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Fermi and Swift Observe Record-setting Gamma Ray Burst

dario_moreno in a galaxy far far away... (107 comments)

a long time ago...The Death Star destroyed a planet, and here is the result, a sudden disturbance in the Force.

about a year and a half ago
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Gnome Founder Miguel de Icaza Moves To Mac

dario_moreno terrible pedigree (815 comments)

I just had a look at his wikipedia page. Midnight commander : hated it (when nc was fine) WINE : never worked properly for me. Mono : ditto Gnumeric : even worse. Don't get me started on GNOME or KDE, I hate both. I loved the Xwindows combination with any simple task manager (like mwm) but to me things are getting worse and worse in Linux and I have moved to MacOS in 2004, except for severs or computing work, done on Linux, but on the command line by ssh. So please, God, smite De Caza the same way you got Hans Reiser or McAffee out of the game. Those pricks just ruin it for everyone else with a huge ego and unusable software, schisms, and so on.

about a year and a half ago
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UK Scientists Leave Labs To Protest Expected Cuts

dario_moreno Re:Does it matter? (315 comments)

What you describe is exactly what de Gaulle did in France in 1944/45 and 1959-1969, allowing for unsurpassed economic growth and well being. Of course as you point out de Gaulle was not elected, or if he was, he was for other reasons than his economic program. He was wrong on individual freedoms, but he managed to make France much richer than England in 1975 starting with a destroyed country in 1944.

more than 4 years ago
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OLED Film Could Provide Cheap Night Vision For Cars

dario_moreno what about cheap boobies ? (120 comments)

As someone who has demonstrated a FLIR in a science fair, I can tell you that far infrared is quite an interesting wavelength to explore body shapes...Too bad that even the cheapest 160X200 model is at least $2K (a drop of a factor 10 in 5 years, but still). It allows to pinpoint the location of certain points quite accurately, the more so if the person imaged starts to blush. Sweaty areas come out as black as much colder than the surroundings. So basically the question is : at which wavelength does this magic film operate ? Does it correspond to black body (Planck was a perv) radiation at ambient temperature ?

more than 4 years ago
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US Students Suffering From Internet Addiction

dario_moreno it's all about money (307 comments)

I realized reading "Dark Ages America" that businesses understood that the best way to make a steady income was to push addictive products. In the past, until the fifties more or less, you would buy an expensive thing (suit, house..) once in a while, or even in a lifetime (such as a bicycle or a gold watch) and that was it. Addictive pleasures (sex, sugar, alcohol, even strong emotions...) were reserved for Saturday night or Sunday (say, a small bottle of Coca-Cola at the drugstore), everybody would smoke ONE cigarette at the end of a work day, would go to the movies once in a while, because it was so expensive, etc. But there is no brand loyalty in all this, and, more importantly, no addiction. Advertisement and TV encouraged us to become drugged and addicted to quick pleasure inducing hits requiring exponential use : sugar, alcohol, pornography, gambling, tobacco, soap operas 6 hours a day on TV, cars and gasoline, credit to finance all this, and now that some of those pleasures have been found bad for the health (what a surprise), we are switching to mobile phones, pay TV, and internet, which all require subscription plans which end up costing a fortune over years. And we are all addicted to it, instead of critical thinking, reading, self-improvement, and even work and family commitments. This is especially obvious in third world countries, in Africa for instance, even if our way of life is also spreading there with satellite TV : there, everybody smokes (but not much), but students are actually interested in science, see computers as tools, not toys, work and take care seriously of their friends or families, and pays cash ; actual wealth is created in farms and factories, not in web (N+1).0 startups.

more than 4 years ago
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Cell Phone Data Predicts Movement Patterns

dario_moreno upper bound (93 comments)

This seems to be the upper bound of predictability by computers ; in other domains of artificial intelligence, such as automatic translation or speech recognition, automated statistical analysis from corpuses seems to perform better than manual encoding of rules, but ends up at maybe 90% efficiency. The rest is too random to be predicted, and it could be the part of poetry, art or intelligence in our lives.

more than 4 years ago
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Why Time Flies By As You Get Older

dario_moreno Re:Ugh... (252 comments)

8 and 16 bit computing are the only positive things from the eighties...with "Wargames" or "Back to the Future" and "Indiana Jones" movies. CD marked the end of 45RPM records and hence the beginning of the domination of marketing over artistic sense in music. 1983 marked the end of interesting pop music IMHO. Then there was AIDS. This is why we spent our time programming C64 in assembler rather than fucking hippie or disco girls like in the 60's or 70's. The end of the cold war marked the beginning of decadence in science education and funding. Reaganism brought to us infinite jealousy for others, permanent competition, and an obsession with money and consumerism. The space shuttle sucked ass in comparison to Apollo program, for instance. There were no decent cameras to speak of. Remember the german cameras from the 30's and 50's, and japanese from the early 70's..The same for Hifi. It should say something about the period.

