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Comments

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I expect to retire ...

Smivs Missing option (341 comments)

I've already retired :)

about 7 months ago
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Lit Motors, Danny Kim, and Changing How Americans Drive

Smivs Re:Why two wheels? (144 comments)

Ha, let's hope so, as I suspect Citroen have a bigger legal fund. :) (They're both horrid little things anyway - where's the V8?)

about 8 months ago
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Ancient Chinese Mummies Discovered In Cheesy Afterlife

Smivs Listen to your parents! (64 comments)

Mummy knows best - eat your cheese up!

about 9 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Games Are You Playing?

Smivs The only one for me... (669 comments)

is Oolite. Good old Elite but brought into the 21st Century - free and open source and modable. Awesome!

about 9 months ago
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Finnish Police Board Wants Justification For Wikipedia's Fundraising Campaign

Smivs A story to watch... (252 comments)

...from Start to Finnish.

about 9 months ago
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Google: Our Robot Cars Are Better Drivers Than You

Smivs Re:Autopilots (722 comments)

Indeed. The fact is most drivers are pants, and autonomous cars will undoubtedly save many lives and avoid many crashes. I just wanted to put this in some sort of context.

1 year,28 days
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Google: Our Robot Cars Are Better Drivers Than You

Smivs Re:Autopilots (722 comments)

Well up to a point. The comparison is with 'normal' drivers, American drivers at that. As far as I know driver training in the US is fairly basic compared to many countries, and TFA doesn't actually mention 'professionally trained' drivers at all unlike the /. summary. I would contest that a 'real' advanced driver, say a UK police Class 1 driving certificate holder, will out-perform a robot any day, not because they are quicker to react but because the skills and experience they have gathered over years of dedicated training and practice would give them the ability to predict problems and prevent incidents, rather than relying on their robotically quick response times to cope with a developing problem the advanced human driver would have already avoided.

1 year,28 days
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Flies See the World In Slo-Mo, Say Researchers

Smivs Re:Within a species? (176 comments)

The same way there isn't a planet called Pluto!
But it is true, the good old Brontosaurus is now known as the Apatosaurus.

about a year ago
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First Asteroid Discovered At Uranus's Leading Trojan Point

Smivs Go to the Doctor... (90 comments)

...if Uranus has asteroids. He can give you some cream for it.

about a year ago
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Malaria Vaccine Nearing Reality

Smivs Oblig (209 comments)

Think of the Plasmodium!

about a year ago
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New JavaScript-Based Timing Attack Steals All Browser Source Data

Smivs Re:Self-referential story? (167 comments)

Ha, yes I got that as well :) You using Opera?

about a year ago
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Fidus Writer: Open Source Collaborative Editor For Non-Geek Academics

Smivs Re:Editor (160 comments)

Also a typo on the website page as well - '...announce that te Fidus Writer source code...'
Not creating a good impression, which is a shame as this actually looks like it has potential.

about a year ago
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My NSA-induced paranoia level:

Smivs Re:I for one welcome our new Robotic CowboyNeal ov (290 comments)

Yay! A cowboy neal option at last!
I voted for that on principle - I don't give a f**k about NSA any more than they probably (don't) care about me. But cowboy neal, I like :)

about a year ago
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Around 2,000 Fukushima Workers At Risk of Thyroid Cancer

Smivs Re:MOTO (124 comments)

In fact you are both right. The medication used is Potassium iodide tablets - Iodine alone is a volatile and very unpleasant substance and you wouldn't want to take it!

about a year ago
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Hardly Anyone Is Buying 'Smart Guns'

Smivs Re:Smart guns... (814 comments)

Depends on your perspective, as you are facing someone who does not care about the law or YOUR life. I would rather keep on living at the expense of some scumbag assaulting me.

This is the scumbag assaulting you with his 'life-saving device', yes?
I don't have a problem with legitimate self-defence, but as a pedant I can't accept that a lethal weapon is a 'life-saving device' either. A pacemaker is a life-saving device, as is an aircraft ejector seat or an air-bag in a car.
But claiming that a device designed to injure, maim or kill is a 'life-saving device' is pushing a point too far for me.

about a year ago
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Hardly Anyone Is Buying 'Smart Guns'

Smivs Re:Smart guns... (814 comments)

Guns are life-saving devices...

