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Market Data Firm Spots the Tracks of Bizarre Robot Trading

SixFactor Re:Obvious (483 comments)

I'd mod you Interesting, but I'd previously replied to a comment upstream. All war is deception, indeed.

more than 4 years ago

Kids Score 40 Percent Higher When They Get Paid For Grades

SixFactor Re:weird (716 comments)

Amen to that. I've told my kids that their parents have jobs: I am the breadwinner, while mom manages the household. It is therefore their job to attend school. I get performance reviews at work (while mom is of course, exempt from such :D). It is therefore important for them to do well at school, and grades, like it or not, reflect that progress.

Seems to me that the financial incentive has two functions: while it can clearly be a motivator (that likely promotes only short-term and shallow learning; but that's another discussion), it is also an indicator of how parents value (or de-value) education.

more than 5 years ago

Secret US List of Civil Nuclear Sites Released

SixFactor Re:put down your pitchforks (167 comments)


I'm afraid the Plame-outing meme has stuck on, hard. Repeat a story enough and it is taken to be true in its entirety.

more than 5 years ago

Secret US List of Civil Nuclear Sites Released

SixFactor Re:"for civilian use" (167 comments)


I admire your effort and appreciate the apparent pro-nuclear stance. But please check out the NRC Fact Sheet on TMI Unit 2 (Unit 1 is doing just fine, thanks) for more precise details on the cause and sequence of events for the accident. You'll find some useful facts that will correct some of your misconceptions about the contributing factors and root causes of the event.

In my opinion, the most dominant root cause was inadequate operator training. The stuck-open primary valve (PORV) was misdiagnosed, with a faulty valve position indicator contributing to the misdiagnosis. Every operator action taken downstream of that led to the circus surrounding the event. It did not do to create emergency operating guidance on the fly. I contend that if there was no operator interference with the Emergency Core Cooling System(s) (yes, there are several), the core would have remained intact for some time (days).

BTW, SDM stands for Shutdown Margin - at least in the civilian side of the nuke industry. :D

more than 5 years ago

Scientists Create Easier Way To Embed Objects Into Video

SixFactor Re:A few points of note: (236 comments)

"1. Initially from a computer forensics pov, it would be trivial to detect if a video has been altered, however i think with further improvements in the embedding technology where the actual advert piece is better rendered to take into account surrounding lighting conditions it might become more difficult, however not impossible to detect intentional modifications"

If I'd points, I'd mod you insightful - and I appreciate the understated tone of the statement. One implied (er, embedded) concern here is the legal standing of video evidence, say from ATM or other security surveillance cameras. A new and probably more intense layer of forensics will have to be added to validate such evidence. I foresee a mess (but I hope I'm wrong).

more than 5 years ago



Car? Plane? It's Both and Legal

SixFactor SixFactor writes  |  more than 4 years ago

SixFactor (1052912) writes "At long last, a street-legal plane (or airworthy car), has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. Because of its size, weight, and lack of usual auto safety features, it's got decent gas mileage on the road. Only requires 20 hours of flying time to get a license, and a third of a mile to get airborne. At just under $200k, it's a bit expensive, but there are definitely some early adopters."
Link to Original Source

Nuclear Reactor Turbine Replacement

SixFactor SixFactor writes  |  more than 5 years ago

SixFactor (1052912) writes "This stopped my channel surfing cold: an unprecedented glimpse of an infrequent evolution — the replacement of a Boiling Water Reactor's high pressure turbine. The "Nuclear Turbine" episode of National Geographic Channel's "World's Toughest Fixes" is a well-executed and detailed documentary on how a turbine replacement proceeds at a US BWR. It also provides an excellent overview of various aspects of plant operations including security, radiation protection (more precisely, contamination control), training, and perhaps even more importantly, the nuclear industry's safety culture. Plant personnel were shown as professional, but not devoid of a sense of humor. The discussion regarding high level waste was a bit clipped and did not include the planned Yucca Mountain repository, but then again it was not the show's central subject. And my one nerdy gripe was with their slightly erroneous computer animation of the steam flowpath into the high pressure turbine.

I think this may the first time after 9/11 that a TV crew has been allowed within the protected and radiation control areas of an operating US nuclear power station. Everyone will find this episode highly entertaining and informative. It will be re-broadcast a few more times later this month, but is also available among the show's other episodes here. Enjoy."

Life from Artificial DNA?

SixFactor SixFactor writes  |  more than 6 years ago

SixFactor (1052912) writes "Bioengineering proves itself again a field of significant breakthroughs. From a Washington Post article, researchers in Maryland are about to conjure life from completely artificial DNA. This is a rich article that covers profound angles like, life as an operating system, energy, genetically manipulated food, patent law, and most interestingly, raises shades of Jurassic Park:

Many scientists say the threat [referring to "bio-error"] has been overblown. Venter notes that his synthetic genomes are spiked with special genes that make the microbes dependent on a rare nutrient not available in nature.

And we all know what happened to those critters with amphibio-dino genes, don't we? So, just because we can, should we? "

Vista Service Pack 1: Light Dawns on Marblehead

SixFactor SixFactor writes  |  more than 6 years ago

SixFactor (1052912) writes "From InformationWeek, some hopeful news for troubled Vista users. On the one hand, it could be argued that Microsoft is being responsive to its users' needs. On the other hand, "responsive" in Redmond appears to involve significant (v — >c) time dilation.

The money quote from the article:

Microsoft marketing VP Michael Sievert told InformationWeek in March that Vista was "high quality right out of the gate" and that the company would likely dribble out small updates as required via its Windows Update service.

I do not know if 300 or more changes constitute a dribble, but Service Pack 1 is at least a step in the right direction. But I think I'll wait for SP2 before replacing XP on my Windows machines."

