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How Much Math Do We Really Need?

CaptDeuce Re:A little more (1153 comments)

We could use, at least, a basic understanding of probability..

Yeah, right. What are the chances of that happening?

more than 4 years ago

University Offers Class In Zombie Studies

CaptDeuce Re:Advertising (118 comments)

It's just an English literature/writing class with a narrow focus on zombie fiction. It's not THAT big a deal...

Not a big deal? We're talking freakin' zombies! Some brain dead soul modded the post interesting? ZOMBIES are interesting! Well, actually, not talking to one though. They're not good listeners and there's only one subject they want to talk about.

more than 4 years ago

Playboy Launches Safe For Work Website

CaptDeuce Re:Playboy w/o nudity? (98 comments)

Hey! Where's the link to the "safe" Playboy site?

more than 4 years ago

Proximity Sensor Presents Latest iPhone 4 Issue

CaptDeuce Re:R&D (446 comments)

...sounds like most of these problems would have been figured out if people had tested them in the field for a few weeks before sending them to the factory

They tried to test them in the field but that guy forgot his in a bar and, well, you know the rest of the story.

more than 4 years ago

Boeing Releases Details On New Crew Capsule

CaptDeuce Re:Little bigger than Apollo? (66 comments)

Apollo was barely big enough for 3. Something only a "little" bigger is supposed to hold 7?

As others have pointed out, there was room in the Apollo space craft in the lower bay (i.e, under the seats) that could "snugly" fit two additional astronauts. The amount of supplies would offer little space savings since the majority of consumables (water and oxygen) were provided by the Service Module. Food did not take up much space since it was all dehydrated. The water was generated as a byproduct of the fuel cells.

One of the largest cubic space savings inside the spacecraft would come from all the avionics. Check out the Command Module interior. Note the size of Command Module Computer (lower right of the Left Side of spacecraft diagram). Examine the Data Storage Equipment (upper right of the Right Side diagram). The control panel was huge. As noted in the wikipedia entry "In total, the command module panels included 24 instruments, 566 switches, 40 event indicators, and 71 lights." Now it could be replaced by four flat screen displays, much smaller and less power hungry instruments, and a lot fewer switches (10-15% maybe?) My guess that equipment specific to Apollo missions would be a wash compared to future missions. Though I do wonder how much space can be recovered by ditching the film and their cameras.

Now consider that the Boeing spacecraft will be a little larger. I haven't gone over the figures but I would expect that seven economy class airline seats will fit comfortably inside. In any case I expect it would be much more comfortable without that pesky gravity that forces you to keep shifting you body weight to keep your ass from getting numb.

more than 4 years ago

Study Shows Monkeys Like Watching TV

CaptDeuce Coming up on the Monkey Television Network (103 comments)

  • Demolition derby
  • Pong
  • Men's tennis
  • Women's tennis (monkey focus groups indicate that male monkeys maintain a narrower focus)
  • Mythbusters
  • Baywatch (increased focus of male monkeys also noted)

In followup studies, human males show almost identical focus intensities. Unexpectedly, focus was most highly concentrated for episodes of Mythbusters -- even when Kari Byron was on hiatus.

more than 4 years ago

The Safari Reader Arms Race

CaptDeuce eBook instead of web content? (210 comments)

TFA says:

what many of these folks did not realize was that they were not looking for web content, what they really wanted to experience was an ebook.

Looking for an eBook "experience"? Hell, I just want to be able to read the damn content! Dammit, Jim, I'm getting old! My eyesight is giving out! Do web designers use small and medium tags any more? Nooooo! I got my standard font size cranked up to 16! My web browser canna take anymore! She's gonna explode!

Damn stupid twit.

Now leave me alone so I can go chase those damn kids off my lawn. Hmph.

Tell me what I'm for, damn stupid bastard. Ow! There goes my damn hip again. Damn doctors ain't worth a damn.

An' everything is an "experience" now, and everything is a "technology," a damn "innovative technology experience." I'll give you an experience all right.


Damn Slashdot "comments" ain't nothin' but noise nowadays. Damn kids. Don't know why I bother reading it anymore. Oof! Damn chair ain't good for shit.

Hey, I like that IKCD guy. Damn guy doesn't draw 'em quick enough for me. Damn comic... drawer guy.

more than 4 years ago

"Cyber-Roach" Forces Rethink On Animal Movement

CaptDeuce Animal Movement (41 comments)

I thought it was referring to the animal rights movement and why did they care about cockroaches? Forcing them to wear backpacks?

more than 4 years ago

Rest In Peas — the Death of Speech Recognition

CaptDeuce Re:Buffalo buffalo (342 comments)

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo, buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

Is now rendered as:

Badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger.
Mushroom mushroom.

more than 4 years ago

Apple Patches Massive Holes In OS X

CaptDeuce Re:Twelve? (246 comments)

Apple's own security update page (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4004) lists these six, where did Threatpost author get the number 12 from?:

"Massive security holes" or "serious vulnerabilities" are worth two "ordinary" vulnerabilities.

about 5 years ago

Using Hacked Wiimotes As Scientific Sensors

CaptDeuce Re:Oh Science. (110 comments)

There's nothing like spending a day to save a few dollars by not having to buy a specialized sensor. Sounds like my Master's research; why buy good equipment when grad students can spend ages building a poor imitation of it?

research assistant n. see indentured servant

I know that "why" is a rhetorical question. But... too bad grad students don't work on grant budgets. :-) Having wrestled with said budgets in Excel (before someone with a bussiness degree took over), I can tell you that the amount of money allocated to equipment tends to be rather flexible. Any give in the budget tends to be used for junket... er, travel expenses for attending scientific conferences.

more than 5 years ago

What Drugs Do Astronauts Take?

