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Satellite Swarm Spots North Pole Drift

Another, completely Re:Not swarm, or SWARM, but Swarm (80 comments)

The Economist had an article a couple of weeks ago about a NASA-funded project.

Stone Aerospace named the penetrator VALKYRIE. This is not in reference to the Norse deity but rather because it needed “a frickin’ cool acronym”, Dr Stone says.

A refreshing dose of honesty.

about a month ago
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Satellite Swarm Spots North Pole Drift

Another, completely Re:not North Pole drift (80 comments)

the north pole itself can only be moving in a southern direction if you think about it.

No, it's just a good hockey player, like you would expect of the north pole. As the Great One said, it skates "to where the pole will be." That's the real northerly direction.

about a month ago
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Was Turing Test Legitimately Beaten, Or Just Cleverly Tricked?

Another, completely Re:but that's the problem with the turing test... (309 comments)

I don't think a chat bot was what Turing had in mind in any case. A bot that was intelligent enough to be able to LEARN and SPEAK well enough that another human couldn't tell the difference between it and another human is the point.

That's why it will be very hard to pass. In the '80s the trick was to ask anything about current affairs because the computer had no real access to information about the world. Now that we have the web, the trick will presumably be to spot someone who is too well-informed. The computer will need to learn how to pretend to know less than it does in order to fit in, which might actually be an appropriate final test to identify intelligence. Unfortunately.

Everything we see now is trying to win the letter of the turing test and ignoring the spirit. Turing's point was that if we can make it able to reason as well as we can we no longer have the right to deny it as intelligent life. Scripts that skip the reasoning and learning part and just try to con the judges are just attempts to cheat at the test.

Thanks for saying it. +1 Insightful.

about 1 month ago
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MIT Used Lobbying, Influence To Restore Nuclear Fusion Dream

Another, completely Re:Article doesn't go into details about quality (135 comments)

I think the general argument is that fusion shouldn't produce any dangerous waste at all. On that basis, I would expect the group you mention to be for it. I've heard that current test reactors produce byproducts that are dangerous, but that these are not strictly necessary for the power generation, so it might be possible to produce a reactor that emits only helium.

I guess that's part of the reason it needs further research.

about 2 months ago
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Bill Watterson (briefly) Returns To Comics

Another, completely Re:If only Bill Waterson inspired other cartoonist (119 comments)

Gary Trudeau kept Doonesbury going daily until last year. Now it's only weekly, but still great, and has been consistently great since the seventies. He only dropped the frequency to give time for his new main job writing for Alpha House.

about 2 months ago
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Professors: US "In Denial" Over Poor Maths Standards

Another, completely Re:Professors poor in geography (688 comments)

Deserves a funny mod, although it would make the North American Free Trade Agreement less controversial.

about 2 months ago
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Heartbleed: Revenue Canada breached, 900 SINs leaked

Another, completely Why? (1 comments)

From the article:

Based on our analysis to date, Social Insurance Numbers (SIN) of approximately 900 taxpayers were removed from CRA systems by someone exploiting the Heartbleed vulnerability.

What can you do with 900 Canadian SINs? Maybe use them to send convincing links to a false tax payment site, but anyone who clicks on an e-mail link to a payment site could probably have been fooled without the SIN.

about 4 months ago
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Pluto Regains Its Title As Largest Object In Its Neighborhood

Another, completely Re:It's a trick (138 comments)

If I had points, I would vote you up. My pineal gland told me to. It also told me to pass the cheese dip, but I'm out of crackers.

about 4 months ago
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Estimate: Academic Labs 11 Times More Dangerous Than Industrial Counterparts

Another, completely DOW (153 comments)

On first reading, I thought that would be Department of Works or something. Since when is DOW capitalized? It's named after a person.

about 5 months ago
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Fake Pub Studies Drinking Habits

Another, completely Re:So a fake pub with drinks and a place to sit (118 comments)

Also, psychologists will frown upon any research where the subjects do not know they are part of a research project.

I'm guessing it depends on the nature of the interaction.

