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Comments

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Everspin Launches Non-Volatile MRAM That's 500 Times Faster Than NAND

gotfork Different writing technology (119 comments)

Everspin previously used the crossed-lines writing technique (shown here http://thefutureofthings.com/upload/image/articles/2006/mram/mram-write.jpg), but has now switched to spin-transfer torque based devices. Several other companies are also working on this, so things to improve rapidly. PR release at (http://www.engadget.com/2012/11/14/everspin-throws-first-st-mram-chips-down/)

about 2 years ago
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Misconduct, Not Error, Is the Main Cause of Scientific Retractions

gotfork Re:Just stupid (123 comments)

Eh, even if he had made up realistic-looking data, there were a lot of other red flags: not saving raw data or samples, no one else making measurements, all other groups unable to reproduce results, etc. In retrospect, it sounds like it only went on that long because he was at a private lab, but I see what you mean.

about 2 years ago
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Intel Predicts Ubiquitous, Almost-Zero-Energy Computing By 2020

gotfork Re:Thermodynamics (144 comments)

Aren't there some fundamental physical limits on how low your energy usage can be for a given amount of information based on thermodynamics? Is it just the case that they're way, way less than what we're using now?

For any sort of data storage the energy barrier between the two states needs to be large enough that the system doesn't thermodynamically fluctuate between them very often. In practice, this means that the barrier needs to be several times larger than kb*T where kb is the boltzman constant. For computation there's not any hard and fast rule about the energy required, but there's lots of practical ones...

about 2 years ago
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Taking Issue With Claims That American Science Education is 'Dismal'

gotfork Re:No, our science education is dismal (564 comments)

You did say that you believe that education is a business and that the more competition a business receives, the better it is for the customer. I just suggested an alternate option that would be more competitive for low-income families. I'm not implying that you're pro-child labor -- I'm giving a counterexample to show that your blanket statement is silly, and that (assuming education is a business) competition to public education is not always better for the customer.

What *I* said is that parents who send their kids to private school should be exempt from paying school tax for that 1 year.

What I'm saying is that this will do almost nothing to help low and middle-class families.

more than 2 years ago
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Taking Issue With Claims That American Science Education is 'Dismal'

gotfork Re:No, our science education is dismal (564 comments)

I checked the numbers for the country where I grew up: http://www.charlottelatin.org/admissions/tuition.asp http://www.charlottecountryday.org/admissions/tuition-financial-aid/index.aspx http://www.providenceday.org/tuition . The medium household income is 50 k$, putting private education entirely out of reach for most families.

I am a believer that the more competition a business receives, the better it is for the customer (versus a monopoly or near-monopoly).

Sure, that makes sense for businesses, but since when is primary education a business? A lot of people would agree that a primary education is a human right: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a26 Unfortunately for many families a more economically competitive option would be to send kids to work at age 14 rather than to school. Allowing them to do that wouldn't improve schools either.

more than 2 years ago
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Taking Issue With Claims That American Science Education is 'Dismal'

gotfork Re:No, our science education is dismal (564 comments)

I went to a high school where ~60 percent of the students got free/reduced lunch, which meant that their parents made less than 200% of the poverty level. In my county schools are supported primarily through property tax revenues, and most of these families rent and pay property tax only indirectly. It's a moot point though, considering private school tuition runs around 15-20 k$. Families, especially those who are trying to make ends meet, can't spend ~half their net income on a single child's education.

more than 2 years ago
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Taking Issue With Claims That American Science Education is 'Dismal'

gotfork Re:No, our science education is dismal (564 comments)

I had a similar case -- also from NC and did Duke's TIP -> IB/AP -> top tier state school for almost free. I think the author of the article is intentionally confusing the testing results which show how the US does on average with how students who actually end up doing science do.

Yet during this period of national "mediocrity," we created Silicon Valley, built multinational biotechnology firms, and continued to lead the world in scientific journal publications and total number of Nobel Prize winners. We also invented and sold more than a few iPads. Obviously, standardized tests aren't everything.

