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Comment: Simple (Score 1) 166

by rasmusbr (#49303963) Attached to: Internet of Things Endangered By Inaccurate Network Time, Says NIST

1. Don't let safety-critical decisions be based on unreliable time sources.
2. Let each device tag incoming messages with its own timestamps, which never leave the device. Due to the laws of nature messages can safely be assumed to have been transmitted no later than the time of reception.

I wonder if I should patent this...

Comment: Re:Anything... (Score 1) 385

by rasmusbr (#49287291) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Laptop To Support Physics Research?

Dual core should be fine for most day-to-day use. An SSD is almost a must-have. But most importantly: a good high-res display for looking at stuff.

This should be about right if you're going for a mac: http://store.apple.com/us/buy-...
This is more lightweight, but the CPU might be too slow: http://store.apple.com/us/buy-...
This should be OK if you can live without the apple: http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-1...

Comment: Re:What ever the boss says. (Score 1) 177

by rasmusbr (#49261471) Attached to: Preferred programming paradigm?

Boss: What paradigm should we utilize to synergize our efficiencies and provide sustainability to the cloud?

Smart Programmer: We need to use the best paradigm for each sub-problem. I would recommend the Python programming language, because it has a large number of libraries that address the sustainability in the cloud.
Boss: That doesn't sound very innovative. We really need to think outside the box on this one and future-proof our social media content. Big data is a real value add here and I'm telling you it's a game changer. We should reach out and ping some subject matter experts on industry best practices.
Smart Programmer: Python really does allow you to think outside of the box. You can switch gears really quickly with all of the libraries that it has for things like social media content and big data. Many experts would say that using Python is currently a best practice when working with big data.
Boss: That's interesting, but I would prefer Java. We have to deep dive and figure out the most dynamic way to add value and monetize this opportunity.
Smart Programmer: Java is a great choice, but we could cut our development time in half if we use Python, which would save us a lot of money and let us address our big data potential faster.
Boss: Al right, I'm going to ask some other experts about whether we should go with Java or Python. Thanks for your input.

Comment: Re:Not for SpaceX it isn't. Others - already there (Score 2) 179

by rasmusbr (#49261219) Attached to: Russia Abandons Super-Rocket Designed To Compete With SLS

Yes, but in addition to that the trade-offs are inherently different for re-usable rockets. Embrittlement is probably a pretty big problem if you intend to re-use your fuel tank many times, like SpaceX intends to.

If SpaceX fails to make their second stage re-usable I would not be surprised to see them switch to hydrogen for that stage at some point down the line.

Comment: Re:And in the US (Score 2) 179

by rasmusbr (#49261191) Attached to: Russia Abandons Super-Rocket Designed To Compete With SLS

The government needs a frame in which it can legally operate. For instance you don't want the government to get into iron mining, steel making and knife making just so it can run hospitals. It's fine for a government-run hospital to buy surgical knives from private companies.

The horror example where this separation from government subsidies never happened is the airline industry, where you have two giant corporations, Boeing and Airbus, that leech billions off of various governments.

Comment: Re:Terraforming Mars: why? we can do better than t (Score 1) 228

What can we do now?

Steel cans in low Earth orbit. Things have not really change much since the 1975 in terms of scale.

If we're talking about the scale of space habitats, the two factors in the equation are:
1. Cost per unit of weight from Earth to orbit.
2. The ability to mine, refine and manufacture in space.

Increase one of those and things might get interesting.

Comment: Re:Politicians will be stupid but scientists/techn (Score 1) 356

by rasmusbr (#49244465) Attached to: New Solar Capacity Beats Coal and Wind, Again

Nuclear has a gigantic upfront capital cost. Here's the deal:

You start investing hundreds of millions of dollars per year in planning and construction, starting today. The plant comes online 15 years from now and starts to make money back at a fairly low rate. That is, unless gas, solar or some other technology has managed to cut costs in which case you make nothing.

Any takers?

Comment: Re:A BASIC fan's step-by-step curriculum (Score 1) 215

by rasmusbr (#49206959) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Strategies For Teaching Kids CS Skills With Basic?

BASIC has one major advantage over every other language out there: absolutely no boilerplate, and absolutely no hidden intelligence in the interpreter. Everything that makes the program run is visible in the code, and everything in the code does something lesson-related in the most minimal programs. Contrast with C, which requires defining a main() function before the student knows what a function is. This simplicity and obviousness makes BASIC the perfect tool for demonstrating simple and obvious programs, but it's inelegant for learning any actual computer science concepts like memory management, design patterns, or data structures.

Python works almost as well for this learning stage.

This is an example of a valid 2-line Python program:
x = 1+1
print x

Here is another valid program:
def oneplusone():
        return 1+1
print oneplusone()

This next program will crash at line 1 with "NameError: name 'oneplusone' is not defined":
print oneplusone()
def oneplusone():
        return 1+1

The one stumbling block with Python is that indentation matters. Copy-pasting your classmate's code into your program can easily break it.

The use of money is all the advantage there is to having money. -- B. Franklin

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