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Comments

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Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

hutsell Re:Progenitors? (686 comments)

You know what? All very nice, but how about this? We are not all that interesting, nor special, and in the last 35,000 years when we could comprehend what we're looking at, no-one's bothered to swing by and ask for a cup of sugar. It may also be possible that we are part of a nature preserve, or that there are more than enough planets with similar conditions to inhabit, to not have to displace or destroy an entire culture. Another possibility is that we're left alone, because other civilizations have been contacted before, and once given technology, have self immolated themselves akin to giving firearms to the natives. That, or we're won the interstellar lottery, and we are indeed the first who will learn a lot of lessons as we swarm across the galaxy once we figure out how to get off this damn rock.

I'm leaning toward the lack of uniqueness about our placement being a significant factor in explaining our isolation. Historically, the more we understood about our outermost surroundings, the less important our position progressively became. Assuming we're nothing special in the grand scheme of things, as has happened before, could that positioning also extrapolate into our biological and technological development?

Perhaps the development of our kind (types of species we're capable of understanding) is nothing special and happens throughout the universe around the same time — plus or minus a few millenniums. If that were the case, in terms of light years, all of our event horizons are still isolated from one another. If we're in the middle of the statistical bell curve, away from being the "luckier" exceptions with well timed positioning near one another, it might explain why none of us know about each others existence.

If true, sometime (maybe someone can come up with a probable calculation when) in the near or distant future, things will start to get interesting.

about a month ago
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What qualifications should the 'driver' of a fully autonomous car need?

hutsell Re:They need to learn to let it go (301 comments)

Automatic cars for a taxi service wouldn't have user accessible controls - unless they're a JohnnyCab!

Well then, it appears something needs to be done to prevent homicidal acts from the likes of JohnnyCab or anyone else from programming an autonomous car to intentionally kill someone. Maybe the time has come to try to figure out a way to effectively embed in the vehicle's operational core a tamper proof set of laws.

The Three Laws of Autonomous Vehicles:

First Law: An autonomous vehicle may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
Second Law: An autonomous vehicle must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
Third Law: An autonomous vehicle must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

about 2 months ago
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Lectures Aren't Just Boring, They're Ineffective, Too, Study Finds

hutsell Re:Never lecture when you can have a seminar (166 comments)

Seminars are better because the audience is supposed to ask questions and are regarded as peers, whereas lectures are by those at a higher level to those at a lower level.

Plus, cookies!

Questions turn presentations into a living hell. Regardless of the quality of the speaker, improperly handling of the constant interruptions makes the event useless. Proper handling, which rarely happens, is a skill that will endear any audience. It's only because of the free cookies, that allows me to let it slide — I'll bite my tongue and think to myself: It's all good.

about 2 months ago
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Single Gene Can Boost IQ By Six Points

hutsell Re:Standard Deviation (199 comments)

Isn't the standard deviation of IQ 7 points? Is 6 points actually statistically significant?

Additionally, a lot of people have mistakenly embraced these "IQ" tests to calculate a physical property in thinking the way a scale measures one's weight.. They're only a study indicating a comparative awareness of others within the same environment -- something the French social scientist that created it originally stressed when Americans were redefining its use.

about 2 months ago
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Elderly Mice Perk Up With Transfused Blood

hutsell Re:Link (178 comments)

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303417104579541950544978572

The article written by Bruce Goldman of the Stanford University School of Medicine is a closer source to the original research without being paywalled. It's better than the Wall Street's version; there's less fluff with a little more depth in the explanation and also includes additional links to related sources.

Ineterestingly noted was that this is considered an unsophisticated critical experiment; unsophisticated in that anyone could have done this decades ago without any real knowledge on the workings of the brain itself; critical because of the type results that could be acquired based on the experiment's simplicity in design — it hadn't occurred to anyone to try.

about 2 months ago
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Elderly Mice Perk Up With Transfused Blood

hutsell Re:Scientific Vamperisim! (178 comments)

It seems surprisingly close in detail to The Hunger, 1983, Starring: Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, and Susan Sarandon.

about 3 months ago
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SpaceX Looking For Help With "Landing" Video

hutsell Re:Much Wrong Here. (110 comments)

Well, it was Raw until YouTube re-compressed the hell out of it. Seriously, I don't think you have any shot if you start off with this YouTube footage. If they really want help we need the actual raw bitstream. I/Q output from the receiver would be even better. Even better than that would be diversity receivers. Aren't those guys the rocket scientists?

Available for download: This is the location for the original raw ".ts" file. A second link is also given to a repaired raw ".ts" file showing the results of their efforts. If preferred, you can also get the original ".ts" files at the spacex website near the bottom of that webpage.

about 3 months ago
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An Engineer's Eureka Moment With a GM Flaw

hutsell Re:Obligatory Fight Club (357 comments)

A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.