Er, I think you might have got that wrong!

about a year ago

Submissions

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Colin Pillinger dies

Smivs Smivs writes  |  about 6 months ago

Smivs (1197859) writes "The BBC report that planetary scientist Professor Colin Pillinger, best known for his involvement in Britain's Beagle 2 Mars mission, has died aged 70.
Prof Pillinger was the driving force behind the ultimately doomed Mars lander, and was awarded a CBE in 2003.
His spokesman said he suffered a brain haemorrhage at his home in Cambridge and later died in hospital."
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Most silent movies have now been lost

Smivs Smivs writes  |  about a year ago

Smivs (1197859) writes "Of the nearly 11,000 silent films made between 1912 and 1930, only 14% still exist in their original format, Library of Congress research has found.
  And 11% of those that survive only exist as foreign versions or on lower-quality formats, meaning an original 20th century art form has all but disappeared.
  Silent films were at their peak between in the early part of the century when — before network radio or television — going to the cinema was the most popular form of entertainment.
  Famous films now considered lost include Cleopatra from 1917, The Great Gatsby from 1926, Lon Chaney's London After Midnight from 1927, and The Patriot from 1928.
  Librarian of Congress James Billington says "The loss of American silent-era feature films constitutes an alarming and irretrievable loss to our nation's cultural record.""
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LHC to shut down for a year due to desighn faults

Smivs Smivs writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Smivs writes "The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) must close at the end of 2011 for up to a year to address design issues, according to an LHC director.

Dr Steve Myers told BBC News the faults will delay the machine reaching its full potential for two years.

The atom smasher will reach world record collision energies later this month at 7 trillion electron volts.

But joints between the machine's magnets must be strengthened before higher-energy collisions can commence.

The Geneva-based machine only recently restarted after being out of action for 14 months following an accident in September 2008."

Link to Original Source
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New Linux-based laptop for computer 'virgins'.

Smivs Smivs writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Smivs writes "The BBC are carrying a report on how people confused and frustrated by computers can now turn to a laptop called Alex built just for them. Based on Linux, the laptop comes with simplified e-mail, web browsing, image editing and office software. Those who sign up for Alex pay £39.95 a month for telephone support, software updates and broadband access.

The Broadband Computer Company, who developed Alex and which is based in Newcastle, has been working on this project for three years, and didn't immediately adopt a Linux solution — in fact, the first big trial was based on Windows. But the company's Chief Technology Officer Barney Morrison-Lyons says that was never going to be the right route: "The biggest problem with Microsoft is badly-written software — the operating system allows you to write software badly unlike Mac or Linux." Mr Hudson, one of the company's founders, said the company also intends to launch an application store for Alex for customers who want to add more features and functions to their computer. "People who love Linux will be keen to develop for this," he said."
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British geology maps now free to all.

Smivs Smivs writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Smivs writes "Now you can find out what's under your feet by using the British Geological Survey's (BGS) new OpenGeoscience portal. It allows the public to study all the UK's rocks on a simple Google map, down to a scale of 1:50,000. Toggling the map shows overlying towns and streets. A range of educational and professional tools are also brought together on the website, including the huge national geological archive of photographs. The BBC report that Tens of thousands of images have been amassed into the BGS library over the decades, showing different rock forms around Britain, fossil types, and the impact on the landscape of natural events such as flooding. The whole archive is now searchable and free to use for non-commercial purposes. Those who live in Edinburgh, for example, can see how their city is built on top of an ancient volcano. Glaswegians on the other hand will notice that their city is built on the remains of an ancient tropical forest, evident in the coal measures and fossil trees that can be seen today."
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Vegetarian spider found

Smivs Smivs writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Smivs writes "The BBC are reporting on a spider that dines almost exclusively on plants . It is the first-known predominantly vegetarian spider; all of the other known 40,000 spider species are thought to be mainly carnivorous. Bagheera kiplingi, which is found in Central America and Mexico, bucks the meat-eating trend by feasting on acacia plants. The jumping arachnid, which is 5-6mm long, has developed a taste for the tips of the acacia plants — known as Beltian bodies — which are packed full of protein. To reach this leafy fare, the spider has to evade the attention of ants, which live in the hollow spines of the tree, but the crafty Bagheera kiplingi has found a way to evade the ants and safely reach it's food."
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3,700 year old wall found in Jerusalem

Smivs Smivs writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Smivs writes "A 3,700-year-old wall has been discovered in east Jerusalem, Israeli archaeologists say. The structure was built to protect the city's water supply as part of what dig director Ronny Reich described as the region's earliest fortifications. The 26-ft (8-m) high wall showed the Canaanite people who built it were a sophisticated civilisation, he said. "The wall is enormous, and that it survived 3,700 years — this is, even for us, a long time," said Mr Reich, an archaeology professor at the University of Haifa."
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Galaxies grow by 'Cannibalism'.

Smivs Smivs writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Smivs writes "Scientists studying Andromeda have discovered that galaxies grow by eating each other. An international team of scientists mapping Andromeda discovered stars that they said were "remnants of dwarf galaxies". The astronomers report their findings in the journal Nature. This consumption of stars has been suggested previously, but the team's ultra-deep survey has provided detailed images to show that it took place. This shows the "hierarchical model" of galaxy formation in action. The model predicts that large galaxies should be surrounded by relics of smaller galaxies they have consumed."
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UK's oldest computer to be 're-booted'.

