"That particular cock-up was caused by transatlantic boffins who mixed up their measurements in inches and centimetres."
Need a bigger facepalm. How long has the world had metric standard units for now?
With a $2.5bn price tag, a 350-million mile journey and 2 million lines of C and some C++ code, the only bugs NASA wants its Curiosity rover to find are those possibly beneath the Martian surface. And it may not be a particularly glamorous job, but software analysis outfit Coverity was the company tasked with "ensuring that …
They don't know why Beagle 2 failed. They don't know if it landed safely and couldn't deploy its antenna. They don't know if the atmosphere was thinner than expected and it broke up on impact. They don't know.
This is the first I've heard of any confusion between inches and centimetres causing the failure. If it was then that is something they would know because all they would have to do is compare the measurements since every measurement they used is written down.
Actually they've worked out what must have happened to Beagle 2.
It was built using the very best traditions of British engineering practice.
But the unexpectedly high heat during atmospheric entry meant that it exceeded the working temperature of the adhesive on the sticky-back plastic.
Yeah, and can the US please follow the rest of the world and put ALL of its traffic lights where you really need to stop, rather than at the other side of the junction. Number of times in Irving, TX I've stopped at the lights, until I suddenly realised I was in the middle of the approaching road.....
Traffic signals? Aren't those things only suggestions?
Sounds like an inside joke my wife and I came up with while driving around Margarita Island, Venezuela on our honeymoon. They had the usual traffic signs, speed limits, traffic lights and such, but folks there were rather -- shall we say -- casual about paying attention to them. My wife and I began referring to them as "The Suggestions Of The Road", as opposed to the Rules Of The Road.
The locals in many of the smaller towns on Margarita solved the problem of people ignoring traffic lights and stop signs and speeding through intersections by rolling sections of tree trunks into the centers of intersections, forcing people to slow down in order to go around them. Worked like a charm.
@AC 14:28 (Why do people use AC? It's not like El Reg has a 'Real Name' policy!)
It (probably) has to happen sometime and I will agree that the cost will be huge if done overnight, so don't do it over night. Have a transition period. And that period will take many years.
Are there better things to spend money on? Not really. Oh wait, you're going to say "hospitals" and "teachers" aren't you? The money doesn't go to them though, it goes to the PFI providers (just ask the hospitals going bankrupt). And we probably need fewer hospitals anyway - concentrate all the knowledge down into a few centres of excellence to improve patient care; or would you prefer that children needlessly die because their surgeons do so few operations that they are verging on the incompetent?
Maybe you'd rather spend it on the military? Oh whoops! Won't go to the front-line troops. It'll be trousered in PFI. Again. Or wasted on jets that are massively over budget and decades behind in development. Or compensation for cancelled contracts that were failing to deliver, or...
Police? Maybe, but in a few years time that'll be a huge PFI hole as well.
Trains? HAH! Do not start me on that corruption which is supported by our spineless regulator.
I could go on.
So in summary...spending the billions of finalising this nation as metric is one investment that might actually do something and not just enrich the money laundering, tax-evaders in the City.
"And whilst they upgrade, can we please have our signs and limits change to km? Puh-leeze!"
No. The metric system is shit for that sort of thing. Indeed, it's not actually much use for anything other than programming computers because computers are dumb as all get out. Even then, many parts of the Imperial system are actually better suited even to computers.
Basing your measurement system on the genetic accident of how many digits you have on your hands is no way to go about things.
"Basing your measurement system on the genetic accident of how many digits you have on your hands is no way to go about things."
Whereas basing your measurement system on the genetic accident of how wide your thumb is makes *perfect" sense?
Any metric is superior to Imperial by the simple fact the scale is a consistent linear progression. Of course the current decimal metric is inferior to a duodecimal measuring system.
"How long has the world had metric standard units for now?"
Yes but since when is the United States part of the world?
Oh right sometime in the century 3000...
Leela: "Look, I know there are no car chases, but this is important. One of these two men will become president of the world."
Fry: "What do we care? We live in the United States."
Leela: "The United States is part of the world."
Fry: "Wow, I have been gone a long time."
no, perl is more of an anarchist utopia-- the general complaint is that there's too much freedom, too many ways to do things, and not nearly enough whips and chains to save developers from themselves. I suspect the OP was thinking of something like Erlang or any other language where claims about "correct by construction", "provability", and "mathematical formalism" are major selling points.
Aww, you guys with your 'perl' and 'brainfuck'. Such charming naievety brings a tear to me eye. No, programming bondage and discipline is something else; claiming perl is b'n'd is right up there with thinking that 50 shades is a realistic portrayal of a sadomasochistic relationship.
No, I was thinking more of Coq formal proofs and Haskell and Ada. The sorts of nasty, serious hardcore that will never be lighthearted fun, where there are no safe words to make the type system stop and when the amount of verbosity and ceremony actually leaves scars.
Brainfuck indeed. You have much to learn, young one. Tell me, have you ever tried... category theory?
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