top Google's Project Loon Can Now Launch Up To 20 Balloons Per Day, Fly 10x Longer
While the medical equipment is one use of helium, it has nothing to do with why there's a shortage. This sums up the situation, including new facilities coming online that pretty much will make the "ermegerd heliumz" you've spewed a moot point.
top Ebola Nose Spray Vaccine Protects Monkeys
Jenny McCarthy to protest this? After all, who can really care for all those poor autistic monkeys this will create?
about a month and a half ago
top What People Want From Smart Homes
I want a house that will allow me to be as lazy as I want. A TV room on every floor, with room for a couch big enough to stretch out in? I want that. Dishwasher with garbage disposal? Yep, that too. Enough counter space so that I can make dinner with enough horizontal space that I don't have to use the kitchen table too? Yes please.
I'd also like a large detached garage, as laziness is an indoor hobby (or at least in the house) and the garage is where work happens. Running water, electricity and plumbing?
There's a reason the "homes of the future" from as far back as memory and history will go really only have such usable innovations as microwave ovens and garage door openers. Being able to turn my lights on from the office? I don't really need that, and if I ever do I can get a programmable timer for lamps. Programmable thermostat? I can get one now for $30 for a REALLY nice one at Home Depot or anywhere else. I suppose a smart meter will tell me when I'm using the most electricity or gas, but SURPRISE, it's probably when I'm at home with all the appliances on! The law of diminishing returns for retrofitting a house with programmable toys will be in effect in short order, and money will be better spent adding better insulation or a roof, not a light switch so my dog doesn't feel unloved for 20 minutes before I get home.
about a month and a half ago
top Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?
I went through a string of slider-keyboard phones, as I prefer the tactile feedback of a real keyboard. The troubles with them were numerous though. The slide-mech always ended up "gumming up" after a few months of use. The keyboard layout was always less than optimal, because while the alphabet on the keyboard was laid out as qwerty, everything else was suspect. No Tab key, no control keys, etc...
These phones also went through a series of failures of ribbon cables etc. Over a dozen phones in two years.
The thing that sealed the deal for switching to a touch-key phone was crushing my left thumb in an accident. I have slight nerve damage, and pressing keys with that thumb was discomforting, at best.
I don't really think this issue is one for the carriers so much as it is the manufacturers not offering them, or if it's on the carrier end they probably don't want to deal with the breakage issues with the phones. Parts counts on a touch-key phone will be lower, and without the mechanical part of the phone to go bad they're inherently more reliable and lighter.
top US Secret Service Wants To Identify Snark
be a violation of the first amendment? I would imagine you would need to force an ironic tag as well, if you posted a sarcastic post without the tag, sarcastically.
top The Physics of Hot Pockets
a microwave with more than 300 watts of power. I've never had the issue of hot outside/cold inside, my problems have always been of the hot outside/nuclear inferno/solar coronal mass ejection on the inside variety, regardless of where I've microwaved them. I don't even follow the instructions on the package very closely, just pull it out of the wrapper, put it in the sleeve, toss it in, slap the door shut, 3 or so minutes, and out comes an external breading hot to the touch with napalm in the center.
Maybe there are just a lot of broken microwaves, or even more likely, people that don't know how to use them properly?
top Government Accuses Sprint of Overcharging For Wiretapping Expenses
the government now gets to experience the same bill-creep the rest of us poor suckers have been subject to all this time.
top Talking On the Phone While Driving Not So Dangerous After All
The study makes the assumption that people will wait for the free call period after 9pm, and assumes that if more people were waiting for that point that we would see a corresponding increase in crashes, but from what I can gather there's no segregation of the data to show how many of the test subjects have data plans that are not unlimited in call time.
I have to imagine that if you're waiting for 9pm in order to make a call, it's an important call and you'll make it from someplace other than the inside of a car. Most people without unlimited call plans still make short calls after and before 9pm if they assume the calls will be short and not significantly impact available billed minutes.
top Slashdot Launches Re-Design
My already overtaxed old Powerbook can't handle the new site's layout, and it looks like I'll have to either avoid Slashdot, one of my daily religious reads for over a decade, or buy a new piece of equipment just to read a text format site.
Seriously? It's text, wtf was so important that it's got to be redone to look fancy? Why not some flash animation while you're at it? Can we switch to an html view? I'm glad you felt the need to flash the place up, but this is pretty stupid.
top A Requiem For Saab
From the linked article, Saab had a highlight of sales at 48,000 and change in 1986, when they were a post-recession yuppie fad. They were always bad cars, and articles like this one reminiscing about the "glory days" of Saab are a bit myopic. They rusted out in key places, like where the control arms for the front suspension bolts to the body. They're a nightmare to work on, with the engine spun backwards in the engine bay. The "tight steering" meant nothing when coupled with a body that flexed terribly, especially on the convertible models. Big buttons for people wearing gloves? That's the best contribution the author can come up with in his requiem?
The fact is that people don't want to spend huge money on mediocre cars. Saab was purchased to be placed in GM's lineup as a luxury foreign brand, much like Volvo's purchase by Ford. The new cars were built on better platforms than the ones Saab could engineer, with all the quirkiness still intact for buyers with too much money and not enough common sense. That GM can't give the company away, and can't make money selling weird cars is proof of this. The year GM purchased Saab they killed off Oldsmobile. Saab was selling ~40,000 cars per year, Olds was selling 250,000 cars per year. They killed a brand that made them far more money in order to have a more upscale image, only to find out what people really imagined the cars to be. They made a Saab out of a Blazer, they made a Saab out of a Subaru, and I'm sure if some marketing doofus thought it was a good idea they would have done the same with a Daewoo as well.
Saab had some interesting ideas over the years, but they were cars that were constantly broken and difficult to work on. I've spent many years as an auto tech and diagnostician fixing these things. I'll always have many fond memories of working on Saabs. They've brought me so much laughter over the years.
top Lawyer Jailed For Contempt Is Freed After 14 Years
do we get to find his treasure now?
top Researchers Discover That Sand Behaves Like Water
It's Saturday, I was told there would be no maths.
top Researchers Discover That Sand Behaves Like Water
It's probably just due to static electricity.
top Microsoft Accused of Squandering Billions On R&D
one of the things that dragged Apple down in the 90s? Sharply cutting R&D spending, cutting useless projects and focusing on the core business were some of the things that helped bring them back from almost being a footnote to history. Hard to imagine Microsoft being in the same situation.
top Privacy Group Calls Google Latitude a Real 'Danger'
is an Assassin game based on this. Anyone else think that sounds like fun?
top BBC's iPlayer Chief Pushes Tiered Charging For ISPs
the same cable companies that are pushing for tiered pricing start pulling stunts like packaging channels instead of allowing us Ala carte pricing, so we only get the channels we want.
Wait, what? They what?
top Bringing Giant Tortoises Back From Extinction
100 years and how much money to bring back an extinct turtle? I just hope I'm around in 100 years for the great turtle project centennial unveiling.
Of coure, they ARE turtles, did you think this would happen quickly?
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