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Comment: Re:After the other subsidies. (Score 1) 168

... prevent Iraq setting up a Euro-ba[s]ed petroleum exchange, ... the price of the dollar is pinned to the price of oil by the fact that almost all oil sales of any note are done in dollars.

The "lead" crude oil contract is a US-based product, but the European runner-up is still traded in USD and not EUR. If Iraq tried to force trading in a different currency by setting up their own exchange, they would still have to draw enough trading interest to unseat the other two contracts.

Comment: Re:They're a resource, not a "problem". (Score 1) 307

The most important part of college wasn't what you learned - it was probably nearly obsolete when they were teaching it to you - but learning how to learn.

The fundamental material in a computer science program is math. That is the type of subject which does not go out of style but is instead built upon, layer by layer.

Comment: Re:Obvious to Engineers (Score 1) 185

I will buy the distance argument if Venus's current temperature is believed to be independent of its current cloud cover, but I don't believe that is the case (Venus is by far the hottest planet in the Solar System). It sounds like Venus is hotter given its cloud cover than would be expected without, which implies that Earth will also get hotter in similar conditions. Maybe not 300C hotter, but even 10C hotter is world-changing.

Comment: Re:Obvious to Engineers (Score 1) 185

You will also get more water vapor ( another greenhouse gas ) in the atmosphere, but that will - eventually - be countered somewhat by the albedo effect of the large scale clouds that will form.

I understand the reflective effect of cloud coverage, but isn't that useless if the steady-state temperature is very different from current temperatures? What prevents extreme greenhouse effects from pushing Earth into a Venus-like state?

Comment: Re:Debian GNOME needs some attention (Score 1) 403

by smellotron (#47980697) Attached to: Debian Switching Back To GNOME As the Default Desktop

I am a frequent traveler and speaker and really do need something you can drop from 6 feet and pour coffee over have it keep working.

I know you're a normal person, but when I read that I imagined a huge fucking guy fumbling his tablet from shoulder-height, getting mad as hell, and throwing his coffee after the poor thing.

Comment: Re:A solution in search of a problem... (Score 1) 326

by smellotron (#47908241) Attached to: Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction

My point was sarcastic, I don't know if you missed it (non-native language?) or if you responded in-kind. Plainly, prohibition and licensing are not the same thing. An unlicensed "operator" is prohibited yes, but the cost of licensing is always goint to be lower than the cost of a black-market solution (by its nature; the black market solution is not attractive if it is worse, because of the inherent risk!) Therefore, the net result is more regulatory control when licensing is an option vs. total prohibition.

Ultimately, my point is that (1) comparing licensed driving to the War on Drugs is not valid, because (2) increased license requirements would serve to change the economics of learning how to drive rather than just imposing randomized penalties.

Comment: Re:Steam to extract oil that shouldn't be... (Score 1) 82

by smellotron (#47905675) Attached to: Solar Powered Technology Enhances Oil Recovery

This is a good example of greenwashing.

This doesn't sound anything like greenwashing; greenwashing is a PR move to appear more "eco-friendly". This is simpler to explain as a rational economic decision: There are forms of non-renewable energy that are not harvested only because the energy cost to extract them exceeds the energy value they provide. If the energy costs to extract them can be brought down to near-zero, it is to Shell's economic benefit to extract and sell the heavy crude.

Your argument that the oil should "stay in the ground" is totally unrelated. I do not have an informed opinion in the matter of heavy crudes, but please don't use it as a rebuttal.

Comment: Re:Powershell (Score 1) 729

I see that it is in C99. But it wasn't when I was learning C in the 1980s.

Well! I'll get off your lawn now. I learned on C99, I did not know that the guarantee was new.

Don't use a language that encourages pointer calculations. If you're working in the kernel or hardware drivers maybe.

That is hardly an argument against sizeof as a language feature. I think we both agree—outside of the first learning experience—developers who are getting tripped up by sizeof should't be using C in the first place; but it is not the fault of the language or a misfeature.

Comment: Re:C (Score 1) 729

If you think all strings can be defined as const char arrays

Lucky for both of us, that's not what I think. I specifically said "string literal", which is a const array and not a pointer. This is relevant for the sizeof discussion because the operator is evaluating the size of the array (therefore the entire string) and not just evaluating the size of a pointer.

Comment: Re:Numeric equality in PHP (Score 1) 729

Since (almost) no computer actually stores 1.0

Since almost every computer nowadays implements IEEE floating-point, they can all store 1.0 exactly. From the link:

Any integer with absolute value less than 2^24 can be exactly represented in the single precision format, and any integer with absolute value less than 2^53 can be exactly represented in the double precision format.

Comment: Re:C (Score 1) 729

it should return the size of a memory pointer on the target machine, since that is what a "string" is in C.

A string literal in C is of type char[N] (where N is the minimum value required to store the whole string, including the null terminator). String literals degrade to pointers quite easily, so yours is a common error. So...
const char direct[] = "string";
const char *const indirect = "string";
sizeof(direct) == 7;
sizeof(indirect) == sizeof(char*); // 4 or 8 on most 32- or 64-bit architectures, respectively

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.