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Comments

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Ray Kurzweil Does Not Understand the Brain

Ripit Re:Uh (830 comments)

A user ID of 1.5M+? STFU, noob.

more than 4 years ago
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"Right To Repair" Bill Advances In Massachusetts

Ripit Re:Yes! (478 comments)

It isn't.

more than 5 years ago
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How Hollywood Tie-Ins Saved Lego

Ripit Re:Lego Star Wars (193 comments)

You're right about that. It's maddening. I've got some Star Wars sets from 2000, and the dark grey is a little bit browner than the stuff coming out today.

more than 5 years ago
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How Hollywood Tie-Ins Saved Lego

Ripit Re:Black Seas Barracuda (193 comments)

Now, LEGO needs to make the next step and allow people to build their own kits online. I think that would be even bigger than LEGO Star Wars.

Seriously Lego, where are you?

It's called Lego Degital Designer. If you've got a complaint, at least take a couple of minutes to figure out if it's valid.

more than 5 years ago
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How Hollywood Tie-Ins Saved Lego

Ripit Re:lego mirrors real life (193 comments)

Wish I could mod you up.

The term "specialized parts" makes no sense.

more than 5 years ago
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How Hollywood Tie-Ins Saved Lego

Ripit Re:Lego Star Wars (193 comments)

There's room for both. My kid builds Lego Star Wars sets. When he gets tired of them, he takes them apart and makes his own stuff.

Loose Legos from garage sales or craigslist are great, too. Lego still makes "generic unstructured pieces;" a large part of current sets are made from them.

more than 5 years ago
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Schooling, Homeschooling, and Now, "Unschooling"

Ripit Re:So it's a fnacy nmae (1345 comments)

I usually hate your comments, but this is spot-on.

more than 5 years ago
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F-22 Raptor Cancelled

Ripit Re:Most deserving (829 comments)

Parochial and religious schools? So if I want my child to be educated outside the public school system and outside of home schooling, he needs to hear about The Great Sky Fairy and Resurrection Boy when he goes to school?

No. It is in our national interest to fund primary and secondary level education. An educated workforce benefits everybody, those that own capital, to the lowest level of manual labor. I'm not saying what we have for a school system is good, though, just that some form of public education is valuable and cannot be replaced by religious entities.

To those who argue against using collective resources for basic education, what, if anything, should we direct resources to? Only the military? At some point the quality of the republic is degraded to the point that it isn't worth defending.

more than 5 years ago
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Tomorrow's Science Heroes?

Ripit Re:Sorry, No. (799 comments)

Science has not provided a robust explanation for the origin of the universe. It cannot explain the four forces. It cannot explain time.

What we have from science is a much better explanation than anything from religion, which is to say no explanation at all. The Big Bang and rapid expansion, while simple, at least takes into account data at hand. The Sky Fairy on a six-day creation tour doesn't.

more than 5 years ago
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Traditional News Media Lead Blogs By 2.5 Hours

Ripit Re:So what's next? (186 comments)

I actually would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

more than 5 years ago
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My toy collection is ...

Ripit Re:My old toy box & didn't know I still had ol (396 comments)

Inside was...a plastic blazing sword... a couple rubber snakes... a yellow plastic moving snake... (wait, I liked snakes?)... a giant furry plush banana...

Have a seat on the couch and tell me about your parents.

more than 5 years ago
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How Microsoft Has Changed Without Bill Gates

Ripit Re:No not really (493 comments)

You just went from foe to neutral for that good post. Not sure why you were a foe in the first place.

more than 5 years ago
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35,000-Year-Old Flute Is Oldest Music Instrument Ever Found

Ripit Re:Interesting! (139 comments)

Interesting replies.

I'll merely point out that instruments other than flute are constructed to make the pentatonic scale simple to play - the black notes on the keyboard are the most obvious. The scale, and the pitches exist independently of the instruments that produce them.

The AC's post regarding perception of harmonics in the brain bears this out. The pentatonic scale offers all the consonant intervals, leaving out only minor seconds and augmented fourths. I guess we shouldn't be surprised that people perceived consonance 35,000 years ago.

more than 5 years ago
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35,000-Year-Old Flute Is Oldest Music Instrument Ever Found

Ripit Re:Interesting! (139 comments)

I am a tenured professional orchestra musician.

