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Comments

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How Stanford Engineers Created a Fictitious Compression For HBO

barlevg Re:Universal? (84 comments)

Presumably there's a general compression algorithm that works on all data types, but Richard wrote specific optimizations for certain media types (the original goal of the project was to process music, so he probably started there).

2 days ago
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Amazon's Ambitious Bets Pile Up, and Its Losses Swell

barlevg Oblig. xkcd (168 comments)

When I read the summary, I couldn't believe that Amazon had lost over six times its revenue. Then I saw that the revenue was in billions and the net loss was in millions. Fine, $19,000 million dollars looks awkward (despite what Randall Munroe thinks), but there has to be a less confusing way to convey that information.

2 days ago
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Child Thought To Be Cured of HIV Relapses, Tests Positive Again

barlevg Re:One question (126 comments)

For 18 months you take your infant to a doctor who pumps her full of drugs, which, while curing her of a terrible disease, gives her horrible side-effects. Then the doctors tell you they think she's cured, but that they want to continue the debilitating drug regimen "just to be sure." Is it really so irrational to say, "No, screw that. My daughter's better now. No need to subject my baby to all this continual agony"? Not saying this is what happened, but since you don't know the specifics and circumstances any better than I do, how about we just forego judgement on this woman?

about two weeks ago
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Child Thought To Be Cured of HIV Relapses, Tests Positive Again

barlevg Re:One question (126 comments)

Yeah, but the mother presumably knows that HIV is passed through breastmilk. So it seems unlikely she would continue to breastfeed longer than absolutely necessary (which, given the existence of formula, means the kid was almost certainly never breastfed).

about two weeks ago
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Child Thought To Be Cured of HIV Relapses, Tests Positive Again

barlevg Re: I hate to imagine it (126 comments)

Post 18 months? Possible, but unless the mother was actively trying to reinfect her kid...

about two weeks ago
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Child Thought To Be Cured of HIV Relapses, Tests Positive Again

barlevg Re:One question (126 comments)

After 18 months? Unless the mom is Lysa Arryn...

about two weeks ago
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Child Thought To Be Cured of HIV Relapses, Tests Positive Again

barlevg Re:I hate to imagine it (126 comments)

The Washington Post story states:

Researchers confirmed through DNA sequencing that the infection in the child is not a new infection, but was the one passed from the mother.

about two weeks ago
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The FBI's Jargon List: Internet Acronyms Galore

barlevg Urban Dictionary (124 comments)

is my go-to source for internet shorthand. Any reason the FBI's too good to just use that?

about a month ago
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Happy 95th Anniversary, Relativity

barlevg Re:95 years but (120 comments)

This is wrong. Before one "collapses" a particle's state, it actually *does* exist in all states simultaneously. See the double-slit experiment.

about 2 months ago
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Zazzle.com Thinks Depictions of Pi Are Protected Intellectual Property

barlevg Anyone notice... (264 comments)

his initials, Paul Ingrisano

about 2 months ago
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Happy 95th Anniversary, Relativity

barlevg Re:95 years but (120 comments)

See, that's the danger, and why I made my original comment in the first place: Schrodinger's cat (and Quantum Mechanics as a whole) has absolutely nothing to do with consciousness. Here's a great piece explaining in more detail.

about 2 months ago
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Happy 95th Anniversary, Relativity

barlevg Re:95 years but (120 comments)

There's no fixed limit--the double-slit experiment has been run on gold particles, I know, I think I heard of it even being performed on DNA molecules. It's not about the size, it's about the act of measurement. However, I've gotten responses in the other place I posted this comment that are basically along the lines of, "there's a certain class of detectors that will entangle with the system rather than collapse it." If that's the case, then the Schrodinger's Cat problem becomes a practical one (it's impossible to truly isolate the cat from the outside world) than the fundamental one I've described.

about 2 months ago
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Scientists Find Method To Reliably Teleport Data

barlevg Re:This research should receive enormous funding. (202 comments)

made out of quantum particles!

