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Michael Nielsen's Free Video Courseware On Quantum Computing

Interoperable Re:The next major revolution will be quantum..... (54 comments)

I think that if a robust quantum computer were developed, specific algorithms would follow. Quantum computing allows you to exploit a larger computational basis than classical computing for a given number of (q)bits. The extra internal degrees freedom in a quantum state, thanks to entanglement between the elements, mean that the state-space is much larger than for a classical system and the promise of using that as a computational basis is hard to ignore.

more than 3 years ago
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CERN Experiment Indicates Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos

Interoperable Re:Verification test? (1088 comments)

You'd have to account for the index of refraction of rock at the wave length that you're using. Not easy given that the density and composition of the rock changes over the distance between the detectors. Also, that's assuming that rock is reasonably transparent to some wavelength with a period >> 60 ns.

more than 3 years ago
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CERN Experiment Indicates Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos

Interoperable Re:Einstein replied "Check your measurements, son" (1088 comments)

Pretty sure most of that distance is through solid rock. Rock is more-or-less opaque.

In any case, as other posters have noted, GPS has no problem resolving to much better than 20 m.

more than 3 years ago
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Fukushima Robot Operator Tells His Story

Interoperable Re:Shielding, relays, buildings (57 comments)

It's probably just easier to safeguard the operators with hazmat suits rather than introduce an extra link in the communications chain. The thing is, taking some low-level gamma radiation isn't all that bad. As long as you're not ingesting or absorbing radioactive materials there's not a lot of danger from spending modest amounts of time in elevated radiation. It certainly needs to be monitored, but the threat can be kept below statistically significant levels.

more than 3 years ago
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More Stanford Computing Courses Go Free

Interoperable Re:When do students really do that though? (124 comments)

I think that a combination of in-person teaching and online resources are a great combination. To be truly useful; however, the online answers system should be moderated and commented on by the professor.

Often, students learn best from other students (and from teaching their classmates) but misconceptions can arise. Letting those misconceptions remain visible but with the correct solution clearly indicated is a great teaching method.

more than 3 years ago
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Most People Have Never Heard of CTRL+F

Interoperable Re:Stable user interface ? (567 comments)

I would speculate computer inability is rooted in the whole GUI paradigm

Hardly. It's just that people who don't have the need/interest to memorize key sequences can now use computers effectively. The abilities of the interested are only increased by the addition of more extensive graphical tools abut the average ability has decreased because more computer-disinterested people now use them as part of daily life.

more than 3 years ago
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CERN Physicist Says Dark Matter May Be an Illusion

Interoperable Re:Yay for phlogiston and aether (379 comments)

Hopefully. Dark matter is a very inelegant solution to observations that don't agree with theory. Even so, working out what properties it must have, should it exist, is a useful exercise because it clarifies the problem more thoroughly.

There seems to be a common misconception that incorrect theories were stupid ideas from the get-go. That's really not the case, until new evidence or new ideas come up the incorrect theories are every bit as valid as the ones that may turn out to be correct and the differences between the various competing theories may point the way to interesting new experiments.

This new theory is probably wrong, but it's founded on an assumption that, while not currently accepted as true, is experimentally verifiable. That's the assumption that anti-matter and matter have gravitation fields of opposite sign. An experiment to determined the truth of that would be very interesting.

more than 3 years ago
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Science Fair Entry Shuts Down Airport Terminal

Interoperable Re:Science fair for grad students? (380 comments)

Yeah, I was really wondering what discipline the poor guy studies. He really needs access to some proper equipment if this gizmo is related to his Ph.D.

more than 3 years ago
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United States Loses S&P AAA Credit Rating

Interoperable Re:They weren't thinking about it though (1239 comments)

It seems to me that S&P, along with the other credit rating agencies, lost a lot of credibility when they were giving AAA ratings to the guys holding bundles of sub-prime mortgages in the lead up to the financial crisis. I don't doubt that they play a useful role in rating smaller organisations but when it comes to rating governments and financial heavyweights they're playing politics more than they're making objective assessments.

more than 3 years ago
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NRC Study Lowers Hazard Estimate For Nuke Plants

Interoperable Re:TFA (168 comments)

It's worth noting that the panel was considering the results of the most-likely mode of failure under average conditions and not a worst-case scenario. If a reactor managed to explode and destroy the containment vessels, I'm sure their earlier estimates of the death toll would still apply.

