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Scientists Study Permian Mass Extinction Event As Lesson For 21st Century

chichilalescu Re:Not even close (235 comments)

need to undo moderation

about 8 months ago
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New Smartphone Tech To Alert Pedestrians: 'You Are About To Be Hit By a Car'

chichilalescu Re:Accuracy (136 comments)

reversing bad moderation

about a year ago
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IBM Uses Roomba Robots To Plot Data Center Heat

chichilalescu you forgot the ) (57 comments)

you can keep mine, and here are some more so you have them on hand )))

about a year ago
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A New Version of MS Office Every 90 Days

chichilalescu Re:Great (292 comments)

I'm a physicist. About ten years ago, a professor told me that he payed three times the price of his laptop for Mathematica, because he needed it. Depending on the subject you're working on, Mathematica could be indispensible for scientists (other scientists have it if you don't, and they will publish before you).
In 2013, I don't know if this is still true, since there are a lot of good free alternatives to Mathematica. I must admit, there is still a problem that I don't know how to solve, and Mathematica does, but maxima and sympy didn't know how to do it when I last checked. But I'm lucky and my symbolic computations are reasonably simple. My impression is that having Mathematica, if you know how to use it, is like having a team of math PhD's as slaves, so it's great when you can afford it.
I am certain that there are a lot of results that wouldn't have been found without Mathematica.

Regarding MSOffice... I used MSWord 95-98 until about 2000, 2001 I think. Then I discovered TeX, and I never went back to MSWord or anything like it. The only reason I used it was that I was in Eastern europe, I didn't pay anything for it (I'm not even sure I really understood I was supposed to pay something for it), and I didn't really know there was anything else available.
I never had any use for anything else from MSOffice, and I honestly don't understand why anyone would want to use it, taking into account that if you want to migrate between different versions of MSOffice you have to use OpenOffice or LibreOffice...

With my above comment I intended to point out that there are usage cases where it does make sense to pay more for software than for the hardware (the dude I replied to said there can't be such cases). I cannot imagine anyone convincing me that MSOffice or any similare software is worth more than an average laptop, but I can imagine someone convincing me that Mathematica, or Maya, or some other specialized software is worth much more than a laptop.
In fact, I believe MSOffice is worth at most what LibreOffice is worth, since more people complain about MSOffice than LibreOffice... but I'm a nerd/hippie/communist/whatever, so my opinion may not matter.

about a year and a half ago
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A New Version of MS Office Every 90 Days

chichilalescu Re:Great (292 comments)

not that I disagree with your comment about LibreOffice, but I do want to point out that there are people for which it makes sense to buy Mathematica, even if it costs more than the machine itself (I have no idea whether they're using a subscription model now or not).

about a year and a half ago
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New GPU Testing Methodology Puts Multi-GPU Solutions In Question

chichilalescu Re:You use GPUs for video games? (112 comments)

if you would like a use for your gaming machines, why not BOINC? you can choose where to donate computing power, although I'm not sure how many projects work on the gpu.

about a year and a half ago
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Ants Use Sound To Communicate

chichilalescu Re:New ant traps based on emitting emergency sound (36 comments)

I don't love insects, but your suggestion felt fundamentally evil.
On the one hand, the summary says "ant kids cry out for help", and then you explicitly say "let's take advantage of that to kill ants".
At least kitchen bug traps work by luring them with tasty smells, so I can reason "well, we are taking advantage of gluttony".

about a year and a half ago
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Has Lego Sold Out?

chichilalescu Re:Really two varieties of Lego (425 comments)

yes, but are you ready for the multibillion dollar law suites that will follow them posting pictures of the stuff online? that will teach you to play with this imagination stuff you like so much...

about 2 years ago
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Cassini's Christmas Gift: In the Shadow of Saturn

chichilalescu Re:I don't understand this picture (32 comments)

