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The Quietest Place On Earth Will Cause You To Hallucinate In 45 Minutes

danhaas yogi (332 comments)

It would be interesting to see the reaction of a competent yogi in there. They study exactly that: excluding sensory input and generating alternate mind states.

about 9 months ago
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Huge Meteor Blazes Across Sky Over Russia; Hundreds Injured

danhaas What about the crash site? (409 comments)

Any pictures of the crash site? How far away was it from the city?

about a year and a half ago
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The Science Behind Building a Space Gun

danhaas Re:Inexpensive way to send up inert objects (131 comments)

The necessity of momentum to circularize the orbit is clear if your model consists of only the Earth and the satellite, but I wonder if the gravitational pull of the moon could be used.
What if we could shoot something up to a Lagrange point? Would we still need engines in our satellite?

about a year and a half ago
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Cambridge University To Open "Terminator Center" To Study Threat From AI

danhaas Re:no grey goo? (274 comments)

The grey goo apocalypse has already happened. Bacteria are trying to do it for billions of years, and have had some nice accomplishments:

http://www.dinosaurapocalypse.org/the-big-oxygen-event.html

I really doubt we could do better than billions of years of evolution iterations.

Biological warfare, though, is another beast, since it targets human specifically.

about a year and a half ago
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Young Students Hiding Academic Talent To Avoid Bullying

danhaas Re:Hold your head high ! (684 comments)

I think there is some truth in his "head games", but your argument is good too.

One thing that helped me get through bullying was martial arts; after a few months of practice, I wouldn't be able to outright beat the bullies, but I would at least be willing to put up a fight.

The boost in self-confidence that martial arts gave me made me a tougher target and they moved on.

But I was an easy target also because I didn't really belong there, with those people. I was naturally isolated.

It doesn't matter how tough you are, if you think differently, you will be a target.

about 2 years ago
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Bradley Manning Offers Partial Guilty Plea To Military Court

danhaas Martyrdom (380 comments)

Nobody said martyrdom should be easy. By its very definition, it is not.

Bradley Manning did break his oath; he is guilty and will be punished accordingly. But what he did was, in the end, the right thing to do: he is a martyr of truth.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For Developers To Start Their Own Union?

danhaas Feasibility of Strikes (761 comments)

Petroleum Engineer here, working with research.

I can tell for myself, engineers don't have much reason to strike. Why? Because it's usually pointless, there's no short-term damage to the employer. If an engineer doesn't show up, work simply goes on.

An engineer on the field has to strike for a few weeks/months to even begin to be noticed. In my case, working with research, I would have to strike for at least one year to do some real harm to my employer.

Engineers aren't useless; the most I know are well worth what they earn. But they influence mainly the future profits of the company, while blue-collar works have a direct influence on the daily profits, not to mention the quarter results.

Striking just isn't a nice strategy for white-collar workers. Threatening to go to a competitor is.

Now if people could threaten to move entire work groups to a competitor... that would be a negotiation I would like to see.

about 2 years ago
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Scientists Turn Air Into Petrol

danhaas Re:Not so fast (580 comments)

CO2 filtering is indeed tricky. Maybe ammonia fuel production would be more viable.

Ammonia as a fuel:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammonia#As_a_fuel

Production process:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haber-Bosch

This process requires pure hydrogen, which could be made with high temperature electrolysis. I think this setup could work very well with solar thermal plants.

Other than the trouble that your fuel would really stink, it could be easier to produce than gasoline.

Ammonia is also extensively used for agriculture, so this process may be important even if fuel production doesn't take off.

about 2 years ago
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Ig Nobels Feature Exploding Colonoscopies, Left Leaning Views of Eiffel Tower

danhaas Re:Got to love public services... (91 comments)

Recirculation patterns are pretty common when the fluid flows through an expansion, specially if it's a sharp cut.