That's all great, but to some extent many students will be good at science even if they go to terrible schools. Similarly, it's worth trying to give most students a basic understanding of science even if they go into another field.

more than 2 years ago
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All Researchers To Be Allocated Unique IDs

gotfork Re:Problem? (164 comments)

There goes my slight advantage in academia due to a unique last name (a fairly common one in the Ukraine but spelled in an unusual way in English). I always hoped that it would make up for being trivial to cyber-stalk but oh well.

more than 2 years ago
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Studies Suggest Massive Increase In Scientific Fraud

gotfork Numbers are blown out of proportion (229 comments)

So there's 196 papers retracted since 2001? That's far less than the number of papers published in my subfield (condensed matter physics) each day. It's simply easier to find the tiny fraction that do cheat now that everything is more readily available.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Advice For Budding Scientist?

gotfork From a current CME grad student (279 comments)

I'm a graduate student in condensed matter experiment, and I'm not at all worried about my future job prospects. Yes, it is very difficult to get one of the ~10 top-ranked tenure track positions that come open every year in a given sub-field, which would require at least one very-intense postdoc (and to some extent a lot of luck). It's somewhat less difficult to get a tenure track position as a second-tier school, and if you're good at teaching there's plenty of opportunities at smaller universities and liberal arts schools. There are however, tons of companies that hire physicists every year, especially ones who specialize in the more applied side of CME (magnetics, semiconductors, devices, etc). That's what I'm interested in, mostly because I would rather not work 60+ hours a week for the next 15 years. Physics is great fun, but it's not the only thing going on in my life. Outright fraud in physics is astoundingly rare. There's Heinrich Schoen and that's about all I can think of in the last few years. It's not a perfect world -- there are some assholes and also well-meaning people who write papers which are flat-out wrong for one reason or another. However, the vast majority of people who work in the field are honestly trying to do good work. I don't think you have anything in particular to worry about.

more than 2 years ago
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Arrays of "Topological Insulators": a Step Towards Exotic Electronics

gotfork Good paper, but not a major breakthrough (15 comments)

Being able to grow well-ordered arrays of bismuth selenide and bismuth telluride nanoplates is a great improvement over the original VLS/Van der Waals growth method developed by Cui's group, in which you could grow similar nanoplates but they were randomly distributed across the surface (it's a pain to work with them since you have to track whichever one you want to use down by hand). However, it's not a huge breakthrough in the field and doesn't put us much closer to any of the proposed devices which would actually use topological insulators. Although they don't show any transport data in the paper the quality of the nanoplates may not be that good based on the ARPES data shown -- the fermi level falls well into the conduction band, and not in the gap as would be required by most interesting applications. Also, a more commonly used technique called molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) can also be used to grow continuous films of these materials across whole wafers, and several groups have demonstrated very high quality films this way.
TL;DR: A nice scientific paper, on an exciting topic, but no major breakthrough. Several interesting uses for TIs have been proposed but they are all very far out, everything going on right now is still basic research. (Full disclosure: I'm not affiliated with either group, but I am sitting in the lab measuring some TI-based devices right now).

more than 2 years ago
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Publicly Available Russian Election Results Hint At Fraud

gotfork Re:Can you make that claim though? (304 comments)

I can't believe we missed this! I just turned down the bin size on the histograms and it really sticks out. What post did you first see it on? Thanks!

more than 2 years ago
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Publicly Available Russian Election Results Hint At Fraud

gotfork Re:Hint at fraud? (304 comments)

Yeah, I know. As several people have pointed out so far, the 3.5 million is a gross underestimate. We plan to do a more in-depth analysis soon.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do With Spammers You Know?

gotfork Start leaving the CEO voicemail (333 comments)

I had a similar issue with a company that makes industrial plasma etching equipment. After eight months of trying to get off their mailing list I was able to find the CEO's personal phone extension, and started left him a choice voicemail. I got a phone apology each from their PR and marketing heads within the hour, and haven't heard from them since. This may not work if the whole company is in on it though.

more than 2 years ago
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Ron Paul Suggests Axing 5 U.S. Federal Departments (and Budgets)

gotfork Who will keep our nuclear materials safe? (2247 comments)

Maintaining and caring for old nuclear weapons and facilities is almost half of the DOE's budget. It's not like we can just lock the doors to all the facilities and abandon them....