Everything is made out of quantum particles, so this is rather a moronic reply. That being said, I'm quite satisfied with the "entanglement" arguments made by others (the photon detector needn't decohere/collapse the waveform--it could simply entangle with it, in which case, if you really did have a box with a cat completely isolated from the outside universe, then the paradox would still hold). I probably won't be making this response in the future, or at least not without the caveat of "from a practical perspective" or "I prefer Bohr's resolution to the paradox wherein..."

about 2 months ago
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Scientists Find Method To Reliably Teleport Data

barlevg Re:This research should receive enormous funding. (202 comments)

Right. Okay. So where I went wrong here was the "absorb" and "re-emitted" part, but the interpretation that stuck with me from undergrad was the question of, when interactions of this type occur, does it make sense to think of the photon as the same photon pre- and post- interaction? Or can we think about this as the photon destroyed and replaced with a new one that is travelling in roughly the same direction? If I recall correctly (it's been four years, so pardon me if I'm wrong), since [a,a^+]=0 for bosons, then the answer is, "sure, if you want," because you can create+annihilate a boson as many times as you want with no difference. So it's just an interpretation. But yeah, it doesn't sound like it's a good answer to why light travels slower in a medium.

about 2 months ago
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Scientists Find Method To Reliably Teleport Data

barlevg Re:This research should receive enormous funding. (202 comments)

Yep. Sorry about that. I meant to link to the Niels Bohr answer above it (which I copy-pasted into a separate response below).

about 2 months ago
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Scientists Find Method To Reliably Teleport Data

barlevg Re:Sorry, but that is just incorrect (202 comments)

It's true, I might have glossed over some of the subtleties, but my point with that line is that people think of observation and detection as a passive event when it's anything but, and not for any sort of mysterious "the mind makes it so" bullshit but because when you're looking at the wall in front of you what's actually happening is that photons are hitting the wall, bouncing off (or being absorbed and re-emitted--though I got chided for saying something similar about this earlier) and being collected in your eye. Without the stream of photons hitting the wall, you'd have no way of knowing it was there (extend photons to other force-mediating particles).

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Mr. Schmidt Goes to Washington: a Look Inside Google's Lobbying Behemoth

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about 3 months ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "In May 2012, in the midst of an FTC investigation into Google's search practices, the law school at George Mason University in Northern Virginia hosted a conference attended by congressmen, regulators and staffers. The topic: competition, search and social media. What none of the attendees of the conference knew was that Google was pulling many of the strings behind the event, even going so far as to suggest invited speakers.

This event, as documented in The Washington Post is just a snapshot of the operations of one of the largest and highest spending lobbying entities in DC, a far cry from the one-man shop it started out as nine years ago, from a company "disdainful" of Washington's "pay-to-play" culture."

Link to Original Source
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ZunZuneo: USAID funded "Cuban Twitter" to undermine Communist regime

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about 4 months ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "In a country where the government severely limits access to the world wide web, ZunZeneo, an anonymous SMS-based social network, drew more than 40,000 Cuban users at its peak, the Associated Press reports. On it, people shared news and opinions about music and culture. But what none of its subscribers knew was that the project was secretly funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), though a series of shell corporations and foreign bank accounts, and that its stated goal was “renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society” in the Communist stronghold, hopefully leading to a "Cuban Spring.""
Link to Original Source
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Polar Vortex Likely Decimated Stink Bug Population, Experiment Suggests

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about 5 months ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "Each fall, a team led by Virginia Tech Professor of Entomology Thomas Kuhar gathers brown marmorated stink bugs from around campus and plops them into ventilated and insulated five-gallon buckets designed to simulate the habitats in which the bugs naturally wait out the winter. While previous lab tests have shown the insects capable of surviving chills of -20 C, last month's polar vortex proved too much for the little guys, with only 5% surviving the sustained cold conditions. This suggests that the DC area's population of stink bugs and other overwintering insects should be much lower come spring than in previous years."
Link to Original Source
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Irony is Dead: Tea Party Posts Material from Bioshock Infinite to Facebook Page

