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Real Steampunk Computer Brought Back To Life

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Mind blown (81 comments)

There are times when I do things that I think are pretty smart, and then I see something like this and am humbled. It staggers the imagination to envisage how this Albert fellow was able to design this incredible machine. It's marvellous to watch, and beautiful in its operation. This is how Fourier analysis should be taught! Nothing has brought it more alive for me than watching this documentary. I desperately want one; I don't think I've ever seen a machine more beautiful.

about a month ago
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Comet Probe Philae To Deploy Drill As Battery Life Wanes

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Re:RTGs not feasible for small probes (223 comments)

Your signature contains more than a trace irony. If only stupidity hurt.

about a month ago
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Comet Probe Philae To Deploy Drill As Battery Life Wanes

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Re:RTGs not feasible for small probes (223 comments)

Unfortunately, RTGs don't come in multiple sizes, so you can't get a 1/10th scale RTG that weighs 6kg and is 15 liters in volume.

What do you mean RTGs don't come in multiple sizes? How'd they fit them into pacemakers then?

about a month ago
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Doctor Who To Teach Kids To Code

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Re:Britain only (164 comments)

Not true. I live in the UK and do not pay the TV license as I don't watch broadcast television. Without the license you can still play this game (and listen to the radio, and watch programs on the BBC site that are not live).

about 2 months ago
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UK Government Tax Disc Renewal Website Buckles Under Pressure

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Re:Australia can get it right (145 comments)

the US comparison is bogus

The US comparison is a bit of a sidetrack, and really only used to suggest how broken the UK's public health care system is. They main thrust here was to compare with the Australian system that is a mix between public and private. Private is incentivised by increased tax on higher income unless you have private health cover. Medicare (public health cover) will cover a portion of all private sessions even if you have no insurance, which further incentivises people to go private as it is more affordable. There are no silly rules about which doctor you can see. And doctors have no incentive (and more explicitly are not prevented) from referring you to specialists. In addition, as there is this good mix of public and private, the public system is not so separated as it is in the UK. This means that public GPs know what services might be available if you go private and even suggest it.

So in Australia you get: Cheap affordable health care, particularly if something serious has gone wrong (it will be free). You get competition. I can't stress enough what a difference this makes. Yes the train system here in the UK is completely busted, but that's because they privatised a monopoly. That doesn't work. Allowing GP's to charge a little more for better service makes an enormous difference. I always paid a bit for each GP visit in Aus, but the value was completely worth it. And I only had to pay the gap between the base rate (covered by medicare) and the private provider. Here in the UK I have to pay the whole lot. In addition, as medical is at a state level, you actually get competition between the states that drives better outcomes by states learning from each other. You also get the ability to fairly easily go private when you need to. And it will be covered to some extent even without insurance. I never realised how effective this system was until I learning the "joy" of an underfunded universal health system.

The NHS is really broken, people in the UK are just generally unfamiliar with alternatives (as was I before living here). Care can be good when you get it, but the beast is a big inefficient bureaucratic monster.

about 3 months ago
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UK Government Tax Disc Renewal Website Buckles Under Pressure

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Re:Australia can get it right (145 comments)

See there would be logic to this if things like Autism killed you. They could encourage a high fat diet for example, or anything else that would take you out young and quickly (free base jumping lessons for the unemployed?). But Autism is often (look at the stats) a drain on the public purse for the lifetime of the Autistic. Common sense alone would suggest invest a little now to reduce the overall burden (no need to consider ethical issues for the moment). But there is no common sense here. The NHS has demonstrated to me the absolute categorical failure of large centralised planning (the same thing that undoes communism). The US may have a messed up health system; but it looks like if you have insurance you actually get timely effective treatment! Give me your broken capitalist model over this broken socialist model any day of the week.

about 3 months ago
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UK Government Tax Disc Renewal Website Buckles Under Pressure

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Re:Australia can get it right (145 comments)

Just to add to the "moronically inefficient" bit. Now that my son has finally been recognised as Autistic (by going privately) we gain access to various services, one of which is a special nursery school. The staff of which are complaining they don't have enough students and spend most afternoons with no students at all! The absolute insanity of this makes me unbelievably angry. Between the ages of 2-5 is the only time you have to intervene in an Autistics life to really improve outcomes and here they are rarely diagnosed before school, while the intervention services sit by idle.

about 3 months ago
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UK Government Tax Disc Renewal Website Buckles Under Pressure

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Re:Australia can get it right (145 comments)

I just receive the care that I need.

Rubbish. Living here now in the UK (from Australia) for the past couple of years, I can categorically attest that the NHS is both tragically underfunded and conversely, moronically inefficient. Yes I can see a GP for free, but quotas and waiting lists are ridiculous and it simply means that you don't get referred and you don't get treated unless bits are literally dropping off you. Turns out my son has Autism; pity the UK hasn't grasped the concept of "early intervention". The Australian system of a good mix of public and private and actually looking at preventative healthcare (skin cancer checks, early intervention for Autism), is light years ahead of the hopelessly outdated and underperforming NHS.

about 3 months ago
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Device Allows Paralyzed Rats To Walk, Human Trials Scheduled Next Summer

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Re:Poor rats (85 comments)

They severed the spinal cord of a rat?