Anyone can listen to nearby conversations and form opinions, but that's not the same as conducting a study. If someone associated with a university tries to publish results from a study without signed permission from all participants, the university ethics board will not just frown. Tenure might save you, but students and assistant professors are in trouble. This is taken very seriously.

about 5 months ago
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Assange's Lawyers: Follow Swedish Law, Interrogate Him In the UK

Another, completely Re:or stop hiding... (377 comments)

That's something I still don't understand. Why does he claim the Americans could arrange an extradition from Sweden more readily than from the UK?

about 6 months ago
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Finnish Hacker Isolates Helicopter GPS Coordinates From YouTube Video Sounds

Another, completely Re:This is impressive and all (163 comments)

She was in Lordi too? Hard to know who they really are through the masks, but they are Finnish, and electrical engineering types do get up to some strange hobbies. How did you know?

about 6 months ago
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High School Students Develop Linux Imaging and Help Desk Software

Another, completely Re:What about the windows only software? and offic (116 comments)

And you think Word does that? If you are going to write a doctoral thesis in Word, then you have my pity starting out. With LaTeX, you have a formatting area at the front, your references in a nice separate bibliography file, and most of your document is just the text you have written. Setting up a master document that includes separate documents for each chapter, allowing cross-referencing, a single bibliography, and a table of contents is possible in Word, but it's dead simple in LaTeX.

Setting it up in the first place may take a little looking into, but building a master document in Word isn't intuitive either. If it takes more than a day to get your basic file structure sorted, then you aren't trying. It's three or four years of your life that you will be writing this thing. If the format guidelines change during that time, you can fix it in one place (in fact, some procrastinating student will probably build a fresh style file to share so you don't even need to fix it yourself). How long would it take you in Word to change the margins or line-spacing for a multi-chapter document? What about copying formatted text from a research paper you just finished, keeping all the figure references and citations, but in your university format instead of the journal publisher's?

I'm in business now, and use Word and Excel regularly because that's the de facto standard. Every time I need to re-format anything in Word I wish I just had to edit LaTeX instead. It's just simpler. In the long run, it will save you time and agony.

about 6 months ago
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Chinese Firm Can Now Produce 500 Cloned Pigs Per Year

Another, completely Re:Cloning sucks. (156 comments)

In other news, cloning is fun to know how to do, but totally worthless because it has no valid applications.

You left out the cloning to eliminate most variables when you give an experimental medical treatment to one animal but not to another. I'm surprised you thought about cloning sex slaves before getting to that one.

about 7 months ago
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European Health Levels Suddenly Collapsed After 2003 and Nobody Is Sure Why

Another, completely Maybe the line is moving (304 comments)

Could this be because it's easier to get diagnosed with diabetes, COPD, or other non-healthy conditions than it was in 2002? I've heard enough anecdotal evidence to make me ask the question, but it would be nice to see a study. How many people who were considered healthy in 2002 could visit a doctor in 2013 and be declared unhealthy, and how does that fraction vary by country? Unless an article can control for that variable, the other numbers don't really mean much.

about 8 months ago
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Physicists Plan to Build a Bigger LHC

Another, completely Re:Call it... (263 comments)

But if all the scientists and engineers are going to work on THC, will they get anything done?

about 9 months ago
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Physicists Smash Record For Wave-Particle Duality

Another, completely Re: Whatever (95 comments)

The equation is irrelevant. The Chelonian Uncertainty Principle demonstrates that the more accurately you know the momentum of a turtle, the less accurately you know its position. Since any usefully accurate value for its quantum wavelength would need very high accuracy for its momentum, you would never be able to find the turtle for which you had made your calculations, especially since they can look just like little rocks under the water and are naturally given to hiding.

The Turtle Moves!

about 9 months ago
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Elementary School Bans Students From Touching Each Other

Another, completely Re:The Type (336 comments)

parent who should never have been allowed to have children

I was unaware you needed a license for that. Or did you mean to imply procreation should be regulated - perhaps by you?

Wish I could remember what movie it's from: "There should be a test before people can become parents. Beyond the practical, I mean."

about 9 months ago

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