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about 7 months ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "The National Liberty Foundation, a Tea Party group, posted to their Facebook page an image featuring George Washington keeping at bay a crowd containing a wide assortment of ethnic groups above a banner reading "It is our holy duty to guard against the foreign hordes." While such images are hardly uncharacteristic of the group's photo stream, this particular image was in fact promotional material from from Irrational Games' BioShock Infinite, set in a dystopian city controlled by warring factions that "strive to keep the city for pure Americans" and worship the founding fathers as deities."
Link to Original Source
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FDA Not Convinced Antibacterial Soaps Stop the Spread of Germs

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about 7 months ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "It's long been a concern that the widespread use of antibacterials soaps is contributing towards the evolution of drug-resistant "superbugs," but as the Washington Post reports, the Food and Drug Administration also does not believe that there is any evidence to support that the antibacterial agents in soaps are any more effective at killing germs than simply washing with soap and water. Under the terms of a proposal under consideration, the FDA will require that manufacturers making such claims will have to show proof. If they fail to do so, they will be required to change their marketing or even stop selling the products altogether.

The Washington Post cites concerns that triclosan interferes with hormone production, but it should be noted that is is based on animal studies, and that at least one human study has shown no effect on hormone levels in adults using toothpaste containing triclosan."

Link to Original Source
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NSA Broke Into Links Between Google, Yahoo Datacenters

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about 9 months ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "The Washington Post reports that, according to documents obtained from Edward Snowden, through their so-called "MUSCULAR" initiative, the National Security Agency has exploited a weakness in the transfers between data centers, which Google and others pay a premium to send over secure fiber optic cables. The leaked documents include a post-it note as part of an internal NSA Powerpoint presentation showing a diagram of Google network traffic, an arrow pointing to the Google front-end server with text reading, "SSL Added and Removed Here" with a smiley face. When shown the sketch by The Post and asked for comment, two engineers with close ties to Google responded with strings of profanity."
Link to Original Source
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White House Fires Employee Over Anonymous Twitter Feed

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about 9 months ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "@NatSecWonk, a Twitter feed posting (often scathing) commentary on the administration's foreign policy and on reporting of national security issues, went dark last week, and its owner, unmasked as Jofi Joseph, a member of the National Security Council and an expert in nonproliferation, was reportedly fired. None of the tweets contained any information of a classified or sensitive nature, so any further action against Joseph seems unlikely."
Link to Original Source
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Overcoming Racism in Cinema... From the Technical Side

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about 9 months ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "Since the birth of film, shooting subjects of darker complexion has been a technical challenge: light meters, film emulsions, tone and color models, and the dynamic range of the film itself were all calibrated for light skin, resulting in dark skin appearing ashy and washed-out. Historically, filmmakers have used workarounds involving "a variety of gels, scrims and filters." But now we live in the age of digital filmmaking, and as film critic Ann Hornaday describes in the Washington Post, and as is showcased in recent films such as "12 Years a Slave," "Mother of George" and "Black Nativity," a collection of innovators have set to work developing techniques in lighting, shooting and post-processing designed to counteract century-old technological biases as old as the medium itself."
Link to Original Source
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Full Screen Mario: Making the Case for Shorter Copyrights

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about 9 months ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "A college student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute spent nine months meticulously remaking Super Mario Bros. based on the latest web standards. His project is open source and the code freely available through Github. The site recently gained widespread media attention, which unfortunately brought it to the attention of Nintendo, which has requested that the site be taken down.

In a column on the Washington Post website, tech blogger Timothy Lee makes the case for how this is a prime example of copyrights hindering innovation and why copyright lengths should be shortened. Among his arguments: copyrights hinder innovation by game designers seeking to build upon such games, and shortening copyright would breathe new life into games who have long since passed into obsolescence."
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Nobel Winners Exemplify Israel's "Brain Drain" Problem

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about 10 months ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "Two of the three scientists sharing this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry have Israeli citizenship, with Dr. Arieh Warshel having been born and educated in Israel, yet both are based at universities in the United States. These two scientists are perhaps the highest profile examples of a growing problem in the so-called "start-up nation," which is known for its high-tech tech companies and scientific innovation, and yet which loses more researchers to emigration than any other western nation. The problem? Large salary gaps between US and Israeli institutions. As Daniel Hershkowitz, president of Bar-Ilan University put it, "I don't see Israel being able to compete with what they offer in the United States.""
Link to Original Source
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Most Cave Paintings Were Painted By Women

