Direct solar may sound nice and work fine in small scale, but collectors would have to cover great areas to be effective
The total world energy consumption is somewhere around 100PWh/year. That's around 274TWh/day. The sunlight hitting the Earth is around 1kW/m^2, so 8kWh/m^2 assuming 8 hours of sunlight. If you assume 100% efficiency in conversion (totally impossible, but we'll start there and refine later), then that means that you need about 3.45E10 m^2 of land devoted to solar power. That's a square about 185km on each side. If you assume 10% efficiency (mass produced photovoltaics are 12-25% these days), then you need an area about 342000km^2, or about the area of Germany, to power the entire world. Now, given the efficiency of power distribution, you probably wouldn't want to put it all in one place, but you could easily fit solar panels enough that, even with transmission losses, you could power all of North America in Utah or Texas without anyone noticing. The difficulty is not the generation, it's the storage.
"Windows CE didn't have that sort of penetration" - this is not actually accurate, companies just didn't Internetwork all of their rubbish embedded systems, leaving them unexposed
I'm still surprised every time I see a new example of a living installation of CE still in use in 2015.
Examples still in use today include:
- POS and cash registers (Fujitsu, others)
- ATMs (newer ones use a variant of 7 called Embedded, the successor to CE)
- devices with a display in a supermarket that can read barcodes, and check stock or prices (so called "guns", ASDA, Wal*Mart, Tesco)
- devices used to take signatures for postal delivery and parcel delivery (Royal Mail, UPS)
- devices to log utility meter readings in the field (G4S, British Gas)
- Police Airwave terminals of various descriptions (the Compaq iPaq with peripheral for fingerprint reader paired with a PCMCIA II Airwave modem, gives Greater Manchester Police an ID for a suspect in less than 30 seconds.)
Leap seconds are announced months in advance
i.e. with less warning than the revalidation time for a lot of safety-critical systems.
Anybody who knows about problems with leap days?
Well, aside from the Zune infinite looping...
Leap days (which we call leap years, because consistency is hard) are predictable. Software written 40 years ago will have the extra days at exactly the same times and with exactly the same frequency that the designers thought that they would. You never have problems where some parts of a distributed system got the update and others didn't. Either the code is working, or it's broken. It's also really easy to test.
You do understand that the navigation is ALSO intrinsically tied to the astronomical positioning of things, right?
Today? Mostly (for anything where accuracy matters to the degree that leap seconds will make a difference in under a few hundred years) it depends on the GPS position, or some equivalent. GPS time, unlike UTC, does not have leap seconds.
And anyway... "News flash, giant multinational project sees schedule slip - details at 9!"
Multinational? But the headline says that it's French! I thought it was only a multinational project in stories with a positive spin.
Well, nothing aside from convincing the USSR to spend so much on defence that their economy collapsed, shortly followed by their political system.
Oh, and those intelligence agencies that are now crying for a greater ability to spy on us so that they can protect us from terrorists? They were completely surprised and thought that the collapse of the USSR was a hoax.
It is easier to change the specification to fit the program than vice versa.