You can see it clearly in this case because of the gas bubbles, but this happens everywhere: next time you walk behind a building on the shore, watch the huge recirculation that the wind forms. This is usually how people with umbrellas end up wet "because of the crazy wind".

about 2 years ago
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Why Aircraft Carriers Still Rule the Oceans

danhaas Re:Force projection, not a symbol of power (718 comments)

In a medieval warfare analogy, the modern aircraft carrier is not the sword and shield, nor the spear and horse; it is the whip, best used not to obliterate but to put your slaves in their proper place.

about 2 years ago
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More Warnings About High-Frequency Trading

danhaas Re:Speed doesn't matter (500 comments)

That's why you don't put a sell value triggered on instantaneous value. Use the value of closure at end of day or end of week; you can also use a daily or weekly average.

It also helps to not buy (or leverage yourself into) stuff that can pop like a corn.

about 2 years ago
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Complex Systems Theorists Predict We're About One Year From Global Food Riots

danhaas Re:Still Wrong (926 comments)

That's right, the raw material isn't the problem, but energy. Fossil fuels just happen to be the cheapest source of energy for that.

In fact, many, many problems can be solved if there is free, clean, abundant energy. It's possible to just vaporize any piece of land, separate each atom individually and produce pratically anything out of it.

Of course, that's insanely inefficient. But an even crazier idea is to manufacture the atoms you need with nuclear reactions, and it would be viable with infinite energy.

Energy is the ultimate resource. Fossil fuels are just the easiest source to tap, which would be best used to develop the next not-so-easy energy source, if we were wise.

about 2 years ago
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Google Awarded Face-To-Unlock Patent

danhaas Not only facial (194 comments)

The patent claim includes any image generated by the user, not only facial images.

I wonder how many people already use, um, other body parts to unlock devices.

about 2 years ago
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Ecuador To Grant Assange Political Asylum

danhaas Re:Good (432 comments)

Quick googling: Peter F. Paul was extradited from Brazil to USA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_F._Paul#Securities_fraud_conviction_and_jail_terms

I'm a brazilian, and I can say that, though Brazil has matured politically in recent years, Assange is not entirely safe here either.
The current government is leftish, but if the political climate swings back right, the relationship between Brazil and USA will change and Assange would be a good bargaining chip.
Corruption in Brazil will still be a problem for the decades to come.

about 2 years ago
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MIT Creates Car Co-Pilot That Only Interferes If You're About To Crash

danhaas Re:Much better than Google's approach (238 comments)

In important industrial applications, a set of 3 sensors is used.

If they all agree, fine.
If one of them disagrees by a certain margin, use the information of the other two and light up a warning.
If they all disagree, turn it to manual and blast the alarms.

In really important stuff, like nuclear stuff, it is used up to 5 sensors, each with a different functioning principle.

more than 2 years ago
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New York Experiments With Wi-Fi From Payphones

danhaas Re:Why did payphones die? (56 comments)

What's the problem with that? Put a speed cap on each user, limit the number of users, drop the connection and rename the wifi every 30 minutes... there's a number of tricks that can be used so that people would be able to check their e-mails or check a map but not torrent 24/7.

And this stuff isn't free, you would be paying it with your taxes. Remember, taxes buy civilization.

more than 2 years ago
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Melinda Gates Pledges $560 Million For Contraception

danhaas Re:Buying Windows does some good in the world! (451 comments)

The way I see it, the cause of the housing bubble was the excess credit then, which increased only the demand for houses. To get a matching increase of offer, the prices had to go up. That alone generates inflation, and when the credit dried, prices dropped back to normal, and people got stuck with the debt.

One way to avoid that is for the government to work on both ends of the market, both demand and offer. The president can lower building taxes, outright subsidize building, or the government can just build houses, though I don't see that last one happening in USA.

When the credit dries, taxes go back up and prices stay the same.

The same goes for education, if there is too much credit for the population floating around, there should be more funding for public schools and universities.

It is possible to counter these market movements that generate bubbles. When they happen on such a large scale, they are easy to spot too.

more than 2 years ago

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