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Physicist Kip Thorne On the Physics of "Interstellar"

Frans Faase Bootstrapping and time travel (289 comments)

Spoiler alert for the movie Interstellar

It seems he did not get the main idea of the movie. The whole movie rests on the idea that it is possible to manipulate gravity in the past. The traversable wormhole was created by some humans in the far future and allowed the main character to communicate with the past, causing himself to join a space program, which would lead him to the place to communicate with the past, and by this save human kind from some disaster and in the far future allow to develop the technology to create the wormhole and a black hole with strange properties. So, it also involves a form of bootstrapping. Which makes even less sense, if indead traversable wormholes could be made at all.

about three weeks ago
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"Ambulance Drone" Prototype Unveiled In Holland

Frans Faase People are the problem (82 comments)

Here in the Netherlands the problem is not in getting an AED on the site, but to find someone who can apply it. There are many people trained in using AED's and we here in the Netherlands possibly have the highest density of AED's, and although there is an elobrate system to call trained people to a person with a cardiac arrest, the problem is still in getting enough volunteers to join in. It is no use to have an AED within 200 meters from every house, if you don't have people who can apply them. AED's are not difficult to use, but in a case of emergencie, you need someone who can keep his/her head calm and follow the instructions.

about 2 months ago
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My toy collection is ...

Frans Faase SAMLA box of Lego (209 comments)

I only have one 'toy' kept: a SAMLA box full with Lego, mostly simple pieces from the sixties and seventies. For many years I played with them almost every day. Also as a teenager, I would still play with them.

about 3 months ago
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Magnetic Stimulation Boosts Memory In Humans

Frans Faase MRI did have some effect with my wife (74 comments)

In 2006 my wife reported that her memory improved after she had an MRI taken of her head when she was suffering from memory problems. A few months later, also based on lumbal puncture, she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers disease. She reported that her thinking became much more clear. The effect only lasted for half a day. When I told her neurologists, she laughed it away.

about 4 months ago
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Peer Review Ring Broken - 60 Articles Retracted

Frans Faase Another ring: Method Engineering (178 comments)

There are whole fields within Computer Science, one being "Method Engineering", that basically are one big ring. For your information, "Method Engineering" is about methods for developing software.

about 5 months ago
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My most recent energy-saving bulbs last ...

Frans Faase Very first CFL still working (278 comments)

My parents bought some of the very first CFL lamps, and they are still being used every day. So, it truely is possible to produce lamps with an incredible life-time, but I guess it is not a very good business model. Beter make lamps that break down, so people have to buy new ones every so many years.

about 5 months ago
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One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983

Frans Faase Shuffle your cards in DYNAMO (230 comments)

I guess that the language where you could shuffle your cards is DYNAMO.

about 8 months ago
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One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983

Frans Faase 1978: IBM Fortran to Cyber Fortran (230 comments)

The summer of 1978, I spend some time to convert a large Fortran program in the IBM dialect to Fortran on a Cyber mainframe. The program consisted of about 1500 punch cards. At first I would load the whole deck every time. After some time, I discovered it was possible to store the program on disk and edit them by-line using a program called Update. This still requires typing punch cards. Everytime, I checked the cards many times to make sure, I did not make any mistakes. And then it was waiting before the monitors showing he input, the execution, and the output queue, If it was out of the output queue, you still had to wait before the output was dropped in one of the labled boxes, which could take another ten minutes. In those times memory usages was billed in the Kbytes per second. I did it for nothing. Just the fun to work on a real mainframe was enough. Afterwards, I was rewarded with the book `Finite Mathematics' by Seymour Lipschutz.

The person giving me the assignment also wrote programs in some kind of simulation language where the lines could be in any order. Sometimes he would shuffle the cards while standing in line for the cards to be read, just to make fun of the other waiting.

about 8 months ago
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Toward Better Programming

Frans Faase Programming is hard, is because computers are slow (391 comments)

One of the main reasons why programming is hard, is because computers are slow. This may sound very counter intuitive, but the fact that computers look like they are fast because they make use of many smart tricks, most of which we are no longer aware off. It is important to realize that computers all rely on the memory piramid, where in the top of the memory there is a little very fast memory and at the bottom there is a vast amouth of slow memory (often distributed in a system called The Internet). The range in speed and size is more than 9 powers of 10. A lot of effort is spend in copy data between the kinds of memory inside this memory piramid. And to be able to implement systems that appear fast, we have to deal with all the small tricks that are used in the system to make it look fast. Knuth has said that very often premature optimization is the root of all problems. The real fact is that almost every act of programming (in an imperative language) is an act of optimization, namely finding an implementation of a function with given constraints. Take for example the simple fact that whenever we deal with an integer in a program, it is an integer within a limited range. But an integer could be arbitrary large. So as soon as you declare an integer in your program, you are performing an act of optimization, because you decide that in your case the range of values within your function are limited to a certain power of 2. (Except if your language has an implementation for BigInt, but even these always have a limit.)