Pretty much par for the course for these companies....

First rule of Corporate Club: If you teach a man to fish, you've lost a customer.

about 4 months ago
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How Well Do Our Climate Models Match Our Observations?

hutsell Re:Since it only needs 2C (560 comments)

Darn off-by-one errors.

Anyway, during which ice age did the Earth's tilt change, or eccentricity increase?

With axial obliquity, axial precession, apsidal precession and two orbital Inclinations, maybe someone capable of handling the multitude cyclical combinations affecting weather can come up with an exact answer. It appears one or both of the orbital inclinations are the ones seriously considered responsible for the ice ages.

Summarizing:

Axial Obliquity:
~ Every 41,000 years ~ Presently at 23.5 degrees and decreasing toward its minimum of 22 degrees (22 to 24.5).
Axial Precession:
~ Every 26,000 years ~ The average cycle fluctuates depending on the axial tilt — shorter at 22 degrees; longer at 24.5 degrees.
Apsidal Precession:
~ Every 21,000 to 25,000 years ~ The eccentricity of the Earth's elliptical orbit with the expansion and contraction of the eccentricity's perihelion to the Sun (3,000,000 miles).
Orbital Inclinations:
~ Every 70,000 years ~ The inclination of the Earth's fixed orbital plane rising and lowering.
~ Every 100,000 years ~ The Earth's orbital plane taken as a whole, also rises and lowers to the Solar System's monumental plane.

Then there are the Sun cycles, whatever that might be. (Or the speculation of a very large heat absorbing dust cloud in a higher orbital inclination.)

Also worth considering are continual non-cyclical events occurring over several millennia: The continental drift changing the location of land masses or the Moon's distancing slowing the daily rotation and weakening the tidal effects — It seems in the end that past circumstances may not always be indicative of future events.

about 5 months ago
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Mathematician: Is Our Universe a Simulation?

hutsell Re:Some possible ways (745 comments)

Some possible ways to determine if we're living in a simulation:

Look for signs of optimizations/short cuts in the simulation:
Is there a maximum speed?
Is there a minimum size?
Is there a limit as to determining an object's position and momentum? etc. ...

Is there an epoch date: a beginning, instead of an eternal past requiring an infinite amount of data?

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Anti-Camera Device For Use In a Small Bus?

hutsell Re:Some requests should be ignored (478 comments)

Can anyone come up with a sensible reason to implement such a thing?

Sensibility seems to get lost when the submitter's question is rephrased in the following way: Is there a device that can selectively deactivate cameras of one's choosing? If not, can someone here invent such a method and tell me the solution?

However, imagining some of the possibilities, one would seem to be a paradise for the authorities — something they assuredly would feel to be very sensible.

about 5 months ago
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I'd prefer military fiction books that are ...

hutsell Re:Not at all (236 comments)

Military fiction? Tedious!

More to the point of being true for myself having been there and done that. If it has to be fictional, of the very little that feels believable and much more interesting, are the stories in film or literature based on the actual experiences of their creators.

Whether true or not, only a couple of films seem to get close to getting the feeling right. As far as literature is concerned, memoirs usually work best for myself — Philip Caputo's, A Rumor of War and Robert Mason's two books, particularly the first, Chickenhawk; both of which aren't exclusive to others not mentioned. Another one coming to mind is Vonnegut's classic, Slaughter House Five; I think I'm supposed to say that I'm a somewhat embarrassed to admit that I appreciated the more fictionalized film over the book it was derived from.

If you want the machismo brotherhood cool and clever sound bites with never ending awesome choreographed action scenes with the obligatory shoot 'em up bang bang stuff, then it's not fiction you're looking for; the genre you're looking for, im(h)o, should be called fantasy — or so it seems.

about 5 months ago
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Stellar Trio Could Put Einstein's Theory of Gravity To the Test

hutsell Re:Is (106 comments)

Ok, help my layman ass out here. IIRC, according to Einstein, acceleration and gravity aren't just similar phenomena, but are the exact same phenomena, and, since you are always travelling at c through the combined spacetime continuum, which gravity warps, the gravitational pull is you actually accelerating through this warped spacetime.

That seems way too freaking cool to fail at some umpteenth decimal.

I've always found the feeling associated with thinking about the Principle of Equivalence to be exquisite — wistfully thinking something beautiful would be lost if (or when) it was disproven.

about 7 months ago
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I'd rather pay for my space latte with ...

hutsell Spice Melange (265 comments)

From what I understand, with this, you can have pretty much have anything you want from anyone. An insignificant latte: Gratis; no payment required.

about 7 months ago
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Is Ruby Dying?

hutsell Re:Short answer: no (400 comments)

Long answer: a better indicator is how many Google queries for the respective languages are issued. And those suggest that Ruby is standing stronger than ever. Ruby is more than just Rails. And just because there is yet another web apps framework, it doesn't mean that the other ones automatically lose traction.

