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Comment Re:Good idea, bad name (Score 1) 72

There haven't been that many stories, but a few stories have gotten a large amount of publicity, often repeatedly. And there's selection bias, too.

This doesn't prove that it's an incorrect assumption that Tesla drivers try to get the car to drive itself. Just a week ago I saw an electric wheelchair jay walking diagonally across a four lane boulevard (official speed limit 35 mph) while the driver of the wheelchair was busily engaged in texting on their phone. But notice that nobody EVER claimed THAT was safe behavior. So if anything that's evidence that renaming the "autopilot" wouldn't help;

Comment Re: How much is PUTIN getting? (Score 1) 253

I'm sure your impactful work benefits mankind no end.

His work helps get (and keeps) people employed. Putting food on the table for an unknown number of people and their families.

So, at least in the short term, their work is more important than some jackass screaming "Global Warming! Global Warming!" while jumping up and down with their hair on fire and hoping someone will give them a grant so THEY can put food on the table.

Comment Re:He's missing the point. (Score 3, Insightful) 109

It would be nice if people could learn to think in terms of threats that fell somewhere between "safe to ignore" and "extinction level event". Or could distinguish between "extreme and expensive" responses and "effective" ones.

9/11 could have been prevented by simple, conservative and inexpensive countermeasures. After 9/11 politicians droned on about how "9/11 changed everything," but the cold sober fact was that it in fact changed nothing. It just showed that some of the things sensible people had already been telling us to do (like reinforcing cockpit doors or getting agencies to work together despite institutional rivalries) really did need to be done. Instead "9/11 changed everything" became the rallying cry for every pet scheme that had heretofore been correctly dismissed as too expensive, hare-brained, or just plain dumb.

Which doesn't change the fact that something needed to be done. Here's the lesson I think we should take into this infrastructure debate: we should take sensible and conservative steps to secure infrastructure against terrorism now, before events put foolish ones on the table.

Comment Re:One obvious improvement (Score 1) 147

I've got to disagree...though not totally. ISTM that overloaded operators need to be marked, rather than eliminated. I once suggested that overloaded operators be enclosed in pipe chars, e.g. |+|, but nearly any mark would do. And this be only used for operators. I also wanted to allow alternative symbols, names, etc. to be used for operators, but there I ran into the precedence problem

Comment Re:Wow. (Score 1) 84

SSBNs stay submerged for 6 months at a time. I don't think the difference between 6 and 8 is enough to matter.

Umm, no. I served on USS Kamehameha. SSBN 642. Two months and change out, switch crews, repeat forever.

Many subs have had smaller crews, and nearly all of your interactions are with a few people at your work station.

While virtually all subs had smaller crews than modern SSBN's, they seldom had crews fewer than 30 or so. Notable exceptions being an assortment of "minisubs" used at various points in WW2, all of which spent a couple days underway at a time.

And it might surprise you to know that you seldom socialize all that much with they guys at your workstation. When you're working, you're too busy for much in the way of social interactions. You interact socially with the guys on the messdeck during meals and movies (when you can stay awake to watch a movie).

Note that one of the biggest problems with a trip to Mars is likely to be boredom. Six of you in a freefall can. No course changes, no repairs, not much in the way of science to do till arrival.

Mind you, a lot of that can be fixed by sending a bigger expedition - 60 guys plus instrumentation and such for doing some decent science while underway, that sort of thing....

But there is another huge psychological consideration that makes a sub much more like a space flight: You can't quit.

Now this I can't argue with. A good point. Note that this makes the test even more (potentially) useful. If the guys in the dome can't handle it in Easy Mode, sure as shooting it won't work for a Real Mars mission....

Comment Re:Readability? (Score 1) 147

The language that's easy to read is the one you know well. I've used Python enough to think that it's easier to read than C or often C++ code that does the same thing. C's problems is indirections via multiple levels of pointers and macros. With C++ it is just that the language as a whole is too large, and I only know parts of it well, though it can include C's problems as well (but it doesn't need to).

Comment Re:The toxic community worries me. (Score 1) 147

I've looked at Nim a couple of times, most recently earlier this month. I didn't get much beyond looking, as I need various libraries as well as the basic language, but it did look interesting. If you only need one or two external libraries it might be worth your while to look at it more deeply than I did.

But I really doubt that their code generation averages as fast as decently hand-crafted code. But it may well be a lot faster to write.

Comment Re:That is correct (Score 1) 141

You've got your definition, I've got mine. If you don't like mine, let's hear yours. (Mine would include not doing things that are clearly going to leave you in a situation that is worse, from your own evaluation, than the current situation, and which you have reason to know will have that result...unless, of course, all the alternatives would lead to even worse results.)

Comment Re:Good but... (Score 1) 106

Or... what if anytime anyone called a residential number, a nickel was transferred from the caller's account to the callee's account.

That wouldn't stop anyone from making a call where an actual person is likely to be involved; the labor costs for a three minute conversation would swamp that. But it would discourage people from robocalling a hundred thousand people in order to turn up a handful of suckers.

And the public wouldn't have to pay a regulator to try to track down these boiler room operations.

Comment Re:Agrument in favor of modularity (Score 1) 86

I don't have to do anything. Even stored under ideal circumstances li-ion batteries lose capacity.

What matter is capacity relative to demand. In a phone like the Droid Maxx from a few years ago with plenty of surplus battery the phone will still be usable four years later. But something like a Samsung Galaxy S6 barely has enough battery to make it through the day when brand new and is pretty much unusable two years later even under ideal conditions.

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