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Astronomers Discover Third-Closest Star System To Earth

Bill Currie Re:Third closest system? (151 comments)

Which still leaves zero as the first.

about a year ago
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Paper On Conspiratorial Thinking Invokes Conspiratorial Thinking

Bill Currie Re:"greater... THAT"... my god... (371 comments)

I've come to the suspicion that it's not so much lack of understanding of grammar or inability to spell that's at the root of the than/then problem, but rather the inablity to hear/speak the difference. The English sounds represented by "e" and "a" are not very far apart. Many of the people might be conflating the two sounds into one. If this is the case, you can correct them until you're blue in the face and they'll never understand because they can't hear the difference. Proof reading their own work won't help because they won't hear the mistake.

I started thinking this way for two reasons: too many people saying "I could care less" when they really mean "I couldn't care less" (understandable, that t can be difficult to hear) and having Japanese students think I said "pet" when I said "pat" (I've taught English in Japan).

However, for this particular case, I've got a slightly different theory, based on my own mistakes: the writer sub-vocalizes while touch-typing and something between tongue, brain and fingers short circuited and instead of N, T was hit. The tongue is in the same place for both sounds, and when touch typing, the index finger on opposite hands is used for both letters (and the movement is rotationally symmetrical). The vast majority of my typos follow a similar pattern (and swapping N and T is very common for me). Heck, I sometimes make the same mistakes with pen and paper!

about a year and a half ago
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Data Analyst Spoils the World's Biggest Song Vote

Bill Currie Re:This just in (165 comments)

Good grief, that joke got old back in '89 (before what's-her-name left the news, even). What's it doing still kicking around?

about a year and a half ago
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LEGO Announces GNU/LInux-Powered Mindstorms EV3 Platform

Bill Currie Re:Wait... what? (164 comments)

With support for sd cards, who needs storage other than for the OS itself?

about a year and a half ago
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Free Software NVIDIA Driver Now Supports 3D Acceleration With All GeForce GPUs

Bill Currie Re:Good News (159 comments)

Of course most of us don't have the knowledge, but if we're motivated enough, we can obtain that knowledge. Worst case, we go to someone who does have the knowledge and say "here's $X, fix it". With closed drivers, none of that is even possible. You need $X**N to get noticed by most closed sources.

about a year and a half ago
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Researchers Create Vomiting Robot To Analyze Contagions

Bill Currie Re:Spewing grammar (65 comments)

I suggest you brush up on your grammar. "projectile" is being used as an adverb, not a verb. However, "projectile" and "vomit" together form a compound verb. No different to "nose dive" or "duck walk".

about a year and a half ago
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Steam For Linux Is Now an Open Beta

Bill Currie Re:64 bit? (353 comments)

Or install and enable multiarch. After a bit of futzing with the package, it works on 64bit debian sid, though you'll probably want to run xsetroot -cursor_name left_ptr after running steam (already a bug reported for that one:#2).

about a year and a half ago
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Whose Bug Is This Anyway?

Bill Currie Re:Reminded me of my first C application (241 comments)

Ick, that's what real compilers (eg, gcc) are for: good warning messages (such as "suggest parenthesis around assignment used as truth value"), and better yet, -Werror. "if (1 == i)" is completely unnatural (for an English speaker anyway), which makes it more likely to forget to do 1 == i than it is to forget to double the equals sign. I too used to make the same mistake when I first started with C (having come from Pascal: that was fun := became =, = became ==), but I quickly learned to double check my tests first when bug hunting. While mixing up = and == has become extremely rare for me (it helps that I usually test against some variant of 0 and thus can avoid using any operator other than !), I often mix up my other tests...

about a year and a half ago
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Engineers Use Electrical Hum To Fight Crime

Bill Currie Re:Where does the 'hum' enter the recording? (167 comments)

The thing with noise is it's impossible to eliminate completely. All that can be done is to knock off a few more dB, though I imagine the noise can be reduced to the point where it's sufficiently smaller than the resolution of the ADC that the bits don't shift. That said, any electrical equipment nearby will be producing a hum. Even if we can't hear it, the mic might pick it up. Then there's the magnetic fields affecting sheet metal, causing it to flex.

Short answer: epsilon.

