The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the ranking of UK universities. The REF replaces the older Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), which happened every four years. The last RAE was 4 years ago, and the current REF is just finishing. Established academics have to submit 4 research outputs since the last RAE / REF. These are usually papers, but can be other things (systems you've built and so on).
The REF is a really big deal in UK universities, because it directly impacts the availability of research grants. The CVs of individual researchers are taken into account, but the REF / RAE score of the department is the biggest factor. If you have 4 papers in top-tier publications (conferences or journals, depending on your field), then it's very easy to get hired in the run up to the REF, because a lot of second tier universities are looking to find people who will bump them up the rankings.
Conversely, if you don't have the 4 publications (or other impressive things), then it's very hard to get a tenured position, but if you're not averaging one good paper a year then there's probably something wrong with you as a researcher: part of the point of publicly funded research is that the results are communicated to the public, and if you're not doing this then you're not keeping up your end of the deal.
int class = 42;
There are numerous other examples. The interesting behaviour of sizeof() when you have a class and a variable of the same name is one of my favourites.
On the other hand, crowdfunding things like kickstarter make patronage a lot easier. You don't need to be able to afford to hire an orchestra to play, you just need to find enough other people who are willing to do so. There was an article a few months ago about an effort to do this and produce high-quality public domain recordings of a large set of classical pieces.
We're in a world now where a band can produce an okay recording of a few songs in their living room, distribute it for free, and ask for funding for doing a studio recording of the whole album. They can then distribute the album for free and ask for funding for the next one (and bookings for gigs and so on). They're free to set the threshold cost for the next album to whatever they want, and if they have enough fans that think it's worth chipping in for, then it gets made and they get paid.
VMS managed to get the idea of the platform ABI specifying procedure call conventions right very early on. It had quite an easy job though. C, BASIC and Fortran are all structured programming languages with basically the same set of primitive types. None of them have (or, in the VMS days, had) classes, late binding, or real garbage collection. BASIC is kind-of GC'd, but it doesn't have pointers and so everything passed across the language barrier from BASIC was by value, so the GC didn't have to do anything clever.
It's worth remembering that when VMS was introduced, other platforms were still having problems getting C and Pascal to play nicely together (Pascal pushing arguments onto the stack in the opposite order to C), so that's not to belittle the achievement of VMS, but it's a very different world now that we have Simula and Smalltalk families of object orientation, various branches of functional languages, languages like Go and Erlang with (very different) first-class parallelism, and so on.
remember to bring to the store
This is the big one. It's quite common to pop into a shop on the way home, and unless you're driving you won't have a bag with you. I'd love it if shops would give you a bag for a deposit and return the deposit when you returned the bag.
To be fair, science is effectively a belief system
Absolutely not. Belief systems say 'this is true'. Science says 'this is a story, and if we accept this story is true then we get these useful predictions out. If we find that the predictions are not true, then we need to reevaluate the story. In some cases (e.g. Newtonian motion), the predictions may still be useful, as they still work within a particular range and the story is simpler to understand than one that gives accurate predictions everywhere, but we still accept that it's wrong. If there is no story we can think of that correctly matches our observations, then it's fine to admit ignorance.'
As an example of how this institution has varied, consider that in the mid nineteenth century in England it was considered legal for a man to try to sell his wife.
And from that link:
Although the custom had no basis in law and frequently resulted in prosecution, particularly from the mid-19th century onwards