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Comments

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Newly Discovered Virus Widespread in Human Gut

GrahamCox crAss (92 comments)

OK, I wondered. I'm sure you did. It is short for 'cross Assembler' - the software used to sequence the genome (I skimmed the paper). Not what you thought. No.

No shit.

yesterday
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Mac OS X Yosemite Beta Opens

GrahamCox Parallels VM (165 comments)

I wish I could run this in a Parallels Desktop VM, under 10.9. That would be much more convenient than having to set up a separate boot partition. But right now it appears unsupported... unless someone knows better?

4 days ago
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Mac OS X Yosemite Beta Opens

GrahamCox Re:Flat UI Design (165 comments)

Not necessarily. It's often rendered as an NSGradient having the necessary colours at key positions. A glassy effect typically needs four colours, and they are computed off some base "theme" colour. Nevertheless the time to render this is extremely small, probably no greater than decoding and painting a PNG of the same area.

4 days ago
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Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

GrahamCox Re:Why fly over a war zone? (752 comments)

So why do all the media call the SU-25 a fighter?

Because any military aircraft is a "fighter", in simple terms, as opposed to a civilian aircraft. It's just the usual media assumption that their readers are lazy and stupid, and wouldn't know the difference.

about two weeks ago
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How To Fix The Shortage of K-5 Scholastic Chess Facilitators

GrahamCox Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (128 comments)

Every minute playing chess would be better spent [fill in your personal alternative here]

Perhaps people like, y'know, playing chess as a game? It's interesting, it passes the time, and it's actually quite challenging to become even moderately good at the game. The fact that algorithms can play chess is irrelevant, playing chess is not an activity that humans play algorithmically - they learn to play it intuitively, using pattern recognition and a bit of analysis, not exhaustive analysis and a whole bunch of rules, tables and a large database of known games to draw on. Chess programs employing 'simple' heuristics don't beat every human player - top players can still beat the top programs, though it's getting close. The programs in typical chess implementations do beat novice players, but in turn they are easily beaten once you get better at the game.

It's like saying there's no point playing soccer because a machine that can fire balls into a net could be easily built that would beat a human goalie every time. It really misses the whole point.

about two weeks ago
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New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture

GrahamCox Wha? (204 comments)

crease the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization

What does that even mean? How can you 'crease the fluidity' of anything? Sound suspiciously like typical management-speak, and I don't think that's what MS needs at all.

about two weeks ago
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In Düsseldorf, A Robot Valet Will Park Your Car

GrahamCox Re:This is not news (120 comments)

Also in the news, we have Unicode! Slashdot, have you heard of it?

about three weeks ago
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In Düsseldorf, A Robot Valet Will Park Your Car

GrahamCox Re:This is not news (120 comments)

It is news, because it's in Düsseldorf! Frankfurt is so last century.

about three weeks ago
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On 4th of July:

GrahamCox Re:That's How I Know I Got Old (340 comments)

The last few years I've thought it would be awesome if I could watch the fireworks from a small private plane.

Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but watching fireworks from a plane is likely to be a big disappointment. Because you can see so much area from a thousand feet or so, the fireworks become comparatively tiny, and also often viewed against a background of urban lighting which makes them hard to see. Even huge public displays like the Sydney NYE displays look pretty unimpressive from the air. Fireworks are only impressive when viewed from the ground against a dark sky, close to their launch point.

about three weeks ago
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The lightbulb I've most recently acquired ...

GrahamCox Fluorescent striplights (196 comments)

I had to replace 2 33W CFL striplights recently. I could not believe how cheap they were - $4.50 (Australian, but that's almost equal to US) for two. How do they make them for that?

about a month ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

GrahamCox Re:The central tenet of atheism (1330 comments)

Not believing in a deity means accepting on faith that the universe came into existence without the help of a deity.

Certainly there are aspects of belief and "faith" even in an atheistic viewpoint, because there are some things that we simply don't know and, probably, cannot know. But saying "god did it" is a very absurd fallback, because it begs the obvious, childish, yet profound question, "where did god come from?" Adding another level of complexity to explain away the already difficult complexity we're faced with doesn't make the problem simpler!

about a month ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

GrahamCox Stupid (1330 comments)

Stupid is as stupid prays.

about a month ago
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How Apple Can Take Its Headphones To the Next Level

GrahamCox Re:how about we stick to making the basics better (196 comments)

It's definitely true. I've had to replace a number of household white-goods items recently - dishwasher, oven and washing machine - which all failed due to bad design. As someone who once did design consumer goods for a living, it was easy to see where the failures had been either engineered in, or negligently ignored.