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about 10 months ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "Analyzing hand-prints found in cave sites, an archaeologist from Penn State University has concluded that roughly 75% of all ancient cave art was painted by women. Previously it was thought that neolithic cave paintings were made mostly by men, perhaps to chronicle their kills. But an analysis of the relative lengths of fingers in hand stencils found on cave walls suggests that it was mostly prehistoric women--not men--who created these works."
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Chemical Analysis Separates Cat Poop Coffee from Fakes

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about a year ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "Kopi Luwak, or civet coffee, consists of coffee berries that have been partially digested by an Indonesian tree-dwelling cat called the palm civet. The digestive process, coupled with the wild civet's selectivity in eating from the choicest plants, is said to impart an exquisite, exotic flavor. However, its high price (the coffee can retail for as much as $600 per pound) has led to the market being flooded with fake and low-grade products, which may contribute to negative Western impressions of the brew. Now, a team of Japanese scientists have developed a test for separating the real beans from knock-offs by looking at tell-tale signs of the civet's predigestive process in the finished product (abstract here). Says researcher Sastia Prama Putri, "We want to be sure people around the world can try the real Kopi Luwak."

As an aside, animal cruelty is also a concern, as the high demand for Kopi Luwak has led to civets being captured and caged. As civets in captivity have no choice about what they eat, it is likely these caged animals produce an inferior product to their wild counterparts."
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New Brain-to-Brain Interface Allows Human to Control Another's Movements

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about a year ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "Earlier this year, researchers at Harvard devised a system by which a human could control a rat's tail using only the person's thoughts. Now a team at the University of Washington have demonstrated that the same principle can be applied to human-to-human control. The Washington Post reports: "First, they placed electronic probes against their heads. Then one man looked at a computer game on a screen and thought about what move he wanted to make. Sure enough, the other man, who was across campus with no view of the screen, almost instantaneously moved his right index finger to make that move. He said it had the sensation of a nervous tic.""
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Study Suggest Violent Video Games May Make Teens Less Violent

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about 10 months ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "A new paper is out in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence which shows no positive correlation between playing violent video games and acts of aggression. The study of 377 children with attention deficit and depressive symptoms in fact showed a slight negative correlation between video game-playing and aggressive behavior such as bullying, which the researchers posit is due to the games awarding some measure of catharsis. The full paper is available online (PDF)."
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NWS to Al Gore: There Is No "Category Six" Hurricane

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about a year ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "In a recent interview, former Vice President and environmental activist Al Gore made a bold claim, that man-made global warming was causing hurricanes to be formed of such severity that "they’re adding a 6" to the hurricane scale, going on to say that "The fingerprint of man-made global warming is all over these storms and extreme weather events." In response, the National Weather Service has responded that they have no plans to add a "doomsday Category 6" to their rating scale: "No, we’re not pursuing any such change. I’m also not sure who VP Gore means by 'they,'" also noting that "Category 5 has no ceiling: it includes hurricanes with top sustained winds of 157 mph and higher." Furthermore, a recently leaked United Nations climate assessment claims only “low confidence” of a link between human activity and increased hurricane severity and that this is likely due to increased human settlement in coastal areas and other regions vulnerable to natural disasters."
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Weather Control Conspiracy Theories are Scientifically Lucicrous

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about a year ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang breaks down two popular conspiracy theories: that HAARP is responsible for severe weather and that contrails from commercial airliners are actually "chemtrails" sprayed for nefarious purposes, and explains why each is preposterous to anyone with even an elementary knowledge of meteorology or an iota common sense. The author readily acknowledges that his analysis will do nothing to convince the tinfoil-hat-wearing, vinegar-spraying members of the populace."
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Google continues to translate "undocumented" as "illegal immigrant"

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about a year ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "While the New York Times, the Associated Press and others have chosen to discontinue the use of the term "illegal immigrant" in favor of "undocumented" Google Translate continues to translate the Spanish word "indocumentado" as "illegal immigrant." Google's response: "Since the translations are generated by machine, they’re not always perfect, but we're constantly working to improve the quality of our algorithms, and we appreciate this feedback.""
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