top Xkcd's Long-running "Time" Comic: Work of Art Or Nerd Sniping?
It's about to drop: http://smp.uq.edu.au/content/pitch-drop-experiment
about a year and a half ago
top Millionaire Plans Mission To Mars In 2018
The Mars One people have no intention to bring anyone home. Presumably Tito wants his ass back on the Earth someday.
This is a farce anyway. Tito's net worth is more than a full order of magnitude too small for even the cheapest conceviable Mars mission.
about a year and a half ago
top Has 3D Film-Making Had Its Day?
There are major, but short-lived, bursts of stereoscopic 3D movies seem to come every 15-20 years or so, as another new generation is available to be briefly wowed by a technology that's not new and that doesn't really add anything to the moviegoing experience. People get over it and we move on.
top RadioShack Trying To Return To Its DIY Roots
Now, there's no choice but to go to DigiKey and Mouser, and figure out how I'm going to meet their minimum order requirements, when all I wanted was $5 worth of stuff
Um... what's DigiKey's minimum order again? I regularly buy small quantities of stuff from them. AFAIK, they have no minimum order. And they're fast and reliable.
top Cambridge Computer IDs World's Most Boring Day
Not his fault. Probably lives in a red state.
top 3 Drinks a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
This country is so very freaked about mind-altering substances, vices, and "sins", that it doesn't get talked about much. But the truth is it's been known for over a century that drinkers have cleaner arteries. Thinner blood, and/or some chemistry with the alcohol seems to help keep the plaques from forming.
Very heavy and binge drinking does start to cause other problems - and these results are what people bandy about in order to bash alcohol as a deadly vice. But it's been clear for a long time that moderate drinking can avoid those problems while still resulting in cleaner arteries. And since heart disease is the single biggest killer in the first world, it should be no surprise at all that anything which can reduce atherosclerosis results in a noticeable decrease in the death rate.
Nothing about this study is news to anyone who's paid attention to the science, anytime in the last hundred years.
top Facebook Says It Owns 'Book'
It's not the yearbook, it's the book of incoming freshmen released at the start of school. It makes it easy to, for example, figure out the last name of the hottie you met yesterday by looking up all the girls named "Lisa" and seeing which one looks like the one you remember. It often even has a first name index to make finding people you've just met easier.
Common at small colleges / liberal arts schools across the US.
top Tornado Scientists Butt Heads With Storm Chasers
... one F5 tornado taking a sudden left across a highway clogged by storm chasers will pretty much solve this problem for good.
A hundred deaths and this won't seem so fun to the amateurs anymore.
top Best Browser For Using Complex Web Applications?
I agree with using PDF for print consistency, I've used the pdf-writer gem in my Rails apps.
On the other hand, I've never had a problem with printing and print stylesheets in Firefox, and have used that solution whenever I don't need pixel-accuracy in my printouts.
top Conservative Textbook Curriculum Passes Final Vote In Texas
Conservative means a limited government with limited power to interfere in the lives of individual citizens
Sorry, the meanings of words change with time. "Conservative" in the US hasn't meant that for twenty years, at least not in the minds of the vast majority of people.
Today, it is defined more than anything by its opposition to anything perceived as "liberal" - a word which itself has changed quite drastically in the last few decades.
top Air Force Wants Reusable Fly-Back Rockets
Fifteen years of development by committee, and they'll start construction on something that looks exactly like the Shuttle.
Because this is pretty much exactly where the Shuttle started.
top Firefox Is Lagging Behind, Its Co-Founder Says
I'll give that a try, thanks.
top Firefox Is Lagging Behind, Its Co-Founder Says
In at least one way, FF has been bloated all along.
Every time I've used any version of FF for the last four years, once it's been running for an hour or more it starts getting these little halts/pauses where the whole browser and UI freeze for half a second every 10-30 seconds. It gets worse the longer it's been open and the more pages i've opened. I've seen it on macs, windows, and linux. I've seen it on every machine I've ever used FF on. It is independent of all plugins and add-ons because it happens in a bare browser. I don't know what causes it, but intuitively it feels like garbage collection meets a bad memory leak.
It makes video unwatchable, which is pretty much death to a browser in today's world. Incidentally, it's happened three (now four) times while writing this post.
I've seen at least 5 bug reports and at least 10 threads in the Mozilla support forum. In every case, the developers/support people seem to not understand, or not believe that it's real, yet I've (another pause there) seen it on dozens of different computers and platforms, and never met a single computer with FF that *didn't* reproduce the problem. No matter how many bug reports get filed, this problem in FF never gets fixed.