The Fukushima accident suggests that Three-Mile-Island was actually more of a real disaster than a narrowly avoided one; a contained meltdown with some radiation release is a normal failure mode and not tremendously hazardous. On the other hand, the NRC report didn't consider less likely types of failure which could still produce much worse contamination. It's very tough to say beforehand how likely a given type of disaster is and very easy to look back in hindsight and say that there had been a disaster waiting to happen.

Sooner or later I'm sure a worst-case nuclear disaster will occur and the result will be a handful of acute radiation sickness deaths and a few million people who end up with a statistically-insignificant increase to their chances of getting cancer.

more than 3 years ago
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Why Waste Servers' Heat?

Interoperable Re:Why limit the conversation? (204 comments)

That's if you heat with electric radiators which is a very expensive option.

more than 3 years ago
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Novel Drive Wheel System Based On Spinning Sphere

Interoperable Re:Needs a hard floor. (104 comments)

Oh /., why must you be so negative? It doesn't have to be useful for every application in robotics to be extremely awesome.

It only requires one motor rotating at a constant velocity and two actuators; that's hardly a complex wheel. The extreme simplicity should make it useful in a number of applications and hobbyist designs. It will, however, probably leave little rubber smudge marks on your floor.

more than 3 years ago
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New Top Tier Science Journal Announced

Interoperable Re:Reviewer "tyranny?" No, supply and demand (57 comments)

The trouble is that publications are used as a metric by outside agencies to gauge productivity when assigning funding or offering new positions. It's simply not possible for everyone who is assessing applications to be knowledgeable enough about particular research fields to judge the merit of past publications individually so they fall back on impact factor.

It's well and good to decide to take the moral high road and make your contribution to moving science in a more open direction by only publishing in lower tier journals, but it hurts the careers of every author who doesn't already have tenure as well as the future grant prospects for your lab. I think that a move to a new publication system is necessary, but it's hard for individual scientists to move the process along. A journal with published reviewer comments is a good step in the right direction.

more than 3 years ago
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ICANN To Allow .brandname Top-Level Domains

Interoperable Re:That's a WONDERFUL idea (300 comments)

Think we'll be able to go to Microsoft.apple?

more than 3 years ago
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IBM Builds First Graphene Integrated Circuit

Interoperable Re:It's a diode! (77 comments)

They happen to be using it as a mixer, but the article clearly says that it's a FET (which certainly qualifies as a non-linear device). It might not be suitable for digital logic yet, but it is a transistor I believe. Also, 10 GHz for a proof-of-concept is damn fast.

more than 3 years ago
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Integrating Capacitors Into Car Frames

Interoperable Re:What could go wrong? (189 comments)

A sure way to see an exploding anything is to hit it lightning.

more than 3 years ago
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Flight 447 'Black Box' Decoded

Interoperable Re:Umm, no... (449 comments)

Yeah, after reading through a few more articles I found the same thing. It sounds very similar to an earlier crash in which case the pilots got erroneous airspeed readings and did exactly that. Throttles back and nose up until the plane fell out of the sky. In that case, however, it just shortly after take-off, I think. It's surprising that the plane came down from cruising altitude without the pilots correcting the stall.

more than 3 years ago
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Flight 447 'Black Box' Decoded

Interoperable Re:Umm, no... (449 comments)

It sounds like the plane was flown into the ocean. It was 12.7 km high at cruising altitude, so the rate of descent was 217 km/h. The cruising speed of an A330 is 871 km/h, so the pitch of the aircraft was roughly 14 degrees below the horizon.