The example shows clearly an accurate major pentatonic scale. The pitches are Eb, F, G, Bb, and C. The proximity to modern pitch is incidental, as pitch has been standardized for only a couple hundred years. The important thing is the distance between the pitches, or the ratio of one pitch to the rest. The pentatonic scale has ratios of 1:9/8:5/4:3/2:5/3, meaning if Eb is given the value of 1, F is 9/8 of Eb, G is 5/4 of Eb, Bb is 3/2 of Eb, and C is 5/3 of Eb. To construct an instrument that can play exactly (apparently exclusively) this scale shows, even if only through sound, an understanding of the mathematics underlying the scale.

The chance of constructing an instrument that happens to produce these exact ratios is impossibly small. Considering this and that it has a functionally placed embouchure hole opens up more possibilities. The person who made this instrument had made them before, or was taught by someone who had, or made it in imitation of something already seen. Now we know the pentatonic scale, which has been found all over the world is at least 35,000 years old. That's staggering.

more than 5 years ago
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35,000-Year-Old Flute Is Oldest Music Instrument Ever Found

Ripit Re:Interesting! (139 comments)

I'm a tenured professional orchestra musician. I'll try to explain.

NotBornYesterday's conclusion was dead on! The AC is also correct.

In the example, the ancient flute played the pitches Eb, F, G, Bb, and C, which is a simple pentatonic scale. When in this particular order, it's called a major pentatonic scale. It's incidental that the pitches are close to these modern pitches (AC's point). The important thing is the distance from one pitch to the next, or in other words, the ratio of one pitch to another (NBY's point).

The ratios in the pentatonic scale are 1:9/8:5/4:3/2:5/3. So if you set Eb as 1, F is 9/8 of Eb, G is 5/4 of Eb, Bb is 3/2 of Eb, and C is 5/3 of Eb. The ratios are what is important. The absolute value of the pitch in Hertz is incidental. The maker of this flute understood these ratios, and constructed the flute accordingly.

The fact that people were using the pentatonic scale 35,000 years ago or more is stunning.

more than 5 years ago
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35,000-Year-Old Flute Is Oldest Music Instrument Ever Found

Ripit Re:Interesting! (139 comments)

Almost like the laws of physics haven't changed at all!

I think you missed the point. The amazing thing is that 35,000 years ago, we understood, in a simple way, this specific law of physics.

Same size shaft, holes, and lengths will produce nearly the same frequency.

Well, this flute doesn't have the same size shaft, holes, and length as a modern Western flute. This flute is much smaller. But it's not surprising that the modern flute shares part of its range with it. The modern flute has a 3 1/2+ octave range and is capable of extreme dynamics, incredible pitch accuracy, and quick technical facility, thanks to 35,000+ years worth of mechanical engineering, metallurgy, and artistry. The surprise in this story is that people were playing pentatonic scales 35,000 years ago, and had refined instruments to do it.

more than 5 years ago
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35,000-Year-Old Flute Is Oldest Music Instrument Ever Found

Ripit Re:Interesting! (139 comments)

Disclaimer - IAPOM. I am a professional orchestral musician.

"Harmonics" doesn't really mean anything in this sense. Flutes don't play two notes simultaneously, so there is no harmony. This flute is capable of playing at least 5 distinct pitches, or at least 10 if you count overblowing to get a higher octave. The notes in the example are Eb, F, G, Bb, and C, which is a pentatonic scale.

This is the most amazing thing to me. The pentatonic scale's pitches have the simple frequency ratios of 1:9/8:5/4:3/2:5/3. Instruments designed to play this scale have been found almost everywhere humans play music. The person that made this instrument perceived, through sound, these simple mathematical ratios. 35,000 years ago, humans had already discovered the beauty in mathematics.

Also, I can draw the conclusion that the person that made this flute had made flutes previously, or learned from someone who did. The chances of gouging holes in a bone at random and having a very accurate pentatonic scale along with a serviceable embouchure hole in the end product is vanishingly small. This skill is learned by trial and error or instruction. This opens up more questions. If the maker of this flute didn't invent the pentatonic scale, who did? How old is the scale?

more than 5 years ago
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Wind Could Provide 100% of World Energy Needs

Ripit Re:overstated or misunderstood wind turbine proble (867 comments)

... MODERN nuclear power, especially with re-using the waste, gas-cooled pebble bed designs, Thorium designs, etc. .