The washing machine failed due to intermittent contact between the spinning drum and the plastic casing that enclosed it (only a perfectly balanced load would avoid this contact, a rarity in practice). Eventually this wore through, allowing water to be ejected under pressure straight onto the back of the bare PCB that controlled the machine.

The dishwasher failed because the relay that controlled the main heater was underrated for the current draw of the element, leading to heavy contact wear and eventual failure. The PCB tracks connecting the same relay were also undersized and showed signs of delamination from the substrate due to heat. Which failed first was a matter of luck, but one of them definitely would, but after a period of working (3 years in my case).

The oven was the worst. The casing was so badly engineered that hot air from the back of the oven was fan-forced through a gap directly onto the back of the electronics controlling the timer functions, display, etc. This was gradually cooked to the point where the plastic surround that supported the PCB became depolymerised and so it just fell apart one day when the front panel buttons were pressed. The entire PCB was carbonised but somehow still did function, but as the mountings were now disintegrated (not even glueable), it was unrepairable.

It really annoys me that these things are made this way. It's not even cost-cutting, because the faults were not due to reducing costs of materials or construction, it was designed that way. In other words designed to fail. And the problem is people are now brainwashed into believing that five years lifespan for goods like this is OK, even 'doing well'. It's NOT! These things should last 20 years or more. I would definitely buy a brand that could be shown that it was engineered right, and that brand would surely clean up by having a much stronger reputation.

about a month ago
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YouTube Introduces 60fps Video Support

GrahamCox Re: Advances (157 comments)

natural moron blur

Nah, that's just too much tequila.

about a month ago
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Maglev Personal Transportation System Set For Trial In Tel Aviv

GrahamCox Why Maglev? (81 comments)

What's the advantage of Maglev here? It is just using energy to do something that a wheel would do perfectly well without expending energy. The small frictional advantage doesn't seem to be something worth adding all the extra complexity and energy expenditure for.

about a month ago
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Programming On a Piano Keyboard

GrahamCox Teach A Pig To Sing (57 comments)

"Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig".

Likewise, I expect this produces terrible music and not very good code.

about a month ago
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Public Interest In Great White Shark Devours Research Site's Servers

GrahamCox in = as, far more interesting (57 comments)

The headline should change 'in' to 'as'.

about a month ago
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It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

GrahamCox Re:Tigerblood. (218 comments)

lack flash

Seriously? Flash is dying if not already dead. HTML5 supports video, so every site potentially has video.

about a month ago
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It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

GrahamCox FF Motorcycle Solved? (218 comments)

Lots of sneering from motorcyclists, that's to be expected. But in fact this type of design has been attempted for many years (it's called the "feet forwards" or FF motorcycle) and the rationale for it is pretty sound: a small, efficient, personal transport that is as nimble as a motorcycle but has the comfort of a car.

The main problem with attempts made to date has been the one of staying upright when stationary. Some designs had open sides so you could use your feet, but that obviously compromises bad-weather comfort. Others have pop-down stabilisers but that's inelegant and difficult to make work at the right moment. If this has solved that problem and truly allows an enclosed cabin, they might have actually finally done it. I think this could well have a significant market, but probably not one with existing die-hard motorcyclists. I like it; it's pretty cool and I wish them well.

While batteries are at the energy densities they are, this size of vehicle makes a lot more sense than an SUV-sized behemoth. I've done the maths, and excellent performance and range are perfectly doable with LiPO4 technology, 20kW of power at a gross vehicle weight of 400kg. I think it definitely has a future.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Einstein thought religion "childish superstiti

GrahamCox GrahamCox writes  |  more than 6 years ago

GrahamCox (741991) writes "The Guardian is running a story about a private letter of Albert Einstein's which is about to come up for auction:
"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." So said Albert Einstein, and his famous aphorism has been the source of endless debate between believers and non-believers wanting to claim the greatest scientist of the 20th century as their own. A little known letter written by him, however, may help to settle the argument — or at least provoke further controversy about his views. Due to be auctioned this week in London after being in a private collection for more than 50 years, the document leaves no doubt that the theoretical physicist was no supporter of religious beliefs, which he regarded as "childish superstitions"."

Link to Original Source

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