In heavy turbulence it might be very difficult to tell if accelerations up and down balance out over the course of a few minutes, allowing a nose attitude to go unnoticed. The downward acceleration may well have begun in the minutes leading up to the "3 and a half minute" descent, and was simply glossed over for a short press release.

more than 3 years ago
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The Fight Against Dark Silicon

Interoperable Re:That's not the solution, this is (137 comments)

I don't think that's an answer to the same problem. The problem is that it simply isn't possible to make a general purpose processor arbitrarily small due to power dissipation. You can parallelize all you want, you still might not hit the same performance for specific tasks that optimizing the processor architecture itself will. Quite clever if chips customized to particular phones can be cost effective.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Video abstracts now included in physics journal

Interoperable Interoperable writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Interoperable (1651953) writes "The New Journal of Physics has launched a new concept to allow the authors of journal submissions to speak more directly to their audience. Authors can now attach a video abstract to their submissions in which they can articulate the core concept of their work in plain speech rather than dense technical writing. The New Journal of Physics is an open-access peer-reviewed journal so anyone can have a watch."
Link to Original Source
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Proposed Canadian Copyright "Flawed but Fixable"

Interoperable Interoperable writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Interoperable (1651953) writes "As the Conservative party of Canada was preparing to table new copyright legislation, the rumor mill was preparing to complain bitterly about it. The bill is now out in the open and the complaints aren't quite as bad as might have been expected. Michael Giest describes the bill as flawed but fixable. The bill does not contain the DMCA-style takedowns that had many concerned and provides some additional protection for consumers. The centerpiece, however, is heavy-handed anti-circumvention legislation that trumps all other rights if the media has DRM on it. The upside, is that the Conservatives have a minority government and the bill will need another party's backing to pass. The Liberals want an exception for personal use to the anti-circumvention measures and the Conservatives say they are willing to discuss it."
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MP3 player tax proposed in Canada

Interoperable Interoperable writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Interoperable (1651953) writes "The status of sharing music in Canada is, to some extent, ambiguous. This is partly due to a levy imposed on blank media, CD-Rs and cassette tapes, that compensates artists and the recording studios for a loss of revenue due to copying. Legislation proposed by the NDP and supported by the Bloc Quebecois would extend that levy to cover MP3 players with the intent of decriminalizing audio file sharing for Canadian citizens. The proposed legislation, however, faces opposition from the governing Conservative party; the Liberal party has agreed to discuss the proposed bill."
Link to Original Source
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The weird science of tossing stones into a lake

Interoperable Interoperable writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Interoperable (1651953) writes "Researchers in Spain and the Netherlands add another piece to a centuries-old puzzle in physics: the dynamics of an object falling into water. This common occurrence has a complex anatomy that includes a thin "crown splash" around the perimeter of the impact, a deep cavity of air following the impactor and a high, narrow jet of water that results from the collapse of the cavity. The new research, recently published in Physical Review Letters, demonstrates that airflow through the neck of the collapsing cavity reaches supersonic speeds despite low relative pressures between the air in the cavity and ambient pressure. Such an effect has no analogue in aerospace engineering or other sciences because of the highly dynamic nature of the collapsing nozzle structure."
Link to Original Source
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Canada's Airlines Face a Privacy Dilemma

Interoperable Interoperable writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Interoperable (1651953) writes "Canada's airlines are caught between a rock and a hard place in the face of new U.S. regulations that require them to collect and hand over personal information about passengers. Handing over information regarding a passenger's name, gender and birth-date may violate Canadian privacy laws but merely flying over American airspace is conditional on doing exactly that. It seems that the long arms of the TSA are eager to grope at Canadians taking a shortcut to Toronto; no doubt to prevent any terrorist attacks on Lake Huron."
Link to Original Source
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Probable Meteorite Impact in Latvia

Interoperable Interoperable writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Interoperable (1651953) writes "A crater has been found in Latvia after witnesses saw a "fiery object falling from the sky." The crater appears to be from a meteorite impact and is 9 meters wide and 3 meters deep. Such a large impact is unusual to find since most meteors burn and break up on entering the atmosphere. An expert has estimated that the incoming rock was likely around one meter in diameter. Sky News has reported on the impact, as has All News Web, the latter helpfully speculating that it may, in fact, be a UFO."
Link to Original Source

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