295 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Aug 2007
(This post was rejected - I think that must have been a mistake)
"color, center, aluminum and other new versions of old words"
That's an oversimplification. According to the OED, although "centre" was the form in which it came from Norman French, by Shakespeare's time "center" was prevalent in Britain, and was only replaced by "centre" as a result of Johnson's dictionary. "Aluminium" and "aluminum" were both common in the USA for much of the 19th century; the decline of "aluminium" was assured by a report by the American Chemical Society which recommended "aluminum" around 1890. It also recommended "sulfur"; but was less successful with "iodin".
I think I've mentioned this before - we had a PDP/11 with 32KW of core memory and the rest semiconductor. Some decorators pushed the big red button, and when we turned the power back on the system continued running, since the operating system was all in core, but the user processes died one by one as most of them were in semiconductor memory.
I don't think the way it's been sold is the problem at all. Most people probably don't even know that it can be used for anything other than mobile phones.
I have a 5G mobile phone, and generally get a good signal. The only "problem" is that it makes no difference at all - nothing I do benefits from the extra speed.
Without the moon, we would still have tides, caused by the sun. They would be smaller, and happen at the same time every day. You can see the tidal effect of the sun in the difference between spring tides (when the sun and moon are aligned) and neap tides (when they are at right angles). If I recall correctly solar tides would be about a quarter as big as lunar ones.
Wilson was not entirely wrong. The pound was devalued by 14% against the dollar, but that didn't mean that people could buy 14% less of the things they actually spent money on. Inflation at that time was well below 5%. Even if you wanted to buy dollars, the exchange controls dating from the second world war still limited what you could convert.
No-one, on the other hand, buys anything real with Bitcoin. If you actually want to buy something, you convert it to real money, so a 30% fall is really that.
Somewhat surprisingly, it turns out to be possibly to compute the Nth digit of pi much more cheaply than computing all the first N digits. This was used to verify the last few digits, making it very implausible that there was a bug in the calculation.
For more information google "Bailey-Borwein-Plouffe".
I worked at IBM (Warwick) during a summer vacation while I was at university. There were refrigerated vending machines which were meant to provide food and drinks. But for some reason this had been replaced with a system in which you obtained a token from the vending machine, then took it elsewhere to get the food. The vending machine was still refrigerated, and dispensed chilled tokens.
"Note that this was in 1960 on an IBM 704. Contrary to what someone posted upthread, the first interactive LISP was not the 1963 PDP-1 LISP."
McCarthy's own History of Lisp paper that you cite says "L. Peter Deutsch implemented the first interactive LISP on the PDP-1 computer in 1963". McCarthy had already hacked up a proof-of concept demo on the IBM 704, but it wasn't usable system. There's some more about it at https://www.quora.com/What-was-it-like-to-use-LISP-on-an-IBM-704
"REPL stands for "read-evaluate-print loop", and REPLs were first seen in Lisp development environments such as Lisp Machines."
Lisp Machines? Lisp had a read-eval-print loop long before Lisp Machines. The first interactive Lisp was PDP-1 Lisp in 1963. The manual describes typing (CAR (QUOTE (A B C D)) followed by a space: "the computer takes control of the typewriter, impulses a carriage return, and then types out: A".
You can download the manual from https://www.computerhistory.org/pdp-1/1822b607c479d2e9de9b19ba958c16e3/
Visa are bleating about customer choice - but what they don't want is for retailers to have a choice. Most companies can't take the risk of not accepting both Visa and Mastercard, so there is no real competition to keep their charges down. Amazon are doing this for their own benefit, but if it eventually reduces the cut taken by the credit card middle men then I'm all for it.