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Comment Re:Has the Internet Killed Curly Quotes? (Score 1) 207

The most common way of highlighting special items such as filenames, functions, variables, command-line invocations and suchlike in documentary text is to put them in an alternate font, sometimes italics or bold. In code, quote-characters mark the beginning and end of a string to be displayed, and there are escape-conventions for including the same quote characters within the string as part of it. As far as the compiler looking at that is concerned only the non-escaped quote characters at the ends are taken as meaning begin and end string.

If there is something more of a nontechnical work, say, a novel where protagonists A and B are discussing their concerns raised by the absence of a file and the spelling of its name, it might be useful to show what we could call human and non-human audience quote characters. But here the audience is human, and we are known to be pretty good at understanding even when faced with moderately severe syntax errors.

Consider also the convention in print that long quotations that go over several paragraphs have open quote characters at the beginning of each paragraph, but only one closing quote character at the end. Useful for human readers, but makes for many complications to a system that expects quote-characters to appear in pairs separating what is inside and outside.

Comment Re:So annoying (Score 1) 207

Indeed, they also would confuse us using those fancy text-figure numerals that makes lowercase o and zero indistinguishable, just so that even if you can read and ignore the curly-ness of the quotes, you won't be able to get this other distinction right when it isn't obvious from context. Same for uppercase I and lowercase l in most sans-serif fonts, but copy-and-paste might be able to handle these. It it wasn't for these stupid quotes of course...

It all comes from having overloaded some characters: the ASCII 0x22 character has been pressed into service for denoting inches, seconds of arc, beginning a quote, ending a quote, ditto mark. Similarly, there is the characters for minus, em-dash, en-dash, hyphen all being represented by ASCII 0x2d. So how do we know which ones we will want to use? I can think of writing prose where the storyline might have to include pieces of programming code, and thus will want to have all these different ones there at the same time.

Comment Re:Not subsidies (Score 1) 16

Teslas and other electrical cars do not have VAT charged on the sale price, and once on the road it can be driven for free on all the toll roads and toll-enclosed city centers. Annual registration charge is also the minimum rate otherwise applicable to veteran cars, older than 30 years, and they are allowed in most of the bus and taxi lanes. The term subsidy has been used for this, maybe it should be called tax relief, or incentives, or something else. However, whether the government pays extra for something or just refrains from charging taxes on something doesn't make much of a difference in the end: it does make these cars much more popular than they would have been otherwise.

Now as for autonomous cars in this place where the winter is an inferno in white with snow or an inferno in black with the grime and mud produced by salt and studded tires grinding up the pavement ending up all over the cars and the road; snow or mud covering road markings such as the center, lane divider, and edge lines (provided there are any there at all) -- then add the unique tendency of Oslo pedestrians to wander into the street in front of anything that moves (cars, buses, streetcars, bicyclists) never mind trafic lights... and the large population of moose and deer in the woodlands all over the place which isn't exactly known for their good traffic discipline either, and it is going to be really interesting to see how this experiment turns out!

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