CaptDeuce Re:Lies, Damn Lies and "Science" Articles (132 comments)

Our fine Slashdot poster says,

This article should be in "Entertainment".

It is a light hearted article to be sure so let's not be "hasty" about making "claims" suggesting that is has no "reason" to be in a popular science "web site."

Or why NASA is having them take a "cocktail" to "get the job done" which would, if the description is accurate, prevent the job from getting done if not kill them (alcohol + uppers + downers + tranqs? Anyone remember Karen Ann Quinlan?)

More "sensationalism" in response to a light hearted "article". So let's be serious for a "momen..." er, moment.

As noted by our fine poster, DynaSor (hey, I like that name) must know, NASA prefers that astronauts refrain from using any drugs especially while performing critical activities such as launch, reentry, and EVA. If they needed medications on a regular basis that would not be acceptable in medically certified pilot, they would not be astronauts since there is certainly no shortage of qualified candidates. That noted, it would be irresponsible for NASA to jeopardize a mission or well being of crew members not to make drugs available on high profile multi-million dollar missions that are part of a multi-billion dollar program.

Alas, the simple mention of the the word "drug" triggers bizarre and irrational reactions from many, many people who are conditioned by propaganda and misinformation thrown at them from many groups (religions, politicians, pharmaceutical corporations, etc.) each with their own agenda. Ignorance and rationalization run rampant. It's not at all difficult to imagine listening to a patron sitting at a bar pontificate about how drug use is leading society to Hell in a hand-basket while gulping down cups of black coffee that he hopes will sober him up enough (it won't) so that he can drive home without fear of getting pulled over and get charged with a DWI. (For the uninformed, alcohol and caffeine are, indeed, drugs.)

However, I was prompted to reply when reading this in TFA:

Modafinil: You may know it as Provigil, Alertec, Vigicer or Modalert, but astronauts know it as the upper they take when sleep isn't an option.

Modafinil is not an "upper" in the generally recognized sense. Wikipedia says this about Modafinil:

...like other stimulants, [it] increases the release of monoamines... . However, modafinil also elevates hypothalamic histamine levels, leading some researchers to consider Modafinil a "wakefulness promoting agent" rather than a classic amphetamine-like stimulant. ... Despite modafinil's histaminergic action, it still partially shares the actions of amphetamine-class stimulants due to its effects on norepinephrine and dopamine.

One can be administered Modafinil and fall asleep without undue problems. Suffice it to say that it is misleading to simply lump Modafinil with stimulants such as amphetamines and Ritalin that are routinely put to recreational use.

Therefore, I would say the major shortcoming of TFA is that it plays on the fears and misconceptions of readers to garner undeserved attention to a subject that could otherwise be more interesting and informative.

more than 5 years ago

Sending Astronauts On a One-Way Trip To Mars

CaptDeuce Re:That Analogy Falls Apart (917 comments)

You're sending them there on a one trip for one reason and one reason only: saving money.

One reason? Consider the expression "opportunity of a lifetime."

Typical NASA Mars mission profiles have astronauts returning after only one year on Mars (yes, "only"). A scientist who needs or even wants to spend a longer period of time there is SOL. With virtually no chance of making a return trip the obvious solution is not to return to earth; retire there.

The astronauts, however, are ... heading to a place of no resources. None for living anyway. ... This isn't little house on the prairie, this is the cold deadness of space.

It's not Space, it's Mars. All the necessary elements needed to survive are there. Try reading a book written by Robert Zubrin; he's done the math.

All other things being reasonably equal, given the choice between a one way trip to Florida for retirement versus a one way trip to Mars, I'm going to Mars.

"Faith is no substitute for arithmetic" -- Henry Spencer

more than 5 years ago

Senators Want To Punish Nokia, Siemens Over Iran

CaptDeuce Re:Because Cisco would never do such a thing (392 comments)

This is just more bullshit for the U.S. government to work around trade agreements they've signed in the past.

What trade agreements? The US was given China temporary Most Favored Trade Status 1990 and made permanent in 2001 during the Bush Administration. Conversely, the US maintains trade sanctions against Iran and does not even have diplomatic relations with Iran and has not since 1980. So I ask again, what trade agreements?

more than 5 years ago

The Great Ethanol Scam

CaptDeuce Re:Ethanol is just stupid (894 comments)

Isn't life wonderful when we just let the government do things?