Why do you make this assumption? They may well be finding poor injured rats and repairing their spines to try and provide them with a better life. Would you prefer they simply leave these rats to undoubtedly die from their disability? And if it was some other "evil" scientist who did this to the rat, is it not good that this scientist came along to try and help the rat? Would you tar all scientists with the same brush? Clearly the scientist repairing the rats spine is a saint, and not the devil you make out! And if it was in fact the same scientist in both cases, should the scientist not try and help the rat that he (perhaps unwittingly) injured? Have you never done something that later you regret; lashed out and hurt someone you cared about? Would you judge this repentant man for attempting to right a previous wrong? Where you there? Did you feel his utter anguish at the wrong he committed? His exultant joy as the rat took it's first step from his painstaking work? No! You eat your vegetables and consider yourself superior! This man looked into the darkness of his soul and turned and made a difference! And yet you judge him! Where were you when the rats cried out for justice? Where were you when they laid out the baits?! Hypocrite! For shame I say, for shame!

about 3 months ago
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Re:200 years ago. (937 comments)

You need to look up how Kant is actually pronounced. And you should listen to this Kant.

about 3 months ago
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An Open Source Pitfall? Mozilla Labs Closed, Quietly

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Re:Blame C++ (112 comments)

I would get all huffy about your post except for the fact that your username is the most awesome in the world. Carry on brave squid lips, carry on!

about 3 months ago
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Oculus Rift CEO Says Classrooms of the Future Will Be In VR Goggles

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Re:Some classes would be AWESOME! (182 comments)

What nonsense. I claimed that VR had the potential to correct for the limitations in current technology around "broadband" human interaction. Obviously more needs to be done in terms of capturing each persons 3d "image" to project into the VR space and so on. Why you find this offensive is beyond me. (And yes I didn't read the article, this is slashdot after all).

about 3 months ago
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Oculus Rift CEO Says Classrooms of the Future Will Be In VR Goggles

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Re:Some classes would be AWESOME! (182 comments)

I'm not sure why I'm supposed to prove anything, I thought we were discussing ideas? Where I see the short term use case is in school of the air type environments. It's a long way off, but that doesn't mean it's not a good idea. But as I alluded to, I think the commercial environment is where you might see this hit earlier. Games will drive the tech, but economies of scale could see some new and interesting applications.

about 3 months ago
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Oculus Rift CEO Says Classrooms of the Future Will Be In VR Goggles

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Re:Some classes would be AWESOME! (182 comments)

The point of this, the entire point, is that VR provides the potential to create an immersive experience that will finally allow true broadband human interaction. Having worked in corporate space for many years trying to get cross site teams to function well, I can assure you that chat rooms, phones, even webcams and the like, do not cut it for human interaction. So much is lost in the subtle body language, the eyes, the stance, the arms folded. VR could change all that. If I can finally see you properly, look you in the eye, share a virtual whiteboard, then it will truly no longer matter if we are in the same office. Or classroom.

about 3 months ago
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Report: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Studio For $2bn+

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Re:Isn't it a little bit obvious? (368 comments)

And why not? This Notch fella sounds like he's just been holding things back.. "No VR because Oculus sold out!" "What's that mega-corp? 2 Billion?". Owned by Microsoft might see rational rather than ego-centric decision making.

about 3 months ago
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A New Form of Online Tracking: Canvas Fingerprinting

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Re:Why does this work (194 comments)

Well, if all factors are equal it doesn't vary, otherwise every run on the same machine would vary and it would be useless. The point is that there enough differing variables between machines that it becomes useful for finger printing (and also for identifying specific hardware/driver/os/browser signatures). It would be used in conjunction with other techniques in practise I am sure.

about 5 months ago
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A New Form of Online Tracking: Canvas Fingerprinting

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Re:Why does this work (194 comments)

Different drivers, OS's, web browsers, GPU's etc all have slight effects when asked to render something onto the canvas. The trick is that the raw resultant bits can then be captured trivially using getImageData() and then sent back to the tracker site (after hashing or what have you to reduce the size). It'll render the same way every time on your machine, but will differ to someone else's. (Showing my age here), kind of like how you could easily see the difference between the old Voodoo and TNT2 graphics card by how they rendered.

about 5 months ago
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Peer Review Ring Broken - 60 Articles Retracted

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Someone mod this up (178 comments)

An insightful post, I'd love to hear if you had an ideas on how the system could be improved?

about 5 months ago
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Scientists Propose Collider That Could Turn Light Into Matter

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Mod up! (223 comments)

Please mod this up and GP down. +5 Ignorant.

about 7 months ago
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Scientists Propose Collider That Could Turn Light Into Matter

Puff_Of_Hot_Air Re:Energy-matter synthesis (223 comments)

This is a good point. If we ever get to the point of being able to efficiently convert matter into energy with negligible loses, then science fiction becomes far more believable. The "scarcity" of resources equation hard wired into our biology would be irrelevant. The physics is simple, but the engineering is a real bugger.

about 7 months ago

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