The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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The UK Home SecretaryAlan Johnsonannounced a major reversal of governmental policy yesterday, saying that ID cards will no longer be mandatory for UK citizens; only foreign nationals will be required to have them.

UK citizens can still apply for a card to help with combating id theft, trafficking and illegal employment, the Home Secretary said.

The ID card program was first proposed in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks as a way to combat terrorism. Nearly £200 million have been spent so far on the controversial project, and was slated to cost at least £4.9 billion over the next decade if not more.

 If insufficient numbers of UK citizens apply for the card, the program is more than likely to be scrapped. The Tory opposition party has already said they planned to stop it if they win the next election.

Whereas the UK is moving away from a universal ID card scheme, India has selectedNandan Nilekani, a founder and former chief executive of Infosys Technologies, to run a program to provide 1 billion universal ID cards to Indian citizens within the next three years.

The cost is estimated to be around Rs 1.5 lakh crore (somewhere near US$31 billion, I think).

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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