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Comment Re:problems, lol (Score 1) 210

That's fine, if the goal for the language is to whither. 10 years ago, I'd have recommended learning C and giving C++ a wide berth. I started new projects written in C. Now I'd recommend avoiding C for anything where there is another option. If a project is already written in C, I'd consider using C++ for new code and gradually migrating rest.

If the goal is to provide a good portable systems programming language then C is no longer succeeding.

Comment Re:Java? (Score 2) 268

For garbage collectors, I'll agree (as long as, by Java, you mean MMTk on Jikes RVM and not OpenJDK). For JITs... no. CoreCLR is a lot nicer. It supports nested JITs with fallback, so you can add a new JIT easily and have it bail to another one when it can't handle a particular construct. This makes incremental development and research prototypes that focus on a specific area both a lot easier than anything I've seen in a JVM. Modifying the Jikes RVM JIT is horrible (actually, the Jikes RVM code in general is fragile and flakey - MMTk isn't actually good, it's just that it doesn't really have any less-buggy competition).

Comment Re:Java? (Score 1) 268

Exactly what I was going to say. Java is good at cross-platform GUIs if your idea of a good cross-platform GUI is one that looks and feels the same on all platforms. A good GUI, however, is one that integrates with the host platform and matches all of the platform's human interface guidelines. Java GUIs don't do this. AWT aimed to, but it was deprecated in favour of Swing. Swing implements everything in Java, with pluggable looks and feels, but the looks and feels never quite match the platform. SWT thinly wraps the host windowing toolkit and works fine as long as your host system is win32, otherwise it has a bunch of impedance mismatches and ends up leaking CPU.

Comment Re:Other IM services (Score 1) 127

There are a couple of possible explanations:

As others have pointed out, Twitter does engage in censorship, which might make it ineligible for safe harbour provisions (which require that you do not actively take a role in the content of the communication that you host).

They are a company that doesn't have as much experience in litigation. Yahoo!, Microsoft, and AOL have all been involved in enough lawsuits that they keep a warehouse full of lawyers to airdrop on anyone with a stupid-looking lawsuit. Twitter is big enough to have enough money to be a good target, but not experienced enough to necessarily be a particularly tough opposition on court.

Comment Re:problems, lol (Score 1) 210

Problem is, it needs to be an open multi-national research project, free of patent or copyright encumbrances and then continue to be developed upon that basis, greed means it won't happen for decades of chaos of multiple language, growing dying, growing dying, but hey, greed. It will happen eventually but only after the current run of greed obsessed freaks are gone.

Comment Re:Half true. (Score 1) 47

It runs for quite a while. Basically to keep share price well beyond realistic price profit ratio, all sorts of weird crap happens in corporate accounting. So for example buying in revenue to increase revenue with the pretence of future higher profits, collapses when debt becomes to high, no higher profits ever occur (often impossible as they paid too much for the companies they buy) and eventually the share price drops to realistic levels, problem is the debt is way too high for that price and everyone gets worried and boom, it all collapses (the financial institutions are the ones that profit playing in the background like the true psychopaths they are).

Comment Re:a very large planet, 15 times the Earth (Score 1) 137

And something basically to that effect was for a period at the IAU conference the definition being haggled over. A lot of people went home at that point thinking that either that would get voted in as the definition, or there would be no definition, and were fine with either outcome. The committee however changed the proposal before the vote came up.

Comment Re:The universe. (Score 1) 137

These are what the IAU came up with, in a vote that was very controversial among its membership. An association dominated by astronomers, not planetary scientists, who were by and large against the decision. And a set of terminology that you can often find flatly ignored in scientific papers. Example. In short, the only group that the IAU is able to bludgeon into using their term is the general public (using the "We're scientists, if you don't use our term you're wrong and ignorant" gambit), not the scientific community itself.

Comment Re:This reminds me of my visit to the "Fish Man" (Score 1) 129

My client was an ex-special forces commando. He was working a modest-paying state job in the Department of Agriculture (he was an old time farm boy) for "vacation money" but after 9/11 he disappeared for a couple of years. Nobody knew where he was, but when he came back he had full-bird colonel's pension. Even though he now had plenty of "vacation money", he went back to his old Ag job, I think just to feel like he had something productive to do. His real passion, however, was painting wildlife. I wouldn't say his stuff was terribly original, but it was technically impressive. If I handed you one of his bird paintings and told you it was an original Audubon you'd probably believe me unless you were an art expert. This was a down-to-earth guy with a surprisingly sensitive side, and if he wanted to kill you with his bare hands you wouldn't have a prayer.

I know this sounds like BS, but there's really nothing like the Deep South for bizarre and colorful characters. And oddballs have a way of flocking together, which probably means I should worry about knowing so many of them.

Comment Re:If the singularity doesn't happen... (Score 2) 137

Stop feeding the troll ;) If a person can't handle an argument without name calling, they're not worth your time.

For what anyone not trolling :) There is nothing magical about existing on Earth that allows a nuclear reactor to run. Earth does provide a few conveniences, mind you - your mass budgets are unlimited, and cooling is easier. But nothing about either bulk nor mass prevents nuclear reactors from operating in space, by any stretch, and the two main things limiting their use have been a lack of need and NIMBY (the former being little applicable in the former USSR, they used them quite a bit, although they still lacked a need for high powers and so generally kept them fairly small; in the US, NIMBY limited the US to just one launch, although the US developed a number of other systems, some to flight-ready status, on the ground).

The typical mass balance for a in-solar system fission fragment rocket (measured simply by MWt, not MWe, since thrust is direct) is about 20% payload, 20% structural, 35% reactor, and most of the rest toward various aspects of cooling. The nuclear fuel makes up only about 2% of the total mass (figures from the Callisto baseline). For an interstellar mission, however, the fuel would make up the a large minority or the majority of the mass, trading significantly reduced acceleration for significantly longer acceleration times. On an in-solar-system version, power density is about 6kWt per kilogram of reactor mass (that 35% figure above). This is actually quite low by large-space-reactor standards; many modern multi-megawatt reactor research projects for NEP and defense purposes (example) often deal with density figures of 50-100 kWe per kilogram, including cooling. But a fission fragment reactor has a sparse core and has to rely extensively on moderation / reflection to keep up a sufficient neutron flux; higher core density is prohibited because then the fragments would thermalize.

One thing that's neat about a fission fragment reactor is that, like systems like VASIMR, it can operate in various output modes, trading ISP for thrust as needed. In pure fission fragment mode it's ISP is is ridiculously high, nearly 1m sec; your thrust is purely the relativistic fission fragments from each reaction, carrying the majority of the reaction's energy away. However, you can inject gas into the stream as reaction mass, limited only by the density to which your magnetic nozzle can keep the stream confined. So where higher thrust maneuvers are needed, you can use the same engine (up to the aforementioned extent, of course; you're not going to take off from a planet with a FFRE!)

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