about 9 months ago
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Charter Challenges Comcast/Time Warner Merger

Frans Faase Programming is hard because computers are slow (90 comments)

One of the main reasons why programming is hard, is because computers are slow. This may sound very counter intuitive, but the fact that computers look like they are fast because they make use of many smart tricks, most of which we are no longer aware off. It is important to realize that computers all rely on the memory piramid, where in the top of the memory there is a little very fast memory and at the bottom there is a vast amouth of slow memory (often distributed in a system called The Internet). The range in speed and size is more than 9 powers of 10. A lot of effort is spend in copy data between the kinds of memory inside this memory piramid. And to be able to implement systems that appear fast, we have to deal with all the small tricks that are used in the system to make it look fast. Knuth has said that very often premature optimization is the root of all problems. The real fact is that almost every act of programming (in an imperative language) is an act of optimization, namely finding an implementation of a function with given constraints. Take for example the simple fact that whenever we deal with an integer in a program, it is an integer within a limited range. But an integer could be arbitrary large. So as soon as you declare an integer in your program, you are performing an act of optimization, because you decide that in your case the range of values within your function are limited to a certain power of 2. (Except if your language has an implementation for BigInt, but even these always have a limit.)

about 9 months ago
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Daylight Saving Time ...

Frans Faase Very confusing at first (310 comments)

Everytime when I stay in Ürümqi, which is the most West 'capital' in P.R. of China and almost two times zones to the west of Beijing, I have a very had time adjusting to the fact that they use Beijing time and do everything two hours later. Working hours are 10 to 14 and 16 to 20. Dinner is around 20:30. I find myself being confused and having to substract two hours from the clock to know what time of the day it is. And also having experienced a change in currency (Dutch Guilders to Euro), I expect it might take at least half a year to get used to the new times.

about 9 months ago
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Invention Makes Citibikes Electric

Frans Faase Google for: "elektrische fiets" (166 comments)

Here in the Netherlands, where we have as many bikes as inhabitants, electrical supported bikes, have become very common. Google for "elektrische fiets" for some images of these. The battery packs are either build into the frame or put under the luggage carrier at the back. We installed under the luggage carrier, it often is a battery pack that can be taken out. The electrical motors are build into the wheel and there is a small dial on the steering wheel with which you can control the extra support needed. To still have to padel yourself, but the electronics will add some extra power to it. Often these bike have a display showing you the battery status. From a first glance these bikes look like normal bikes. Both old en young people are using these kinds of bikes.

about 10 months ago
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CES 2014: 3-D Scanners are a Logical Next Step After 3-D Printers

Frans Faase Re:Cameras and phones (87 comments)

It seems that all the good solutions are commercial and that most of the freeware solutions are crappy, meaning that either the UI is difficult or that the output has many artifacts or is incomplete. Still looking for a good solution with which you can create a good 3D-model using a set of pictures, like PTGui, which allows you to tweak the results of the various steps and correcting mistakes made by the automatic steps.

about a year ago
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How Quickly Will the Latest Arms Race Accelerate?

Frans Faase Why? Natural resources. (197 comments)

Why this arms race? There can only be one reason: access to natural resources. Some natural resources (such as cheap fossile fuels) are on the decline, and China wants to keeps ite growing population happy, otherwise those in power might lose their position. The other superpowers also want to keep their positions. Cheap natural resources (ranging from water to fossile fuels to rare earth metals) are an essential fact for a healthy economy.

about a year ago
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Kazakh Professor Claims Solution of Another Millennium Prize Problem

Frans Faase His bio: Solution for n-particle problem (162 comments)

In his bio it is claimed that he found explicit formulas for n-particle motion in the space (in the framework of Einstein’s relativity theory). If that would be true, I guess it would have be known in the rest of the world as well, if he had.

about a year ago
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Kazakh Professor Claims Solution of Another Millennium Prize Problem

Frans Faase Why not in English? (162 comments)

If it is such an important article, why did he not find someone to translate it to English? He did get some related papers published in English. It seems that those are about approximations. Interesting non the less.

about a year ago
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MIT Uses Machine Learning Algorithm To Make TCP Twice As Fast

Frans Faase Results are from simulation (250 comments)

If you read the page, you will see that the results are from a simulation and not based on experiments in a real network. And the given performance only works under certain stable conditions. Some remarks seem to imply that if you are moving around (like with a mobile device) the results no longer apply. Still, I believe that machine learning techniques could out perform human coded algorithms, but probably not as much as the 'theoretical' results presented in this research/paper.

about a year and a half ago
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Boeing 777 Crashes At San Francisco Airport

Frans Faase 80 missing in Canada (506 comments)

In the other news: 80 people missing in Canada after train exploded. Why is it that plain crashes always get so much attention, while it has been for a long time one of the safests means of transportation?