The camera is behind and "below" Saturn, and Saturn's rings are "tilted" towards the Sun (you can see this because the planet's shadow on the rings is curved; if the ring was parallel to the light rays, the shadow would have straight edges).
The planet's back is lit by the rings: the upper part gets light reflected by the rings, and some diffused light, while the lower part only gets diffused light, that's why the upper part is better illuminated.
The "black rings" that you can see over the upper part of the planet are just the back of the rings (i.e the part that's in Saturn's shadow). Because the planet is much better illuminated than this portion of the rings, you see them as black on colored background (they must receive some light from the back of the planet, but that's probably below the sensitivity threshold of the camera).
They are "offset" because you only notice the portion between the camera and the planet; the rest of the shadowy part of the rings is dark on a dark background, so you can't see it.

about 2 years ago
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Dell's Ubuntu Ultrabook Now On Sale; Costs $50 More Than Windows Version

chichilalescu Re:System76 (403 comments)

same here. for that money you can get a GP with 16 GB of ram, and an 8 core cpu, and full hd screen.

about 2 years ago
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Scientists Match Dream Images To Photos

chichilalescu Re:let me know when i can control my dreams (47 comments)

I went to the wikipedia page after reading the xkcd comic that had "lucid dreaming" in its mouseover text.
There, I saw that lucid dreaming is taught to people who have a lot of nightmares, while undergoing therapy, so that they can gain control over their dreams.
It sounded intriguing, but I didn't have the patience to learn more about it.

In any case, sorry to hear you ran into stupid people.
But if you did train yourself to do this, I do have a couple of questions:
(1) can you control the passage of time in your dreams in any way?
(2) how elevated is the math you can do without waking up?

about 2 years ago
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Mars Rover Solves Metallic Object Mystery, Unearths Another

chichilalescu Re:Crossing my fingers (179 comments)

um... actually, knowledge for the sake of knowledge seems good enough to me.
I agree it sounds selfish while there are still people starving to death, but knowledge in itself is a worthy goal.

about 2 years ago
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Physicists Devise Test For Whether the Universe Is a Simulation

chichilalescu Re:Quantum Mechanics cannot be simulated ... (529 comments)

You are right.
But, the question is not if we are in a *correct* simulation, but whether we are in a simulation good enough to fool humanity.
For something like this, they would only have to worry about the relatively small number of people who are actually conducting experiments on quantum physics.
For the rest of us, solving for some "macroscopic" quantities such as thermodynamic quantities would be good enough, since we would simply ignore the noise term coming from their errors as being part of thermal noise anyway.

In any case, my feeling is their approach is wrong first of all because when we are trying to simulate the universe we are doing it differently.
Why would the transcedental geeks do it in a way we ourselves wouldn't aprove of?

about 2 years ago
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Physicists Devise Test For Whether the Universe Is a Simulation

chichilalescu Re:Half a test. (529 comments)

You're right, but to be honest, all of physics is the same.
Theoreticians come up with a mathematical model to explain observations, those models make predictions about stuff that hasn't been observed yet, and experimentalists check those predictions.
If the experiments come out as the theoreticians predicted, we say the mathematical model is "reality".
However, there are clear examples where this method fails: the various competing models of exotic physics, that we can't experiment on, because the experiments are too expensive.

So we never prove that the mathematical model is the perfect description of the underlying reality, we just prove that it is undistinguishable, within experimental error, from the perfect description.

about 2 years ago
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Mysterious Algorithm Was 4% of Trading Activity Last Week

chichilalescu Re:Truth or dare... (617 comments)

link to the 12 studies please.
so far my feeling is that you are knowingly lying, and the authors of those studies are knowignly lying.
the argument is that HFT unbalances the market, because a chosen few can intervene much faster than most. you did not bring a counterargument to this.

about 2 years ago

Submissions

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Zephyr solar plane flies 7 days non-stop

chichilalescu chichilalescu writes  |  more than 4 years ago

chichilalescu (1647065) writes "solar planes in the news again (BBC): The UK-built Zephyr solar-powered plane has smashed the endurance record for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
The craft took off from the US Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona at 1440 BST (0640 local time) last Friday and is still in the air.

maybe we can attach some netbooks, and extend the internet to the clouds."

