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Comment Re:Uh huh. (Score 1) 72

Getting the actual people there (and back) is the costly part. "Stuff" doesn't require four or five levels of fail-safe. "Stuff" doesn't need to take a shit or get sick or argue about politics.

Then the solution seems pretty straightforward: send only "stuff" up there for the first few years.

Once the "stuff" has organized itself (because robots) and is looking pretty good, then send up some human beings, if you still want to. They can walk right into to their prefab moon-hotel.

Comment This method never fails (Score 1) 199

Here's how to calculate a 100% accurate estimate 100% of the time, when your manager asks you to predict how long it will take to implement feature X:

1. Tell your manager you'll get the estimate for them as soon as you've done the necessary research
2. Go back to your desk
3. Write down the current time
4. Implement the feature
5. Subtract the time you wrote down in step (3) from the current time. This is your 100% accurate estimate of how long it took you to implement the feature
6. Email your manager, and let them know the estimate value. If you're feeling like it, you can also let them know that the feature is now implemented (although this may make them feel like the estimate you gave them is no longer particularly useful, so treat cautiously there)

Comment Re:Not just software. (Score 1) 199

For example, if the last time you did it, it took 3 weeks, a good prediction is that this time it's going to take 3 weeks.

Hopefully it will take less, because this time I will be able to take the code I wrote last time and just re-use it, possible with some minor modifications, rather than designing and implementing it all from scratch.

(Or if I can't do that, then either it's a new task and there wasn't actually any "last time I did it", or I did a lousy job last time of designing my code to be re-usable. Software development is mainly about automating previously manual processes so they can be repeated more quickly/easily in the future; that applies to the process of writing the software itself also)

Comment Re:Agreemsg (Score 1) 148

While I agree this one definitely looks like a useless toy, it looks like it should fly the same over land or water. If I was that pilot, I wouldn't want to try that over land, though. It doesn't look like a very stable design when it comes to balance. Of all the "flying car" footage I've seen, I like this one the best so far:

The only video I'd really like to see of this "Kitty Hawk" is one that shows how the boaters react when it flies directly over them.

Comment I couldn't get past "how do you write a game"? (Score 5, Interesting) 411

When I was learning about functional programming in college, I got about as far as learning about the avoidance of side effects, at which point I started asking myself, "how would one write a video game in an FP language if you're not supposed to e.g. update the player's on-screen position in response to a keystroke"? The answer I got was to either generate an entire new game-state for each update (which seemed unwieldy), or work around the problem using monads, which admittedly I never really understood. I went back to procedural programming since that looked like the more straightforward way to implement the kinds of programs I wanted to write.

My question now is, do people ever actually write video games using functional programming? And if so, how would an FP-based arcade-style video game realistically handle things like updating the state of the player and the monsters at 60fps, as the game progresses?

Comment Re:The only assistant that's good (Score 1) 157

That would be Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, who voiced all of the computers in all of the various Star Trek shows and films, except the most recent ones. I met her at a fan run SF convention, Con*Cept, in Montreal, and she was a really nice person. I do think that we have enough of her speaking as the computer along with her other spoken roles to have a fairly complete vocabulary for a voice assistant. I am sure many others in addition to myself would like to have this on their phone, house assistant, car, GPS, etc.

As the saying goes:


Comment Re:Well there's your problem (Score 1) 106

Considering his smarts, it sure seems dumb for Musk to reinvent the wheel, especially for something the end user has no control over whether it works or not. As I have said many times before, there's a reason mechanical light switches are still around. They work every time.

Have you seen the doors on the Model X? Elon Musk is the new Rube Goldberg. ;)

Comment Re:What are the benefits over electric? (Score 4, Informative) 160

Why Hydrogen?

Hydrogen is a way of storing power that doesn't require a heavy, expensive, short-lived battery pack.

Of course, this was a much better argument back in the bad old days when batteries had horrible energy density, were insanely expensive, and didn't last very long.

Now that battery technology has improved quite a bit, batteries only somewhat suck and are only expensive instead of insanely expensive -- so the advantages of hydrogen over battery storage are smaller.

I expect that in the future batteries will continue to get better, and people will stop talking about hydrogen because there won't be any advantage anymore.

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