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Comment They were two millenia late to the party. (Score 1) 170

There are several algorithms using the binary number system, including left-to-right binary exponentiation, in Pingala's Chanda-sutra, before 200 BCE. Knuth's _The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 2: Seminumerical Algorithms_ cites B. Datta and A.N. Singh's 1935 _History of Hindu Mathematics 1_. Also al-Kashi described the right-to-left binary exponentiation algorithm in 1427 CE.

Submission + - NASA Proposal Reignites Asteroid vs. Return to the Moon Controversy (

MarkWhittington writes: While NASA's plan to capture an asteroid, bring it closer to Earth, and then visit it with astronauts has gotten wide spread support, especially in the commercial space sector, that support is not universal. A group of congressmen is submitting legislation to compel NASA to return to the moon by 2022. In the meantime a report has surfaced that suggests that NASA is about to sign an agreement with Bigelow Aerospace, a commercial space firm that proposes to build a private space station built with inflatable modules, to develop an approach to further NASA's space exploration goals, including building a lunar base, commercially, with the space agency providing technical and perhaps financial support.

Comment Ownership of recovered artifacts (Score 1) 119

NASA claims that the US government still owns these artifacts. I think they're mistaken. The artifacts are not salvage, but rather abandoned property. NASA intentionally allowed them to be abandoned more than 40 years ago with no stated or demonstrable intention of ever recovering them. Since they were outside the territory of any US state, I don't think they are subject to any form of escheat. I think Bezos has clear title and ownership. If there's some US law providing to the contrary, I'd be interested in seeing the legal citation.

If Bezos wants to give them to NASA out of his own generosity, that's great, but I don't think he's under any actual legal obligation to do so.

Comment Re:Does your day job pay you enough? (Score 1) 257

I only have that problem if I'm working a lot of overtime for the day job, or working at an extremely boring or unpleasant day job. I try to avoid those, though sometimes there's not much choice.

I'm sure that having hobbies or personal projects that are non-computer-related would be good, but I don't really have any. However, my computer-related personal projects are so dissimilar to my day job that they almost do seem like different fields to me.

Comment Does your day job pay you enough? (Score 4, Interesting) 257

If so, working on personal projects that don't necessarily have any likelihood of financial reward may be much more satisfying than doing paying work in your spare time. I've certainly found that to be the case. I spend my spare time on projects that are just things I'm personally interested in. Often they're very obscure, and only of interest to a small number of other people. However, I enjoy them very much. Sometimes I publish them as free software, and when I do, it is very cool to meet the few other people with similar interests. Because I'm interested in a wide variety of things, I've got enough ideas for personal projects to keep me busy for hundreds of years, so I almost never get bored.

I also was very lucky that a very-long-term project project in which I invested a huge amount of time (thousands of hours) starting in 1995, with absolutely no expectation of financial reward, actually started making me a non-trivial amount of money starting in 2009. I'm certainly not going to claim that this is a likely outcome, but it can happen.

As an example of a small and very obscure personal project, in July of 2011 I rewrote the Apple I ROM monitor to work on an MC6800 microprocessor (rather than the 6502), because the Apple I hardware design was theoretically capable of being configured for the MC6800. It's of no practical value whatsoever, and will never make me any money, but I submitted it as a RetroChallenge contest entry and actually won second place and a small prize. Just recently someone in Australia actually installed an MC6800 in an Apple 1 replica, did a little hardware debugging, and got my monitor code running on it. (I'd only run it in simulation with MESS.) It was very satisfying watching the video on Youtube.

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