Link to Original Source
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Men At Work ordered to pay song royalties

chichilalescu chichilalescu writes  |  more than 4 years ago

chichilalescu (1647065) writes "Common sense comatose.
Excerpts from the BBC article:
"A judge has ordered Men At Work to hand over royalties from the 1983 hit single Down Under after earlier ruling they had plagiarized a children's song.
Sinclair, an Australian teacher, wrote Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree more than 70 years ago. It has since been sung by generations of Australian school children.
Larrikin Music, which is owned by London's Music Sales Group, bought the rights to the classic folk song in 1990, following Sinclair's death in 1988."

I can hardly wait for the wonders that software patents have in store for us."

Link to Original Source
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The Scientific Impotence Excuse

chichilalescu chichilalescu writes  |  more than 4 years ago

chichilalescu (1647065) writes "I've had the feeling for a long time that people refuse to listen to scientists. This is from an article on arstechnica:
"It's hardly a secret that large segments of the population choose not to accept scientific data because it conflicts with their predefined beliefs: economic, political, religious, or otherwise. But many studies have indicated that these same people aren't happy with viewing themselves as anti-science, which can create a state of cognitive dissonance. That has left psychologists pondering the methods that these people use to rationalize the conflict.
A study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology takes a look at one of these methods, which the authors term "scientific impotence"—the decision that science can't actually address the issue at hand properly."
They also provide the DOI for the original paper, at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.2010.00588.x ."

Link to Original Source
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aliens and artificial intelligence

chichilalescu chichilalescu writes  |  more than 4 years ago

chichilalescu (1647065) writes "There's an article on BBC discussing the way chimps react to death: "Chimpanzees deal with death in much the same way as humans, studies suggest.
Scientists in Scotland filmed a group of chimps grooming and caressing an elderly female who died, and remaining subdued for several days afterwards.
Other researchers saw females carrying around the bodies of their dead children. Both studies are reported in the journal Current Biology."
I thought that since there recentyl was the Stephen Hawking don't talk to aliens stuff, this would be a good point to start thinking about what it means to be self-aware.

Here we are trying to find aliens and to build intelligent machines. But we are ignoring our cousins who can talk, can feel, and can probably help us understand our own emotions.
So why aren't we trying to teach chimps to read and write? Why do people spend money on MMORPGs (or whatever), when they could try to connect to a different species, and explore the problems of intelligence and consciousness?"

Link to Original Source
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can i replace food with electricity?

chichilalescu chichilalescu writes  |  more than 4 years ago

chichilalescu (1647065) writes "This is probably a stupid question, but I thought I'd ask anyway.
As a physicist and a programmer, I feel that humans are not as efficient as they could be. I have no idea of the exact values, but I assume that we do not take all the energy stored in our food. Additionally, our food is only a part of the plants and animals that we kill to eat.
I would like to have a machine where i pour water, air and some various salts, and it gives me a fluid that i can drink (or, even better, put in my veins directly), so that I wouldn't need to eat anything else. think for instance of the borg in star trek, that "ate" electricity.
I assume that something like this would have been created already if it were possible, but as I have no real knowledge of the biology involved, I'd like to know how close I can get to using energy from a power plant directly instead of food."

Journals

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NASA's exceptional discovery

chichilalescu chichilalescu writes  |  more than 3 years ago

last wednesday, this news conference was announced: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/nov/HQ_M10-157_Chandra_Update.html

I don't know how normal it is for NASA to use "exceptional" in their announcements, but it's a bit frustrating. Seeing as how the three people named to be part of the conference are all astrophysicists, I doubt they'll be talking about alien life (I assume they have biologists at NASA). Also, considering that they announced this a few days in advance, I don't think it will be life-changing news for the average joe and jane.

it's frustrating that they're using the word "exceptional". I saw somewhere the suggestion that this is just a social experiment.

anyway, seeing that I only found out about this, I thought there would be people not knowing about it. I liked the fraction of a second when I thought "maybe", so I thought others might find this fun too.

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