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Comment: Technology is a moving target. (Score 1) 122

by TapeCutter (#48914731) Attached to: Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble

.... lead or follow it in EXACTLY the same orbit. That would be a feat of orbital mechanics never before achieved.

The GRACE mission has been doing it for a few years now, tiny fluctuations in gravity can be inferred by the change in distance between the two probes. However it's not a geostationary orbit, just one probe following the other in low orbit. Personally I think it's a genius idea to turn the problem of keeping two probes in sync into a highly accurate gravity probe.

Comment: The early 70's are calling. (Score 1) 290

One of the largest internal migrations in US history was in the early 70's when 20 something hippies started leaving cities in droves and building mud brick utopias. Only a handful of the communes survived more then 2ys. The common cause of downfall was human nature - a bully would arise in the commune and take ownership of the land by pushing people out one by one.

Comment: Re:Urban legend? (Score 1) 290

I grew up during the cold war, the term "plan C" sound vaguely familiar. The military is expected to "plan for every scenario", it's unsurprising they came up with silly plans for a nuclear - most primary school kids knew that fallout made "duck and cover" a sick joke. It's an attempt to make people feel like they can "do something" other than dying.

Comment: Re:Modula-3 FTW! (Score 1) 479

by Zordak (#48907509) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

You do understand that Pascal was first released in 1970, right? Many Pascal programmers in the 1970s asked the same question - why do we need C, with its dangerous string handling and obtuse preprocessor, if it doesn't solve any new problems?

Um, you realize that C came out at almost exactly the same time, don't you? Granted, I wasn't programming anything in the 1970s, but I know enough history to know that the Unix kernel was already being ported to C right around 1970.

Comment: Re:Block Styles [Re:Modula-3 FTW!] (Score 2) 479

by Zordak (#48907215) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

I like the End-X style, such as VB's, because if the nesting gets messed up due to a typo, End-X carries info about which block ender went with which block starter. "End While" goes with "While", obviously, not an IF statement. Brackets lack this ability.

"Lacks" is a strong word; it's just not inherent. Back when I used to write software in C and C++ for money, I would religiously put "}//end if" to make sure I could keep track of which braces went where. If I needed even more context, I would put " }//end if(var1 == var2). It's not that hard. Like many things in C, you have plenty of rope to hang yourself if you really want to, but you can also make it tidy and sensible if you care to. C is not your friend, and is not your enemy.

C is like an M1 rifle. Sturdy, proved in battle many times over, occasionally finnicky, and ready to put a high-powered round precisely where you aim it without apology. Whether you aim at your foot is your business.

Comment: OO is not a property of the language. (Score 1) 195

by TapeCutter (#48895439) Attached to: Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

C++ rewards good design but brutally punishes poor designs.

You hit the nail on the head, somewhere in the early 90's, language vendors stopped claiming "Our language supports OO concepts" and started claiming "Our language is OO".

The first C++ compiler I used professionally was Wacom's (circa 1991). Back then the Watcom C++ extensions were not part of the language, they were implemented with a bunch of C macros pulled in with include files, the macros themselves were riddled with goto (another macro) statements. I still have nightmares....

The fact is any general purpose language can be used to implement an OO design because OO is not about language features, it's a design methodology, or at least that's what I was taught when studying for my CS degree in the late 80's. As my smalltalk lecturer pointed out at the time, most of the examples in K&R's "The C language" are also great examples of OO design that were written long before the term OO was invented.

Disclaimer: These days I spend much more time tying spaghetti balls with different flavoured source together than I do trying to untangle the individual gordian knots.

Comment: Re:It was the press coverage that was the disaster (Score 5, Informative) 76

by TapeCutter (#48882117) Attached to: The Camera That Changed the Universe
I recall reading about the mirror when it was being made, the precision with which it was polished was mind bogglingly accurate, if it was the size of Australia the largest deviation from perfectly smooth would be less than a millimetre. The problem was the shape (which changes slightly when put in zero-g), an extra shim in the framework that held the glass while it was cut was found to be the cause of the problem.

Cannot fathom why your post id marked redundant, OT maybe, but redundant?

Comment: Re:More proof (Score 1) 666

by TapeCutter (#48871495) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax
Old troll but a good one - both planets have seasons, parts of Canada are inside the Arctic circle, if Canada had zero air pressure then winter would be as cold as Lunar night time.

Here's a random conundrum for you - why is February the hottest month in Melbourne when the summer solstice in is December?

The gent who wakes up and finds himself a success hasn't been asleep.