top Jimmy Wales To 'Holistic Healers': Prove Your Claims the Old-Fashioned Way
Of course the problem with placebos is that they essentially require lying to the patient. If you are honest and actually tell the patient "it's just a sugar pill" then it's not going to have any affect.
You would think that, but actually there was a study where the patents were TOLD that it was a placebo (and explained what a placebo is) and it still worked (!). I saw it in a documentary on youtube a week or so ago but can't find it now.
Basically, brains are wierd.
top It's True: Some People Just Don't Like Music
I can't comprehend how someone could not enjoy ANY music, music is the fundamental pre-cursor to language, not only is it deeply ingrained into humans but species as diverse as whales and grasshoppers use music to communicate with each other.
Interesting to know that 1-3% are like me.
I will clarify this for you.
I have zero interest in music. I have never bought (or pirated) a CD or mp3 in my life.
Why people are so obsessed with music I can't understand at all. It's like how some people looove stamp collecting, I don't understand that obsession either.
It's not a DISlike of music, it's just no interest.
Sure some music has a good beat, or a catchy tune, and I won't complain if someone plays music, but I would never actually choose to play music myself.
Besides this I am pretty much the same as everyone else, I'm not autistic or anything.
I'm an engineer, with friends and a girlfriend, hobbies and a good job. Music just isn't any more interesting to me than bird noises etc.
top Ask Slashdot: How To Stay Fit In the Office?
I use the stairs when going up to my office in the morning and at lunch.
If there are people there, I do my usual 2 steps at a time, fast pace but not enough to make people look at me funny. If there's nobody around, I run up as fast as possible, then recover for a min at the top.
At first I couldn't make it all the way running, but I can get up the 6 floors in ~24 seconds now and can breathe normally enough after that people in the office don't notice. It's not that much, but better than nothing.
top D&D Monster Study Proves Eyes Have It
It has been shown many times in studies that people are able to read a lot of emotion by looking at another person's eyes.
This is also the main reason most manga and anime authors prefer to draw big eyes. They're a much easier way to transmit emotions than body postures, allowing for a faster drawing process...
That reminds me of something interesting I noticed - in "western" countries the emoticons are focussed on the mouth,
:) :( :p etc But in Japan, they are mainly about the eyes, like ^_^ (others mangled by slashdot) about a year and a half ago
top Illegal Downloading Now a Crime In Japan With Increased Penalties
What a ridiculously disproportionate penalty, I thought only the US was that screwed up.
I blame Sony.
I'm living in Japan, so lately I have been renting a "seedbox" in the Netherlands for $15/month.
I can download whatever I want to through the web interface, then copy it via sftp. I'm sure solutions like this will start becoming a lot more common soon. about a year and a half ago
top Speed of Sound Is Too Slow for the Olympics
This guy reacted 300ms later than the others and he blames it on the speed of sound?
300ms at 340m/s is 102m, there's no way he was that far away from the other athletes. about a year and a half ago
top An Olympic Games For Enhanced Athletes?
Why shouldn't one be allowed to choose what they do to their body?
As long as there is no coercion to the individual ("do this or we send you and your family to the rape pits") and it truly is that individual's choice what they do to their body, I don't really care what an athlete does to themselves.
Maybe put restrictions - no modifications allowed until after the age of 18 and then after that they can consent to whatever - so that children aren't being damaged any more than they already are by being pushed to hyper-competitiveness.
Yeah, I bet countries like china would never even CONSIDER dosing kids from birth to get an advantage...
about a year and a half ago
top Ask Slashdot: Hobbyist-Ready LCD Touch Panel For Embedded Projects?
Try looking at
They sell touchscreens around that size with a controller that you can either program using a C-like language, or send commands to from an AVR etc.
top 1Gbps Wireless Network Made With Red and Green Laser Pointers
I don't know why this is being hyped so much... from my brief look it seems pretty dodgy.
I'm not an expert in data transmission, but I have reviewed quite a few papers.
Two main points stand out:
1. They have two lasers of different wavelengths just so they can use the phrase "wavelength division multiplexing", but the lasers point at separate photodiodes! The lasers could be the same wavelength and it would make no difference.
Doing this adds nothing to their paper and lowers my impression of the research quality.
2. Their adaptive filter seems to require that the receivers already know the correct data in order to measure the amplitude/phase error and adapt.
Why would you need to transmit the data if it is already known at the receiver???
I would reject this paper.
top Surface-To-Air Missiles At London Olympics
OK, that's not true, I stopped taking the Olympics seriously when Roy and HG got involved.
Roy and HG's coverage is the only one worth watching these days.
top Flying Robots Flip, Swarm and Move In Formation At UPenn
Do you not realize that collision avoidance becomes rather more difficult when the things you're trying to avoid colliding with are themselves moving? They're not setting up a pattern to fly in, the computer is calculating trajectories for each robot such that they won't interfere with each other at any point in the future. A rather taller order.
