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Chinese Boy Claims To Have Cat-Like Night Vision

NerveGas I wonder... (171 comments)

Did he pay a doctor 20 menthol cools to do a shine job on his eyeballs?

more than 2 years ago

Pentagon: 30,000 Pound Bomb Too Small

NerveGas kinetic kill.... (612 comments)

Guided penetrator dropped from high orbit. Makes conventional explosives look like play time.

more than 2 years ago

Rats Feel Each Other's Pain

NerveGas No surprise at all. (200 comments)

Anyone who has rats can tell you that they're a whole lot more intelligent and advanced than the stereotype of rats would indicate.

But in more scientific terms, looking at other mammals, we find that... surprise, surprise... their brains are a lot like ours, and they have very similar capabilities, including emotions and feelings, as ours. They do not have them to the same extent as ours, but they do have them. Those are backed up by psychological observations, by anatomical/structural investigations, and by brain scans.

more than 2 years ago

Russian Scientists Say They'll Clone a Mammoth Within 5 Years

NerveGas If I'm not mistaken... (302 comments)

... I've been hearing this sort of claim for at least a decade. At first I got excited, but now, I take the position of "Wake me up if it ever happens."

Seeing how much people will pay to hunt certain exotic species already, I imagine that you could make terrific money owning your own private mammoth preserve.

more than 2 years ago

Can Maintenance Make Data Centers Less Reliable?

NerveGas Re:where's the car analogy? (185 comments)

Never do a flush, unless you can afford a new transmission. The correct way is to drop the pan, replace the filter, and replace the fluid.

more than 2 years ago

Min7 Micromouse Robot Solves Maze In 3.921 Seconds

NerveGas Re:Proper branch testing (58 comments)

That was something that surprised me, too... for example, he says that it ran with a known bug in the routine for traversing diagonal lines, but that this particular maze design (or maybe just that particular run) didn't "tickle" the bug.

In some areas, he takes a rather simplistic approach to handling problems - in a good way. For instance, he says that turning fast makes the mouse lose traction and slide, his answer to that is just to start the turn sooner if the mouse is moving fast.

more than 2 years ago

Min7 Micromouse Robot Solves Maze In 3.921 Seconds

NerveGas Re:Compared to what? (58 comments)

The mouse is familiar with most all of the maze... the maker of the bot describes his algorithm for when to accelerate and when to decelerate, it mostly comes down to "how far will I go before I have to turn?"

more than 2 years ago

Fedora Aims To Simplify Linux Filesystem

NerveGas Re:RANT: Don't break my file system (803 comments)

One location for binaries? Would that be /bin, /usr/bin, /usr/local/bin, /sbin, /usr/sbin, or /usr/local/sbin?

more than 2 years ago

Study Shows Dogs Can Sniff Out Lung Cancer

NerveGas Re:Not so surprising... (78 comments)

One lucky "recipient" described it like this:

"It was like I was riding his nose around the house."

about 3 years ago

Study Shows Dogs Can Sniff Out Lung Cancer

NerveGas Not so surprising... (78 comments)

One of my dogs has, over the past six years, demonstrated an absolute 100% track record in sniffing out whether women are pregnant. He's never given a single false positive, or a false negative. It's not something I've trained, he does it on his own. And to make it even more impressive, at the point when he gave the earliest signal on one woman, we later found out (through the doctor's ultrasound and dates) that it was just three days after conception. As for cancer, they've been known to accurately sniff it out for years now.

The canine nose is an amazing thing. But that's not the entire story, the amount of their brain that they dedicate to processing smell is huge compared to humans. In terms of the percentage of brain dedicated, they use something like 10-30 times more of their brain for smelling than we do. Smell is, quite literally, their primary sense, in the same way that sight is ours. The saying that "Dogs don't smell a cake, they smell each ingredient" is, quite literally, correct. In using dogs for scent detection, the biggest challenge is usually just our ability to isolate the desired scent to present to the dog, doing the rest is easy for the dog.