The Google trends supplied in your link used generic search terms, seriously skewing the results inaccurately about programming languages. Stuff about reptiles, famous comedy acts and things such as an infamous Italian scandal (and whatever else) were being included. By replacing the display with terms specific to programming, this version showing trends for searches about programming languages in Ruby, JavaScript, PHP, Java and Nodejs should show something a little more meaningful.

Since the summary is more interested in just Ruby and Node and those trends with the other 3 are difficult evaluate, showing those two together, separated from the others, helps in the evaluation. (I left out Python, not due to any agenda of my own; there were problems with the search terms I wasn't able to resolve.) Fwiw, when it comes to the top regional preferences for these two languages: Japan is for Ruby while South Korea & Iran are for Nodejs. (Cuba prefers PHP).

about 7 months ago
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Reuters: RSA Weakened Encryption For $10M From NSA

hutsell Re:Not a surprise, but still... (464 comments)

I cringe every time I see elementary school children reciting the pledge of allegiance. Start them young...

Fwiw, the moderation is creepy considering that the first 30 years of the Pledge of Allegiance required everyone to put their right arm straight out, palm down, before it was changed to placing their right hand over their heart.

After my comment was posted (the one I'm replying to now), the OP's moderation changed from +4 Funny to +5 Insightful.

The reference to cringing seemed to be an understatement and appropriate, regardless of the salute's original intentions, due to its negative aspects being brought to light by the fascist states embracing it so well too well as to co-opt its ownership and meaning.

A lot of parents of different religious faiths and political affiliations, in the U.S. at least, don't like the idea of someone getting emotionally involved with their children and telling them to verbally profess allegiance or worship to an idea or image — partly due, correctly or incorrectly, to that bad worldwide experience.

about 7 months ago
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Reuters: RSA Weakened Encryption For $10M From NSA

hutsell Re:Not a surprise, but still... (464 comments)

I cringe every time I see elementary school children reciting the pledge of allegiance. Start them young...

Fwiw, the moderation is creepy considering that the first 30 years of the Pledge of Allegiance required everyone to put their right arm straight out, palm down, before it was changed to placing their right hand over their heart.

about 7 months ago

Submissions

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Quipper: A Programming Language for Quantum Coders

hutsell hutsell writes  |  1 year,11 days

hutsell (1228828) writes "Until now, quantum programming has been low-level instructions dealing with the quantum logic gates that control the qubits. A team of developers at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, have changed that by creating Quipper, the first high level programming language for quantum computing.

By customizing Haskell, a language suited well for physics applications, to deal with qubits and adding a small library of code for quantum properties, they were able to design their language to express instructions at a task level by bringing together algorithms in a modular way; allowing them to build the software in the same way as classical programming might be done with Java.

Since it requires testing by simulating a quantum computer on a classical computer (and incompatible with D-Wave), its best suited in its present state as a test bed for ideas and understanding how to write quantum software. In turn, it's felt this will help to influence the development of the rudimentary hardware existing today."
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Mt. Everest's Fisrt Video Broadcast Outrages Nepali Tourist Ministry

hutsell hutsell writes  |  about a year ago

hutsell (1228828) writes "On May 19th, Daniel Hughes spoke to BBC News live from the world's highest peak using his smartphone, making it the first live broadcast from Everest. (The actual video — showing the importance of oxygen along with his panoramic view — on the BBC page, is bookend with talking heads and a front-end advert.)

However, since he and his team failed to get a commercial broadcast permit (costing about 2 grand) without the Nepali Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Aviation's knowledge, officials want to impose the penalty of having them banned from obtaining climbing permits for 10 years or from entering the country for 5 years.

From Dipendra Poudel, an official of the Ministry's mountain branch: "The mountaineering rules say if you want to make a live telecast from the mountain, which is a restricted area, you have to get a permit first and inform us early about what you're going to do."

Those protesting against the decision feel the intent of the law is being misinterpreted; it's failing to keep up with the recent fundamental changes in technology.

Joanna Jolly, a former Nepal correspondent for the BBC opines: " In the past, if you were a film crew making a commercial film, this would be clear from the amount of equipment you had with you. ... The question is: Does short video clips and posting them to personal websites (or making video calls on smart phones) also qualifies as commercial broadcasting, and where do you draw the line?"

A permit that was meant to deal with ecological repercussions, doesn't seem to apply in this case. If it doesn't, is it really about disrespect, money, a tourism copyright angle, or all of the above? Then again, should the Nepal government ignore outsiders questioning their motives?"

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3D Printer Used to Save New-Born's Life

hutsell hutsell writes  |  about a year ago

hutsell (1228828) writes "The University of Michigan's website responds to an article featured in today's New England Journal of Medicine about there ground-breaking surgical implant.