Smivs Smivs writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Smivs writes "Britain's oldest original computer, the Harwell, is being sent to the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley where it is to be restored to working order. The computer, which was designed in 1949 was built and used by staff at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment in Harwell, Oxfordshire. It first ran in 1951 and was designed to perform mathematical calculations. It lasted until 1973. When first built the 2.4m x 5m computer was state-of-the-art, although it was superseded by transistor-based systems. The restoration project is expected to take a year. Although not the first computer built in the UK, the Harwell had one of the longest service lives. Built by a team of three people, the device was capable of doing the work of six to ten people and ran for seven years until the establishment obtained their first commercial computer. "We didn't think we were doing anything pioneering at the time," said Dick Barnes, who helped build the original Harwell computer."
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Amazing image of a single molecule released

Smivs Smivs writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Smivs writes "The BBC are reporting that the detailed chemical structure of a single molecule has been imaged for the first time. The physical shape of single carbon nanotubes has been outlined before, using similar techniques — but the new method even shows up chemical bonds. Understanding molecular structure on this scale could help in the design of many things on the molecular scale, particularly electronics or even drugs. The team from IBM Research Zurich used what is known as an atomic force microscope or AFM. Their version of the device acts like a tiny tuning fork, with one of the prongs of the fork passing incredibly close to the sample and the other farther away. When the fork is set vibrating, the prong nearest the sample will experience a minuscule shift in the frequency of its vibration, simply because it is getting close to the molecule. Comparing the frequencies of the two prongs gives a measure of just how close the nearer prong is, effectively mapping out the molecule's structure. The measurement requires extremes of precision. In order to avoid the effects of stray gas molecules bounding around, or the general atomic-scale jiggling that room-temperature objects experience, the whole setup has to be kept under high vacuum and at blisteringly cold temperatures."
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New planet 'goes round star the wrong way'

Smivs Smivs writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Smivs writes "BBC News is reporting that Astronomers have discovered the first planet that orbits in the opposite direction to the spin of its star. Planets form out of the same swirling gas cloud that creates a star, so they are expected to orbit in the same direction that the star rotates. The new planet is thought to have been flung into its "retrograde" orbit by a close encounter with either another planet or with a passing star. The work has been submitted to the Astrophysical Journal for publication. Co-author Coel Hellier, from Keele University in Staffordshire, UK, said planets with retrograde orbits were thought to be rare. "With everything [in the star system] swirling around the same way and the star spinning the same way, you have to do quite a lot to it to make it go in the opposite direction." Professor Hellier said a near-collision was probably responsible for this planet's unusual orbit. "If you have a near-collision, then you'll have a large gravitational slingshot from that interaction," he explained. "This is the likeliest explanation. But it might be possible you can do it by gradually perturbing the orbit through the influence of a second planet. So far, we haven't found any evidence of a second planet there.""
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How to make Goo 'dance'.

Smivs Smivs writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Smivs writes "The Guardian newspaper has a short piece about the science of Cymatics, the effect sound waves can have on liquids and semi-solids, accompanied by an amazing video of dancing 'Goo' . Well worth a look!"
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McKinnon loses latest round in extradition battle

Smivs Smivs writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Smivs writes "Gary McKinnon has lost his latest High Court bid to avoid extradition to America where he faces trial for hacking into US military networks.The US authorities said Mr McKinnon was responsible for the "biggest military hack of all time" that had been highly damaging and involved 97 government computers belonging to organisations including the US Navy and Nasa. But lawyers for Mr McKinnon, who was not in court and was told the decision yesterday, described him as a "UFO eccentric" who had been searching for evidence of extra-terrestrial life. They described the idea that he was a danger to US national security as "a complete fantasy". Lord Justice Stanley Burnton and Mr Justice Wilkie, sitting in London, dismissed his claim for judicial review.If sent to the US, Mr McKinnon was likely to receive a substantial prison sentence of up to 12 years, possibly served in a Supermax prison used for high risk inmates, and was unlikely to be repatriated to serve his sentence."
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Spotify to go mobile

Smivs Smivs writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Smivs writes "Music streaming service Spotify is planning to launch its first mobile application within weeks. The company (which has over 8 million users across Europe, and expects to launch in the States later this year) submitted the application to Apple's iTunes App Store for its approval. If given clearance, Spotify's service and its comprehensive free library of millions of songs will then be available for users to download onto iPhones."
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Oldest working British T.V. found