The real oddity here is not that dogs have good noses... a ton of animals do. Humans are actually the oddity. There seems to be a negative correlation between intelligence and smelling ability, perhaps because having lots of rational thought takes enough brain space that smelling gets pushed aside. Whatever the reason, looking at primates, as you go up in intelligence, smelling ability goes downhill. We shouldn't be so amazed that dogs can do what they do, but saddened that we can't do the same.

more than 3 years ago

Microsoft Counts Down To XP Death

NerveGas Re:Really? (766 comments)

That sounds like joe_cot was right. If they end support at 10 years, then they don't support 10-year-old software.

That being said, XP was introduced in 2001, and won't get EOL'd until 2014. 13 years of support, for a desktop OS, is quite a long time.

more than 2 years ago

MS Global Strategy Chief: Tablets Are a Fad

NerveGas In a way, they are a fad that will come to an end. (643 comments)

Look at the current Android-based tablets. What are they? Essentially, they're an Android phone, with a bigger screen, and missing the cell radio. Everything else is virtually identical. If you have a tablet and a cell phone, you're duplicating virtually all of the hardware and software, and that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

Sooner or later, someone will go ahead and take the next logical step... they'll put the cell radio in a tablet, and merge the two. Sure, you'd have to use a bluetooth headset, but that's alright. Then, they won't be "tablets" anymore, they'll be "phones". The tablet fad will have run out. :-)

Seriously. If my Archos 101 had a cell radio and a GPS receiver... my Droid 2 would be gone tomorrow.

more than 3 years ago

US Contemplating 'Vehicle Miles Traveled' Tax

NerveGas Re:The solution isn't to tax more... (1306 comments)

I can't. Do you know why? Because there is virtually no aspect of our lives that ISN'T subsidized by the government in one way or another.

Maybe if we didn't blow such huge amounts of money on every asinine project that a congressman can tack on to a bill as pork, we'd have money to spend on roads.

more than 3 years ago

US Contemplating 'Vehicle Miles Traveled' Tax

NerveGas The solution isn't to tax more... (1306 comments)

... it's to start spending less. Individuals get that. Why don't governments? Oh, wait. It's because their citizens want the government to take care of them, so that they don't have to do it themselves. I forgot.

more than 3 years ago

University Switches To DC Workstations

NerveGas Re:AC vs DC (468 comments)

The first reason why DC voltages are usually limited, in small-scale installations, to less than the mains is that of safety. Touch an AC wire, you do a short dance. Touch a high-voltage DC wire, you can stick and sizzle. There's a world of difference between an undersea cable and a wire underneath someone's desk.

If I'm not mistaken, both of the DC stations you mention are for trans-oceanic transmission, because those are some of the situations where it DOES make sense. But wiring in a computer lab isn't one of those.

The other problem is that even in cases where the conversion to DC actually does result in some economical savings, in most situations, you can get larger savings for less cost with other means. It's only when you get to really big, obscene cases where DC really starts to pull ahead.

more than 3 years ago

University Switches To DC Workstations

NerveGas Re:AC vs DC (468 comments)

"AC suffers from several effects that make it less efficient and/or more expensive over long distances"

The article isn't talking about long distances. It's talking about a computer lab.

"AC circuits suffer from the skin effect where the power travels more on the surface of the conductor"

At the 50Hz and 220V of the mains in the UK, skin effect is not a factor in this type of setting, assuming you didn't contrive an exaggerated, insane way of installing the wiring to MAKE it a problem.

"but the power delivered to the load is only Vrms * Imax * cos(phi), phi being the phase angle between the voltage and current."

Most modern PSUs have active PFC, and keep the angle between V and I extremely close to zero, so that's not a factor either.

"you must insulate for Vpeak, but you only get Vrms * I power"

Insulation is cheap. Wire for use in 120V installations (170V peak) is insulated to 600V. If you're worried about cost, copper is by FAR the largest expense in making wire. And since high-voltage DC is more dangerous than high-voltage AC, presumably this system is at a lower voltage than the mains. That means... vastly greater wire cost than any triviality with insulation.

This topic comes up every few years, when someone thinks they've discovered something new, and it never sticks. People have tried it over and over, and it almost never works out economically.

more than 3 years ago

Armed Man Takes Hostages At Discovery Channel HQ

NerveGas Impossible! (1090 comments)

Washington has laws against such things.

Maybe they should have passed two or three more laws against them, so the guy wouldn't have done it.

about 4 years ago



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