SixFactor SixFactor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

SixFactor (1052912) writes "An idea to use plankton to fight climate change, is getting serious consideration. Plankton blooms, induced by fertilizing desolate patches of ocean with iron, are being tested for their capacity to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and transport the greenhouse gas to ocean depths. If the tests yield immediate and measurable results, the effort could be a viable implementation of carbon offsets. However, if overdone, imagine getting to a "tipping point," where the concern is no longer global warming, but the opposite. One thing is notably absent from the article: there is no requirement for an Environmental Impact Statement. But I do foresee happier balleen whales."

SixFactor SixFactor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

SixFactor (1052912) writes "First on tap is plasma shield designed to dazzle and stun using a combination of laser-generated plasma and sonic shock waves — a concept called Dynamic Pulse Detonation. A range of 100 meters is anticipated, with laser testing in 2008, and full vehicle-borne platform testing in 2009. A related project mentioned in the article is a laser rifle, with variable lethality settings. Sharks optional."

SixFactor SixFactor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

SixFactor (1052912) writes "From here, it was revealed that software used for training at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station was illegally downloaded by a former PVNGS engineer while he was visiting in Iran. He allegedly took the software from the software vendor, which is based in Maryland. The software contained details of the site, and how it operates. There are a couple of obvious possibilities on why he did this: to provide an example of the training used at US plants, to further the nascent Iranian nuclear program; or, for more nefarious purposes. What is troubling is that this person's ability to access the software remained viable after his employment at the site."

SixFactor SixFactor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

SixFactor (1052912) writes "In honor of an employee's son who lost his legs to an IED, as well as the military service of its employees, IBM is offering to donate Arabic-English translation software to the military. Ten thousand copies of the Multilingual Automatic Speech Translator software, 1,000 devices equipped with it, including training and technical support, would help mitigate the shortage of Arabic translators. The offer, made directly by IBM CEO Sam Palmisano to President Bush, is being reviewed to ensure that it can be accepted legally. The story can be found here . BZ, IBM."

SixFactor SixFactor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

SixFactor (1052912) writes "From KING5 in Tacoma, a woman's house got trashed when someone put up an ad on Craigslist stating that the house's contents were "free," inviting all and sundry to come and help themselves. A cruel act, and Craigslist's policy divulges information on ad posters only if a warrant or subpoena is issued. This makes immediate investigation of the scam difficult.

Not having used Craigslist, it seems to me that there has to be a way of providing some level of bona fides in setting up (and responding to) ads, such as a credit card number, to provide accountability and perhaps traceability. This could perhaps deter the malicious prankster, maybe even the criminal."

SixFactor SixFactor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

SixFactor (1052912) writes "The ashes of James Doohan, who played the beloved "miracle worker" engineer on the starship USS Enterprise, will be shot into space. His remains will be in good company, as Gordon "Gordo" Cooper's ashes will also be along for the ride. Gordon Cooper was one of the pioneer Mercury astronauts, and was featured in the movie "The Right Stuff." The two will reach the final frontier in a SpaceLoft XL rocket. "A rocket... how quaint," was faintly heard from Doohan's urn. f_To_Space.html"

SixFactor SixFactor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

SixFactor (1052912) writes "As described here, Israel has developed an infantry bot called VIPeR (Versatile, Intelligent and Portable Robot). It can pack an Uzi, pistol, or grenade launcher, among other hardware. An interesting feature is its Galileo wheel system, which can morph from a simple wheel to a track system. So far, the human will always be in the loop, and the article offers a key contrast with the US approach:

"Unlike the ambitious US plan to develop and deploy highly autonomous combat robots as part of the FCS [Future Combat Systems] program, the Israeli approach is more pragmatic, considering the contributions of such autonomously navigated vehicles in rather limited, mission-specific tasks. These will initially include perimeter security and border patrols and could later be enhanced to specific roles in force protection."

SixFactor SixFactor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

SixFactor (1052912) writes "A Wii user embarks on a weight loss campaign using the Wii as his principal exercise machine, and the Wii Sports suite as the program of choice. Thirty minutes a day for six weeks resulted in a loss of 9 lbs and 1.2 points off his initial Body Mass Index, without changing his current eating habits or other activities. This was previously featured on Digg, but Slashdotters who may not have gotten the memo may want to know too. Details can be found here: iment-results"



Why She'd Be a Better President

SixFactor SixFactor writes  |  more than 3 years ago


SixFactor SixFactor writes  |  more than 5 years ago


At his Most Coherent

SixFactor SixFactor writes  |  more than 7 years ago I found this in a transcript, and decided it was sufficiently exceptional to be saved as my first journal entry. Excerpted from an April 24, 2007 interview with Charlie Rose (grammaticals and all):

Charlie Rose:

What's the lessons [sic] of all this for you, the war in Iraq and what it means for the future? And what have you learned that you think would like to put in a note on the desk of [your] successor?

President George W. Bush:

I've learned that in order to make profound decisions that affect the future of the country, you must have a set of principles that are firmly etched in your soul, that you can't make good decisions if you chase the latest focus group or opinion poll, that you've got to believe a principle such as freedom is universal, and there is no kind of moral relativity when it comes to that subject, as far as I'm concerned. People deserve and desire to be free. And that history has taught us democracies don't war, so forms of government matter in terms of finding peace. But you have to believe principles in order to put up with all the noise, all the pressure, all the flattery and criticism that happens in Washington DC. That's one of the primary lessons I've learned as the president.

While he's definitely not a Ronald Reagan (see the balance of the transcript), this statement (which he probably memorized) is a lesson any presidential candidate should learn, hopefully before the elections, and definitely before taking the oath of office.

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