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do When Another Dev Steals Your Work and Adds Their Name?

Frans Faase Maybe both of you are mistaken (480 comments)

Usually when software is developed for a payment, the copyrights lie with the organisation paying the money, not with the developer, except when specified otherwise, which rarely happens. Many employment contracts even state that all software developed is owned by the company you work for, including software you develop in your private time. The reason for this being that you are not supposed to work (paid or unpaid) without written permission from your employer, and that there is often a thin line between what you do for your work and what not. In most cases employers don't mind you develop software in your private time and claim copyright, but there might be cases in which they might want to claim copyright, when for example, you develop some algorithm using knowledge you learned while working at your company that in someway could be profitable for your company.

about a year and a half ago
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Dutch Bill Seeks To Give Law Enforcement Hacking Powers

Frans Faase Real reason: not enough resources (114 comments)

It has been argued that one of the real reasons behind this bill is the lack of resources with the police to follow-up all the now already available means of tracking down offenders. Appearantly, it is much cheaper to use hacking tools than to do some old style research and detective work. Or at least that is the impression given by those marketing these hacking tools.

about a year and a half ago

Submissions

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A Supersonic Ping Pong Gun

Frans Faase Frans Faase writes  |  about 2 years ago

Frans Faase writes "The Ping Pong gun or Ping Pong bazooka has been a popular and compelling tool for physics education. However, the design necessarily means the ball emerges at subsonic speed. The design has been modified to include a pressure chamber and a convergent-divergent nozzle, similar to the design of some supersonic wind tunnels. This modification results in supersonic speeds. The current design has achieved a launch speed of 406 m/sec, about Mach 1.23."
Link to Original Source
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Neutrino's faster than light

Frans Faase Frans Faase writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Frans Faase writes "Beter measurements by the OPERA experiments confirm earlier findings of faster than light neutrino's and have been published in an update version of Measurement of the neutrino velocity with the OPERA detector in the CNGS beam. One uncertainty about the earlier OPERA measurements, which relied on the shape of the pulse of the neutrino's being shot, has been eliminated. But this does not exclude the possibility of other systematic errors in the method of measurement."
Link to Original Source
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Computer learns language by playing games

Frans Faase Frans Faase writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Frans Faase writes "By basing its strategies on the text of a manual, a computer infers the meanings of words without human supervision. The paper Learning toWin by Reading Manuals in a Monte-Carlo Framework explains how a computer program succeeds in playing Civilization II using the official game manual as a strategy guide. This manual uses a large vocabulary of 3638 words, and is composed of 2083 sentences, each on average 16.9 words long. By this the program improves it succes rate from 45% to 78% in playing the game. No prior knowledge of the language is used."
Link to Original Source
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Pioneer Anomaly Solved By 1970s Computer Graphics

Frans Faase Frans Faase writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Frans Faase writes "A new computer model of the way heat is emitted by various parts of the Pioneer spacecraft, and reflected off others, finally solves one of the biggest mysteries in astrophysics. Previous calculations have only estimated the effect of reflections. A computer modeling technique called Phong shading was used to work out exactly how the the emitted heat is reflected and in which direction it ends up travelling. Taking into account the reflections on the antenna seem to make the anomaly disappear."
Link to Original Source
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Suspected owner of Bredolab botnet arrested

Frans Faase Frans Faase writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Frans Faase (648933) writes "Today, a 27 year old Armenian has been arrested on the airport of Jerevan, as suspected owner of the Bredolab botnet, which was taken down yesterday by Dutch officials. Fox-IT, the security firm that helped dismanteling the botnet, used the botnet itself to alert infected victims that there was a problem with their machines, directing them to a notice here"
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Take down of Bredolab botnet

Frans Faase Frans Faase writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Frans Faase (648933) writes "Dutch National Crime Squad announces takedown of dangerous Bredolab botnet:
  • The High Tech Crime Team (THTC) of the National Crime Squad today announced the takedown of a dangerous botnet. The botnet had infected at least 30 million computers worldwide. The botnet was part of the Bredolab network, used by cybercriminals to distribute malware to unsuspecting users’ computers.
"

Link to Original Source

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