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Comment: "Fiberglass" (Score 1) 82

by Kaz Kylheku (#47211349) Attached to: Biodegradable Fibers As Strong As Steel Made From Wood Cellulose

Fiberglass is actually a composite made of epoxy (or other) resin, with glass fibers embedded in it for tensile strength.

Until you have a biodegradable epoxy to go with your biodegradable cellulose cloth, there isn't any point.

I don't think fiberglass itself is used for strength in other applications, but for its fire-retardant properties (insulation wool, glass cloth). Good luck with cellulose there.

Comment: Fix bugs first, please! (Score 1) 169

by Kaz Kylheku (#47115345) Attached to: Microsoft Demos Real-Time Translation Over Skype

For instance, it would be nice if the lastest version of Skype for Windows didn't sometimes freeze for 45 seconds at a time when merely sending an instant message, with no audio or video call in progress.

A translator for Skype? Bah, that just needs a fixed vocabularly of audio files consisting of "can you hear me now?" and "I cannot see you!" in 50 languages.

Comment: Re:Ten Reasons to use Modern Fortran (Score 1) 634

by Kaz Kylheku (#46970075) Attached to: Why Scientists Are Still Using FORTRAN in 2014

Pass by reference is the norm? That is moronic and encourages bugs. We should avoid destructive manipulation such as variable assignment as much as possible in programming; reference parameters exist to make it possible to modify a caller's variable.

If you have reference parameters in the language, then any foo(var) call can potentially modify var. If it doesn't today, then someone can change it tomorrow to give himself access to var inside foo.

The C convention of taking an explicit address is safe against this.

Pass by value should be the norm. Pass by reference shouldn't even exist.

Lisp is purely pass by value; there is no pass by reference: just that some types have reference semantics (cons cells, arrays, etc).

Comment: Ah, but: how much of this ships to end-users? (Score 1) 634

by Kaz Kylheku (#46965083) Attached to: Why Scientists Are Still Using FORTRAN in 2014

Do these scientists develop friendly graphical user interfaces for their Fortran programs?

Do these programs have robust and secure handling of all input?

How about configuration: are there dialogs for setting up preferences, which are persisted somewhere?

Do they package up user-friendly installers?

How much of their stuff runs on new platforms like tablets and smartphones?

What non-Fortran-stuff do these programs integrate with? Anything over a network?

Where can I download a scientific Fortran program to evaluate its quality?

Has anyone written a viable program of the following in any dialect of Fortran, new or old?

- operating system kernel
- device driver
- web browser
- web server
- instant messenger
- audio/video telephony client
- etc

Counting in octal is just like counting in decimal--if you don't use your thumbs. -- Tom Lehrer