Smivs Smivs writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Smivs writes "Britain's oldest working television has been uncovered in a house in London. The 1936 Marconiphone, thought to have been made in the months that Britain's first television service began, was tracked down after a competition. The set belongs to Jeffrey Borinsky, an electrical engineer and collector of antique television and radio sets.
He bought the set, which has a 12-inch (30cm) screen from another collector 10 years ago and is still working on restoring it to its original state. The screen is mounted inside a wooden cabinet. The image from the cathode ray tube, mounted vertically inside the cabinet, is reflected onto a mirror. The few controls include volume and vertical hold, but there is no channel changer, as there was only one channel when it was made: the BBC.
But the Marconiphone 702 still works as a modern television. It has been hooked up to a Freeview box so that it can show digital channels, although Mr Borinsky has had to install a standards converter so that a modern television signal can be seen."
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Spider builds life-size decoy of itself

Smivs Smivs writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Smivs writes "The BBC are reporting on a species of spider that makes life size relicas of itself, possibly to distract predators.The arachnid's behaviour also offers one explanation for why many spiders like to decorate their webs with strange-looking ornaments. Many animals try to divert the attentions of predators by becoming masters of disguise. Some try to avoid being seen altogether by using camouflage to blend in against a background, such as the peppered moth evolving motley wings that blend into tree bark, or stick insects that look like sticks.The spider may be the first example of an animal building a life-size replica of its own body."
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Earth could collide with other planets

Smivs Smivs writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Smivs writes "The BBC are reporting an article in Nature magazine in which Astronomers calculate there is a tiny chance that Mars or Venus could collide with Earth — though it would not happen for at least a billion years. The finding comes from simulations to show how orbits of planets might evolve billions of years into the future. But the calculated chances of such events occurring are tiny. Writing in the journal Nature, a team led by Jacques Laskar shows there is also a chance Mercury could strike Venus and merge into a larger planet. Professor Laskar of the Paris Observatory and his colleagues also report that Mars might experience a close encounter with Jupiter — whose massive gravity could hurl the Red Planet out of our Solar System."
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Slashdot as a "A Sustainable Digital Ecosyste

Smivs Smivs writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Smivs writes "A chinese researcher, Lily Liu, of USTC-CityU Joint Research Center, Suzhou, China, has based her Thesis on an examination of Slashdot as a "Sustainable Digital Ecosystem for Idea Sharing". Online surveys were emailed to 310 active Slashdot participants selected randomly. 42 responded, for a response rate of 13.5% which was deemed very reasonable for an unsolicited survey without rewards for contribution.
I was one of those approached, and was happy to participate, and I have just received a copy of the paper, which makes interesting reading. From the paper:- "Overall, our survey results indicate that Slashdot meets five of the six criteria specified for a sustainable digital ecosystem for idea sharing. Distributed resources, suggested by Preece [8] to avoid site failure in case of outages, was not found. However, the technological infrastructure behind Slashdot is transparent to the users, and is likely only to be observed in case of failure. At Slashdots level of success and the technology infrastructure backing it, resource availability is equally as expected as with large commercial sites, and any cases of failure would be widely reported in the online media such as CNET or Netcraft. In fact, outages for Slashdot are very rare and only very few occurrences have been reported. Hence we might conclude that the last criterion, while not reported by respondents, can also be viewed as a success factor for Slashdot."
If you would like to see the entire paper, I have posted the paper online. This is on my Homesite, so please don't all go there at once...I don't need to be slashdotted! It'll be there for a while."
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suggested poll

Smivs Smivs writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Smivs writes "Suggestion for a SLASHDOT POLL:
What is your favorite electrical componant?
1) resistor
2) capacitor
3) transistor
4) bus-bar
5) valve
6) wire
7) cowboynealistor"

Journals

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Has /.lost its sense of humour?

Smivs Smivs writes  |  about 6 years ago

As we all know, /. is probably THE best site on the Electric InterWeb, for all sorts of reasons. One of these are the "Funny" posts.
I'm no Karma whore but having said that I like to think that my consistently "Excellent" Karma is, in part, due to my wit!
I recently noticed that comments modded up as "Funny" no longer earn Karma points for the poster..
In one sense you could therefore argue that modding an item "Funny" is a waste of a mod point as there is no benefit to anyone from it. This move certainly won't encourage humour on /. , but it won't stop or discourage 'un-funny' or smart-ass comments either.
I for one don't welcome this mean-spirited step from our robotic overlords.

Since making this post I've noticed that several other /.ers are aware of this injustice, and some have suggested modding 'funny' posts as insightful/informative/interesting etc, which is a good idea. I will go for 'insightful' most likely.

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Smivs

Smivs Smivs writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I often don't have time to keep this journal up-to-date, so go to smivsonline (my Homesite) to see what's what. In particular, check out the 'Blog' and don't forget the Humour (yes, I'm English!) page is constantly being added to, if you fancy a giggle.

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