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Comment Re:XKCD Predicted this (Score 1) 47

The sad thing is that Spirit could still be with us today too if things had played out differently. When Spirit got stuck a lot of their early attempts to get out so that they could get to a good wintering grounds were in vain. However, right near the end they came up with a clever way to "swim" the wheels through the sand and were nearly out when winter hit and they had to leave it in a poor location... where it failed to wake up the next spring, most likely due to excessively low internal temperatures.

Curiosity is great, but the cost of Curiosity-style rovers is just so high. When I think of all that could be done with the Mars 2020 budget (Curiosity-style clone).... ugh. I would have rathered they make incremental improvements to a Spirit / Opportunity style design than a Curiosity one. Maybe more / larger radiothermal heaters so that they're not as cold-sensitive and improved wheels and flash storage, for example. Get their price down to ~$350M USD per mission (from $410M/rover for Spirit & Opportunity) rather than 2,1 billion USD per mission (aka Mars 2020, down from $2,5M for Curiosity). Send a new pair for $700M with new sets of instruments to new areas, save $1,4 billion, and put, say, $800M toward a new Titan mission and $600M to a new Venus mission.

I just don't like how Mars keeps becoming more and more of a money pit that sucks the funds from exploration of every other part of the solar system.

Comment Re:Headphone Jack is Pretty Crappy (Score 5, Insightful) 448

Indeed, I've never had a modern 3,5mm headphone port wear out. I've had a lot of micro-USB ports wear out. : And it's only logical that would be the case, the electrodes on the headphone port are far more robust than those on a micro-USB port.

I know that the standard response to "3,5mm port removal is the feature that nobody requested" is "it'll be painless and we'll be able to use the extra space to more useful internal hardware without having to make the phone bigger". But just ignoring the "painless" thing... how much more "capability" can you add in such a little space? That's enough for what, maybe 5% more battery time?

Maybe I'm wierd, but I couldn't give a rat's arse how thick a phone is... I just want it to be robost and not a big headache.

Comment Re:Question (Score 1) 436

They did more than that. During the NEP they electrified the whole Soviet Union. They also built houses for every family in Russia after WWII. Supposedly, according to people who lived through it, it wasn't that bad to live in the post WWII period in the Soviet Union. But then again that was after a civil war, the Stalinist purges, and WWII. So I guess there were low standards back then.

Comment Re:Code should be as concise as possible. (Score 2) 223

Then I clearly need to step up my game and have them call one another for no reason that anyone reading my code will ever be able to understand.

You do. You really do. Until you do, we're revoking your evil overmind badge :-) Here is a function that is never called but cannot be easily proven to be called or not:


struct usethisoften {
...
};
...
void usethisoften (void) {
printf ("Doesn't get called!);
}
...
typedef void (*ftype) (void);
...
ftype foo[] = {
funcs, that, get, called, usethisoften, otherfuncs, go, here, will not get called,
};
...
foo[somevar % sizeof (int)] (); // Here it never gets called!!! Looks harmless

Just ensure that the 'usethisoften' struct is used everywhere. The last line that can never call your "don't-call" functions will be glossed over by the maintainer who assumes that you're simply trying not to overrun the array because they've still got another 1500 occurrences of "usethisoften" to double-check.

Bonus: if this is ever discovered you can claim it was an honest error! Plausible Deniability!

Comment Re:Question (Score 3, Insightful) 436

No centralized, planned economy has ever outperformed a free market, capitalist one. Ever.

You would be wrong. There are several examples of this happening. One case would be the War Communism period of the USSR. They had double digit growth rates that outperformed every other economy in the world. How else do you think a country which was known for most of its population being indentured serfs not so long ago came go to being the power that produced the most tanks in WWII even while it was being bombed in the process? Not to mention that arguably the T-34 and KV-1 were among the most advanced tank designs in WWII when they went into active service (gun, armor, engine, suspension, etc).

The problem is that the planned economy works well when its about playing catch up with other economies or doing specific near-term projects. But do anything long term or fuzzy and it fails. I pointed out cybernetics research. Stalin was actively against it (on principle and in practice) and it was one of the reasons why the computer industry in the Soviet Union fell behind the West both in terms of technology and productivity. The fact is you can't plan and add equations for unknown factors. It's one thing to optimize an already existing system. It is quite another to design the next generation system.

To a large degree the successes of the War Communism period were based on mass producing technology licensed from the West or directly derived from it. So unlike what Marxist said central planning actually works best to quickly grow backwards, agrarian even, economies rather than improving advanced economies.

Planning fails in the medium-long term even discounting the other issues inherent in a Communist system.

Comment Re:ah (Score 1) 38

an overlap that evidently admit cars will be hacked... but they like it, they love it, they want some more of it.

Makes perfect sense - there's only a small number of people who realise that if the cars software cannot be "hacked", then the only people who will be able to repair the car will be the dealership. These people presumably want aftermarket technicians to be able to fix their car.

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