more than 4 years ago
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Modeling the Economy As a Physics Problem

dario_moreno solution from the 50's-80's (452 comments)

Global thermonuclear war : 80% less economic output in developed countries, a nuclear winter, and a selection of the fittest specimens of the human race plus a few Pygmeas, Tibetans, Polynesians, Swedes and Swiss.

more than 4 years ago
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Modern Tech Versus the Past

dario_moreno Re:Better comparisons (219 comments)

Well, for noise, you need to nitrogen cool your sensor...or use a DSLR, because the sensor is not heated and permanently subjected to photons like in a point & shoot or bridge. I am however quite satisfied by digital cameras for night shooting or high ISO pictures, with film grain or lack of reciprocity can make those situations tricky. However the main selling point of film for me is dynamic range as you point out : the nonlinearity of the response makes it possible to better resolve high contrast situations than digital ; for instance, a bright face in a dark room with natural lighting seems to always give me "hot" pixels and pizza effects on the cheeks in digital, as shown on the histogram with some bunching at 255, requiring manual adjustment, bracketing, ugly HDR postprocessing, whatever, when film adapts to this situation automatically. The wedding picture with black and white clothes side to side still necessitates some manual adjustment in postprocessing, but still...

about 5 years ago
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Modern Tech Versus the Past

dario_moreno Re:Better comparisons (219 comments)

Precisely ! Glass makes the difference..and so, due to the preeminence of digital these days, quality optics incompatible with digital are dime a dozen on ebay. I now use a cheap bridge digital for random shooting, but for quality stuff I have bought dirt cheap professional gear in 35mm and 6x6 and make incredibly good pictures, (at least technically...); as good as a pro level DSLR at least. The prices of processing and digitizing film, and film in bulk, are also way down compared to the past, with archiving guaranteed to last a hundred years . So, thanks a lot, digital cameras !

about 5 years ago
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Caves of the Moon

dario_moreno Herge was right ! (172 comments)

In "Explorers on the Moon" he mentions ice (recently discovered) and caves. Now if we build that atomic rocket (NERVA or Orion), we could send a V2 like rocket on the moon with 8 people aboard, a dog, a tank (more impressive to selenites than a buggy) and let them stay for some weeks at first.

more than 5 years ago
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First Look At Acer's 3D Laptop

dario_moreno Re:whether anyone actually needs a 3D laptop... (151 comments)

I agree with you : maybe there is something wrong with me, but although I seem to see 3D in real life (I can easily put a thread in a sewing needle head, for instance), I never saw anything satisfying with those red/blue glasses, polarizer glasses, etc. The only thing which worked for me was the B&W stereoscope from the early XXth century, with glass plates giving directly a different picture for each eye through a binocular-like wooden contraption. However, when trying the wii trick in a VR lab, I was stunned by the 3D feeling I had, moving my head around and seeing the perspective change on the screen. This is the way to go since there is no color distorsion, horizontal lines from the polaroids, etc. A combination of this and VR glasses would be the only satisfying solution (not mentioning the privacy for certain kind of movies)

more than 5 years ago
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How Video Games Reflect Ideology

dario_moreno Re:Racism (244 comments)

and what about Beethoven ?

more than 5 years ago
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MIT Axes the 500-Word Application Essay

dario_moreno obligatory old parody (441 comments)

that no one seems to have reposted, yet : I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row. I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru. Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I?m bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge. I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don?t perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat .400. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me. I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me. I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven. I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis. But I have not yet gone to college.

more than 5 years ago
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Is Sat-Nav Destroying Local Knowledge?

dario_moreno speed limits (519 comments)

The problem with GPS units (or google maps/etc) for that matter is that they tend to compute the fastest route respecting speed limits, unless you reprogram them by hand if it is possible. Since I usually drive about 10-20% above speed limit outside towns (it is a calculated risk taking into account the probability of law enforcement presence as a function of time, rain, taxi behavior, hills, obvious traps, and limiting risks as a function of extreme weather, traffic, tractors, etc) I have been caught 4 times in 18 years but still have my driving license. I know of certain routes which cut 10% time in comparison to GPS-recommended ones thanks to this.