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Math Curriculum To Understand General Relativity?

gotfork Why general relativity? (358 comments)

General relativity is only one small part of physics, and focusing on it wouldn't help you understand a lot of the physics articles that go through here. I would suggest a more balanced approach -- with your background you should be able to work through Griffith's E&M and Quantum books which many undergraduate physics majors use. All the purists out there may scoff at them, but let's face it, your not actually going to work through Zee's "QFT in a nutshell" or many of the other books suggested above on your own. With a bit more of a background in the field, you would be in a better place to evaluate what you wanted to study next.

about 3 years ago

Submissions

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Is 2013 the year of alternative inputs?

gotfork gotfork writes  |  about a year and a half ago

gotfork (1395155) writes "Now that touch screens have become ubiquitous thanks to smartphones and tablets, will alternative input technologies finally start to change the way we interact with desktop computers? Touch screen monitors are becoming commonplace, and while operating systems are increasingly working to support them, David Pogue thinks it's not enough. Despite issues that remain with touch-enabled displays, I think that pen-enabled writing pads, tablets and displays are now a mature technology, since they work more readily with traditional OS interfaces. There's also interesting new technologies on the horizon — SteLuLu Technologies wants gamers to start using their feet and Leap Motion, previously covered here, wants to bring their 3D gesture input to the desktop (think a Kinect on steroids) . If you're not a fan of the new stuff, you can always hack a Nintendo Power Glove or use something that looks like a Portal gun in reverse. Keyboards and mice won't go away any time soon, but we now have many more options to use in parallel."
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The most epic scavenger hunt returns

gotfork gotfork writes  |  more than 2 years ago

gotfork (1395155) writes "The world's largest scavenger hunt, covered in previous years on Slashdot, is now taking place at the University of Chicago. The competition is fierce: in 1999 one team build a working breeder reactor in the quad, but only won second place. Items on this year's list include your appendix in a jar (210), a disappearing spoon made of metal (105), a chromatic typewriter (216), an xyloexplosive (33) and a weaponized Xerox machine (83). Check out the full list here (PDF). Not bad for the school where "where fun comes to die"."
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Hacked emails reveal Russian astroturfing program

gotfork gotfork writes  |  more than 2 years ago

gotfork (1395155) writes "Quoting The Guardian: "A pro-Kremlin group runs a network of internet trolls, seeks to buy flattering coverage of Vladimir Putin and hatches plans to discredit opposition activists and media, according to private emails allegedly hacked by a group calling itself the Russian arm of Anonymous."

While a similar program has operated in China for a long time, and some commentators have suggested that a similar program exists in Russia, this is the first confirmation."

Link to Original Source
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Publicly available Russian election results show e

gotfork gotfork writes  |  more than 2 years ago

gotfork writes "As some Russians protest the results of the recent election, several commentators (Russian, English) have started looking at the results which are posted to the election commission web site and there's very strong evidence of fraud. Voter turnout correlates strongly with percent voting for the ruling party, United Russia, and there are a lot of polling stations with nearly 100% turnout and 100% voting for United Russia in some unusual places. The raw data is posted so you can do your own analysis."
Link to Original Source
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Best mobile computing options for people with RSI?

gotfork gotfork writes  |  more than 3 years ago

gotfork (1395155) writes "Several years ago I injured my wrists while typing at a poorly set up desk. I am now greatly recovered, and can work at a desktop computer for several hours each day as long as I wear wrist braces. I have avoided using laptops in the past because both TrackPoint-style pointing sticks and touch pads create a lot of strain on my wrists, but am ready to give it another shot. Is my best option a stylus-based convertable tablet/laptop (such as the Lenevo X series) or are there any lighter-weight devices that have ergonomic inputs?"

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