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Last Month's "Planet X" Announcement Was Probably Wrong

captainpanic Why disappointed? (44 comments)

Only the mad conspiracy hatters will be disappointed, because they already know that planet X is on a collision course with us. But then, they don't care about new findings,unless they support their theory. Amateur astronomers however will be just as excited when a planet is found much further away.

It's actually a very exciting and interesting article... it means that in the near future, we won't be searching for a needle in a haystack. We know pretty much where to find the needle, if there is any. To me, that is even more reason to search, which hopefully opens up some funding for the scientists who produce these awesome results.
For me personally, the really exciting thing is that there is so much out there. Perhaps no earth-sized planet, many more dwarf planet than I had ever dreamed...

about two weeks ago
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Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

captainpanic Re:Won't work (342 comments)

There's basically 3 types of information for traders:
1. Official public information from the company itself (press releases, annual report, etc).
2. Analysis by external parties
3. Unofficial (non-public) information from within the company - trading using this is called insider trading, and this is already against the law.

So, when companies release information (category 1), everybody can trade. I do realize now that large companies have press releases on a daily basis. So, maybe the timespan of a week/month was a little long. But at least something that reflects the timespan between press releases (hours? at least not milliseconds) would still be a good idea.

about two weeks ago
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Should NASA Send Astronauts On Voluntary One-Way Missions?

captainpanic If they can survive and thrive where they end up. (307 comments)

It is acceptable to send people on a one-way if the goal is that these people survive and colonize. I would add a condition that they have a fair chance to grow old and possibly have offspring who themselves can survive there as well... meaning that (on the long run) the colony is large enough to be self sufficient.
If the goal is to set up a base camp (e.g. on Mars) with the intention to grow this base camp into a colony later, this condition is met, and I would think it is ethical to send someone on his/her way.

And it doesn't matter if it is NASA or anyone else who is organising the mission.

about two weeks ago
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Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

captainpanic Re:Won't work (342 comments)

The way I understand it is that traders (computers) have to hold on to shares for a minimum of 500 ms, which means that whatever the market does in those milliseconds cannot be acted upon. However, others can act in the meantime.

Personally, I think that it should be law that if you buy shares in any company (or fund or whatever), you have to hold on to them for a minimum of a week or a month. Shares represent actual physical companies which own factories and employ real people. Those things don't change in 500 ms. They change over a much larger amount of time. And I believe that the stock market would be healthier if this was reflected in its trading. Obviously, when new information comes out (press release: "The factory of company X has just gone up in flames"), everybody's counter should be set to zero, but shares sold in such a case cannot be bought back a fraction of a second later (because whoever just bought them has to hold on to them for a week/month).

I don't pretend that this plan is waterproof. I'm sure someone will shoot a big hole in it in the replies below... I just wish that the stock market would represent what it's supposed to represent: a place where people can invest in our real economy.

about two weeks ago
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A Third of Consumers Who Bought Wearable Devices Have Ditched Them

captainpanic I can wear my phone just fine, in a pocket (180 comments)

Pants have pockets. Phones fit in pockets. Problem solved. And I know that women tend to not use pockets - I cannot understand why - but they have purses and handbags that are specially designed to hold many things including a phone. Either way, the problem that a wearable smart gadget tries to solve is not a problem in the first place.

Also, I don't have to track my fitness, because I am usually there myself to observe my fitness with my own eyes.

about three weeks ago
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Xbox One Reputation System Penalizes Gamers Who Behave Badly

captainpanic Re:No way soar losers will abuse his... (183 comments)

Also: I get the feeling that European English speaking people swear a lot more than in the USA, and I wonder if this will be reflected in the moderation.

about a month ago
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Xbox One Reputation System Penalizes Gamers Who Behave Badly

captainpanic No way soar losers will abuse his... (183 comments)

There is absolutely no way that soar losers will totally abuse this.

Also, there is no way that people will get upset buying an expensive gaming system, and subsequently being unable to play with the 'green' accounts because of some highly subjective moderation system.

about a month ago
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Small World Discovered Far Beyond Pluto

captainpanic Re:Dwarf-like? (63 comments)

The difference is that, together with Sedna, this is only the 2nd object found so far out.

From what I understood, the importance of this is that it may shed a new light on how the solar system came to be. I thought that the general theory of small dwarf planets in weird orbits is that they were flung into that orbit by the larger planets that passed by them at some point in the past. However, Sedna and the new object are so far out that they don't cross any orbit of a larger planet. So, something else is going on.

Contrary to popular belief, scientists get excited when observations do not match the current theories (they're often accused of defending the old models).