What collision avoidance?
They are all externally controlled, and the controller knows their position to within a few mm due to the very expensive vicon system they are using. All they are doing is moving along preplanned and precalculated trajectories.
As a robotics researcher I'm not really impressed.
External control and localisation removes 99% of of the difficulty of the problem. It also makes this research useless for any actual real-world function, it's only good for fancy demos in their specially prepared room. If they did that with only onboard sensors and control, THEN I would be impressed.
top Scientists Create World's First Atomic X-Ray Laser
I wouldn't call this laser "the same manner as visible-light lasers" really, it lacks one of the fundamental features of a normal laser - self amplification via feedback from mirrors.
It sounds like this could be the _basis_ for a laser, as a pump source causes superluminescence, but without feedback it won't be particularly directional. Perhaps if it can be triggered to start the avalanche at one end a directional burst could be achieved though, kind of like a nitrogen laser.
top Do Companies Punish Workers Who Take Vacations?
I work in Japan (Tokyo) as an engineer in a small company. I was worried about extreme hours and no holidays when I started, but it is actually OK.
Official hours are 9-6, and people actually start to leave around 6:30. The boss is indeed a 50 year old man, but he leaves around 7 (maybe cause he's not married). People sit/sleep at their desks during the hour off for lunch, but nobody does any work unless something is really urgent. I usually leave about 7-7:30, but I leave at 6 sometimes and it's fine.
Over the new year holidays most people took about a week off, but that's about it for the year besides public holidays. There is "golden week" too though, where there is a small gap between a bunch of public holidays, and most people take those off.
It may be different in large rigidly controlled companies though.
top Approximately how speedy is your Internet connection?
100Mb/s dowload, no cap
100Mb/s upload, 30GB/day (yes day) cap Cost is about US$50/month, for only a bit more 1Gbps is available but I thougt that was slightly excessive. It's good to live in a civilised country!
top JPMorgan Rolls Out (Another) FPGA Supercomputer
"We make things run in parallel".
Doesn't sound so impressive though does it!
top JPMorgan Rolls Out (Another) FPGA Supercomputer
This story got me thinking that many of the tasks routinely executed on personal computers (perhaps cryptography, video decoding, and such) may benefit from including a FPGA in PCs to serve as a programmable coprocessor. Much like graphics-intensive software can come with shader code to offload processing to the GPU, couldn't a video codec or an implementation of SSL or whatever come with code that would allow an FPGA to do part of the work?
Xilinx (one of the two big FPGA companies) very recently released their "Zynq" family of combined CPU+FPGAs. They contain a dual core ARM Cortex-A9 running at 800 MHz and a pretty decent amount of 28nm FPGA logic, with interconnects between the two. That is basically what you are describing I think.
top JPMorgan Rolls Out (Another) FPGA Supercomputer
If these algorithms are profitable they ultimately buy low and sell high, which is good for society. When you buy low, you're providing cash to those who need it most (therefore the willingness to sell low) and when you sell high, you provide the asset when it's needed most. Essentially, a profitable trader (computer or not) helps moderate markets by preventing them from going too low or too high, and pricing things correctly is important to society because resources are allocated by price. I know it's trendy to bash finance but it has an important function in society.
What you described is how trading SHOULD work, where a trader holds a certain stock for at least hours or days.
You are correct that this is good and stabilises things.
How it actually seems to happen these days is computers buy stocks on minor fluctuations, then sell them on another fluctuation a couple of microseconds later.
That doesn't seem to provide any useful function to me.
top The Mathematics of Lawn Mowing
Believe it or not sometimes people are better at solving certain problems than computers. This is one of those fuzzy problems with lots of irregularities that a human is excellent at working out with just a little help from a stopwatch.
Actually this is a perfectly normal problem where the results you get out of a computer will depend a lot on how well you define the problem. If you define the shape of the lawn, the size of the cutter, and the turning characteristics of the mower accurately, I have little doubt that a computer can come up with a more optimal solution than a human (even if only by a small amount). A human with a stopwatch is unlikely to try more than about 15 different routes while a computer in simulation can try millions of routes in a short time.
The question is really "is it worth it". A human can easily come up with a decent route just by looking at the lawn, so it is probably not worth the time of making a simulation and running an optimisation to save 5% of the time unless you are a professional golf course mower.
top New Soyuz Launch Facility Near the Equator
I find it baffling that, in this day and age, one can still read news articles using the imperial system. About space travel, of all things.
Well 6,600 pounds is 2,994 kg, so I suspect that the actual value is 3,000 kg and it has been converted to pounds for for certain poor backwards readers.
top Ubuntu 11.10 Down To 12-Second Boot
100% true. also, does anybody know of a distro that can be installed like wubi?
Laser Dan has no journal entries.