912655) Attached to: If Tesla Can Run Its Gigafactory On 100% Renewables, Why Can't Others?

You're probably right -- I do need to review my thermo. University was many years ago, and thermo was taught in a hot class room in the middle of summer by a prof who was in his 60s and coasting to retirement. But I meant to claim that lithium battery chemistry was thermodynamically reversible _in theory_, whereas a heat engine (such as a gasoline engine) is not. Although I'm not really sure if this is true either, but practical efficiencies are in the 90% range (according to the sources cited by wikipedia), which includes internal impedances, and other real-world losses. So it seems likely to either be theoretically thermodynamically reversible, or very close.

But you were the one who said the hydrocarbons were being burned (in your previous post). In this case, lithium battery discharge/recharge cycle is up to ~90% efficient, whereas gasoline burning has an average efficiency of 25-35%. So ignoring the efficiency of the hypothetical gasoline recovery process, that's a difference of at least 55%.

I think it's ironic that you consider a difference between 100% and 90% completely invalidates what I'm saying, but me pointing out a difference between 90% and 35% is being pedantic.

Comment: Re:Renew this! (Score 1) 444

by Garfong (#47893185) Attached to: If Tesla Can Run Its Gigafactory On 100% Renewables, Why Can't Others?

Recharging lithium batteries and recovering hydrocarbons from exhaust waste are not equivalent. Lithium battery discharge is a reversible process, so the original state can be recovered by input of the same amount of energy as was originally extracted from the system. Gasoline & turbine engines (like all heat engines) are non-reversible, which means it takes more energy to recover the initial state than was extracted as useful work. This is because only a portion of the energy produced by burning hydrocarbons can be extracted as work -- the rest escapes as heat.

If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then a consensus forecast is a camel's behind. -- Edgar R. Fiedler

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