And yet, I depend on my plugins for both browsing and developing. As it is, I use FF for almost everything, but I have to switch browsers to watch video, which is really annoying, and restart FF every (another pause there) three hours, which is even more annoying.
top Seagate Confirms 3TB Hard Drive
+1 to parent.
When I was a college freshman (1992) my pals and I made a pair of spreadsheets charting the CPU clock rate** and primary storage capacity of every computer any of us had owned, back to my first C-64. Both graphs made a nearly perfectly straight line on a semilog plot.
We were totally shocked that our graph predicted a 400 Mhz computer with a 40 GB hard drive in the year 2000 - the numbers seemed completely impossible.
And then 2000 rolled by, and those numbers were perfectly typical. Not much in the computer world has surprised me since then.
** Clock rate looks like it's flattened out since 2005, but only if you consider the clock rate of a single processor. If you multply rate * cores, the curve has continued more or less unabated, at least for computers I've owned.
top Massive Solar Updraft Towers Planned For Arizona
/ Still hopes Hollywood stays away from
Stranger in a Strange Land until I'm dead. I would have to go see it, and what they do to it would be sad.
Oh, but they've done such a great job with all of Heinlein's other work recently. I mean, Starship Troopers? The Puppet Masters? Come on, man, these were masterpieces of cinema!
top Zombie Pigs First, Hibernating Soldiers Next
some scientist, in Boston I believe, has successfully frozen beagles, and brought them back to life.
[Citation needed]. Sorry, that's just too interesting a claim to go uncommented.
I believe that dogs have been cooled to near-freezing temperatures, cardiovascular function temporarily halted, and revived after a few hours. But their tissues remained unfrozen and their blood remained liquid the entire time.
Nobody, AFAIK, has successfully frozen and revived a mammal.
top Scientists Create Artificial Meat
I simply wonder why PETA still thinks being stuck in the farm is worse than what we've (historically) done to animals that don't serve as useful a purpose.
If animals were just "stuck on the farm", I frankly wouldn't have a problem with it.
CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) are a whole different story entirely. The suffering those animals go through is unfathomably immense, and that's where the vast majority of our meat and eggs come from. Including essentially all of that marked "organic" and/or "free range".
The suffering is immense enough, frankly, that I think not creating the animal in the first place is far more the compassionate thing to do.
For the record, though I am a vegetarian myself I am fully in favor of (1) responsible hunting (2) responsible raising of animals for food and (3) eating of meat from either of the above sources. I am fully opposed to contemporary CAFO sytems, however, and won't eat meat myself until they are abolished, which probably won't happen in my lifetime unless synthetic meat really does take off in popularity.
top Rise of the Robot Squadrons
99.9% of the UAVs in the sky are ISR-only, like the Protoss Observer, not weapon platforms
Only on Slashdot is the function of a fictitious video game entity used to explain a real-world military system.
I'm afraid that I don't understand, since I'm not a Starcraft player. Can you use a car analogy instead?
top Study Says US Needs Fewer Science Students
I was always considered one of those "promising" science students. I have undergraduate degrees in both biology and engineering, and a Ph.D. in "Computation and Neural Systems". My best stay-in-science career path was a low-paying postdoctoral fellowship that would have required me to move to a very flat and uninteresting city in the Midwest.
As much as I loved science, I stayed in Los Angeles, became a freelance software developer, and am making more than twice a postdoc's salary working roughly half a week's hours freelance. I even do a little science in my spare time. I could have made a similar amount working in engineering or science for a company, but then I'd be working 50-60 hour weeks on someone else's projects.
TFA's conclusion - at least the part about science jobs being overpaid and underworked - is certainly no surprise to me.
top Film Studios May Block DVD Rentals For One Month
Personal philosophy: some day, all TVs will be HD, including the cheap ones. And then if you want your videos to take advantage of your hardware, you'd have to go back and buy them again.
I've always acquired media in the highest quality format I could. I ripped all my CDs to 240kb/sec VBR MP3s in the late 90's, even though it meant buying a larger hard drive back then, just so that I wouldn't have to rip them all in the future if I wanted them higher quality later on.
As soon as the HD format war started, I stopped buying DVDs until BD won and I could afford a BD player, because I wanted the longest time possible before my media was obsolete.
(Though admittedly, I don't even buy very many discs. I find I don't frequently watch them more than once or twice anyway.)
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