You misspelled "lobbyists."

more than 5 years ago

Scientists Isolate and Treat Parasite Causing Decline in Honey Bee Population

CaptDeuce Re:Remember the Wacko environmentalists (182 comments)

Saying the reason the bees were dying was because of human pollution. Another media lie.

Which media is that? The Liberally Biased Media or the Right Wingnut Media?

more than 5 years ago

Scientists Create Compound With a Single Element

CaptDeuce Re:Miswritten summary (163 comments)

... if the news article estimated correctly based on the reported phase transformation pressures...that's pretty damn hard!

Is that boron boride in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

more than 5 years ago

Homeland Security Department Testing "Pre-Crime" Detector

CaptDeuce Re:Err (580 comments)

What do those 78% and 80% mean, you ask? Let's look at The Fine Article:

Some subjects were told to act shifty, be evasive, deceptive and hostile. And many were detected.

Answer: it's a bad acting detector.

Seriously, a better test would be to ask test subjects to do something relevant such as, say, defeat the detector (duh!). If the subject fails, something unpleasant, yet harmless, will happen; a device that emits a startling noise and perhaps belch some smelly smoke. Imagine a grown up version of the game Operation (I hate that game). Better yet, have the subject carry the device on their person. The nature of the device would be demonstrated to the subject beforehand, just as a domestic animal is allowed to experience the shock from an electric fence to establish the proper respect for the deterrent.

I'm getting nervous just describing the damn thing.

more than 6 years ago



MobileMe: iCards service is no longer available

CaptDeuce CaptDeuce writes  |  more than 5 years ago

CaptDeuce (84529) writes "I logged onto my Paid-Online-Service-Formerly-Known-as-.Mac today to send a thank you iCard. They are gone. After searching about, this is what I discovered:

iCards service was discontinued with the release of MobileMe on July 9, 2008 (2008-07-09). The removal of the feature was announced on June 9, 2008 as part of the .Mac to MobileMe Transtion FAQ.

If you use a Mac running Mac OS X v10.5 or later, you can use Mail's stationery feature in Mac OS X v10.5 or later, which offers more than 30 professionally designed stationery templates with coordinated layouts, fonts, and colors. You can customize your message to your liking by dragging and dropping photos from your iPhoto library, changing fonts, rewriting headlines, and more.

In other words, Apple is telling us we are on our own. Those 'professionally designed' templates are total crap compared to the wonderful iCard images.

The only notification of the iCard termination I received as a charter .Mac subscriber required following an easy to overlook link at the end of the email announcement to the .Mac to MobileMe transition FAQ. (Other casualties were .Mac slides and 10.3 Panther sync support.) Apple's other suggestion? 'many third-party greeting card services ... available online ... can easily be located using your favorite Internet search engine'. Thanks, Apple!"



CaptDeuce CaptDeuce writes  |  more than 8 years ago

OK, I've been using the "latest and greatest" CSS version of Slashdot. Its dorked. Stuff that I've become accustomed to because, oh, I've been using it for years is either missing -- or worse -- moved.

How do I hate thee? Let me list the ways. First, what's been moved:

  • In the main page (list of articles) the Read More link is way over on the right. It used to be on the left.
  • On the article page, the Comment score is way over on the right instead of tucked snugly at end of the article title.
  • What's been added:

    • Links to Slashdot Sections all over the forkin' place. This is at least as annoying as Amazon's "this book? maybe you'll be interested in >these. Please, spare me. Actually, they snuck these things in earlier but I thought I managed to stamp them out.

    And the plain ol' bizarre:

    • On the article page, the menu there's curious item, "Top". A strange name for an item since it's already at the top of the comments. So what does it do? It hides article text. Seems to me that "Hide" is more descriptive than "Top" even if it's not at all obvious what will be hidden.
    • So, now that you've hidden the article text, how do you get it back? Perhaps a "bottom" menu item? No, the article's title in the article menu. Yeah, that's intuitive.
    • Want to create a new journal entry? Is there a menu item for "New" which has been standard since at least 1984? No. It's "Write in Journal". Instead, the email client crap shoot approach is used where instead of sticking with "new" the interface designer decided to get all English Composition 101 on us with names like "write" or "compose". Even "create" would be a better choice. Standards? Pick one.

    The inexplicable:

    • On the journal entry page there's a "preview" button (lowercase p) whose purpose is pretty clear, as well as a "save" (lowercase s) button and a check box labeled "Submit" (uppercase S).

      OK, what happens if I click on save? Will it store what I've been diligently typing for the last hour and let me continue on with my composition? Or will it do what a "submit" does when posting a comment to an article? Or is that only if the Submit box is checked? But what happens if the Submit box is checked and I click on the preview button?
    • Answer: checking the Submit box doesn't kick you out of "Write in Journal" when clicking "save". Now that's intuitive!

    • A nice list of allowed HTML. Slash will list 'em but we gotta type 'em. That is, other web sites that include buttons to insert the HTML for you suck. The command line interface is the epitome of user interfaces, so there.

    My fingers hurt. I'm done for now

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