When I first came across BASIC in the 70's it was known for three things in particular: (i) being interpreted rather than compiled, (ii) having these MAT commands, and (iii) being simpler and beginner friendly than FORTRAN or Algol.
The MAT commands seem to have been dropped from most later versions.
(It was at first a compiled language, but it really took off once interpreters become available on time-share systems. It was probably that aspect, rather than the syntax, which made it more suited to beginners).
Turns out that the target for the second bomb was Kokura, and they did three bomb runs over it, but they then diverted to Nagasaki.
Reading the report - with the rationale for each of those other targets - and then the story of the Kokura raid (which ended up hitting Nagasaki) makes it very dramatically obvious how "contingent" everthing is.
Edit: In fact Kokura, which I'd never heard of until today, got pretty lucky - as well as being the main target for what became the "Nagasaki bomb", they'd been the backup target for the first bomb
Great to see this. One of the very first examples of client-site Java put up years ago by JPL (or NASA?) was essentially this, but it went down a few years ago.
So simple, yet very powerful tool to grok intuitively quite a few things: geostationary orbits - and to see at a glance why latency is going to be a problem; the issue of coverage for satellite phones etc.
I'm not VLM, but yes, peer-pressure in another guise. Just think about your attitudes and beliefs on (a) handgun ownership, (b) creationism and (c) Israel. It's very likely that if you're in a social group with strong homogeneous view on one of these items, that there will be a matching "party line" on the others - even though they're completely unrelated. Chances are low that you'll argue the point, you'll probably just stay quiet - but many people will enthusiastically take that party line as their own.
I think that's just groupthink. People tend to act on their beliefs about things like vaccines, Israel, and handgun ownership.
Of course, it's one of the earliest results in psychology that social conformity has an influence on people's beliefs, even on readily accessible questions like whether line A is longer or shorter than line B. To me, if somebody professes a belief, acts on that belief, and works to convince others of that belief, then they effectively hold that belief.
That always ruined shows for me. They punch someone, they say nothing. They punch them again, and they immediately give them the truth and stop the torture. But they can't check the truth for quite a while, possibly not without killing or letting the suspect go.
Since we're talking about fiction... In Burn Notice, they routinely stop people from using torture to try to get actionable intel, because "people will say whatever they think you want to hear, just to make it stop"
Even worse, "Madam Secretary" is now spreading torture apologist rhetoric by framing the character that worked for the CIA and approved torture as a successful but war-worn, down-to-earth realist that acknowledges that "life is more complicated than you think," while the character that vehemently opposed torture is framed as an overly-idealistic young adult that dropped out of college in protest and has to work menial jobs in retail to "learn how the world works."