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Comment Re:Nature varies (Score 5, Insightful) 238

If there's no mass then E=cp (from E^2 = c^2 p^2 + m_0^2 c^4)

So you've still got a problem with infinities

You've asserted that Energy is still conserved so E=hf should still hold (for a photon). Assuming Planck's constant doesn't change then \lambda must become infinite if c becomes infinite which, in turn implies that the universe must be infinitely large.

The problem with all these hairbrained schemes is that people throw them around without working through all the consequences and explaining exactly how they are all dealt with.

When that is done it's almost always the case that there's something apparent that we already know to be false.

(I'll leave it as an exercise to see what happens if Planck's constant also changes :-) I don't recall if it was Fantastic Voyage or Asimov's sequel but I vaguely remember that the basic theory was that they wanted to reduce h but it turned out that this actually increased c at the same time - so the idea isn't new, it's already been played with by SF authors. What would turn this from SF to science is working through all the implications instead of just handwaving them away)

Comment Re: He sounds like an idiot (Score 1) 332

Reading Slashdot comments it seems that many seasoned developers are dismissive of some pretty good new tech, even after it's been around for much longer than 5 years.

C# is a great example.

Lets assume that C# is, indeed, better than sliced bread.

However, in a linux shop with no C# development at all, no infrastructure to support it (mono?) and nobody who is knowledgeable in the tools, config, support, failure modes or problems, is it wise to "jump ship" from whatever technology is working currently?

I'm not saying it's definitely wrong but, changing to use C# isn't an "agile" thing. One developer who knows about it and can support it on his own desktop, can probably make it work - but can he make it work across the company more cost effectively than not adopting it? It's a business case that needs to be made.

And if that evangelist decides to leave after nine months because getting a company to adopt a "new improved" language turns out to be bloody hard work, will the company be able to continue with the investment so far or will it decide to go back to the tried and tested?

Comment Re: He sounds like an idiot (Score 4, Insightful) 332

Many programmers refuse to open the Pandora's box and they stick to a tool, paradigm or coding style they know even though its not the best thing to solve the problem at hand.

Precisely the OP's point.

That's a typical trait of a junior developer, or an experienced developer who has worked solo for most of they're career.

I disagree.

The experienced developer has been chopping down trees for years with an axe. He's been putting up shelves with a drill. he's been cutting floorboards with a circular saw. And occasionally he's been cursing because he's having to make do with the wrong tool because although he knows what the right tool is, paying $lots for a tool he will use just once can't be justified.

Alongside that there are countless (less experienced) developers suggesting that he uses the circular saw to cut down the tree, the axe to put up the shelf, the drill to cut the floorboard and the experienced developer isn't particularly impressed.

But in the back of his mind he's always got that thought "what if that next tool is the chainsaw. " Just think how many trees I could cut down then. But even when the chainsaw comes along, he continues to use the circular saw on the floorboards, the drill for the shelves and, indeed, he may even still use the axe from time to time.

Comment Re:This is a silly waste of resources. (Score 1) 428

There is not enough insolation (sunlight striking the Earth) to power the current energy needs.

Where do you get ideas like this from? It's trivially untrue.

Solar constant is >1kW/m^2.

That's 1GW/km^2

Egypt alone is 1Mkm^2.

So we're talking about 1000TW peak generating capacity

Earths total energy consumption is the order of a hundred thousand TWh/year. Covering Egypt in solar panels would be able to generate that much energy in a few months with current technology, certainly less than a year.

If I remember my numbers correctly there's around 100km/degree * 360 degress * 100 km/degree * 60 degrees ~ 216 Egypts (including ocean) within 30 degrees of the equator. We're not even close to using 1% of the total solar energy available.

Comment Re:This is interesting (Score 1) 711

Quite frankly, the biggest problem with the brexit referendum question is that "leave the EU" has so many different meanings, from repeal the 1972 EU act but write identical laws to those we get from Europe into our books to go it alone and refuse to do any more business with the EU at all under any circumstances.

The argument now before parliament appears to be whether we should demand the ability to control immigration regardless of what other compromise we must then make or we should retain access to the single market, ditto compromises.

As far as I can tell, MPs are asking to be allowed to make that choice before TM activates article 50.