more than 5 years ago
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US Adults Fail Basic Science Literacy

dario_moreno Re:Wha? (1038 comments)

what you forget here (with great irony) is that the human brain needs muscle and endurance. I watch football with a beer in hand on TV, I get the "meaning" as you say, and still I suck at it ; do you know why ? Because I did not spend 3 hours a day for 15 years running around the field and kicking and passing balls. Learning facts is useless until you see it as a stupid training for your brain, exactly like pointlessly running around a field in order to be able to play an hour-long game. You will then have plenty of automatic thinking which will help you visualize instantly the solution of a problem, with creativity. And you will get the meaning of things much more easily. Nowadays I see students who want to study math, CS or physics at college level and do not know basic derivatives, limited series expansions, trigonometry and so on. They claim to be able to find them if asked because they "understood the basic principles". Not surprinsingly, they fail when asked to do so. It is a lot easier if you have memorized some results...and then you can really attack interesting science. (post-Galileo, that is). Many students fail at SAT, TOEFL and so on, even when speaking very good english, because they do not have the basic facts memorized to help them understand a sophomore level course on any subject, from dinosaurs to epistomology or linguistics. They are not able to write a well structured essay for lack of training and basic facts to fill the blanks ; they have been only rewarded for "creativity", which is impossible to teach, most of the teachers themselves being not that creative, so the only thing they have been rewarded for is some kind of psychoanalytical stream-of-consciousness garbage thrown on paper without structure or real originality ; all this because of the hunt for rote memorization on my opinion.

more than 5 years ago
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The Rush To Patent the Atomic Bomb

dario_moreno Re:Patent violations could be interesting (160 comments)

If memory serves, the Joliot-Curies also secretely patented the nuclear pile and nuclear bomb in 1939 in France. They buried much of the material when the Germans arrived, and retrieved it after the war which allowed the french atomic pile ZOE to run as early as 1949. There was some kind of deal with the US about the patents.

more than 6 years ago

Submissions

dario_moreno hasn't submitted any stories.

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google is sentient and passes Turing test

dario_moreno dario_moreno writes  |  more than 9 years ago Following a recent discussion on Slashdot where it was stated that Google knows everything, I decided to administrate a Turing test to Google. Short of a standard test, I took the one of the twinkie project. Here are the answers....scary.

Q: What would you describe as the purpose of your existence?

A: First time I asked I had an ad about the Coran...why not, the subject might be muslim. First answer however was "What kind of supernatural being are you ?" : fine way of returning a stupid question !

Q: Describe where the other subject is, relative to you.

A: "The twinkies Turing Test" which is actually totally correct since it is the page at was looking at while cut and pasting the questions in google !

Q: Describe the last meal you ate.

A: "What did you eat the last time you ate at a restaurant ?" The subject does not remember, but cleverly returns the question to see if the exampiner himself memorizes such stupid details of life.

Q: How do you feel about your mother?

A: "What kind of relationship did your mother have with her parents?" Once again, returning the question, not falling for so simple psychological tricks ans indiscrete questions, and pointing at the examiner that he might have a problem himself for asking such questions.

free association :

Q: Love A: "Maradona" (in news..why not ?) A: "Calculator" (clever)

Q: Spam A: Stop all spam (of course..in an ad, but anyway) A: Fight spam on the internet (gut answer for a geek)

Q: Blender A: Blender is the open source, cross platform suite of tools for 3D creation. So here we might have a non native english speaker with geeky tendencies.

Q: Flame A : warriors (why not ? this is free association after all)

Q: Health A: Garlic (ad : why not ? synonymous with health since the greek) A : US Government (some people trust the system)

Q: Lovett A: a private school in Atlanta (instant response from someone who studied there as a child)

Q: Ribosome A : 2810 image results A: illustrated explanation of the ribosomal protein synthesis

Q: Chlorophyll A: Chlorophyll is the molecule that absorbs sunlight and uses its energy to

-----------------------------------

My conclusion : Google is a sentiant being, who has studied as a child in Atlanta, is very good in molecular biology, might have erotic fantasies about Maradona, believes in simple remedies such as garlic, trusts the US Gov in health matters (why not ?), might be muslim, is kind of a geek about spam and 3D renderers, and does not really want to answer personal questions, returning and smartly reformulating the question to the one who asks.

This could be the portrait of an average Slashdotter !

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how do I become a slashdot reader from 1997 ? (Ask Slashdot)

dario_moreno dario_moreno writes  |  more than 10 years ago

story I submitted today : "I chose IT studies because I thought it was cool and would get a lot of money, now I realize that I have to learn math and programming, will have to put effort in finding a job, and risk being outsourced. Besides, I leave in a one bedroom flat and my numerous cats ate all my expensive equipement ; the only good point in that is that the RIAA cannot sue me anymore for the TBytes of stuff I downloaded. Anyone confronted with the same problems ? Can you help, do my homework, get me a girlfriend, a well-paid job where I can surf the Web all day, not far from my friends and family ?"

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