Nobody mines Thorium anymore. I'm not sitting in Whispering Gorge waiting for nodes to spawn, either.

more than 5 years ago
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Where Does a Geek Find a Social Life?

Ripit Re:Things I have found helpful (1354 comments)

I thought at first the pun was

... I should probably get cracking on finding one here.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Majority of US Scientists Identify as Democrats

Ripit Ripit writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Ripit (1001534) writes "According to a Pew Research poll released on July 9, 2009, US scientists overwhelmingly identify themselves as Democrats. 55% of scientists say they are Democrats, compared to 35% of the general population. Only 6% of scientists say they are Republicans, compared to 23% of the general population. Surprisingly, scientists identified themselves as independents less often than the population as a whole, 32% to 34%, respectively."
Link to Original Source
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Arrested telecom hackers "financing terrorism&

Ripit Ripit writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Ripit (1001534) writes "From The Wall Street Journal, Assistant US Attorney Erez Liebermann claims that "we have now moved into the realm of hacking as a financing mechanism for terrorism."

U.S. and Italian authorities said Friday they arrested a group of hackers and conspirators who allegedly stole from phone companies around the world. The illegal profits funded terrorist activities, Italian officials alleged.

The case shows that hacking is no longer the province of teenagers or even organized crime, said Erez Liebermann, the assistant U.S. attorney who is prosecuting the case. "With the connections outlined in the Italian and Philippines side, we have now moved into the realm of hacking as a financing mechanism for terrorism," he said in an interview. He credited cooperation between authorities in the U.S., Italy and the Philippines in bringing the case."

Link to Original Source
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Coleman's site wasn't 'hacked,' says IT pro

Ripit Ripit writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Ripit (1001534) writes "Norm Coleman's campaign spokesman Cullen Sheehan suggested in an e-mail sent to supporters this morning that Wikileaks.org's publication of the campaign's donor database — including donors' credit card numbers and the three-digit security codes for those cards — is the work of politically motivated people who have "found a way to breach private and confidential information.""
Link to Original Source
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Blockbuster Gets Bankruptcy Advice

Ripit Ripit writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Ripit (1001534) writes "Blockbuster Inc., the world's largest movie-rental chain, hired legal counsel to explore a possible bankruptcy filing, a person familiar with the situation said. Blockbuster fell as much as 86 percent before trading was halted. Kirkland & Ellis LLP was asked to evaluate restructuring options for the company, which may include a "pre-packaged" or "pre-arranged bankruptcy," in which much of the restructuring work is completed out of court, the person said. A pre-packaged filing is more advanced than a pre-arranged bankruptcy as it includes agreements from creditors about the outcome of the company's reorganization. "We've hired them for refinancing and capital raising initiatives," said Karen Raskopf, a Blockbuster spokeswoman. "We do not intend to file for bankruptcy." Blockbuster is working with Kirkland and Ellis on refinancing, Raskopf said. The company previously announced plans to fund its own operations through the end of 2009 after two of its credit facilities expire this August, she said. Blockbuster has also hired Rothschild Inc., an investment bank, to advise it on restructuring, a person familiar with the situation said."
Link to Original Source
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Obama picks Net neutrality backer as FCC chief

Ripit Ripit writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Ripit (1001534) writes "President Obama on Tuesday nominated Julius Genachowski as the nation's top telecommunications regulator, picking a campaign advisor who has divided his career between Washington, D.C., political jobs and working as an Internet executive. Genachowski is likely to continue the Democratic push for more Net neutrality regulations, which are opposed by some conservatives and telecommunications providers. He was a top Obama technology advisor and aided in crafting a technology platform that supported Net neutrality rules."
Link to Original Source
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Justice Dept. Approves XM-Sirius Merger

Ripit Ripit writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Ripit (1001534) writes "WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Monday approved Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.'s proposed $5 billion buyout of rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., saying the deal was unlikely to hurt competition or consumers. The transaction was approved without conditions, despite opposition from consumer groups and an intense lobbying campaign by the land-based radio industry."
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