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Comment ALGOL-W (Score 1) 624

I played with Basic in high school but did my first undergrad stuff in ALGOL-W. As an undergrad I messed with Pascal, Fortran and PL/I. One of my profs at the time was an author of the ALGOL 68 report, thought BCPL was cool and that C (a relatively new language at the time) was a mental disorder. He gave us an assignment in APL once. I guess I'm showing my age.

Now I do 99% of my work in C. My boss and I agree to disagree on scripting languages. I like Python. He thinks Python is ridiculous and insists on Perl for production work.


Comment Re: Aerodynamics don't look right (Score 1) 174

Easily fixed - divide the battery pack and power supplies up -
Simplest would be to have 2 battery packs and power controllers that each drive every second jet.
Failure in one module would take out that fraction of power but still allow you enough to land safely.
Much easier than trying to only land with a left engine, of a twin engine aircraft, because it would only be every second fan that was out, evenly distributed across the wings.

You could also divide it say, 6 ways, so failure in one module would take out 1/6 of your power, and you would be able to land on the remaining 5/6 power.

Comment Re:It's only "surprising" to arrogant idiots (Score 5, Insightful) 150

The made in China stuff is usually poor quality because that's what the importers are choosing to get manufactured and bring in - squeezing for the lowest price, while not having sufficient quality control, so naturally you get exactly what you are paying for.

China can make good quality stuff - and quality control can make sure it stays consistently good - but you have to pay more for good quality and that's just not what the importers are generally choosing to bring in.

Comment Re:Damn, L Ron Hubbard predicted this (Score 1) 43

No, if I recall correctly (its been 25 years) that device molecularly aligned or unaligned the molecules in the substrate which made it conductive or non-conductive.
some other setting was used for cutting, which is what J.GB.T used to cut his leash and escape Terl.
  The book was actually a fun read (for a 15 year old) Shame they made the movie.

Comment Re:Slow day in tech, then? (Score 3, Interesting) 575

The fair and most capitalist thing to do would be for the airline to simply have an in-cabin auction for your seat - have the captain announce higher and higher prices for your seat, and the first four call buttons to get pressed win the auction. (first N call buttons if a different number of seats than 4 are needed)
Thrown in a business class upgrade and I'm sure it wouldn't take long to get a few empty economy seats, and everyone's happy.

Comment Unsurprising (Score 1) 38

Patents have become another "must-have" item in a scientists resume. It presumably shows you're able to create practical applications from otherwise abstract research results.

In practice, of course, you can patent pretty much anything you want if you put your mind to it, and the vast majority of granted patents are never implemented in an actual product and never make any money at all. So researchers just jump through another set of hoops to pad their CV with, usually, a completely worthless patent or two.

The researcher is happy since they got another item on their career-critical CV. The university is happy since granted patents counts toward university rankings. The granting agencies are happy since it shows their research grants are producing tangible results. Too bad the actual end result - the patent - is utterly worthless.

Comment Re:False assumption (Score 3, Insightful) 202

The point is, getting around encryption is too costly to do it on a mass scale, so they can only really do it for the small portion of targets judged worth it.

It's like with door locks. Your door lock is good at stopping casual probing, but pretty much useless against a determined attacker. If a government agency (any government) decides that they really need to enter your home then they will enter. It may be with a warrant, with an armoured bulldozer or with a covert penetration team. But it's much too costly and much too risky to do so unless you have really good reason. They can't do it for every house in the city, on the off chance somebody might have something interesting stashed away somewhere.

Same thing with crypto: it may not stop them if they decide you are a high-value target. But it stops mass surveillance dragnets in their tracks.

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