Some will, inevitably, try to use it to block Brexit completely but it doesn't appear that there's a majority who would be prepared to take that line.

Comment Re:I'm no where near as smart as most of you.. (Score 2) 711

I'm at a loss to think of something from technological history that is comparable to this possibility: something that didn't seen possible or feasible under the known laws of physics or nature, but turned out to actually "fly".

The laser perhaps? I don't think it could be conceived of until Einstein.

The difference with this discovery (if true) is that Einstein laid the theoretical framework and then the laser was built 43 years later (36 years for the maser) while in this case we appear to have an empirical device with no solid theory behind it (yet...)

Comment Re:Not just Southern Spain (Score 3, Insightful) 282

It's important to note that this is a worst-case scenario
No. The worst case scenario they considered is "Business as usual".

  which typically means its somewhat improbable

Unfortunately not. It's the most likely scenario. The only positive note is that there doesn't appear to be a concerted effort to increase emissions so it's reasonably to reject scenarios with CO2e increasing faster than BaU (unless you think positive feedbacks for CO2 and CH4 emissions are starting to significantly kick in now)

Comment Re:Transfer the Responsibility (Score 1) 64

Make them liable if they do not start patching their own devices.

Don't necessarily even need the cost to go up.

Your device is found vulnerable to hackers. a) release a fix or b) release the source code in a form that allows others to fix it.

In a dream world I could imagine a time where the source code is released with the device. How much IP can there really be in a webcam? The vast majority of the work involved in writing a firmware from scratch would be researching how to address the hardware.

Comment Re:Escape (Score 1) 524

Capslock (shiftlock) was above the shift key on mechanical typewriters. When you pushed it down it pushed down the shift key with it and then latched. You pressed the shift key again to unlatch it.

Of course, as shift physically moved the hammers down, every single key went into it's shifted state.

But pushing shift was significantly more demanding than typing any of the other letters (at least on any mechanical typewriter I ever saw) so shift lock was more useful when typing repeated shifted values than it is today.

Comment Re: I tell them that I use wanker auth (Score 1) 432

You don't even need that. One finger unlocks the phone as normal. The other unlocks the phone but requires a pin as well (only needs to be one digit long) and an incorrect pin means that the phone shuts down. (or even that finger can make the phone shut down - however it should probably still require a pin even if there's *no* pin to unlock.

Don't know about obstruction of justice issues though...

Comment Re:No programmers' typeface (Score 1) 175

The international dialing code for Kazakhstan from the UK would be 00 7 (I've just looked it up). I've never heard anyone quote a Kazakhstan telephone number to call from the UK but I would expect them to say oh oh seven, not double oh seven. Apart from anything else, if you did try to tell someone a Kazakhstan telephone number and started double oh seven I'd expect them to not hear the rest of the number while they were laughing.

Comment Re:No programmers' typeface (Score 1) 175

Saying oh for zero is common in (British) English.

Dialing code for London:
020 - Oh two oh.

Start of a telephone number:
700 - seven double oh.

International dialing code for the US:
00 1 - oh oh one. (Don't know why we don't say double oh but I've never heard it said that way.)

Bus number:
205 - two oh five

In normal spoken or written English you can usually determine whether it's a zero or a letter-o from the context and where you can't it rarely matters.

Comment Re:a crypto-token already in your wallet (Score 1) 210

In the UK for while we started getting little keypads - completely stand alone that you plugged your card into, entered the PIN, entered some other details (e.g. amount of transaction if necessary) and then got an 8 digit code back to use as a passcode.

Completely OS/browser agnostic.

Unfortunately, it never really took off. I think people just didn't find it convenient enough to have the keypad. Of course, had it taken off then people would have had multiple keypads and left one at work etc so they wouldn't have to carry them around. Also, of course, it was completely interchangeable between cards, so the business that paid to produce and distribute would have ended up subsidizing other businesses anti-fraud department.

I don't know whether something similar is possible now using a phone and near field communication with the card. But even if it is, I cannot see it taking off. The businesses that could do this are too concerned with locking customers into their app rather than getting together to solve a common problem in a common way.

Similar has happened with "smart meters" for electricity. We're in the middle of a national rollout (costing goodness knows how much) but change supplier and your smart meter will revert to a dumb meter.

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