I suspect a completely noise-free recording would raise just as many, if not more, eyebrows than a recording with a few discontinuities in the hum.

about a year and a half ago
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Voyager 1, So Close To Interstellar Space That We Can Taste It!

Bill Currie Re:It's sad.... (271 comments)

Angry Birds and Minecraft, I imagine. :/

about a year and a half ago
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Staples To Offer 3D Printing Services

Bill Currie Re:A 3D printer that uses paper? (85 comments)

Possibly, but I suspect it might be even stronger than wood as rather than the glue adding structure to the paper, the paper is adding reinforcing to the glue. Either way, with the relative chaos in paper (compared to wood's distinct grain), the result seems to be extremely strong.

about a year and a half ago
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Staples To Offer 3D Printing Services

Bill Currie Re:A 3D printer that uses paper? (85 comments)

This is probably more appropriate as a response to the gp, but it also works as agreement with you: don't underestimate the strength of paper saturated with super-glue. I repaired the belt-clip of an Aiwa "walkman" by first super-gluing the parts together, then super-gluing paper across the joint (second attempt: first was just the parts, promptly re-broke). 20 years on, the repair was still solid.

about a year and a half ago
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One Step Toward a Babel Fish: Real-Time Voice Translation For Phones

Bill Currie Re:Overblown (131 comments)

Exactly. Thus the quote :)

about a year and a half ago
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One Step Toward a Babel Fish: Real-Time Voice Translation For Phones

Bill Currie Re:Overblown (131 comments)

I like subject is math.

Taken (with variations in the final word) from about 95% of the 2nd year junior high school English exams I marked.

In my opinion, any story using telepathy to overcome language barriers was written by either someone with no experience in just how different languages can be (eg, English vs Japanese), or someone with tongue very firmly planted in cheek (an onslaught of terrible bloody warfare). However, I do admit to a third possibility: the characters were lucky and their languages are similar enough that thinking processes readily translate, but different enough that speech doesn't.

about a year and a half ago
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Total Solar Eclipse Bedazzles Northern Australians

Bill Currie Re:Total Solar Eclipse Bedazzles Northern Australi (52 comments)

Considering the stories I heard from my dad about the drapes fading (back in '89, I think it was), that story is far too plausible to dismiss.

There were, if I remember correctly, also worries about a population explosion due to daylight savings. The stories I hear about Queenslanders just baffle me (can anyone really be that dumb?), and I lived there for about 11 years (during which time, I heard most of the stories).

about a year and a half ago
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Global Warming Felt By Space Junk and Satellites

Bill Currie Re:What is CO2 doing up there? (224 comments)

Yes, CO2 is heavier than either N2 or O2, but it is also bigger. I don't know how well it applies to gas molecules, but large balls in a sea of small balls will float to the top if you vibrate the whole lot.

about a year and a half ago
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Super-Earth Discovered In Star's Habitable Zone

Bill Currie Re:Fermi's p (135 comments)

No, his math is quite correct: M=d*4*pi*r^3, so M(p)/M(e) = (d*4*pi*r(p)^3)/(d*4*pi*r(e)) which simplifies to r(p)^3/r(e)^3, or (r(p)/r(e))^3, thus the ratio is the cube-root of 7: 1.913 (or 7.1: 1.922). Still, 2G would be a cow for us.

about a year and a half ago
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First Three-Strikes Copyright Court Case In NZ Falls Over

Bill Currie Re:nomenclature error (80 comments)

You're showing a lack of knowledge of crumpets.

A wide is where the bowler screws up and, if the fielders screw up too (or the bowler really screwed up), the runners might run anyway. There are three ways to get out in cricket: the ball is caught off the bat, the ball hits the stumps (either because the batsman failed to block the ball as thrown by the bowler, or thrown/touched by any other fielder while the batsman is outside the wicket), or the ball (when thrown by the bowler) hits the batsman's leg, but otherwise would have hit the stumps (this is a judgment call by the referee). Otherwise, you can have two batsmen in there all day making life miserable for the fielders (odds are, if their in all day, they're really racking up runs).

about 2 years ago
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Mind Maps: the Poor Man's Design Tool

Bill Currie Re:I suspect (97 comments)

Actually, I'd been working as a programmer for about 15 years before I heard of mind maps, and that was in a TESOL training course, so I suspect that not everyone knows what a mind map is.

about 2 years ago

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