After obtaining emergency clearance from the FDA to create and implant a tracheal splint for the baby, the specially-designed splint of specialized plastic materials made from the printer was implated into the child. The splint was sewn around the airway to expand the bronchus and give it a skeleton to aid proper growth during a 3 year period, after which it will have been reabsorbed into the body by then.

“It was amazing. As soon as the splint was put in, the lungs started going up and down for the first time and we knew he was going to be OK,” says Green.

"
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International Space Station Tests Interplanetary Internet

hutsell hutsell writes  |  about a year and a half ago

hutsell writes "The ESA and NASA have successfully used an experimental version of the interplanetary Internet to control an educational rover from the International Space Station. The rover — a small LEGO robot located at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany — was driven by a NASA-developed laptop using the Bundle Protocol, which is roughly equivalent to the Internet Protocol to transmit messages between the ISS and ground Mission Control Centers; while all of the data was monitored and controlled from the University of Colorado's Engineering Center in Boulder at the University's Payload Operations Control Center.

Deputy Associate Administrator Badri Younes said in NASA's news release:

The demonstration showed the feasibility of using a new communications infrastructure to send commands to a surface robot from an orbiting spacecraft and receive images and data back from the robot, ... The experimental DTN we've tested from the space station may one day be used by humans on a spacecraft in orbit around Mars to operate robots on the surface, or from Earth using orbiting satellites as relay stations.

The DTN communication technology used by NASA enables standardized communications similar to the Internet to function over long distance delays associated with the speed of light and delays caused by planetary rotations or eclipses when communicating with other spacecraft or robotic systems. The ptrotocol developed by the Delay Tolerant Networking Research Group moves the data through the network hop-by-hop while waiting for the next link to become connected; when the link becomes available, bundles that were temporarily stored are then forwarded to the next node ."
Link to Original Source

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Disney Labs Creates a New and Unique Touch-Gesture Technology

hutsell hutsell writes  |  about 2 years ago

hutsell (1228828) writes "A new type of capacitive sensing technology, applicable to any type of material--both living and inanimate, has been developed at Walt Disney Research Lab in Pittsburgh, Pennsyvania. The simplistic interface (a wire and diode) connected to a bread-board circuit smaller than a deck of playing cards can recognize simultaneousy, with a high degree of accuracy, all of the touch events and complex gesture patterns generated by human hands; the technology's success relies on its unique use of multiple frequencies for touch events and machine learning software for understanding the gestures.

The name of the project under development during the last two years, the Touché, is being lead by Ivan Poupyrev with Munehiko Sato (U of Tokyo) and Chris Harrison (CMU) in conjunction with earlier hardware and software developed by Zhiquan Yeo (CMU) and Jonas Loh (Royal College of Art). Their reserach paper (a PDF) was recognized as best submission (an image) at the ACM SIGCHI Conference 2012 in Austin, Texas.

Sometimes seeing may be better than reading, even if it fails to fall into the "tl;dr" category. An overview of the application's potential, how it can interact with present touch technology and eventually replace it altogether, is shown in Disney Lab's five minute Touché Video. In addition, a specific example (with demonstrations presented at the Siggraph 2012 Exhibition in Los Angeles, California) is a four minute Botanicus Interacticus Video and a one minute Teaser (i.e. pretty) Video showing how natural--and artificially designed--plants can easily be incorporated into the technology."

Link to Original Source
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Feds Plan to Destroy Megaupload Evidence

hutsell hutsell writes  |  more than 2 years ago

hutsell writes "A filed letter from the U.S. Attorney's Office authorized the storage companies, Carpathia Hosting, Inc. and Cogent Communications Group Inc., to begin deleting data Thursday. If the two outside companies hired by MegaUpload to operate their web servers follows through, it will also include (as collateral damage) legitimate user content mixed with the content charged with being illegal.

The article from cbsnews said, " ... it could be deleted as soon as Thursday."; but failed to mention how this will affect the case against the seven men being charged with the crime of assisting in the millions of illegal downloads."

Link to Original Source
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FAA Creates Website for Reporting Laser-Strikes

hutsell hutsell writes  |  more than 2 years ago

hutsell writes "The Federal Aviation Administration has launched a website to report laser strikes on aircraft, which have rose from about 300 in 2005 to 3,129 as of Nov. 25. The FAA said major metropolitan areas report the highest number of laser strikes. The agency announced that it would impose civil penalties of up to $11,000 for people who point lasers at aircraft cockpits.

An excerpt FTA: When a laser beam broke the darkness and flooded the "bubble" of his helicopter, CareFlite pilot Scott Wallace got scared — afraid of being blinded and of crashing and dooming himself and the nurse and paramedic on board as well as anyone on the ground.

Then he got mad."

Link to Original Source

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