Some more about these 'detached objects' can be found on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D...

about a month ago
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Google Glass Signs Deal With Ray Ban's Parent Company

captainpanic 80% of market in terms of what? (125 comments)

Many people wear cheap sunglasses - I guess "80% of the eyewear market" is in terms of value, not volume, since 1 Ray-ban costs about as much as 100 cheap sunglasses?

about a month ago
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Lego Robot Solves Rubik's Cube Puzzle In 3.253 Seconds

captainpanic Impressed yet disappointed with Lego (60 comments)

I'm impressed that Lego can do such heavy tasks nowadays. I am sure that my old technic Lego blocks would simply have snapped in two under such stresses. However, I think that the new Lego is so customized that there may exist thousands of different blocks, which means you must now design first, and then order the blocks. It's no longer a matter of having a box full of blocks and just start building. It seems also many blocks are specialized and can only be used in one (maybe two) different way(s), whereas I seem to remember that I invented new ways to use my old blocks all the time.

Call me an old fart, but I am not sure all of this is actually progress.

about a month ago
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Monster Hypergiant Star Discovered

captainpanic Title is incorrect (94 comments)

From TFA:

Although it’s located moderately far from Earth, HR 5171 can just about be seen on a clear night in the constellation of Centaurus with the naked eye and has been measured to have a magnitude of between 6.10 and 7.30.

So, the title "Monster Hypergiant Star Discovered" is a little exaggerated. "Observations reveal new information about hypergiant star" would be better. Then again, it is the Discovery Channel who put this on their website. Maybe we should just be happy they don't express the size of the star in terms of football fields, and the volume in terms of schoolbuses.

about a month ago
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Apple Demands $40 Per Samsung Phone For 5 Software Patents

captainpanic They're feeding the Lawyers again (406 comments)

Aww! Look, they're feeding the lawyers again!

about a month and a half ago
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Men And Women Think Women Are Bad At Basic Math

captainpanic More broad than just maths (384 comments)

Men just don't trust that women can do something important right. This includes math problems, but also meeting an important deadline, hiring important people, or taking decisions.

I know this sounds like a troll post, but I am serious. The gender gap is not just a problem with maths, or because women get pregnant and care for a baby for several months. It is much broader, and women are indeed held back by men, because men prefer to stay in control in certain cases.

However, I think we should approach it from another perspective: Those in charge (in a company, government) don't trust many people to take important decisions or to do any calculations right. However, women are overrepresented in the group of people who are not trusted with these tasks, but men are present in that group too.

about a month and a half ago
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CanSecWest Presenter Self-Censors Risky Critical Infrastructure Talk

captainpanic Re:hack the planet (66 comments)

Yeah, but other saying goes: You don't have to help the terrorists by making it easy for them.

about a month and a half ago
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China Deploys Satellites In Search For Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight

captainpanic Re:Check small airports (142 comments)

I'm totally not an expert, but I do have some questions that the news do not answer:

If the 777 took a rapid dive to nearly ground level, and then changed course, and continued flying at an elevation of mere meters above the water, would the radars in the area have picked it up? And once such an airplane is hundreds of kilometers off course, would anyone notice if it increases its altitude to a few hundred meters, before attempting a landing on a straight stretch of road somewhere in Cambodia, Borneo (in Indonesia), or Myanmar (aka Birma)?

I admit that it is unlikely, but then, so is everything else. Can this be ruled out completely?

Looking at the population density of the area, there is a chance that a low-flying airplane does not attract too much attention. There are bits of land that are very empty.

about a month and a half ago
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Estimate: Academic Labs 11 Times More Dangerous Than Industrial Counterparts

captainpanic Re:Fundamental science comes with risks (153 comments)

Ok, I actually take back everything I just wrote (above). If basic things like 'bringing food into a lab' or 'wearing lab coats and gloves in an office' actually still go wrong, then they should just start acting professional, and this is a good thing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...
In my university (in the Netherlands), this is already common for at least 15 years.

about a month and a half ago
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Estimate: Academic Labs 11 Times More Dangerous Than Industrial Counterparts

captainpanic Fundamental science comes with risks (153 comments)

Typical research at a university involves trying to find out what happens when you do something new. They keep trying until they find something that works or that is interesting. It's fundamental research. Companies typically do more applied research - optimizing things.

At a company, you have to gather 15 signatures before you can start a fundamenal science experiment with unknown outcome. At university, you just go ahead. Companies typically outsource such experiments to universities (or they just pick up on the research after a PhD student put in a few years of good work). It's not the same type of work, so you should not compare the risks. Test pilots also have a higher risk of injury than a commercial pilot.

about a month and a half ago
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Drone Pilot Wins Case Against FAA

captainpanic Re:he was being a dick (236 comments)

With such an attitude, you must be terrified everywhere, all the time. The bomb can be hidden everywhere, and often you don't know who is driving that car/truck or who is flying that airplane. The terrrorist might even be a pedestrian. Can you tell the difference at a distance?

Frankly, with such an attitude, the only thing you should really be afraid of it your own head. Your paranoia is making your life miserable.
Also, such a remark is pure discrimination.

about a month and a half ago

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