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Comment: Re:Huh (Score 1) 240

by JanneM (#48139917) Attached to: Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'

> This is why we are still waiting for Perl 6, if it ever gets released.

I suspect in the case of Perl 6 (and perhaps also for Python) it may have been better to give the language a new name, and allow even more radical changes. Keeping the name strongly signals that it's still the same language. Breaking compatibility is exactly what makes it a different one.

Comment: Huh (Score 5, Insightful) 240

by JanneM (#48139531) Attached to: Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'

So.. preserving backwards compatibility and interoperability across versions is a bad thing? If he's unhappy with the feature set of C++ (and I wouldn't blame him for that), then how about simply picking up a different language instead? That's what a new, non-compatible C++ version would be in any case.

Look at how great it has worked out for Python. It's been six years since the only mildly incompatible version 3 was released, and it has still not managed to become dominant over the legacy version 2. A more radical break would almost certainly have had an even tougher road ahead.

Comment: Re:Useful but physics? (Score 2) 243

by JanneM (#48082467) Attached to: 2014 Nobel Prize In Physics Awarded To the Inventors of the Blue LED

From Alfred Nobels will: "[...]which shall be apportioned as follows: one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics; [...]"

So, discovery or invention. Doesn't have to be fundamental science, and can indeed be a pure engineering achievement.

Comment: Re:Hai! (Score 1) 111

by JanneM (#48042255) Attached to: Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Trains Celebrate 50th Anniversary

That piece is kind of crap. The main reason is that the summer holidays are over. The kids are in school (and busy with clubs, homework and so on on the weekends) and the parents are working. And as most bathers are gone, so are the drink vendors, the equipment renters and so on.You'll still find people on beaches, just not many.

Comment: Re:Fine. Legislate for externalities. (Score 3, Insightful) 488

by JanneM (#48024761) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

"Indeed, in Japan, only the western half of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu have enough sunny days to justify large-scale rooftop solar installations."

Which is why one of the largest solar plants opened near Sendai in northern Honshu a couple years back? What conditions are profitable depend on the technology you use, and the cost of production. And as solar cost decreases and efficiency increases more locations will be realistic.

Comment: Re:Why didn't they seek protection? (Score 4, Informative) 41

by JanneM (#48009265) Attached to: Japan's Mt. Ontake Erupts, Stranding Hundreds of Hikers

The video is deceiving; that trail is much steeper than it looks. Slowly stumbling downwards is pretty much all they could do. Also, most deaths from eruptions are either from poisonous gas or from heat. A small hut will shield you from neither. But both gas concentration and heat will disspiate by distance, so simply trying to get away from it may well be your best chance to survive.

Comment: Re:Copter data (Score 1) 92

by JanneM (#48003439) Attached to: DHL Goes Live With 'Parcelcopter' Drone Delivery Service

So why are people generally using quadcopters for autonomous systems? What's the disadvantage of a single-rotor copter when you're doing autonomous flight? I can imagine that perhaps it's a size issue - quadcopters are lighter or cheaper or more efficient below a certain size or when indoors? Or is it much more difficult to write a reliable control system for a single-rotor system?

Comment: Copter data (Score 5, Insightful) 92

by JanneM (#48001821) Attached to: DHL Goes Live With 'Parcelcopter' Drone Delivery Service

Here's some data on the hardware, from

* 65 km/h peak speed, and will cover the distance in about 15-30 minutes;
* It weighs 5kg, and can carry a payload of up to 1.2kg

With 1.2kg it can certainly carry a complement of medicines or even small, urgently needed hardware and parts (batteries or spare bits for medical equipment for instance). Not general use of cours, but it does look like more than just a stunt.

Comment: Re:The review ecosystem is good and truly broken.. (Score 2) 249

by JanneM (#47963597) Attached to: Small Restaurant Out-Maneuvers Yelp In Reviews War

Why? Maybe I simply only review things I like. Why would that devalue my reviews?

This. One reason really low and really high reviews are much more common than they ought to be is that people only bother voicing an opinion if they feel strongly (positive or negative) about something. Another is that once they do, they'll tend to exaggerate their evaluation to really drive home how they feel.

My suspicion is that the only stable scale is a simple "really liked it/really disliked it" up/down system. Then somehow weigh that according to the proportion of customers or buyers that actually bother to review. That depends of having a decently good estimate of that proportion though. The likes of Amazon have that for their products; for restaurants it'd be hard to impossible,

Comment: Take the long view (Score 5, Insightful) 494

by JanneM (#47926185) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

Charlie Stross recently posted a very good take on this: This is a permanent change. Whatever happens during the first few years is basically irrelevant, compared to the long-term results. Did Norway separating from Sweden cause short-term economic upheaval? Does that matter at all a century later?

This is a long-term change, not a short.term one. Any voter should consider the probable situation twenty or fourty years from now, not whatever happens in a year or two.